— William the Silent stadtholder of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht, leader of the Dutch Revolt 1533 - 1584
Context: I am in the hands of God, my worldly goods and my life have long since been dedicated to his service. He will dispose of them as seems best for his glory and my salvation. … Would to God that my perpetual banishment or even my death could bring you a true deliverance from so many calamities. Oh, how consoling would be such banishment — how sweet such a death! For why have I exposed my property? Was it that I might enrich myself? Why have I lost my brothers? Was it that I might find new ones? Why have I left my son so long a prisoner? Can you give me another? Why have I put my life so often in danger? What reward can I hope after my long services, and the almost total wreck of my earthly fortunes, if not the prize of having acquired, perhaps at the expense of my life, your liberty? If then, my masters, you judge that my absence or my death can serve you, behold me ready to obey. Command me — send me to the ends of the earth — I will obey. Here is my head, over which no prince, no monarch, has power but yourselves. Dispose of it for your good, for the preservation of your republic, but if you judge that the moderate amount of experience and industry which is in me, if you judge that the remainder of my property and of my life can yet be of service to you, I dedicate them afresh to you and to the country.
Response after hearing he had been declared an outlaw by Philip II, as quoted in The Rise of the Dutch Republic (1859) by John Lothrop Motley