In Philip of Spain and the Netherlands, C.J. Cadoux discusses the expression of moral judgements regarding leading figures in major historical events. Indeed, Cadoux, using the case of the Dutch Revolt, questions whether it is possible at all to assess moral quality without adequate knowledge of the relevant facts, at least.
First published in 1947, Cadoux’s approach is one of presenting history, both national and personal, in a non-judgemental manner. This holistic approach allows for a clear and concise depiction of events and persons that is not skewed by an overbearing opinion. He posits that in the great struggle between Spain and the Netherlands in the sixteenth century, a new ethic of Christian mercy is discernible. Cadoux concludes his book by asking the reader ‘in whose behaviour there can be seen some promise of better and humaner things?’, reinforcing the inherent difficulty that remains when passing moral judgement.