The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V3
by William H. Prescott
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[64] As was the case with Cardenas, the comendador mayor, and the grand cardinal Mendoza, to whom, as we have already seen, she paid the kindest attentions during their last illness. While in this way she indulged the natural dictates of her heart, she was careful to render every outward mark of respect to the memory of those whose rank or services entitled them to such consideration. "Quando," says the author so often quoted, "quiera que fallescia alguno de los grandes de su reyno, o algun principe Christiano, luego embiavan varones sabios y religiosos para consolar a sus heredores y deudos. Y demas desto se vestian de ropas de luto en testimonio del dolor y sentimiento que hazian." L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 185.

[65] Her humanity was shown in her attempts to mitigate the ferocious character of those national amusements, the bull-fights, the popularity of which throughout the country was too great, as she intimates in one of her letters, to admit of her abolishing them altogether. She was so much moved at the sanguinary issue of one of these combats, which she witnessed at Arevalo, says a contemporary, that she devised a plan, by guarding the horns of the bulls, for preventing any serious injury to the men and horses; and she never would attend another of these spectacles until this precaution had been adopted. Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS.

[66] Isabella, the name of the Catholic queen, is correctly rendered into English by that of Elizabeth.

[67] She gave evidence of this, in the commutation of the sentence she obtained for the wretch who stabbed her husband, and whom her ferocious nobles would have put to death, without the opportunity of confession and absolution, that "his soul might perish with his body!" (See her letter to Talavera.) She showed this merciful temper, so rare in that rough age, by dispensing altogether with the preliminary barbarities, sometimes prescribed by the law in capital executions. Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 13.

[68] Hume admits, that, "unhappily for literature, at least for the learned of this age, Queen Elizabeth's vanity lay more in shining by her own learning, than in encouraging men of genius by her liberality."

[69] Which of the two, the reader of the records of these times may be somewhat puzzled to determine.—If one need be convinced how many faces history can wear, and how difficult it is to get at the true one, he has only to compare Dr. Lingard's account of this reign with Mr. Turner's. Much obliquity was to be expected, indeed, from the avowed apologist of a persecuted party, like the former writer. But it attaches, I fear, to the latter in more than one instance,—as in the reign of Richard III., for example. Does it proceed from the desire of saying something new on a beaten topic, where the new cannot always be true? Or, as is most probable, from that confiding benevolence, which throws somewhat of its own light over the darkest shades of human character? The unprejudiced reader may perhaps agree, that the balance of this great queen's good and bad qualities is held with a more steady and impartial hand by Mr. Hallam than any preceding writer.

[70] The unsuspicious testimony of her godson, Harrington, places these foibles in the most ludicrous light. If the well-known story, repeated by historians, of the three thousand dresses left in her wardrobe at her decease, be true, or near truth, it affords a singular contrast with Isabella's taste in these matters.

[71] The reader will remember how effectually they answered this purpose in the Moorish war. See Part I. Chapter 14, of this History.

[72] It is scarcely necessary to mention the names of Hatton and Leicester, both recommended to the first offices in the state chiefly by their personal attractions, and the latter of whom continued to maintain the highest place in his sovereign's favor for thirty years or more, in despite of his total destitution of moral worth.

[73] Queen Elizabeth, indeed, in a declaration to her people, proclaims, "We know not, nor have any meaning to allow, that any of our subjects should be molested, either by examination or inquisition, in any matter of faith, as long as they shall profess the Christian faith." (Turner's Elizabeth, vol. ii. p. 241, note.) One is reminded of Parson Thwackum's definition in "Tom Jones," "When I mention religion, I mean the Christian religion; and not only the Christian religion, but the Protestant religion; and not only the Protestant religion, but the church of England." It would be difficult to say which fared worst, Puritans or Catholics, under this system of toleration.

[74] "Quum generosi," says Paolo Giovio, speaking of her, "prudentisque animi magnitudine, tum pudicitiae et pietatis laude antiquis heroidibus comparanda." (Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 205.) Guicciardini eulogizes her as "Donna di onestissimi costumi, e in concetto grandissimo nei Regni suoi di magnanimita e prudenza." (Istoria, lib. 6.) The loyal serviteur notices her death in the following chivalrous strain. "L'an 1506, une des plus triumphantes e glorieuses dames qui puis mille ans ait este sur terre alla de vie a trespas; ce fut la royne Ysabel de Castille, qui ayda, le bras arme, a conquester le royaulme de Grenade sur les Mores. Je veux bien asseurer aux lecteurs de ceste presente hystoire, que sa vie a este telle, qu'elle a bien merite couronne de laurier apres sa mort." Memoires de Bayard, chap. 26.—See also Comines, Memoires, chap. 23.—Navagiero, Viaggio, fol. 27.—et al. auct.

[75] I borrow the words of one contemporary; "Quo quidem die omnis Hispaniae felicitas, omne decus, omnium virtutum pulcherrimum specimen interiit," (L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, lib. 21,)—and the sentiments of all.

[76] If the reader needs further testimony of this, he will find abundance collected by the indefatigable Clemencin, in the 21st Ilust. of the Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi.

[77] It would be easy to cite the authority over and over again of such writers as Marina, Sempere, Llorente, Navarrete, Quintana, and others, who have done such honor to the literature of Spain in the present century. It will be sufficient, however, to advert to the remarkable tribute paid to Isabella's character by the Royal Spanish Academy of History; who in 1805 appointed their late secretary, Clemencin, to deliver a eulogy on that illustrious theme; and who raised a still nobler monument to her memory, by the publication, in 1821, of the various documents compiled by him for the illustration of her reign, as a separate volume of their valuable Memoirs.




Ferdinand Regent.—Philip's Pretensions.—Ferdinand's Perplexities.— Impolitic Treaty with France.—The King's Second Marriage.—Landing of Philip and Joanna.—Unpopularity of Ferdinand.—His Interview with his Son-in-law.—He resigns the Regency.

The death of Isabella gives a new complexion to our history, a principal object of which has been the illustration of her personal character and public administration. The latter part of the narrative, it is true, has been chiefly occupied with the foreign relations of Spain, in which her interference has been less obvious than in the domestic. But still we have been made conscious of her presence and parental supervision, by the maintenance of order, and the general prosperity of the nation. Her death will make us more sensible of this influence; since it was the signal for disorders which even the genius and authority of Ferdinand were unable to suppress.

While the queen's remains were yet scarcely cold, King Ferdinand took the usual measures for announcing the succession. He resigned the crown of Castile, which he had worn with so much glory for thirty years. From a platform raised in the great square of Toledo, the heralds proclaimed, with sound of trumpet, the accession of Philip and Joanna to the Castilian throne, and the royal standard was unfurled by the duke of Alva, in honor of the illustrious pair. The king of Aragon then publicly assumed the title of administrator or governor of Castile, as provided by the queen's testament, and received the obeisance of such of the nobles as were present, in his new capacity. These proceedings took place on the evening of the same day on which the queen expired. [1]

A circular letter was next addressed to the principal cities, requiring them, after the customary celebration of the obsequies of their late sovereign, to raise the royal banners in the name of Joanna; and writs were immediately issued in her name, without mention of Philip's, for the convocation of a cortes to ratify these proceedings. [2]

The assembly met at Toro, January 11th, 1505. The queen's will, or rather such clauses of it as related to the succession, were read aloud, and received the entire approbation of the commons, who, together with the grandees and prelates present, took the oaths of allegiance to Joanna, as queen and lady proprietor, and to Philip as her husband. They then determined that the exigency, contemplated in the testament, of Joanna's incapacity, actually existed, [3] and proceeded to tender their homage to King Ferdinand, as the lawful governor of the realm in her name. The latter in turn made the customary oath to respect the laws and liberties of the kingdom, and the whole was terminated by an embassy from the cortes, with a written account of its proceedings, to their new sovereigns in Flanders. [4]

All seemed now done, that was demanded for giving a constitutional sanction to Ferdinand's authority as regent. By the written law of the land, the sovereign was empowered to nominate a regency, in case of the minority or incapacity of the heir apparent. [5] This had been done in the present instance by Isabella, and at the earnest solicitation of the cortes, made two years previously to her death. It had received the cordial approbation of that body, which had undeniable authority to control such testamentary provisions. [6] Thus, from the first to the last stage of the proceeding, the whole had gone on with a scrupulous attention to constitutional forms. Yet the authority of the new regent was far from being firmly seated; and it was the conviction of this, which had led him to accelerate measures.

Many of the nobles were extremely dissatisfied with the queen's settlement of the regency, which had taken air before her death; and they had even gone so far as to send to Flanders before that event, and invite Philip to assume the government himself, as the natural guardian of his wife. [7] These discontented lords, if they did not refuse to join in the public acts of acknowledgment to Ferdinand at Toro, at least were not reserved in intimating their dissatisfaction. [8] Among the most prominent were the marquis of Villena, who may be said to have been nursed to faction from the cradle, and the duke of Najara, both potent nobles, whose broad domains had been grievously clipped by the resumption of the crown lands so scrupulously enforced by the late government, and who looked forward to their speedy recovery under the careless rule of a young, inexperienced prince like Philip. [9]

But the most efficient of his partisans was Don Juan Manuel, Ferdinand's ambassador at the court of Maximilian. This nobleman, descended from one of the most illustrious houses in Castile, was a person of uncommon parts; restless and intriguing, plausible in his address, bold in his plans, but exceedingly cautious, and even cunning, in the execution of them. He had formerly insinuated himself into Philip's confidence, during his visit to Spain, and, on receiving news of the queen's death, hastened without delay to join him in the Netherlands.

Through his means, an extensive correspondence was soon opened with the discontented Castilian lords; and Philip was persuaded, not only to assert his pretensions to undivided supremacy in Castile, but to send a letter to his royal father-in-law, requiring him to resign the government at once, and retire into Aragon. [10] The demand was treated with some contempt by Ferdinand, who admonished him of his incompetency to govern a nation like the Spaniards, whom he understood so little, but urged him at the same time to present himself before them with his wife, as soon as possible. [12]

Ferdinand's situation, however, was far from comfortable. Philip's, or rather Manuel's, emissaries were busily stirring up the embers of disaffection. They dwelt on the advantages to be gained from the free and lavish disposition of Philip, which they contrasted with the parsimonious temper of the stern old Catalan, who had so long held them under his yoke. [13] Ferdinand, whose policy it had been to crush the overgrown power of the nobility, and who, as a foreigner, had none of the natural claims to loyalty enjoyed by his late queen, was extremely odious to that jealous and haughty body. The number of Philip's adherents increased in it every day, and soon comprehended the most considerable names in the kingdom.

The king, who watched these symptoms of disaffection with deep anxiety, said little, says Martyr, but coolly scrutinized the minds of those around him, dissembling as far as possible his own sentiments. [14] He received further and more unequivocal evidence, at this time, of the alienation of his son-in-law. An Aragonese gentleman, named Conchillos, whom he had placed near the person of his daughter, obtained a letter from her, in which she approved in the fullest manner of her father's retaining the administration of the kingdom. The letter was betrayed to Philip; the unfortunate secretary was seized and thrown into a dungeon, and Joanna was placed under a rigorous confinement, which much aggravated her malady. [15]

With this affront, the king received also the alarming intelligence, that the emperor Maximilian and his son Philip were tampering with the fidelity of the Great Captain; endeavoring to secure Naples in any event to the archduke, who claimed it as the appurtenance of Castile, by whose armies its conquest, in fact, had been achieved. There were not wanting persons of high standing at Ferdinand's court, to infuse suspicions, however unwarrantable, into the royal mind, of the loyalty of his viceroy, a Castilian by birth, and who owed his elevation exclusively to the queen. [16]

The king was still further annoyed by reports of the intimate relations subsisting between his old enemy, Louis the Twelfth, and Philip, whose children were affianced to each other. The French monarch, it was said, was prepared to support his ally in an invasion of Castile, for the recovery of his rights, by a diversion in his favor on the side of Roussillon, as well as of Naples. [17]

The Catholic king felt sorely perplexed by these multiplied embarrassments. During the brief period of his regency, he had endeavored to recommend himself to the people by a strict and impartial administration of the laws, and the maintenance of public order. The people, indeed, appreciated the value of a government under which they had been protected from the oppressions of the aristocracy more effectually than at any former period. They had testified their good-will by the alacrity with which they confirmed Isabella's testamentary dispositions, at Toro. But all this served only to sharpen the aversion of the nobles. Some of Ferdinand's counsellors would have persuaded him to carry measures with a higher hand. They urged him to resume the title of King of Castile, which he had so long possessed as husband of the late queen; [18] and others even advised him to assemble an armed force, which should overawe all opposition to his authority at home, and secure the country from invasion. He had facilities for this in the disbanded levies lately returned from Italy, as well as in a considerable body drawn from his native dominions of Aragon, waiting his orders on the frontier. [19] Such violent measures, however, were repugnant to his habitual policy, temperate and cautious. He shrunk from a contest, in which even success must bring unspeakable calamities on the country, [20] and, if he ever seriously entertained such views, [21] he abandoned them, and employed his levies on another destination in Africa. [22] His situation, however, grew every hour more critical. Alarmed by rumors of Louis's military preparations, for which liberal supplies were voted by the states general; trembling for the fate of his Italian possessions; deserted and betrayed by the great nobility at home; there seemed now no alternative left for him but to maintain his ground by force, or to resign at once, as required by Philip, and retire into Aragon. This latter course appears never to have been contemplated by him. He resolved at all hazards to keep the reins in his own grasp, influenced in part, probably, by the consciousness of his rights, as well as by a sense of duty, which forbade him to resign the trust he had voluntarily assumed into such incompetent hands as those of Philip and his counsellors; and partly, no doubt, by natural reluctance to relinquish the authority which he had enjoyed for so many years. To keep it, he had recourse to an expedient, such as neither friend nor foe could have anticipated.

He saw the only chance of maintaining his present position lay in detaching France from the interests of Philip, and securing her to himself. The great obstacle to this was their conflicting claims on Naples. This he proposed to obviate by proposals of marriage to some member of the royal family, in whose favor these claims, with the consent of King Louis, might be resigned. He accordingly despatched a confidential envoy privately into France, with ample instructions for arranging the preliminaries. This person was Juan de Enguera, a Catalan monk of much repute for his learning, and a member of the royal council. [23]

Louis the Twelfth had viewed with much satisfaction the growing misunderstanding betwixt Philip and his father-in-law, and had cunningly used his influence over the young prince to foment it. He felt the deepest disquietude at the prospect of the enormous inheritance which was to devolve on the former, comprehending Burgundy and Flanders, Austria, and probably the Empire, together with the united crowns of Spain and their rich dependencies. By the proposed marriage, a dismemberment might be made at least of the Spanish monarchy; and the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, passing under different sceptres, might serve, as they had formerly done, to neutralize each other. It was true, this would involve a rupture with Philip, to whose son his own daughter was promised in marriage. But this match, extremely distasteful to his subjects, gradually became so to Louis, as every way prejudicial to the interests of France. [24]

Without much delay, therefore, preliminaries were arranged with the Aragonese envoy, and immediately after, in the month of August, the count of Cifuentes, and Thomas Malferit, regent of the royal chancery, were publicly sent as plenipotentiaries on the part of King Ferdinand, to conclude and execute the treaty.

It was agreed, as the basis of the alliance, that the Catholic king should be married to Germaine, daughter of Jean de Foix, viscount of Narbonne, and of one of the sisters of Louis the Twelfth, and granddaughter to Leonora, queen of Navarre,—that guilty sister of King Ferdinand, whose fate is recorded in the earlier part of our History. The princess Germaine, it will be seen, therefore, was nearly related to both the contracting parties. She was at this time eighteen years of age, and very beautiful. [25] She had been educated in the palace of her royal uncle, where she had imbibed the free and volatile manners of his gay, luxurious court. To this lady Louis the Twelfth consented to resign his claims on Naples, to be secured by way of dowry to her and her heirs, male or female, in perpetuity. In case of her decease without issue, the moiety of the kingdom recognized as his by the partition treaty with Spain was to revert to him. It was further agreed, that Ferdinand should reimburse Louis the Twelfth for the expenses of the Neapolitan war, by the payment of one million gold ducats, in ten yearly instalments; and lastly, that a complete amnesty should be granted by him to the lords of the Angevin or French party in Naples, who should receive full restitution of their confiscated honors and estates. A mutual treaty of alliance and commerce was to subsist henceforth between France and Spain, and the two monarchs, holding one another, to quote the words of the instrument, "as two souls, in one and the same body," pledged themselves to the maintenance and defence of their respective rights and kingdoms against every other power whatever. This treaty was signed by the French king at Blois, October 12th, 1505, and ratified by Ferdinand the Catholic, at Segovia, on the 16th of the same month. [26]

Such were the disgraceful and most impolitic terms of this compact, by which Ferdinand, in order to secure the brief possession of a barren authority, and perhaps to gratify some unworthy feelings of revenge, was content to barter away all those solid advantages, flowing from the union of the Spanish monarchies, which had been the great and wise object of his own and Isabella's policy. For, in the event of male issue,—and that he should have issue was by no means improbable, considering he was not yet fifty-four years of age,—Aragon and its dependencies must be totally severed from Castile. [27] In the other alternative, the splendid Italian conquests, which after such cost of toil and treasure he had finally secured to himself, must be shared with his unsuccessful competitor. In any event, he had pledged himself to such an indemnification of the Angevin faction in Naples, as must create inextricable embarrassment, and inflict great injury on his loyal partisans, into whose hands their estates had already passed. And last, though not least, he dishonored by this unsuitable and precipitate alliance his late illustrious queen, the memory of whose transcendent excellence, if it had faded in any degree from his own breast, was too deeply seated in those of her subjects, to allow them to look on the present union otherwise than as a national indignity.

So, indeed, they did regard it; although the people of Aragon, in whom late events had rekindled their ancient jealousy of Castile, viewed the match with more complacency, as likely to restore them to that political importance which had been somewhat impaired by the union with their more powerful neighbor. [28]

The European nations could not comprehend an arrangement, so irreconcilable with the usual sagacious policy of the Catholic king. The petty Italian powers, who, since the introduction of France and Spain into their political system, were controlled by them more or less in all their movements, viewed this sinister conjunction as auspicious of no good to their interests or independence. As for the archduke Philip, he could scarcely credit the possibility of this desperate act, which struck off at a blow so rich a portion of his inheritance. He soon received confirmation, however, of its truth, by a prohibition from Louis the Twelfth, to attempt a passage through his dominions into Spain, until he should come to some amicable understanding with his father-in-law. [29]

Philip, or rather Manuel, who exercised unbounded influence over his counsels, saw the necessity now of temporizing. The correspondence was resumed with Ferdinand, and an arrangement was at length concluded between the parties, known as the concord of Salamanca, November 24th, 1505. The substance of it was, that Castile should be governed in the joint names of Ferdinand, Philip, and Joanna, but that the first should be entitled, as his share, to one-half of the public revenue. This treaty, executed in good faith by the Catholic king, was only intended by Philip to lull the suspicions of the former, until he could effect a landing in the kingdom, where, he confidently believed, nothing but his presence was wanting to insure success. He completed the perfidious proceeding by sending an epistle, well garnished with soft and honeyed phrase, to his royal father- in-law. These artifices had their effect, and completely imposed, not only on Louis, but on the more shrewd and suspicious Ferdinand. [30]

On the 8th of January, 1506, Philip and Joanna embarked on board a splendid and numerous armada, and set sail from a port in Zealand. A furious tempest scattered the fleet soon after leaving the harbor; Philip's ship, which took fire in the storm, narrowly escaped foundering; and it was not without great difficulty that they succeeded in bringing her, a miserable wreck, into the English port of Weymouth. [31] King Henry the Seventh, on learning the misfortunes of Philip and his consort, was prompt to show every mark of respect and consideration for the royal pair, thus thrown upon his island. They were escorted in magnificent style to Windsor, and detained with dubious hospitality for nearly three months. During this time, Henry the Seventh availed himself of the situation and inexperience of his young guest so far as to extort from him two treaties, not altogether reconcilable, as far as the latter was concerned, with sound policy or honor. [32] The respect which the English monarch entertained for Ferdinand the Catholic, as well as their family connection, led him to offer his services as a common mediator between the father and son. He would have persuaded the latter, says Lord Bacon, "to be ruled by the counsel of a prince, so prudent, so experienced, and so fortunate as King Ferdinand;" to which the archduke replied, "If his father-in-law would let him govern Castile, he should govern him." [33]

At length Philip, having reassembled his Flemish fleet at Weymouth, embarked with Joanna and his numerous suite of courtiers and military retainers, and reached Coruna, in the northwestern corner of Galicia, after a prosperous voyage, on the 28th of April.

A short time previous to this event, the count of Cifuentes having passed into France for the purpose, the betrothed bride of King Ferdinand quitted that country under his escort, attended by a brilliant train of French and Neapolitan lords. [34] On the borders, at Fontarabia, she was received by the archbishop of Saragossa, Ferdinand's natural son, with a numerous retinue, composed chiefly of Aragonese and Catalan nobility, and was conducted with much solemnity to Duenas, where she was joined by the king. In this place, where thirty years before he had been united to Isabella, he now, as if to embitter still further the recollections of the past, led to the altar her young and beautiful successor. "It seemed hard," says Martyr, in his quiet way, "that these nuptials should take place so soon, and that too in Isabella's own kingdom of Castile, where she had lived without peer, and where her ashes are still held in as much veneration as she enjoyed while living." [35]

It was less than six weeks after this that Philip and Joanna landed at Coruna. Ferdinand, who had expected them at some nearer northern port, prepared without loss of time to go forward and receive them. He sent on an express to arrange the place of meeting with Philip, and advanced himself as far as Leon. But Philip had no intention of such an interview at present. He had purposely landed in a remote corner of the country, in order to gain time for his partisans to come forward and declare themselves. Missives had been despatched to the principal nobles and cavaliers, and they were answered by great numbers of all ranks, who pressed forward to welcome and pay court to the young monarch. [36] Among them were the names of most of the considerable Castilian families, and several, as Villena and Najara, were accompanied by large, well-appointed retinues of armed followers. The archduke brought over with him a body of three thousand German infantry, in complete order. He soon mustered an additional force of six thousand native Spaniards, which, with the chivalry who thronged to meet him, placed him in a condition to dictate terms to his father-in-law; and he now openly proclaimed, that he had no intention of abiding by the concord of Salamanca, and that he would never consent to an arrangement prejudicing in any degree his and his wife's exclusive possession of the crown of Castile. [37] It was in vain that Ferdinand endeavored to gain Don Juan Manuel to his interests by the most liberal offers. He could offer nothing to compete with the absolute ascendency which the favorite held over his young sovereign. It was in vain that Martyr, and afterwards Ximenes, were sent to the archduke, to settle the grounds of accommodation, or at least the place of interview with the king. Philip listened to them with courtesy, but would abate not a jot of his pretensions; and Manuel did not care to expose his royal master to the influence of Ferdinand's superior address and sagacity in a personal interview. [38]

Martyr gives a picture, by no means unfavorable, of Philip at this time. He had an agreeable person, a generous disposition, free and open manners, with a certain nobleness of soul, although spurred on by a most craving ambition. But he was so ignorant of affairs, that he became the dupe of artful men, who played on him for their own purposes. [39]

Ferdinand, at length, finding that Philip, who had now left Coruna, was advancing by a circuitous route into the interior, on purpose to avoid him, and that all access to his daughter was absolutely refused, could no longer repress his indignation; and he prepared a circular letter, to be sent to the different parts of the country, calling on it to rise and aid him in rescuing the queen, their sovereign, from her present shameful captivity. [40] It does not appear that he sent it. He probably found that the call would not be answered; for the French match had lost him even that degree of favor, with which he had been regarded by the commons; so the very expedient, on which he relied for perpetuating his authority in Castile, was the chief cause of his losing it altogether.

He was doomed to experience still more mortifying indignities. By the orders of the marquis of Astorga and the count of Benevente, he was actually refused admittance into those cities; while proclamation was made by the same arrogant lords, prohibiting any of their vassals from aiding or harboring his Aragonese followers. "A sad spectacle, indeed," exclaims the loyal Martyr, "to behold a monarch, yesterday almost omnipotent, thus wandering a vagabond in his own kingdom, refused even the sight of his own child!" [41]

Of all the gay tribe of courtiers who fluttered around him in his prosperity, the only Castilians of note who now remained true were the duke of Alva and the count of Cifuentes. [42] For even his son-in-law, the constable of Castile, had deserted him. There were some, however, at a distance from the scene of operations, as the good Talavera, for instance, and the count of Tendilla, who saw with much concern the prospect of changing the steady and well-tried hand, which had held the helm for more than thirty years, for the capricious guidance of Philip and his favorites. [43]

An end was at length put to this scandalous exhibition, and Manuel, whether from increased confidence in his own resources, or the fear of bringing public odium on himself, consented to trust his royal charge to the peril of an interview. The place selected was an open plain near Puebla de Senabria, on the borders of Leon and Galicia. But, even then, the precautions taken were of a kind truly ludicrous, considering the forlorn condition of King Ferdinand. The whole military apparatus of the archduke was put in motion, as if he expected to win the crown by battle. First came the well-appointed German spearmen, all in fighting order. Then, the shining squadrons of the noble Castilian chivalry, and their armed retainers. Next followed the

"Ayer era Rey de Espana, oy no lo soy de una villa; ayer villas y castillos, oy ninguno posseya; ayer tenia criados," etc.

The lament of King Roderic, in this fine old ballad, would seem hardly too extravagant in the mouth of his royal descendant. archduke, seated on his war-horse and encompassed by his body-guard; while the rear was closed by the long files of archers and light cavalry of the country. [44]

Ferdinand, on the other hand, came into the field attended by about two hundred nobles and gentlemen, chiefly Aragonese and Italians, riding on mules, and simply attired in the short black cloak and bonnet of the country, with no other weapon than the sword usually worn. The king trusted, says Zurita, to the majesty of his presence, and the reputation he had acquired by his long and able administration.

The Castilian nobles, brought into contact with Ferdinand, could not well avoid paying their obeisance to him. He received them in his usual gracious and affable manner, making remarks, the good humor of which was occasionally seasoned with something of a more pungent character. To the duke of Najara, who was noted for being a vain-glorious person, and who came forward with a gallant retinue in all the panoply of war, he exclaimed, "So, duke, you are mindful as ever, I see, of the duties of a great captain!" Among others, was Garcilasso de la Vega, Ferdinand's minister formerly at Rome. Like many of the Castilian lords, he wore armor under his dress, the better to guard against surprise. The king, embracing him, felt the mail beneath, and, tapping him familiarly on the shoulder, said, "I congratulate you, Garcilasso; you have grown wonderfully lusty since we last met." The desertion, however, of one who had received so many favors from him, touched him more nearly than all the rest.

As Philip drew near, it was observed he wore an anxious, embarrassed air, while his father-in-law maintained the same serene and cheerful aspect as usual. After exchanging salutations, the two monarchs alighted, and entered a small hermitage in the neighborhood, attended only by Manuel and Archbishop Ximenes. They had no sooner entered, than the latter, addressing the favorite with an air of authority it was not easy to resist, told him, "It was not meet to intrude on the private concerns of their masters," and, taking his arm, led him out of the apartment and coolly locked the door on him, saying at the same time, that "He would serve as porter." The conference led to no result. Philip was well schooled in his part, and remained, says Martyr, immovable as a rock. [45] There was so little mutual confidence between the parties, that the name of Joanna, whom Ferdinand desired so much to see, was not even mentioned during the interview. [46]

But, however reluctant Ferdinand might be to admit it, he was no longer in a condition to stand upon terms; and, in addition to the entire loss of influence in Castile, he received such alarming accounts from Naples, as made him determine on an immediate visit in person to that kingdom. He resolved, therefore, to bow his head to the present storm, in hopes that a brighter day was in reserve for him. He saw the jealousy hourly springing up between the Flemish and Castilian courtiers, and he probably anticipated such misrule as would afford an opening, perhaps with the good-will of the nation, for him to resume the reins, so unceremoniously snatched from his grasp. [47]

At any rate, should force be necessary, he would be better able to employ it effectively, with the aid of his ally, the French king, after he had adjusted the affairs of Naples. [48]

Whatever considerations may have influenced the prudent monarch, he authorized the archbishop of Toledo, who kept near the person of the archduke, to consent to an accommodation on the very grounds proposed by the latter. On the 27th of June, he signed and solemnly swore to an agreement, by which he surrendered the entire sovereignty of Castile to Philip and Joanna, reserving to himself only the grand-masterships of the military orders, and the revenues secured by Isabella's testament. [49]

On the following day, he executed another instrument of most singular import, in which, after avowing in unequivocal terms his daughter's incapacity, he engages to assist Philip in preventing any interference in her behalf, and to maintain him, as far as in his power, in the sole, exclusive authority. [50]

Before signing these papers, he privately made a protest, in the presence of several witnesses, that what he was about to do was not of his own free will, but from necessity, to extricate himself from his perilous situation, and shield the country from the impending evils of a civil war. He concluded with asserting, that, so far from relinquishing his claims to the regency, it was his design to enforce them, as well as to rescue his daughter from her captivity, as soon as he was in a condition to do so. [51] Finally, he completed this chain of inconsistencies by addressing a circular letter, dated July 1st, to the different parts of the kingdom, announcing his resignation of the government into the hands of Philip and Joanna, and declaring the act one which, notwithstanding his own right and power to the contrary, he had previously determined on executing, so soon as his children should set foot in Spain. [52]

It is not easy to reconcile this monstrous tissue of incongruity and dissimulation with any motives of necessity or expediency. Why should he, so soon after preparing to raise the kingdom in his daughter's cause, thus publicly avow her imbecility, and deposit the whole authority in the hands of Philip? Was it to bring odium on the head of the latter, by encouraging him to a measure which he knew must disgust the Castilians? [53] But Ferdinand by this very act shared the responsibility with him. Was it in the expectation that uncontrolled and undivided power, in the hands of one so rash and improvident, would the more speedily work his ruin? As to his clandestine protest, its design was obviously to afford a plausible pretext at some future time for reasserting his claims to the government, on the ground, that his concessions had been the result of force. But then, why neutralize the operation of this, by the declaration, spontaneously made in his manifesto to the people, that his abdication was not only a free, but most deliberate and premeditated act? He was led to this last avowal, probably, by the desire of covering over the mortification of his defeat; a thin varnish, which could impose on nobody. The whole of the proceedings are of so ambiguous a character as to suggest the inevitable inference, that they flowed from habits of dissimulation too strong to be controlled, even when there was no occasion for its exercise. We occasionally meet with examples of a similar fondness for superfluous manoeuvring in the humbler concerns of private life.

After these events, one more interview took place between King Ferdinand and Philip, in which the former prevailed on his son-in-law to pay such attention to decorum, and exhibit such outward marks of a cordial reconciliation, as, if they did not altogether impose on the public, might at least throw a decent veil over the coming separation. Even at this last meeting, however, such was the distrust and apprehension entertained of him, that the unhappy father was not permitted to see and embrace his daughter before his departure. [54]

Throughout the whole of these trying scenes, says his biographer, the king maintained that propriety and entire self-possession, which comported with the dignity of his station and character, and strikingly contrasted with the conduct of his enemies. However much he may have been touched with the desertion of a people, who had enjoyed the blessings of peace and security under his government for more than thirty years, he manifested no outward sign of discontent. On the contrary, he took leave of the assembled grandees with many expressions of regard, noticing kindly their past services to him, and studying to leave such an impression, as should efface the recollection of recent differences. [55] The circumspect monarch looked forward, no doubt, to the day of his return. The event did not seem very improbable; and there were other sagacious persons besides himself, who read in the dark signs of the times abundant augury of some speedy revolution. [56]

* * * * *

The principal authorities for the events in this Chapter, as the reader may remark, are Martyr and Zurita. The former, not merely a spectator, but actor in them, had undoubtedly the most intimate opportunities of observation. He seems to have been sufficiently impartial too, and prompt to do justice to what was really good in Philip's character; although that of his royal master was of course calculated to impress the deepest respect on a person of Martyr's uncommon penetration and sagacity. The Aragonese chronicler, however, though removed to a somewhat further distance as to time, was from that circumstance placed in a point of view more favorable for embracing the whole field of action, than if he had taken part and jostled in the crowd, as one of it. He has accordingly given much wider scope to his survey, exhibiting full details of the alleged grievances, pretensions, and policy of the opposite party; and, although condemning them himself without reserve, has conveyed impressions of Ferdinand's conduct less favorable, on the whole, than Martyr.

But neither the Aragonese historian, nor Martyr, nor any contemporary writer, native or foreign, whom I have consulted, countenances the extremely unfavorable portrait which Dr. Robertson has given of Ferdinand in his transactions with Philip. It is difficult to account for the bias which this eminent historian's mind has received in this matter, unless it be that he has taken his impressions from the popular notions entertained of the character of the parties, rather than from the circumstances of the particular case under review; a mode of proceeding extremely objectionable in the present instance, where Philip, however good his natural qualities, was obviously a mere tool in the hands of corrupt and artful men, working exclusively for their own selfish purposes.


[1] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 52.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 279.—Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 20, cap. 1.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1504.—Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 9.

"Sapientiae alii," says Martyr, in allusion to those prompt proceedings, "et summae bonitati adscribunt; alii, rem novam admirati, regem incusant, remque arguunt non debuisse fieri." Ubi supra.

[2] Philip's name was omitted, as being a foreigner, until he should have taken the customary oath to respect the laws of the realm, and especially to confer office on none but native Castilians. Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 84.

[3] The maternal tenderness and delicacy, which had led Isabella to allude to her daughter's infirmity only in very general terms, are well remarked by the cortes. See the copy of the original act in Zurita, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 4.

[4] Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 15, sec. 2.—Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 3.—Marina, Teoria, part. 2, cap. 4.— Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap. 12.—Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 9.

[5] Siete Partidas, part. 2, tit. 15, ley 3.

Guicciardini, with the ignorance of the Spanish constitution natural enough in a foreigner, disputes the queen's right to make any such settlement. Istoria, lib. 7.

[6] See the whole subject of the powers of cortes in this particular, as discussed very fully and satisfactorily by Marina, Teoria, part. 2, cap 13.

[7] Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 203.—Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 15, sec. 3.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 274, 277.

[8] Zurita's assertion, that all the nobility present did homage to Ferdinand, (Anales, tom. vi. cap. 3,) would seem to be contradicted by a subsequent passage. Comp. cap. 4.

[9] Isabella in her will particularly enjoins on her successors never to alienate or to restore the crown lands recovered from the marquisate of Villena. Dormer, Discursos Varios, p. 331.

[10] "Nor was it sufficient," says Dr. Robertson, in allusion to Philip's pretensions to the government, "to oppose to these just rights, and to the inclination of the people of Castile, the authority of a testament, the genuineness of which was perhaps doubtful, and its contents to him appeared certainly to be iniquitous." (History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V., (London, 1796,) vol. ii. p. 7.) But who ever intimated a doubt of its genuineness, before Dr. Robertson? Certainly no one living at that time; for the will was produced before cortes, by the royal secretary, in the session immediately following the queen's death; and Zurita has preserved the address of that body, commenting on the part of its contents relating to the succession. (Anales, tom. vi. cap. 4.) Dr. Carbajal, a member of the royal council, and who was present, as he expressly declares, at the approval of the testament, "a cuyo otorgamiento y aun ordenacion me halle," has transcribed the whole of the document in his Annals, with the signatures of the notary and the seven distinguished persons who witnessed its execution. Dormer, the national historiographer of Aragon, has published the instrument with the same minuteness in his "Discursos Varios," "from authentic MSS. in his possession," "escrituras autenticas en mi poder." Where the original is now to be found, or whether it be in existence, I have no knowledge. The codicil, as we have seen, with the queen's signature, is still extant in the Royal Library at Madrid.

[12] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 282.—Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 1.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 53.—Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap. 12.

[13] "Existimantes," says Giovio, "sub florentissimo juvene rege aliquanto liberius atque licentius ipsorum potentia fruituros, quam sub austero et parum liberali, ut aiebant, sene Catalano." Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 277.

[14] "Rex quaecunque versant atque ordiuntur, sentit, dissimulat et animos omnium tacitus scrutatur." Opus Epist., epist. 289.

[15] Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 15, sec. 4.—Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 1, cap. 18.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 286.—Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 8.—Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 3, dial. 9.—Oviedo had the story from Conchillos's brother.

[16] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, pp. 275-277.—Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 5, 11.—Ulloa, Vita de Carlo V., fol. 25.—Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 15, sec. 3.

[17] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 290.—Buonaccorsi, Diario, p. 94.

[18] The vice-chancellor Alonso de la Caballeria, prepared an elaborate argument in support of Ferdinand's pretensions to the regal authority and title, less as husband of the late queen, than as the lawful guardian and administrator of his daughter. See Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. cap. 14.

[19] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 5, 15.—Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 1, cap. 18.

[20] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 291.

[21] Robertson speaks with confidence of Ferdinand's intention to "oppose Philip's landing by force of arms," (History of Charles V., vol. ii. p. 13,) an imputation, which has brought a heavy judgment on the historian's head from the clever author of the "History of Spain and Portugal." (Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopaedia.) "All this," says the latter, "is at variance with both truth and probability; nor does Ferreras, the only authority cited for this unjust declamation, afford the slightest ground for it." (Vol. ii. p. 286, note.) Nevertheless, this is so stated by Ferreras, (Hist. d'Espagne, tom. viii. p. 282,) who is supported by Mariana, (Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap. 16,) and, in the most unequivocal manner, by Zurita, (Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 21,) a much higher authority than either. Martyr, it is true, whom Dr. Dunham does not appear to have consulted on this occasion, declares that the king had no design of resorting to force. See Opus Epist., epist. 291, 305.

[22] Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 202.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1505.

[23] Before venturing on this step, it was currently reported, that Ferdinand had offered his hand, though unsuccessfully, to Joanna Beltraneja, Isabella's unfortunate competitor for the crown of Castile, who still survived in Portugal. (Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 14.—Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. vi. lib. 28, cap. 13.—et al.) The report originated, doubtless, in the malice of the Castilian nobles, who wished in this way to discredit the king still more with the people. It received, perhaps, some degree of credit from a silly story, in circulation, of a testament of Henry IV. having lately come into Ferdinand's possession, avowing Joanna to be his legitimate daughter. See Carbajal, (Anales, MS., ano 1474,) the only authority for this last rumor.

Robertson has given an incautious credence to the first story, which has brought Dr. Dunham's iron flail somewhat unmercifully on his shoulders again; yet his easy faith in the matter may find some palliation, at least sufficient to screen him from the charge of wilful misstatement, in the fact, that Clemencin, a native historian, and a most patient and fair inquirer after truth, has come to the same conclusion. (Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 19.) Both writers rely on the authority of Sandoval, an historian of the latter half of the sixteenth century, whose naked assertion cannot be permitted to counterbalance the strong testimony afforded by the silence of contemporaries and the general discredit of succeeding writers. (Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 10.)

Sismondi, not content with this first offer of King Ferdinand, makes him afterwards propose for a daughter of King Emanuel, or in other words, his own granddaughter! Hist. des Francais, tom. xv. chap. 30.

[24] Fleurange, Memoires, chap. 15.—Seyssel, Hist. de Louys XII., pp. 223-229.

[25] Aleson, Annales de Navarra, tom. v. lib. 35, cap. 7, sec. 4.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 58.—Salazar de Mendoza, Monarquia, tom. i. p. 410.

"Laquelle," says Fleurange, who had doubtless often seen the princess, "etoit bonne et fort belle princesse, du moins elle n'avoit point perdu son embonpoint." (Memoires, chap. 19.) It would be strange if she had at the age of eighteen. Varillas gets over the discrepancy of age between the parties very well, by making Ferdinand's at this time only thirty-seven years! Hist. de Louis XII., tom. i. p. 457.

[26] Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, tom. iv. no 40, pp. 72-74.

[27] These dependencies did not embrace, however, the half of Granada and the West Indies, as supposed by Mons. Gaillard, who gravely assures us, that "Les etats conquis par Ferdinand etoient conquetes de communaute, dont la moitie appartenoit au mari, et la moitie aux enfans." (Rivalite, tom. iv. p. 306.) Such are the gross misconceptions of fact, on which this writer's speculations rest!

[28] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 19.—Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap. 16.

[29] Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 15, sec. 8.—Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 21.—Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 7.

He received much more unequivocal intimation in a letter from Ferdinand, curious as showing that the latter sensibly felt the nature and extent of the sacrifices he was making. "You," says he to Philip, "by lending yourself to be the easy dupe of France, have driven me most reluctantly into a second marriage; have stripped me of the fair fruits of my Neapolitan conquests," etc. He concludes with this appeal to him. "Sit satis, fili, pervagatum; redi in te, si filius, non hostis accesseris; his non obstantibus, mi filius, amplexabere. Magna est paternae vis naturae." Philip may have thought his father-in-law's late conduct an indifferent commentary on the "paternae vis naturae." See the king's letter quoted by Peter Martyr in his correspondence with the count of Tendilla. Opus Epist., epist 293.

[30] Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1506.—Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 23.—Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap, 16.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 292.—Zurita has transcribed the whole of this dutiful and most loving epistle. Ubi supra.

Guicciardini considers Philip as only practising the lessons he had learned in Spain, "le arti Spagnuole." (Istoria, lib. 7.) The phrase would seem to have been proverbial with the Italians, like the "Punica fides," which their Roman ancestors fastened on the character of their African enemy;—perhaps with equal justice.

[31] Joanna, according to Sandoval, displayed much composure in her alarming situation. When informed by Philip of their danger, she attired herself in her richest dress, securing a considerable sum of money to her person, that her body, if found, might be recognized, and receive the obsequies suited to her rank. Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 10.

[32] Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 204—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1506.—St. Gelais, Hist. de Louys XII., p. 186.—Bacon, Hist. of Henry VII., Works, vol. v. pp. 177-179.—Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 7.—Rymer, Foedera, tom. xiii. pp. 123-132.

One was a commercial treaty with Flanders, so disastrous as to be known in that country by the name of "malus intercursus;" the other involved the surrender of the unfortunate duke of Suffolk.

[33] Bacon, Hist. of Henry VII., Works, vol. v. p. 179.

[34] Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 2, dial. 36.—Memoires de Bayard, chap. 26.

[35] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 300.—Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 2, dial. 36.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1506.—Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 203.

"Some affirmed," says Zurita, "that Isabella, before appointing her husband to the regency, exacted an oath from him, that he would not marry a second time." (Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 84.) This improbable story, so inconsistent with the queen's character, has been transcribed with more or less qualification by succeeding historians from Mariana to Quintana. Robertson repeats it without any qualification at all. See History of Charles V., vol. ii. p. 6.

[36] "Quisque enim in spes suas pronus et expeditus, commodo serviendum," says Giovio, borrowing the familiar metaphor, "et orientem solem potius quam occidentem adorandum esse dictitabat." Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 278.

[37] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 6, cap. 29, 30.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 57.—Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 204.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 304, 305.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1506.— Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 10.

[38] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 306, 308, 309.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 59.—Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 278.

[39] "Nil benignius Philippo in terris, nullus inter orbis principes animosior, inter juvenes pulchrior," etc. (Opus Epist., epist. 285.) In a subsequent letter he thus describes the unhappy predicament of the young prince; "Nescit hic juvenis, nescit quo se vertat, hinc avaris, illinc ambitiosis, atque utrimque vafris hominibus circumseptus alienigena, bonae naturae, apertique animi. Trahetur in diversa, perturbabitur ipse atque obtundetur. Omnia confundentur. Utinam vana praedicem!" Epist. 308.

[40] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 7, cap. 2.

[41] Opus Epist., epist. 308.

[42] "Ipsae amicos res optimae pariunt, adversae probant." Pub. Syrus.

[43] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 306, 311.—Robles, Vida de Ximenez, p. 143.—Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap. 19.—Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 1, cap. 19.—Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 10.

[44] The only pretext for all this pomp of war was the rumor, that the king was levying a considerable force, and the duke of Alva mustering his followers in Leon;—rumors willingly circulated, no doubt, if not a sheer device of the enemy. Zurita, Anales, lib. 7, cap. 2.

[45] "Durior Caucasia rupe, paternum nihil auscultavit." Opus Epist., epist. 310.

[46] Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 3, dial. 43.—Robles, Vida de Ximenez, pp. 146-149.—Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap. 20.—-Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 7, cap. 5.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 61, 62.—Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 15.— Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1506.—Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS, cap. 204.

[47] Lord Bacon remarks, in allusion to Philip's premature death, "There was an observation by the wisest of that court, that, if he had lived, his father would have gained upon him in that sort, as he would have governed his councils and designs, if not his affections." (Hist. of Henry VII., Works, vol. v. p. 180.) The prediction must have been suggested by the general estimation of their respective characters; for the parties never met again after Ferdinand withdrew to Aragon.

[48] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 7, cap. 8.

[49] Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 204.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1506.—Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 7, cap. 7.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 210.

[50] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 7, cap. 8.

[51] Zurita, Anales, ubi supra.

[52] Idem, ubi supra.

Ferdinand's manifesto, as well as the instrument declaring his daughter's incapacity, are given at length by Zurita. The secret protest rests on the unsupported authority of the historian; and surely a better authority cannot easily be found, considering his proximity to the period, his resources as national historiographer, and the extreme caution and candor with which he discriminates between fact and rumor. It is very remarkable, however, that Peter Martyr, with every opportunity for information, as a member of the royal household, apparently high in the king's confidence, should have made no allusion to this secret protest in his correspondence with Tendilla and Talavera, both attached to the royal party, and to whom he appears to have communicated all matters of interest without reserve.

[53] This motive is charitably imputed to him by Gaillard. (Rivalite, tom. iv. p. 311.) The same writer commends Ferdinand's habilite, in extricating himself from his embarrassments by the treaty, "auquel il fit consentir Philippe dans leur entrevue"! p. 310.

[54] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 7, cap. 10.—Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap. 21.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 64.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 210.

[55] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 7, cap. 10.—Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1. quinc. 3, dial. 9.

[56] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 7, cap. 10.—See also the melancholy vaticinations of Martyr, (Opus Epist., epist. 311,) who seems to echo back the sentiments of his friends Tendilla and Talavera.




Return of Columbus from his Fourth Voyage.—His Illness.—Neglected by Ferdinand.—His Death.—His Person.—And Character.

While the events were passing, which occupy the beginning of the preceding chapter, Christopher Columbus returned from his fourth and last voyage. It had been one unbroken series of disappointment and disaster. After quitting Hispaniola, and being driven by storms nearly to the island of Cuba, he traversed the Gulf of Honduras, and coasted along the margin of the golden region, which had so long flitted before his fancy. The natives invited him to strike into its western depths in vain, and he pressed forward to the south, now solely occupied with the grand object of discovering a passage into the Indian Ocean. At length, after having with great difficulty advanced somewhat beyond the point of Nombre de Dios, he was compelled by the fury of the elements, and the murmurs of his men, to abandon the enterprise, and retrace his steps. He was subsequently defeated in an attempt to establish a colony on terra firma, by the ferocity of the natives; was wrecked on the island of Jamaica, where he was permitted to linger more than a year, through the malice of Ovando, the new governor of St. Domingo; and finally, having re-embarked with his shattered crew in a vessel freighted at at his own expense, was driven by a succession of terrible tempests across the ocean, until, on the 7th of November, 1504, he anchored in the little port of St. Lucar, twelve leagues from Seville. [1]

In this quiet haven, Columbus hoped to find the repose his broken constitution and wounded spirit so much needed, and to obtain a speedy restitution of his honors and emoluments from the hand of Isabella. But here he was to experience his bitterest disappointment. At the time of his arrival, the queen was on her death-bed; and in a very few days Columbus received the afflicting intelligence, that the friend, on whose steady support he had so confidently relied, was no more. It was a heavy blow to his hopes, for "he had always experienced favor and protection from her," says his son Ferdinand, "while the king had not only been indifferent, but positively unfriendly to his interests." [2] We may readily credit, that a man of the cold and prudent character of the Spanish monarch would not be very likely to comprehend one so ardent and aspiring as that of Columbus, nor to make allowance for his extravagant sallies. And, if nothing has hitherto met our eye to warrant the strong language of the son, yet we have seen that the king, from the first, distrusted the admiral's projects, as having something unsound and chimerical in them.

The affliction of the latter at the tidings of Isabella's death is strongly depicted in a letter written immediately after to his son Diego. "It is our chief duty," he says, "to commend to God most affectionately and devoutly the soul of our deceased lady, the queen. Her life was always Catholic and virtuous, and prompt to whatever could redound to His holy service; wherefore, we may trust, she now rests in glory, far from all concern for this rough and weary world." [3]

Columbus, at this time, was so much crippled by the gout, to which he had been long subject, that he was unable to undertake a journey to Segovia, where the court was, during the winter. He lost no time, however, in laying his situation before the king through his son Diego, who was attached to the royal household. He urged his past services, the original terms of the capitulation made with him, their infringement in almost every particular, and his own necessitous condition. But Ferdinand was too busily occupied with his own concerns, at this crisis, to give much heed to those of Columbus, who repeatedly complains of the inattention shown to his application. [4] At length, on the approach of a milder season, the admiral, having obtained a dispensation in his favor from the ordinance prohibiting the use of mules, was able by easy journeys to reach Segovia, and present himself before the monarch. [5]

He was received with all the outward marks of courtesy and regard by Ferdinand, who assured him that "he fully estimated his important services, and, far from stinting his recompense to the precise terms of the capitulation, intended to confer more ample favors on him in Castile." [6]

These fair words, however, were not seconded by actions. The king probably had no serious thoughts of reinstating the admiral in his government. His successor, Ovando, was high in the royal favor. His rule, however objectionable as regards the Indians, was every way acceptable to the Spanish colonists; [7] and even his oppression of the poor natives was so far favorable to his cause, that it enabled him to pour much larger sums into the royal coffers, than had been gleaned by his more humane predecessor. [8]

The events of the last voyage, moreover, had probably not tended to dispel any distrust, which the king previously entertained of the admiral's capacity for government. His men had been in a state of perpetual insubordination; while his letter to the sovereigns, written under distressing circumstances, indeed, from Jamaica, exhibited such a deep coloring of despondency, and occasionally such wild and visionary projects, as might almost suggest the suspicion of a temporary alienation of mind. [9]

But whatever reasons may have operated to postpone Columbus's restoration to power, it was the grossest injustice to withhold from him the revenues secured by the original contract with the crown. According to his own statement, he was so far from receiving his share of the remittances made by Ovando, that he was obliged to borrow money, and had actually incurred a heavy debt for his necessary expenses. [10] The truth was, that, as the resources of the new countries began to develop themselves more abundantly, Ferdinand felt greater reluctance to comply with the letter of the original capitulation; he now considered the compensation as too vast and altogether disproportioned to the services of any subject; and at length was so ungenerous as to propose that the admiral should relinquish his claims, in consideration of other estates and dignities to be assigned him in Castile. [11] It argued less knowledge of character, than the king usually showed, that he should have thought the man, who had broken off all negotiations on the threshold of a dubious enterprise, rather than abate one tittle of his demands, would consent to such abatement when the success of that enterprise was so gloriously established.

What assistance Columbus actually received from the crown at this time, or whether he received any, does not appear. He continued to reside with the court, and accompanied it in its removal to Valladolid. He no doubt enjoyed the public consideration due to his high repute and extraordinary achievements; though by the monarch he might be regarded in the unwelcome light of a creditor, whose claims were too just to be disavowed, and too large to be satisfied.

With spirits broken by this unthankful requital of his services, and with a constitution impaired by a life of unmitigated hardship, Columbus's health now rapidly sunk under the severe and reiterated attacks of his disorder. On the arrival of Philip and Joanna, he addressed a letter to them, through his brother Bartholomew, in which he lamented the infirmities which prevented him from paying his respects in person, and made a tender of his future services. The communication was graciously received, but Columbus did not survive to behold the young sovereigns. [12]

His mental vigor, however, was not impaired by the ravages of disease, and on the 19th of May, 1506, he executed a codicil, confirming certain testamentary dispositions formerly made, with special reference to the entail of his estates and dignities, manifesting, in his latest act, the same solicitude he had shown through life, to perpetuate an honorable name. Having completed these arrangements with perfect composure, he expired on the following day, being that of our Lord's ascension, with little apparent suffering, and in the most Christian spirit of resignation. [13] His remains, first deposited in the convent of St. Francis at Valladolid, were, six years later, removed to the Carthusian monastery of Las Cuevas at Seville, where a costly monument was raised over them by King Ferdinand, with the memorable inscription,

"A Castilla y a Leon Nuevo mundo dio Colon;"

"the like of which," says his son Ferdinand, with as much truth as simplicity, "was never recorded of any man in ancient or modern times." [14] From this spot his body was transported, in the year 1536, to the island of St. Domingo, the proper theatre of his discoveries; and, on the cession of that island to the French, in 1795, was again removed to Cuba, where his ashes now quietly repose in the cathedral church of its capital. [15]

There is considerable uncertainty as to Columbus's age, though it seems probable it was not far from seventy at the time of his death. [16] His person has been minutely described by his son. He was tall and well made, his head large, with an aquiline nose, small light-blue or grayish eyes, a fresh complexion and red hair, though incessant toil and exposure had bronzed the former, and bleached the latter, before the age of thirty. He had a majestic presence, with much dignity, and at the same time affability of manner. He was fluent, even eloquent in discourse; generally temperate in deportment, but sometimes hurried by a too lively sensibility into a sally of passion. [17] He was abstemious in his diet, indulged little in amusements of any kind, and, in truth, seemed too much absorbed by the great cause to which he had consecrated his life, to allow scope for the lower pursuits and pleasures, which engage ordinary men. Indeed, his imagination, by feeding too exclusively on this lofty theme, acquired an unnatural exaltation, which raised him too much above the sober realities of existence, leading him to spurn at difficulties, which in the end proved insurmountable, and to color the future with those rainbow tints, which too often melted into air.

This exalted state of the imagination was the result in part, no doubt, of the peculiar circumstances of his life. For the glorious enterprise which he had achieved almost justified the conviction of his acting under the influence of some higher inspiration than mere human reason, and led his devout mind to discern intimations respecting himself in the dark and mysterious annunciations of sacred prophecy. [18]

That the romantic coloring of his mind, however, was natural to him, and not purely the growth of circumstances, is evident from the chimerical speculations, in which he seriously indulged before the accomplishment of his great discoveries. His scheme of a crusade for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre was most deliberately meditated, and strenuously avowed from the very first date of his proposals to the Spanish government. His enthusiastic communications on the subject must have provoked a smile from a pontiff like Alexander the Sixth; [19] and may suggest some apology for the tardiness, with which his more rational projects were accredited by the Castilian government. But these visionary fancies never clouded his judgment in matters relating to his great undertaking; and it is curious to observe the prophetic accuracy, with which he discerned, not only the existence, but the eventual resources of the western world; as is sufficiently evinced by his precautions, to the very last, to secure the full fruits of them, unimpaired, to his posterity.

Whatever were the defects of his mental constitution, the finger of the historian will find it difficult to point to a single blemish in his moral character. His correspondence breathes the sentiment of devoted loyalty to his sovereigns. His conduct habitually displayed the utmost solicitude for the interests of his followers. He expended almost his last maravedi in restoring his unfortunate crew to their native land. His dealings were regulated by the nicest principles of honor and justice. His last communication to the sovereigns from the Indies remonstrates against the use of violent measures in order to extract gold from the natives, as a thing equally scandalous and impolitic. [20] The grand object to which he dedicated himself seemed to expand his whole soul, and raised it above the petty shifts and artifices, by which great ends are sometimes sought to be compassed. There are some men, in whom rare virtues have been closely allied, if not to positive vice, to degrading weakness. Columbus's character presented no such humiliating incongruity. Whether we contemplate it in its public or private relations, in all its features it wears the same noble aspect. It was in perfect harmony with the grandeur of his plans, and their results, more stupendous than those which Heaven has permitted any other mortal to achieve. [21]


[1] Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, dec. 3, lib. 4.—Benzoni, Novi Orbis Hist., lib. 1, cap. 14.—Fernando Colon, Hist. del Almirante, cap. 88- 108.—Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 5, cap. 2-12; lib. 6, cap. 1-13.—Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. pp. 282-325.

The best authorities for the fourth voyage are the relations of Mendez and Porras, both engaged in it; and above all the admiral's own letter to the sovereigns from Jamaica. They are all collected in the first volume of Navarrete. (Ubi supra.) Whatever cloud may be thrown over the early part of Columbus's career, there is abundant light on every step of his path after the commencement of his great enterprise.

[2] Hist. del Almirante, cap. 108.

[3] Cartas de Colon, apud Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. p. 341.

[4] See his interesting correspondence with his son Diego; now printed for the first time by Senor Navarrete from the original MSS. in the duke of Veragua's possession. Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. p. 338 et seq.

[5] Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 6, cap. 14.—Fernando Colon, Hist. del Almirante, cap. 108.

For an account of this ordinance see Part II. Chapter 3, note 12, of this History.

[6] Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 6, cap. 14.

[7] Ibid., dec. 1, lib. 5, cap. 12.

[8] Ibid., dec. 1, lib. 5, cap. 12; lib. 6, cap. 16-18.—Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 14.

[9] This document exhibits a medley, in which sober narrative and sound reasoning are strangely blended with crazy dreams, doleful lamentation, and wild schemes for the recovery of Jerusalem, the conversion of the Grand Khan, etc. Vagaries like these, which come occasionally like clouds over his soul, to shut out the light of reason, cannot fail to fill the mind of the reader, as they doubtless did those of the sovereigns at the time, with mingled sentiments of wonder and compassion. See Cartas de Colon, apud Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. p. 296.

[10] Ibid., p. 338.

[11] Fernando Colon, Hist. del Almirante, cap. 108.—Herrera, Indias Occidentales, lib. 6, cap. 14.

[12] Navarrete has given the letter, Coleccion de Viages, tom. iii. p. 530.—Herrera, Indias Occidentales, ubi supra.

[13] Zuniga, Annales de Sevilla, p. 429.—Fernando Colon, Hist. del Almirante, cap. 108.—Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 131.— Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom, ii., Doc. Dipl., 158.

[14] Hist. del Almirante, ubi supra.

The following eulogium of Paolo Giovio is a pleasing tribute to the deserts of the great navigator, showing the high estimation in which he was held, abroad as well as at home, by the enlightened of his own day. "Incomparabilis Liguribus honos, eximium Italiae decus, et praefulgidum jubar seculo nostro nasceretur, quod priscorum heroum, Herculis, et Liberi patris famam obscuraret. Quorum memoriam grata olim mortalitas aeternis literarum monumentis coelo consecrarit." Elogia Virorum Illust., lib. 4, p. 123.

[15] Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. ii., Doc. Dipl., 177.

On the left of the grand altar of this stately edifice, is a bust of Columbus, placed in a niche in the wall, and near it a silver urn, containing all that now remains of the illustrious voyager. See Abbot's "Letters from Cuba," a work of much interest and information, with the requisite allowance for the inaccuracies of a posthumous publication.

[16] The various theories respecting the date of Columbus's birth cover a range of twenty years, from 1436 to 1456. There are sturdy objections to either of the hypotheses; and the historian will find it easier to cut the knot than to unravel it. Comp. Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. Intr., sec. 54.—Munoz, Hist. del Nuevo-Mundo, lib. 2, sec. 12.—Spotorno, Memorials of Columbus, pp. 12, 25.—Irving, Life of Columbus, vol. iv. book 18, chap. 4.

[17] Fernando Colon, Hist. del Almirante, cap. 3.—Novi Orbis Hist., lib. 1, cap. 14.—Herrera, Indias Occidentales, dec. 1, lib. 6, cap. 15.

[18] See the extracts from Columbus's book of Prophecies, (apud Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom, ii., Doc. Dipl., no. 140,) as still existing in the Bibliotheca Colombina at Seville.

[19] See his epistle to the most selfish and sensual of the successors of St. Peter, in Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom, ii., Doc. Dipl., no. 145.

[20] "El oro, bien que segun informacion el sea mucho, no me parescio bien ni servicio de vuestras Altezas de se le tomar por via de robo. La buena orden evitara escandolo y mala fama," etc. Cartas de Colon, apud Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. p. 310.

[21] Columbus left two sons, Fernando and Diego. The former, illegitimate, inherited his father's genius, says a Castilian writer, and the latter, his honors and estates. (Zuniga, Annales de Sevilla, ano 1506.) Fernando, besides other works now lost, left a valuable memoir of his father, often cited in this history. He was a person of rather uncommon literary attainments, and amassed a library, in his extensive travels, of 20,000 volumes, perhaps the largest private collection in Europe at that day. (Ibid., ano 1539.) Diego did not succeed to his father's dignities, till he had obtained a judgment in his favor against the crown from the Council of the Indies, an act highly honorable to that tribunal, and showing that the independence of the courts of justice, the greatest bulwark of civil liberty, was well maintained under King Ferdinand. (Navarrete, Coleccion de Viages, tom. ii., Doc. Dipl., nos. 163, 164; tom. iii., Supl. Col. Dipl., no. 69.) The young admiral subsequently married a lady of the great Toledo family, niece of the duke of Alva. (Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 2, dial. 8.) This alliance with one of the most ancient branches of the haughty aristocracy of Castile, proves the extraordinary consideration, which Columbus must have attained during his own lifetime. A new opposition was made by Charles V. to the succession of Diego's son; and the latter, discouraged by the prospect of this interminable litigation with the crown, prudently consented to commute his claims, too vast and indefinite for any subject to enforce, for specific honors and revenues in Castile. The titles of Duke of Veragua and Marquis of Jamaica, derived from the places visited by the admiral in his last voyage, still distinguish the family, whose proudest title, above all that monarchs can confer, is, to have descended from Columbus. Spotorno, Memorials of Columbus, p. 123.




Philip and Joanna.—Their Reckless Administration.—Ferdinand Distrusts Gonsalvo.—He Sails for Naples.—Philip's Death and Character.—The Provisional Government.—Joanna's Condition.—Ferdinand's Entry into Naples.—Discontent Caused by his Measures there.

King Ferdinand had no sooner concluded the arrangement with Philip, and withdrawn into his hereditary dominions, than the archduke and his wife proceeded towards Valladolid, to receive the homage of the estates convened in that city. Joanna, oppressed with an habitual melancholy, and clad in the sable habiliments better suited to a season of mourning than rejoicing, refused the splendid ceremonial and festivities, with which the city was prepared to welcome her. Her dissipated husband, who had long since ceased to treat her not merely with affection, but even decency, would fain have persuaded the cortes to authorize the confinement of his wife, as disordered in intellect, and to devolve on him the whole charge of the government. In this he was supported by the archbishop of Toledo, and some of the principal nobility. But the thing was distasteful to the commons, who could not brook such an indignity to their own "natural sovereign;" and they were so stanchly supported by the admiral Enriquez, a grandee of the highest authority from his connection with the crown, that Philip was at length induced to abandon his purpose, and to content himself with an act of recognition similar to that made at Toro. [1] No notice whatever was taken of the Catholic king, or of his recent arrangement transferring the regency to Philip. The usual oaths of allegiance were tendered to Joanna as queen and lady proprietor of the kingdom, and to Philip as her husband, and finally to their eldest son, prince Charles, as heir apparent and lawful successor on the demise of his mother. [2]

By the tenor of these acts the royal authority would seem to be virtually vested in Joanna. From this moment, however, Philip assumed the government into his own hands. The effects were soon visible in the thorough revolution introduced into every department. Old incumbents in office were ejected without ceremony, to make way for new favorites. The Flemings, in particular, were placed in every considerable post, and the principal fortresses of the kingdom intrusted to their keeping. No length or degree of service was allowed to plead in behalf of the ancient occupant. The marquis and marchioness of Moya, the personal friends of the late queen, and who had been particularly recommended by her to her daughter's favor, were forcibly expelled from Segovia, whose strong citadel was given to Don Juan Manuel. There were no limits to the estates and honors lavished on this crafty minion. [3]

The style of living at the court was on the most thoughtless scale of wasteful expenditure. The public revenues, notwithstanding liberal appropriations by the late cortes, were wholly unequal to it. To supply the deficit, offices were sold to the highest bidder. The income drawn from the silk manufactures of Granada, which had been appropriated to defray King Ferdinand's pension, was assigned by Philip to one of the royal treasurers. Fortunately, Ximenes obtained possession of the order and had the boldness to tear it in pieces. He then waited on the young monarch and remonstrated with him on the recklessness of measures which must infallibly ruin his credit with the people. Philip yielded in this instance; but, although he treated the archbishop with the greatest outward deference, it is not easy to discern the habitual influence over his counsels claimed for the prelate by his adulatory biographers. [4]

All this could not fail to excite disgust and disquietude throughout the nation. The most alarming symptoms of insubordination began to appear in different parts of the kingdom. In Andalusia, in particular, a confederation of the nobles was organized, with the avowed purpose of rescuing the queen from the duress, in which it was said she was held by her husband. At the same time the most tumultuous scenes were exhibited in Cordova, in consequence of the high hand with which the Inquisition was carrying matters there. Members of many of the principal families, including persons of both sexes, had been arrested on the charge of heresy. This sweeping proscription provoked an insurrection, countenanced by the marquis of Priego, in which the prisons were broken open, and Lucero, an inquisitor who had made himself deservedly odious by his cruelties, narrowly escaped falling into the hands of the infuriated populace. [5] The grand inquisitor, Deza, archbishop of Seville, the steady friend of Columbus, but whose name is unhappily registered on some of the darkest pages of the tribunal, was so intimidated as to resign his office. [6] The whole affair was referred to the royal council by Philip, whose Flemish education had not predisposed him to any reverence for the institution; a circumstance, which operated quite as much to his prejudice, with the more bigoted part of the nation, as his really exceptionable acts. [7]

The minds of the wise and the good were filled with sadness, as they listened to the low murmurs of popular discontent, which seemed to be gradually swelling into strength for some terrible convulsion; and they looked back with fond regret to the halcyon days, which they had enjoyed under the temperate rule of Ferdinand and Isabella.

The Catholic king, in the mean time, was pursuing his voyage to Naples. He had been earnestly pressed by the Neapolitans to visit his new dominions, soon after the conquest. [8] He now went, less, however, in compliance with that request, than to relieve his own mind, by assuring himself of the fidelity of his viceroy, Gonsalvo de Cordova. That illustrious man had not escaped the usual lot of humanity; his brilliant successes had brought on him a full measure of the envy, which seems to wait on merit like its shadow. Even men like Rojas, the Castilian ambassador at Rome, and Prospero Colonna, the distinguished Italian commander, condescended to employ their influence at court to depreciate the Great Captain's services, and raise suspicions of his loyalty. His courteous manners, bountiful largesses, and magnificent style of living were represented as politic arts, to seduce the affections of the soldiery and the people. His services were in the market for the highest bidder. He had received the most splendid offers from the king of France and the pope. He had carried on a correspondence with Maximilian and Philip, who would purchase his adhesion, if possible, to the latter, at any price; and, if he had not hitherto committed himself by any overt act, it seemed probable he was only waiting to be determined in his future course by the result of King Ferdinand's struggle with his son-in-law. [9]

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