The Black Tulip
11. Cornelius Van Baerle's Will
Rosa had not been mistaken; the judges came on the following day to the Buytenhof,
and proceeded with the trial of Cornelius van Baerle. The examination, however, did not
last long, it having appeared on evidence that Cornelius had kept at his house that fatal
correspondence of the brothers De Witt with France.
He did not deny it.
The only point about which there seemed any difficulty was whether this
correspondence had been intrusted to him by his godfather, Cornelius de Witt.
But as, since the death of those two martyrs, Van Baerle had no longer any reason for
withholding the truth, he not only did not deny that the parcel had been delivered to him
by Cornelius de Witt himself, but he also stated all the circumstances under which it was
This confession involved the godson in the crime of the godfather; manifest complicity
being considered to exist between Cornelius de Witt and Cornelius van Baerle.
The honest doctor did not confine himself to this avowal, but told the whole truth with
regard to his own tastes, habits, and daily life. He described his indifference to politics,
his love of study, of the fine arts, of science, and of flowers. He explained that, since the
day when Cornelius de Witt handed to him the parcel at Dort, he himself had never
touched, nor even noticed it.
To this it was objected, that in this respect he could not possibly be speaking the truth,
since the papers had been deposited in a press in which both his hands and his eyes
must have been engaged every day.
Cornelius answered that it was indeed so; that, however, he never put his hand into the
press but to ascertain whether his bulbs were dry, and that he never looked into it but to
see if they were beginning to sprout.
To this again it was objected, that his pretended indifference respecting this deposit was
not to be reasonably entertained, as he could not have received such papers from the
hand of his godfather without being made acquainted with their important character.
He replied that his godfather Cornelius loved him too well, and, above all, that he was
too considerate a man to have communicated to him anything of the contents of the
parcel, well knowing that such a confidence would only have caused anxiety to him who