Maurice, count of Nassau and prince of Orange, stadtholder of the United Dutch Provinces, born at Dillenburg, Nov. 14, 1567, died at the Hague, April 23,1025. He was the second surviving son of William I. of Orange, surnamed the Silent, by Anna, the daughter of Maurice of Saxony. Maurice of Nassau was in his 17th year when his father was assassinated (1584). and was soon after proclaimed governor and captain general by the states of Holland and Zealand, his elder brother Philip William having been carried by the duke of Alva to Spain. Maurice, though commencing his military career under the control of the count of Hohen lohe, was elected by the states in 1587 governor and commander-in-chief of the republic, during the temporary absence of Leicester; and after the recall of Leicester by Queen Elizabeth he was acknowledged as stadtholder and commander-in-chief by all the provinces, Lord Willoughby commanding the English auxiliary forces. Opposed to the greatest captain of that period, Alessandro Farnese, Maurice surprised and captured Breda (1500), and in the following year took Zutphen, Deventer, Nime-pnen, and other places.
The conquest of Ger-truidenberg (1593) and Groningen (1594), after protracted sieges, manifested still more clearly his abilities; and his camp soon became, like that of the duke of Parma, who died in 1592, one of the great schools of the military art, to which warlike youth flocked from every Protestant country. In these and many subsequent conquests, Maurice was assisted by the English auxiliary troops under Sir Francis Vere, and he was still more indebted to the aid of the latter in his first battle in the open field, before Turnhout in Brabant, where he routed the Spaniards and compelled the fortress to surrender (1597). In 1598 Albert of Austria, governor of the Netherlands in right of his wife Isabella, on whom the sovereignty had been bestowed by her father Philip II., demanded from the United Provinces a voluntary submission to their new rulers. The republic answered only by a more vigorous prosecution of the war by laud and sea. Maurice routed the archduke at Nieuport near Ostend (1600), the issue of the battle being long disputed, and the English under Sir Francis Vere claiming the principal honor of the victory.
The Protestant army, however, was exhausted, and Albert was allowed to resume the field with superior forces, and to commence the siege of Ostend, while Maurice successively laid siege to other places. The resistance of Ostend lasted more than three years; but when the Italian Spinola took the command of the besieging army, all efforts to save the fortress proved vain, and an honorable capitulation ended the struggle, which had cost the king of Spain 80,000 men. Maurice had in the meanwhile achieved numerous conquests, which more than balanced the loss of Ostend, and the Dutch colonial possessions had been much extended, largely at the expense of Spain and Portugal. Spinola himself advising peace, Philip III. finally yielded, and a truce for 12 years was concluded at the Hague (1609), under which the Dutch retained their liberty and conquests. This termination of the struggle was owing chiefly to the diplomacy of Barneveldt, Maurice resisting it to the last. Bent on usurping supreme power, Maurice was ready to sacrifice the interests of his country in order to retain his command; and when checked by the energy of the veteran statesman, he eagerly sought for his destruction.
Maurice flattered and excited the passions of the Gomarists, while Barneveldt adhered to the Arminians.
The synod of Dort was convoked (1618), a mock trial was held, and Barneveldt perished on the scaffold (1619). Grotius and others were thrown into prison. A son of Barne-veldt, who undertook to avenge his father, was executed, lint the people punished Maurice by unconcealed detestation, and he entirely lost the fruit of his crimes. Only the renewal of the war after the expiration of the truce (1621) restored him to popularity. He compelled Spinola to raise the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom (1622), for the conquest of which he had sacrificed 10,000 of his best troops, but was unable to rescue Breda, his grief on the fall of which (1625) is believed to have caused his death. His elder brother having died, as restored prince of Orange, in 1618, the younger, Frederick Henry, succeeded as stadtholder. - See Motlev, " History of the United Netherlands" (1860-'67), and "Life and Death of John of Barneveld" (1874).
Maurice, duke and elector of Saxony, a German general, born in Freiberg, March 21,1521, died at Sievershausen, near Luneburg, July 11, 1553. He received a brilliant education, and joined the Protestant church in 1539. In 1541 he married a daughter of the landgrave Philip of Hesse, and in the same year (Aug. 18) succeeded his father Henry the Pious on the ducal throne. In 1542 he fought in the army of the emperor Charles V. against the Turks, and in 1548 against the French. He aided the emperor in defeating the Smalcald league at the battle of Muhlberg (April 24, 1546), although his father-in-law was one of the two principal leaders of the league. The other leader was his cousin John Frederick of the Ernestine line of the house of Saxony, with whom he had previously quarrelled, and whose dominions were now added to his own, with the rank of elector conferred upon him by the emperor (July 1, 1547). The landgrave of Hesse was at the same time treacherously arrested at Halle, and other arbitrary measures soon alienated Maurice from the emperor and caused him to originate a bold scheme, which with one stroke of his sword cut the knot that imperilled the reformation and the liberties of Germany. He availed himself in 1550 of the commission given him to enforce the imperial ban against the disaffected city of Magdeburg to make military preparations, and concluded a secret treaty with Henry II. of France at Friedewalde, Oct. 5,1551. Before throwing off his mask, he once more demanded the liberation of his father-in-law, which was refused by Charles V. He now marched on Innspruck, where Charles was lying very sick with gout, and suddenly made his appearance before that city in May, 1552, while the French occupied the emperor's possessions in Lorraine. Charles narrowly escaped capture by hasty flight, and was obliged to restore to liberty both the cousin and the father-in-law of Maurice, and to grant by the treaty of Passau (Aug. 2, 1552) the fullest religious liberty to the Protestants, upon which Maurice had insisted as the condition of peace.
Subsequently he joined the emperor and his brother King Ferdinand in a new campaign against the Turks, and behaved with his wonted gallantry, but without achieving any decided success. Early in 1553 he joined the league against the margrave Albert of Brandenburg, who would not recognize the treaty of Passau. Maurice achieved a brilliant victory over him at Sievershausen (July 9), but received a wound from which he died two days afterward. In 1853 a monument was erected on the battle field in his honor. He promoted important civil, military, and educational reforms in Saxony, and added several institutions to the university of Leipsic. He was succeeded by his brother Augustus. His only surviving daughter, Anna, became the wife of William I., prince of Orange. - See 3foritz, Herzog und Kurfarst von Sachsen, by Langenn (2 vols., Leipsic, 1841).