The Growth and Destiny of a Man and of a World-Empire
by KARL BRANDI, HON. D. PHIL., LITT. D
Professor of History at the University of Göttingen
Translated from the German by C. V. WEDGWOOD
Printed in Great Britain for ALFRED · A · KNOPF · NEW YORK 1939
PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN IN THE CITY OF OXFORD AT THE ALDEN PRESS
TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 11
INTRODUCTION -- CHARLES'S CHARACTER AND PLACE IN HISTORY 13
THE DYNASTY, ITS LANDS AND KINGDOMS: THE EMPEROR'S YOUTH
CHAPTER I -- DUKE OF BURGUNDY 21
The Netherlands 23
The culture of the Burgundian Court 25
Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian 32
Philip the Handsome and Joanna of Castile.
Birth of Charles, 1500 39
The Archduchess Margaret 45
Charles begins to rule. Chièvres, 1515 54
CHAPTER II -- KING OF CASTILE AND ARAGON 62
The Spanish kingdoms 63
From the death of Isabella (1504) to the death of
Ferdinand (1516). Cardinal Ximenes 67
Interim government and European policy. Noyon 1516 62
Charles in Spain. The meeting of the Cortes, 1517-18 80
Spanish or universal policy? 90
CHAPTER III -- ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA AND
HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR OF THE GERMAN NATION 95
Maximilian. The hereditary lands and the Empire 96
The imperial election, 1519 99
Changed relations between the powers.
The Field of the Cloth of Gold, 1520 114
Acquisition of Wtirttemberg. Coronation at Aachen 119
Germany and the problem of Martin Luther.
The Diet of Worms, 1521 124
CHAPTER IV -- HEREDITARY RIGHT AND WORLD-EMPIRE 134
The division of the inheritance with Ferdinand.
Mary in Hungary. Isabella in Denmark 135
Rise and collapse of the Comuneros and the Germanìa 142
Alliance of Charles with Leo X, 1521 149
The first clash with Francis I 154
Wolsey's negotiations at Calais and Bruges, 1521 160
Election of Adrian VI, 1522. Charles returns to Spain 166
The West Indies. Magellan sails round the world.
Hernando Cortes in Mexico 169
CHARLES MAINTAINS HIS INHERITANCE: YEARS OF GROWTH
CHAPTER I -- THE EMPIRE, THE STATES OF EUROPE
AND THE STRUGGLE FOR ITALY 181
Forms of warfare 181
The German Estates and imperial administration.
Social conflict. Trouble in Denmark 184
The Emperor in Spain 195
Adrian and Italy, 1523 201
The adventure of Charles de Bourbon.
Political educa- tion of the Emperor. Pope Clement VII 209
Provence and Milan. Charles's reflections on the eve
of Pavia, 1525 217
The fateful road to the peace of Madrid.
The tempta- tion of Pescara 223
CHAPTER II -- EMPIRE AND PAPACY, 1526-1530 237
The King of France breaks faith.
New developments in Italy 239
The Diet of Speyer, 1526.
Ferdinand in Bohemia and Hungary 245
Complaints of the Pope.
Sack of Rome, 1529 249
Gattinara's voyage and advice.
Spanish propaganda 254
England and France declare war. The struggle for
Milan and Naples, 1528 263
The Peace Treaties of Barcelona and Cambrai, 1529 274
The Emperor in Italy. Coronation at Bologna, 1530 282
CHAPTER III -- THE GERMAN PROTESTANTS 292
The German State, the Reformation and the
formula- tion of creeds 293
The Diet of Augsburg, 1530 303 Triumphs and troubles of the Hapsburg dynasty, 1531 317
The religious peace and the Turkish menace.
Growth of Protestantism 324
The loss of Württemberg, 1534 328
CHAPTER IV -- UNIVERSAL POLICY 333
The West Indies. Venezuela. Peru 335
Guiding ideas 342
The lands about the North Sea 352
The Mediterranean. Asia and Africa.
The Turks and the French 357
Tunis, Sicily and Naples, 1535 365
Charles in Rome with Pope and Cardinals, 1536 371
Armistice. Nice and Aigues Mortes, 1538 381
THE STRUGGLE FOR GERMANY: CLIMAX AND DECLINE
CHAPTER I -- THE SETTLEMENT BREAKS DOWN 393
Negotiations with the German Estates. Held's mission, 1537 396
Fantastic projects in Germany and England and for war
on the Turks. The Frankfort agreement 408
The first regency of Philip in Spain. Charles's journey through France, 1539 421
The Emperor in Ghent.
The French friendship breaks down 426
The religious discussions of 1540 and
the strange case of the Landgrave of Hesse 435
Regensburg, 1541 444
The attack on Algiers 453
CHAPTER II -- THE GREAT PROJECT OF 1543 458
Spain and the imperial finances 460
Emperor, Pope, France and the Turks 466
The warclouds gather in France and Cleves 472
Storm over the Netherlands, 1542 476
Second regency of Prince Philip in Spain.
The political testaments of 1543 482
Busseto and Nuremberg, 1543 494
The Duke of Cleves defeated. Landrçy and Cambrai 501
Pope and Emperor. The Diet of Speyer, 1544 506
The campaign on the Marne and the peace of Crèpy 514
CHAPTER III -- THE SCHMALKALDIC WAR,
THE EMPIRE AND THE COUNCIL OF TRENT 523
War with the Protestants, Diet or Council? 525
Church and State take arms 533
Regensburg, 1546 543
The campaign on the Danube 549
The Emperor victorious. War in Saxony.
Tension with the Vatican 556
Mühlberg. Wittenberg. Halle, 1547 567
The imperial constitution and the Low Countries.
The struggle over the Council and the Interim, 1548 573
The dynasty and Charles's political testament of 1548 582
CHAPTER IV -- DISILLUSIONMENT AND DEATH 588
Prince Philip and the Spanish succession, 1550 590
Straws in the wind. The Interim and the Council.
The League of Princes and Henry II of France, 1551 600
Linz and Passau. Maurice, Ferdinand and the
Emperor, 1552 606
The Emperor before Metz, 1552-3 615
The Emperor withdraws from Germany, 1554-5 622
The Emperor abdicates and returns to Spain 629
San Jeronimo de Yuste, 1557 637
CHARLES V AS SOVEREIGN OF THE ORDER OF THE GOLDEN
FLEECE - Frontispiece
from Livre de l'ordre du toison d'or, 1559; inscribed l'empereur
pourtraict au vif en habit ducal.
Reproduced by permission of the Order
CHARLES V AS A BOY facing p. 54
from the bust ascribed to Conrad Meit in the Hôtel Gruthuys, Bruges
CHARLES V AGED TWENTY-TWO 166 from the painting by Barend van Orley in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
CHARLES V AGED THIRTY-TWO 312
from the painting by Christoph Amberger, inscribed on the back,
Christoff Amberg -- zu Augsburg; now in the Altes Museum, Berlin
CHARLES V AGED ABOUT THIRTY-THREE 350
from the painting by Titian in the Prado, Madrid
CHARLES V AGED ABOUT FORTY-SEVEN 570
from the portrait painted by Titian in memory of the battle of Mühlberg, in the Prado, Madrid
CHARLES V AGED FORTY-EIGHT 586
from the painting by Titian in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich
LA GLORIA 644
The Holy Trinity with Angels and Saints adoring, Charles and the
Empress Isabella on the right, from the painting by Titian in the
The device on the binding, bearing the legend 'QUOD IN CELLS SOL HOC
IN TERRA CAESAR EST. Ao 1548', and Charles's personal motto, 'PLUS
ULTRA', is from the reverse of a medal by Hans Bolsterer. Specimens
are to be seen in Vienna, Frankfort and Basel.
PROFESSOR KARL BRANDI of Göttingen, who celebrated his seventieth birthday last year, is the greatest living authority on Charles V. In the following pages he has epitomized the results of a lifetime of research in the archives of almost every European country. Not the remotest corner appears to have eluded his minute and illuminating scrutiny. It is no easy task to compress this immensity of knowledge into the pages of a single volume. Professor Brandi has himself explained his attitude both in the dedicatory letter, and in a later passage of his work. 'Neither prejudice nor ingenious selection', he writes in Book Three, Chapter II, 'can make a convincing picture of a man, but only the strictest devotion to historic truth. Our knowledge must rest on the accumulated tradition and observation of centuries. Only by unfolding the material gradually and carefully, only by conscientiously recognizing its peculiarities and its limitations, can we draw valid conclusions. These are not to be made by rashly over-estimating, and then as rashly decrying. Only in the utmost caution and observation lies the true scientific value of historical work, and only by that can we arrive at a truer knowledge of things as they were and as they are.'
Very little can be added to that. Professor Brandi has, as it were, taken the reader into his confidence and shown by the careful examination of document after document the development of a human being, in the fulfilment of one of the most complex and burdensome tasks that ever man was called upon to bear. Professor Brandi has substituted for the external excitement of stirring events, the tenser and quieter excitement of a man's inner development. The colossal wealth of existing material, the profound scholarship and controlled imagination of Professor Brandi have combined to produce an historical work which is, and will probably long remain, unique. Few great men in history lend themselves to this microscopic treatment, for few have left the documentary material essential to it; few, very few scholars, would have the necessary gifts to carry out the task, untiring, to its end.
C. V. WEDGWOOD
To THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE THE dedication of the German edition to the Academies of Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Munich and Vienna, and of the English edition to the University of Cambridge, is at the same time an expression of my gratitude and an indication of the scholastic nature of this work. It is based almost exclusively on a new and thorough examination of the best and most immediate contemporary evidence. Much of what I have to say is new; many events will be freshly illuminated.
It is the highest object, even of the scholar, to make the past live again, with all the peculiarities of its special circumstances, its opinions, prejudices and interactions. I have used the traditional narrative form, which, by approaching most nearly to the actual course of events and experiences, enables the writer to catch even the moods of an epoch. In building up the whole, I have sought not so much to describe a series of exciting events as to live over, step by step, with the Emperor, the gradual processes of his extraordinary career, with all its puzzling delays, crises, hopes and wearinesses. I have not sought to vindicate the Emperor's actions nor to paint the portrait of hero, but rather to draw the features of a man and a ruler, with his frailties and his virtues.
CHARLES'S CHARACTER AND PLACE IN HISTORY
THERE are in history certain men whose productive energy is more than human. They create out of their own elemental strength and lay down the laws of thought and action for centuries to come. The Emperor Charles V was not one of these. Rather did he belong to that other group who must be called great because ancient historic forces were concentrated in their single being, because they moulded inherited ideas of power, belief and behaviour into new forms. Thereby they also resolved within themselves the eternal contradictions of humanity.
In this way he also was a builder.
Charles V carried the Hapsburg dynasty to the height of its greatness. He united and completed its possessions; mingling old Burgundian ideas of chivalry with the conscientious piety of the Netherlands, with Spanish self-restraint and the universal traditions of the Romano-German Empire, he created the attitude which was in future to be typical of his dynasty. At the same time, out of the mass of his inherited possessions he formed a new European and, in a sense, a new overseas imperialism -- a world Empire dependent for the first time in history not on conquest, still less on geographical interdependence, but on dynastic theory and unity of faith.
The Emperor gave his Empire not only new foundations but new ambitions, which found expression in the conflict in the Netherlands, and in the wars in Germany, Italy and Spain.
On the younger branch of the dynasty he bestowed the old rights over the Danube lands, with their important possibilities and no less important dangers, while he shifted the weight of his own power from Germany and Burgundy to the growing state of Spain. Thus he founded within his own family that predominance of the Spanish branch which lasted for a century and a half. Resting not on Germany, but on Spain, he was able to reassert his suzerainty over the old imperial lands of Milan, Tuscany, and even Naples; thereby he turned the axis of the Empire, which had run for so long from north to south, on to the line of Madrid and Rome, and sheltered Italy for many years to come from the attacks of France. Basing his imperial theory on Spain, he regained both for himself and his son that relationship with the Papacy as an Italian power within the framework of the European system, which had prevailed during the earlier days of the Empire. For reasons rooted deep in German history his relations with the Protestants were governed at least as much by political as by ecclesiastical considerations. In his world-struggle for the ancient Church, the Emperor was to experience the bitter mortification of being deserted by the Pope, and he was to be touched to the quick by the alliance of Catholic France with the Turk. For him, as for the Hohenstaufen, the spiritual office of the Pope proved to be sharply at odds with the political; because of the intensity of Charles's convictions, both religious and political, this contradiction gave rise to gigantic conflicts.
The same latent tension is to be found in internal politics. Inevitably Charles's highly centralized policy over-rode the individual territorial divisions of his lands; thereby he weaned them from outworn political forms based on disintegrating feudal and urban authority, with their special privileges, local feuds and shifting powers, and drew them towards higher political conceptions. A Burgundian of the old school, that great realist, Commines, has vividly depicted the contrast between the personal rivalries of the great lords of his time and the humanist theory of the state, supported by universal principles, which dominated the councillors of Charles V. The Emperor's dynastic policy of world-power gave to the ideas prevalent in Europe during the century which saw the rise of the nation-state, a direction which survives to-day.
In Spain this ruler, haloed with the glory of the Empire, became, not without the support of his universal theories, the architect of that national state for which Ferdinand and Isabella had laid the foundation. Charles completed it. Although he was forced to combat the separatism of the individual kingdoms, his marriage policy nevertheless made way for the subsequent ephemeral union with Portugal and for the unification of the whole Iberian peninsula, from whose shores so many men had sailed to circumnavigate the globe.
In Germany and Italy, on the other hand, the territorial states, whose development had long been hampered by the structure of the Empire to which they belonged, no less than by outworn political ideas, gained through Charles's universal policy the means to become European powers. By bringing them into contact with the resources of a world Empire, he marked out the way for their future. Yet this very Emperor, who extended the German Empire to its widest bounds, was also responsible for its dissolution. He who might so easily have re-united the Netherlands with the body of the Empire, completed their severance. He jeopardized Alsace; he side-tracked the ambitions of France from Italy to Lorraine. As ruler of the Low Countries he opposed the German Hanseatic League, and his policy towards his brotherin-law Christian II of Denmark was partly responsible for its disappearance from the ranks of the northern powers. The principalities of North Germany discovered a new force in Protestantism, and Charles left them at his death in a strong position. The Catholic states too were strengthened. Bequeathing to the Austrian branch of the dynasty both the religious problem and the Turkish menace, he left them neither Spain, Milan nor Burgundy, and thus forced them to depend more than ever before on the help of their co-religionists in Germany.
Lastly, although his relations with the Netherlands and Denmark entangled him with the northern states, his attitude to the rising commercial powers of England and Scotland remained indefinite. His changing personal alliances, as much as his political ideas, forced him to veer from close co-operation to open enmity. Here too the outcome was to strengthen the theory of the nation-state.
Many as are the seeming contradictions in the life of Charles V, it had an inner unity. His career was dominated by the dynastic principle, which found more vital and effective expression in him than in any other ruler in the history of the world. Both as a man and as a sovereign, he was subjected to the moral pressure of this principle, which beset his path with perilous temptations. The Emperor gave living reality in his own person to the doctrine of a binding relationship between the generations, of responsibility alike towards his ancestors and his descendants. For him the dynastic principle did not merely mean the theory of hereditary kingship for the permanent security of the state; it was also a profound moral, almost a religious duty. Charles was not indeed unlike other princes of his time in his physical weaknesses; but he was far above them all in the political sanctification, as it were, of his marriage, in the courtly and princely reverence which he showed to his wife, Her Serene Majesty, the Empress. No father could have displayed greater care for the spiritual and material welfare of his children than this Emperor who, in the forty years of his reign, wandered ceaselessly from land to land, waged war after war, negotiated treaty after treaty, and spent in all that time hardly one continuous year by his own fireside. We shall live through it all in his company.
A particular circumstance enables us to gain detailed insight into his character and beliefs. His native country, the Netherlands, was the home of many great teachers, theologians and humanists. His reign witnessed the rise of grave and learned councillors to the chief positions in the State. Partly owing to the impressions of a minority spent in the control of others, he was acutely conscious of his personal importance as a ruler, and refused to submit to the influence of the higher nobility and grandees in State affairs. Instead he collected about him men of learning and intelligence, spiritual energy and creative force. Under the influence of these surroundings, a prince who by inheritance might well have had no greater ambition than to live the life of a nobleman and a knight, developed gradually into an industrious worker, a punctilious compiler of letters and minutes, and at times even developed a habit of introspection and reflection. Not for many centuries can any prince compare with him in the number of revealing documents which he left behind. There are vain pedants, like James I of England, there are royal theologians and poets, but not until Frederick of Prussia was there one for whom, as for Charles, the very affairs of State became the material of a spontaneous literature. Tens of thousands of letters bearing the imperial signature have survived, and of these a not inconsiderable part are written in Charles's hand. Even in his early twenties the young ruler made a beginning, jotting down important memoranda, minutes and notes for consideration. In the prime of life he composed a dry but thoughtful account of his career, which, no less than his instructions to his son, reflects with brilliant clarity even to the minutest detail, the meticulous conscientiousness of his nature. Under his hand private letters, even those to the Empress, became official documents and fatherly admonitions, political testaments.
Through his actions and his confessions, in the motives and methods of his policy and his private life, we see the man mature and develop before our eyes. We can follow him from boyhood to premature old age; the historic type of a whole period, he is for us a man of flesh and blood. Strangest of all, through his growth and maturing, nay to his very decline, we shall find that his age is coloured still with those same desires which enflamed his youth. So also in his youth we shall find early the foreboding of age, wistful dreams of rest and thoughts of death. His life forms a circle complete within itself.
THE DYNASTY, ITS LANDS AND KINGDOMS: THE EMPEROR'S YOUTH
DUKE OF BURGUNDY
THE Hapsburg dynasty came from the Upper Rhine. It rose to princely power in Austria, whence even in the days of Rudolf of Hapsburg, its princes had looked towards the greater possibilities of the Danube basin with its natural connections with Bohemia and Hungary. But later it had fallen a victim to the fate which overwhelmed all German dynasties from the Merovingians to the Welf and Wittelsbach -- self-annihilation by the division of inheritance. Powerless in the Empire, the King and Emperor Frederick III had had to divide even the Hapsburg lands with his cousin Sigismun'd of Tyrol, and he lost Austria itself, the very kernel of his dominions, when King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary entered his capital, Vnna, in 1485, and remained there until his death in 1490. For long enough, therefore, Frederick's only son, Maximilian, the grandfather of Charles V, would have looked forward to no very brilliant future, had he not secured the hand of the richest heiress in Europe, Mary of Burgundy.
True that the power of her father, Charles the Bold, was limited, his possessions scattered and disunited. But his dynastic and territorial connection with France and England, his position on the Channel, the commercial prosperity of his lands and the wealth of his family in treasure of every kind, seemed to ensure both to him and to his heirs high prestige as a ruler and unlimited prospects in European politics. The Medici had but newly risen, the Popes were still fighting for the control of Rome, France was recovering slowly from the English war, England drifting towards the conflicts of York and Lancaster; nowhere in Europe in the middle of the fifteenth century was there to be found such store of actual bullion, such wealth of precious stones, of gold and silver plate, of magnificent and beautiful works of art, as at the Court of Burgundy.
The family were the younger branch of the French royal house. They owned, as a fief of the French Crown, the Duchy of Bourgogne, 1 with Dijon and the celebrated tombs of their ancestors in the neighbouring Chartreuse -- tombs since destroyed. They had other French fiefs in the coastlands of Flanders, Artois and Picardy, with Arras, Lille, Ypres, Ghent and Bruges. As fiefs of the Empire, they held the county of Burgundy, known as Franche Comté, with Dôle and Besançon, the province of Brabant, lying eastwards from Flanders and no less rich, with Brussels, Louvain, Malines, Antwerp, and at its northernmost point Bois-leDuc in the valley of the Meuse. South of this they owned Hainault with Mons and Valenciennes, Namur on the Meuse and farther to the east the ancient counties, now dukedoms, of Luxembourg and Limburg. Last of all the broad district in the Rhine delta and to the north with its population of mariners and merchants; more especially the flats of Holland and Zeeland, at that time still poor and water-logged, with Amsterdam, The Hague, Leyden and Delft as well as Veere and Middelburg on the southern islands. All these lands had been gradually acquired since 1369 by marriage or by purchase from the last dynasties of the Counts of Flanders and Luxembourg, the Dukes of Brabant and Limburg, the heirs of the Wittelsbach in Hainault, Holland and Zeeland. It was a loose assemblage of possessions, of a kind not uncommon in this Germano-Frankish Empire. The Duke's subjects were partly nobles long settled in their castles and estates, ruling over peasants and serfs, partly a self-conscious merchant class, already practised in universal trade to the north, south and east. His dominions were split up by ecclesiastical lands, above all by the Archbishopric of Cambrai on the borders of France and Germany -- of Liège, spread out in a wide semicircle between Hainault and Luxembourg and reaching as far to the north as Maaseyk -- of Utrecht whose eastern half was separated from the western by the large county of Gelderland, still a direct fief of the Empire. The bishoprics, above all Overyssel, the eastern half of Utrecht, Friesland and Groningen were technically still under the direct control of the Empire, but, like Gelderland, they had long in fact formed part of the political conglomerate of Burgundy. Even Cleves on the lower Rhine and its ruling dynasty submitted at least to the social leadership of the Burgundian Court.
1 I use Bourgogne to distinguish this French part of the dominions from the more general Burgundy (TRANSLATOR's note).
These lands were united as little by the character of their people, of their speech, or of their economic development as they were by their political heritage. This in itself was a reason for the richness of their culture as also for the provocative variety of their political problems. Flanders, Artois and Brabant had long been devoted to manufacture; their seaports brought them into touch with the wide world and they lived on their thriving export and import trade, above all their commerce in wool and cloth. Here Italian trade from the south made contact with Anglo-Scottish and Hanseatic trade from the north. Westwards their connections stretched to Portugal and Castile, and eastwards, on the ships of the Hansa, far into the Baltic. In this eastern commerce too the Dutch and Frisians had long taken part in their own vessels; the towns of Overyssel, Kampen, Zwolle and Deventer acted in accordance with an old treaty with the Hanse, the rising merchants of Holland and Zeeland, on the other hand, in open competition. Fishermen and mariners needed salt and wood, and the whole of this flat land, so rich in cattle, had been forced for some time past to import wheat.
Politically the greater part of these lands belonged to the German Empire. Flanders, however, had fought itself free of France without emancipating itself altogether from the jurisdiction of the Parlement of Paris. But the treaty of Arras, the terms of which were designed to make satisfaction for the murder of Jean Sans Peur and re-establish peace with Charles VII of France, had assured an exceptional position for the Duke of Burgundy in relation to the French monarchy. Not only did he receive a definite guarantee of Boulogne, Artois and the districts of the Somme, but he was exempted from doing homage for any of his fiefs. This was tantamount to a total separation from the French kingdom. But the Burgundian dukes, for their part, continued to claim the highest place in France after the King himself. Thus the representatives of the lines of Orleans and Burgundy, Louis Xl and the Duke, were both on the same level as the English King who still carried the title 'King of France'. The varying attitude of Burgundy to these two crowns was the result of a relationship which, at first exclusively concerned with internal politics, had developed gradually into an external problem. Yet the Duke of Burgundy addressed the King of France as 'Your Majesty' when they met. For this very reason Charles the Bold dreamt of an independent kingdom of Greater Burgundy; it was to be created by gaining permanent hold on Gelderland, by joining the Netherlands to Franche Comté and Bourgogne through the Duchy of Lorraine, by aggression in Hapsburg Alsace and the lands of the predominantly peasant Swiss, in order to acquire a commanding position on the Vosges and the Jura. This yearning for a higher title and for European recognition brought Charles the Bold and the Emperor Frederick together, and at length persuaded the Duke to allow the betrothal of his daughter to Maximilian.
All these things played their part in the internal development of the land. The immediate goal of Charles's bold policy was the geographical completion of his estates; it was no less important for him to unite them internally, both by a closer personal tie to the dynasty and by the introduction of centralized administration in justice and finance.
Both intentions were in tune with the ideas of his leading ministers and the traditions of his family.
In many respects the growing state was essentially modern; varied economic enterprise and lively commerce brought with them highly developed forms of trade and a breadth of outlook comparable only to that of the contemporary Italian city-states. But in contrast to the Italian states with their historically generated, if unfulfilled, theory of nationality, and in still sharper contrast to the kingdoms of England and France, each well on the way to becoming nation-states -- Burgundy in its political aspect still presented a truly medieval picture. Mixed in speech, the Burgundians shared with their neighbours on both sides of the Channel not only their ecclesiastical hierarchy, but a great part of their historic tradition and of their culture, both urban and feudal. So much the more was the dynastic principle to be the decisive influence in the unification of the state. This principle was strengthened by the later development of the custom of drawing State officials very largely from Franche Comté, or at least from a district different from the one in which they were to work. The learned recruits to this profession were some of them drawn from the only university in the land -- Louvain, but others came from farther afield. Schooled in Roman law, they in turn brought with them a higher and more universal conception of the state, which they were not altogether able to realize in practice.
The feudal traditions of the Court were still too strong for them. These, combined with the chivalrous training that was still in fashion, bound the leaders of the local nobility both to the dynasty and to each other while at the same time, to a very great extent, preserving intact their relations with foreign lands. The wide network of political alliances was tightly drawn over all, and the scattered lands were brought ever closer together by a growing tendency towards the formation of a single state.
THE CULTURE OF THE BURGUNDIAN COURT
The Court itself, with its knightly tradition, was thus at first the chief factor in the unification of the Burgundian lands. These districts, the French no less than the German, were still and were long to remain under the control of the nobility. Towns and municipalities were welcomed and encouraged not only because they brought money into the land, and created or increased local prosperity, but because both as strongholds and as the seats of garrisons they had an actual military importance. But in spite of their far-reaching, if often disputed, rights of self-government, they had no part in the political direction of the country except in time of civil disturbance. Politics were the exclusive concern of the nobility; even the clergy played little part. Abbeys had nearly all become dependent on the Duke and the larger bishoprics were gradually engrossed by the dynasty. They had not of course wholly lost their independence thereby, and some, like Liège and Utrecht, could still be hotbeds of discontent. But many bishoprics were held by bastards of Burgundy, themselves with troops of children, and their submergence in the duchy was thus already foreshadowed. John of Burgundy, the Duke's brother, was Bishop of Cambrai in spite of his seventeen children; the sons of Philip the Good, David and Philip of Burgundy, succeeded in turn to Utrecht.
Only in the intellectual sphere the clergy maintained a dominance based on their past strength. True that among the greater prelates family tradition and the secular cult of chivalry prevailed. But in the lower ranks of the clergy, in the lesser monasteries and convents, under the influence of a scholarly humanism derived from Italy, a new standard of culture, distinguished by intellectual honesty and profundity of thought, had emerged. This was the source from which the religious life of the time gained strength to resist degenerating influences and a resilience which was for ever renewed. The piety of the layman, revealed in the work of the Beguines, in the improvement of teaching and in such writings as The Imitation of Christ, put forth blossoms of an austere beauty. The chief centre of this religious cult was the eastern part of the old bishopric of Utrecht, the lower Frankish and lower Saxon lands.
Through its own Chapel, through its ecclesiastical activities, through the pulpit, the Court kept in touch with the possibilities of this intellectual revival, but it was nevertheless wholly dominated by the customs of chivalry. This knightly culture, in all its autumn glory, its slight but now perceptible over-ripeness, has but recently been evoked again by a latter-day offshoot of the fine intellectual stock of that land. 1 'The Autumn of the Middle Ages' is not a general term, nor can it be used, except with certain modifications, of the towns and cities. But aristocratic society, still bound by the conventions of chivalry, was indeed mellowing fast towards decay. All that now concerns us is to discover whence those new shoots drew the strength, by which they so valiantly pushed their way from beneath the yellowing foliage.
The literary convention of Burgundian society was 'the last echo of the great medieval literature of France'. Outworn and stylized both in thought and form, here and there it yet retained a touch of its old bravura. The delight in allegory persisted. First the saints had been made to represent the various virtues; now virtues and vices were themselves personified and richly decked out with human attributes. The armour of the contemporary knight graced the limbs of Hercules, Jason, Paris and
1 Professor Brandi refers to J. H. Huizinga great work, Herfsttij der middeleeuwen, Haarlem, 1919. The literal translation of the title is The Autumn of the Middle Ages. English readers will, however, know it under the title which it bore when published in this country in 1924: The Waning of the Middle Ages (TRANSLATOR'S note).
Alexander, no less than those of Joshua, David, Caesar, Arthur, Lancelot and Charlemagne. Honour, knight-errantry and fame were idealized in a manner as wearisome as it was natural and familiar. Ladies were creatures apart, like the jealously guarded daughters and sisters of the prince himself, for literary forms and court etiquette here reacted one upon the other. Not only Court chaplains and secretaries but the knights themselves contributed to this literature, from the major-domo, Olivier de la Marche, down to country gentlemen like Claude Bouton, who composed his Miroir des Dames as late as 1520. This was the reason for those celebrated libraries which the noblemen collected -- that, for instance, of the Grand Bâtard, Antoine de Bourgogne, lord of la Roche in the Ardennes, of Bishop Philip of Utrecht, of Lodewijk van Gruthuys, First Chamberlain to Mary of Burgundy, of the dukes themselves at their palace in Brussels. French was spoken almost exclusively. Even the Fleming Chastellain wrote in French; it was used spontaneously by the German nobles who subscribed to this tradition, like the young princes of Cleves, Baden and the Palatinate, even by the Emperor's son Maximilian, and by his children and grandchildren.
The especial glory of the land at this time was the new art of painting on wood and this too must have derived its inspiration almost for certain from the miniature painting of northern France. Prayer Books of every kind now came from these provinces, Books of Hours which, with their exquisite decorations, are the showpieces of our libraries to this day. It is impossible not to feel that the warm personality of these Prayer Books bore some relation to the spiritual needs, if not of the actual possessor, then at least of the period. It was at this time that this form of art, characterized as it is by intense depth of feeling, found in the brothers Van Eyck and their successors a profundity and a radiance through which, as never before in the history of the arts, the inner warmth of the soul seems to find expression. Here as in the devout retirement of the Brothers of the Common Life, 1 the influence of the tranquil German countryside, which unrolls its green expanses from the Meuse to Flanders, may be clearly felt. Like the persuasive humanistic teachers who came from those same districts, the
1 The Fratres Vitae Communis, founded by Geert Grote, about 1380, at Deventer (TRANSLATOR's note).
painters.too strove after an exceptional sincerity both in the observation and in the interpretation of what they had apprehended with their minds -- even in painting there was an almost philological exactitude. Ghent, Bruges, Brussels, preserve to this day in their churches and almshouses the gems of this art. The career of Hans Memling proves that the best talents of the Rhineland were lured to the Netherlands; his paintings, completed in the seventies and eighties of the fifteenth century for the Hôpital St. Jean at Bruges, are perhaps the highwater mark of Burgundian art. In them too we have visible evidence of the interpenetration of this Franco-Burgundian culture by a German element. The sixteenth century was to bear the ultimate fruit of this union.
The influence of these masters on the famous tapestries, which were manufactured for export to all countries, cannot be overestimated. In these, too, that world of romance and myth, those figures of medieval chivalry lived again in all their radiant splendour. Nor did their influence count for nothing in the devices and processions of the dukes, in their masques and solemnities.
But the most significant and vital type of this Court and its life was its own highest honour, the Order of the Golden Fleece. This was at the same time the descendant of the Military Orders of the Crusades and the forerunner of the modern Court-decoration. On January 11th, 1430, his wedding-day, Philip the Good founded the Order, 'out of his love for chivalry and to protect and propagate the Christian faith'. The Duke collected about him the Princes of theBlood, the highest nobility of the land and one or two foreign rulers. The symbol chosen was the Golden Fleece of the Argonauts, celebrated in the story of Jason and in the whole cycle of medieval legends of Troy. It stood for adventure and knightly honour, the restless desire for action typified in the flint and steel, the fusils and cailloux which formed the chain of the Order. Converted to a Christian meaning it was the fleece of Gideon on which the heavenly dew had fallen. The knights wore scarlet robes lined with sables, and over all the heavy gold chain of the Order. They held their meetings in cathedral choirs and to this day in Nôtre Dame at Bruges or in St. Rombaut at Malines, in long rows above the choir-stalls or along the walls, there hang the coats of arms of those illustrious lords. 'Heretics, traitors and cowards before the foe' -- these were excluded from the Order. The general council kept watch even on the moral conduct of the knights, and at each meeting there was a general denunciation to which all, even the sovereign, were subject. One by one the knights went out and returned to hear submissively from the Chancellor of the Order the verdict of the Chapter either for praise or blame. The minutes of the Order show that for more than a century this proceeding was in force. The knights were, too, the leading councillors of the Duke; without their consent -- and they had one and all the administration ofjustice in their own lands -- he could not go to war.
The formal ideals of the Order reflected the attitude of the dukes to religion and morality. Theology played small part in them. Even towards Heaven, they bore themselves after the fashion of the Court, with formality and social correctitude. They kept the necessary fasts and vigils: they gave alms: with the same qualified generosity, they had masses read for the souls of all the Court, from a nobleman down to a scullion, graded according to rank -- five hundred, three hundred or a hundred masses. The historiographer of Philip the Good once drew up the balance between the virtues and vices of his master and found, when he cast up the account, that the Duke was too good for Hell. As in the Chapter of the Golden Fleece, so also in ordinary life, the higher clergy were allowed to exercise their right of criticism freely. Once on St. Andrew's Day, at the castle of Hesdin, the Bishop of Cambrai preached before the Duke and Duchess and all their Court. He had, he said, met with a lady named 'Honour of Princes', who had been driven out of the Empire and out of France, nay out of Burgundy too, by four rude fellows. These four, whom he drew with unmistakable and graphic symbolism, were the vices of the Duke and his Court -- sloth, luxury, flattery and exaction.
The Fête du Faisan in 1454 reflects in a manner, half grotesque and half majestic, the close cultural relationship between this Burgundian chivalry and the ideas of medieval France. It took place immediately after the fall of Constantinople, in the last year of the pontificate of Nicholas V, a time at which all Europe was filled with the idea of a Crusade. The Duke of Burgundy too wished to summon his nobility to the task; his own father, Duke John, had already lost his liberty, fighting against the Turks at the Battle of Nikopolis under Sigismund of Hungary. A series of great festivals at Court was designed to inspire the chivalry of Burgundy to new efforts in the service of Christendom. The festal Crown, conferring the presidency of the feast, was handed from one prince to another, from the Duke of Cleves to John of Burgundy, Count of Etampes, then to Duke Philip himself. Whole days passed riotously with tournaments and banquets, in the display of gorgeous robes and splendid spectacles. Adolphe of Cleves, Lord of Ravestein, appeared once in the dress of the Swan-knight, glistering white from head to foot. Velvet and silk, rich brocade, gold and silver bells, feathers, furs of all kinds, precious stones -- all were shown off and made use of with a lavishness of which the portraits of the period give us but a dim reflection. The pleasures of the table were interlarded and spiced with spectacles of the most ostentatious kind. There was a magnificent representation of the Golden Fleece, with Jason on Colchis; there was the ceremony of an oath taken over the body of a noble bird -- this time not over a roast peacock but over a live pheasant; this ceremony gave its name to the whole series of feasts. The walls were hung with tapestries showing the labours of Hercules, the tables gloriously spread with silken damask. Over the Duke's chair a splendid baldachino reared its height. Beside him stood a table loaded with costly gold and silver plate, crystal and glass. At the narrow side of the hall was the statue of a naked woman guarded by a lion. At the end of the table a spring of water gushed forth from a grotto encrusted with sparkling gems. The dishes were some of them brought in with ceremonial pomp, others let down from the ceiling. Without a break, without an end, one gorgeous spectacle followed another -- farce and high symbolism strangely mingled. A fiery dragon flew through the room hotly pursued by a heron. After an almost wearisome series of such shows, followed the most important of all -- the lament and exhortation of the Church. Olivier de la Marche, standing on the back of a huge elephant, himself recited this. To every Knight of the Order he pronounced the same command:
Dear son, draw thou thy sword, For the glory of God and for thine own honour.
The herald of the Golden Fleece then read out the Crusader's oath, which was to be sworn by each knight. Each man took it to 'God, the Virgin Mary, his lady and the Pheasant'. As for the Duke himself, he solemnly vowed to challenge the Sultan in single combat. At the very end a beautiful maiden, called 'God's Mercy', made her entrance, attended by twelve Virtues. She gave thanks to the knights and adjured them to keep their word. Immediately after dancing began, in which the twelve Virtues remained to take part.
Such festivities did not take place every day. Nevertheless the Court lived in an unreal world of fanciful imagery, of highsounding words and braggart pretensions, and was surrounded by an immense barricade of ceremonial and formality. An order dating from this Burgundian period and doubtless from the pen of Olivier de la Marche, reappears in the Spanish language in 1545. Such forms must then have dominated Court life until far into the sixteenth century. The Court had its officers of the greater and lesser Chapel, such as the Grand Almoner, innumerable chaplains and a choir of trained singing boys and organ players; with the Chamberlain's office were connected all the personal servants of the ruler, who attended on him from the hour of his rising until his retiring, and divided among themselves the countless important privileges of handing him his shirt, or giving him the chain of the Golden Fleece. In kitchen and cellar prevailed the most detailed formalities as to how to hold a napkin or to cut and serve a loaf of bread. Then there was the marshal and all his following, and for all this army of servants and dependants a forest of regulations for their dressing, feeding, heating and lighting. Such was the impressive, sumptuous and yet wholly meaningless shell within which the Duke and his family lived out their lives.
How could the harsh reality of life penetrate into this world of dream?
If it is true of the outer circle of the devout in the later middle ages, that they did but disport themselves in the golden beams which streamed from the Holy of Holies, then it is no less true that these Burgundian tournaments were but a game of war, played with great noise and show. Faced as they were at Nikopolis with the elemental fury of a real battle, the chivalry of Europe failed. Yet it would be wrong not to recognize in this sport an education which bred fortitude and courage. Even in local feuds these lords acted with more coarseness and brutality than was to be expected from knights so finely decked with precious stones, plumes and fine linen. Philippe de Commines several times reports in his Mémoires that knights gained great honour to themselves by dismounting and joining in the conflict hand to hand. He hints too at the ill-concealed savagery of these uncontrolled lords, who casually burnt whole towns and villages, drowned their prisoners in hundreds, cut off the hands of poor devils and gave free rein to their lusts in a manner which shocks us even to-day. Charles the Bold is himself the type of this Burgundian knighthood -- boastful, vain, recklessly brave, unbridled both in activity and in fantasy. Flaming ambition, and a sense of his own right to govern, stiffened by his education at Court, took a form in him which weighed down and utterly destroyed all other qualities.
He fought for that tract of land joining the five towns of the Somme, from Amiens to St. Quentin; he fought for the possession of Liège, for Lorraine, the connecting link between the Netherlands and Franche Comté; he fought for dominance on the Upper Rhine; he fought against the Swiss. Yet behind all these wars there was one governing idea; the formation, consolidation and confirmation of an effective state. And behind the actions of these noblemen, who dismounted and fought hand-to-hand in the mêlée, there was too the idea of organizing a self-willed nobility to take its place in this higher conception of things, for the honour of the new state.
MARY OF BURGUNDY AND MAXIMILIAN
When Charles the Bold fell before the walls of Nancy in 1477, fighting for a Lorraine which he had already won, it seemed that he had undermined rather than strengthened the Burgundian state. History has pronounced no final verdict on his character.
Not so on his country.
He had established the fundamentals necessary to its existence. Had his lands extended to Bresse and Savoy, they would have formed the natural corridor from southern to northern Europe. Yet even in their incomplete condition they survived not only the violence of Charles the Bold himself, but the more serious test of a change of dynasty and several minorities. They continued to be the cradle of the great political coalitions of Europe. Holland and Belgium exist to this day, the descendants of the old Burgundian state. We need not linger over the details of the forty years war which this state managed to survive. Our only interest in this troubled time is that it showed more clearly than the peaceful reign of Philip the Good or the brief interlude of Charles the Bold, the strength and weakness of this conglomerate state. In the light of that knowledge we shall be able more easily to understand the conditions in which future rulers were to work. Nor must we overlook the fact that individual egoism or the deceptive interplay of European politics often obscured the essential needs of these lands or even concealed them altogether from the eyes of contemporaries.
A defenceless girl of barely nineteen, the princess of Burgundy, was in Ghent with her stepmother Margaret of York and her father's councillors, when the news of Charles's death was confirmed. Immediately his deadly enemy, Louis XI of France, began with unconcealed delight to make good his rights on the 'escheated' fiefs in France; he even encouraged a clumsy attempt to throw Flanders into his arms. Naturally enough the distant French duchy of Bourgogne could not be held and Lorraine reverted at once to its old ruler. In Gelderland, the important province rounding off the north-eastern frontier which Charles the Bold had won from his cousin Arnold, there appeared first John of Cleves and later Arnold's grandson, the adventurous Charles of Egmont, who set themselves up under French protection against Burgundian rule. Meanwhile in Ghent Mary's reign opened under tragic conditions, for the guilds, with scant regard for justice, brutally arrested her father's councillors Hugonet and Humbercourt, and, in spite of her entreaties, sent them both to the scaffold.
But the sky brightened with the coming of a splendid embassy from her betrothed, followed immediately by the eighteen-yearold Archduke himself, like a Prince of Fairy-tale. The people of Ghent set up triumphal arches and the crowds along the streets hailed him with cries of 'Emperor and more than Emperor!' Besides the nobility and the towns stood fast by the dynasty; the theory of a united state seemed established. In the frontier districts, too, there were valiant champions, to balance traitors like d'Esquerdes, lord of Crèvecoeur; the fate of Artois was decided more effectually by the behaviour of its nobles and townsfolk than by ancient laws. Maximilian was fortunate in the field. Both in 1479 at Guinegate, south of Thérouanne, and later, he defended the greater part of his wife's inheritance in the Netherlands and preserved it intact for his children.
These children were Philip, born in 1478, and Margaret, born in 1480. They became the centre of the political picture when on March 27th, 1482, at barely twenty-four years old and in the full flower of her youth, their mother, the Duchess, was killed in a hunting accident. She was 'lamented, wept and mourned by all her subjects and by all who knew her as never princess before' -- so runs the inscription on the magnificent monument which used to stand in the lofty choir of Onze lieven Frowen Kerk at Bruges; the massive splendour of the lofty Gothic cathedral seems no more than one gigantic shrine for this single jewel.
Thus, while still a young man, Maximilian became merely guardian and regent for his children. With this his serious difficulties began; he was a stranger, not born in the land, needing foreign troops to maintain his position; moreover he was that ever unwelcome thing -- a man determined to rule in earnest.
Maximilian's task was first to defend his lands against France and secondly to govern the scattered provinces, according to the intentions of Charles the Bold, as one united whole. To achieve this latter object he had to overcome one important obstacle; in 1477, under pressure, Mary had issued the 'Great Privilege', by which she had abandoned the constitutional unity of her lands, then but recently established. Maximilian must restore civil unity if he were not to see the whole state crumble asunder, as had the German Empire.
But the leading cities, above all the 'three limbs of Flanders', the ancient industrial and trading towns of Ghent, Ypres and Bruges, desired, in their short-sighted egoism, nothing so much as this disintegration. Brussels and Louvain stood by them. Very different was the feeling in the towns of the south and the remaining cities of Brabant, above all in Antwerp which was but newly rising to greatness at the expense of Bruges. Thus it was no division of race or speech which here found expression but rather one of economic interest. The people of Ghent, for instance, who allowed themselves to be politically protected and privileged by the King of France, yet demanded that Flemish should be spoken at Court. The Walloon province of Hainault, on the other hand, was second only to the northern districts, where Low German predominated, in its loyalty to Maximilian. And it was as much a sign of the waning trust which the ancient city of Bruges placed in its own future, as an insolent attack on the part of demagogues, when Maximilian, returning to the city as King of the Romans in 1488, was seized and made prisoner as soon as he confidingly set foot inside the walls. Deeper causes affected the economic attitude of the county of Flanders; of old it had been protectionist' in its attitude to English industry, while Antwerp, if one may use the expression, believed in free trade.
With the change of dynasty, the nobility naturally increased in importance. If it is an exaggeration to suggest that their lack of sympathy with Maximilian drove them into the arms of the French party, it is true that the greater number of them were conscious of a cultural connection with France. Maximilian was taken up with a hundred other cares, both in the Empire and in the Hapsburg lands, nor was he free from many human failings. He was not content to keep these lands both internally and externally united; swift and impulsive, he yielded to every temptation inherent in his over-sanguine temperament. Like many highly gifted men, he was altogether lacking in inner solidity of character. For instance, as soon as he was set free by the citizens of Bruges, he asserted that he had imperial warrant for breaking the terms of the peace which he had signed as the price of his liberty. This alienated the hitherto undecided members of the nobility; above all it lost him Philip of Cleves, Lord of Ravestein, who was a nephew of Philip the Good on his mother's side and ranked as the chief among the Princes of the Blood, as the descendants of the old dukes were called. It was typical of the old relationship between the county of Flanders and the dynasty, that here the Princes of the Blood regarded themselves as the natural regents, whereas they were willing to leave other districts to Maximilian.
We must linger yet a little over the Burgundian nobility of Maximilian's time, and form a clear conception both of their organization and of their cultural background. Although these noblemen played their part both at Court and in the government, yet they had not lost that ancient independence, by right of which they felt themselves the equals of the prince. Just as the Duke strove to attain full sovereignty although he was feudally dependent on France and the Empire, so also his nobility had supported the French Crown in the Anglo-Burgundian struggle for so many years that they too had in a certain sense acquired international significance.
Some of those who revolted against Maximilian left the country and returned to the French King as to their other legitimate lord. Philip of Cleves, after some wavering, withdrew to France, was made governor of Genoa, commanded a French fleet in the Mediterranean and landed once on Lesbos. Since he had also fought in the Flemish wars, he was able, when he at length returned home, to compile from his own experience a book on the art of war by sea and land -- a striking monument to his wide culture. His palace has been recently restored and remains to this day the only survival of the old Burgundian nobility still to be seen in Brussels.
The nobility was thus partly internationalized, partly collected about the Court; but under the influence of this very Court the power of the nobility was further disseminated throughout the country. The Princes of the Blood married into the leading families and inherited their possessions; in the second generation they lost their 'honourable title' of Bastards and called themselves after their estates, like other noblemen. The nobles were for the most part not only rich in land and long-settled in their estates, but they had relieved the Duke of the most important offices in local administration -- those of Governor, Stadhouder, Grand bailli and seneschal. By right of these offices they stood forth at the ducal Court itself as the hereditary representatives of the provinces. These attributes which were later to add so enormously to the importance of a Prince of Orange, an Egmont or a Horn, had already been acquired by certain of the nobility. Either by ducal appointment or by their own nomination they held the chief positions; they sat on the Council, belonged to the Order of the Golden Fleece, and were at the same time the natural leaders of their own lands.
Such were the Wassenaer in Holland, or in Zeeland the Borsele lords of Veere, who died out with Wolfart in 1487. In northern Brabant there were the Hoogstraeten and the Berghes, lords of Walhain and Zevenbergen; John of Berghes was First Chamberlain to the young Philip and governor of Namur. The southern family of Lalaing succeeded to the lands and titles of the Hoogstraeten. Antoine Lalaing, lord of Montigny, became in the right of his wife, Isabella of Culembourg, lord of Hoogstraeten and Borsele; his diary of his journey to Spain in Philip's suite shows that this youth of two-and-twenty was already a man of percipience and education.
On the Lower Rhine there was Cleves-Ravestein. In Brabant the house of Nassau had made itself rich and powerful. The office of seneschal in that province passed in 1504 from the hands of Engelbert of Nassau-Breda, who fought at Guinegate, into those of his nephew Henry of Nassau-Dillenburg. On the borders of Limburg there was the family of Horn, a scion of which house became a free prince as Bishop of Liège; so also later did Cornelius Berghes. In Flanders itself only one family is worthy of mention and it was unique in having its seat, like the aristocracy of the Italian cities, within the walls of a town; these were the lords of Gruthuys and Steenhuys in Bruges, famous for a palace which is still standing, for their books and their great wealth.
But the cradle of the great Burgundian nobility was the Walloon provinces of Hainault, Artois and Picardy. Here there was the family of Luxembourg, an offshoot of the imperial dynasty of Henry VII, which had grown great partly in France, partly in Burgundy. Hence, too, came Claude Bouton, Captain of the Guard and Master of the Household to Philip, Maximilian's son, and later to Ferdinand of Austria; in spite of his Miroir des Dames, written in French, his sympathies were Hapsburg and English. But the strongest supporters of the Hapsburg dynasty during these early years were the already influential families of Croy and Lannoy.
Jean de Croy, Bouteillier of France, had fallen at Agincourt in 1415, leaving his title and lands to John, lord of Chimay, and to Antoine, Comte de Porceau, Grand Chamberlain to Philip the Good. Their sister was Jeanne de Lannoy, mother and grandmother of many chivalrous gentlemen of this family. But the son of Antoine married Jaqueline de Luxembourg, herself a daughter of that Count de St. Pol, once Constable of France, who had ended his life on the scaffold in Paris in 1475, victim of the, for once united, animosity of Burgundy and France. Her son was Guillaume de Croy, Lord of Chièvres, on whose shoulders both the highest honours and the heaviest burdens were soon to be heaped.
Besides this strong support in the country itself, Maximilian had more resources abroad than Charles the Bold; he could rely on the wealth of the German Empire and the help of German princes -- Albert, Duke of Saxony, Margrave Christopher of Baden and the Count of Werdenberg. Maximilian owed his greatest military successes to Duke Albert, whom he rewarded with the gift of Friesland, which was later inherited by his son, George the Bearded. Margrave Christopher, on the other hand, although he too, through his Hapsburg mother, was a cousin of Maximilian, made himself and his family fast in Luxembourg, where they supported the dynasty it is true, but clung none the less tenaciously to inherited ideas of independence.
All this support did not save Maximilian from many a serious defeat; still less did it shelter him from the temptations which the old relationship between Burgundy and France naturally presented to him. Immediately on the death of his wife his fortune touched its nadir. The Estates, led by Ghent, allied themselves with France behind his back, by the second treaty of Arras in December 1482. By this agreement Maximilian was forced to send his only daughter, at barely three years old, to France to be educated as the Dauphin's bride. It was the price of peace. Immediately after Louis XI died. His successor Charles VIII was still a minor. Following the old Burgundian tradition, Maximilian at once united with the other tenants-in-chief of the French King in combating the pretensions of the Crown. As once Charles the Bold had allied with Guyenne and Brittany, so now Maximilian renewed the alliance with Brittany, hoping to win from the Duke, with the hand of his only daughter and sole heiress, almost the last of the great fiefs of the French Crown. Had the marriage come to pass the Hapsburg Dukes of Burgundy must have been involved even more deeply than their predecessors in the internal politics of France. But the fantastic plan was never realized. The bride, already promised, was reft away by the young King of France himself, an act which meant the shameless repudiation of his first betrothal, to Maximilian's daughter, Madame Margaret. For a little girl of nearly thirteen, who had learnt to think of herself as Queen of France, it was a deep humiliation.
But in the meantime Albert of Saxony had subdued Bruges and Ghent, Philip of Cleves had capitulated ( 1492), Franche Comté had been regained and peace was at hand. The terms evaded all problems by confirming political boundaries as they stood. Maximilian thus retained Artois and Charolais. On May 23rd, 1493, peace was concluded at Senlis.
PHILIP THE HANDSOME AND JOANNA OF CASTILE.
BIRTH OF CHARLES
The French government had been eager for peace because Charles VIII was already imbued with the idea of a new undertaking. This enterprise, which was to mark an epoch not only in the history of France but in that of Europe, was the invasion of Italy. It was unnecessary to deck out this invasion in the guise of a Crusade. Brittany had been united to France, the French duchy of Bourgogne had been regained; when the House of Anjou became extinct the French Crown took over its fiefs and naturally enough extended the claim to Naples, itself theoretically a part of the Angevin heritage. Yet the French government was nevertheless embarking once again on a policy of universal significance. Not until 1443 had Alfonso of Aragon made ready to put an end to the incompetent Angevin rule in Naples. The French King's claim on that land involved him therefore not merely in the labyrinth of Italian politics, but brought the Valois dynasty for the first time into collision with a Mediterranean power, the House of Aragon, whose collateral branch ruled in Naples.
These events do not immediately concern us. For the moment we must stay in the Netherlands where Maximilian, shortly after his elevation to the imperial throne, had declared his sixteen-year- old son of age, and handed over to him the reins of government. The prince's task was the easier because the attention of France was for the moment fixed on Italy. Philip the Handsome, as he was called, opened his government in the traditional manner by a Joyeuse Entrée into Louvain on September 9th, 1494. As a native born prince he was in truth joyously received, and thanks to his father's recent victories he did not have to confirm the Estates in the Great Privilege of 1477 but was able to fall back on concessions formulated at an earlier time. In fact the salient features of a constitution covering all his lands were again confirmed. In foreign affairs too he was fortunate; after a short commercial war he concluded the favourable trading agreement with England known as the Intercursus Magnus in 1496, nor did this English friendship provoke further ill-feeling with France.
It was essential for him to avoid such ill-feeling.
But the advocates of this policy who, in order to pacify France, were prepared to go back on all that had previously been done, even in so important a question as that of Gelderland, were not so much the Duke and his circle as the nobility, who once again took their country's fate into their own hands. At Court there were of course the usual bad elements, ready to encourage Philip in every weakness, so that a new generation of Bastards of Burgundy would in all probability have to be provided for. But the government itself was in the hands of serious statesmen, the Princes of the Blood, and members of the families of Croy, Berghes and Lalaing.
Nor was Maximilian himself excluded. No longer guardian and regent, he was still head of the Hapsburg dynasty and Emperor. His policy was now almost exclusively dynastic, dominated by plans for the marriages of his children. He sought and found alliances which were to be decisive for the future history of Europe. Next to his own family, the ruling house of Spain held the highest place among European dynasties. Rich in daughters, it had already given a wife to the heir to the throne of Portugal and was shortly to do the same by the heir to the throne of England. But for his own children Maximilian thought neither of England nor of France, but only of Spain. Since French policy had taken so curious a turn in Italy, he felt that an alliance between himself and the King of Aragon was essential. As early as November 5th, 1495, he reached an agreement with this new ally in accordance with the needs of his European policy. On a visit to Innsbruck in the following year, Philip was confirmed in his father's opinion. And so came into being the most remarkable marriage contract in the history of modern Europe, a contract which was to divert the interests of the Netherlands far beyond the English Channel, far away from Germany, to remote worlds across the Ocean.
The connection with the Spanish Peninsula was not in itself new. Trading and dynastic relations had existed for generations. A princess of Portugal, Isabella, had married Philip the Good and been the grandmother of Mary; Maximilian's own mother had been a Portuguese princess. There was nothing essentially new in the agreement that Philip the Handsome should marry Joanna the second daughter of the Catholic King, and his sister Margaret, her only brother Don John. The first of these marriages was celebrated in the Netherlands on October 21st, 1496, the second in Spain early in 1497. Don John was young and sensual. Bride and bridegroom, too inexperienced for moderation, indulged their mutual passion to such lengths that Queen Isabella was warned. She refused to intervene; as Peter Martyr Anglerius tells us, she felt that man might not put asunder those whom God had joined. Within six months the prince died -- of exhaustion as it was commonly reported. His memory long remained, a warning to his family.
Joanna was still not the heiress of the Spanish kingdoms. But when first her elder sister the Queen of Portugal, and shortly afterwards in July 1500 her only son Don Miguel, died, the prospect of a world-wide power opened, contrary to all expectation, before the eyes of the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy.
Hitherto the princely pair had lived in the Netherlands, chiefly at the ducal palace in Brussels. Here on November 15th, 1498, their first child, a daughter, was born. She was called Eleonore, after Maximilian's mother. Jean Molinet has left a description of the splendid baptism. A magnificent procession, rich in all the glory of old Burgundian ceremony, wound its way from the Castle to the Cathedral of Sainte Gudule, revealing to the insatiable eyes of the spectators all the joy in colour and glittering jewels which was so characteristic of the time. Towards evening the procession returned home, lit by countless torches and burning candles.
It was an occasion to which Rembrandt alone might have done full justice.
Soon the little princess had her own household. The emphasis laid on the personal importance of the royal family and its members was increasing; because of this, and because of the light it throws on the personnel of this new Hispano-Burgundian society, it is interesting to know what ladies were considered for the control of the baby's household. Two claimants came forward -- Madame Halluvin, of the family of Commines and thus of old Burgundian stock, and Dofia Maria Manuel who had married Maximilian's ambassador to Spain, the Bastard Baldwin of Burgundy. But in the end a third was chosen, Anne de Beaumont, who was of the King of Navarre's family and thus a Frenchwoman, although from the Spanish part of France.
In the following year the Court moved to Ghent, the ancient capital of the land and the city which had dominated Flanders for centuries. To this day the ruined Gravesteen broods above the town like a gigantic tree, about whose roots the houses huddle as though they were some honeycomb conglomeration of cells formed by an emulous but smaller breed of men. Not the Castello of the Este at Ferrara, not the palace of the Gonzaga at Mantua, tower so defiantly above their cities. Yet the Castle had long been deserted by the Court. In the pleasant open space below the Gravesteen they had built a modern palace, of which nothing now remains save the street-name Prinsenhof and some fragments of wall built into modern houses. There was something magnanimous in the Court's decision to return to Ghent, that irrepressible and often rebellious city which still defied their power. And it was symbolic too that here, in the very heart of the old duchy, in the shadow of the proud ancestral castle, a prince was born who was to fulfil all the traditions of Burgundy, a prince who for the first five-and-twenty years of his life had no other desire than to be a Burgundian nobleman. On February 24th, 1500, Saint Matthias's Day, the Infanta gave birth to a son; he was given the name of the last native Duke of Burgundy, Charles.
This child, who was to carry the Hapsburg dynasty to the height of its power, was hardly yet a Hapsburg. Among all his thirtytwo ancestors, one line alone was derived from German stock -that of his grandfather Maximilian and his forefathers the Emperor Frederick III, the Archdukes Ernest and Leopold who had fallen at Sempach. All his other ancestors were not of German blood; Duke Ernest's wife had been Cimbarca of Masovia, Frederick III's wife, Eleonore of Portugal, Maximilian's, Mary of Burgundy. These, with Charles's mother the Infanta Joanna, came all from the dynasties of Castile, Aragon and Portugal, of Visconti, Bourbon and Valois.
But on his mother's side Charles had another and a more sinister heritage.
In July 1501 Joanna gave birth to yet another child in the Netherlands. Then with her husband she went back to her home in Spain; on their way across France, Philip, as the first peer of the realm, presided at a meeting of the Paris Parlement, and when they reached Spain Joanna was solemnly acclaimed as heiress to the thrones of Castile and Aragon. At the end of a year Philip hurried back to the north, to Austria and Flanders. Joanna was expecting another child and on March 10th, 1503, she was delivered at Alcala of her second son, who was called Ferdinand after his Spanish grandfather. Although everything possible was done to spare her, she wasted away with longing for her husband. Prevented from joining him, she flew into frenzied passions with her attendants, and at the castle of La Mota near Medina del Campo, she spent night after night watching by the lowered portcullis, no one daring to come near her. In this plight her mother Isabella found her, out of her mind and wildly raving; it was a moment of unutterable anguish to the great Queen who was to leave this daughter as her only heir. At last, with every possible precaution, they allowed the young woman to go back to the Netherlands. Once more in Brussels, she gave birth to a third daughter, Mary. But more dangerous to Joanna's oversensitive nature than the strain of these confinements, following all too rapidly one upon the other, more dangerous than anxiety and travel, was her husband's infidelity. She, on her side, made his life unbearable with her boundless jealousy and eccentric actions. She wanted him for herself alone, and when her suspicions were but slightly aroused by a pretty Flemish girl, she attacked and disfigured her with a pair of scissors. In Spain, at Torquemada, on January 14th, 1507, she bore her last child, Katherine. Like all her other children, the princess was strong in mind and body and lived to be seventy. But at the time of her birth the mother was far sunk in hopeless madness.
No doubt now remains of this fact. Neither the efforts of the Castilian Comuneros to set her up in later years as legitimate Queen in place of her son, nor the explanations of historians can alter the facts. Joanna's mind had always been unbalanced, her heritage was tainted; her Portuguese grandmother, Isabella, had died mad. Possibly a tranquil life would have preserved the frail web of her sanity longer untorn, but to add to those sufferings of which we have already spoken, the sudden death of her husband on September 25th, 1506, gave the last blow to her tottering reason. For many months she would not be parted from his corpse, but followed it night after night in ghastly procession by torchlight, stopping repeatedly to have the coffin opened that she might be sure his body was still within. Only with difficulty did her father at last persuade her to lay Philip's bones to rest and withdraw herself to the beautifully situated castle of Tordesillas near Valladolid. Here she passed her life with a few attendants, becoming daily more careless of her own person and refusing even the ministrations of the Church.
In this condition, years later when he was King of Spain, Charles once again set eyes on his mother. His father he barely knew. As orphans, therefore, the children grew up, Ferdinand and Katherine in Spain, Charles, Eleonore, Isabella and Mary in the Netherlands. They had their little Court and their own household. Among the many documents relating to the management and finances of the Court now in the Brussels archives, there are one or two notes of the expenses of the household of 'the Archduke Charles, Duke of Luxembourg' -- this was his first title -'of Madame Lienor and Madame Isabeau, his sisters, in Mecheln on January 27th, 1503' -- the household, therefore, of three children of whom the eldest was only four. A little more information comes from the accounts of Lille; here we learn of an ABC and a doll's bed for Isabella, of a clavichord for Charles and the growing Eleonore. The earliest portraits of the children are of this period. Their parents' place was taken by high state dignitaries and carefully chosen attendants. But when Philip the Handsome died the Estates, as early as November 16th, 1506, entreated the Emperor to take over the government. At one and the same moment Maximilian appointed both a regent for the Netherlands and a foster-mother for his grandchildren, in his daughter Margaret.
THE ARCH-DUCHESS MARGARET
Early tried by sorrow, the Archduchess Margaret had returned home after the death of her husband and the birth of a still-born child. Within a few years she contracted a second marriage with Philibert, Duke of Savoy. This was a time of unbroken happiness, which grew yet more radiant in the light of memory. Fate owed her some happiness, and for a space she found herself leading the life of a care-free and beloved wife in a green and beautiful land. But in 1505 her second husband too was torn from her in the flower of his youth. At twenty-four she was a widow for the second time, and childless. Her widow's dower was partly in the country near Faucigny, south of the Lake of Geneva, at the foot of Mont Blanc. But she passed her time at Bourg en Bresse on the borders of Franche Comté, occupying herself in rebuilding the church at Brou where her husband's body rested. Both then and later she devoted all her care and all her fertility of invention to the beautification of this monument to her dead love, gathering about her artists, architects and men of letters. She herself was immortalized by the sculptor Conrad Meit of Worms. 'Fortune infortune fort une' was one of her melancholy devices, referring perhaps to the fickleness of fortune, but more probably to the fact that past happiness was now nothing but the source of her present misery.
Her father and brother alike advised her to marry again. Henry VII of England sought her hand and later the Duke of Norfolk stormed her defences with wearisome persistence. But always she refused -- 'be the suitor never so virtuous, rich, gifted or well-born'.
Tant que je vive mon cueur non changera Pour nul vivant, tant soit il bon ou saige, Fort et prudent, de haut lignaige. Mon choix est fait; autre se ne fera. Tant que je vive . . .'
We know much of this remarkable woman, and even the exaggerated compliments of her contemporaries cannot dim her exquisite picture. Over her tomb at Brou she was twice depicted, once as Duchess of Savoy with a crown on her head, once as a woman with long flowing curls. But neither white stone nor the monochrome reproductions of the well-known portrait in oils, which shows her wearing the muslin cap fashionable in her time, give any conception of the glittering magic of her golden hair, shining through the transparent head-dress, or of the vitality of her light brown eyes. Her features are too round for perfection, but the animation of her face makes up for all. Many of her letters have survived, among them her full and interesting correspondence with her father, the Emperor. In these the topics discussed were predominantly political; sometimes father and daughter disagreed and Maximilian often pitched his demands too high. But he had his jokes too. Newly a widower, he declared to her that 'now he could become a priest or even Pope' -- an ambition which he did in fact try to realize -- 'and perhaps a saint into the bargain so that after his death she would have to pray to him which would give him great satisfaction'. In the political world Margaret was later to show herself one of the greatest rulers of the century, firm in her judgments, shrewd in her knowledge of men and endowed with almost virile energy.
This was the woman to whose care the education of the royal children was now entrusted.
When Maximilian summoned her to the Netherlands in the spring of 1507, she built at Malines, opposite the old-fashioned ducal residence where the children lived, a modern palace. To judge by the inventories of her goods, it was decorated and organized with equal distinction and good taste; the wing which flanks the street is the earliest Renaissance building in the Low Countries, but the semi-Gothic halls behind were spacious and well-lit. Here she surrounded herself with books and works of art, with a Court of distinguished men. Barend van Orley was her chief painter, and she herself personally conducted artists, like Albrecht Dürer when he travelled through the town, over her apartments and through her collections. She brought with her from Savoy and Franche Comté some of her more distinguished advisers; such were the Lord of Marnix, whom Dürer drew, and Laurant de Gorrevod, later an influential man at the Court of Charles V. But chief among them was Mercurino Gattinara; he had been her chief legal adviser in Savoy, a man of profound education, immense energy and an all-embracing idealism in politics. Margaret was thus equally well-armed for political government and for the direction of a large household. In her the children found not only love, but the valuable example of a truly noble lady. They addressed her as 'My lady aunt and good mother', and at Vienna an undated letter from the little Eleonore is preserved. It is written in courtly French and runs as follows: 'Since our joys are your joys, I write to tell you that our grandfather has visited us, which was a very special joy to us.' The English ambassador once caught a delightful glimpse of all three children, joyously absorbed in the festivities of midsummer day. From other sources we hear of banquets, expeditions, hunting parties. All this took place in the quiet little town of Malines over which, then as now, the massive tower of Saint Rombaut soared to Heaven, like the promise of a great future.
Charles's debt of gratitude to his aunt must rest on surmise alone, for the sources are lacking. Yet there is no room to doubt but that the debt was heavy.
The same is true of the other great figure who dominated Charles's boyhood. His great teacher, Adrian of Utrecht, was at this time deacon of Saint Peter's at Louvain and representative of the rector of the University. He was a theologian by vocation, serious, thoughtful, but kindly and conscientious in little things. From his own previous intellectual achievement, and from his and his pupil's later development we may infer what seeds the teacher sowed during those early years in the untilled mind of his pupil. Adrian was a product of that religious atmosphere which derived its quality from the Brothers of the Common Life; he was one of those to whom the conventional practices of the Church were but a means towards a life of devotion. The piety which was Charles's very being had its roots in the teaching of this man.
From his earliest youth the prince's actual instruction was entrusted to men from the Netherlands or Spain, Robert of Ghent, Adrian Wiele, Juan de Anchiata, and the distinguished Spaniard, Luis Vaca, to whom Charles later proved his gratitude. In his education, history was not omitted and he read both the chronicles of his own land and the deeds of his forefathers.
But, unless we are much mistaken, the young prince, in spite of his physical delicacy, was more drawn to bodily than to intellectual exercise. Doubtless the prejudice was encouraged by the pages of honour who shared his education -- young Balançon, John of Saxony, a son of Duke George who predeceased his father, Frederick von Fuerstenberg. Besides these Maximilian Sforza was sometimes his companion, as well as several members of the native nobility of the Netherlands. To his grandfather's joy he soon learnt to ride and hunt, and mastered with enthusiasm and skill all the arts of tourney, such as splintering a lance without losing his seat on horseback and every kind of shooting and fighting. These things were the talk of all about him: they were the common spectacle and admiration of his time. If Charles had any one quality which was to provoke admiration for years to come, it was his skill in horsemanship and jousting. The will dominated the fragile body.
Charles de Poupet, Lord of La Chaulx, was also among the prince's instructors; later Charles was to give him a seat on the inner council and entrust him with many an important mission. At that time, knightly exercise, service at Court and diplomacy still went hand in hand.
For his introduction into Court life and the higher spheres of politics Charles had to thank another member of the old Burgundian nobility, Guillaume de Croy, Lord of Chièvres, his governor and Grand Chamberlain. In the Brussels Museum the revealing portrait of Chièvres, with his intelligent, observant eyes, makes a fine counterpart to that of Margaret. The changing and often hostile relations between the Archduchess and the Burgundian nobility cannot have failed to make their impression on Charles; for that very reason he was probably all the more ready to fall under the spell of the single-minded Burgundian outlook of Chièvres, both on life and politics. Making every allowance for later influences, no one could reasonably expect a young man educated in such courtly surroundings, to prefer the company of noble ladies and the grave Adrian to that of an experienced man of the world, like the haughty Lord of Chièvres.
The family of Croy are not new to us. As early as Maximilian's first regency, Chièvres had been a knight of the Golden Fleece, a councillor and a Gentleman of the Bedchamber. His name occurs too in the records of the wars. But in accordance with a taste certainly more congenial to him, he was in 1500 sent for many months to France as ambassador; later, in 1501, he accompanied Busleyden, the teacher and representative of Philip the Handsome, on a mission to Lyons. For the rest he contented himself with the exercise of his own high office in Hainault until he was recalled to the Court in 1504, and in 1505 actually appointed governor during Philip's absence in Spain. He rejoiced at the same time in the trust of the French government and the Hapsburg dynasty. In 1509 Maximilian made him governor to the young Charles. Until that moment the office of governor, in the hands of the Count of Chimay, had been no more than a place of honour at Court. But now the instruction of the child, already on the threshold of his tenth year, assumed political importance. Chièvres was to establish an influence all the more effective because he remained at Charles's side until his death.
At the same time two Spaniards entered Charles's household, both in spiritual capacities; these were the almoner Doctor Mota and soon after him Alonso Manrique, Bishop of Badajoz. Michael Pavye became Charles's confessor and at Margaret's instigation the whole Court was reorganized. But the direct influence of Chièvres continued to be far more important than that of any other person. Where lay the secret of his charm, of his high repute? In his lust for power and greed for reward Chièvres was no better than any other man of his time -- and no worse; no one for instance was more open to bribery than the Emperor Maximilian. But Chièvres had one exceptional characteristic: his political life was frankly guided by the ancient traditions of the old Burgundian nobility, now once again in close sympathy with the Hapsburg dynasty. He was determined to prevent devastating and costly wars with France, in Gelderland or in Liege, and he was cautious in his dealings with Margaret and her party who leaned, for economic reasons, towards an English alliance. He was clever in his handling of Maximilian, clever above all in gauging the importance of each political force, which came into the sphere of his activities either in internal or foreign politics. Many years after his death Charles once declared to Contarini that he had early learnt to value the ability of Chièvres and had therefore subordinated his will wholly to that of the minister. Meanwhile the Grand Chamberlain slept in the same room as the growing prince and had his car at every hour of the day: small wonder that his influence was boundless.
Contemporary reports of foreign diplomats on the young Duke at this period are numerous but unilluminating. It is more important therefore in tracing his development to follow the actions which the government committed in his name and to examine the manner in which he himself was treated. Only in this way shall we understand the particular conditions which went to form his character and to determine his later independent actions.
At Lyons in the summer of 1501, on that mission at which Chièvres was present, a marriage had been arranged between Charles and Claude, the daughter of Louis XII. At that time Charles was already known to be the heir to the Spanish Crowns, and the French government were prepared to offer Brittany, Milan and Naples as a dowry for the bride -- a high price. Yet this apparently mutual solution of a perennial problem proved to be no more than a mere suggestion for a possible future alliance. Both sides held to it for a couple of years and as late as 1505 the Cardinal of Amboise received at Hagenau from Maximilian's hands the fiefs of Milan and Pavia for his King -- to be passed on to his daughter Madame Claude and her betrothed bridegroom Charles. Anxious to secure the Spanish inheritance without trouble, Charles's councillors sought friends on every side. When, yielding at last to the insistence of the French Estates, Louis XII quashed the Burgundian marriage and gave his daughter to wife to Francis, Duke of Angoulême, his heir, Charles's government turned at once towards England and in 1506 sanctioned even the unfavourable commercial treaty known as the Intercursus Malus and approached the question of a dynastic alliance. It was typical of the complicated diplomacy of the time that in those very December days in 1508 during which Margaret brought about the treaty of Cambrai between her father and France, she was also confirming the preliminary negotiations for a marriage between Charles and Mary, sister to that prince who in May 1509 ascended the English throne as Henry VIII.
Gradually, under the influence of Spanish politics, the relations between France and the Netherlands grew calmer. For in the struggle for the regency of Castile in which the Hapsburg dynasty and the great majority of the nobility were ranged on one side, and the King of Aragon on the other, Maximilian naturally looked for help to the neighbouring kingdom of France, itself at war with this same Ferdinand of Aragon in Naples. Nevertheless the government of the Netherlands was independent of Maximilian and remained officially neutral. It maintained this position even when the Holy League of 1511 brought into being against France that astonishing coalition between all the powers which had an interest in Italy. Even England, once again afraid that the French would induce their Scottish friends to attack her, sent troops to assist in the reduction of Navarre.
Henry VIII amused himself by following the old heroic tradition of English Kings, crossing the Channel in person and challenging the French in Artois at the head of well-paid German troops. This was the first open appearance in European politics of the King who was to become so important in the coming decade; surrounded by his German mercenaries he cut a portly, jovial figure, his manners perhaps, for a prince, almost too free. On the day on which the issue was to be decided a new-comer was suddenly and joyfully acclaimed by the German troops; it was the Emperor Maximilian himself, offering to serve the English King for a hundred ducats a day. So once again it was Maximilian who won the day at Guinegate on August 16th, 1513. The Netherlands, which had studiously remained neutral, profited the most by this war. But in a letter to his grandson written early in September 1513 Maximilian gave expression to the true state of feeling between the dynasties; here he referred to the French as the 'hereditary enemies of our house' -- 'anchiens et encoires naturelz ennemis de nostre maison de Bourgogne'. On the other hand Louis XII had called on Charles to help him as his true vassal, even before the outbreak of hostilities. He later excused him his duty because of his extreme youth. On this campaign the English took possession of the two episcopal towns of the land, Tournai and Thérouanne.
But these remarkable English gains on French soil in the heart of Artois are not the chief object of the historian's attention during those autumn days of 1513. More important were the events in the background of the conflict, which were slowly bringing Charles into contact with the political life of his people. The two powers which were struggling to dominate him now stood forth openly. The old adherents of Philip the Handsome in Castile, who from that time onwards were the implacable enemies of Ferdinand of Aragon, now supported the French party in the Netherlands. Several of Charles's closest attendants belonged to this group. But as Maximilian and Ferdinand drew closer to each other again, Ferdinand began to see that it would be both advisable and possible to undermine his opponents in Burgundy. For this purpose he dispatched spies and counterintrigants -- Juan de Lanuza and the son of one of his own bastards, Juan of Aragon. These stood out in open opposition to Chièvres and his adherents. On the other hand some correspondence of the Castilians and their friends with France was discovered and the agent of these intrigues, Diego de Castro, placed under arrest. Feeling her position insecure, Margaret did not hesitate. After first discussing matters with her father and then more thoroughly with the English government, she gathered the results of both these inquiries into a coherent whole and on October 19th issued the Ordonnance of Lille. It was an open attack on the Burgundian nobility, for it gave to Maximilian, Ferdinand and Henry VIII, acting each through a representative, full control of Charles. The Emperor sent the Count Palatine Frederick, Ferdinand the Señior de Lanuza, Henry VIII Floris Egmont, Lord of Isselstein. Among these three, the dominating spirit was undoubtedly the Count Palatine. Great were now the political opportunities open to the Germans at Court!
Margaret meanwhile developed her policy by writing to her nephew a very flattering letter in which she painted the glories of the English Court in glowing terms. His presence, she said, was all that it lacked. These then were the circumstances in which Charles made his first journey abroad -- his first State visit, to the man whom he now seriously regarded as his future brotherin-law. This visit was the earliest personal recollection of which his memoirs were later to tell. Lanky in person, reserved in manner, Charles had yet a quiet dignity which made an immediate impression at the English Court.
Strengthened by the success of her measures, Margaret dared yet more. To prove her opinions beyond all doubt to Ferdinand of Aragon, she decided to arrest the chief leader of the Castilian emigrants, Don Juan Manuel, once the closest adherent of her dead brother. Having gained her father's approval of this move, on January 17th, 1514, she had the grandee carried off prisoner to the castle of Vilvorde, north of Brussels. A storm of indignation followed this deed. But for Margaret the worst moment must have been that of receiving a deputation from the knights of the Golden Fleece on behalf of their brother in the Order: the deputation was headed by her nephew Charles himself. Dressed in the robes of the Order, he seemed, like his father before him, to be one with the nobility, body and soul. The great lords protested against a breach of the privileges of the Order; painful recriminations and heated arguments ensued. Margaret addressed herself first to her nephew, appealed to the Emperor's authority and upbraided him for intervening. Then almost scornfully she spoke to the knights. 'If she were a man and not a woman', she said, 'they might whistle for their privileges.' She refused to be intimidated, but perceptibly she was losing control of the situation.
The solution which was at length found was that of handing over Manuel to the Emperor. Thus far at least Margaret stood to her guns. But her position was not only weakened by her own wavering opinions; the passage of events played its part. Her father had, without consulting her, negotiated secretly for Charles's marriage to a French or a Hungarian heiress. The English discovered the fact before Margaret was herself informed, and did not hesitate to give Charles's bride, the now marriageable Princess Mary, to the newly-widowed Louis XII. Great was the disgust of the Netherlands, where the English marriage had always been popular. Besides which, the campaign of Tournai had provoked ill-feeling among all the nobles of the Netherlands who had entered Henry's service. Soon there was no more talk of carrying out the decisions issued at Lille. The nobility on the other hand pressed earnestly for the declaration of Charles's majority.
There were many changes at Court. The younger princesses were expected to serve Maximilian's dynastic schemes, whereas Chièvres, with greater intelligence and a clearer perception of the immediate interests of Burgundy, wished to solve the problem of Gelderland by marrying one of them to Charles of Egmont, and intended the other for the Duke of Lorraine. He planned in vain. On May 2nd, 1514, the eight-year-old princess Mary left Malines to rejoin her grandfather in Austria, whence one day she was to be married to a son of the King of Hungary. A full month later Princess Isabella was betrothed in Brussels by proxy to King Christian II of Denmark. Next summer, at the age of fourteen, the little girl left the Netherlands in the company of the Danish ambassador for her new home -- or more truly for a wedded life of indescribable unhappiness of which we have not heard the last. Charles had contracted a fever at the wedding festivities and once again Margaret had to fulfil the office of a sick-nurse. But for the rest, her domestic task as foster-mother of the orphan children was at an end.
As regent, too, she had for the time being reached the end of her powers. Even earlier than this she had written despairing letters to her father, declaring once in 1511 in a sentence which she subsequently crossed out, that she did not know which way to turn. She had sacrificed everything to her task, she lamented, and now she wished she had never been born. During the last months irritation and wounded pride mingled with her plaints. Without consulting her, Maximilian agreed to the emancipation of Charles. All he stipulated was that his own pension and a considerable 'honorarium' should be guaranteed to him. With Charles's majority the regency came to an end, and Margaret's political role was for the time being played out.
CHARLES BEGINS TO RULE. Chièvres
And in truth on January 5th, 1515, in the Parliament Hall at the castle of Brussels, Charles, Duke of Burgundy, was solemnly proclaimed of age. In Castile, on the other hand, he was by the terms of a treaty, to be represented by his grandfather, Ferdinand of Aragon, until he completed his twenty-fifth year.
After the declaration of his majority Charles made a royal progress through his lands to receive the homage of his subjects. His movements can be followed in the dispatches of foreign ambassadors, for they now flocked to his Court and were received on the course of his journey, now here, now there, so that their accounts come from almost every quarter of the land. The people of the Netherlands enjoyed the festivities no less than they had enjoyed the Joyeuse Entrée of Philip the Handsome twenty years before and many earlier celebrations. Life at Court, once Charles returned to Brussels, regained a focal point and a particular style. In the ducal palace, which has since disappeared, Charles and Eleonore occupied different quarters, each with their own household.
As in Philip's time the nobility controlled the government to the exclusion of almost all other influences, and again as in that time they set their mark on the outer appearance of Court life. Banquets, joustings and hunting parties were the order of the day. Henry of Nassau dispensed princely hospitality, Chièvres issued invitations to hunting dinner-parties at his castle of Heverle on the Dyle, the Count Palatine splintered a lance with Charles de Lannoy. He challenged him merely to decide a question newly raised at Court as to whether music was effeminate. Standing forth in defence of music, the Count Palatine sought to prove his point all the better by laying down the exceptionally hard conditions of the 'German tournament': this meant that instead of charging upon each other with flexible lances which splintered easily and were each tipped with a wreath, they were to use seasoned lances and heavy saddles so that both horse and rider risked life and limb. The Count Palatine was victorious but even his horse fell in the end and he bore for many years afterwards the marks of his injuries.
The whole personnel of Court and Bedchamber was reorganized. The orders and lists of 1515 and 1517, together with various other regulations, provide some picture of the scope and cost of that vast shell of ceremony in which the young Duke passed his life. Almoners and chaplains, musicians and choristers pass in procession before us; the Grand Chamberlains, Guillaume de Croy and Antoine Lalaing, lord of Montigny, with the lesser chamberlains, Gorrevod, Gaesbeck, Egmont, Beaurain and Sempy, both of the family of Croy, Molembais and Maingoval, both of the family of Lannoy; next the learned councillors, chief among them Jean de Sauvage, lord of Escaubeque in Flanders, Adrian of Utrecht Utrecht, Professor at Louvain, Philippe Naturel, Chancellor of the Order, Carondolet, Dean of Besançon, and Gerard de Pleine, lord of La Roche, who was also Maitre des Requêtes, or judicial adviser. Then followed the masters of the household and of the ceremonies, with the gentlemen of the Paneterie, of the cellar and the stable. Among these too there were many names which were to recur later -- Ferry de Croy, lord of Roeulx, chief Master of the Horse, Guillaume Carondolet and Charles de Lannoy, assistant Masters of the Horse. Among the other attendants on Charles there were many ambitious scions of families already high in the ducal service -- Gorrevod, Rye, St. Pol, Courrières, Sauvage, Lannoy and Montfort. As well as the Burgundians there were Spaniards, all hopeful of what the future might hold in store for them -- Guevara, Juan de Zufiiga and Diego Manuel, son of the arrested Don Juan. Among the bedchamber staff there were several physicians, the best known of these being the humanist Marliano, who invented for Charles the proud device: 'Plus oultre' -- symbolic of ambitions stretching far beyond those of other men, beyond the pillars of Hercules, which are so often represented in drawings of his device, under the words Plus Ultra.
It would be hard to estimate the annual expenditure of so populous and opulent a Court. Figures must be accepted with the greatest caution for there were annual pensions as well as daily salaries and almost all offices were paid in kind as well. Only by converting the sums into some approximate relation to the buying power of to-day can any true conception be formed, and the accuracy of such approximations is always doubtful. But allowing that the buying power of actual bullion was about five times what it is to-day, we still have an expenditure of roughly ten thousand gold marks a day and of more than three and a half million in the year, counting pensions and payments in kind. To this figure numerous incidental expenses should be added. Reliable accounts show that Charles spent not less than three hundred thousand gold marks on his clothes in less than eight months. Furthermore, one must not forget the fantastically expensive appointments of banquets, processions and journeys for the prince and the outlay on the Order of the Golden Fleece with its feats and tourneys. By this reckoning we find that the little land parted every year with a sum of many millions for the Court alone.
Splendid works of art and costly hangings embellished every room, and in every aspect of the prince's life there was the same disproportionate outlay on sumptuous and valuable things, the same lavish indulgence of all the senses. The Diner manifique at the first Chapter of the Golden Fleece held by Charles was so heavy that the greater number of the knights missed Vespers afterwards, some because they were ill, others because they were still at table. Nevertheless the Court had a good reputation; it was thought to be ostentatious but not lax.
The Archduchess Margaret at Malines was no longer regent; but she remained, surrounded by her own Court, the first lady of the land, daughter of the Emperor and Mary of Burgundy. She could still be approached for political ends, she was still favourable to her old friends, above all to the English party and the English ambassador.
But Chièvres, on the other hand, who had hitherto passed much of his time in opposition, now bore the full responsibility of the government. He was equal to the task. With Sauvage and probably also with Adrian of Utrecht, he formed the inner council, while the outer circle consisted of the knights of the Order and the higher dignitaries of the Court. Chièvres too controlled the disposition of grants voted by the Estates; having clamoured for Charles's majority the Estates proved themselves willing to support his government with unaccustomed generosity. In the country at large Chièvres made good use of Charles's initial visits to exploit all the hopes and ambitions which the emancipation of a young prince naturally evoked. On the other hand he had to reckon on probable opposition from the Emperor while, as a result of recent events, he had taken up his stand almost openly between France and Aragon.
It so happened that during those very days which saw the emancipation of Charles, Louis XII died in France on January 1st, 1515. This event brought to the throne a young ruler who was to be henceforward a decisive influence in the life of Charles himself -- Francis I. As Duke of Burgundy and the highest vassal of the Crown, Charles was asked to the Coronation. He excused himself but sent as his representatives Henry of Nassau and Michel de Sempy, with some other lords. They were to use the occasion for discussing the political relations of the two countries, the problem of Charles's fiefs in Flanders and Artois and his rights to the long-lost French duchy of Bourgogne. Cautiously they were to hint at a marriage between Charles and Renée, second daughter of Louis XII and sister-in-law to Francis. For a dowry, Charles had his eye on Milan -- with Maximilian's help -- as well as money and rights of inheritance. The embassy arrived too late for the Coronation and had to waste weeks in negotiations over the marriage. Illuminating reports of all that passed have survived. Francis was good-humoured but firm. At a ball at the Duchess of Vendôme's he spoke long with Nassau and Sempy. They said to him, 'Your Majesty is as young as our prince; you are both blank pages and could together do much for Christendom'. Francis did not agree merely for form; he swore on his honour as a knight that he was not second to Charles in his care for the weal of Christendom. Under the new King the ladies of the Court were already beginning to play their part in society; soon they were to trespass into politics. Now they stormed Nassau with questions about his master, his titles and his possessions. Nassau answered cautiously but clearly for he thought he had information that the King of Aragon too was seeking the hand of Renée for his younger grandson, Charles's brother the Infant Don Ferdinand. In fact Nassau's diplomacy won the field from this rival.
Nor was this triumph insignificant, for the King of Aragon left no stone unturned to secure a great future for his favourite grandchild, the Infant Don Ferdinand, who had been educated in Spain and who carried his own name. Thus years before when a French alliance had first been suggested to him -- probably by the regent Anne -- he had jumped at the prospect, and by ingeniously exploiting the ambitions of Maximilian in Upper Italy he had won him over to the side of his younger grandson. It was curious how the territorial greed of the two grandfathers played the cards into the hands of the French government.
For this very reason the other results of the Paris negotiations were extremely meagre. We know something of the last problems they discussed; should the French break the treaty, the towns of the Somme and the county of Ponthieu were to go to Charles, who was already to have authority over the leading officials in those districts. He also received the old composition d'Artois as a French fief. On the other hand should the treaty be broken by the Netherlanders, Artois and Charolais were to return to France. The revenues of Charolais and its appendages were guaranteed to the Archduchess Margaret, whose interests were defended by Gattinara. A document dated March 31st gives a list of the allies of each party. But much was concealed; on the French side only Scotland, Venice and other Italian states were mentioned, together with Gelderland, the Estates of the lower bishopric of Utrecht and the lord of Sedan. On the Burgundian side all the allies to which they admitted were Aragon -- whose obligations were further modified by a private treaty -- Cleves, the Bishop and town of Cambrai, the Bishop and town of Utrecht, the Swiss and the adherents of Charles in Gelderland. It is clear that neither of these states were at all decided in their views. For the rest, as soon as both parties had agreed to put pressure on the King of Aragon for the return of Navarre, the agreement for the forthcoming marriage was solemnly ratified on Palm Sunday, April 2nd, in Nôtre Dame.
The people of the Netherlands were overjoyed at this peace of Paris, because it was favourable to their trade. Henry of Nassau, a widower of thirty-two, had with the help of relations in Paris, won the hand of Claudine de Châlon, who later became heiress to the principality of Orange. When John of Egmont died in that same summer, Charles bestowed on Henry of Nassau the Stadhouderates of Holland, Zeeland and Friesland: all this was to have important consequences for the dynasty later known as the House of Orange-Nassau.
Tension with Aragon was not yet relieved. When he drew up his will in 1515, the King was still determined that the Infant Ferdinand should succeed to the regency and to the presidency of the three knightly orders of Calatrava, Alcantara and Santiago. The Burgundian government therefore thought it wisest to send to Spain as their ambassador a man in the closest understanding with Charles. They chose Adrian of Utrecht, whose mission was all the harder because he was not only expected to gain support for Charles, but, if the King of Aragon should die, it would be his duty to take over the government in Charles's name in a land to which he was a stranger. No statesman in the Netherlands at this time could have proved equal to so delicate a double task. In accordance, too, with its obligations by the Treaty of Paris, the Burgundian government sent a certain lord of Marsilles to deal with the question of Navarre; but this appears to have been the merest form.
To counteract the defensive measures taken by France and Spain, the Burgundian government needed to ensure the permanent goodwill of England. This was guaranteed by a new commercial treaty in 1516. No less a person than Thomas More played a part in these negotiations; he took the occasion to pay a long visit to Erasmus in the Netherlands. Meanwhile the reception given to the Venetian ambassador showed with what caution the government was treading. On account of strained relations between Venice and the Emperor, he was coldly received in public, but in private he was all the more warmly welcomed.
A full year after Charles came of age the whole Court gathered once again for an even more solemn occasion. This was the requiem for Charles's grandfather Ferdinand of Aragon, who had died on January 23rd, 1516. Two thousand burghers bearing torches lined the streets through which on March 13th the solemn procession of mourners passed from the ducal palace to Sainte Gudule. The Cathedral was hung with priceless brocades and tapestries, lit by innumerable flickering tapers. Michel Pavye preached the funeral oration from the pulpit -- 'this is the dance of death which all must tread, even Kings and princes. This is the irrevocable law of life! Sceptres and crowns must fall. Let us not forget how swiftly joy and feasting may turn to mourning and lamentation!' Opposite the pulpit sat the young prince, dressed in black. Afterwards the herald of the Golden Fleece stepped forward and called out twice into the echoing silence of the church, ' Don Ferdinand!' And three times came the answer, 'He is dead.' At the same moment the royal standard of Aragon was lowered to the ground. Once'again the herald rose and called: 'Long live their Catholic Majesties, Queen Joanna. and King Charles!' Charles, who had laid by his mourning cloak, appeared now on a dais, took from the hands of the Bishop of Badajoz a dagger consecrated at the altar, and raised it to heaven. From countless throats, the air vibrated with shouts of 'Long live the King!'
It was the end of ancient Burgundy. Charles was now King of Spain. Before his eyes the world was opening, and the Netherlands were soon to be no more than a tiny fragment of that vast Empire which he ruled. Yet the land of his birth and boyhood left its mark upon him. It had given him serious principles, courtly bearing and the ambitions of a great prince. The idea of knightly honour and of fighting for the Christian faith, as embodied in the code of the Golden Fleece, were engraved deep on his mind. But the forms among which he had grown up were those of a dying age. Charles stepped forth into the world imbued with the ideals of a society which belonged, politically and spiritually, to the past. Strange how the old and the new met and clashed in him. Or perhaps not, after all, so strange. Perhaps like so much in this tremendous life, this too was but the common fate of all humanity, writ larger. For every generation in turn must find its way through the discarded achievements of the past to the creation of its own.
KING OF CASTILE AND ARAGON
IN spite of the manifold reactions of their policy on the Netherlands, the Spaniards had not hitherto wrested the decisive control of negotiations from the Burgundian government. On the contrary Charles's ministers had been able to maintain their independence and coolly to withstand all the demands made by Ferdinand of Aragon for the education of his grandchild in Spain. This policy involved a danger which we have already indicated: efforts might be made in Spain, either in Aragon at the Court of King Ferdinand, or in Castile in the household of the Infant Don Ferdinand, to play off the younger against the elder brother. Such efforts had indeed been made, and those entrusted with the education of the Infant, Pedro Nuñez de Guzman and Alvaro Osorio, Bishop of Astorga, had been forced to reckon with the Queen-mother of Aragon. But the danger never became serious.
When we recollect the shattering crises through which the Spanish kingdoms passed between the death of Queen Isabella in 1504 and that of King Ferdinand in 1516, we cannot but wonder that the structure of the united kingdoms had not been far more seriously undermined. First came the struggle for the regency between Philip, as the husband of Joanna, according to old Castilian law, and Ferdinand, as laid down in the will of Isabella. Joanna's madness and consequent inability to rule added yet a further problem. Next came the split in the Castilian nobility, of whom the majority, inspired by a fundamental desire for independence, ultimately joined Philip. Last of all came Philip's early death and Ferdinand's subsequent incontestable regency with its reactions on the conduct of his old opponents and their exodus to the Netherlands.
One of the chief reasons for the continued solidarity of the government was the conduct of the regent of Castile, Ximenes de Cisneros, Archbishop of Toledo. Each new inquiry into the history of Spain at this time serves only to throw into higher relief the commanding figure of this extraordinary man. His character was in a sense the epitome of those forces which were, in the course of his life, to give birth to a new Spain. He above all others had the anxious responsibility of bringing this new Spain to birth.
THE SPANISH KINGDOMS
Of old, Spain had never been united. Although the peninsula is geographically a self-contained whole, yet its political structure remained for centuries fragmentary and strained. Far from being sufficient to themselves, the separate kingdoms burst their frontiers and blazed divergent trails to the farthest quarters of the globe. Portugal turned her face to the sea and dreamed of African coasts, of engrossing that whole vast southern continent and of opening a new way to India. Great was her success but it severed her from the rest of the peninsula and from Europe. The Kings of Castile, on the other hand, had carried out the Reconquista, and redeemed the land from the hands of the Moors, from the mountains of Asturias to the pillars of Hercules. From the ancient holy places and cathedrals of Santiago, Leon, Burgos, they had driven forward across Estremadura and New Castile, past Toledo on the Tagus and Badajoz on the Guadiana, to Seville, Cordova, and Jaen in the angle of the Guadalquivir. At length, after the conquest of Granada, they too reached the southern shore and they too were tempted towards the unknown distances of India. Early in August 1492, from Palos, the port of Rio Tinto, the three ships of Columbus set sail towards the west. Of more immediate importance was the policing of the seas along the African coasts, opposite Cartagena and Malaga. Long before this the Aragonese, themselves monarchs in a small group of kingdoms, had sailed out into the Mediterranean. Their history reads as though they had been impelled to follow the course of the Ebro, their native river, thence to spread their rule over the coastal provinces of Valencia and Catalonia. As early as the thirteenth century they acquired Sicily, in the fifteenth Naples, for the possession of which they were now once again at war. Alfonso the Great had taken his stand beside Calixtus III in defending Europe against the Turk, making a land attack on Albania and pushing his advance by sea deep into the Levant.
But in Italy for the first time the Aragonese had felt, tingling in their blood and stirring them to fresh adventure, the mighty pulse of the western world.
Like most wars of conquest, the long conflict of the Spanish kingdoms, the struggle with the Moors in particular, had generated an aristocracy proud of their military prowess and their possessions. Through their manifold connections -- their feuds as much as their alliances -- they had acquired like the Burgundian nobles a consciousness of their own integral unity in the midst of the growing kingdoms. This did not prevent them from fighting among themselves, although they jointly resisted every attempt to bring them under the control of a strong central power. Here too we shall do well to seek out in their own provinces some of those great dynasties whose names we are in future so often to hear.
In old Castile there was the family of Manuel, which we already know. It was related to the royal dynasty and its scions filled the episcopal chairs of Santiago, Leon and Zamora. In the same province, north of the Douro and west of Valladolid, were the Enriquez, who held the courtesy title of admirals of Castile. A daughter of Fadrique Enriquez the elder, who died in 1493, was the mother of Ferdinand of Aragon. The family bishopric was Osma. In the more easterly part of old Castile, round the upper waters of the Ebro, lay the estates of the Velasco, Counts of Haro and Dukes of Frias. All these families had innumerable titles, scattered among their several branches, like those of their fellows in the Netherlands, only more high-sounding. The Velasco family held the office of Constable and one of them, Bernardino, married a natural daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon. Along the frontier of Aragon, there were the Hurtado de Mendoza, Dukes of Infantado, Marquesses of Mondejar, Counts of Tendilla in Guadalajara. Typical nobility of their time, they already held the bishoprics of Oviedo, Burgos, Zamora, and Valencia, and were soon to place their members on the episcopal chairs of Toledo and Jaen. The same was true of the old Castilian family of Manrique de Lara, who lived, as their ducal title of Najera indicated, near to Burgos. As early as 1490, Alonso Manrique, whom we have already met at Charles's Court in the Netherlands, was Bishop of Badajoz. Later he was to have Cordova and Seville.
The Astorga, lords of Osorio and Counts of Lemos, were no less in control of their local bishoprics. The family of Benevente came from the district of Zamora; that of de la Cueva, Dukes of Albuquerque, from the Portuguese marches north of Badajoz.
Round the Tagus there were the Silva, Counts of Cifuentes, and the Alvarez de Toledo, Dukes of Alva, whose sons were enthroned on episcopal chairs from Burgos to Granada. On occasion they were rivalled by the Zuñiga, Dukes of Bejar, who had come thither from the north. Farther eastwards were the Pacheco, Marquesses of Villena, Dukes of Escalona, intermarried with the Acuña and Puertocarrero. In the rich Andalusian south lived the important family of Cordova, of which was born Gonzalo Hernandez, the Great Captain, field-marshal and chief organizer of the armies of Ferdinand of Aragon, himself a kinsman of Puertocarrero. Alfonso Aguilar, father of the Marquis of Priego, was one of them. The title of Duke of Sessa had passed from the Great Captain to the husband of his daughter and heiress, Don Luis de Cordova. In the south too there were the Figueroa, Dukes of Feria, and the Guzman, Dukes of Medina Sidonia. They too were counts of Niebla in the province of Seville to the east of Cadiz -- but their claim to the title Duke of Medina Sidonia had been attacked by Pedro Giron of the family of Acuña.
While emphasizing the immense local importance of these families, we must not forget that their services as bishops and warriors gave them a national importance equal to that of the imperial nobility, and some of them achieved the European honour of the Golden Fleece. For long enough they remained unsubdued, intolerant, like the German princes and nobles, of any interference from a new civil power. Thus if he wished to form a united state, the sovereign had no choice but to use force, and in Spain, as in the rest of Europe, he looked for this to the towns. As fortresses, the cities offered him strategic positions, man-power and wealth. If here and there the higher nobility, or more often the gentry, the Hidalgos, exercised a certain influence within their walls, yet the industrial and trading population was the controlling element. We have not heard the last of their economic aspirations. The towns exercised political influence by way of the Cortes and occasionally gave proof of their military strength in a Hermandad, a union for the better security of the land, like the Leagues of the German cities.
It is true that the Crown derived a no less important support from the Church. But the statement should be modified by the addition that the material and not the spiritual resources of the Church were what mattered. Men were tempted into the King's service by the prospect of the rich benefices of which he could dispose. More important still was the royal right, under Papal dispensation, to tax all Church foundations, while the considerable revenues of the three knightly orders of Alcantara, Santiago and Calatrava were in the King's control.
The most important source of semi-ecclesiastical power in the King's hand was the Inquisition. The word needs some explanation, for an Inquisition, meaning merely an inquiry, was wellknown in old Frankish law and in the thirteenth century the Pope entrusted a special inquisition against heretics to the Dominicans. But the right of Inquisition granted to the Spanish monarchs on November 1st, 1478, stands in direct relation to that struggle of race and religion which was now at its bitterest in Spain. The mob anti-semitism of the Middle Ages was a by-product of the Crusades; it was directed against the enemies of the faith -though jealousy of Jewish wealth and economic competition played its part. Spain was the only country in Western Europe, in which occidental civilization had made a widespread and prolonged contact with that of the east. The great mass of the Jews emigrated or were converted; but it was popularly asserted that many had been baptized for form alone, so that they were now able to marry into Christian families with consequences all the more disastrous. The new Inquisition was the State's judicial mechanism against such surface Christianity. Purity of faith and blood, limpieza, became the essential demand of the Spaniard, and the slightest failing in either the one or the other gave to the Inquisition, secret alike in procedure and accusation, its particular terror. Confiscation of goods, the habitual penalty, placed a dangerous material weapon in the hands of the State.
Crown and State were by this time one, and the ultimate and decisive instrument in the hands of the government was an educated bureaucracy. In spite of their frequent dependence on ecclesiastical benefices, these letrados were as independent of the Church as of the towns and the nobility. It is common to speak loosely of general tendencies of development, to assert for instance that judicial and civil administration, nay the very government itself, gradually passed into the hands of learned jurists and scholars. But a political structure, based on a spontaneously increasing class of professional officials, does in fact possess exceptional powers of resistance as long as its foundations remain undisturbed. It will create its own theory, as it were, its own code of ethics, and strong in this inner solidarity it will outlast the changing chances of skilful or clumsy governments. But such developments, however general they may appear, always derive their peculiar character from that originally impressed on them by a responsible ruler. And in Spain, as elsewhere, a beginning had to be made.
FROM THE DEATH OF ISABELLA (1504) TO THE DEATH OF Ferdinand (1516).
There can be no doubt that the new State was built up in Spain, both from without and from within, in all its unity and completeness, in the time of Queen Isabella and under her personal influence. Isabella, rightful heiress to the throne of Castile, had given her hand to the young Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469 under the most perilous conditions. On one side she was threatened by a rising in Portugal, on the other by the pretensions of an illegitimate niece, Beltraneja, and her supporters. After 1474, when her debauched brother Henry died, she had, under her husband's protection and with the sole help of dynastic tradition and her own courage, governed a kingdom which had long been a stranger to all discipline. The circumstances brought many helpers to her side and she was great enough to let herself be ruled. Isabella's intelligence and profound sense of duty were completed by Ferdinand's energy; the subsequent union of the two kingdoms of Castile and Aragon into the one monarchy of Spain was foreshadowed in their joint rule and by their joint actions.
Ferdinand of Aragon had the misfortune to be admired by Macchiavelli, on which account he has been too easily dubbed a knave. Popular belief is in this as unfair to him as to the great Florentine. However that may be, Macchiavelli thus describes him in the twenty-first chapter of The Prince: 'We have now in our days Ferdinand, King of Aragon, the present King of Spain: he in a manner may be termed a new Prince, for from a very weak King, he is now become for fame and glory, the first King in Christendom, and if you shall well consider his actions, you shall find them all illustrious and every one of them extraordinary.
'He in the beginning of his reign assailed Granada, and that exploit was the ground of his state. At first he made that war in security and without suspicion he should be anyways hindered, and therein held the Barons of Castiglia's minds busied, who thinking upon that war never minded any innovation; and in this while he gained credit and authority with them, they not being aware of it; was able to maintain with the Church and the people's money all his soldiers, and to lay a foundation for his military ordinances with that long war: which afterwards gained him exceeding much honour.
'Besides this, to the end he might be able here-among to undertake greater matters, serving himself always of the colour of religion; he gave himself to a kind of religious cruelty, chasing and despoiling those Jews 1 of the Kingdom; nor can this example be more admirable and rare: under the same cloak he invaded Africk and went through with his exploit. in Italy: and last of all hath he assailed France, and so always proceeded on forwards contriving of great matters: which always have held his subjects' mind in peace and admiration.' 2
All this shows the impression which Ferdinand made in Italy, but it is only half the truth. No one would deny that he was both a warlike and a circumspect ruler. As a husband he had all the frailties of his time, and, as in Burgundy, generations of bastards occupied the episcopal chair of Saragossa. He owed his military success to his generals, to the Great Captain and to the less reliable Pedro Navarro. But the execution of his internal policy must be ascribed largely to Isabella and to Cardinal Ximenes.
1 Macchiavelli's original has ' Marranos', the collective name in Spain for persons of oriental origin, predominantly Moors. 2 DACRE'S translation. London, 1640.
The Cardinal too must be held partly responsible for that action which Macchiavelli regarded as Ferdinand's most 'admirable and rare' achievement -- the expulsion and oppression of the Moriscoes.
It is to the eternal honour of Isabella that she first won Ximenes for her confessor and then allowed the confessor to develop into a statesman of the first rank. Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros was a man of that outstanding type which occurs but rarely in the history of the world. He was one of those who, living in a spiritual world wholly sufficient to himself, was dragged out of seclusion and forced into political life against his will. Because of their apartness, their self-sufficiency, such men are often able to work out their genius in an extraordinary mastery of the world itself. The whole career of Ximenes is eloquent witness to his strong and passionate soul. A young scholar, ordained priest in Rome, he had on his return dared to oppose his bishop by demanding a benefice which had been bestowed on him at Rome. At last, after he had lain many years in prison, his great gifts were recognized; but he was sought out and honoured only to escape again from the world, this time to the inexpressible joys of complete surrender and the conquest of the flesh, in a Franciscan monastery. Small wonder that he was again sought out, that his bishop, Don Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, followed him from Siguenza to Toledo, and here recommended him to the Queen. At her side he found his true vocation. He brought to politics the same determination and calm which he brought to life. Never did he execute or advise a half-measure. When in 1495, under pressure from the Pope, he accepted the Archbishopric of Toledo, he began a general reform of the Spanish Church. He had been early influenced by the philological writings of the humanists and now he saw to the printing of the scriptures and insisted on a sermon or an explanation of the gospels at every celebration of the Mass. He demanded a thorough reform of priestly life, the keeping of baptismal and confessional registers, the residence of bishops in their cathedral cities -- all the principles of the Counter-reformation, long before the Reformation itself.
So it was Ximenes who decided the central question of Spanish national life, the establishment of a single faith and the final contest with Jews and Moors. He may have turned the rudder in the wrong direction; the moral and economic results of his policy were perhaps later the ruin of that very Spain which he created. Yet he acted not merely as a religious zealot, but as a national statesman and in the interest of a large section of the people. On March 30th, 1492, a decree of his Catholic Majesty brought the war on the Jews to an end with the most ruthless thoroughness, by banishing from the land at one and the same time all the unconverted or unconvertible. As a result thirty-six thousand are said to have emigrated.
Next Ximenes faced another problem. Toleration had been granted to the Moorish Mohammedan population after the fall of Granada; could that toleration continue? Spanish tradition pointed to toleration. The nobility lived on the labour of the Mudejares, who worked hard and asked little in return, and thirty years later even in Valencia the most southerly part of Aragon, men were found to argue that this Moorish population, whatever its beliefs, was necessary to the economic welfare of the country. Only the middle classes in the towns, who suffered from the successful competition of non-Christians, demanded sterner measures.
Not for an instant did Ximenes hesitate to refuse the demand for toleration. Strong in his sincere and positive conviction, he set himself at once to convert the unbelievers by preaching, teaching and discussion. Earlier he had been filled with the Francisan spirit of the thirteenth century; now he was filled with that of the Dominicans. When his violent measures, above all the destruction of Arabic literature, aroused first a bitter outcry and finally rebellion, he advised ruthless suppression -- and he had his way. If the foreign elements could not be absorbed peacefully, then, to his mind, the theory of a united state justified the use of force.
From his earliest youth Ximenes had shown that he feared no man. He had acted harshly against the Mudejares and Marranos; he acted no less vigorously against the nobility. He was determined to put an end to blood feuds and to make the roads safe for travellers. Not that his government was in any way dependent on the merchant middle classes; here too he acted as one convinced of the idea of a united Christian state, and answerable only to the judge of all mankind. He maintained royal governors, called Corregidores, even in the cities.
Yet this statesman, like King Ferdinand himself, for one instant risked the entire wordly legacy of Isabella -- united Spain -- on a single throw.
In his anger at the demands made by Philip the Handsome, contrary to the testament of Isabella, Ferdinand, no less than the Burgundian government, counted on the help of France. At the Treaty of Blois, in October 1505, he contracted a second marriage with Germaine de Foix, niece of Louis XII. He even made over to her parts of the kingdom of Naples, to revert to France in the event of her death without children. Had her son lived, the unity of the Spanish state itself would have been destroyed. Yet Ximenes, intent on the internal problems raised by a nobility in revolt, seems to have agreed with Ferdinand.
Since the death of Philip the Handsome, the Cardinal's position had been beset with difficulties. Nevertheless since even the most radical of them saw no other way out, the Grandees of Castile chose Ximenes as regent for the time-being. As to any further action, their opinions were utterly divided; only a minority wanted Ferdinand. Ximenes grasped the reins firmly. Drawing on the rich revenues of his Archbishopric, he raised troops with which to keep order. Although he failed to persuade the wretched Joanna into any definite decisions, he nevertheless made all ready against the coming of his absent King, to whom, like Ferdinand's old adherents, Alva and Cifuentes, he remained loyal even in the most difficult conditions. In 1507 Ferdinand came back from Naples, bringing with him as a reward for the Archbishop's services a cardinal's hat. Both now worked together to restore the kingdom to its quondam unity. The Catholic King ruled once more, at his side the Cardinal.
In 1511 the Holy League was formed; Ferdinand, his son-inlaw Henry VIII, and later Maximilian, allied themselves with the Pope against France. It was then that the Spaniards, 'on the very point', as they put it, 'of continuing their war with the unbelievers', were called on by the Pope to protect Italy and the Church itself against the French invaders and their schismatical council. In 1512, with English help, they occupied Navarre, which was allied with France. But this time the Spaniards were not interested in that small section of Navarre which lies to the north of the Pyrenees and belongs geographically to France; their concern was with the very considerable kingdom which stretches from Pamplona to Tudela on the Ebro and controls the communications between old Castile and Aragon. This was the district which they wished to absorb into the Spanish state. In Spain the idea persisted that their intervention had saved the Papacy: in fact they had not only secured Navarre and with it the connecting link between the two kingdoms, but had established for the first time their incontestable superiority in Italy. Charles's two grandfathers remained in alliance: we have already studied the reactions of that alliance in Burgundy. In Spain Cardinal Ximenes was acclimatizing himself gradually to this friendly attitude towards the Hapsburg.
The war againstothe unbeliever to which Ferdinand had referred in his manifesto Of July 30th, 1512, dealing with the question of Navarre, was enacted on the African coasts. Ximenes was directly responsible for it. His personal intervention led to a successful assault on Oran. He promoted Pedro Navarro, who, in spite of intermittent defeat, did in fact gain ground in Algiers. When Ferdinand died in 1516, the Cardinal, now a very old man, might as he took stock of the situation, predict with confidence a great future for Spain and for the young heir to its many kingdoms.
INTERIM GOVERNMENT AND EUROPEAN POLICY
Ximenes was now regent in Castile; the Archbishop of Saragossa, in accordance with the will of Ferdinand, was regent in Aragon; Adrian of Utrecht was regent by command of Charles. This latter had the tact to come to an understanding with the Spanish prelates; he was bound to Ximenes in particular by common theological interests. On March 13th Charles was proclaimed King in Brussels; on the 21st his government asked that he might also be proclaimed King in Spain. But this was not possible, for Queen Joanna had not renounced her rights nor was Charles yet in a position to perform the customary accession ceremonies in the presence of the Cortes. At a meeting of the inner council and the Grandees, Cardinal Ximenes confirmed this view through his mouthpiece, Carvajal. Protests left him unmoved. He understood clearly enough that no doubt must be allowed to arise as to the unanimity of the government in power. He tacitly supposed that the young King would soon come to Spain in person and in the meantime it was for the regents to act as if in the conscious enjoyment of his absolute confidence.
On every side there was tinder for rebellion. And as the King's coming was repeatedly postponed, two flames of discontent flared up into a single blaze. There is always a smoulder of unrest when a foreign ruler ascends a throne; but in Spain another fire was piled on this and with it a draught to fan the flames, for doubts were soon raised as to who was really ruling -- the native regents or foreigners. Mistakes in the distribution of places and privileges added to the uncertainty. In the correspondence of Ximenes with his representative in the Netherlands, Diego Lopez de Ayala, the whole situation comes to life before our eyes.
Ramon de Cardona kept order in Naples, but unrest was reported from Sicily, and the Viceroy, Hugo de Moncada, had to fly from Palermo. Ximenes sent both ships and troops. But his anxiety for the fleet reached its height when two pirates, Horudsch and Chair ed Din, called Barbarossa, established their lair on the African coast, and, under the protection of the Sultan, threatened to spread Mohammedan dominion farther west. A Spanish relieving force failed to dislodge the pirates from Algiers. Ximenes strained all his resources to rebuild the fleet; there was talk of spending fifty-three thousand ducats a month. On September 22nd, 1516, he wrote to his representative in Brussels: 'No one can be powerful by land unless he is also powerful by sea.' He asked the Pope for the re-imposition of the old Crusading tax on Church lands, the Cruzada; it was abundantly justified, for the Turks insolently pushed their way even into Spanish sea-ports and threatened to cut off the vital supplies of corn from Sicily. At the same time Jean d'Albret invaded Navarre; so energetically had the Cardinal seen to the defence of the land, that the invaders failed to cross the pass at Ronceval and were later forced to evacuate St. Jean Pied du Port to the north of the Pyrenees.
The regent achieved his successes for the most part in despite of the Burgundian government. His intentions were blameless when on December 6th, 1516, having called the Cortes of the eighteen Estates of Castile, he dissolved them once again at a hint from the Brussels government. And in March 1517 he prevented an independent meeting of the Cortes. Yet when a
Hermandad of Burgos, Leon, Valladolid and Zamora sent a deputation to Charles in the summer of 1517, demanding that the King himself return to Spain, that no bullion be exported from the land, that no official positions be given to foreigners, their messengers were well received and graciously answered, nor were they reproached for taking independent action.
But soon all classes alike began to feel slighted. The Grandees, although certain individuals among them had made their peace with him, rarely had cause to praise Ximenes's government. The hopes of the townsfolk had been raised without being satisfied, for they had expected much from the new connection with the Netherlands. The clergy were indignant at the increasing taxes. At the same time the government in Spain was assailed by grave accusations against the behaviour of the Conquistadores in the Indies. In 1516 Las Casas first raised his voice in the name of the Indians, and Palacios Rubios supported him. Only one man could give help -- the King. And he was far away.
A year had passed since Ferdinand of Aragon died. Why did Charles and his councillors hesitate?
Chièvres was not to be put out of his course either by good or bad news from Spain. For the time being he was fully occupied in handling problems which had arisen out of the new position of the Burgundian government relative to other European powers. Gone was that comfortable neutrality which had been possible in 1513 when England, the Emperor and Aragon had united against France. The French monarchy, too, had gained enormously in prestige, when, on September 13th and 14th, 1515, the young King won his great Italian victory at Marignano. This new importance of France in Italy might well react unfavourably on Naples. But the fear of France's great power was as strong a deterrent as the apprehension of her menacing predominance was an incentive to action. England, the Pope and the Emperor, nevertheless, were for preventive action. But Chièvres had no inducement to allow the Netherlands to be sucked into the Italian whirlpool merely on Maximilian's account. Naturally enough Maximilian himself was still meddling in the politics of the Netherlands, but the cautious politicians who governed Burgundian politics were no longer to be tempted by the intricacies of his policy. With England in particular Maximilian was playing a curious game, at one moment offering the young King condottieri to fight his wars, and at another dropping hints to him about the imperial throne. Moreover Charles's ministers had other matters to attend to; the peace of Paris in 1515 had by no means put an end to troubles in the Netherlands. The partisans of France were still active, Charles of Egmont in Gelderland and Robert de la Mark on the borders of Liège.
Friesland and Utrecht were repeatedly harried from Gelderland; not only Edzard of East Friesland but many other neighbours and factionaries intervened. On May 19th, 1515, Duke George of Saxony had sold his rights in Friesland to Charles for 100,000 florins, and the lord of Isselstein had been made stadhouder in the province. Here and in the lands belonging to the seignory of Sedan, some attempt might be made to deprive the agitators of French support and cripple their military power. The attempt was not altogether unsuccessful. Although they did not altogether put the agitators from Gelderland out of action, yet Nassau, Isselstein and Wassenaer at length gained the upper hand.
In spite of all, Chièvres, with that unswerving singleness of purpose which was typical of him, continued to work for better relations between the French and Burgundian governments, and enlisted for his help all the European powers friendly to the Netherlands. The reason for his action was not merely a sentimental affection for France but the conviction that in her alliance alone lay the solution of his immediate problems. Exploiting to the full every possible bond of marriage and kinship, and acting with the utmost political caution, he gradually won over to his side most of the old anglophile party, at one time the chief opponents of his policy, and little by little even the Archduchess Margaret and the Emperor. It speaks volumes for the essential rightness of his object that he not only convinced his opponents but even made them into active allies. Yet for him too difficulties in certain quarters had lightened or disappeared. The rivalry at Court between Castilians and Aragonese had, for instance, since Ferdinand's death, ceased to have any importance.
The way was now clear for a series of ticklish but skilfully executed manæuvres with France and England. The first move was a proposal to renew the commercial treaty with England. As soon as discussions were under way, Chièvres opened negotiation with the French at Noyon. These, after intermittent interruptions, were brought to a happy conclusion on August 13th, 1516. All the while Charles's representatives had used his supposed friendship with that coalition of the English, Swiss, imperial and Neapolitan governments, as a convenient counterpoise to sway the balance of the negotiations in their favour. The treaties concluded at Noyon comprised the preliminaries of a marriage alliance between Charles and Madame Louise, the baby daughter of Francis I, who was to bring him the disputed kingdom of Naples for a dowry. In return for this the French agreed to forgo pressing the claims of Germaine de Foix, widow of the late King of Aragon, until such time as Charles should himself be in Spain and able to give the matter his personal attention. A precautionary clause was added by which, in the event of the death of Madame Louise, her still unborn sister should be given to Charles in her place. Should both these potential brides fail, then he was to have Princess Renée, the daughter of Louis XII and sister-in-law of Francis I.
Clearly this treaty was nothing but an outward show. No one can seriously have expected the seventeen-year-old Charles to wait for a bride who was less than a year old. Still less was it likely that the Spanish government would consider Naples an adequate dowry for this potential bride; crippled as the kingdom was with debt, it was yet incontrovertibly at the moment in their own possession. Least of all was it probable that they would agree to disgorge Navarre. Yet the French government seemed wellcontent with the fallacious treaty and Charles's grateful letters to his present feudal overlord and future father-in-law, the King of France, gave substance to the facile deception. Only in Spain was there indignation. The Bishop of Badajoz and Cardinal Ximenes expressed their disapprobation and uttered grave warnings of the French danger. 'The French care neither for truth nor for friendship and it is much to be feared that they will make no exception in their dealings with our master, for they are jealous to see him a greater ruler and a mightier King than their own.' Spanish pride revolted against even the outward show of their King's vassalage to France. Unlike the Burgundians, they had not learnt by experience to see in that very vassalage a means of acquiring dangerous influence within France itself.
At the same time the English negotiations were nearing a conclusion. The young Jacques de Luxembourg, lord of Auxy, secured a brilliant diplomatic victory when he gained not only the friendship of England but a very considerable loan to cover the expenses of Charles's journey from the Netherlands to Spain. England could not afford to let France have the monopoly of Charles's friendship.
On October 29th, 1516, the negotiations were brought to an end by the conclusion of an alliance between Charles, Henry VIII and the Pope. On December 3rd the Emperor Maximilian entered the general coalition by declaring his intention at Brussels of being included in the treaty of Noyon. All princes of Christendom seemed thus to be united by vows of eternal brotherhood. Wrapped in the mantle of this glorious achievement, the Hapsburg dynasty thought to enter upon its heritage in Spain. But, speaking privately to his grandchild after an audience in the spring of 1517, Maximilian with his usual light-hearted indiscretion let the cat out of the bag. 'My child', he said, 'you are about to cheat the French and I the English -- or', here he hastily corrected himself -- 'at least I shall do my best.' The fulfilment of their treaty obligations Charles and Maximilian left wholly to the future.
The feast of the Order, solemnized with the usual pomp in the late autumn of 1516, shows how seriously the Burgundian Court took up arms for its new task. The festivities lasted from October 25th until November 5th, intermittently interrupted by final negotiations with the French. The Treaty of Noyon was once more solemnly ratified: Charles received the Order of Saint Michael from Francis, Francis the. Golden Fleece. After his instalment the French King was, however, specifically released from certain duties. The general meeting of the knights in the Chapter provided the occasion for the pronunciation of certain words of censure; but Don Juan Manuel received full satisfaction for the wrongs he had suffered. The knights also decided that the fifteen vacant places in the Order should be filled and added the momentous rider that since there had been a 'mighty increase in the power of the House of Burgundy', the Pope should be solicited to sanction an enlargement of their number. Ten Spaniards came into consideration for later inclusion in the Order and several Germans in the service of the dynasty were to be immediately elected to vacancies. Out of respect for the Emperor's feelings, his old enemy Philip of Cleves, lord of Ravestein, was not mentioned among these. Among those immediately chosen were the Infant Don Ferdinand, the Count Palatine Frederick, Margrave Hans of Brandenburg, who was to marry Germaine de Foix, the widowed Queen of Aragon, and the Counts of Werdenberg and Mansfeld. The Burgundians elected to the honour included Philippe and Antoine de Croy, lords of Porceau and Sempy, Antoine Lalaing, lord of Montigny, Charles de Lannoy, lord of Sanzelles, Jacques de Luxembourg, now lord of Gavre, and Adolphe of Burgundy, lord of Beveren and Veere. New vacancies were found for Charles's future brothers-in-law, the Kings of Portugal and Hungary, for the lords of Rappoltstein and Wolkenstein, as well as for the nobility of the northern Netherlands, the families of Gaesbeck, Wassenaer, Zevenbergen and Egmont. The old Burgundian tradition was retained, but the Order was in future to have many foreign knights.
The first half of the year 1517 was wasted in irksome delays. Although the war in Gelderland was all but ended, it continued to cost money. Not until the autumn was all ready for the Spanish journey. And then the Court had to wait weeks for a favourable wind.
They stayed close to the sea. And here in the dunes above Middelburg took place the last act of a drama whose earlier scenes had been played some months before. Now that he was of age and the head of his family, Charles not only exercised the greatest discretion in choosing a bride for himself, but also in selecting a husband for his eldest sister Eleonore. One of the most valuable assets of the dynasty, hitherto she had always been kept back. She was now eighteen years of age, and her princely suitors were as many as the countless negotiations which had been conducted on her behalf both in Brussels and in Vienna. Yet the princess, it seems, had determined to defy all political considerations by entering into what is commonly known as a love-match.
The Count Palatine Frederick had been educated at the Burgundian Court and had returned thither in 1513. As regent he had been repeatedly entrusted with important missions and had been honoured with the Order of the Golden Fleece. True that Maximilian did not find him very useful politically, but he was a pleasant companion, and, as we have already seen, a bold exponent of the tourney. The Count Palatine must have exploited to the full such rare opportunities as Court hunting-parties and balls gave him, to approach the princess. At length he pressed her for a decision in a letter which apparently took her by surprise. Hastily she hid it in her bosom, but her kingly brother, realizing at once what was afoot, first demanded it of her and then took it. Pitiful love-letter, unread by her for whom it was intended, it lies to this day among a bundle of State papers, serving no better purpose than to give the historian a momentary glimpse of the amorous conventions of that time and of the formalities of the Court. Frederick had left nothing unsaid. He addressed the princess as 'ma mie, ma mignonne', declared himself ready to dare anything for her, called on God and the Holy Virgin for help, and demanded no less than that 'he might belong to her and she to him'. Vain hope. His love-letter was degraded into a mere piece of documentary evidence and was filed with the other legal instruments in which the two lovers declared before witnesses that they had contracted no secret marriage and that they renounced each other for ever. In spite of all pleading the Count Palatine was banished the Court, a sentence which foreign ambassadors attributed chiefly to Charles's inexorable obstinacy. In such family matters decisions rested entirely with him. When the question of Eleonore's marriage to her uncle the King of Portugal was approached, the princess bowed to the inevitable.
About this time, too, Charles began to assert himself in other matters. Margaret declared that he was a different person. As far as we can tell it was during these months that he took the decision to enter German politics as a candidate for the imperial throne -- that is as the successor of Maximilian. His grandfather had just left after another long visit to the Netherlands: Charles was never to see him again.
On September 8th the adverse wind gave place at last to a favourable breeze and the Court set sail from Flushing. It was a fleet of forty sail, Charles and his sister Eleonore surrounded by all the pomp and circumstance of the Burgundian Court. The passage was stormy and when, after ten days, the ships came close alongside the Spanish coast, they had already passed their intended harbour. They were forced to land as best they might, in rough weather and on a rock-bound shore, not far from the village of Villaviciosa. Terrified, the inhabitants had already prepared themselves to meet the unknown invaders -- in arms.
Charles IN SPAIN. THE MEETING OF THE CORTES
In the historical writing of all time it has been the custom to single out certain moments as symbolic in the history of the world. The great solemnities which mark the various stages in the lives of princes are conceived, at least, in this manner. Charles's coming to the native land of his mother had hopelessly miscarried. The seventeen-year-old prince had borne the sea-journey tolerably well, but the hostility of the shores on which he landed, the lack of suitable quarters, the exhausting and comfortless journey along the coast and over cliffs and mountains, patently affected his health. Often the Court had to camp for days, resting, among the hills. Surprisingly enough they made no attempt to reach Santander, although it was close by, nor yet the slightly more distant towns of Leon, Burgos or Palencia; they even passed by Valladolid.
Men were not slow to put their own constructions on these movements. Chièvres, they asserted, had been determined to prevent a meeting between Charles and Ximenes. Hastening to meet his master, the aged regent had fallen ill of a fever at Roa, not far from Valladolid, and here he died. At eighty years old, Ximenes can have had no dearer wish than to see his King, were it only for once, and to give him good counsel. It is equally clear that Charles's Burgundian advisers neither sympathized with this desire nor recognized the importance of this extraordinary man. Yet a long journey over the mountains, with all the dangers to which it exposed the King's health and his Court for weeks on end, was too heavy a price to pay for so needless a precaution, merely out of fear of Ximenes. However much mutual distrust exacerbated feelings on both sides, the true explanation of Charles's journey is simpler and more reasonable. After they had missed the right harbour, Charles's councillors were perplexed by rumours of an epidemic of infectious disease; later their decisions were further complicated by recriminations. Besides the various parts of the fleet had come ashore at different places and the Court had somehow to be reassembled.
Above all Charles and his sister were guided by their natural desire to seek out their mother at Tordesillas, before receiving the official homage of the people. Charles felt that he could not justly exercise his royal authority on Spanish soil until he had personally assured himself of the condition of the mother whom he had never known. On November 4th Charles and Eleonore came at last to the high castle of Tordesillas, where their mother lived with their ten-year-old sister Katherine. The historian Vital accompanied Charles to the threshold of the Queen's room, but when, driven by curiosity, he tried to bring a light into the room itself, Charles barred his way. Several times the King repeated these visits. We shall never know what he found. The wretched brain-sick Queen lived until 1555; all that we know is that with the proud reserve of his family, Charles treated her always with the same unfaltering respect and tenderness. Of her governing the country there was no longer any question. Still less could her way of life be altered. Nevertheless both Charles and Eleonore decided that their little sister, Katherine, must be rescued from the unhealthy atmosphere of the castle. At the side of Eleonore, in her 'fabulous' finery, spectators declared that Katherine looked like some pitiful little nun. In future she was to live more as befitted a princess. But her mother took the parting all too hard and it proved for the time-being impossible to take Katherine away from Tordesillas. Instead she was given a small independent household within the castle.
Four days after this visit, on November 8th, Cardinal Ximenes died in Roa. He had not been well enough to travel to Mojados, south of Valladolid, where Charles had arranged to meet him. In his place there came another; this was that prince who, since the death of Ferdinand of Aragon, had been carefully watched over by the Cardinal himself -- the Infant Don Ferdinand. After the visit to the mother he had never known, Charles now met for the first time the brother whom he had never seen, a youth nearly fifteen years old. Ferdinand dismounted to salute him. And now Charles was able to assure him in person, as he had already done by letter, that he would never fall short in brotherly love towards him. When soon after Ferdinand held the napkin for him as he washed his hands at dinner, this was no humiliation of the younger prince, but rather the exercise of an honourable privilege. He was accorded due precedence in the magnificent processional entry to Valladolid which reminded the Spaniards of the gorgeous spectacles they had seen when Philip the Handsome was with them. The King, clad in shining armour and priceless stuffs, ablaze with gems, sat his fiery charger with impassive dignity; so strong already was his self-discipline.
By an old agreement Ferdinand was to leave Spain as soon as Charles arrived there, so that no faction might have time to spring up about the prince who had been born and educated in the country. In return Ferdinand was to be provided with a personal apanage proportionate to his birth, out of the wide lands of the Hapsburg inheritance. He set out almost at once and reached the Netherlands safe and sound, where his aunt Margaret, whose house had now long been empty, gave him a warm welcome. In Spain Ferdinand had been spoiled and cherished, nor did he find Margaret's affection hard to win, for he was in truth very charming.
More typical of the culture and outlook of the Burgundians than their ostentatious entry into Valladolid was the tournament which was next arranged, in order, as they declared with the greatest self-complacency, 'to display to the Spaniards the great valour of the Burgundian lords'. The lords of Beaurain and Sanzelles, of Porceau and Fiennes, scions of the houses of Croy, Lannoy and Luxembourg, led forth thirty knights on either side, 'each knight shining like Saint George. They themselves were dressed from top to toe in priceless cloth of gold or silver, with plumes and crests which floated on the wind or swept the hind quarters of their magnificent chargers. First they fought in groups of three, then all together with naked weapons. When their lances were broken, they closed hand to hand with drawn swords. Riders and horses were wounded; soon ten horses lay dead on the ground and the knights fought on foot. Only when blood was already flowing in rivers and the spectators, the ladies in particular, were crying out in terror, 'Jesus! Jesus!' did Charles forbid further fighting. By that time the combatants were so furiously engaged that they could be separated only by force. A reception and a Court ball concluded the entertainment and for long after people still spoke of the 'wondrous tournament'.
Many other joustings were held, with lavish expense and amazing splendour, though probably no more with unguarded weapons, which the King forbade in future. Charles himself appeared in the lists, clad in the gorgeous accoutrements of a Burgundian nobleman, accompanied by an army of drummers and pipers and followed by an impressive troop of pages wearing his colours. One day he bore a shield with the device Nondum -not yet. This was his own youthful variant on that other proud emblem of his -- Plus Ultra. Already he felt stirring within his bosom the possibility of a great future and he drank deep of the intoxicating wine of ambition. For he was young and proud, imbued with all the sensual loveliness of the Court. Yet he yearned for the fleshpots of the Netherlands and for his old friends. In January 1518 we find him writing from Tordesillas to Henry of Nassau. The words flow spontaneously, from the heart. He intends, he says, to answer Henry's last 'mad' letter 'with his own fair hand'. After several allusions to Lalaing and to a series of sleighing parties he comes at length to the ladies; he finds little pleasure in them here, he says, save in one only, and alas she paints herself atrociously! If he cannot have a chat with 'his beloved Henry' from time to time he will be in danger of growing as grave as Solomon -- a development which might have its uses among all the cunning fellows who pester him in these parts. This then was the way in which Charles still looked at the world. Only in the Court life to which he was accustomed did he feel himself at home and free. How then did he acquit himself of his task as a ruler?
Gradually now we must turn our eyes from that world of Court and ceremony in which the young King moved with such consummate grace, and seek him out in public affairs, in which he was later to pass so much of his life. During the last months before he left the Netherlands Charles had already attended council meetings. It was said that all official letters were submitted to him -although naturally this can refer only to the most important -and that he gave his opinion of them at the council table.
Hitherto the Burgundian government had proceeded with the utmost caution in all its dealings with foreign powers; this, more than anything, contributed to Charles's undisturbed accession to the Spanish throne. The position was comparatively easy, for his grandfather, the Emperor, was on good terms with England and all other European powers were almost openly hostile to France. Yet the Spanish government soon began to feel that it had committed itself too far with the French. It was in no position to keep the terms of Noyon, at least in so far as they affected Naples and Navarre. In particular the tribute exacted for the kingdom of Naples was much too high. But long before they had to take any decision in foreign policy, Charles and his advisers had to face problems in the internal politics of Castile and Aragon which were completely new to them. And they faced them at first in circumstances of exceptional difficulty.
Ill-feeling was already rife on all sides. Modern writers have accepted Spanish complaints of the tactlessness, avarice and selfinterest of the Burgundians at their face value. But most of these complaints were voiced by scholars and learned councillors or by historians whose thought was cast in the same mould -- Peter Martyr, Carvajal, Zurita and their plagiarists. To these we can now add Santa Cruz, who in his Chronicle blames not only Chièvres and Sauvage, but Lannoy above all. The few Burgundian writers, who composed their works in the old-fashioned courtly style, cannot compete with these. Sharing the reactionary feudal theories of their lords, they do not stand out boldly as the advocates of that unity which had by this time grown so necessary to government. Yet this is the very crux of the problem. The unification of so many different states and people under one ruler inevitably produced almost insoluble problems. But the Burgundians could only act in accordance with the rules of the life they knew; only by degrees could the King learn to fit himself to the customs and needs of his new lands, without altogether abandoning the ideas which had hitherto guided his life. Comprehensible as are the bitter outbursts of the Spaniards against the foreigners, they were partly at least the natural result of the strain through which their much-divided country had but recently passed. The Spaniards were bred up in a tradition which taught them to criticize and take sides, and they turned instinctively against anything foreign. If they were not actually antagonized by everything feudal and courtly, then they were antagonized by anything which smacked of French influence. Charles's advisers prevented him from meeting not only Ximenes but most of the principal members of the interim government. These in turn complained that they were neither received in audience nor yet given leave to go.
The confiscation of the Cardinal's worldly goods is a point which has been so much discussed that no clear judgment can now be given. Chièvres being childless, the Archbishopric was bestowed on his nephew; this was a criminal folly even though the revenues went only in part to the young absentee. Otherwise, apart from the elevation of Adrian of Utrecht to the see of Tortosa and of the humanist Ludovico Marliano to that of Tuy, very few Spanish bishoprics were given to strangers. A few bishoprics were in the hands of Cardinals and members of the Curia, as for instance Orense, Leon, Cuenca, Valencia, Huesca and Pamplona; but this was an old abuse in the Roman Church and, as against the thirty Castilian and forty-odd Aragonese bishoprics, it was a dwindling evil. Not until 1521 did Cartagena go to the Cardinal of Salzburg and Valencia to the Cardinal of Liège. But the nomination of Adrian, of the youthful Croy and of Marliano, took place at the very outset and was accompanied by the advancement of those very Spaniards who had lived at the Burgundian Court, such as Manrique and Doctor Mota. Misunderstandings and causes for irritation continued to multiply.
The transactions of the first Cortes which met at Valladolid in the winter of 1517-18 perhaps best reflect the situation. Even earlier, in the winter of 1516-17, an old councillor of the High Court of Justice in Valladolid, the septuagenarian licentiate Pedro Ruiz of Villena, had presented to Charles and his advisers a memorial which may serve us for introduction to the politics and problems of Spain. Although it lacks the bitterness and clear emphasis which a political body can alone give to its writings, it deals with long-standing evils and embodies the advice of an experienced and loyal servant. In Spain, unlike Burgundy, the modern theory of the state, developed by a learned bureaucracy, had already found expression; it speaks out of the pages of this document with no uncertain voice. 'Keep God before your eyes': these are the words with which Ruiz begins his mirror for princes. Next he holds up as a model for his young master that ruler who devotes two hours of every day to prayer, two to study, two to justice and two to his army. He urges the monarch to temper justice with mercy after the example of the King of Kings: even by granting a pardon, justice may be done. False accusers should be punished as severely as the guilty. The Inquisition is to be preserved but strictly confined to experienced judges. It would be as well if the confiscation of goods by the Inquisition could be abolished, but if this is not possible then it should only come into force if the prisoner is condemned on the evidence of four witnesses and confesses his guilt without torture. Judges are very crafty in the exaction of perquisities, all of which should be abolished. First and foremost no part of confiscated goods should go to the judge; how honourable soever he may be, there will always be suspicions of foul play. It is a well-known scandal, in any case, that a bare third of the confiscated goods ever find their way to the royal treasury. Appeals in small matters should be made more difficult, and in great they should be confirmed by a new judge. A part of the money realized on grants made out of the sale of offices ought to be earmarked for the state.
Nor does Pedro Ruiz confine himself to the failings of the judicial system. He attacks both the lack of social justice and the unequal distribution of taxation. From the assessment of taxes, he passes to the devaluation of the coinage, the Maravedi in particular. Originally a gold coin, then a silver one, it had become a third of a Real, then a seventh, then a fourteenth and had now dwindled in value to a thirty-fourth. He next suggests that rich men should be restrained from appropriating more than a fair share of common land for their cattle. Among fifty peasants, he laments, not more than one or two are prosperous. The whole question of purveyance needs attention; previously the Court had only claimed a third of its expenses, now it takes half. If the King stays anywhere for any length of time he should pay for his lodging. The aim of fiscal policy should be to lower taxation for the benefit of the poor -- 190,000 ducats a year should cover the expenses of a standing army of about 1000 heavy armed cavalry, 500 light horsemen and 2000 infantry; another 90,000 ducats should suffice to keep about 9000 troops in reserve; 100,000 ducats would be enough for a Court of 500 people, if salaries were properly graded. Nor are these figures Utopian; some of them even exceed the expenditure of Ferdinand and Isabella. But alas, the expenditure of the Burgundian Court had long been in excess of any such amount. The writer repeatedly emphasizes the fact that extravagance burdens not only the subject but the conscience of the prince himself.
One of the most interesting sections of the whole document is that in which Ruiz approaches the problems of the Church. The Pope ought to transfer the special privileges of the prelates to the King; he should be willing to do this in return for the services of 'so many Spaniards who have but recently poured forth their blood, not to mention their money, for Pope Julius'. Consecrated priests alone, not mere clerks, should be exempt from temporal justice; owing to the abuse of this privilege all too many crimes go unpunished. Priests should not be consecrated unless there is work waiting for them. Ruiz goes even further, complains that there are too many saints' days and suggests that plenary absolution should be given freely to all those who have conscientiously fulfilled their religious duties, but that it should be given only once a year or at the hour of death. The use of the interdict should be rigorously watched; above all a royal court of ecclesiastical justice should be set up, and appeals to Rome -- where so many cases drag on for ever unsettled -- should be forbidden. Annates may be used for war against the infidel and to lighten the weight of taxation on the poor. Unhappy factions and schisms in the land should end and all forces be united against the unbeliever.
This account proves that Ruiz was a man of perception but it gives a gloomy picture of conditions in Spain. We do not know how much of it reached the King. Echoes of it are to be found later in notes drawn up by Charles himself, but the same is true of many other such documents. Its importance lies rather in the impressive picture which it gives of the serious minded Catholicism and anxiety for reform of a typical councillor.
The royal government was, however, forced to adopt a positive attitude in reply to the explicit demands of the Cortes of 1518. In spite of all efforts at intimidation, one of the procurators of Burgos, Doctor Zumel, boldly defended the privileges of the Cortes. At his instigation they first refused to accept the Chancellor Sauvage as president and next formulated clear demands both as to the manner of the King's acclamation and the form of the oath which he was to take. They got their way. On February 5th the solemn ceremony was performed and on the 7th the clergy and grandees did homage.
The Cortes presented its demands in eighty-eight articles, of which some were in substance mere repetitions of those made by earlier Cortes. As in 1469 they asserted that the King was merely the representative of the people and they reiterated numerous economic demands, complaining of the export of gold, silver, horses, and of the alienation of Crown land. Other requests bore out what Pedro Ruiz had written. They asked that the judicial system be reformed, that the Inquisition be kept under control, that the King give audience daily and the council hold regular sessions. To this group too belonged the demand that the preaching and sale of indulgences be restrained, that taxes levied by clerical authority be prevented and that the Pope be urged to present no more benefices to foreigners. The remaining articles were concerned directly with the troubles of the day. The Cortes asked that Queen Joanna be suitably treated, that the King take a wife and that Don Ferdinand be allowed to remain in the country at least until the birth of an heir. All this was conceived in the narrowest dynastic sense. But the Cortes renewed the demands which they had made in the time of Ximenes: they asked that the King give neither official posts nor benefices to foreigners, that the new Archbishop of Toledo be brought to Spain, that Spaniards alone be given posts at Court. To the King personally they addressed a plea that he should learn Spanish. Their allusions to the testament of Cardinal Ximenes and the distribution of his worldly property cut nearer to the bone. But the emphasis which they laid on the necessity of holding Navarre -- a province which they described as the key to the whole realm -- was in strict accordance with Charles's own plans for foreign policy. In return for an exceptionally large servicio, 1 granted for three years and amounting to 600,000 ducats, the Cortes urgently entreated that the towns might be allowed to assess their own taxation instead of depending on tax farmers.
The royal government answered every point as favourably as possible; if there was no help for it, it did however refuse to comply, as in the case of the Infant's journey to the Netherlands, which had been settled long before. The protest against Papal interference with the Spanish Church and its revenues was likely to prove helpful in strengthening the idea of a national Church.
1 A technical term, the equivalent of the English 'subsidy' (TRANSLATOR'S note).
Still more welcome was the willingness of the Cortes to defend Navarre; the government now felt that its foreign policy had the justification of popular consent.
On March 22nd, 1518, Charles left Valladolid in order to perform the same ceremonies, meet the same difficulties and achieve the same success in Aragon, as he had in Castile. At Saragossa the Aragonese Cortes voted him 200,000 ducats, at Barcelona the Catalans 100,000. Considering the size of these kingdoms as compared to Castile, the sums were more, rather than less, generous. But the Aragonese Cortes proved far more troublesome, their negotiations more procrastinating, their insistence on petty formality more irksome than those of Castile. When the Castilians saw that the Court, which had passed a bare four months in Valladolid and seen fit to visit no other town in the kingdom, was spending the whole of the rest of 1518 in Saragossa and almost the whole of 1519 in Barcelona, ill-feeling was at last aroused.
They had not made a grant of good Castilian money to see it frittered away in Aragon.
All this while there was discontent in Aragon. The Archbishop of Saragossa was prevented from visiting his half-sister Queen Joanna at Tordesillas; this was interpreted as a calculated insult. Complaints of the greed of the foreigners, like dust-clouds seen afar off, here too accompanied the passage of the Court. Naturally enough the long delay in Barcelona cured the Court of any wish to expose itself to the same inconveniences in Valencia, the third sub-kingdom of Aragon, a refusal which brought down upon Charles a new series of dangers and difficulties.
We look in vain among all these negotiations for any sign of the King's personal initiative. He figures only in the social life of the Court. The Chapter of the Golden Fleece met at Barcelona and elected to its ranks eight Castilians of the noblest families, together with an Aragonese and a Neapolitan; at this meeting Charles, to judge by the minutes of the Order, repeatedly opposed the opinions and wishes of Chièvres. But in the political world he had barely begun to take his share of responsibility. He gave his oath and received homage, nor were the actions of the government valid without him. His person was the sole guarantee for the unity of that government itself; yet he personally had remained so far immune from complaint and criticism.
Driven by necessity, Charles was exercising that virtue of selfeffacement which is at times the most essential quality of a ruler. His action, or more truly, his inaction, was to exert a favourable influence on his future.
SPANISH OR UNIVERSAL POLICY ?
Now as before, Chièvres and Sauvage, the responsible leaders of the royal government, were the targets for all attack. The situation was undoubtedly eased when on June 7th, 1518, the Chancellor Sauvage died; he carried with him to the grave some at least of the unpopularity of the government. His successor learnt in course of time to establish better relations with the Spaniards; moreover he of all men seemed made for the very purpose of weaning Charles from his limited Burgundian or Spanish outlook, and re-orientating his policy about a larger axis. This new Chancellor was Mercurino Gattinara. Although the transactions with the Cortes illuminate the problems of the moment and foreshadow those yet to come, their importance pales to nothing beside the elevation of Gattinara to a dominant position in public affairs and in the immediate surroundings of the King. Gattinara was to influence not only Charles's general policy but his character, as only Chièvres had done before, as no one was to do again.
The chance which made the Piedmontese Gattinara 'Grand Chancellor of all the realms and kingdoms of the king' on the eve of Charles's candidature for the imperial throne, is not without inner significance. Unlike all the other advisers who had hitherto served Charles, he was essentially a man of a universal outlook. For several years now both his autobiography and innumerable letters, printed and unprinted, have been available. The neat, clear handwriting of the humanist and scholar is typical of the defined and systematic character of the man. Schooled in the logic of jurisprudence, imbued both with the classic theory of the state and with the Christian doctrine of duty, his whole personality reflected a mind far above all material and personal considerations. Charles had grown up in the dynastic tradition of Burgundy and only with difficulty did he accustom himself to the secularized political theory of Spain; but it was Gattinara with his humanist conception of Emperor and Empire who first provided him with a practical formula for the consistent guidance of all his lands and peoples. The outstanding problem of Charles's life could only find an ultimate solution in the fusion of dynastic and imperial tradition. In his single person the glories of all his ancestors were concentrated and intensified; each part of his Empire was warmed by rays of reflected glory from the whole. But we must not forget that this overloading of the dynastic idea, no less than the emphasis laid on the primacy of the Emperor in Europe, was in direct contradiction to the theory of the national state, then gaining hold and expression throughout the west. The fundamental contradiction overshadowed Charles in life and long survived his death.
Mercurino Gattinara had been born of a family of lesser nobility at Vercelli in 1465; he rose to eminence as a lawyer, early entered the service of the Duke of Savoy, and accompanied the Archduchess Margaret from Franche Comté to the Netherlands as her legal adviser. As President of the Parlement of Dôle he had defended a personal cause with a certainty of his own rectitude reminiscent of Cardinal Ximenes, but in the end he had had to yield to the nobility, led by Maréchal Vergy. He remained nevertheless in Margaret's confidence and even Maximilian had entrusted him with important missions -- one of which had kept him for a whole year ( 1510) at the Court of King Ferdinand in Spain. It is proof of Margaret's continued influence and of the shrewdness of Chièvres, that on the death of Sauvage, Gattinara was immediately selected for the Chancellorship. He arrived in Spain on October 8th and on the 15th took over the seals.
The relief occasioned by his coming was soon forgotten when he entered for the first time into European politics; the first opportunity afforded him for the practice of his universal theories came almost too soon.
The general lines of foreign policy had been already defined and Gattinara could not materially alter either the discontent of the Spaniards or Charles's relations with France. On the news of Maximilian's death, which the Court received at Lerida on January 28th-29th, 1519, the dangers inherent in Charles's foreign policy assumed gigantic proportions. Almost at once the Court had news that the French king was negotiating for the imperial throne. Meanwhile the discussions recently opened at Montpélier for the execution of the treaty of Noyon were prematurely interrupted by the sudden death of France's first delegate, Arthur Gouffier, Grand Maitre of France. But from their very nature they were doomed to be abortive.
The greatness of Charles's government now showed itself, for the difficulties and dangers surrounding them in the Spanish kingdoms were of no effect in forcing Charles and his ministers to take up a false or ill-considered position in the altered field of European politics. Had the Court behaved with more tact during its two and a half years in Spain, some of its difficulties might have been smoothed away, but the fundamental problems would have remained. The great weakness of the old pragmatic school of historians, from Charles's contemporaries onwards, was that they always regarded single events or single men as the sole originators of political troubles whose roots lay far deeper.
A particular event may give a sudden stimulus to a general feeling of discontent, and there was much in the situation to trouble the politically conscious classes in Spain. They were subjected to the rule of a Burgundian courtier, to whom the exploitation of his opportunities was second nature, and over whom the inexperienced King exercised little control. Charles, who had not yet won the love of his people, had ascended the throne during the lifetime of a Queen-mother, herself incapable of ruling. Abroad, the new government was still, if only superficially, friendly to France; at home, out of fear and lack of sympathy, it repressed the natural forces of the country. The Spanish kingdoms were themselves split by factions. Worst of all, having once gained his servicio, Charles intended to leave this land, which had known no undisputed government for the past sixteen years, without making provision for a successor.
One of the most important sections of Charles's opponents although by no means the only one, was the group of Castilian towns represented in the Cortes. The inner tension of these towns gave birth to a revolutionary movement whose beginnings were already discernible when Charles left Spain. For as soon as the Court heard that Charles had been chosen King of the Romans, 1 they dispensed with the ceremony of swearing allegiance in Valencia, and hastened instead across Castile to the north coast, there to take ship for Germany by way of England and the Low Countries.
Gattinara appears to have realized that the excitement in the towns would be aroused rather than quieted if the Cortes were called, while a demand for a second servicio before the expiry of the first might well fan their emotions into a dangerous blaze; but he could not convince Chièvres. Contrary to all custom the Castilian Cortes were summoned to a meeting at distant Santiago, only to be forced -- not always by the most scrupulous means -- to formulate their final decision at the port of Corunna itself.
In Valencia a destructive conflict had long since broken out between the nobles and the so-called Germanía, a league of small merchants. Matters were only made worse by contradictory decrees from the government. At the King's suggestion in May 1519 the guilds of Valencia had armed themselves against pirates and took a delight, that was not always without unfortunate consequences, in their weapons, banners and processions. By the decree of Fraga on January 31st, 1520, the King gave them some encouragement, thinking that he could have absolute confidence in the purpose for which they would use their defensive arms. They for their part recognized the monarchy as the fount of all justice. Moreover their leaders, the cloth-worker Juan Lorenzo, the more passionate Sorella, the dexterous confectioner Juan Caro and Geronimo Coll, had made their cause good at Court. But the nobility also came to Court, asked for the acceptance of their personal homage, 'for the ease of His Majesty's conscience', and were no less favourably received. The Guilds were then asked to restrain their activities. This was again contradicted in the final instructions left for Adrian and the Viceroy, which were all in favour of the Germanía -- or brotherhood -- whose membership now extended over the whole land, so that it stood ranged against the nobility both in town and country.
The rumoured departure of the King and the support given to the government by one or two deputies of the Cortes, was the
1 King of the Romans, a title given by the German Electors to the prince chosen to succeed the reigning Emperor. For the development of this practice see BRYCE, Holy Roman Empire, Note C III (TRANSLATOR's note).
signal for a general rising in Castile. This rapidly assumed a serious form; all classes were drawn into the revolt and leaders were found even among the higher nobility. A deputation from Toledo headed by Pedro Laso de la Vega was not received. In Valladolid the people, believed that their defenceless country was being exploited to serve the policy of foreigners and when Charles left they rang the tocsin; only by a lucky chance did the Court manage to get out at the gates. The Cortes met therefore in a tense atmosphere. Early in April the burghers and their league were victorious at Toledo and the royal Corregidor had to fly the town. At Segovia and Zamora there were yet more serious clashes. At Avila, on June 19th, 1520, the towns most deeply concerned formed themselves into a league, the Holy Junta.
On May 20th the Court embarked at Corunna.
The towns were not in agreement among themselves; the Comuneros everywhere were as hostile to the nobility as to the royal officials and the over-excited country drifted rapidly towards a general and disastrous civil war. Adrian of Utrecht, whom the King had left as regent, showed himself unequal to the task from the first, and each day added to his impotent perplexity. It had been all too easy for Chi6vres to repeat what he had done in the time of Ferdinand of Aragon, and to make the deep-rooted friendship between Charles and his religious mentor a reason for imposing on the latter a burden which this time proved too heavy for him to bear.
But the time has come for us to turn our attention to that new honour which had for long enough, not without the influence of Gattinara, exerted its powerful enchantment over the young King -- the imperial title. 'It is', so he wrote in his instructions to Adrian, 'so great and sublime an honour as to outshine all other worldly titles.' This belief was the sole justification which the King could advance for leaving Spain, in the midst of a rebellion, in great haste, and for three long years.
ARCHDUKE OF AUSTRIA AND HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR OF THE GERMAN NATION
HITHERTO we have hardly had occasion to notice that Charles was not only King of Castile and Aragon but, as a son of Philip of Burgundy and grandson of Maximilian of Austria, heir to the hereditary lands of the Hapsburg dynasty. Shortly before his Spanish marriage his father had paid a visit to Innsbruck, but Charles himself had set foot neither in Germany itself, nor in the hereditary lands on the Danube and Upper Rhine. These parts of his inheritance seemed doubtless as remote to him as the newly conquered Indies, which Cortes was even now piling up about the nucleus of New Spain. Charles himself could not yet speak German. But in his full title the many outlandish names of his German possessions all appeared.
These possessions included the family lands of the Hapsburg at the angle of the Upper Rhine, bordering on Franche Comté, the landgravate of Alsace with Ensisheim as its seat of government, a group of estates in the district now controlled by the strong Swiss Confederation; various countships in Breisgau and Swabia, in Vorarlberg and Tyrol. Innsbruck was the seat of Hapsburg administration in Hither Austria. Last of all there were Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and the Windish Mark, ruled over by a government at Wiener-Neustadt. These were rich lands; even the mountains were valuable for their store of precious metals and well-worked mines. They were important too because they controlled the key passes to other lands -- the Arlberg, the Wormser Joch, the Brenner. Besides all these, there was the bishopric of Brixen, enclosed within Tyrol, and the bishopric of Trent on the frontier, stretching to the foothills of the Alps. On this side and in the cast, the Alpine states encircled the so-called terra firma, the mainland of Venetia. Once a part of the Empire and called the Mark of Verona, it had, in the course of the last century, been gradually conquered by the republic of Saint Mark. Meagre result of Maximilian's last expensive wars -- he had had to renounce his claim on Verona and content himself in return with the cession of Riva, Rovereto and a few insignificant fragments to round off his frontier.
Austria itself stretched from Linz to Vienna, along the valley of the Danube, an important district both in geography and politics, for it was the connecting link between Bohemia and Hungary. To this juxtaposition it owed its political possibilities and perils, both internal and external. The two neighbouring kingdoms, after remaining for a short while under the control of the nobility alone -- a fate with which Austria itself was repeatedly threatened -- had fallen into the hands of the Jagellon family. At this time therefore they formed a dynastic whole with Poland.
MAXIMILIAN. THE HEREDITARY LANDS AND THE EMPIRE
Maximilian had received a bankrupt inheritance from his father. The reputation and the resources of the dynasty had been alike dissipated. But even if Maximilian in turn left the hereditary lands heavily encumbered with debt, he yet contrived to build on this derelict heritage the foundation for a brilliant future. In character Maximilian was unstable, easily tempted by wild plans, usually without patience and always without money. But those who consider or even demand that he should have had an equal measure of success in everything which he undertook, prove themselves guilty of the very faults with which they charge him.
Son of Frederick III by a Portuguese princess, husband first of Mary of Burgundy and then of Bianca Maria Sforza of Milan, Maximilian belonged in a very different way from the German Emperors of old to the now expanding world of European politics. Delighting in masquerade, he acted with passion and virtuosity any and every part which the day demanded of him. He passed his youth amid the glamorous surroundings of the Burgundian Court, but it was typical of his natural romanticism that he should later become absorbed in the humanistic atmosphere of the Renaissance. From these two sources he derived his conception of an Empire, universal in extent and resplendent with all the traditions of chivalry. The pursuit of this vision gave to his whole policy a strange air of unreality; even his military campaigns defied the dictates of common sense and assumed under his leadership the outward appearance of the tourney. A hundred half-formed conceptions revolved in his brain; he felt that the glory of his dynasty had some close connection with the special sanctity of the Emperor's person; he believed that it was his mission to expel the Turk from Europe; and he perceived dimly, although he could never clearly formulate, the connection between these two ideas and the honour and advancement of the German nation. But his contact both with Anglo-Dutch and with Italian civilization had early proved to him that kingship and honour were closely and irksomely yoked to finance. The opening years of the century were more fertile in political theory than in experimental practice and Maximilian was typical of his time in so far as his conceptions far outran his political capacity.
His literary efforts and his personal participation in the political propaganda of his government reflect these characteristics in a manner which, if sometimes distorting, is always instructive. He liked to call the Estates of the Holy Roman Empire the Corpus Christianus; and in commanding a prince of the Empire to war he would conjure him 'on the duty and obedience which thou owest to God, our Creator, to His Holy Faith and to us, His viceroy and thine own natural lord, to come immediately to our help, as the salvation of thy soul, thy duty and thine honour command'. His sense of nationality was still an indistinct mixture of religious formulae, supported by a common language and tradition, and -on account of his Burgundian connection -- directed above all against the French. 'The Estates must consider', he said to them in 1509, 'that we, as lord of Austria and Burgundy, have for long years borne many weighty burdens and charges, have suffered much travail and expense at the hands of Frenchmen, Switzers, Gelderlanders, Hungarians and Turks.' He called the Swiss to war against the French because they spoke the German tongue, and he justified his wars in the Netherlands by saying that 'men of no foreign speech should break into Germany'. Yet this same prince spoke and wrote to his two only children in the French language alone. In an official manifesto he cited France as his chief and hereditary enemy and he insistently claimed that Charlemagne had been a German. Yet for years he cherished no greater ambition than to marry the heiress of Brittany and thereby to make himself twice over a vassal of the French Crown. When he laid claim to Milan he acted partly as the master of the Empire but more for the sake of opposing France. So also when he marched on Venice, he acted in part to maintain his own imperial prestige but more to settle certain south-eastern frontier troubles on the Adriatic.
The German Estates had little difficulty in persuading him to the reform of the Empire; yet it is not surprising that they in return showed small desire to support him in those impulsive, varied, often brilliant, more often fantastic and always insufficiently considered plans which flitted through his mind. He did his duty indifferently towards the German nation; for he expected too much if he imagined that the princes would see eye to eye with him and accept his view that the interests of the hereditary lands, of the Hapsburg dynasty and of the Empire were one and undivided. In spite of a wild plan for making himself King of Sweden, Maximilian failed utterly both in the north-cast and in Prussia, where he came up against the Order of the Teutonic Knights. He was equally unlucky in his dealings with those hereditary enemies of his house, the Switzers; unluckiest of all in Italy. Yet in spite of certain perilous crises, he did succeed with the help of his own peculiar tenacity, in solving the singularly difficult problem of Burgundy. Even if certain reforms were forced upon him rather than freely granted, he nevertheless deserves some credit for leaving the German Empire with an organization which, compared to that of earlier times, was astonishingly well ordered. Civil peace had been established, a standing court of justice, the Reichskammergericht, set up, the imperial administrative circles had been formed and a practical means of raising taxes, either by the Gemeinpfennig or the Matrikel, had been introduced. Maximilian had not only established his dynasty in the Spanish kingdoms, he had doubly secured their position by tempering his bold demands for participation in the regency with a skilful adaptation of his ideas to those of Ferdinand of Aragon. Lastly, during certain festive days in Vienna in July 1515, he had brought his earlier negotiations for the acquisition of Bohemia and Hungary to a successful conclusion. On July 20th he completed a transaction which is probably one of the most remarkable in imperial history; by it he adopted Louis of Bohemia, the heir of Ladislas, as his own son, and appealed to the electors to choose him Emperor. Even more astonishing was the marriage contract by which Louis was to be betrothed to the Hapsburg princess Mary, and his sister Anne to the already ageing Emperor. In the name of the Hapsburg dynasty, Maximilian was to take charge of Anne as soon as the treaty was signed. The Emperor could hardly have foreseen that these amazing agreements were to bring forth material results almost immediately. When he thus sought to unite in one dynastic bond all the resources of Christendom, so that the Turks, whose menacing advance had continued unchecked since the beginning of the last century, might at last be stopped, he was acting less as an individual than as the tool of historic circumstance. Maximilian's policy had little in common with the political nationalism of the nineteenth century. Yet the effect of his actions long survived him, and the dynastic policy which he had outlined took its place as a possible solution to the problems of a great part of Europe. Dynastic policy has as much historic justification as the theory of the national state itself. Maximilian, by arranging for Ferdinand to succeed to these various prospects of inheritance in Central Europe, had defined the frontiers of that territorial division which was later to be made between Charles and his brother.
THE IMPERIAL ELECTION
The political structure of the Austrian lands and the German Empire was more essentially medieval than that of the duchy of Burgundy or even of the Spanish kingdoms. The Hapsburg dynasty owed its dominance merely to the extent of its territorial possessions and privileges; its estates were scattered far and wide among the lands of innumerable princes, lords and free-cities, who, theoretically the vassals of the Emperor, were in fact wholly independent. The titles by which these lords, dukes, margraves and counts were known were fundamentally as little distinct one from another as the same titles in Spain and Burgundy. The distinction between a free prince of the Empire and a member of the local nobility, for instance, had no real significance before the religious and ecclesiastical conflicts of the next generation. The principalities and lordships of which Germany was made up were each individually in a higher state of political development than was the Empire of which they formed part. Indications of political theory were already to be found among them, formulated by learned councillors in recognizable forms. Perhaps this was the natural outcome of their separate patriarchal organization, perhaps the result of the long struggle for imperial reform.
There was as little evidence of any clear policy for the Empire as a whole as there was of a truly German foreign policy.
The seven Electors alone -- the three spiritual Electors of Cologne, Mainz and Treves, and the four secular Electors of Bohemia, the Palatinate, Brandenburg and Saxony -- possessed as well as certain exceptional rights during an interregnum, a general importance far greater than that justified by the extent of their lands. Since Maximilian's grandson was Duke of Burgundy and King of Spain, and the Kings of England and France were rivals for the imperial crown, the Electors in the last years of Maximilian's reign had achieved a European significance. Their importance was further increased by the natural anxiety of the Pope as to the choice of the future Emperor; in his capacity as ruler of the Papal States, the Pope was bound to keep careful watch on the Spanish King of Naples, no less than on the King of France who had recently grown so powerful in Italy. The acquirement of the imperial crown would give Francis I an impregnable position in Italy; besides which it would flatter his ambition and give him the idle pleasure of seeing the youthful Charles twice over his vassal. Henry VIII, on the other hand, had once been opposed to the French dynasty and had subsidized coalitions against Louis XII and Francis I, not only in Burgundy and Navarre, but even in North Italy. More recently, however, he had changed his policy and was now contemplating a marriage between his daughter and the Dauphin. By coming forward as a candidate for the imperial crown he proved that at this time even England had no conception of national Realpolitik. The early Tudors were dominated still by the old medieval theory of universal monarchy.
Three successive Emperors of the house of Luxembourg had been followed by three successive Emperors of the Hapsburg dynasty. It was therefore still justifiable to consider that the German monarchy was disposed of by inheritance, as it had been in the Middle Ages. Charles of Spain was the grandson of Maximilian, a fact of which his supporters made every possible use. But he was as much a foreigner in Germany as the King of England or the King of France.
Maximilian did not deceive himself on this point. If, in the exuberance of a new friendship, in temporary annoyance with the Burgundian government, or in one of his usual financial scrapes, he promised the imperial throne now to the boy-king of Bohemia and Hungary, now to Henry VIII of England, there can yet be no serious doubt but that his thoughts were in reality fixed on his own dynasty. As late as 1551 the Count Palatine, Frederick, told Veltwyk how vividly he remembered the unconcealed efforts which Maximilian had made in 1513. In his usual fashion and with the most disarming simplicity Maximilian never lost sight of the practical uses to which the imperial title could be put in the hereditary lands, nor of the advantages to be derived from the financial resources of Burgundy and Spain. When Charles made his first appearance among the candidates for the imperial crown by sending the lord of Courteville to Germany, Maximilian's criticism of the ambassador's instructions was sharpened by his personal interest in the matter.
There was no need to harp on Charles's kinship to him, he wrote, on May 18th, 1518, 'Much money' was by far the best argument for winning votes. And since the imperial title would add to the value of the hereditary lands, there was no need to be parsimonious. No one would be satisfied with promises; hard cash alone would be effective. The princes thought more of the jingling coin of the French than of all their fair words. The Elector Palatine must have an indemnification. of 80,000 gold Gulden well and truly paid to him, in return for the bailiwick of Hagenau, which did in fact belong to the Empire but would be a useful addition to the Hapsburg lands. The Elector of Saxony must be immediately satisfied with the relatively small sum of 30,000 gold Gulden for renouncing his claim to Friesland. The spiritual princes could not be fobbed off merely with promises of benefices. The sum of 4000 gold Gulden apiece -- which had been decided on as suitable for the temporal Electors -- was the smallest possible amount with which they could be satisfied. Some of them had already had much more than this from France. As well as the Electors, certain other princes had to be considered, the Margrave Casimir for instance. 1 The French had already offered that ubiquitous bride, Princess Renée, to the Elector of Brandenburg for his son. To outbid them, Maximilian suggested, Charles could not do better than offer his sister Katherine. Even for Sickingen 2 something more than a pension would be necessary: rather, thus shamelessly did Maximilian express himself, he must be paid 20,000 gold Gulden in return for the damage he had done to Worms. Since Duke Louis of Bavaria had refused to take Queen Joanna of Naples to wife, 3 he should be offered the daughter of Gonzalo Hernandez, his brother William, Princess Eleonore, whose betrothal to the old King of Portugal Maximilian opposed. Only by drawing on all possible resources could they hope to combat the 'monstrous practices' of the French within the Empire. The French had already sent so splendid an embassy to the Switzers that Charles could not possibly make do with sending Courteville. A more important man would have to be selected -say Zevenbergen.
A few weeks later new instructions did in fact come for Courteville. In the summer the Electors appeared at Augsburg in person and buzzed about Maximilian. Even the King of Bohemia was represented; he was still a minor but the plenipotentiaries of his nearest kinsman, the King of Poland, acted for him. On August 7th all except Saxony and Treves declared themselves ready to accept the Emperor's grandson Charles. Treves had apparently committed himself too far with France, and Saxony appealed to the Golden Bull. Nevertheless Maximilian did not lose hope of winning them both over.
But Maximilian's death on January 12th, 1519, released the Electors from all obligations and opened the last stage in the conflict for the crown.
1 Casimir of Brandenburg, 1481-1527, Margrave of Baireuth, first cousin to the reigning Elector (Joachim) of Brandenburg (TRANSLATOR's note).
2 Franz von Sickingen, 1481-1523, the celebrated Rhenish knight and freelance leader. He had attacked Worms in 1513, Mainz in 1518, and had recently been employed by the Swabian League against Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg (TRANSLATOR's note).
3 Widow of Ferdinand II of Naples, d. 1496 (TRANSLATOR's note).
At this time there were, beside Charles's own council, two other Hapsburg governments, in the Netherlands and in Austria. Both depended on instructions from the Court but were forced, by its remoteness, to a certain self-reliance in State affairs. Much might hang on their immediate knowledge and their personal activity.
Matthias Lang, Bishop of Gurk, Cardinal since 1511, and later Archbishop of Salzburg, was head of the government in Austria. He had been coadjutor of Salzburg since 1514 and in the year of Maximilian's death he became Archbishop. He passed both now and later for a harsh, unsociable man, and more than one member of the Burgundian council considered him unfit to handle the negotiations for the imperial crown. His chief lieutenant was Michael von Wolkenstein, once a particular favourite of Maximilian; his name and titles may be seen to this day in the inscription which greets the eyes of travellers, pierced in the stonework above the gateway of that castle not far north of Brixen where his descendants still live. Cyprian von Serntein was Chancellor, a man of long experience, as also the treasurer Villinger and Hans Renner. Charles added the bishops of Trieste and Trent, Dietrichstein, Roggendorf and one or two other councillors to this government before he confirmed its powers. Among those whom the Hapsburg trusted within the Empire itself were the Count Palatine Frederick -- in spite of his recent unwilling banishment from Court -- the Margrave Casimir and Matthias Schinner, Bishop of Sitten who, like Matthias Lang, had been a cardinal since 1511.
For long enough, too, all the resources of the Burgundian government had been placed at the disposal of the dynasty in Germany. The German princes and supporters of the dynasty were assisted in their advocacy of Charles's cause by Hugo, Count of Mansfeld, a scion of the Germanic nobility of the Netherlands, and Maximilian Berghes, Lord of Zevenbergen, a leading member of one of the great Dutch families. This latter had recently received the Golden Fleece, together with Mansfeld and Wolkenstein, and he was bitterly insulted when he found that he was expected to act under orders from the Innsbruck government. On his urgent representations the position was set right; Nicholas Ziegler was restored to favour at the same time and even considered for the office of imperial vice-chancellor. As well as these, Margaret sent her personal secretary Marnix to Zevenbergen at Augsburg early in February, there to help him in his fight against the allurements of France. He was to tell the German princes that they would have to pay fourfold for every French ducat which they took. Another leading councillor, Hugo Marmier, was dispatched at about the same time to the Electors of Treves and Mainz. As the date of the election drew nearer, Margaret redoubled her activity. The councillors whom she now had about her were Philip of Cleves, Charles de Croy, lord of Chimay, Henry of Nassau, Antoine Lalaing, lord of Hoogstraeten, and her old confidant Jean de Berghes. Little by little the Brussels government put its best men forward; Zevenbergen was followed by Charles's dearest friend, Henry of Nassau, who was to woo the counts of the Rhineland for their support; later accompanied by Gérard de la Pleine, lord of La Roche, he sought out the Electors of Treves and Cologne, and later still, accompanied this time by Johann von Armerstorf, he continued his journey to the Courts of Saxony and Brandenburg. Armerstorf himself had already visited the Electors of the Palatinate, of Treves and Mainz. Last of all Margaret thought of using Eberhard de la Mark, Bishop of Liege, in the German business. He was expecting shortly to be made a cardinal.
All these gentlemen and their secretaries worked with feverish activity and their reports, often written daily, bear witness to the intense excitement which reigned in Germany in that memorable spring of 1519. Well-founded information of the intentions of the French government mingled with the wildest rumours: King Francis was sparing neither men nor money; he intended to march at the head of an army across Lorraine to the Rhine, and had secret allies within the Empire. For their part the Electors in the Rhineland felt compelled to appeal to Charles to guarantee them from coercion.
The French menace in the Netherlands and the Empire became real with the circulation of a rumour that the French King's old protégé, Charles of Gelderland, had married at Celle the daughter of Henry of Luneburg, and was now offering assistance to his father-in-law. This Duke Henry had joined with the Bishop of Hildesheim, himself by birth a duke of Saxe-Lauenburg, in prosecuting a feud against the refractory nobility of the latter's diocese -- with the family of Saldern above all. The nobility, for their part, had found ready help with Duke Eric of Calenberg and his nephews, Duke Henry the younger of Wolfenbüttel and Duke Francis, Bishop of Minden. Hitherto this destructive conflict had been waged chiefly at the expense of the see of Hildesheim, but the bishop's friends now turned their attentions towards Minden, reduced the fortress of Petershagen and overran the whole district. In Lower Saxony, therefore -- that land whose hardy breed both of men and horses was to make it for the whole of the next generation the best recruiting ground in Germany -- the French party had a victorious army already on foot.
The Hapsburg dynasty, too, had military support. The Swabian League, by origin an alliance for the protection of the lesser estates, knights and towns against the aggressive rulers of Württemberg, had long been a tool of Hapsburg policy. A new opportunity to mobilize the League occurred when the Duke of Württemberg, who was already involved in the murder of Hans von Hutten, 1 attacked Reutlingen. His quarrels with his wife had meanwhile brought her brothers, the Dukes of Bavaria, about his ears. The French supported him inadequately and a brief campaign ended in the sequestration of his lands. Zevenbergen's ingenious policy in Zurich forestalled an attempt of the Switzers to come to his help; realizing that they were now in danger of being surrounded by the French, they were clamorous for the election of an Emperor who came of a German line. Thus at the end of May 1519 the disengaged troops of the Swabian League stood ready to be taken into Hapsburg pay at a moment's notice. At about the same time the Austrians detached from France and won over to Charles's side another military force which was much feared: this was the leader of Landsknechts, Franz von Sickingen.
Such was the situation in Germany in spring 1519.
Yet the success of the Hapsburg government, however skilful and energetic its efforts, depended ultimately on the will and means of the young sovereign in Spain. For the third time now we shall see how Charles himself played his part and how effectively he reimbursed his commissioners and agents for their immense
1 Hans von Hutten, stabbed by Ulrich, Duke of Württemberg, during a hunting party on May 7th, 1515. He was a kinsman of the celebrated Ulrich von Hutten, who lent his literary talents to stir up the general indignation at the murder (TRANSLATOR's note).
outlay on bribes, indemnities and pensions. All told, the election cost nearly a million gold Gulden, of which nearly half went in bribes to the Electors and their advisers. The greater part of this immense sum was released by the firm of Fugger, whose account books to this day bear witness to Hapsburg expenditure. They insured themselves against risk by steadily acquiring more imperial and dynastic lands and privileges in Swabia and Tyrol.
One day the anxious Court in the Netherlands gave Charles an opportunity to make his own point of view clear. Someone had delicately hinted that, should his position as King of Spain prove an insurmountable barrier to his election to the imperial throne, the Archduke Ferdinand, or even some other German prince such as the Elector of Saxony, should be put forward in his place. Margaret's advisers were frankly far more concerned to prevent the election of the French King than to secure that of Charles. But at the merest suggestion of this alternative Charles was up in arms. On May 5th he sent one of his personal confidants, Adrian de Croy, Lord of Beaurain, on whom he had just bestowed the Golden Fleece, with meticulous instructions and a personal letter to his aunt. Passionate and almost jealous was the intensity with which this grandson of Maximilian counted on acquiring intact the whole inheritance of his ancestors.
By this envoy he declared that he had already spent much, his prospects were hopeful and the Electors had previously expressed themselves willing to choose him. He therefore refused to forgo his candidature in favour of any other man. The Electors might well take his intervention in Ferdinand's behalf for an insult to them and a renunciation of those obligations which he had already undertaken. His advisers were to understand that he would stake his last penny, for he had no greater desire in all the world than to be elected. He had instructed his agents to spare no effort, for his reputation and honour depended on it. He had a mind to prove that his friendship was worth as much as that of the French King. The mere suggestion that Ferdinand should come to Germany to take possession of the Hapsburg lands he sharply set aside; the idea, he said, may have been put forward in all good faith and out of a praiseworthy desire to help, but he could not but express his amazement at the making of such independent plans. Matters of this nature had to be most carefully considered. He had arranged for an army both in Germany and Naples and as soon as his election had been successfully concluded he would come over for his coronation. Once he was Emperor, his prospects would be very different and he would naturally take care of his brother. But the division of the Hapsburg power at this critical moment was precisely what the French most wished to see. Whatever arrangements had been made, either for Ferdinand's candidature or for his visit to Germany, must be immediately and completely cancelled. A postscript in his own hand once again emphasized the fact that these were his own personal wishes. Moreover, he wrote to his brother to warn him against further suggestions of this kind and to assure him of his willingness to make a reasonable division of the inheritance with him later on.
Even more explicit than these letters were the instructions drawn up for Beaurain. Here for the first time Charles definitely mentioned a project for the election of Ferdinand as King of the Romans, after his own imperial election. And here, too, we find him expressing the fear that these other suggestions are the fruit of a French intrigue, calculated to separate him from his brother by means of a French marriage. Ferdinand would be in no position to maintain himself on the imperial throne, for even their grandfather Maximilian, in spite of his remarkable ability and many victories, was never free from grave anxieties. Only the union of all the Hapsburg lands under a single head would give to the imperial title an actual power strong enough to intimidate any opponent, so that the Emperor would at last be free to work for the salvation of the faith and the defence of Christendom.
These words clearly reveal the interaction between Charles's dynastic ambition, his aristocratic Burgundian pride and his high conception of imperial duty. They reveal, too, not merely the influence, but the actual penmanship, of Gattinara. Charles's feelings found expression in the appeal to honour and reputation, but the belief in imperial power as a dominant factor in the pacification of Christendom -- this sprang from the mind of Gattinara.
The theory behind Hapsburg policy as expressed by its agents at Innsbruck, at Augsburg, at the German Courts, in the Netherlands and in Spain, was uniform, even if it was based on different premises and expressed with more or less vigour according to the temperament of the spokesman. But how would they carry out their intentions within the political framework of Europe? Was not Charles himself bound by sacred obligations to that very dynasty which now so haughtily opposed him? Was it not possible that France might lean again towards England, now that the brief clash of arms in 1513 had been nullified by the return of Tournai? Had not a rapprochement between France and the Pope recently come to pass? The Papacy had played an important part in disposing of the German kingship since the thirteenth century -and this in spite of the declaration made when Lewis the Bavarian was Emperor. Vatican policy always had an eye both to universal needs and to those of the Italian states.
The sudden death of the French ambassador had brought the discussions at Montpelier to an end, since when Paris had displayed little inclination to resume them. The Pope was unfriendly and England's attitude uncertain. The director of English policy, the gifted but vain Archbishop of York, Cardinal Wolsey, gave fair words to everyone and received a corresponding number of gifts in return. He himself hoped to become the arbiter of Christendom while his master gained the imperial title. Leo X informed him, through the legate Campeggio, that he agreed with the English government in not wishing to see either the King of France or the King of Spain on the imperial throne; but unlike the English he held the King of Spain's election for more dangerous than that of the King of France. Henry VIII had long asked for nothing better than this encouragement to press his own candidature; but on his side he emphasized the fact that should he fail, he preferred the election of Charles to that of the French King. Thus Henry and the Pope agreed to give equal encouragement to both candidates, while secretly undermining them. The instructions with which Richard Pace was sent to Germany on May 30th were conceived in these terms. The English government had cast itself for the part of tertius gaudens.
But the Pope did not stand by his agreement; rather he assured the King of France of his warmest support and on his behalf offered cardinals' hats to the Electors of Treves and Cologne and the post of permanent legate to the Elector of Mainz who was already a cardinal. Furthermore he sent as nuntius to Germany, where Cajetan and Carraciolo were already active, the francophile Orsini. At a meeting of the Rhenish Electors at Oberwesel,
Orsini proclaimed that Charles as King of Naples was not eligible for the Empire, owing to an obligation to which Ferdinand of Aragon had once committed himself. This declaration rent the veil which had hitherto concealed papal policy. Charles's government at once protested in Rome, whereat the Pope took no further pains to conceal his objection to Charles's election even from the Spanish ambassador.
By May all the cards were on the table. Apparently every government in Europe was against Charles and the German Electors were wavering. But in fact the very peril of the situation was an element which worked in his favour. English policy, oversubtle, nullified itself; Pace achieved nothing and could only report the sudden, inexplicable eclipse of French prospects. The open alliance of the Pope and France proved the surest means of securing the votes of the Electors for the Hapsburg dynasty. The Germans began to grow restive at the ostentation of French power and the constant emphasis laid by the ambassadors of Francis on the might and resources of their King. The credit of the Pope in these, the first years of the Lutheran movement, was waning. On the other hand national feeling had been awakened by the rise of humanism, and above all in Alsace and the Rhineland men were growing almost daily more conscious of their political entity in opposition to the French and in relation to the dynasty of the last emperor. The friendly, forthcoming, cheerful and gallant manners of Maximilian had won both the princes and the people to his side. The faults they had found in his policy were now forgotten. His picture, distributed over the country in countless broadsheets, had remained a living one, and his young grandson who would not be intimidated either by the menacing power nor the personal demands of his French neighbour, rejoiced -- certainly without the least personal merit -- in what is commonly called popularity. Cheap portraits of him in woodcut were scattered broadcast and a popular song asseverated:
I hope the cause may yet be won If Charles, of noble house the son, Will take it for his own. 1
1 Ich hoff, die Sach soll werden gut, So Carolus, des edel Plut die Sach tut für sich nehmen.
Some years ago a German historian attempted to destroy the Hapsburg legend. But against the clear voice of tradition he shouted in vain. 1
The inevitable happened. The Hapsburg government had made thorough and extensive prep arations for the election. Without allowing anyone to feel the pressure they had cautiously raised an army, and they had poured out money on all sides. All that they lacked was provided by the behaviour of their opponents.
In this situation the Pope seized on one last weapon. Seeing that the election of the French King was now impossible, he still sought to prevent the elevation of Charles. He fell back on the choice of a German Elector.
Only the Elector with the highest reputation came up for consideration. This was Frederick the Wise of Saxony. He had been mentioned in this connection once many years before, only to disappear completely behind greater names. This harsh and mistrustful man stood in fact at the very heart of the political problem; he was the temporal overlord of that Augustinian monk and professor of Wittenberg who was even now combating papal indulgences with such profound sincerity and immense knowledge. Driven on by this one question, the monk Luther was soon to be forced into open conflict with the whole ostentatious being of the Church. Controlled by foreigners, guided by the lust of power, what had it now in common with the spirit of the Gospel, with the joyful news of sinful man's reconciliation with God, his father?
Frederick the Wise had listened unmoved to the overtures of Maximilian. Later Hapsburg offers had smote against the same obstinate resistance; it was not his affair to engineer an election. The offer of a Hapsburg bride with a splendid dowry for his son did not, however, find him altogether indifferent. But this as well as bribes given to his councillors and a large loan for the electoral treasury, were regarded as immaterial to the election. Even the money was nothing but an indemnity for an old debt. There is no doubt that the Elector's coyness was proof of more delicacy than was to be found in the actions of his fellows. Mainz had accepted 113,200 gold Gulden for himself and his councillors; Cologne, up to the present, 52,800; the Palatinate 184,000, includ-
1 The historian was PAUL KALKOFF in Die Kaiserwahl Friedrichs IV und Karls V. Weimar, 1925 (TRANSLATOR's note).
ing the indemnity for Hagenau and satisfaction for the Count Palatine, Frederick. These princes had unblushingly forced up the amount of the bribes by negotiating. Judging by the books of the Fuggers the final sum paid to the Elector of Saxony was 70,000 Gulden. All the Electors therefore got their wages, save only the most insatiable of all, the Elector of Brandenburg, who went empty handed away. Although once he wavered so close to Hapsburg policy that the marriage of his eldest son to ' Fräulein Katharina von Hispanien' was all but carried out by proxy, he remained at the end unwisely loyal to France.
At the last moment the Pope and the King of France tried to influence the Elector of Saxony through the busy Karl von Miltitz. On July 14th Miltitz insinuated that, should the election of the French King prove unattainable, Frederick should stand himself. His Holiness would regard the election as valid if Frederick gained only two other voices beside his own. By this it seems that they were making the curious error of reckoning the number of electors as six only. Nor was this all: should Frederick agree, the Pope would give him leave to dispose of a cardinal's hat to whomsoever he chose. Some have thought that this offer was directed at Luther -- an idea which cannot but appear ridiculous to anyone who has followed the inner activities of the Vatican at that time; a case had been already drawn up against Luther. But these overtures foundered on the immovable honesty of the old prince; he answered a French offer of marriage openly and honourably, saying that he was already negotiating with the other side. The one thing essential to his candidature was lacking -- his own consent.
But matters never got so far. We have certain knowledge that the last talks of the Electors at Frankfort on June 26th and 27th brought no new developments. On the evening of the 27th they appointed the following day for the actual election. The town council informed the people that they must not be frightened if the tocsin rang three times: that was the custom at elections, and at the sound of the bell every man must pray God to send down his grace on the Electors 'that they might choose a King who would be useful to God Almighty, the Holy Empire and us all'. Charles was unanimously elected. Only the Elector of Brandenburg declared that he made the election 'out of very fear and not out of very knowledge'. But when the election was announced 'the 22 trumpeters of the Count Palatine and the Margrave of Brandenburg blew on their trumpets and then the organ rolled forth the great Te Deum Laudamus'. So wrote the town clerk of Frankfort.
Charles was the fifth of his name in the ranks of German kings and emperors and under that title he has gained immortality in history and in the languages of all peoples. He bore the old Carolingian name, a name carried only by one emperor since their time, and then by the Luxembourger Charles IV, he too a. native of the lower Frankish land which had brought forth Charlemagne. The history of Germany and western Europe seemed to harken back to its beginnings, and once again a great future seemed to spread out before it.
Such at least was the prophecy of Charles's leading minister, his Grand Chancellor Gattinara. In a memorial written on July 12th, 1519, and therefore directly after the election, he entered upon the great work of his master's political education with these words: 'Sire, God has been very merciful to you: he has raised you above all the Kings and princes of Christendom to a power such as no sovereign has enjoyed since your ancestor Charles the Great. He has set you on the way towards a world monarchy, towards the uniting of all Christendom under a single shepherd.' For this reason, he went on, it was fitting that Charles should fear God and be humble, conscientiously execute the testament of his ancestors, care for the Queen-mother and be generous to his brother. He must seek out the right men for employment in Church and State and for the proper administration of justice. Like Moses he must select good advisers, like Justinian pass wise laws, and like Titus administer them with mildness. To these qualities he must add the generosity of Seneca, and moderation in all things. He must order his finances and keep discipline in his army: a hundred well-paid soldiers would be worth more to him than two hundred without pay. He must centralize and supervise his household expenditure. Gattinara warned Charles against showing preference to the Netherlanders; he suggested that the inner council be kept small, and, lest important matters should be delayed, that the Emperor should settle all pressing business as soon as he got up, if not actually while he was dressing. To relieve the pressure on the monarch and his Chancellor, he recommended that the royal secretaries be allowed partial, the Courts of Justice total, independence of action. Towards the end of the document he added that the king owed his especial gratitude, after his parents, to the Marquis of Arschot, lord of Chièvres. In conclusion he reiterated his belief that the true purpose of monarchy was to unite all peoples in the service of God.
On November 30th at Molins del Rey the Electors ceremoniously acclaimed Charles through a special embassy. Gattinara answered them with a dignity suited to the occasion. A few weeks later he received an embassy from the Austrian Estates. The Chancellor painted the new King in the brightest colours, and even in private conversations defended him against all unfavourable rumours. Yet we cannot but feel that the wish was father to the thought when he asserted, in praise of his master's industry, that he transacted important business even in the early morning, in his bed, showing an insight which often put his elders to shame.
A few weeks later the Chancellor produced his schedule of advice on the titles, coats of arms, seals and currency to be used by the new Emperor. Every document, he stated, should now begin with the formula: 'King of the Romans, elected Roman Emperor, semper augustus.' Other titles could come after. In order to forestall all possible complaints Charles should proclaim in Castile and Aragon that he intended in no way to lower the dignity and honour of these kingdoms, rather the reverse. The name of Queen Joanna, too, was still to be included after Charles's imperial title but before his royal one. In Germany his title should run: 'Roman King, future Emperor, semper augustus, King of Spain, Sicily, Jerusalem, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, the Indies and the mainland on the far side of the Atlantic, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Luxemburg, Limburg, Athens and Patras, Count of Hapsburg, Flanders and Tyrol, Count Palatine of Burgundy, Hainault, Pfirt, Roussillon, Landgrave of Alsace, Count of Swabia, Lord of Asia and Africa.' This grouping of titles by strict precedence of rank, rather than by lands or peoples, is typical of the outlook in accordance with which this new universal Empire was to be built.
Gattinara advised Charles to sign documents in future with his own name, not as in Spain, simply, 'Yo el Rey' -- 'I the King'.
As for his arms, he could in future carry nothing but the twoheaded eagle as the late Emperor had done; smaller shields could be grouped round it. Different seals could be used in different lands and by the various German chancelleries. But the Emperor must keep a great imperial seal for all secret or important transactions. This seal must be a royal seal, showing the Emperor on his throne with sceptre and orb, the imperial arms on the right, the royal arms on the left. There could be lesser seals for each department as well as a secret and counter seal for Burgundy with the cross of Saint Andrew, the flint and steel of the Order of the Golden Fleece and the device Plus Oultre; or else the device alone with the Pillars of Hercules. Spanish coins should bear Charles's head and the imperial eagle on the obverse, his mother's likeness on the reverse and the arms of the country. Moreover he suggested for Charles's consideration the plan of 'simplifying the currency in the Spanish fashion by making these coins valid throughout all his dominions'. Gattinara was doubtless dreaming of a Europe united even in the economic sphere.
CHANGED RELATIONS BETWEEN THE POWERS.
THE FIELD OF THE CLOTH OF GOLD
The election once completed every government in Europe was forced to reconsider its political connections. Francis I had boasted too much and, inadequate as his measures had been, they had nevertheless exposed both his pride and his political reputation to a heavy blow. On the credit side, the promise of marriage made by Charles to his daughter still held good. With this in mind, his advisers gave expression to a modified joy in Charles's election, which, so it was reported, 'had cost infinitely more than the French negotiations'. Francis I forced himself to accept the bitter-sweet consolation, and even sent his congratulations to Charles, who received them gratefully.
Even Henry VIII put a good face on his losses. He recalled 'his old and friendly relations with Burgundy and Spain'. Charles thanked him in seemly fashion for his supposed help at the election, as also did Margaret, on the occasion of the reception which she accorded to Richard Pace. In fact she had good reason to be grateful both for France's defeat and for England's attitude of apparent friendship.
More timorous than the two youthful secular rulers of England and France, the Pope was less able to simulate unconcern. Yet Leo X saw that French friendship might be rather a menace than a support to his position in Italy and much as he feared the Spaniards, he felt nevertheless drawn towards them whether he would or no. He could not altogether forget that the power of the French ruler of Milan was still unshaken. The numerous and often astonishing reports of ambassadors, particularly those of the Venetians, whose government was in much the same quandary as the Pope, reveal with merciless precision the devious course which led Leo from his first exaggerated hopes to his final obsequious acceptance of the situation. These dispatches are daily commentaries, not well-prepared accounts; walls, especially those of ante-rooms, have eyes, and it was soon observed that the French, English and Venetian ambassadors used the imperial elections as an excuse to stay away from the solemnities and feasts of the Vatican. The Pope for his part declared that these three powers must stand together with the Swiss, in order to counterbalance the rising power of Charles. He was anxious not only for the papal states, among which he would gladly have included Ferrara, but above all for his native Florence, where his nephew Lorenzo de' Medici, himself bound to France by marriage, had but recently died. For long enough he hesitated to confirm the fief of Naples to the new Emperor, for both ancient and modern decretals stood in the way, to say nothing of France's claim.
Commines had dated the rise of the Swiss as a European power in the sixties of the last century. Since the French invasion of Italy, their position had been generally recognized. The Confederation controlled, in its own subjects, Europe's best mercenary soldiers, and since the acquirement of Lugano and Locarno in 1512 it had a gateway to the Duchy of Milan itself. This was of the utmost importance for not only was the duchy hotly disputed between the Emperor, Venice and France, but it was of great economic value. Hapsburg and French embassies came simultaneously or close upon each other to the federal meetings held at Zurich and Baden. But for the time being the Swiss kept clear of all entanglements.
Peace with England and France was essential for the moment at least, so that Charles would be able safely to return from Spain to the Netherlands and Germany. Negotiations with Henry VIII were entrusted to the Bishop of Elne, Bernard de Mesa, and to the secretary Le Sauch. The English expectantly awaited Charles's visit, flattered by the belief that it would be the first official visit to be paid by the newly-elected Emperor. Since Charles's government, hampered by the rapidly waning friendship of France, showed signs of holding back, Wolsey exerted additional pressure. At the beginning of 1520 he himself openly encouraged French overtures and at length arranged that personal meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I which each of these spirited princes had long ago sworn to bring to pass. The new situation found immediate expression in the presumptuous note which was handed over by the emissaries of Francis I at Burgos on February 20th; in this the French King demanded no less than the immediate execution of the treaty of Noyon.
All this was not without effect on Spain and the Netherlands. The Hapsburg government in these countries wanted nothing less than a close understanding between the Kings of England and France. Charles therefore sent a distinguished embassy, the aged Berghes, Gorrevod, La Roche and Haneton, as well as Le Sauch and Mesa, as his ambassadors extraordinary to England, to announce his arrival. This was not enough for Margaret. She hurried to meet all English overtures with outstretched arms, immediately ordered Le Sauch to hasten on ahead of the others, to repudiate the original imperial offer to meet Henry VIII on the Isle of Wight and to accept instead Southampton, the place originally proposed by the English government for the meeting of the sovereigns. Prudently Margaret added that Le Sauch was not to let it appear to the English that these offers were the result of the recent rapprochement between Francis and Henry; for this reason she even deleted several sentences from the instructions originally given to the secretary because they emphasized points which she thought better suppressed.
And now, strangely enough, the political issue was altogether submerged by questions of mere etiquette. For the next weeks all efforts of English, French and Hapsburg diplomacy were concerned with the formalities of the meeting. There was no talk of Charles visiting France; it was agreed that he should land in England in mid-May, make the first official visit of his imperial reign there and then continue to the Netherlands. In the meantime Henry wished to go to Calais to see the King of France, after which interview he hoped for yet a second meeting with Charles. It was essential to clear up these points, with all the possible misunderstandings which might arise out of them, particularly in France. Delusive diplomatic letters had to be composed by all the parties concerned, whose suave tones should in no wise break the surface friendship of all parties.
Naturally several jarring notes were struck. Rightly Le Sauch thought it tactless of Wolsey when he interfered with unwanted advice in Charles's private affairs, proposing that the Archduchess Margaret should go to Spain as regent and leave Chièvres a free hand in the Netherlands. But the ruffled surface was soon calm again.
And now at last we have the answer to the question as to why Charles could barely wait for the dissolution of the Cortes in Spain; he was afraid lest he should come late to the meeting with the English King. But he had fair weather and in seven days he reached Dover. The Cardinal Archbishop of York had hastened to meet him; wisely the Spanish government had sought to content Wolsey by giving him one entire Spanish bishopric and a substantial part of the revenues of another, transactions for which the confirmation of Rome was even now being sought. On WhitSunday, May 27th, 1520, took place the processional ride from Dover to Canterbury, where the great royal meeting was enacted. King Henry with his Queen, Katherine of Aragon, was there, attended by her stepmother Germaine de Foix, now Margravine of Brandenburg, and Henry's sister, the dowager Queen of France, now Duchess of Suffolk. Here Charles met them with his splendid train of nobles from Spain and the Low Countries. The ladies played the gracious part allotted to them by the social convention of the time.
Many were the treaties which had already been projected; in particular that commercial pact with the Netherlands, so favourable for England, was extended for five years. But the outcome of the talks at Canterbury was the close compact of May 29th, the original of which has recently come to light at Turin. Certain details were held back in the conversations between Wolsey and Charles, for, after the meeting planned between the Kings of England and France, Henry and Charles were in fact to meet a second time, on June 11th between Calais and Gravelines.
Charles landed once again at Flushing on June 1st, journeying on the very same day by way of Bruges and Ghent to Brussels. On June 1st Henry too crossed the Channel with a suite of several thousand people in order to take part in that celebrated meeting with Francis I known as the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold'. The tents were of stuff worked through and through with gold thread, outward sign of the fabulous splendour with which each of the Kings and their followers attempted to impress the other. Once again, for three weeks on end, there was a spate of social entertainments and delusive, if not actually false, declarations of mutual devotion. The two Kings united in praise of the glorious days, of their long-expected pleasure in seeing each other. Above all the French King's mother, Louise of Savoy, excelled in gracious acts of courtesy. But Francis himself once surprised the royal friend of his heart, by coming to rouse him at daybreak and waiting on him at his levde, handing him his shirt. But apparently practical political discussions progressed not at all. Deep mutual distrust was on both sides barely muffled by the noisiest expression of its exact opposite.
Far more important was the final meeting of Henry and Charles between Calais and Gravelines. This meeting gave the lie direct to the fair words so recently spoken by the French and English Kings only a few miles away. The very sea-sands might have blushed, for unless we are much deceived Henry and Charles here openly discussed the Emperor's marriage to the English princess. When Henry sent a confidential note to Francis asserting that Charles had first approached the question, whereupon he, Henry, had recalled him to a sense of his obligations under the treaty of Noyon, we are only the more convinced of Henry's shameless duplicity. Nevertheless it is permissible to doubt the true warmth of feeling between even Henry and Charles. Talking to Chièvres, English politicians did not scruple to play on their ancient friendship with France, and Chièvres feared that the Field of the Cloth of Gold might not be wholly without consequences. Was Charles's position not in fact still very unsafe? There were enough people who did not scruple to exaggerate the bad news from Spain. And what might not be hidden in the heart of Italy? What in Germany?
ACQUISITION OF WüRTTEMBERG.
CORONATION AT AACHEN
The perennial shortage of money was the next trouble which the Court had to face. So far it has been impossible to gain any clear idea of Charles's finances. In spite of Gattinara's persistence, they were still hopelessly decentralized. A mass of government accounts, the detailed ledgers of the great banking houses, do not make up for the total lack of evidence as to the current relations of income to expenditure. Great sums were often raised from the banks against the pledging or alienating of Crown lands, but every embarrassment had its origin in the fact that the government lived not on the revenues which had already been collected, but on the perpetual mortgaging of future income, of domain lands and of mines. This, it is true, is the practice of almost all states at almost all times; but the sixteenth century was still dominated by the old system of private credit. The constant pull between the needs of the Crown and the loans which it had to raise at such short terms, was still felt as an oppressive weight on the personal honour and credit of the prince. Money could be gained from bankers, ministers and war-lords only at the expense of the State. The State itself suffered, for the extravagant journeys and gifts made by the Court immediately devoured all the current yield of the taxes, however high, leaving the demand still unappeased.
During the last months in Spain and the first in the Netherlands a cause hung in the balance which was itself an excellent example of this. This was the acquisition of Würrttemberg.
Taken at its face value the acquisition of Württemberg was a masterpiece of political insight and activity on the part of the Hapsburg agents. But the Court stupidly held back, for the council at Innsbruck was opposed to the whole Wtirttemberg negotiation from the outset for no better reason than lack of ready money: even the rich mines of Tyrol were already in pawn to the Fuggers. The Burgundian councillors acted very differently.
Immediately after the initial victory of the Swabian League, more emphatically still when Duke Ulrich failed to reconquer his land, they determined to secure the country for the House of Austria. Zevenbergen was once again the driving force. He himself probably dictated the more important dispatches since, several times, they diverge into the first person. The negotiations continued until February 6th, 1520, when a treaty with the League at last came into being. First of all Zevenbergen's chief object was to prevent the League from dividing up the land; later he thought of acquiring the whole for the House of Austria, against the repayment of the League's war expenses. For this project he sought the connivance of Bavaria. There was talk of three or four hundred thousand Gulden. But the penniless Court did not wish to have to raise such a sum. The ambassadors, therefore, of whom Zevenbergen had already risked a small fortune to secure Charles's imperial election, boldly decided to buy Württemberg on their own responsibility. The document which gives their actual reasons for taking this decision has survived, and is in fact the first State paper in the German language for the reign of Charles V. It is in itself a startling example of the way in which learned and well-informed councillors could force the hand of the government.
The arguments given were intended to disarm all possible criticism of the councillors' action, whether addressed to Charles, to Chièvres or to Margaret. They well knew that they had played high, but they were no less convinced of the inestimable advantage which they had secured for the dynasty. They knew that certain people, lords and nobles, who grudged the House of Austria this success, would be ready to blame them, asserting that 'it might well provoke a war or a revolt against His Majesty, if he deprived a ruling German prince of his lands and subjects'. The councillors argued, on the other hand, that Württemberg was so favourably situated between the scattered provinces of Austria, from Tyrol to the Breisgau and Sundgau, that only the possession of the whole was really valuable; that this very land with its resources and man-power was itself a guarantee 'that the princes and Estates should obey Your Majesty, and that the master of Austria could in future always be King of the Romans and Holy Roman Emperor' if he so wished it. If they lost the opportunity of securing the land, itself worth three million and popularly known as Switzerland's Bread Cupboard, if they even allowed the restless Duke to return, then they would have had to reckon with 'another Duke of Gelderland', a pensioner of the French King. The unprotected Estates of Württemberg for their part would probably fulfil an old threat, and 'join with the Swiss Confederation; thereafter they could not but draw Swabia and the Rhineland as far as Cologne -the district of the free cities -- into their alliance; so that the German land would become one vast commune and all authority would come to an end'. For this same reason it was equally important to keep control of the bailiwick of Hagenau, for otherwise the Decapolis 1 too 'would join with the Swiss; and what would then become of the city of Strasbourg may well be conceived'.
The Hapsburg councillors read the signs of the times with extraordinary insight. They were building as if by plan a powerful territorial state stretching from the mouth of the Rhine to the Upper Danube; at the same time they were effectively damming the rising tide of urban democracy. It was as if they had the experience of the Spanish communeros already before their eyes, and could foresee the coming troubles with the peasants and the smaller towns. For this reason they urgently advised the continuation of the Swabian League, rightly seeing in it a support not only for the Emperor but for the dynasty. In the same group of papers these councillors, noble and learned alike, gave clear proof of the manner in which they thought government finance should be organized. A 'born nobleman' should be appointed governor, they advised, a 'learned man Chancellor' with six of the rank of knights and a few fiscal officers to collect revenues and imposts. These could be farmed out if convenient and general expenses covered by the yield.
We cannot be certain whether the Court had any clear insight into the situation, or whether they merely accepted the accomplished fact of Württemberg's acquisition. But they retained the land for the time being, and with its possession the government was able once again to envisage an imperial policy reminiscent of the days of the Hohenstaufen.
Meanwhile Germans flocked to Charles's Court bringing with
1 The Decapolis: the Alsatian cities of Hagenau, Colmar, Schlettstadt, Weissenburg, Landau, Oberehnheim, Rosheim, Münster, Kaysersberg and Türkheim (TRANSLATOR'S note).
them a host of new and serious problems. All attention was now turned to the coronation. Charles's entry into Aachen was fixed for October 22nd, it was to be his Joyeuse Entrée into the Empire.
On a fine autumn day the Electors met their new King outside the town. Until that moment he had courted and made much of them. Gradually, now, his attitude was to alter. The young ruler saw for the first time the many princes of that Empire whose government was to be so great a part of his life's work. In the years he had spent in Spain he had grown up fast; he had even given occasional proof of independent ideas, and his meetings with the English King cannot have been without an effect on him. He had always had an impressive presence, and the impenetrable, somewhat haughty expression of his face gave him, in spite of his youth, the appearance of an unapproachable ruler. Added to this, he was attended by a suite of impressive magnificence, while the titles and promotion which he had it in his power to bestow evoked the wildest ambitions in the breasts of those who welcomed him. Silent and bare-headed, he received the homage of the Electors, giving answer through the Cardinal of Salzburg.
The entry into Aachen took place with military pomp: troops of horsemen were followed by counts, lords and three hundred foot soldiers under Francesco de Castelalto; next came the towncouncillors of Aachen with their white staffs; the Duke of Jülich, as the prince in whose lands the town was situated, attended in person with four hundred cavalry, the Electoral suites and the servants, pages and heralds of the Court brought up the rear, while largesse was scattered among the crowds. Among the halberdiers rode the great dignitaries of Charles's realms -Spanish grandees, knights of the Golden Fleece, princes and Electors in person. Before the King rode the hereditary great Marshal, Pappenheim, bearing the imperial Sword of State. Charles himself was in the midst, in armour and brocade, resplendent, controlling his fiery horse with a firm and practised hand.
That same evening he swore his Coronation Oath, the terms of which had been settled as long ago as July 3rd in Barcelona. If documents alone could bind a government then the German Electors had indeed done their part in protecting the Empire from the dangers of a foreign rule. By the terms which the elected Emperor now swore to uphold, he declared that he would guarantee the Electors and princes in all their rights and possessions, protect them against revolt whether among the nobility or the common people, and against hostile alliances and leagues. This latter clause was not to be taken as implying any prejudice to their own Electoral College, nor to its influence on the imperial government. The Emperor was to place only born Germans in imperial and Court offices, to use only the German or Latin tongue in official writings and negotiations; he was to call no Diet beyond the imperial frontiers, to introduce no foreign armies, and not to decrease but rather to increase the Empire by bringing back lost provinces.
Chosen by free election, not by divine hereditary right, bound by the terms of an exacting oath -- thus did Charles begin his imperial reign. The Electoral College and the many traditional leagues of the Empire had long converted the Diet into a mere Court of Arbitration. Whatever the outward appearance of his sovereignty, the Emperor was bound by the decisions of the majority.
Very early on the morning of the 23rd the coronation ceremony began in the great cathedral of Charlemagne. In accordance with the ordines of past centuries, Charles was first sworn, then anointed, robed, crowned and enthroned. Reiterating the formula 'Volo' -- 'I will', the elected Emperor swore in turn to preserve the ancient faith, to protect the Church, to govern justly, to safeguard imperial rights, to care for widows and orphans, to reverence his Father in God, the Pope. Turning to the congregation, symbolic representatives of the German people, the Archbishop of Cologne put the traditional question -- 'whether they would be obedient to this prince and lord, after the command of the Apostle?' Loud and jubilant resounded the people's answer -'Fiat, fiat, fiat.'
After receiving the crown from the hands of the Archbishop, Charles ascended the throne of Charlemagne, created certain knights and listened to the great Te Deum Laudamus. At midday the coronation banquet was held; in the evening there was a feast at the Rathaus. The Archduchess Margaret was present at all these solemnities and proudly indeed her heart must have throbbed to see the power of her dynasty thus gloriously confirmed. Three days later the Pope's consent arrived in Aachen, giving Charles the right to bear the title of 'elected Roman Emperor'.
GERMANY AND THE PROBLEM OF MARTIN LUTHER.
DIET OF WORMS
No greater event, and none more worthy of these beginnings, could have occurred than that which now ensued. For the young Emperor was immediately brought face to face with that important religious question, with which the fate of the German nation was inextricably bound up. A Diet had been fixed at Worms for the coming winter. Besides the usual constitutional questions and the voting of the money necessary to enable Charles to receive the imperial crown in Rome, it was essential that either at this Diet or earlier the Emperor should define his attitude towards a certain problem -- that raised by the Augustinian monk, Martin Luther. Grouped on Luther's side was not only the national movement which had hitherto openly supported the Hapsburg Emperor, but, driven by their own unmistakable interests, those very princes and towns from whom Charles hoped to gain concessions. The Vatican, which had worked so decisively against the young ruler and which still, to say the least of it, preserved a very guarded attitude towards him, did not tire of issuing complaints and protests against this declared heretic. Beneath these open contradictions lay hidden the fundamental oppositions of centuries, ready to cleave the world.
In vain to attempt here any picture of the German people's condition at this time; their feverish excitement was the outcome of a mighty desire, still but remotely conceived. Drinking greedily of the New Learning and of the historical knowledge which it offered them, they had become conscious of their own ancient and glorious nation; they had learnt of their own early liberation from the Romans and of many later conflicts between Emperor and Pope. Now, as never before, the whole people had access to pictures and writings, and this new preoccupation with life itself, a preoccupation in which the sense of history played an important part, spread throughout the land. Inexhaustible was the creative energy displayed in the pictorial representation even of spiritual things, while the now predominantly High German speech of the people, rich in picturesque colloquialisms, was imbued with a tense persuasiveness. Above all religious life was transfused with a new vigour; this was manifested in a new and intense sympathy of outlook, sometimes expressed with subtlety, more often with a certain crude strength. It was as though men sought to open the very heavens with their ideas and questions. All this was the outward expression of a strong and natural inner desire for life, waiting now only for its direction.
This direction might well have taken a political turn. Indeed belief in the Emperor's position had, in this last period so rich in imperial reform, often enough recalled the image of the mighty past. But if multiple and often contradictory political and material interests are to be led in a particular direction, there must be not only a firm conviction of the possibility of change, but above all some personal embodiment of the universal desire. In spite of all his charm of manner, Maximilian had failed in this.
Now, in this very autumn of 1520, Martin Luther flung himself on the mercy of the German nation in his bold appeal 'To the Christian Nobility'. Here he declared, 'God has given us a young and noble ruler to reign over us and has thereby awakened our hearts once more to hope'. But Luther was wrong. Charles, even less than Maximilian, was the leader of Germany's desire.
Tragic and fateful moment in the history of the nation! Now when she most needed a king who would knit her boundless power and ambition into one, she found a young ruler who had not one thought in sympathy with her own inner being. His heritage and his duty prepared him to act according to his belief in a purely dynastic world-Empire, and thus to oppose that very nation to whose leadership he had been called. Above all, he could find only in Rome the necessary pivot for his policy -Rome to which Martin Luther had but now renounced all faith and obedience.
Fateful both to the young ruler and his people was the tragic development which now began. The nation was to disintegrate at the very hour in which it had been ready to acclaim Luther as the single leader which it needed, in the spiritual sphere at least.
Passionately did Luther fight for the souls of his fellow-countrymen, and partly because he gave voice to their immediate griefs, partly because he lifted from them the terror of eternal damnation, they hung on his words. Listening, they dimly grasped that here was the quintessence of their hopes and fears, and here too a light leading them towards some universal concept, in which trivialities would be forgotten. They were ready now to smash the brittle conventions which bounded their religious and moral beliefs, to tear open secrets long sealed up, to arrogate once more to themselves the long-forgotten message of the eternal fatherhood of God. The rediscovery of a divine significance in life itself, derived from some elemental force, from some inner conviction of the idea of life, of work, of the family, of the State, may have been conconscious or unconscious; but it brought with it a new theology. Later it was to bring too the renunciation of political selfconsciousness, of unity and national power. For the sake of a remote truth, half seen through the ambiguities of delusive words, all these were to be foregone.
Yet there was a new theology too, for nothing acquires true sanctity without acquiring also a tradition. Theology itself is in its origins nothing more than interpreted legend. Men acted therefore under the cloak of theology. They spoke of truth and right. Truth was conceived of scholastically; it was something which could be proved. Right was formulated after the manner of the Church and the Empire; it was a form of social order. And now appeared the papal nuncio, armed with protests against the heretic, who, with all his forty-one theses had been recently condemned in Rome by the Bull Exsurge Domine. At Charles's Court this office of nuncio was to be filled not only by Carracciolo, but by a special ambassador, Hieronymus Aleander, a theologian as persuasive and learned as he was skilful. In the third week in September he was welcomed at Antwerp. Contrary to his expectation, the young ruler impressed him at once as a man much bound to the Church and of remarkable insight. He found help too among the Emperor's following; he spoke highly of the humanist Marliano, Bishop of Tuy, who had himself written against Luther. Soon at Louvain he was able to celebrate the first formal burning of Luther's writings. Charles ordered his chief chaplain, Alonso Manrique de Lara, to make a thorough examination of the Church in the Low Countries, having particular care to the Lutheran heresy. Later he permitted him to speak his mind very frankly on the subject.
Very different were the impressions of Aleander when he travelled in the suite of the crowned Emperor from Aachen to Cologne and farther into the Rhineland. His celebrated dispatches well reflect his varying moods of anxiety, irritation and fear. They bear witness less to the timidity of the Vatican than to the rising storm of excitement among people, knights, merchants and princes in defence of Luther. The Bishop of Liège showed him the challenging open letter written by Ulrich von Hutten, which the Emperor had secretly sent him; this horrified the nuncio. Thenceforward his journey was a path beset with bitterness and peril.
At Cologne he met the Electors. At that time those of the Palatinate and Saxony were thought to be the most dangerous. Aleander gained access to Frederick the Wise during Mass at the Franciscan monastery. He found the Elector himself a good and devout Catholic, but his suite more Lutheran than Luther. Yet he greeted the old prince reverently and with flattery well suited to the occasion, for he knew his reputation in the Empire. He demanded however that he should have Luther's writings burnt and hand over the monk himself to Rome. Only after a few hours did the Elector send back an answer -- a flat refusal. There had, he said, been many clumsy attacks made on his land and he did not deserve such treatment. He was in no way bound to Luther, but the man had submitted in all reasonable matters, and he himself would keep an open mind in the event of Luther's conversion before just and learned judges.
Frederick's answer closely followed advice which Erasmus of Rotterdam had given him by word of mouth the day before. All reasonable men, Erasmus stated, must feel that Luther was behaving reasonably when he declared himself ready to participate in a public disputation before unprejudiced judges. This very disputation was the great topic of the day. It was, too, in close accordance with the Emperor's election promise to condemn no German unheard.
The demands of the Elector reached the Emperor through Chiévres and Nassau. Charles was now playing a well-defined personal part in politics. Aleander being absent, he conjured the Elector saying: 'You are to bring this Luther with you to the coming Diet at Worms.' But Charles withdrew his offer of a hearing for Luther when representations were made to him that the time limit of sixty days set down in the Papal Bull had elapsed, even if the days were only calculated from the time of the Bull's publication at Wittenberg. Aleander's letters show clearly how the mood of the Court varied in response to the demands of the Estates, to political news from abroad, even to his own well-knit and timely arguments. Thus at one meeting of the Emperor's general Council -- that is of all his councillors, not merely of the Germans -- the ministers decided to issue a certain mandate acting on Aleander's advice. Later they failed to draw it up, the nuncio attributing this failure to their fear of offending Frederick the Wise. At this time Chièvres seemed to be in closest sympathy with the nuncio, while Gattinara shared the opinions of Erasmus, whom he deeply admired.
In the meantime, on January 27th, the Diet of Worms was opened, Charles himself adding a few words in German to his Chancellor's official propositions. Everybody was apparently in a good humour, although the Duke of Alva, as a Spaniard, was not permitted to take part. The Estates intended to answer the imperial propositions at once, but they abandoned the first speech which they had drawn up and in the end only answered the Emperor in part. The chief objects of their deliberations were the voting of subsidies for the journey to Rome, the organization of imperial government, and the payment of the judges in the Reichskammergericht. Besides these there were several minor matters connected with public order -- economic, administrative and judicial problems. They were also negotiating with the Swiss and French. All these concerns intersected and interwove themselves in multifarious patterns with the grievances of the German nation and the Lutheran question. Although here, too, the great lords wasted day after day in 'running and jousting' at tourneys, yet they achieved more in their four months' meeting than the Spanish Cortes had done in a year. In questions of civil government the imperial theory was almost wholly victorious. The Estates did not even demand, as they had done under Maximilian, that there should be a standing governmental body with its own president; they were content instead with the request that there should be some official government in Charles's absence, under an imperial regent. Both the Archduke Ferdinand and the Count Palatine Frederick were considered as possibilities. Charles openly formulated his own conception of the extent of his monarchic power within the Empire and it was accepted. He declared that 'our own honour and dignity is the honour and dignity of you all; it is not our desire and will that there be many lords, but one lord alone as is the tradition of the holy Empire.'
On the other hand Charles and his government came step by step to meet the Estates in the Lutheran question.
Fundamentally, the problem was different from those usually discussed at a Diet and Aleander reproached both Emperor and Empire for their weakness. Aleander would have been content with an imperial mandate only; but the Court felt that the agreement of the Estates was necessary. These contested the validity of any condemnation of Luther without a hearing. The protest led to a remarkable series of negotiations, in which the imperial confessor, Father Glapion, was actively engaged. Not that the Emperor had altered his fundamental beliefs; he was still governed by the idea of orthodoxy and heresy in which he had been bred. But he allowed his councillors a free hand to attempt in the most various ways to win over the Estates, or at the very least Frederick the Wise, while at the same time satisfying the nuncio. This latter feared Luther's appearance before the Diet as much for practical as for theoretical reasons. But it was precisely his appearance which the Estates wanted. With an eloquence only matched by his duplicity, Glapion explained to the Saxon Chancellor, Brück, that he himself had for long believed in the sincerity of Luther's projected reforms. 'I myself', he said, or so at least Brück reported, 'ask for nothing better than the reform of the Church, for which we now have a worthy head.' But Luther's book, On the Babylonish Captivity, had put him in the wrong. That at least Luther must withdraw; the rest could then be discussed. Much might be read into the Bible, much might be proved or contradicted; Brück should consider of it.
The Grand Chancellor Gattinara, Glapion and Aleander now tried other tactics; they tempted Nassau into their group. The negotiations, they said, could be postponed to some other place, say Ebernburg; this town was in the protection of Sickingen, by whose military strength they set great store. Glapion went so far as to declare that he had always told the Emperor that God would punish him if he did not take steps to reform the Church. Nevertheless Brück stood obstinately to that promise given by the Emperor to his master the Elector, that he would not condemn Luther unheard. Glapion protested that it would be impossible to find judges fair to both sides.
By imperial invitation on February 13th, Aleander made an impressive speech to the Estates. On the advice of his councillors, Charles was already determined to issue an Edict. Meanwhile this speech brought the matter in all its aspects once again before the Estates. At the very moment at which Aleander laid bare the weak points in their arguments with equal skill and knowledge, he was, unknown to himself, already facing a new world order. There were heated debates during those days: it was said that the Electors all but came to blows. On February 19th the Estates were still adamant: Luther must be asked to appear in his own defence, under a safe-conduct, 'for the need, welfare and the future of the German nation, our Christian faith and all Estates and Members'. This was the decisive day. In fact on March 6th, Charles V cited the Augustinian monk to appear, under a promise of safe conduct, before Emperor and Empire. Momentous decision, epoch-making alike for the dogmatic and ecclesiastical developments of the next generation.
What followed is general knowledge. The Chancellor Brück sent Luther a written list of arguments for and against his appearance at Worms. Luther swept aside all instinctive fear, even the very present recollection of what had befallen Huss on a like occasion. Courageously he made ready for the journey which was to be his great triumph. On April 16th he entered Worms, the people thronging the streets to see him. Great things were eagerly expected of the next few days. Yet Luther's first appearance before Emperor and Diet was disappointing. He pleaded, 'in a very low voice', for time to think. The chancy game seemed to be in Aleander's hands. Then on April 18th, Luther made his great speech. It was skilfully constructed, packed with knowledge, and capable of but one interpretation, and when, with the best intention, negotiations were once again opened with him, as they had been earlier with Brück, he stood by what he had said, immovable. He had warned the Estates 'not to burden the hopeful rule of a young Emperor with persecution of God's Word', and his decisive answer, given already on the 18th, ran in these words: 'So long as I cannot be disproved by Holy Writ or clear reason, so long I neither can nor will withdraw anything, for it is both criminal and dangerous to act against conscience. So help me God, Amen.'
Luther's valiant words are great in themselves. Yet this moment takes a unique place in the history of the world, because the young Emperor too realized that a mighty decision was at hand. Dominated still by the ideas of Church and chivalry which he had learnt in the Burgundian world of his childhood, surrounded on all sides by contradictory forces and advice, he had so far followed events only from the outside. But at this moment he took his place openly before the world, with a document which is recognizably the work of his own hand and his own brain. He had the original read in French and then translated. These words, uttered on April 19th, were the most significant expression of opinion to which he gave voice during the whole of his youth. 'Ye know', he declared, 'that I am born of the most Christian Emperors of the noble German Nation, of the Catholic Kings of Spain, the Archdukes of Austria, the Dukes of Burgundy, who were all to the death true sons of the Roman Church, defenders of the Catholic Faith, of the sacred customs, decrees and uses of its worship, who have bequeathed all this to me as my heritage, and according to whose example I have hitherto lived. Thus I am determined to hold fast by all which has happened since the Council of Constance. For it is certain that a single monk must err if he stands against the opinion of all Christendom. Otherwise Christendom itself would have erred for more than a thousand years. Therefore I am determined to set my kingdoms and dominions, my friends, my body, my blood, my life, my soul upon it. For it were great shame to us and to you, ye members of the noble German Nation, if in our time' -- and here he used the very words which the chief Court chaplain had impressed upon him -- 'through our negligence, we were to let even the appearance of heresy and denigration of true religion enter the hearts of men. Ye all heard Luther's speech here yesterday, and now I say unto you that I regret that I have delayed so long to proceed against him. I will not hear him again: he has his safe-conduct. But from now on I regard him as a notorious heretic, and hope that you all, as good Christians, will not be wanting in your duty.'
This declaration, translated into all languages, was immediately published. In Rome the Pope laid it before the Cardinals in the Consistory, and even the imperial ambassador, Don Juan Manuel, showed himself to be profoundly satisfied.
Thus did Luther and Charles take up their positions before history. The Emperor, just twenty-one years old, gave expression to his pride in his illustrious ancestry and his duty to his house. Opposite him stood the might of conscience, ready to attack his heritage. Between the ancestral and ecclesiastical pride, the deep sincerity of this apparently all-powerful ruler, and the profound and lonely grief of the reformer, strong in God alone, there could be neither compromise nor understanding.
On May 8th the council confirmed the Edict against Luther, which bears this date, although as late as May 12th the Emperor refused the nuncio's demands that he should sign it. Only after the close of the Diet on May 25th was it at length agreed on by a very diminished gathering, with the Elector of Brandenburg as spokesman; on May 26th it was signed and only then published in print.
In Greek tragedy the Chorus is often represented as seeing far into the future. At this moment in German history, the Chorus must have covered its face before the horror and bloodshed which the next century and a half were to bring upon the soil of Germany. Contemporaries guessed nothing; astonishingly enough all remained quiet at first in the land, until one day the waters, stirred at last to fury, broke their banks, first merely in sputtering streams, but gaining ever more in force and depth until the nation itself was submerged.
The Emperor and the Reformer alike withdrew from the open field of German politics. Charles threw himself into his first war, Martin Luther, protected still by his Elector, waited, gathering strength for trials yet to come.
Before the half-closed eyes of the young Emperor, lay all his lands, with their griefs and troubles. Gradually he himself began to play his part in their affairs. Plague at Worms had deprived him of his best adviser, Guillaume de Croy, lord of Chièvres. It had taken also Marliano, Bishop of Tuy, Diego Manuel and many others. Chièvres had played a decisive part in forming his master's political outlook; they spoke the same language. Now that he was gone the young ruler was left alone to work out his destiny as best he could, with a foreigner and a man with whom he was not always in sympathy -- that great statesman whose political perceptions embraced the universe, the Chancellor Gattinara.
HEREDITARY RIGHT AND WORLD EMPIRE
THE dominions of Charles V may be called a world-empire not only because they stretched over the old and the new worlds, but because of their international and Christian character.
Yet this Empire was not imperial in any sense of conquest. It was based on the most peaceful of all foundations, on the rights of a family. It was the legacy of Maximilian, the inheritance of the House of Austria. For this reason the dynasty treated family alliances and marriage contracts with exaggerated respect, nor was this remarkable for the progress of the state, even during Charles's lifetime and certainly beforehand, may be regarded as little more than a series of marriage contracts with their results. Charles himself, from the very time of his birth, had been repeatedly betrothed, Maximilian had anxiously sought to use his sisters to gain the neighbouring northern and Jagellon crowns. With painful anxiety Charles himself had kept watch over his eldest sister Eleonore. And now she had become Queen of Portugal, a land whose sovereign controlled the other half of the New World. The youngest sister Katherine, whom we heard of last with her mother at Tordesillas, had been promised, to further her brother's plans for the imperial throne, first with every formality to the electoral prince of Brandenburg, later to the heir of Saxony, the nephew of Frederick the Wise. But the old Elector, in spite of many guarded words, was to discover at length that the jewel was being saved to grace not an electoral hat, but a crown.
In fact the House of Austria and Spain was soon to engross every crown in Europe. Charles's aunt, Katherine, was Queen of England; his sisters were, or were to become, Queens of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, of Bohemia and Hungary, of Portugal and France. On all sides his policy was clear; he intended not only to strengthen such alliances and bonds of peace, but to gain prospects of inheritance in the near or distant future.
A symbol of the policy underlying Charles's world-empire is to be seen in that magnificent series of painted windows in which, some years later, Charles had himself and his family represented in the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament at Sainte Gudule in Brussels. Here, in window after window, as though raised mid-way between heaven and earth, they stand, in brilliant colour and ceremonial pomp, royal brides and bridegrooms, two by two, kneeling in adoration before the most sacred mystery known to the medieval world. Who but Charles could have planned and ordered this? Who but he could have seen in this ostentatious display of power, no more than the outward sign of his own highest mission?
THE DIVISION OF THE INHERITANCE WITH FERDINAND.
MARY IN HUNGARY. ISABELLA IN DENMARK
It was in accordance with this all-embracing theory of the dynasty that Charles now undertook to divide his inheritance with his aunt Margaret and his brother Ferdinand. The plan was not conceived without anxious forethought, nor carried through without inner hindrances; but it was conscientiously worked out and executed in the grand manner. The negotiations and correspondence which it entailed occupied the greater part of the years 1520 and 1521. Even against the will of the Cortes, Charles had insisted on Ferdinand's leaving Spain; he had moreover vigorously opposed all question of his candidature for the imperial throne. He had even refused to allow him to appear in Germany before the election. In all this Charles had been well advised. Soon after the election he began to busy himself once more with dynastic questions.
His chief adviser was Gattinara, and the first important note addressed by the Chancellor to the Emperor, immediately after the election, has survived. In this Gattinara began by exhorting Charles to fear God, to reverence the Queen-mother, to fulfil the testament of his forefathers and to act generously towards his royal brother. It is unreasonable in the circumstances to accuse Charles of political stupidity or of coldness in his treatment of his brother; there was undoubtedly a certain contradiction between the postulated ideal and the egoism and lust for power partly displayed by Charles, but this was no more than natural in a young and ruling prince. It is true that Charles sensibly modified the intentions of both his father and grandfather; he altered both the territorial extent and the financial burdens of the hereditary lands and tampered with rights of inheritance in certain single countries. Yet these actions were not dishonest attempts to rob Ferdinand of his just portion. Rather they were the essential and minimum precautions which could be taken by a responsible prince with new and very heavy tasks in front of him. The provision made for Ferdinand in the years immediately after Charles's coronation was bestowed on him both speedily and in full, without any outside pressure. The Viennese, it is true, broke into revolt, made their leader, Siebenburger, burgomaster, and with him as their spokesman, made a series of angry demands. But these riots cannot be supposed to have had any serious effect on Charles.
Let us once again take stock of the situation in the first months of the year 1521. Relations with France were extremely uneasy, reaching their worst moment with the departure of the French ambassador from Worms on May 22nd; negotiations with the Vatican were difficult and from Spain came news of a revolt, which, however stale, was nevertheless disturbing. Relations with England were still uncertain; meanwhile Charles was deep in argument with the German Electors and Estates, and last but not least, involved in the Lutheran problem, itself vitally connected with the demands of the Estates. It is thus more than comprehensible that he put off his brother's affairs at least until April. On April 2nd Ferdinand made his state entry into Worms.
Ferdinand was impatiently awaited by an embassy from Louis II of Hungary, the provost Hieronymus Balbi and Stephen Verböczy, sent specially to call to his mind the fact that the double marriage between the Hapsburg and the Hungarian dynasties must now be completed. In the meantime there had been a slight disturbance. Earlier on, Maximilian had over-excited the ambitions of the Hungarians by adopting Louis II and dropping hints about the imperial crown; for this reason Louis would sooner have bestowed the hand of his sister Anne on the Emperor than on the landless Ferdinand. But at last he had to yield to the inevitable. Rumours of the Turkish danger, like gigantic shadows, warned him to be discreet. On December 11th Anne of Hungary, who all this while had kept her Court with Mary of Austria at the secure and beautiful city of Innsbruck, exchanged rings with Ferdinand's plenipotentiary.
The next important move was to establish Ferdinand as a ruling prince in one or other of the Hapsburg lands. This was the least that could be done, seeing that he was to have as his bride the daughter of the King of Hungary and Bohemia. Ferdinand's apanage had to be found in Germany, for even his grandfather, Ferdinand of Aragon, much as he had cherished him, had never suggested that he should play a more important part in Spain than that of regent during Charles's absence. Neither could Ferdinand rule anywhere in the Netherlands, where he had meanwhile been completing his education, partly under the influence of Erasmus. Charles had been informed, probably by the province of Brabant, that division of inheritance was against the law in the Low Countries. This left only the Austrian lands, which Charles now made ready to divide, as they had so often been divided before. The acquisition of Württemberg had greatly enlarged their extent, but it had added a huge burden of debt. Over and above this the old debts of Maximilian hung heavy on dynastic finances. An attempt had been made to write off some of these against the bribes paid out at the election; others were still completely unfunded, such as the claim of Duke George of Saxony for the sale of Friesland by his father. Charles made himself responsible for this particular debt. The firm of Fugger, which had financed the election, was indemnified by grants in Tyrol. Charles asserted that he had used Aragonese money to acquire Württemberg -- a statement which was only half true. In any case the burden of debt and mortage on the whole inheritance, both singly and as a whole, was hopelessly confused.
Many points were left undecided. The payment of many debts was postponed. The negotiations over a so-called 'honourable' division dragged wearily on. Yet enough was decided at Worms for Ferdinand's Hungarian marriage to be solemnized at Whitsuntide at Linz on the Danube. Already on April 28th Charles ceded the five Austrian dukedoms to his brother -Upper and Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, with all their privileges. Carniola was, however, to be divided and Charles was to have control of the Adriatic coast, the important district between the Pustertal and Trieste, including the whole of Istria, for fear of trouble with Naples or Venice.
In May, Ferdinand made his state entry into Linz and celebrated his marriage. In his train were many foreign ambassadors, the Dukes Otto of Luneburg and Lewis of Bavaria and the three Margraves of Brandenburg. After magnificent wedding festivities the Austrian Estates acclaimed him at Ibbs on the Danube in June and at Graz in Styria in July.
These independent and self-willed Estates had little sympathy with a prince barely twenty years old and scarcely master of the German language; faced by Ferdinand's immediate demand for money it was hardly surprising that they made trouble. The people still underestimated the necessities of the state and overestimated the proportion of their money which was spent on the empty pomps of the sovereign. As early as the autumn Ferdinand re-organized the personnel of the administration, set up his own court of councillors, and began to raise a moderate army to help his Hungarian brother-in-law against the Turks. This done, he returned to the Netherlands to complete his negotiations with Charles. December 1521 found him in Ghent and in January and February 1522 the treaties were drawn up in their final form, which far overstepped the limits previously indicated at Worms. These Brussels agreements, which are in part doubly preserved, both in the Spanish and in the Austrian archives, may be divided into two groups, the public and the private treaties. At the first glance they seem unfavourable to Ferdinand and, as I have already shown, they have often been used to cast aspersions on Charles's brotherly affection; yet I cannot but feel that they are fundamentally straightforward. Not until he had been elected and crowned, not until he had attended his first Diet, could Charles regard his position in the Empire as definitely secure. Ferdinand could do him good service in the imperial government by acting as his regent and it was in Charles's own best interests that his regent should not be without personal power. Charles therefore enlarged his original grant by extending the boundaries of the five Austrian duchies to include those districts which he had withheld at Worms -- the Pustertal, Ortemburg and Cilli, Istria, the lands on the Carso, in M?tling, Mitterburg, Trieste, Sankt Veit, Gradisca, Tolmein and all the other parts of Friuli which Maximilian had won. He also named Ferdinand regent in all the adjoining lands, that is in the parts of Hither Austria from Tyrol and Vorarlberg to the Upper Rhine, including Württemberg. On the other hand the Emperor clearly saw that it would be unwise to renounce altogether and publicly his control over the Austrian lands. To satisfy his brother he did this only in the secret treaty of February 7th; Ferdinand in return renounced his claim on the heritable lands of Burgundy and Spain. In this treaty, too, Charles made over to Ferdinand his rights of inheritance throughout the Germanic lands of the Hapsburg dynasty. He even made over Alsace, Pfirt and Hagenau to Ferdinand for life, on condition that they should return to the Burgundian inheritance after his death. He thus as it were reverted to the policy of Charles the Bold, a reversion achieved at the expense of imperial unity. Later the same policy was to be developed by the Spanish Hapsburg in the Thirty Years War, when they seized the Palatinate in order to secure that line of communication between Milan and the Netherlands, which was of such immense strategic importance. For the rest, Charles and his advisers clearly revealed their intentions in these general treaties of 1522, when they added the clause that the treaty was to be kept secret for six years, or at least until the imperial coronation. Only after the formal coronation in Italy could Charles's legal position as Emperor be finally confirmed. After Charles's coronation, Ferdinand could be crowned King of the Romans. Thus Ferdinand too was to play his part in heightening the universal prestige of the dynasty; Charles himself was to attempt to increase that prestige even further by his later plans for the so-called Spanish succession.
Over and above the lands, Charles granted his brother the revenues which had been set aside for him by their grandfather from the Kingdom of Naples; these amounted to 50,000 ducats. In return for his renunciation of his other rights, Ferdinand received a further 10,000 ducats annually. The division of their grandfather's personal goods, as also of Maximilian's unfunded debts, was held over for a later agreement.
The division accomplished, Charles withdrew from Germany.
Over and above the fiefs in the Netherlands and the Burgundian circle, 1 he himself retained ultimate control over the Empire as well as the prestige which clung to the imperial title -- little more in fact than had once been held by an Alfonso of Castile or a Richard of Cornwall. The actual German lands belonged henceforward to the Austrian line, and Maximilian's family alliances both with the northern and the southern powers, both with Denmark and Sweden, Bohemia and Hungary, was to affect the Austrian branch alone. Their relations with the Danubian powers alone were to become highly important to their future expansion -- an expansion which was nevertheless very dearly bought. The Danish alliance, useless to Germany, became in the end merely an additional burden on the Netherlands.
A fortnight after the marriage of Anne to the Archduke Ferdinand, on July 8th, 1521, her Innsbruck playmate, Mary, was married in Bohemia to Anne's brother, Louis of Hungary. The thoughts of the youthful bride and bridegroom were troubled even during the wedding festivities with forewarnings of a disastrous future.
Their Court, no less than all Christendom, was filled with anxiety at news of a Turkish advance by land and sea; but a delay over the investment of Belgrade unexpectedly determined Suleiman to withdraw and when Rhodes fell on December 21st, 1522, the pressure on Hungary was temporarily relieved. Nevertheless the King and Queen returned from Bohemia to Ofen for a Turkish Diet in April 1523. Both were young and highspirited; the King, cultured and chivalrous, charming, but lighthearted and extravagant. The Queen appeared to experienced statesmen both more intelligent and more energetic; her portrait at Munich, done in 1524, shows, beneath the delicate and attractive contours, a certain virile austerity; the quality was to develop as she grew older. But what could the princess do? Born in the autumn of 1505, she was not yet within sight of twenty. Among the great mass of spiritual and temporal magnates in Hungary and Bohemia who outdid even the nobility of Burgundy and Spain in self-interest and self-will, the royal pair found inadequate support from the Chancellor, the Bishop of Erlau, Ladislas
1 The 'Circles' were the districts into which Maximilian had divided the Empire for fiscal purposes (TRANSLATOR'S note).
Szalkay, and the Archbishop and primate of Gran, George Szakmáry. All the more valuable were the services of the imperial ambassador Adrian da Burgo, and the statesman Sigismond von Herberstein, who had already proved his worth under Maximilian. Yet even in Hungary these two had to contend with the insidious and persistent opposition of a French ambassador. During the whole of this period Maximilian's policy in the Danube basin proved a more fruitful source of danger than of advantage.
Things were little better in the north, where Charles's second sister Isabella was married. Christian II of Denmark, Norway and Sweden was thirty-four years old and had already had experience as a ruler when, during his father's lifetime, he had been regent of Norway. But the circumstances of that regency, peculiar in themselves, had unhappily developed his rash and aggressive temperament. Moreover he brought with him to Copenhagen from Norway a companion whose presence augured no good to the young Queen. At Bergen the prince had been approached by the sly Dutch wife of an inn-keeper, Sigbritt Willems, and her handsome daughter, ' dat Düweken' -- the little dove; he took both mother and daughter with him to Oslo and Copenhagen. At first it was said that the young Queen received this half-educated countrywoman of hers as a great consolation in her exile, but her husband's open favours to the girl, accompanied as they were by harshness and ill-manners towards herself, soon made the situation unbearable. The Captain of the Guard, Torben Oxe, was alleged once to have taken his pleasures with the 'little dove' somewhat too indiscreetly; after her death in 1517 he was tried for his life. The same fate befell a gentleman attending on the Queen herself. But even after the 'little dove's' death, her mother, Sigbritt, remained the King's right hand. He was unlucky, too, in the men whom he trusted. They urged him on in his struggles against the opposition of the nobility, of Sten Sture in Sweden for instance, to unblushing violations of justice and bloody executions.
When Christian, who had hitherto been respected and liked -for when he chose he could be very charming -- suddenly demanded the remainder of his wife's dowry and military help against the Swedes, it was ill-received in the Netherlands. Christian had certainly chosen his moment badly, for the imperial election had left the Court deep in debt. Finding his demands unsatisfied he shamelessly applied to the French Court, and in fact received thence some very useful mercenaries. With a considerable army and six Dutch warships, he attacked Sweden and early in 1520 the three kingdoms seemed to be once again consolidated by the Union of Calmar. But instead of the amnesty which all expected, Christian fulminated indictments against both nobles and priests: two bishops, thirteen knights -- among them the father of Gustavus Vasa -- three burgomasters and twenty-six burghers were executed. Men reported shuddering that they had even been refused the sacraments.
That no attempt at Lutheran Reformation could flourish in the hands of so uncontrolled a prince is doubly comprehensible. The people received his measures with growing mistrust. Nevertheless he had the impertinence to seek out his imperial brotherin-law personally in the summer of 1521 in the Netherlands. Welcomed with all the splendour which became a knight of the Golden Fleece, he gave himself up for the time being to free enjoyment of all the pleasures which the wealthy provinces afforded him. At that time Dürer drew him; the painter was once even asked to sit at the high table when the King was entertaining his imperial brother-in-law. Christian was granted the fief of Holstein, but the possession of Lübeck and help against Sweden and the Hanse were refused. Margaret and her advisers had rightly emphasized the dangers to Netherlandish trade which must arise from participation in a northern war. True to his crude instincts, Christian worked off his anger at his disappointment on his young wife when he got home; time and again her piteous plaints assailed the Court in the Netherlands. But none of this in the least prevented her husband from relying on Charles's help and even increasing his vain expectations. We have not heard the last of his catastrophic career.
RISE AND COLLAPSE OF THE COMUNEROS AND THE 'GERMANIA'
Charles had been in the Netherlands since the summer of 1521. Here he was able for a short while to take his ease before returning to Spain. Here in spite of the signs of gathering storms and his own increasing worries, he was able to watch the gradual consolidation of his position and its effect on European powers.
Grave news from Spain had for long enough formed the background of all the decisions which he had taken. Charles had left the country on the eve of revolt. One cannot but admire the calm of a minister who, like Chièvres, allowed the young ruler, even with such prospects as the imperial crown before him, to travel by slow stages to the Netherlands and Germany, leaving the Spanish kingdoms without resources and in the charge of a weak prelate. Clearly Chièvres did not suffer from nerves. Yet he had exposed the Spanish kingdoms to far greater perils than he himself seems to have realized. The arrogance and self-advancement of the foreigners, the obvious haste of the Court to leave not only each kingdom, but the whole peninsula as soon as its demands were satisfied, had provoked an annoyance among the Spaniards -a proud people already conscious of their political and national entity -- which led on July 29th, 1520, to the formation of the Holy Junta and its demands for a special government of the land. The revolt broke out the more rapidly because the Spaniards were long used to schisms and conflicts, both between the separate kingdoms and within them.
Social disagreement between Grandees and towns, the latter led for the most part by small nobility, sharpened the conflict. Yet this also to some extent lightened the task of the Crown, for the two parties neutralized each other. Moreover many important towns in Castile, and nearly all those in the South were free of the movement. Aragon too knew nothing of it; but here this was cold comfort since Aragon and the whole kingdom of Valencia was in the grip of another revolutionary movement, social rather than political in its significance -- the German?a. News of this second outbreak was already filtering through to Charles. Collusive action between the two centres of unrest was never achieved, as far-sighted organization is never the strong point of revolutions. Nor did alliances with foreign powers come to anything. The King of Portugal, it is true, did once send the poor, forsaken government a considerable sum of money, but that was all. On the other hand the French government would gladly have fanned the blaze. But neither the fleet which cruised round Majorca, nor the war which France managed to provoke in Navarre, gave any real help to the revolt. The Navarrese movement was too late in any case.
But we must not anticipate. Internal as well as external causes combined to strengthen the royalists in Castile. The rebels, like the peasants in Germany at a later date, were unable to conceive of government in any but the traditional form. They demanded the 'old law'; they used the royal seal. They appealed to the King against the King's government; they even appealed to Queen Joanna.
It was indeed a critical moment in the history of the Comuneros when their leader Padilla, after seizing the castle of Tordesillas, bowed the knee reverently before the old Queen and asked for her help. Since they began by expelling the Marquis of Denia, whose presence she had always resented, the wretched Queen may, in some twilit moment of half sanity, have felt that they had indeed come to release her from bad dreams and bring back again a long submerged reality. She nodded graciously to them and listened to the speeches of the leaders with apparent patience, but every effort to induce her to action, nay to gain so much as a signature from her, foundered on her mental condition. Soon she relapsed into the old hopeless darkness.
Like the attempts to win over Joanna, the practical demands of the rebels seemed calculated rather to strengthen the King's prestige than to further their own cause. 'It is not the custom of Castile to be without a King', they complained anxiously in the Capitulos del Reyno of October 20th, 1520, to the absent monarch. Since the rebels thus attacked the evils and errors of the government in the name of the King himself, the regents saw the way to restore quiet. 'If the King comes back', declared the rebels, 'he can govern the whole world from these kingdoms, as his forefathers did before him.' The very first article of their demands reflected their respect for the dynastic principle, for it was an entreaty to Charles to take a wife. He should choose her, they added, 'according to the desire of his kingdoms' -- and everyone knew that they meant by that, neither a French nor an English bride, but the princess of Portugal.
They longed to see as his partner on the throne a native Queen only -- such a Queen as they had known in the time of his 'glorious forefathers', Ferdinand and Isabella. Doubtless they hoped that with such a Queen the simplicity of previous times would come back to drive out the extravagant ostentation of the present. If the King's absence were truly necessary, they asked that they might at least have Spanish regents. They demanded that taxes be lowered, that administration and justice be reformed. There was nothing new here; these were the same demands that had already been made by the Cortes and in the memorials of Charles's leading councillors -- even down to the appeal for better currency and the complaints of unjust government in the West Indies. They did not think that grants of royal land should be made to private people either in Spain or in the Indies; indeed these grants, the Mercedes as they were called, were more often the object of indignation than of greedy ambition. Actual practical questions of the day, there were few among their demands. Nevertheless they asked that the deputies to the Cortes might be chosen from each Estate and have their expenses paid, that meetings should be periodically fixed and freedom given to negotiate. They also asked that Antonio de Fonseca, the licenciate Ronquillo, and Gutierre Quijada, might receive condign punishment. They regarded them as responsible for the destruction of Medina del Campo, that great treasure house which had gone up in smoke when the Comuneros first came to blows with the government. Of the messengers dispatched to carry these terms to the Emperor, only one, Antonio Vasquez, reached Worms from Avila; he was arrested and although he was soon set free, his embassy was without success. The others did not dare to go farther than the Netherlands. Charles listened to their demands, even to those which had the sanction of the regent Adrian himself, with the utmost coldness.
And yet these complaints evinced nothing but the deepest reverence for the supreme, noble and righteous institution of royal authority. Although the deeds of the Comuneros were certainly less restrained than their words, their attitude at least was not unfavourable to Charles. After the manner of revolutionaries who are uncertain of their power, they suspected not only the royal officials but almost everyone, and they did not hesitate to act with singular brutality. On the other hand there were serious waverings and violent quarrels within their own camp between towns and individuals. Padilla himself was temporarily replaced by Pedro Giron; but this mood soon passed and the Grandee came back to his old place of leadership with Pedro Laso and others. It was Padilla who was received at Valladolid 'as if he were God himself come from Heaven'.
In the meantime on September 29th, Charles had appointed as regents, alongside Adrian, the constable of Castile, Don Iñigo Velasco, and the Admiral Don Fadrique Enriquez. The constable in particular soon gave proof of his remarkable energy. The troops of the Grandees and of the government gradually improved in order and discipline. The Constable made peace with Burgos in September and on December 5th reconquered Tordesillas. But the Junta moved to Valladolid and the worst time seemed yet to come. For at this moment there came to lead the rebels the ambitious Grandee and prelate Antonio de Acuña, Bishop of Zamora. His intention was to gain for himself at least the Archbishopric of Toledo, the see which had belonged to the great Ximenes himself and was now once again vacant since the death of the young Croy. Strange, unreal and fantastic scene -- this spiritual dignitary, this aristocrat, led troops of begging friars and peasants to waste the land and plunder convents, himself solemnizing mass in the dismantled ruins. Yet fundamentally this was no more than a sign of that general disorder which gives an outlet to social criminals, of whatever rank and birth they be. At Adrian's complaints, the Vatican intervened and appointed certain ecclesiastical judges. Strangely misunderstanding the personalities of the two men, they spoke at Rome in horror of the Bishop of Zamora as the 'Spanish Luther'.
But the hostility of the Vatican declined when the Bishop, by means of his good friends, the French in particular, laid counter-mines against Adrian.
The decisive action took place not in Toledo but in the very birthplace of the movement itself. Gathering recruits from all sides the Constable soon had larger forces than Padilla. On April 23rd he was victorious at Villalar, not far from Toro on the Douro; he owed his triumph largely to his superior numbers of cavalry. Padilla was taken and tried on the following day. On April 27th the victors entered Valladolid. In the autumn Toledo fell. The Bishop had fled, but Padilla's valiant wife, a sister of the great Mendoza, defended the town desperately until at last her strength failed and she took refuge, a wretched fugitive, across the Portuguese frontier. The Bishop of Zamora, seized on his way to France, was imprisoned at the castle of Simancas.
The victory was only just in time for the French troops in Navarre were gaining ground. Their leader was André de Foix, Lord of Esparre. With Lautrec and Lescun he was one of the three brothers of Françoise, Madame de Chateaubriand, who passed at the time for the reigning mistress of Francis I. Pushing his way across the Pyrenees, he took Pamplona on May 19th, Tudela on the Ebro on the 21st, and began the siege of Logroño. It was rumoured that the news of this advance completely cast down the distant Emperor. For if the French could stretch their dominion as far as the southern point of Navarre, they would drive a wedge between the Spanish kingdoms at their narrow end in the valley of the Ebro. But before Charles had further news from Navarre he must have heard of the victory at Villalar, which set free the Castilians and their troops against the French.
The Aragonese, too, determined to send immediate help. Esparre had to keep an eye on his own line of retreat; he raised the siege of Logrofio, but was caught up as he withdrew, and a little south of Pamplona at Noain, forced to fight. Here in a very bloody engagement on June 29th, he was utterly defeated. All Navarre was once again assured to Spain. Nor was the position sensibly altered by the attack made shortly after by Admiral Bonnivet on the border town of Fuenterrabia at the mouth of the Bidassoa. Fuenterrabia was not unimportant and the French held it for some time, but Navarre as a whole remained a Spanish kingdom with its own Cortes and Viceroy. The regent Najera was succeeded by Count Miranda.
At the same time the movement in Valencia came to a stand. The postponement of the royal visit and the unpopular measures of the government had strengthened the rebels, but the fundamental differences of the various Estates were far more marked among them, than among the predominantly mercantile rebels in Castile. The Aragonese struggle is reminiscent of the conflicts between guilds and burghers in the Italian cities of the thirteenth century; in Valencia there were nearly fifty guilds. Royal permission had sanctioned the German?a, which had appointed a council of thirteen, on the model of Christ and his twelve apostles. But the nobility, too, were organized and had received favours from the King: on the other hand they had had to stomach Charles's refusal to visit them personally and his appointment of Mendoza as Viceroy.
Mendoza spoke the guilds fair, but in the end agreed with the nobility in supporting the old order. The self-willed German?a was not anxious to withdraw again into political impotence; it demanded a voice in the city council. In these circumstances neither Diego Mendoza, nor his brother Rodrigo, although this latter had lands in Valencia and was therefore more popular in the country, could maintain his authority. A singularly spectacular revolt forced the Viceroy to fly from Valencia, first south to Jativa, then to the coasts, to Denia and Gandia, while the German?a overran the whole land. Jativa was taken by the troops of Vicente Periz. Under the title of Captain-General he pressed on into the interior, oppressing the wretched Moriscos, whom he found working on the estates of the nobility, as he went: with a mixture of religious and democratic fanaticism, his men baptized or killed. The constitution of the German?a had been originally devised for defensive purposes; now it had become a challenge to the whole state. 'The ideas of the nobility and of the heathen', asserted the rebels, 'belong to the past. The whole Kingdom shall live in peace and justice, as one brotherhood under one King and one law.' This attitude finally revolted the Grandees who collected their strength to defend themselves. There was no lack of serious fighting; it went on until the spring of 1522. In March, Vicente Periz was finally arrested and sentenced.
Events not unlike these took place in the Balearic Islands, particularly in Majorca. Here the rigid class division between peasants, labourers and artisans on the one side, merchants and nobility on the other, seemed to be sharpest and led, time and again, to bloody clashes. Don Miguel de Gurrea, regent for the crown of Aragon, had to surrender to the landowner Don Pedro de Pachs, who himself fell a victim to the infuriated mob. Only the well defended town of Alcudia, open to the sea, remained true to the nobles and merchants, who were able repeatedly to harry their opponents by bold sallies from the city. Using Alcudia as a base, the governor, with four galleys and the necessary troops, won back the islands; but this was not until after Charles himself had returned to Spain.
So desperate had been the condition of the Spanish kingdoms, both internally and externally, at the time of Charles's departure, so forlorn had been Adrian's cries for help from his powerless position in Castile in the autumn and winter of 1520-1, such incalculable dangers would have arisen had the French armies been better led or acted in closer conjunction with the rebels, that it is easy to understand the sense of relief with which Charles turned again towards his Spanish kingdoms in the summer of 1522.
ALLIANCE OF CHARLES WITH LEO X
Meanwhile the balance of European politics had shifted in the Emperor's favour in two important centres -- in Rome and in London. Both England and the Papacy stood between Charles and France, and both were gradually to be drawn into firm alliance with him.
The relations between Charles and Leo had been severely strained at the imperial election. The chief difficulty was that the Pope, a close friend of Francis I since the victory of Marignano, had so openly espoused his cause. Moreover Leo may well have hesitated to defy the tradition of several centuries, by sanctioning the union of the imperial and Neapolitan crowns, the more so since the Emperor in question controlled all Spain and the New World, together with richer possessions in the Low Countries than any of his predecessors. Nor had there been any real change in the attitude of France; here if anywhere the Pope could rely not only on ancient friendship, but could find the only really effective counterblast to the power of the Emperor.
Although it is impossible to unravel every detail of papal policy, the actions of Leo X are worthy of particular attention. Our knowledge will, however, only be complete when the whole correspondence of the Spanish ambassador in Rome, Don Juan Manuel, becomes available. We have already met this remarkable scion of the Castilian aristocracy. Unimpressive in his carriage and appearance, he was feared for his skill and determination.
Ferdinand of Aragon had hated him and he was obviously unpopular in the Netherlands. We do not know whether Chièvres sent him to Rome because he thought so important a position needed an exceptional man, or merely because he wanted to be rid of him. Whatever his reason Manuel had been continuously in Rome since his official entry on April 11th, 1520.
Prompted chiefly by fear of the new power, the Medici Pope had concluded the Concordat of Bologna with Francis I in 1516. Fear of Spain played its part, too, in his later actions. Nevertheless he could hardly forget that in 1512 Spanish help alone, in the teeth of French opposition, had restored his family to their rule in Florence. And the new French ruler of Milan was singularly unforthcoming in all territorial disputes -- in the problems of Parma and Piacenza as much as over the papal claims to Ferrara. At the same time he did not cease to bombard the Vatican with demands, as if the Pope had to consider the convenience of Paris alone in all Europe. These demands almost overstepped the bounds of decency when Francis I doggedly opposed the elevation of Eberhard de la Mark, Bishop of Liège, to the dignity of a cardinal, because the latter, who acted sometimes in unison with, and sometimes in opposition to, his brother Robert, had withdrawn from the French party. Moreover, as ruler of the papal states, Leo naturally regarded the Turkish danger as extremely grave, and he could not but see that the King of Spain and Naples, whose own dearest interests dictated the same policy, offered him the surest safeguard and the best defence. Although it was true that the Neapolitan coasts had since been plundered, Hugh de Moncada had defeated the pirates in May 1520. And above all -- little as this point has been emphasized in surviving contemporary accounts -- it was the obvious policy for the Pope to unite as far as he could with an Emperor who was clearly willing to stand his friend against that powerful Lutheran movement in Germany, of which Aleander had painted so fearful a picture. Read in full, some of Manuel's dispatches give an unmistakable indication of the part which this chief cause actually played in Vatican politics; it played a no less important part in the shadier movements of diplomacy. Manuel added a damping comment to the flattering papal letter which greeted Charles's declaration against Luther on April 19th. The flattery, he hinted, would have to be paid for in other coin. Leo's apprehensions at the Emperor's great power, may have been partially lessened by the apparent compliance of the young ruler; there is evidence to support the supposed saying of the Pope that the Emperor was a 'good boy'. Manuel even deemed it advisable to insist that the Pope treat the Emperor with greater respect.
Had the crafty Castilian exploited all the possibilities of the situation, it should not have been difficult for him to draw the Pope away from the French alliance and towards his master. Nevertheless the news from Spain was often very unfavourable and the Pope might well ask himself if it were wise to enter into an alliance with a disintegrating power. On the other hand the King of France had adopted so aggressive an attitude and spoken so often of his intention to invade Naples, that Leo would be forced to ask for a very emphatic guarantee from the Emperor before he could be induced openly to take his part. Neither Leo nor his representatives in the North had made head or tail of the interplay between France, England, and Burgundy since the spring of 1520 -- since those incomprehensibly contradictory meetings before and after the Field of the Cloth of Gold. This bewilderment was an important element in determining, or failing to determine, Vatican policy. Unless we are very much mistaken, the cunning director of English affairs, Cardinal Wolsey, whose ambition to stand for the Papacy was later to become a millstone round his neck, took part in this deception. He was himself surrounded by members of the cardinals' college, just as other influential cardinals were surrounded by the competing powers. The hope of an English marriage led the conscientious Charles himself to make a bold request to the Pope for absolution in advance for a 'possible future sin' -namely the dissolution of his French betrothal; politically overanxious, he would not admit the actual reason for his request. All these possibilities and considerations had their effect on Manuel, and there were times when both his hopes and his demands sank very low indeed.
But gradually the Pope leaned towards the imperial side. In the end it was he who openly asked for an offensive alliance against France, while the imperial Court, particularly during the lifetime of ChiU+ooE8vres, still hung back in fear. Not that Leo did not waver; once at least he made as if to accept the offers of the French ambassadors, St. Marceau and Count Carpi -- or so he let it appear. On the other hand the English were now definitely anxious to separate the Emperor from the French, and were pressing for a formal decision in favour of the English marriage -without however insisting on very drastic terms for the future. The true object of English policy was merely to unmask Charles's intentions to the French and thereby make a Franco-imperial alliance impossible.
It would be idle to deny that Leo's uncertainty, torn as he was between fear of France and fear of Charles, did much to inflame the desire for war on both sides. Leo himself needed war before he could grasp the true meaning of the situation. As the outlook for Charles both in Spain and in Germany brightened in the spring of 1521, so in Rome the hopes of the French King waned and those of the Emperor increased. Francis had signed treaties with the Swiss for the employment of mercenaries; in these the Swiss had refused to serve against the House of Austria and Naples. Francis on the other hand had expressly declared that they were not to be employed against Ferrara, a clause highly unpleasing to the Pope. Possibly it was this perseverance of France in the Ferrarese friendship which finally decided Leo. In any case Manuel was able to inform the Emperor on May 21st that the Pope had at length sent him the signed treaty, by the hand of Raffaelle de' Medici, while the secretary, Giovanni Matteo Giberti, had affixed the seal to it in his own presence. The original in the Vienna archives bears the date of May 28th and a note in the margin in the Pope's own hand -- 'This do we promise'.
This month of May, whose clouds lowered so darkly over the Emperor at Worms, broke in a shower of triumphs at its close.
The alliance between Pope and Emperor, although apparently confined to the political world of Italy, was in fact very farreaching. It included a guarantee that the rule of Francesco Sforza should be re-established in Milan and that of the Doge Antonio Adorno in Genoa; they in their turn were to find the money for the war. For the execution of their projects the Pope and Emperor proposed to employ sixteen thousand Switzers. Furthermore, Charles was to restore Parma and Piacenza to the Pope, to help him in the Ferrarese trouble, and -- this with special regard to Leo's plans for Siena and Florence -- to take the whole Medici family under his protection. Charles was also to make himself responsible for the Pope's spiritual welfare. In return the Pope promised to receive Charles and crown him in Italy, as also to give him help against the Venetians. The Swiss and the English were included by both participants in the treaty. A few days later Manuel announced that Leo had promised to invest Charles with Naples, in return for seven thousand ducats in interest and supplies of corn, should the papal states be in want. The act of investiture was drawn up on June 28th. We need not linger over the other provisions which included a grant of ten thousand ducats from the kingdom of Naples for Alessandro de' Medici, the son of Lorenzo, and ten thousand ducats for the Cardinal de' Medici from the revenues of the Archbishopric of Toledo.
Perhaps one should blush for a Pope who so avowedly showed himself to be no more than the head of the Medici dynasty and ruler of the papal states. But in the narrow limits of his interests he had made a movement which was to be decisive in European policy and which was in turn immensely to strengthen the imperial position. A life and death struggle between the Emperor and the King of France, or perhaps it would be truer to say between the Valois princes, Francis of France and Charles of Burgundy, was now about to begin in earnest; the moral support of the Pope for one or other of them was therefore of inestimable value. Even more important was papal support in Charles's struggle to control the Spanish Church. In centuries now long forgotten the soil of Italy had witnessed the struggle for the dominance of the western world. And even in the days of Ferdinand the Catholic, Louis XII and Maximilian, that conglomerate of states, to which the Holy Father of Christendom in his right as a temporal prince belonged, had been rightly regarded as the keystone of European politics.
But if we look for the driving influences within Charles's cabinet, which forced his policy towards Italy, we find only the Chancellor Gattinara. A whole year before, the English ambassador Tunstal had remarked on Gattinara's pre-occupation with Italy. Until his death the Chancellor never wearied in his efforts to effect the proper settlement of Italian affairs and to bring about war with France, regardless of opposition from the Burgundian nobility and even from some of the Spanish Grandees. In the private archives of the Albano family at Vercelli there is the rough draft of a third important, but unfortunately undated, schedule, in which Gattinara discusses the number of troops necessary for the war. He began with words which echo earlier formulae: since God has called Charles to be the first prince of Christendom and even Emperor, nay to be greater than Charlemagne, in the flower of his youth, it is fitting that he should turn his attention above all to Italy. Be he who he may, he continued, 'who counsels you to turn away from Italy and pursue your interests elsewhere, he counsels you for your own ruin and will bring shame and blame upon himself'. The expense of the necessary Italian campaign, he went on, would not be excessive. Nevertheless 6000 light horsemen would be essential for such purposes as reconnoitring, transport and requisitions, 2000 heavy armed cavalry for fighting, and 30,000 foot to give a decisive superiority in numbers. Over and above this, there must be fifty cannon with gunners, powder and two hundred balls each, as well as the necessary pioneers.
The inner necessities of the powers had thus carried them beyond the game of diplomacy to the grim earnest of war. The first half of those great conflicts in which Charles's life was passed did indeed take place on Italian soil. We shall trace the course of each new crisis as it arises.
Meanwhile the borders of the Netherlands continued to be a bone of contention in Franco-Burgundian policy, with England playing here the part which the Pope played in Italy.
THE FIRST CLASH WITH FRANCIS I
Judging by his memoirs, Gattinara regarded the disturbances in the Netherlands, in Gelderland, and on the borders of Luxembourg, which at this time diverted imperial policy, as having direct connection with the Italian invasion and the papal alliance. England, he tells us, offered to mediate but the French refused for, with an eye on Spanish troubles, their government still hoped for success in Navarre. But the end was neither as one side had hoped nor as the other had feared. Spain was quieted, Navarre cleared of invaders, and on the borders of the Netherlands Henry of Nassau and the Count of Werdenberg took Mouzon and besieged Mezières.
Meanwhile the French had already opened fire on Charles through their partisans. The French spokesman, Barroys, was still in Worms when hostilities broke out. Acting on instructions from his master, on April 22nd, 1521, he informed the Emperor and the Electors that the imperial ambassador in Paris, Philibert Naturel, had complained that the French in flat contravention of all treaties, were supporting Robert de la Mark, lord of Sedan and Duke of Gelderland, and the Crown-prince of Navarre, now in arms against Charles. The French King wished, however, to emphasize the fact that peace was his dearest desire since he was Charles's kinsman and neighbour, and his country needed commercial intercourse with Flanders. He pointed out that he had renounced the conquest of Naples, easy though it would have been with all his Italian allies, solely because he wanted peace. Moreover he had fulfilled the terms of the treaty of Noyon and paid Charles the necessary contributions from Artois; Charles, he added, had failed in his obligations. He could not therefore be justly called the aggressor. Besides he was innocent of participation in the affair of Robert de la Mark; he had even decisively opposed it and had told the Swiss that he would have none of it. In any case Robert was merely fighting for his just rights against the Seigneur d'Aimeries. Furthermore Francis asserted that he had even less to do with Gelderland. As for the Crown-prince of Navarre, he was wholly justified in attempting to regain the lands of his parents, for the Emperor had broken his word to him. In conclusion he announced that he had no choice but to assume that Charles's representations were meant as a challenge. He would act accordingly.
These propositions found no ready listeners among the German princes; they admonished France to keep the peace. Francis was unlucky, too, in having one of his letters to Count Carpi intercepted a few months later by the imperialists. Its contents flatly contradicted all his previous denials, for here he shamelessly declared that he was helping Robert de la Mark so as to occupy Charles in the Netherlands and prevent his interference in Italy.
Further that he had an army in Navarre, two in Picardy and on the Meuse. All these things Carpi was to explain to the Pope. Francis was apparently still in ignorance of Leo's final agreement with Charles.
As King of Naples Charles thus found himself in the same position in which his grandfather, Ferdinand of Aragon, had been in the year of the Holy League. At that time Navarre had been for the first time conquered, and Spanish power in Italy, in opposition to French, had been definitely established. Now once again the two parties and their allies faced each other as they had done in 1511; fundamentally England too was with them and against France. But in 1511 Burgundy had been able to remain neutral; now it had to bear the impact of the initial blows in this struggle for the control of Italy. Charles's very power was thus in itself a source of weakness. Now that they were a part of a world-empire, the Netherlands could no longer remain neutral, and Charles found that he was vulnerable in all too many places.
The war, which Chièvres had spent his life striving to avoid, had come at last. When he died at Worms in May 1521, it had already broken out. True that at that time Charles had accepted the offer of English mediation. True that neither side actually wanted war. It had been conceived rather as a diversion to be carried out in relation to the struggle in Italy and Navarre; campaigning in the Netherlands was permanently accompanied by negotiations which hindered the direct course of arms. The conflict dragged out in a formless series of defensive movements and counter-attacks.
Things should have been different in Italy. Here at least there was a comprehensible goal: the expulsion of the French from the duchy of Milan, and the seizure of Piacenza, Parma and possibly Ferrara for the papal states. Here, too, active forces were at work. The Pope had been working at this plan for months; so had Francesco Sforza, whose hereditary dukedom of Milan was at stake and who had at his side that energetic statesman Morone. Charles could thus hope for support in Milan itself, for troops from Naples, for Swiss and German landsknechts. Certain hindrances occasionally arose because the Swiss were serving in both camps, and the Confederation attempted to prevent fighting between its subjects by sending embassies and restrictive commands.
But for all that, both sides were now armed and approximately equal in strength. Over against the French generals, Lautrec and his brother Lescun, Colonna commanded the papal armies, Leyva and Pescara the Spanish and Neapolitan forces, the latter taking over when the armies were already on the march.
The situation in the summer of 1521 was thus still undecided. Returning from the Rhineland, Charles was at Brussels at the beginning of July, then in Ghent and towards the middle of August at Bruges. Gattinara had already gone to Dunkirk in order to take part in the peace conference which Wolsey had called with great éclat at Calais at the beginning of August. During these last days of idleness the Chancellor prepared for the coming negotiations by opening his heart to his master in a curiously paradoxical memorandum. It was, he said, difficult to choose between peace, which many ardently desired, and war against the enemy on both sides of the Alps. Making use of an allegorical symbol he took for his example the conflict between the seven deadly sins and the ten commandments. First he discussed the seven causes for avoiding war. It was an uncertain method of solution and involved a very great stake on a single throw. It should not be undertaken until adequate means were in the imperial coffers, which was far from being the case as Naples and Spain could give no help and the Netherlands were exhausted. Negotiations with Milan and Genoa were on an uncertain footing. The Switzers, in whatever army they were, might at any moment declare themselves the friends of France. The Spaniards had already withdrawn their army from Navarre at the behest of the Archbishop of Toledo -- an event which left Charles's honour unsmirched as Navarre was already conquered. Robert de la Mark had been quelled and the French had gained nothing by his rebellion, while the English were ready to make and guarantee a peace. Last of all, time was short, there was as yet no army on foot, and with September the winter would be already upon them and much cost and peril would have been undergone without hope of result.
On the other hand Gattinara raised these arguments in favour of war. The Emperor was bound in honour to the Pope. Furthermore Leo had shown real courage in declaring himself for Charles at a time when the French King had seized Navarre and was ready to make further conquest, while Naples had not even an army for its defence. If Charles were now to abandon Leo the disillusioned Pope might well withdraw the investiture of Naples and bring the whole Empire into jeopardy. A break with Leo would imperil all Charles's hopes of subsidies from the Empire, not to mention his revenue from tithes, benefices and the Cruzada. Moreover Leo would at once make friends of France and Venice, who in their turn would seduce the Swiss, and Charles would find that he had lost all his friends on both sides of the Alps. The army was already almost mobilized and no one would understand it if, at this eleventh hour, the Emperor let all his preparations drop. Besides which, Charles had a good cause; clearly God was on his side and to let the enemy escape would be to tempt providence. Once let the occasion slip, and those who had taken up arms for him would not be so ready to come a second time. His own subjects, who had shown themselves so ready to make sacrifices, would be disappointed if he weakened now and would think the less of him in future. Lastly it was the Emperor's duty to win honour and glory; now that Spain was quiet again, all the world was expectant. Italy was calling for his help, Germany feared and loved him, the Switzers were disinclined to oppose him and the enemy themselves were losing heart.
Naturally Gattinara saw to it that his ten commandments triumphed over the temptations of the seven deadly sins. He knew very well that his words would find no merely superficial echo in the mind of the young Emperor.
Very slowly Charles moved towards the assertion of his personal will in politics. As earlier he had, without himself realizing it, looked to Chièvres for guidance, so now he was guided by the no less fluent, methodical and expansive theories of Gattinara. He had not ceased to wear splendid clothes and take delight in knightly sports, but it was now as if the majesty of the Emperor sought and found expression in the trappings of a Burgundian nobleman. He still indulged in the pleasures of the table; it was a weakness for which his observant confessors were later to reproach him, thereby taking upon themselves the office of unofficial medical advisers. But already his chief interest in life was affairs of State. Daily now he sat from morning to evening in council. Henceforward he controlled everything personally. Once he even wrote to Wolsey that they would be able to do more in a day's personal conversation than their ambassadors in months. He was learning to be silent, to listen and to judge. He was anxious therefore about the war. He went personally to visit his troops and once apparently took part in their manœuvres. He listened carefully to the reports of Alva and Fonseca on the situation. This was in sharp contrast to the behavior of his buoyant and gifted adversary in France. He, on the other hand, never tired of uttering splendid sentiments, but even in moments of crisis preferred the pleasures of hunting parties and masques to affairs of State. His mother, Louise of Savoy, was universally recognized as the real ruler of France.
Gattinara, too, never ceased to show his master the best way of keeping his friends, of striking terror into his enemies, of preserving the loyalty of his troops and sending help to his commanders. The French had no general equal to the Count of Nassau, Gattinara declared; it would therefore be easy to conquer Tournai, Guise and Thérouanne. Charles, he advised, should try to gain some minor victory while the situation in Italy gradually ripened of itself. He must watch England carefully until Wolsey revealed his true intentions. The Pope might have good reason to hope that by next summer England too would be ranged openly on his side.
Gattinara judged both the Emperor and the situation with amazing accuracy. His advice was bold and from the financial point of view, as some have pointed out, frankly irresponsible. Yet in criticizing Gattinara we should not forget that the State loans of our own time are often raised with an even greater optimism than he himself displayed, on the future hypothetical revenues of the country. As things then stood, particularly in Italy, withdrawal was a political impossibility. Such a retreat would have strengthened Francis so much that Charles would never again have been his equal.
All the same the spreading war brought with it fearful distress on Charles's frontiers, particularly in Hainault and Artois. The Netherlands, too, suffered from the disturbance to their French trade and were forced to find not only the money but the men for the war. They had to sacrifice their sons to the murderous perils of warfare and camp fever, so that Charles's generals might complete the necessary operations for the siege of Tournai.
There were two chief scenes of action on the frontiers. One of these was near the lands of Robert de la Mark, that is on the middle waters of the Meuse, round Sedan, Bouillon, Mouzon and Mezières. The second was in the angle of the Upper Scheldt, the region so often disturbed by the Burgundian wars of old, along the Somme to the north by Cambrai, Valenciennes, Tournai, Audenarde and Ghent. Here, if full use were made of the navigable river, was the gateway to the heart of Flanders. And Tournai was therefore not merely significant as a town and a district, but as a barrier across the passage of the Scheldt. Here therefore was the centre of operations, and here the two Kings each appeared to play his minor part in the campaign. It was a heavy blow to the Emperor when, the valiant defence of the Chevalier Bayard proving too strong for them, Sickingen and Nassau had to withdraw from Mezières on September 17th, 1521. On the other hand Francis failed to relieve Tournai; he was bogged by marshes and rain in the plain between the Scarpe and Scheldt. The town itself had been recently well-fortified by Henry VIII before its return to the French. Nevertheless it yielded to the imperialists on December 1st.
The lords of Nassau, Gavre, Wassenaer and Werdenberg, the flower of the Burgundian nobility, had all come with their troops to assist in the siege. Against this defeat, the French could claim a small but significant victory; in that ancient scene of battle, not far from the coast, where Crécy and Agincourt had been fought, the Connétable de Bourbon had surprised Hesdin in Lower Artois, a little south of the long-contested town of Thérouanne.
WOLSEY'S NEGOTIATIONS AT CALAIS AND BRUGES
During all these stirring military diversions Wolsey continued to negotiate at Calais and Bruges. Our knowledge of his strange attempts at mediation is the greater in that we have not only exhaustive dispatches but numerous attempts to interpret his actions. The participants were long doubtful of the actual object of English policy. Yet in spite of deceptive words and the haze of ceremony which blurred the outline of all that Wolsey did, it is comparatively clear to us to-day. Henry VIII had begun early by bestowing favours on his nephew, the young Emperor; by now he had finally decided to wean him from the French alliance and to bind him to England by marriage. In ecclesiastical matters he stood by charles; he had but just completed his book against Luther, which won him the title of Defender of the Faith. In answer to Manuel's sneering comment that the title was nothing remarkable, since all princes were necessarily defenders of the faith, Gattinara had shrewdly answered that that was precisely what gave the title its value: it was a hint that all other rulers had fallen short in their duty. In spite of the inward sympathy between the English and Burgundian Courts and the generous help which Margaret offered, to further their understanding, Gattinara felt himself to be essentially opposed to Wolsey. It was only too clear that Wolsey was thinking chiefly of the honours and gifts which the Emperor might give him, and calculating that he would have a better chance of the Papacy if he appeared not as a pensionary of France, but with the imperial support. Yet in spite of this he took a great delight in playing his part of arbitrator, and it must be admitted that, in the interests of peace and English trade, he acted more honourably than he has been given credit for. His King had furnished him with extensive powers, in accordance with which on August 2nd, 1521, soon after his arrival in Calais, he asked Francis and Charles to submit themselves, in writing, to his judgment.
Naturally enough neither of them would agree to this. Yet since the negotiations might be the occasion of either losing or confirming English friendship for either party, both thought it good to enter into them. Wolsey thus became a witness to the showy playacting of the two Chancellors, Duprat and Gattinara, who now appeared before him, each attended by a staff of advisers and diplomatists, in order to hold a royal battle of words. Wolsey had skill enough neither to unmask his intentions too soon, nor to bind himself to anything. He appeared to listen with equal indifference to the extravagant demands and insolent speeches of either party.
The chief question raised was that of the responsibility for the war. Duprat set his life on the blamelessness of his King. Gattinara produced the intercepted letter to Carpi and declared that Duprat's life was forfeit. Duprat made new objections and
Gattinara then magnanimously asserted that he would not insist on the sacrifice of his life: there were better men than he. Nor did either party omit any form of dialectical argument or historic casuistry in the discussion of actual facts. Next they discussed whether a full peace or an armistice was to be signed, and if the latter for how many years or months and on what terms. In the course of these disputes Wolsey repeatedly found occasion to call a halt, to hesitate or to demand a more exact definition of terms.
In the meantime he paid a ceremonial visit to Bruges, ostensibly to win over the Emperor to a settlement in France's interests, but in fact to discuss with him a project for a close alliance and a marriage treaty. He came with all the pomp of a Roman Cardinal, did not even dismount to greet the Emperor and kept the ambassadors and nuncios who visited him waiting for a considerable time. To avoid problems of etiquette he met the King of Denmark in a garden. He expected Margaret to visit him before he visited her.
Charles called several secret meetings of his inner council. From the minutes which have survived, we learn that his advisers thought it essential that these new marriage negotiations be concealed for fear of offending Spain and Portugal, both of which countries they hoped ultimately to include in a definite offensive alliance with England. On the whole Charles's ministers urged him to postpone a final decision until England came into the open; conclusions could thus be put off until the end of next May, which was as well since no subsidies from the Empire fell due until August 1522. So spoke La Roche and de Mesa. But the Bishop of Liège, Eberhard de la Mark, said that England must immediately make herself clear; much might happen before the end of May. Berghes wanted peace at all costs. La Chaulx calculated that as Charles could not return to Spain until the end of April and would probably stay there some time, it would be already too late to move in 1522; war ought therefore to be postponed until May 1523. Haneton and Lannoy voted with the majority. Antoine Lalaing wished Charles to take his decision at once, even if he kept it secret. He went on to speak in some detail of Sickingen's operations before Thérouanne and Tournai. When these were completed the Cardinal could arrange his armistice; on the whole he thought it best that Wolsey and Madame Margaret should continue their discussions. Gattinara summed up the situation with his usual brevity. The Cardinal, he averred, still feared that Charles was privately negotiating with Francis; if he were given a guarantee that this was not so, he might be trusted to go on 'amusing the French with fair words' -- cheating them in fact. In the meantime Charles must act with force and decision.
His advice was taken. The Archduchess, always friendly to England, soon brought matters to a conclusion. Charles was to have Princess Mary to wife as soon as she was twelve years old and, as a guarantee of the betrothal, a close treaty was to be concluded. This treaty was to have as one of its clauses the demand that Francis should return to Charles all such land as the French crown had unjustly seized. Furthermore, Charles was to return to Spain by way of England and war was to be declared on France in May 1523. Wolsey received a substitute for his French pension, which now obviously lapsed, and a promise of imperial support at the next papal election.
The meaning of this demand for the return of Charles's rightful lands was still uncertain. Once again in Calais the imperial ambassadors discussed the matter hotly. Gattinara read out a catalogue of the Burgundian inheritance: Bourgogne and Auxonne, Maçonnais, Boulonnais, the towns of the Somme with Péronne, Montdidier and Roye. He demanded the fulfilment of the treaty of Arras and indemnification for losses suffered by Charles's grandmother, Mary. For Spain he demanded Narbonne, Montpelier, Toulouse and Languedoc; for Navarre nearly as much; for the Empire the kingdom of Arles, Provence, Dauphiné, Lyonnais, Beaujolais. To crown all, Milan, Genoa, Asti.
Duprat declared that this was not an offer of peace but a declaration of war. To this Gattinara replied that the Emperor was singularly modest in his demands. He might have asked for the whole of France, since Boniface VIII had promised it to the Emperor Albert. Duprat retorted that if the Emperor wished, by dragging in references to the Treaty of Arras, to dig up the murder of John the Fearless, he for his part would demand full retribution for the murder of the Duke of Orleans.
It is not absolutely true to say that these arguments were merely dialectical tricks and a waste of time. Each party raised questions which their opponents took seriously, and each party soon talked itself into believing in the justice of its own most extravagant demands. With Charles himself, this demand for all the hereditary land of Burgundy, gained a dangerous hold. Arguments grew more embittered, minutes and dispatches grew stronger in tone, as news came in intermittently from the battle fronts in the Netherlands, Italy and the Pyrenees. For all this while the war was raging. The Emperor's representatives were at last forced to lower their demands and to renounce even their claim for the return of Fuenterrabia. From time to time the Court gave way to despair. For a moment, even, Wolsey's negotiations for an armistice seemed to be the only straw left for them to clutch. Only Charles remained obdurate. To crown all Wolsey threatened to break off negotiations.
Margaret realized with horror that the achievement which had cost her such care and pains was drifting rapidly towards the abyss. In the middle of November she wrote with her own hand, in the greatest anxiety, to her confidant Berghes. ' Vous savez bien', she said, 'que j'ai toujours esté et suis bonne Englese; above everything in the world I desire the close friendship of these two princes. For long enough I had good hope, but now I am in despair. The Emperor has a will of his own and councillors who strengthen him in it. This very day he said openly: "I see that the Cardinal thinks he can treat me as he has advised my ambassadors to treat the French; he asks for things which are unreasonable and affect my honour. But he has met his match! I shall have no difficulty in finding a bride and he cannot sell me his princess so dearly." I entreat you, my lord of Berghes', Margaret continued, 'what can this mean? There is danger in delay but I would dearly love to have but two hours' talk with the Cardinal to set all right again, and show him where he has made a mistake. If I did not fear to make a false step I would long ago have written him a few lines with my own hand. I beg you to take action and to consult with Haneton what is best to be done.'
Often, although not always in his long career, Charles was to be justified in his obstinacy. This was such a time. Wolsey may have already wrought him to the pitch which the warlike King of England needed; or else the Cardinal was disgusted at so many months of useless argument. Possibly when the French helped to restore his old adversary John Stuart, Duke of Albany, to the regency over King James V of Scotland, Henry saw that he could hesitate no longer. In any case he, too, broke with France and on November 22nd -- a Papal grant of plenary powers having already arrived -- a secret treaty came into being between the Pope, the Emperor and Henry VIII. The original now in Lille is dated November 24th and the signatories extended a cordial welcome in their bond to the Kings of Portugal, Poland, Hungary and Denmark, and to the Duke of Savoy.
Amazing change of front! In the ensuing days Charles's selfconfidence blazed forth beyond all expectation and relieved Wolsey of much anxiety. On November 25th, 1521, the Cardinal had news that Milan had fallen; French troops had withdrawn and the imperial and papal troops taken possession. Tournai surrendered soon after.
A great and comprehensible glow of self-satisfaction suffused the young Emperor, who had so firmly refused to yield to bad fortune. For the first time in his life the skies were unclouded by anxiety. This must have been the time when Barend van Orley painted the portrait which now hangs in Budapest -- the only likeness of Charles which breathes a certain arrogance. Above the red doublet, under the olive green cloak trimmed with fur, the edge of a gold-embroidered shirt frames the Emperor's bare neck. The harsh-featured face is almost in profile, the blue-grey eyes with their green lights gaze into the distance. The prominent chin is raised in a gesture of challenge and the expression has grown firmer with the years. A jewelled black hat is pressed down over the thick hanks of his straight hair. The heavy chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece rests on the fur collar of his cloak. The left hand, bare of rings, is full of latent energy. The portrait shows the Emperor still scarcely more than a boy, still unscathed by the disillusionment of life.
In mid-December Charles returned to Brussels from Audenarde where he had lodged for six weeks. These weeks had also seen his brief liaison with Johanna van der Gheenst, of which was born the child, later to be Duchess of Parma. The incident was little enough in itself, a transitory flame which burnt neither long nor brightly. But the historian cannot afford to forget it when tracing the Emperor's gradual development towards maturity, his slow emergence from his natural reserve. From the beginning, he took the same care of his own child as his ancestors had done of the bastards of Burgundy, boys and girls alike. She was called after the Archduchess Margaret, and even in the smallest things the Archduchess saw to the welfare of her little namesake.
THE ELECTION OF ADRIAN VI.
CHARLES RETURNS TO SPAIN
The unmistakable tendency of English policy had not been the least important factor in directing the development of the French war on the Flemish border to Charles's advantage. All the autumn and winter news from Italy had varied from good to bad, swaying the negotiations at Calais, now this way, now that. But now there came a message which, of all the events of that winter of 1521-2, was to reveal to Charles his true mission. His old tutor and present minister, Adrian of Utrecht, was elected Pope. With the death of Leo on December 1st, 1521, the essential driving force of his last enterprises, undertaken both as Pope and as master of Florence, was diffused and lost. Adrian was a very different man. He fitted as ill with the Rome of the Renaissance and the arts, as with the Italy of Macchiavelli and Guicciardini. But the choice of Charles's most trusted confidant, his viceroy and Grand Inquisitor in Spain, for the headship of Christendom, without any personal help from the Emperor, bordered on the miraculous. Hitherto we have seen few of Adrian's written opinions in so far as they affected his relations with Charles; henceforward we shall be repaid fourfold for this lack. During the first months of his pontificate, both the spiritual teacher and the imperial pupil were inspired by a lofty conviction that they were the objects of God's special grace. This led them to the emphatic and mutual expression of their thoughts and feelings. The immense event gave rise to a flood of letters on both sides. The relations of Adrian and Charles were not exactly those of Gerbert of Rheims and Otto III, yet once again, as five centuries before, a time of great spiritual tension in the western world was marked by the miracle of a German Emperor and a German Pope, 1 each with theories for
1 Pope Sylvester II, Gerbert of Aurillac, was born in Auvergne. He was 'German' in the sense that he belonged politically to the Germanic Empire of his time (TRANSLATOR'S note).
the government of the world. Charles sent a close friend of his youth, the lord of La Chaulx, to greet the new Pope, and he boldly put into the mouth of Don Lope Hurtado Mendoza, the ambassador extraordinary who preceded him, the words: 'We hold it for certain that God Himself has made this election.' The words came from his heart. With his own hand he wrote to Adrian that their community of thought would enable them to do great things together. Mendoza, too, was to tell the Pope how much Charles expected of his profound learning and natural goodness, and how happy it would make him to receive the imperial crown from the hand of a man who was not only his countryman but had 'educated and taught him from early childhood'.
The horizon was but slightly clouded by the behaviour of Juan Manuel. The pride of the Spanish grandee and the skilful man of affairs, had led Manuel to receive the Pope, whom he regarded as a bourgeois priest from the Netherlands, with a letter, devout enough it is true, but overfull of pretentious learning and uncalledfor advice. He advised him, contrary to the custom of other Popes, to keep his own name of Adrian; above all he emphasized the great help which he and his Emperor had given at the election. Adrian, who was prouder and more easily offended than men of coarser natures deemed possible in persons of his spiritual gifts, showed that he was hurt and refused to be soothed in spite of numerous apologies. He answered briefly and dryly that he knew from Cardinal Santa Croce that the Emperor had not helped at all to secure his election. When Charles himself intervened, although he continued to complain, he declared that he did not doubt Charles's good intentions; but he did very gravely doubt Manuel's honesty, and from what he said it was clear that Adrian had a surprising knowledge of Manuel's underlying political motives. He wrote to the Emperor with his own hand, that it was his chief delight to feel that he had been called to his high dignity for no ulterior motives; 'for the sake', as he beautifully phrased it, 'of that purity and sincerity which both God and man have a right to demand of such occasions'.
Sometimes Adrian and Charles would discuss the most important questions in this almost familiar manner. The Emperor reminded his teacher that when he was still his pupil, he had told him that the French might speak fair and friendly but would seek in action only to outwit and deceive everyone. Adrian admitted that he had so spoken, but added with that fine sense of justice which is a quality typical of the Netherlander, that this was itself a reason to conceal his feelings from the French King and not to act as his personal prejudices dictated -- namely in the sole interest of the Emperor. Adrian's firmness and justice on this point was in the end to loosen the deep-rooted and almost inborn confidence between him and his pupil.
Adrian left Spain before Charles returned. Thus they were never again to meet. On August 7th, 1522, Adrian put to sea from Tarragona, landed in Ostia on August 28th and entered Rome on the 29th. Charles's departure from the Netherlands had been postponed in the usual manner and the visit of his Court to England contributed further to delay him. But now Pope and Emperor, native both of the Netherlands, stepped decisively forth to play each his part in world politics.
Before leaving the Netherlands Charles freed Flanders and Artois of all allegiance to the Parlement of Paris and made Malines their court of final appeal. Then, on April 15th, 1522, he appointed the Archduchess Margaret once again as regent and, as before, gave her a secret council, the conseil privé, and a financial advisory board. As president of the conseil privé he chose the experienced Jean Carondolet, lord of Chapuans, who had been born at Dôle in 1469. His father too had been in the service of Charles the Bold and had been Chancellor to Maximilian; the son held many rich benefices, including since 1520 the Archbishopric of Palermo. His portrait in the Pinacothek at Munich shows a man with strong features and a somewhat angular head; one guesses at an energetic and decided personality. His clothes were rich, his appearance well cared-for, and we know that he was a friend of Erasmus; this placed him at once, at least as to his outward person, in the courtly and intelligent world of the Archduchess Margaret. In the struggles with ministers and nobility which now began again, she was to find her chief support, besides Carondolet, in Josse Lauwereys, President of the Great Council at Malines.
After taking leave of the Estates General, Charles once again sailed for England. Here in the meantime the situation had at last cleared. Wolsey made one more vain attempt to evade war with France but at Lyons on May 28th the English herald delivered an ultimatum after which the English ambassador, Cheney, took his leave. Meanwhile in England Charles and Henry passed the time in jousting, the Chancellors in negotiating, and on June 16th the Treaty of Windsor was concluded, the secret articles following on the 19th. The terms were the same as those previously outlined at Bruges, saving only that the great joint invasion of France was now put off until 1524.
The Emperor had brought with him to England, for the amazed contemplation of his hosts, a certain singular object. This was a part of the almost legendary treasure of Montezuma. It had been sent first to Spain, thence on to the Netherlands, where Dürer himself had stood in wonder, contemplating the 'subtile ingenuity of men in strange lands'.
THE WEST INDIES. MAGELLAN SAILS ROUND THE WORLD.
HERNANDO CORTES IN MEXICO
This carries our gaze beyond Europe, beyond the Atlantic, to the farthest provinces of Charles's world kingdom. Not for many years to come did these far countries influence either the politics or the finances of Europe, yet their remote distance and their seemingly inexhaustible riches added exotic glamour to the already glorious Empire of the first Spanish Hapsburg.
We cannot guess the exact date at which the Indies assumed a meaning to Charles's mind. As a boy in the Netherlands, he must surely have heard of them from his Spanish teachers. And certainly when the Portuguese seaman Magellan, after failing to interest his own government, sought Castilian help for his projected expedition, Charles must have had some part in the government's decision to finance him. The decision had been taken at Valladolid on March 22nd, 1518. Even if the material value of perfumes and spices alone tickled the financial greed of the government, the decision to help Magellan did not lack a loftier significance. Charles's cosmographers too were interested in the idea of reaching the spice islands by way of the west. This purely scientific element was no less marked than the political apprehension that the expedition might lead to ill-feeling with Portugal. As was only natural, the Portuguese government was not ready to share her recently acquired and immensely profitable spice monopoly. After extensive preparations Magellan sailed from Seville with five ships on August 10th, 1519.
Magellan set out to find the Moluccas not by way of the Cape and Africa but in the opposite direction. Should the venture succeed he would be the first man to circumnavigate the globe -and he would have done it in the name of Charles V. The venture was bold in conception, difficult and perilous in execution, vivid and terrible in its course. The mere reading of a catalogue of events, seen through the eyes of one of the few survivors, drags the reader even to-day into the full tide of adventure and sheds over the life of Charles himself the lurid reflection of a terrible and unique achievement.
The crew had been hastily scraped together and, even before he passed the straits which to-day bear his name, Magellan had to quell a dangerous mutiny; by exerting that virile determination so characteristic of him, he proved that he was master. In October 1520 they passed the straits in the teeth of terrific storms. One of the ships could go no farther and turned back, but four pushed on and by November reached the open sea which, in gratitude, they named Pacific. They crossed this ocean too, landed on the southern coast of one of the Philippines, hence to reach at length the longed for cast Indian archipelago. Fearful indeed were the days through which they had lived -- long months of mutiny, hunger, disease and despair lay behind them. Now fulfilment was theirs. The natives seemed more ready to make friends with the newcomers than with the Portuguese whom they already knew. It was a proud and joyous moment for Magellan when the King and Queen of Cebu agreed to be baptized under the names of Don Carlos and Dofia Juana. The Spaniards set up a cross and held a thanksgiving service. With European chivalry they then offered their new friends help against hostile neighbours.
The casual undertaking ended in their leader's tragic death. Fighting in a native war, Magellan was killed, saving his men. All arrangements with the natives now collapsed. The anger of the Portuguese against interlopers in their sphere flared up. The return was almost more terrible than the journey out. Five ships had become four; four now became three, two, one only. After ghastly privations and hostile treatment on the coasts, the last ship rounded Africa and returned again to Spain under Sebastian del Cano. With him sailed Pigafetta, the chronicler of the journey. On September 8th, 1522, the Victoria, with all that remained of the crew and the booty, put into Seville. Received by Charles himself, del Cano received the reward for the deathless service of Magellan. Full of joy, Charles wrote on October 31st, 1522, to the Archduchess Margaret, telling her the great news -- how his ships had girdled the earth and what treasure they had brought back from the Moluccas -- cloves, pepper, ginger, cinnamon, muscat and sandal wood. In future, he said, he would make frequent use of this new route. He carried out his intention with the help of German shipowners and merchants, who played as large a part in developing the Spanish spice trade as they had previously done in the Portuguese. On February 14th, 1523, for instance, Charles particularly asked the men of Lübeck to support the enterprise. Inevitably some embittered wrangling with the Portuguese ensued. Finally a mixed commission of Spanish and Portuguese cosmographers and navigators was set up to determine whether the spice islands lay to the north or the south of that line of 180 degrees, which Pope Alexander VI had drawn in 1493 from the Cap Verde Islands, to mark the boundary between the possessions of the two crowns.
In the meantime the gigantic mainland of America with its ancient riches was beginning to emerge into European consciousness. The Spanish Indies had comprised hitherto only the islands which were ruled -- if ruled at all -- from San Domingo. On the discovery of the New World, hordes of ruffians, relying on European superiority in arms and the impetus of attack, had flung themselves mercilessly on the natives. Greedy for gain, contemptuous of all who were not Christians, they had already all but stamped out the original inhabitants. This uncontrolled plundering of a world, in which conquest and exploration were one, threatened to annihilate not only the wretched natives but the profits of the Conquistadores themselves. From sheer necessity the rudest laws of property and justice had to be applied. The administration of these customs, which were only gradually beginning to take their place as laws, lay economically with the Casa de Contratacion, the 'board of trade' at Seville, politically with the Council for India, the Consejo de Indias. Squabbles and complaints had forced Ferdinand of Aragon, even, to limit the number of native families who might be seized as Repartimiento. 1 But the actions of the private owners, or Encomiendas, as they were called, defied both justice and humanity; everyone concerned in the business winked at the faults of his fellows and the Letrados, or government officials, whom the Conquistadores hated, had no real authority.
Complaints piled up. For the honour of Spain and her kings, it must be admitted that if they could not give justice in practice, they did at least promulgate every kind of restrictive law. But a King of Castile and Aragon, even when he was Holy Roman Emperor to boot, could hardly administer a continent so large that fugitives from justice might easily disappear for ever. Once again the very extent of Charles's power was a cause of his weakness.
In 1515 the lay-priest, Bartolome de las Casas, came back to Spain and publicly condemned conditions so appalling as to make a mock of all morality. The hideous truth stands out not merely from his complaints, but more horribly still in certain graphic pictures of a still earlier date. These were the work of a young Indian, Guaman Poma, and are now to be seen at Copenhagen. Like the composers of Italian allegorical pictures in the fourteenth century, he tried to represent ideas in visible form. The Indian is shown imploring mercy while about him prowl jaguars, dragons, pumas, rats, foxes and wild-cats. These represent the Corregidores, high dignitaries, travellers, priests and officials, against whom the despairing Indian has no defence. They take all -- his land, his home, his possessions, his wife and daughters, his health and his life. Las Casas hoped to bring true Christianity and Christian principles into this hell, and to relieve the wretched natives by importing foreign slaves, but the Bishop of Burgos, Juan Fonseca, the chief director of Spanish policy in the Indies, worked against him. The problem remained unsolved. Ximenes himself set his strong hand to the plough in vain; he sent out three Hieronymite Fathers, but they achieved nothing. And so in 1517 the government intervened with its well-meant but fateful decision to replace the almost extinct native population by negro slaves. The idea was at once taken up. The earliest permit for the import of negroes was one of the many privileges granted to foreigners in
1 i.e. as each man's fair share (TRANSLATOR'S note).
the early years of Burgundian rule in Spain. The recipient was Laurent Gorrevod, who at once resold his rights to the Genoese.
After Ximenes and Sauvage, Gattinara gave ear to the lamentations of Las Casas. But Las Casas himself lost heart; the plaints dragged on from year to year, they echoed even in the demands of the rebellious Comuneros; but all in vain. Las Casas ended his days among the Dominicans on Hispaniola. His life work, a book entitled The Ruined Indian, rang out the last despondent knell over the work which had been useless.
In the newly discovered parts of the mainland of Central America it should have been easier to make a new start, avoiding the old mistakes. The coasts of Honduras were the first to be settled; soon bold attacks were made on Mexico, which borders it to the north. These lands, to which their conqueror, Hernando Cortes, gave the name of New Spain, were the seat of an ancient and advanced civilization. Of the strange conditions in which this part of the world became fused with the general history of humanity, we have innumerable graphic accounts; these are in turn elaborated by acts of State. In all, the bold personality of Cortes himself is the dominating figure. Almost from the moment of their arrival in Spain, the reports which Cortes made to Charles V belonged to the literature of the world. They were everywhere circulated in copies and extracts. In their mixture of recklessness, nay of heroism, with unutterable barbarity and callousness, they make the blood run cold. Rarely does the voice of history strike so harshly on the ear.
Born in 1485, Hernando Cortes is the most famous of all those Hidalgos whose very nature made them love arms and bodily exercise above all things. His father had been a minor cavalry officer. In his lifetime the Moorish wars ended, and he decided that his son should study at Salamanca. The blood of the young Cortes revolted against this enforced fusion with the bourgeois group of the Letrados. After several scrapes, the boy escaped at nineteen on a boat for the West Indies. Here he was offered land. But he despised agricultural work, he gained first a small post, then a larger Encomienda, finally reputation and wealth. His restless nature was still unsatisfied. Diego Velasquez, the governor, had advanced the bold young man only to be repaid by defiant insubordination. Reprimanded, punished, imprisoned, Cortes escaped, all in the most daring and romantic fashion. He was chosen to lead an expedition, then at the last minute passed over. But he himself collected arms, men and ships, and on February 20th, 1519, he set out for the conquest of new worlds.
Now began an epic Conquista. The anger and jealousy of recognized rulers was at war with the inherited self-will of their offspring. The intoxication inherent in independent and rebellious action, personal amazement at the unexpected course of events, the hugeness of the land and the terror so immediately spread by so small a troop, combined to increase the determination of Cortes and his men. They grew ever bolder, more reckless and more enduring, and with these qualities they acquired also a boundless lust for violence. The ill-armed natives, terrified of fire-arms, fled before them, even though far superior in numbers. Terrified princes and peoples accorded them ceremonious embassies, received them with humility and fear, giving them presents of gold and precious stones, of provisions and female slaves. All this, with the tropical heat, made Cortes and his men drunk with power and ambition. The 'white gods' overpowered the unsuspecting children of nature.
Cortes ascended gradually from Vera Cruz on the coast to the Mexican highlands. Here were many towns and rulers at enmity with one another; it was no earthly paradise, yet it was an ordered civilization. The conquerors shattered it like an earthquake. The natives often told them wrongly which way to go and who would stand their friends: sometimes this was done to lead them astray, sometimes in good faith, often enough out of illwill or fear. Disappointment, with Cortes and his men, bred resentment, anger and horrible vengeance. The rulers strove in vain to keep the uninvited guests out of the land. Cortes made answer that he came in the name of the greatest king in the world, of Don Carlos, and in the pursuance of his all-highest will. He had secretaries and notaries with him to take formal possession, to receive vassals, to make solemn treaties. He wrote to Charles himself as his vassal and obedient servant.
Cortes swept irresistibly on. By the way he sent an expedition to examine the columns of smoke which he saw rising from Popocatapetl, and he described with admiration the towns, temples, flower gardens and public institutions of the people. Yet whenever he met with the slightest resistance or misunderstanding, he killed and burnt with complete disregard for human life or civilization. His men would convert a flourishing village into a shambles -- and would boast of it.
At last they came to the capital; it was superbly situated in the midst of a great lake, reached by long bridges and fed by waters brought in pipes from distant springs, resplendent with towers, palaces and squares. There lived Montezuma. A strange and ceremonious meeting took place, at which, it was later alleged, that Montezuma had said that his people too had come as emigrants to the land, so that undoubtedly that distant and great Emperor was his true overlord. Cortes and Montezuma exchanged gifts; the Spaniard was splendidly entertained but remained on his guard. At every clash with the natives he had challenged them to accept Christianity and destroy their ancient objects of worship. Now he struck against irremovable difficulties. At length Cortes saw that he could put pressure on the people if he took the ruler himself prisoner. Accordingly he made overtures to Montezuma through his interpreter and led him off with all apparent honour to the Spanish headquarters. But the people were already openly suspicious. They were right, for Cortes used their sacred ruler partly as an adviser, but chiefly as a hostage.
Then suddenly a far greater danger threatened from the rear. News came from the coast that a second Spanish expedition had landed under Panfilo Narvaez. Narvaez came on the authority of Diego Velasquez, with more ships and men than Cortes, to demand an explanation from him. A rumour started and quickly spread that Cortes and his men were deceivers; their own lord was ready to abandon them. At this crisis the Conquistador showed his abilities at their best. With a handful of men he marched against the far superior forces of Narvaez, sent him a courteous embassy, stormed his stronghold with a few men, and took him prisoner as a rebel without further ado. His troops he then took into his own service. With extraordinary dexterity he thus maintained his position between his own countrymen on the one side and the amazed inhabitants on the other. The superhuman strength of the invaders had already profoundly weakened their faith in their own gods.
In the meantime revolt broke out in the capital where Cortes had left Alvarado as his deputy, a man unequal to the task. When the Spaniards laid violent hands on holy images and attacked the defenceless worshippers, the priests aroused the multitude. The Mexicans now defended themselves with the courage of despair, and Cortes himself, even with his reinforcements, could not control the situation. He was cut off in the island city, the dams blocked, the people threatening on every side. Cortes brought out Montezuma. All in vain. He spoke but his people would not hear him; instead they greeted him with a hail of stones. He died soon after, either of these wounds or at the hands of the Spaniards, for he was now useless. Driven by necessity, Cortes decided to leave the town. He intended to concentrate on repairing a single dam and to retreat in the night with his treasure and his men. But the enemy were far too angry to let the plan succeed. The retreating Spaniards were harassed on all sides and many of them slaughtered; long after they were to tell of the noche triste. Nor was this all. At daybreak they found their retreat blocked by the assembled manpower of Mexico under a new leader, gorgeous in feathers, gold and silver. The battle lasted for hours and all seemed lost when Cortes once again saved the day. With a few determined volunteers he broke the enemy ranks and attacked the leader himself; his death ended the battle. With reduced forces and many wounded, Cortes and his men made their difficult way to Tlascalla, which had remained true to them. Using the coast as a base, he armed again and in the next months won back all that he had lost and more.
In the midst of these events Cortes wrote his report of October 20th, 1520. To precede it, with the King, he sent some of Montezuma's treasure: impressive proof of what he had done, and pledge of his own return.
We shall have more to say of its effect on Charles. To judge by certain occasional utterances, and by the amazement they evoked in the Netherlands, the treasures did not fail to make an impression on the Court. Some of them Charles presented to his brother Ferdinand. To this day a part of them may be seen in the Museum für Volkerkunde in Vienna -- stupendous works of art and ingenuity, gold, precious stones and feathers. The Emperor was already on his way back to his Spanish kingdoms, where the Conquista was to keep him occupied for months to come. After some hesitation between the governor Velasquez and the rebel Cortes, he decided in favour of the bold, if insubordinate, conqueror of Mexico.
While he was still in the Netherlands, at Bruges on May 22nd, 1522, Charles drew up his first will, 'having regard to our coming perilous journey'. It was witnessed in England and completed, significantly enough, immediately before the continuation of his sea-voyage, on July 3rd, at the castle of Waltham, near Southampton. At this turning point of his life the Emperor stated once again his guiding principles. He surrendered himself to the protection and intercession of his patroness, gave order for religious services and foundations in his name after his death, and chose for executors to his will the lords whom he knew best, Nassau, Lannoy and Hoogstraeten, as well as his confessor Glapion and the treasurer of the Order of the Golden Fleece, de Blioul. Last of all he gave great thought to the place of his burial. Should he die in the Netherlands or near by, then he would rest with his grandmother, the Lady Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, in Nôtre Dame at Bruges. But should he at the time of his death have regained possession of the old French duchy of Burgundy, that duchy which he had claimed in his treaty with England, then he would rest in the Grande Chartreuse, near 'his' town of Dijon at the side of his forefathers, Philip the Bold, his son John, and Philip the Good. Should death overtake him on some distant voyage in Spain, then he would rest in Granada with his grandparents Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic sovereigns, and his father Don Philip.
Longingly Charles stretched out his hands towards the old duchy of Burgundy, which he yearned to win again. Yet his journey and his thoughts were alike fixed on the future -- on Spain. Here in Spain, among a people grown skilful and loyal in long conflict, the dominance of the world awaited him. Here in Spain he was soon to find the home of his heart, and here in Spain, of which he had thought so tenderly in this his first provision for his death, his bones were at last to rest.
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