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RISE OF THE AUSTRO-SPANISH EMPIRE
Charles of Austria, who became King of Spain and Emperor of Germany under the title of Charles V, was born at Ghent, on February 24, 1500. His father was the Archduke Philip, son of the Emperor Maximilian and of Mary of Burgundy, who, as the heiress of Charles the Bold, became Queen of Flanders; his mother was Joanna, second daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, to whose united sway all Spain was subject. By the early death of Mary her son Philip had become sovereign of the Netherlands while still a child. Joanna, his wife, became upon the death of her only brother and her eldest sister the heiress of both Castile and Aragon, and of the many important possessions attached to them, including the Kingdom of Naples and the "New World," then recently discovered. The prospects of the young Prince Charles were, therefore, of the most brilliant character.
But the boy who was destined to this vast inheritance was less fortunate in his parents. His father, who was commonly known as Philip the Handsome, was vain and frivolous, possessed of no capacity for affairs; his mother, who had never been distinguished for the strength of her understanding, was reduced by poor health, after the birth of a second son, Ferdinand, to a condition of mental imbecility.
In 1504 occurred the death of Isabella. Irritated by the conduct of her son-in-law, she had appointed Ferdinand Regent of Castile until her grandson, Charles, had attained to the age of twenty, when the Government was to devolve upon him. Philip entered into a contest with Ferdinand for the Regency, and succeeded in obtaining the position; but he lived only three months to enjoy the honor of being in effect the King of Castile.
By the death of his father, Charles, at the age of six, became sovereign of the Netherlands. The unhappy condition of his mother deprived him of all parental care, but the maternal place was supplied, as well as might be, by his aunt Margaret of Austria, and by Margaret of York, the widow of Charles the Bold. Soon after his father's death, Maximilian, who had assumed the Regency of the Netherlands, placed the young sovereign under the charge of two tutors, William de Croy, Lord of Chievres, and Adrian of Utrecht. The former was charged with his military training, and he aimed, not merely to make of his pupil an accomplished knight, but also to imbue him with that historical knowledge and statecraft which would be essential to him in his future career. To Adrian, who was a great theologian, was entrusted Charles' literary training. But the selection seems not to have been particularly fortunate. At any rate, Charles never acquired a sufficient knowledge of Latin to be able to write or to speak in that language of diplomacy, the Latin then holding the position of French at the present day. Yet, it is said, curiously enough, on good authority, that Charles in the course of his life became the master of fourteen languages.
In 1516, at the solicitation of the Netherlanders, Maximilian relinquished the Regency, and Charles, at the age of sixteen, was invested with the full rights of sovereignty. This event was followed by one of still greater importance, the death of Ferdinand of Aragon.
Since the death of Philip, Ferdinand had governed Castile in behalf of his daughter and her young son, Charles. When the will of Ferdinand was opened, it was found that he had conferred this Regency upon Cardinal Ximenes, the Archbishop of Toledo, and one of the ablest statesmen of his day. Ximenes at once entered upon the duties of his office; but presently arrived Adrian of Utrecht, who produced a document in which ,the young Prince had conferred upon him the Regency of Castile, in the event of Ferdinand's death. This seemed to bring Ximenes into direct conflict with his sovereign; still he maintained that until Charles appeared in person to assume the Government he was the legal Regent of the Kingdom. The result was a compromise a joint Regency though in effect the dominant character of Ximenes made him the sole ruler of Castile for a period of two years.
No sooner did the news of the death of Ferdinand reach Brussels, than Charles, notwithstanding that his mother still lived, looked upon himself as the King of Spain. After consulting both the Pope and the Emperor, he openly assumed the title. This action greatly offended the Spaniards, who maintained that in the existing state of things, the proper arrangement to be made could be determined only by the Cortes. Cardinal Ximenes was thus placed in an embarrassing position, for though he concurred in the general opinion he saw the advisability of yielding to Charles, who was the virtual sovereign. Accordingly, in spite of violent opposition in a council of the nobility which met at Madrid to discuss the question at issue, he ordered Charles to be proclaimed King in Madrid and through all the provinces. Ximenes had now a difficult part to play. The nobility hated him; but he acted with so much prudence and energy that, powerful as they were, they could do nothing against him. Yet their insolence was repressed and his authority maintained only by a demonstration of military force. He called upon the various towns of the Kingdom to raise troops, offering special inducements to enlistment; and though some of the cities refused to respond to his demand, he ultimately carried into effect his scheme of providing a strong national militia subject solely to his orders.
These troubles in Spain made obvious to Charles the necessity of his own presence in that country; and the cardinal himself strongly urged him to come and take possession of the Government. But, greatly to the chagrin of Ximenes, one of the first acts of Charles upon reaching Spain was to give the cardinal permission to retire from the cares of government to his diocese, and to instal in his place Adrian of Utrecht. Ximenes felt his removal keenly, for he was conscious that only his strong measures had secured the Kingdom for his sovereign. He was now eighty years old, and he did not long survive this cold, if not unjust, treatment. Charles learning of the cardinal's failing health, sent him a kindly letter. It may have soothed the feelings of Ximenes, but it could not delay his end.
The Cortes were now assembled, first that of Aragon, then that of Castile. There was much delay and hesitancy in both of these bodies over recognizing Charles as King; but both yielded in the end, though in Castile he was allowed the sovereignty only conjointly with, his mother. Then followed the granting of supplies--600,000 ducats, in the case of Castile. to be paid in three yearly installments and Charles was fairly established sovereign over the undivided Kingdom of Spain.
Now followed troubles. The people were pleased neither with the manner nor the conduct of their new sovereign. He was generally regarded as a young man of feeble capacity, who, after inflicting innumerable evils upon Spain, might fall into the same deplorable condition as his mother. But what was particularly offensive to the Spaniards, was that the Flemings whom Charles had brought with him monopolized the offices, and treated the nobility with insolence. Against Chievres the hostilities were especially bitter. Chievres was an able man, and an admirable minister; but he was possessed of the vice of avarice. He was charged with selling offices and he was believed to be amassing enormous wealth. And to this heinous offence he added that of giving the chief offices of the State to foreigners.
While the public discontent in Spain was at its height, word came that Charles had been elected Emperor of Germany. On the death of Maximilian (in 1519) he had become a candidate for the vacant throne, but he had a powerful rival in Francis I of France. The electors were the seven chief Princes of Germany, and to gain their favor both candidates made strenuous efforts. The choice finally fell upon Charles, though not until the crown had first been offered to, and declined by, the elector of Saxony. The chief objection to Charles seems to have been the great extent of his dominions, and a fear lest he might be tempted to use his power for the subversion of the liberties of the German Princes. But it was wisely concluded by the electors that in the existing state of European affairs a strong hand was needed, that a weak Emperor would bring contempt upon himself and might involve Germany in ruin.
The Spaniards were by no means delighted to see their King elected Emperor. It was seen at once that Spain would be reduced to the condition of a mere province, and would cease to be the object of Charles' sole care. Strong efforts were made to prevent him from leaving the country. The Cortes showed a disposition to refuse to grant him the supply of money for which he called to defray the expenses of his journey into Germany. At Valladolid a popular tumult was raised, and Charles in consequence adjourned the Cortes to meet at Santiago. Some of the deputies refused to attend, and when the needed money was finally granted it was under a protest from the absent representatives.
Charles now set out for Germany to receive the imperial crown. On his way to Flanders he turned aside to pay a visit to Henry VIII of England, whom he was most anxious to conciliate. He then journeyed by way of Flanders to Aix-la-Chapelle, where he was crowned with the usual ceremonies. Thence he proceeded to Worms, and presided over the imperial diet, which met in that city on the 28th of January, 1521.
By leaving Spain without having first satisfied the just complaints of the people and without having made a satisfactory arrangement for the Government of his Kingdom during his absence, Charles, in his eagerness to place upon his head the imperial crown, nearly lost by far the most valuable part of his inheritance He had left in command in Spain Adrian of Utrecht, his old tutor in the classics, a worthy man, no doubt, but quite incapable of managing a Kingdom in a time of turbulence; and turbulence soon began. When the doings of the Cortes at Santiago and the departure of Charles from Spain became known, a wild paroxysm of rage ran through the whole country. The deputies to the Cortes on returning to their constituents, were received with abuse and execration, as the betrayers of their country, and in many places their houses were mobbed and their lives were placed in danger. In Segovia the attack was carried a step farther, a deputy was actually hanged on the gallows between two thieves.
What was Adrian to do? He was a man little disposed to adopt strong measures; yet it seemed to him that to let this outrage pass unpunished, would be a virtual confession of the impotence of the Government, and would draw on it additional insult. One of his advisers recommended caution, pointing out that the Spaniards really had some grounds for being in a bad humor, and that they should be managed. But Adrian decided upon using force, and sent Ronquillo, one of the royal judges, with a considerable body of troops, to reduce Segovia to submission. The result was as might have been anticipated. The country was aroused. Other towns sent troops to the assistance of Segovia, Toledo, one of the most troublesome to Charles of all the Spanish cities, sent 1,800 men, and the number soon increased to 40,000. Ronquillo was in great danger, and a larger force was sent to his support, under Don Antonio Fonseca, whom Charles had made commander-in-chief of the Spanish army. Fonseca found it desirable to get possession of a large quantity of artillery and military stores, which were deposited in the town of Medina del Campo. In his attempt to take them he was opposed by the inhabitants of the town. In the fight which ensued the town was set on fire by his order, and a large part of it was destroyed; still the resistance was so stubborn that Fonseca was obliged to retire defeated.
This occurrence aroused through Castile the greatest indignation. At Valladolid the house of Fonseca was attacked and burned to the ground. That unlucky commander, after his repulse at Medina, had proceeded to Tordesillas, in order to get possession of the Queen; but he was foiled in this enterprise also; the gate of the city was shut in his face by the plucky Alcalde. Soon after Fonseca was removed from his command. Both he and Ronquillo, deeming Spain no longer a safe place of residence, fled to Portugal, and thence to Brussels.
The popular uprising quickly assumed the character of an organized rebellion. A leader appeared in Don John de Padilla, a patriotic and energetic citizen of Toledo. The first step taken was the calling of a Cortes which might fairly claim to represent the Nation. This Cortes met at Avila on the 29th of July, 1520. It was made up mostly of deputies from the cities and towns, but contained also some representatives of the nobility and clergy. It was desired by the leaders of the uprising to give to their proceedings as great a show of legality as possible. Accordingly, Padilla was sent to Tordesillas to hold an interview with the Queen. This object he effected without difficulty, and he seems to have succeeded in making poor Joanna understand who he was and what he wanted. At any rate she commissioned him Captain-General, and instructed him to take steps to secure the tranquillity of the Kingdom. The Cortes now removed its sittings to Tordesillas, and attempted to use the Queen's name for their purposes. For a while they seemed likely to succeed. The Queen seemed to understand what was wanted, and assented verbally to various propositions submitted to her; but she could not be coaxed into signing papers.
The Cortes, foiled in this attempt to use the Queen's name, now drew up a long list of grievances, to be submitted to Charles, and they also drew up a constitution limiting the power of the sovereign, reducing it, in fact, almost to nullity. Had this constitution ever been presented to Charles and been insisted upon, it would certainly have plunged the country into a civil war. But it soon became evident that the higher clergy and the nobility were opposed to the extreme measures adopted in the Cortes.
At first the success of the popular party the Comunidades, as they were called had been astonishing, and had been obtained without a struggle. Adrian, without money and without troops, was powerless. He could only write to the Emperor and describe his deplorable condition. City after city took part in the movement, Valladolid, the seat of the Government, with the rest. The Government was virtually dissolved; and though Adrian himself was well treated, some of his councillors were arrested and imprisoned. Spain was practically without a government; a reign of anarchy began, with the usual calamities and excesses. Valencia, in particular, suffered from the lawless rule of the multitude. The Viceroy was driven from the city and all the nobles and gentry, with their wives and children were compelled to follow him. A Government of the people was set up; a large military force was organized, and several other towns were induced to follow the example of Valencia.
And now set in a reaction. The higher classes became alarmed at the obvious tendency of the movement, and rallied to the support of the Government.
The first decided success of the royal party, thus strengthened, was the recapture of the Tordesillas and the Queen. But the struggle continued for a while, until Padilla, the leader of the forces of the Comunidades, was captured at Villelar, through the defection of his troops, who refused to fight longer for a lost cause. Padilla was summarily tried for treason, together with another leader, Bravo, and both were executed.
The victorious party of the King followed up its successes with prudent and commendable moderation. No disposition was shown to wreak vengeance upon the revolted cities. The severity of the reestablished authorities was satisfied with these two executions, which, indeed, were warranted by the law of Nations, for Padilla and his associates had undoubtedly been guilty of high treason. Upon none of the cities was any punishment inflicted. Even Toledo, the most offending among them, was left with all its rights and privileges unimpaired. The rebellion had destroyed itself by its own violence. All parties seemed disposed to accept it as a lesson of the danger to be apprehended from a violent disruption of the established order of things, and its ultimate effect was no doubt greatly to strengthen the royal authority, which at one time it seemed likely to overthrow.
Charles returned to Spain in 1522, and his first proceeding was to put the finishing touches to the settlement of the great rebellion. He issued a proclamation, in which he granted full pardon to all the common people who had been engaged in it; but from the general amnesty 200 of the more prominent actors, whom he declared to have been guilty of treason, were excepted and condemned to death. The greater number of these, however, saved themselves by flight, and others by money or influence bought their pardon and even a restitution of their property.
His next measure was to effect a constitutional change of the utmost importance both to himself and his people. Hitherto it had been the practice of the Cortes to state its grievances before it took up the consideration of the question of supply. Charles summoned a Cortes to meet at Valladolid, and this question of the order of business was made the leading one. Charles insisted that the question of supply should be disposed of before the presentation of grievances. There is no need to point out the importance of the change. Charles expected to be engaged in foreign wars, in which his Spanish subjects would have little or no interest, and he had no mind to be hampered at home by being obliged to purchase the money that might be doled out to him by continual concessions. The Cortes, weakened by the breach made between the commonalty and the nobility by the insurrection, found itself in no position to resist this demand, and yielded when it became apparent that Charles would attempt to carry his point by force if it could not be gained otherwise.
From this time forward Charles sought in every way to gain the good will of his Spanish subjects. He spent most of his time among them, residing at various cities in succession, that his presence might become familiar to all his people. He spoke Spanish fluently, and his manners either naturally or gradually became conformable to those of his subjects. His marriage with a Princess of Portugal, in 1526, was also agreeable to his people. The Spanish had little sympathy with his foreign enterprises, but the glory and power obtained by the Emperor was reflected in a measure upon them, and to some extent reconciled them to its cost.
Charles was always in need of money with which to carry on his vast foreign enterprises, and resorted to every practicable means for drawing it from the Spanish people. The Cortes was never convened except for this purpose, and since he held the whip-hand. over it, he could always extort from it something. It is not easy to form a correct estimate of the revenue which Charles derived from Spain. We know, however, that it was derived from four sources; (I) the royal domains, (2) one-third of the tithes, (3) a tax termed the alacava, and (4) a supply, or service, granted every three years by the various Cortes of the Kingdom. How much he de-rived from the first three of these sources, there are no means of ascertaining; from the Cortes he probably received about four million ducats annually. The amount of money extracted from Spain in the whole course of his reign was something enormous, and the greater part of it was expended outside the Kingdom. Indeed for a period of eighty years, under Charles and his successors, the wealth of Spain was exhausted in the prosecution of wars in which she had little or no interest. After the stream ceased to pour in from America, she became practically bankrupt. With the close of the Cortes held at Valladolid the constitutional history of Spain under Charles ceases. Thenceforward the theater of his action lay outside of that country.
We come now to the story of the life-long contest between Charles V and Francis I of France. There were several circumstances which rendered a war between these two monarchs unavoidable. In the first place, Charles, as sovereign of the Netherlands, was naturally an object of distrust and apprehension to a King of France. The Netherlands had formed only a portion of the possessions bequeathed to his heirs by Charles the Bold, the last Duke of Burgundy, the larger portion having been seized by Louis XI and annexed to France. Charles, the descendant and heir of the Duke, was in a position to contest with Francis the claim to this extensive province. In Italy there was still another subject of dispute. Louis XII, in conjunction with Ferdinand of Aragon, had captured Naples, and, expelling its native rulers, had made a division of the spoil obtained by an unprovoked aggression. But Ferdinand, by craft and force, had at last succeeded in securing the sole possession of Naples, and this Kingdom formed a part of the inheritance of Charles. The success of Ferdinand in outwitting Louis had deeply mortified the French pride, and any attempt to regain cat had been so ignominiously lost was likely to prove pular with the Nation.
Italy was destined to be the theater of the inevitable war. It began with a contest over Milan. Since the year 1447, the succession to the duchy of Milan had been a matter of dispute between the Sforzas and the Kings of France, on the grounds of certain provisions in an old marriage contract, and in 1499 Louis XII had succeeded in gaining possession of the city. The Duke had been taken into France by Louis, and had been kept in imprisonment until his death. His son had, however, succeeded in regaining possession of the duchy, which he held until 1515, when Francis I succeeded to the throne of France. The young monarch, eager to regain the duchy lost by his predecessor, crossed the Alps, and by a victory gained at Marignano, was completely successful. To secure his conquest, Francis entered into an alliance with the Pope, and also with Henry VIII, and in 1516 he concluded a treaty with Charles, the young King of Spain and of the Netherlands.
But no sooner had Charles become Emperor, than new political combinations began forming. The Pope, Leo X, decided to court the friendship of Charles and to cut loose from Francis. In 1516 he effected an alliance between himself, the Emperor, and Henry VIII, the purpose of which was to deprive Francis of Milan, and also to attack France itself. The Spanish and Papal troops invaded the Milanese, and with little difficulty defeated the French and compelled them to withdraw from Italy.
Two years later this alliance was strengthened by the defection from France of the powerful Duke of Bourbon. The Duke had a grievance a quarrel with Francis over family matters which led him to open a traitorous correspondence with Charles. Bourbon undertook to support Charles with all his dependants as soon as he should make his meditated invasion of France. The plot was discovered; the Duke saved his life by flight, and as a reward of his defection, as well as in recognition of his ability, he was put in command of the allied forces in Italy.
The Imperialists, having first defeated a French force sent by Francis into Italy, invaded France and besieged Marseilles. But at the end of six weeks, having failed to capture the city, they raised the siege and returned into Italy. Francis, at the head of a powerful army, followed them. He was bent upon recapturing Milan, but instead of marching directly upon that city, he laid siege to Pavia. The time wasted here gave Bourbon and Pescara, who commanded the Imperialists, a chance to concentrate their forces. They advanced to raise the siege, and on the 24th of February, 1525, was fought the battle of Pavia. The two armies were about equal in number. The French were defeated and fled in disorder, and Francis, fighting stubbornly with a few devoted companions, was taken prisoner.
And now came the question of the ransom of the captive monarch. Charles was not the man to lose so splendid an opportunity for reaping a political advantage. The price demanded for the liberty of Francis was the province of Burgundy. To surrender to Charles that extensive territory would be to reduce France to a third-rate power, and Francis would not entertain the proposition for a moment. He was induced to believe that in a personal interview he might secure from Charles better terms, and he consented to be taken to Spain, where he was placed in close confinement. Charles for a long time refused him a personal interview, though he wrote him very polite letters. Meanwhile, Louisa of Savoy, the mother of Francis, who acted as Regent, corresponded with Charles and made every effort to obtain more favorable terms. Francis was seized with a severe illness; his life was said to be in danger. Charles visited him in his prison, but he refused to talk -about serious matters and urged his prisoner guest to think of nothing but the restoration of his health. The sister of Francis, the Duchess of Alençon, received permission to visit Spain and attend upon her brother. She not only did so, but became a most active mediator for his liberation.
Francis had been kept in confinement for nearly a year before he brought himself finally to yield to the demands of Charles, and he did so with a mental reservation. He signed a treaty with Charles by which he bound himself unequivocally to surrender Burgundy, or to return to prison if he should find himself unable to carry out this stipulation, and, as a guarantee of his good faith, to deliver up as hostages his two sons, the Dauphin and the Duke of Orleans.
Upon these terms Francis was released. Charles would seem from the extraordinary precautions he took to bind him with oaths, to have had little faith that he would keep his promise, and Francis had certainly no intention of so doing.
The defeat and capture of Francis filled Europe with a dread of the power of Charles, and led to a new political combination. Henry VIII entered into immediate negotiations with the Regent of France. In Italy a close alliance for common defence against the Emperor was formed by the Pope, Clement VII, the Duke of Milan, and the Venetians, and a league was soon formed between these Italian States and England and France. The French Assembly, when the treaty made with Charles was laid before it, declared that thé King had no right to alienate any portion of the National territory, and about the same time the Pope released Francis from the oaths he had taken in Madrid.
And now an astounding event took place in Italy. The forces under the Duke of Bourbon were in a very disorganized state. Irritated by the long arrears of pay due them, they were on the point of mutiny. Bourbon, unable to meet their just demands, conceived the idea of appeasing them with plunder. The place selected for pillage was no less a place than the city of Rome. The appearance of the Duke with his army before the city was unlooked for, and the city was thrown into the utmost consternation. Still, some effort was made to repel the assailants, and Bourbon was himself killed in attempting to scale the walls. The command then devolved upon the Prince of Orange. Resistance was soon overcome, and the soldiery rushed into the doomed city. The Pope had barely time to gain a safe retreat in the Castle of St. Angelo.
The scenes which followed seem to have surpassed anything which had ever taken place on a similar occasion. The Germans, who composed the largest portion of Bourbon's army, and called themselves Lutherans, manifested their reforming zeal by subjecting sacred things and sacred persons to every kind of contumely. Cardinals and all ranks of the clergy were treated with peculiar ignominy, and the churches were pitilessly plundered. The Spaniards and Italians, if they did not take part in the insults offered to the Catholic religion, did nothing to prevent them, but were busily occupied in gratifying their avarice and their brutal passions.
The Pope, shut up in the Castle of St. Angelo, saw no prospect of foreign aid, and was soon reduced to the greatest extremity from want of supplies. In this condition the only course left was to enter negotiations with the Prince of Orange, now leader of the Imperial army. The Pope consented to remain a prisoner in the Castle of St. Angelo until the conditions, including the payment of a large sum of money, to which he had agreed, should be complied with. Thus, within two years, Charles had held as prisoner the King of France, one of the most powerful of the monarchs of Europe, and the Pope, whom all Christendom acknowledged as its spiritual ruler. When the Emperor heard of the Pope's captivity he affected extreme grief, declared that Rome had been attacked contrary to his orders, and directed public prayers to be made throughout Spain for the recovery of the Pope's liberty.
The capture of Rome and the indignities suffered by the Pope gave the Kings of England and France a plausible ground for a declaration of war against the Emperor. Italy, as on former occasions, was the chief theater of hostilities, and Francis now turned his arms against the South. Lautrec, at the head of 35,000 men, was sent to attack Naples. For a time he met with little or no resistance, for the Neapolitans detested the Spanish yoke as much as they had done that of France when she ruled over them. The whole Kingdom, with the exception of Naples and Gaeta, fell into the hands of the French, and it seemed almost certain that the two cities would soon be compelled to surrender. But Lautrec was not properly supported by his sovereign. Either from inability or negligence Francis paid no attention to his solicitations for supplies and troops. Moreover, just at this time Francis had the imprudence to quarrel with Admiral Doria, the commander of the Genoese fleet, who as an ally had hitherto coöperated with his land forces, but who now transferred his services to the Emperor. Disease and anxiety of mind so preyed upon Lautrec that he soon after died. His successor proved to belittle fitted to cope with the difficulties in which he was involved. Disease had thinned the ranks of his army; active operations were out of the question; he attempted retreat, but was met by the Imperialists under the Prince of Orange, and was compelled to make a disgraceful capitulation. Nor had Francis elsewhere met with any success to offset this disaster. He became heartily sick of a war which was everywhere adverse to him. Fortunately for Francis his desire for peace was shared by the Emperor, whose resources were just now in a deplorable condition. The terms of peace finally agreed upon at Cambray (1529) were that Francis should pay two million crowns for the ransom of his sons, who were still held by Charles as hostages for the execution of the treaty of Madrid ; that he should relinquish all his pretensions in Italy, and should satisfy the heirs of the Duke of Burgundy. As to the matter of the surrender of Burgundy, Charles still asserted his claim, but consented to waive it on condition that Francis marry his sister Eleanor, the Queen dowager of Portugal, and that their son, if they had one, should inherit Burgundy.
Although after his election by the German Princes and his coronation at Aix-la-Chapelle, Charles had entered into full possession of the Imperial power, he was not strictly speaking entitled to the title of Emperor until he had been crowned in Italy by the Pope or his representative. As soon as peace was established Charles proceeded to Italy and took up his residence at Bologna. It was in this city that the Cardinal of Cinque-Port placed upon his head the iron crown of Lombardy, and Pope Clement VII that of Emperor of the Romans.
Charles now visited Germany, where the troubled condition of affairs demanded his presence. The rapid progress made by Luther, and the daily increasing number of his adherents of all ranks, seemed to threaten the country with the calamity of a civil war, in which it would be necessary for the Emperor to take a decided stand on one side or the other. It was the great object of his policy to prevent matters from coming to this extremity. In this he succeeded. But his temporizing measures both displeased the Catholics and were so unsatisfactory to the Protestants that at last they entered into a league for their mutual protection, known from the place at which it was concluded, as the League of Smalkald. To relieve himself of the necessity of a constant attention to the affairs of Germany, Charles prevailed upon the electors to chose his brother Ferdinand King of the Romans, and as such Ferdinand was crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle. Against this act the League of Smalkald vigorously protested. They went to the extreme of appealing for aid in their quarrel with the Emperor to the Kings of France and England. It looked as though Charles was about to have trouble with his Protestant subjects, when a great danger which suddenly loomed up in the East had the effect of allaying the animosities of both Catholics and Lutherans and uniting them for a time in the defence of their common Christianity.
The Sultan Solyman had assembled an immense army, with the design first to attack Hungary and then Germany. Three years before this time Solyrnan had conquered a part of Hungary and had slain its King in the battle of Mohacz. The expedition which he now prepared was far more formidable, and might well inspire Europe with the gravest apprehensions. He had collected an army of 300,000 men, it was said. To act against this able and powerful enemy Charles and his brother assembled troops from every quarter, and the army which they succeeded in collecting, although numerically far inferior to that of the Turks, was still very large, consisting of nearly 100,000 disciplined soldiers and a vast number of irregular troops. With this army Charles set out to meet the invading host, while all Europe awaited the outcome of the campaign with breathless interest. Charles had never before commanded an army, but he had in him the elements of a soldier, and he proved himself a match for his able and experienced antagonist. He so managed his campaign as to come to no general engagement, and yet so to control the movements of Solyman as to afford him no opportunity of gaining even the most trifling advantage. Solyman finally deemed it prudent to retreat, not without having suffered considerable loss. He returned to Constantinople, and Europe again breathed freely.
Three years after this brilliant campaign against the Turks, Charles undertook (in 1535) another military expedition, which added to his laurels. The corsair Barbarossa, born in the most obscure position, had, by his daring courage and his naval skill, raised himself to the rank of a powerful Prince. Algiers was the first seat of his power, but by treachery and force he had succeeded in obtaining possession of the far more important State of Tunis. Issuing from this strong-hold with his fleets, he committed innumerable depredations upon the coast of Spain and Italy. Every year numerous prisoners were captured and transported to Barbary, where they were kept in the most cruel bond-age. Charles, finding his affairs in Europe in such a state as to permit his temporary absence, determined, in the interest, not only of his own subjects, but of all Christendom, to break up this nest of dreaded pirates. Espousing, for the sake of a pretext, the cause of Muley Hassan, the King whom Barbarossa had expelled from Tunis, Charles crossed the Mediterranean with a fleet of 300 sail, including galleys furnished by the King of Portugal and Pope Clement VII, and a force of 35,000 foot and 3,000 horse. Having captured, after hard fighting, the fort which protected the harbor of Tunis, and getting possession of the pirate fleet, he next defeated Barbarossa in battle, and drove him into the desert. Then, entering Tunis, he released the Christian captives, and seated Muley Hassan on the throne. Muley became, of course, the vassal of Charles, and, to make his allegiance sure, Charles stipulated that the fort should be garrisoned by 2,000 imperial troops. It was further stipulated with the vassal King that every year he should send the Emperor six Moorish horses and twelve hawks, as a mark of his dependence. All Europe applauded the commendable enterprise of the Emperor. Even Francis I had the grace, during the absence of Charles, to abstain from any act of hostility against him. The capture of Tunis added immensely to his fame, and the slaves whom he had liberated sang his praises throughout Christendom.
Soon after his return from Tunis, Charles again became involved in war with Francis. Milan was again the cause of their disagreement. The Duke of Milan had died without issue, and Francis took the occasion to revive his claim to the duchy. Having failed, in his negotiations with Charles, to make some arrangement whereby the duchy might be bestowed upon his second son, the Duke of Orleans, he determined to attempt to recover it by force. He began by picking a quarrel with his uncle, the Duke of Savoy, and attacking and conquering his dominions, that he might hold Piedmont securely when he should enter Italy. The Duke of Savoy appealed to Charles for aid. War between the two great monarchs was now unavoidable. The signal success of the Emperor at Tunis had inspired him with a high opinion of his good fortune and his ability as a general, and he anticipated, in the impending war with Francis, a still more speedy and complete triumph. He was at the head of a fine army of 50,000 foot, 5,000 horse, many light troops, and an abundant supply of artillery. In imagination he had already marched upon Paris, and imposed his own terms upon his unfortunate rival.
With this splendid army, Charles entered France from Italy on the 25th of July, 1536, exactly one year from the date of his landing in Africa. His confidence, and the boastful arrogance with which, in a harangue to his troops, he lauded himself, and laid claim to the peculiar favor of Heaven, is said to have disgusted even some of his own officers. He was doomed to a complete and ignominious failure. He had expected to win a great battle, and then to march triumphantly to Paris. But he found before him, in Montmorency, who commanded the army of Francis, an able antagonist, who fought him with new tactics which he was not pre-pared to encounter. Montmorency declined an engagement, but, retreating before him, laid waste the country. Charles, finding it impossible to force a battle, turned aside, and laid siege to Marseilles. It soon became apparent that to reduce this place would take more time than he could afford to spare, nor did Montmorency attempt to raise the siege. Charles now left Marseilles and advanced to Avignon, where Montmorency had established himself in a fortified camp. But no inducement could prevail upon the constable to hazard a battle, and Charles became convinced, at last, that nothing but a retreat from the desolated country could save his army. This retreat of Charles from France is described as one of the most pitiable of similar movements recorded in history. Its course was strewn with the dead and dying, while multitudes of sick, who could neither walk nor ride, were of necessity left behind. Many of the chief officers of the imperial army had died during this miserable campaign, and more than one-half of the army had perished. As soon as its remnants had reached Italy, Charles left it, and hastened to Barcelona, to concert measures for repairing his disasters.
The war was still continued for a time, though carried on in a languishing manner, for Francis showed no disposition to enter Italy, until, finally, the Pope used his good offices to restore peace between the two rivals. A truce for ten years was concluded at Nice, of which the chief condition was that Charles should retain Milan, while to Francis was given the larger portion of Savoy.
The terms of the truce having been arranged, the two sovereigns had a personal interview, and, soon after, they and their respective courts met and celebrated the happy event by a season of becoming festivities. The two monarchs, who had so long done their utmost to injure each other, seemed now, not merely to have dropped their enmity, but to have replaced it with cordial friendship. The project of a personal alliance was discussed between them, though nothing came of it, and the scheme was probably never seriously entertained by Charles. Yet, so eager was Francis to deserve the favor of his new friend, that, soon after the conclusion of the truce of Nice, he did one of the meanest things of which a monarch could be guilty. Ghent, the chief city of Flanders, impatient at the severe taxation and arbitrary measures of Charles, formed a design of throwing off its allegiance to him. The attempt was hopeless without foreign aid. The citizens of Ghent sent an embassy to Francis with an offer to place themselves under his dominion if he would protect them against the Emperor. Francis not merely declined the offer, but he disclosed to Charles the intentions of his rebellious subjects. He did more.
He offered Charles the privilege of passing through France on his way from Spain to put down the rebellion.
Charles accepted the offer of Francis, though apparently not without distrust, which proved, however, to have been ill-grounded. Upon entering France he was received with the greatest honors by the two sons of Francis and the constable Montmorency. He journeyed toward Paris, and before reaching that city he was met by his royal host, who treated him with the highest demonstrations of respect. The two monarchs entered Paris together, and Charles was everywhere received with the same honors which were paid to the King himself. The Emperor remained some time in France, and during his visit there was a succession of fêtes, princes and courtiers doing their best to make him pass his time agreeably. Then he continued on his way to Ghent, and punished the conspirators.
The capture of Tunis had not put an end to piracy. Hassan-Aga, who had served under Barbarossa, had established himself in Algiers, and had made his name as terrible to the Christians as had Barbarossa. Charles determined to destroy this new den of pirates, but his expedition against Algiers proved a disastrous failure. Contrary to the advice of Admiral Doria, he sailed for Algiers at a late season of the year. After his troops had landed, a violent storm arose, which caused the greatest suffering and despondency in his own camp, _ while, at the same time, it raised the hopes of the enemy. The Moors attacked the camp with the greatest fury. They were at last repulsed, but not until they had slain many men and created general consternation. But worse had been the effect of the storm at sea. Fifteen ships of war and 140 transports were wrecked, with a great loss both of men and military stores. After this disaster no other course was open to the Emperor but to accept defeat and to return to Spain.
The peace established by the truce of Nice was not of long duration. Francis had not yet given up the hope of obtaining Milan. But Charles, in spite of his professed friendship, refused to make with him any acceptable arrangement respecting it. Francis, deciding that the enmity of the Emperor was preferable to his friendship, entered into an alliance against him with the Sultan and the Venetians. Two of his envoys on their way to Venice were assassinated by order of the Viceroy of Milan, and when Charles refused to give satisfaction for the outrage, Francis declared war against him.
Francis put five armies into the field; but nowhere in the first campaign were any great successes won on either side. In the second year Charles formed an alliance with Henry VIII, the avowed object of which was the partition of France. Charles claimed Burgundy, and Henry was to have the rest. In pursuance of this arrangement, Henry VIII attacked the north of France, in 1544, and captured Boulogne. Charles, on his side, laid siege to St. Dizier, which he at length succeeded in capturing. But, while fortune was against Francis in the north, he gained a brilliant success over the imperial troops in Provence, driving them back into Italy. The war had lasted three years, and neither party had won any substantial advantage. The conditions favored a new treaty of peace. The only obstacle in the way was the alliance with Henry VIII, but Charles made no scruple of leaving his late ally in the lurch. The chief articles in the treaty now concluded between Charles and Francis were that the Duke of Orleans should marry the daughter or the niece of the Emperor, in the first case acquiring the Netherlands as an independent sovereignty, and in the second receiving Milan on the same terms. Charles agreed to relinquish his claims upon Burgundy, and Francis did the same in regard to Naples. Thus ended the last war between Charles V and Francis I. Charles seemed, upon the whole, to have gained the advantage. He had secured to himself the whole of Italy. But his ambition in the beginning had been to dismember France and destroy her power, and in this aim he had failed.
This peace with Francis, and a truce subsequently concluded with Solyman, left Charles free to grapple with his last and most difficult labor, the suppression of the Reformation. The religious question always lay very near to the heart of the Emperor. But during the first five and twenty years of his reign it had been only at short and broken intervals, left him by his foreign military, enterprises, that he had been able to take it in hand. Scarcely had he been able to enter on some deliberate method of dealing with it, when one or another of his enemies or suspicious friends crossed his path and called his attention elsewhere. And now, when he had the leisure to concentrate the entire strength of the Empire to the disposal of this question, he discovered that the Reformation had become too strong to be arrested even by his imperial will.
Great as had been the progress of the Reformation, from the Diet of Worms, before which Luther had been cited, in 1521, to that of Augsburg, at which was presented the celebrated "confession," in 1530, it had been far greater from the Diet of Augsburg to the period at which we have now arrived. At Augsburg the Elector of Saxony and Philip of Hesse were the only considerable Princes who supported the Reformation. By this time Wurtemberg, Brandenburg, the Dukedom of Saxony, and the Palatinate of the Rhine had declared for it. Northern Germany was almost entirely Protestant, while in Southern Germany the imperial cities, and even, to some extent, the nobility of the Austrian hereditary States, were in favor of it, and Bohemia was strongly inclined in the same direction.
Thus had the new movement profited by the distraction of the Emperor, who wished to arrest it. Now, clearly, was the time for Charles to make, if ever, a strenuous and comprehensive effort. Still, it was in his nature not to have recourse to extreme measures until all means of compromise had been exhausted. Accordingly, in 1546, at Ratisbon, a great religious conference had been held by some of the most moderate theologians on both sides. They had differed, however, upon some fundamental tenets, and no common platform had been secured. Toward the end of 1545 another of the methods all along proposed for the settlement of the religious difficulty, general conference, was about to be tried. Both the Protestants and Catholics had favored this plan, but the former had insisted that the Pope should take no part in or in any way interfere in such general council, and that it should be held within the borders of the Empire. Accordingly, when the Pope called a General Council to be held at Trent, composed almost entirely of Italians and Spaniards, and in which the Catholic interest would be absolutely predominant, the German Protestants refused to send representatives. The calling of this council, therefore, widened, instead of closing, the breach between the two religious parties.
Such was the situation when Charles summoned a diet to meet at Ratisbon, to concert measures for securing religious concord. As the Protestants had become thoroughly convinced of the Emperor's hostility toward them, they alleged various reasons for not appearing at the diet. In this assembly the Emperor declared that "the Protestants continued to display so much arrogance that he had come to the decided conviction that measures of kindness would be of little avail, and that, much against his inclination, he would be compelled to have recourse to more vigorous measures." It had long been suspected that this was the intention of the Emperor, but he now for the first time avowed it. The Protestants, as a last means of preserving peace, sent him a memorial, recapitulating their objections to the Council of Trent, and again demanding a free general council, to be held in Germany. This petition Charles treated with contempt.
War was now inevitable. Both sides prepared for it. The Protestants, anxious to secure a foreign alliance which might hamper the Emperor, applied to both Francis I and Henry II. Francis was now suffering from the malady which within a few months terminated his life, and was neither able nor inclined to embark in a new contest. Nor was Henry more disposed to take an active part in the impending war. The Protest-ants were therefore compelled to rely upon their own resources, which, however, were considerable. They assembled an army of 8o,000 men, well armed and equipped, which was placed under the command of the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse. Charles had at his disposal less than 10,000 troops. But thanks to the incapacity of the Protestant generals, who might easily have overwhelmed him in the beginning, he received reinforcements from Italy and other sources, and ere long was at the head of an army of 30,000 men. Charles did his utmost to avoid a battle, hoping to exhaust the resources of his adversaries until the causes of division should lead to their disruption. This event happened, and in a way little expected by the Protestants through the defection of Prince Maurice of Saxony.
Prince Maurice was a man of marked ability and of unbounded ambition. Though sincerely attached to the Protestant faith, the object nearest to his heart was his own advancement. He had refused to join in the Smalkald League, or to take part with the confederates in their present movement. Still, the Protest-ants seem to have fancied that his neutrality could be relied upon, and the Elector went so far as to confide the care of his estates to Maurice during his own absence. Maurice betrayed the confidence placed in him. To the amazement and indignation of the Protestants, he took up the cause of the Emperor. In conjunction with Ferdinand, he attacked the electoral territories and conquered the larger part of them. These estates were, in fact, the price the Emperor had offered him for his treachery. This occurrence broke up the league. The Elector marched to the relief of his own territories; others, on various pretexts, withdrew to their own States, and the great army was dissolved.
This was what Charles had wished and expected. The greater number of the Protestant princes now hastened to make terms separately with the Emperor as best they could, renouncing all connection with the league, and soliciting no conditions in favor of religious liberty. The Elector of Saxony, however, and the Landgrave of Hesse still remained in the field, though with an inconsiderable force.
But the very completeness of Charles' success—the prospect that he would soon become the master of a united Germany, and, therefore, all-powerful worked against him by arousing the fears of foreign potentates. The Pope withdrew from him the troops sent from Italy, on the shallow pretext that Charles no longer needed them, while his old enemy, Francis, though now at the point of death, invited Solyman to invade Hungary, and urged the Venetians to remain no longer neutral. Meanwhile, Charles' position in Germany became less favorable. The Elector of Saxony succeeded not only in recovering his own estates, but in conquering those of Maurice. But he committed the blunder of dividing his forces, and Charles, having entered Saxony, though with a smaller army, found him at Mühlberg, on the Elbe, and easily defeated him in a battle fought April 24, 1547. The Elector's army was routed with terrible slaughter, and he himself was taken prisoner. When brought into the presence of Charles, he expressed the hope of receiving princely treatment. Charles replied that he would "treat him according to his merits." The Elector was brought to trial and condemned to death, but this sentence was commuted to imprisonment for life, upon the condition that he would surrender Wittenberg, which was still held by his wife, and would relinquish his hereditary territories, in exchange for the Duchy of Gotha. His estates and his electoral hat were bestowed upon his enemy, Prince Maurice. Such was the treatment which Charles deemed merited by a Prince to whom he was mainly indebted for the imperial crown.
The Landgrave of Hesse was still in the field. Urged by Prince Maurice, who was his son-in-law, and by other friends, he was induced to submit to the Emperor. The terms imposed upon him were severe.
They included the surrender of his person and territories, with the payment of a large sum of money, the demolition of his fortresses, and, what was more galling to a man of spirit, the begging of pardon on his knees and in public. Prince Maurice had been given by the Emperor to understand that when these terms of submission had been complied with the Landgrave should be set at liberty. But instead he was told that he must remain in confinement during the Emperor's pleasure. The most urgent solicitations of Maurice and other friends of the Landgrave failed to move Charles from this determination, which afterward he had abundant cause to regret.
At a diet which met at Augsburg, and which was completely under the thumb of the Emperor, a measure was adopted which, it was hoped, would restore religious concord to Germany. Two Catholic divines and one Protestant were appointed to draw up a confession of faith, which, since it was designed to be of only temporary application, until the decision of the Council of Trent should be rendered, was known as the Interim. Something was conceded on both sides. But, like every other compromise measure, the Interim pleased nobody, and was especially distasteful to the Protestants. To enforce it, however, the Emperor was determined, though every day made more apparent the difficulty of the task. Many Princes who had heartily coöperated with him in the recent war declared their determination not to receive the Interim. The great imperial cities strenuously opposed it. Augsburg, Ulm, Strasburg, Magdeburg, and many other towns implored the Emperor not to impose upon them a measure offensive to their consciences and hostile to all rights they had hitherto enjoyed. But Charles was inflexible, and compelled, by force, in all of these cities, and, indeed, throughout all Germany, at least a show of acceptance of the hateful confession.
We come now to one of the most interesting episodes in the life of Charles, the sequel to the story of Prince Maurice of Saxony. The treachery of Maurice had rendered him an object of detestation among the Protestants, by whom he was justly charged with their overthrow in their contest with the Emperor. This he might have borne with equanimity, for he had succeeded in making himself the most powerful of the German Princes, had not the Emperor, for whom he had sacrificed his good name, put upon him a fresh indignity by making him a tool for the capture and imprisonment of his own father-in-law. The Emperor had played him false, and he conceived a project by which he might punish Charles for his treachery, and at the same time win back his own good name and establish a power, which was rightfully his, as the greatest of German Princes. Maurice was a profound dissembler, as well as a cool and sagacious statesman, and he worked his scheme cautiously until the time came for action. Not the slightest suspicion of his intended defection was entertained by the Emperor, and when Magdeburg stubbornly refused to accept the Interim, Charles selected Maurice to command the force sent to besiege the city. This was the opportunity for which he had waited. During the progress of the siege, which was purposely prolonged, he perfected his plans, and when at last he negotiated the terms of capitulation, he took into his confidence Count Mansfeldt, who had held the chief command in the city, and Count Heidic, an officer who had been proscribed by Charles. With these two per-sons, Maurice arranged the manner in which he was to set about his projected enterprise. One important measure was a secret alliance formed with Henry II, who had succeeded Francis I as King of France. When all was ready he issued, in March, 1552, a proclamation, in which he declared his reasons for taking up arms against Charles, among them being the detention of the Landgrave in prison. At about the same time Henry II issued a declaration, calling upon the Germans to assert their liberties, and promising to assist them to the utmost of his power. The Protest-ant Princes rallied to the standard of Maurice, and he was quickly at the head of a new and powerful league against the Emperor.
All this time Charles was at Innspruch, whither he had gone to keep an eye upon the council which was then sitting at Trent. As soon as the unanticipated storm broke, he wrote to his brother, Ferdinand, to look after the rebellion, and, since he was practically without an army, a compromise seemed the only avail-able way of quelling it. Ferdinand held an interview with Maurice, which came to nothing except an arrangement to hold a second interview, at Passau, on the 26th of May. Sixteen days would elapse before that date, and Maurice was not the man to remain idle during this time. He conceived and nearly executed a move, which for brilliancy has hardly a parallel in history. Marching with his army southward, with the greatest possible rapidity, he made his way, with but little opposition, through the passes of the Alps, and, entering the Tyrol, hastened toward Innspruck. But for an unfortunate delay, occasioned by a mutiny among his mercenaries, he would have surprised and easily have captured the Emperor. As it was, Charles received word of his approach late in the evening, just in time to make good his escape. He was suffering with the gout so that he required to be borne upon a litter. In addition to the darkness, a violent rain was falling, but it was better to endure every evil than to become a prisoner of Maurice. The Emperor and his courtiers pursued their melancholy way until they reached Villach, a place so nearly inaccessible as to furnish the fugitives a secure retreat.
When Maurice and Ferdinand met, on the 26th of May, both were anxious for the restoration of peace, and, with very little difficulty, the preliminary terms were agreed upon. These were that the Landgrave should be set at liberty; that no attempt should be made to enforce the Interim, and that bath Catholics and Protestants should enjoy without molestation the rights and liberties which they then possessed. To these terms, slightly modified, Charles finally gave a reluctant consent, and the treaty of Paussau was then duly ratified.
The great service thus rendered to the Protestants by Maurice removed the opprobrium occasioned by his conduct in 1546. Even his retention of the territories of the Elector ceased to be a cause of obloquy, for, though the Elector was an object of sympathy, it was recognized that Maurice was an abler defender of the religious liberty of Germany. The last acts of the life of Maurice were fitted to maintain his political and military reputation. He was engaged with Ferdinand in a campaign against the Turks. He was subsequently commissioned by the Emperor to chastise an offending subject, Albert of Brandenburg. They met at Sieverhausen, in the Duchy of Luxemburg, with armies nearly equal. The victory was won by Maurice, but not until he had received a mortal wound. Maurice was but thirty-one years of age at the time of his death. In spite of the humiliation to which he had subjected Charles, he seems never to have quite lost the Emperor's esteem and admiration. When the news of his death reached Brussels the courtiers exhibited marks of joy, but the only remark made by the Emperor was, "Absalom, my son."
Henry II, in pursuance of his arrangement with Prince Maurice, had entered Loraine, and it had soon become evident that his object was less to make a diversion in favor of the German Protestants than to add new territory to his own dominions. Among the towns which he had captured and garrisoned was Metz. As soon as the treaty of Paussau had been concluded, Charles made every preparation to wrest from Henry his recent conquests. Protestants as well as Catholics were incensed at the French monarch's conquest of German States, and Charles had no difficulty in raising an army of 6o,000 men, among whom were many who had lately served under Maurice. With this splendid army he crossed the Rhine and laid siege to Metz. Charles had expected to recapture the town easily. But its defense had been intrusted to the Duke of Guise; its fortifications had been made impregnable to assault; weeks passed, and no successes had been gained by the besiegers. Convoys of provisions were intercepted by the activity of the French, and scarcity began to prevail in the imperial camp. Besides, it was late in the year, and the camp was reduced to a miserable condition by the severity of the weather. Men, ill-fed and exposed to unaccustomed hardship, became a prey to disease, which spread rapidly, and with fatal results. Charles was forced to raise the siege of Metz and to retreat. The pitiable condition to which the army had been reduced was shown by the state in which the camp was left.
It was filled, according to the statements of eye-witnesses, with dead, wounded and sick soldiers, and the sight presented to Guise and his officers when they visited the imperial quarters was fitted to move the pity of even the stoniest hearted. Guise ordered the dead to be buried, and the living to be tended with the utmost care. But the severity of the season had produced so terrible effects upon many that, though their lives were saved, it was at the cost of their legs or arms. Along the line of retreat were sights equally pitiable men who had lain down to die by the side of a tree or hedge, and whose situation, says Rabutin, would have excited the pity of wild beasts even the fiercest. Charles had undertaken the siege contrary to the advice of the Duke of Alva and his other generals, but he very ungenerously charged his disastrous failure, not to his own misjudgment, but to fortune. "Now I perceive," he said, "that Fortune resembles other females, and chooses to confer favors upon young men, while she turns her back on those who are advanced in years."
In the following year (1553) the Emperor met with some successes, which in a measure compensated for his disaster before Metz. But these military achievements were of minor importance in comparison with an event which occurred in this year in England, and which opened before Charles the most brilliant prospect of dynastic aggrandizement. In 1553, the death of Edward VI placed the crown of England upon the head of Charles' niece, the Princess Mary. Charles, always looking forward to the future, more thoughtful of his posterity even than of himself, could not fail to see the many advantages which would follow from a marriage of his son and heir, Philip, with the Queen of England. Its immediate advantage would be a separation of England from her alliance with France; in the future it would render England a portion of the heritage of the House of Austria. The subject was at once broached by Charles to Mary, both through his ambassador to England, and in a personal letter to the Queen herself. The only serious objection to the match seemed to be the respective ages of the parties. Mary was in her thirty-eighth year, while Philip was younger by ten years. Still, he was a widower, and had a son eight years old, so that he could no longer be regarded as a youth.
Philip was wholly indifferent to this marriage, and Mary was eager for it. Under such circumstances, all that remained to do was to draw up the marriage contract. The preliminaries having been settled, Philip went to England to claim his bride, and the marriage took place in July, 1554.
We have now reached the end of the reign of Charles V. No event in modern history excited more attention, or has given rise to a greater variety of conjectures, than the abdication of this Emperor. Among the reasons which have been supposed to have induced him to take this step, the most probable are his increasing infirmities, a natural desire for rest, and the certainty that unless he could find release from the cares and labors imposed upon him by his responsible position, he would presently become a complete wreck, physic-ally and perhaps mentally. It rests upon good authority that Charles had long had an uneasy feeling that his mind was giving away, and that he was destined to the lamentable fate of his mother. Under such circumstances, with Philip, in whose capacity for affairs he had the utmost confidence, in the prime of life, his course is not difficult to comprehend.
The ceremony of the abdication of Charles V took place in the City of Brussels on the 25th of October, 1555. It was at once an extraordinary and an imposing spectacle. The greatest monarch in Europe had invited his subjects to witness his renunciation of that sovereign authority which he had so long exercised, and every-thing was done to impart solemnity to an act so import-ant and so significant. The great Hall of the States was prepared for the performance of the ceremony. An immense platform, on which was placed the chair of state, was reserved for the Emperor, his court, and the chief nobility. In the hall below the platform a number of benches had been placed, which were occupied by the Deputies of the States, according to their rank. As soon as all had taken their seats, the Emperor entered the hall, leaning upon the Prince of Orange, and followed by Philip, the Queen of Hungary, a great number of nobles, and many Knights of the Golden Fleece.
After the President of the Council of Flanders had read the formal deed by which Charles surrendered, in favor of his son Philip, his authority over the Nether-lands, the Emperor himself arose and addressed the assembly. He took the occasion to pass in review all the acts and measures of his reign, and to show in what manner he had discharged the trust confided to him. He called his people to witness that he had never consulted his own ease, nor spared his own labor, when the welfare of his subjects had required him to endure fatigue and to abjure pleasure. He concluded his speech by urging the people to love and serve Philip as they had loved and served him, to preserve their laws, be submissive to justice, and especially to maintain inviolate the Catholic faith. Then, turning to his son, he urged him, with many tears, and most tender words, to love his subjects, to govern them well, and especially to adhere steadfastly to the faith of the true Church.
During this last address the Emperor's emotion became contagious, and all present burst into tears, one authority expressly informing us that even the Knights of the Golden Fleece forgot their dignity, and joined in the general lamentation. After this affecting scene, Philip said a few words, but, pleading his inability to speak in the French or Flemish language with fluency, called on the Bishop of Arras to make known his sentiments and intentions. A few months afterward, in January, 1556, Charles resigned the crown of Spain, but a considerable time elapsed before he completed his abdication by relinquishing the imperial throne.
We naturally feel some curiosity as to the private history and habits of a man who has stood so prominently before the world as Charles V. However legitimate this curiosity may be, there is comparatively little to gratify it. Few men have ever been more devoted than he to public business, and few Princes have cared less about the ordinary pleasures of a life of royalty. His time was too fully occupied to leave him leisure for the amusements by which idle men relieve the tedium of existence. Nor were his passions so strong as to deliver him over, like Francis I, to the sway of unlawful indulgences. Hunting was the chief amusement in which Charles indulged. When within doors, the pranks and witticisms of a dwarf, named Peiro, formed the chief source of his relaxation. He was fond of painting and music, but he seems to have little taste for literature. Charles was naturally tactiturn, and was cold in his demeanor toward ordinary persons, though in the company of his familiar friends he became easy and sociable. Still, he was always courteous in the audiences which he granted ambassadors, and, like all taciturn men, was a good listener.
The personal appearance of Charles is well known from the many prints reproduced from his portraits by Titian and other painters. Here is a pen portrait of him, as he appeared in 1525 to a Venetian ambassador: "The Emperor was of middling stature, neither tall nor short; of fair complexion, pale, rather than ruddy. His body was well formed, his legs were handsome, and his arms good. His nose was a little aquiline, his eyes keen; his aspect was grave, but without any indications of cruelty or severity. The only faults with his person were his chin and lower jaw, which were larger and longer than suited the general appearance."
Charles had one unconquerable failing a weakness for a good dinner. He was a gourmand of the first order. It has been said of him that, "if two plates had been set before him, with the Province of Burgundy upon one, and an eel pot-pie upon the other, and he had been told to choose between them, he would have instantly seized the pot-pie, though he might have regretted his hasty choice as soon as his appetite had been for the moment sated." In vain his physicians and friends warned him against his overindulgence in both eating and drinking; in vain his gout and the general breakdown of his health sounded the same warning notes. He continued to the last to stuff himself with the most highly seasoned and indigestible of foods, and was ever on the alert for some new dish or dainty. "Ever since he had left Flanders as his permanent residence," says the ambassador already cited, "he had become accustomed, as soon as he awoke in the morning, to partake of a dish of potted capon, prepared with milk, sugar, and spices, and after doing so he went to sleep again. He dined at midday on a great variety of dishes, which were generally the richest and most unwholesome which could be selected. An eel pasty was his special favorite. To fish the Emperor was particularly partial; but this taste was by no means exclusive, and game, pork, and mutton figured prominently at his table. A peculiar species of partridge, sausages such as his mother was accustomed to make for her own use, were among the Emperor's dearly-prized dainties." As was to be expected, the appetite so perseveringly pampered palled at last, and required novel-ties to excite its relish. On one occasion, when he complained to his major domo that the dishes set before him were insipid and tasteless, that perplexed official replied that he did not know how he could please his majesty, unless he made him a pot-pie of watches. Charles was just then particularly interested in watches, and he is said to have relished the wit of his servant, if he had not enjoyed his dinner.
After his abdication, Charles retired to the monastery of St. Yuste, situated in the Spanish Province of Estremadura. That Charles had for some time meditated taking the step he had just taken and ending his days in this holy retreat, is evidenced by the fact that a residence attached to the monastery had already been built especially for his occupation. Although not yet quite complete, this building was now hastily prepared for his reception, and here he took up his abode, with only a single attendant, Don Louis Quixada, already referred to as his major domo.
A great deal of misinformation respecting Charles' monastic life has become popularly current through the statements of Robertson and other historians, who had not access to documents which have become available to later writers. The notion was long prevalent that Charles, in the monastery of Yuste, lost all interest in the outer world, and devoted his time entirely to religious contemplation or petty amusements. The documents referred to have established beyond a doubt that such was not the case; that his withdrawal from active life in no degree diminished the interest which he felt in state affairs. He was kept regularly informed of the events which were taking place in the grand theater of European politics, and of the governmental measures which were proposed or adopted by his son, and while he refrained, from a motive of delicacy, from offering Philip his advice, he gave it freely when it was sought, which was very frequently. Nor did he mortify the flesh by anything of the nature of aceticism. His dinners were as elaborate at Yuste as ever they had been in Brussels or Barcelona.
The building erected for his use, though small, was commodious. It consisted of two stories, each containing four rooms of uniform size. Those facing the south were set apart for the Emperor. They were situated on the upper story, which communicated with the church, and from which a window gave a view of the high altar. The four rooms occupied by the Emperor were furnished, if not with regal magnificence, still elegantly. The softest carpets, canopies of velvet, hangings of fine cloth, richly embroidered tapestries, and chairs elaborately carved and expressly constructed for the ease of tender joints, proved that the Emperor's seclusion was not intended to be that of an anchorite. And the walls of these rooms were adorned with eight of the most exquisite paintings of Titian, for whom Charles had the highest admiration. But in one thing this elegant monastic retreat was singularly lacking the library of the Emperor contained no more than thirty-one volumes.
Charles adopted the daily routine of the place in which he had taken up his abode. He rose early, breakfasted immediately after getting up, and then spent some time with his confessor. He then engaged in some kind of occupation, usually of a mechanical character. In this he was assisted by Torriano, an Italian, who had obtained a considerable reputation as an engineer and a clock and watch maker. Charles had a great taste for, and acquired considerable practical skill in, those arts in which Torriano excelled. The two are said to have amused themselves in constructing puppets representing soldiers performing their evolutions, and girls dancing, and even wooden birds which could fly. The Emperor's afternoon hours were spent in conversation, attending divine service, and hearing the scriptures or some other religious book read.
The time spent by Charles in this retreat was less than two years. He was seized with his fatal illness, an attack of fever, on the 30th of August, 1558. On the 9th of September he was sufficiently in the possession of his faculties to make a codicil to his will, but from that time he began to fail visibly. On the 19th of September the right of supreme unction was administered to the dying Emperor, and, in accordance with his own direction, in the elaborate form employed in the case of a spiritual person. His death occurred on the morning of the 21st of September, 1558.
The body of Charles was deposited temporarily in the monastery. It now rests in the Escurial, where Philip II erected, in 1574, a splendid mausoleum to receive the remains of all the members of the royal family.