The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V3
by William H. Prescott
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

[40] Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 100.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 572.—Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 24.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 5.

[41] Mem de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Illust. 21. According to Pedraza, this event did not take place till 1525. Antiguedad de Granada, lib. 3, cap. 7.

[42] Pedraza, Antiguedad de Granada, lib. 3, cap. 7.—"Assai bello per Spagna;" says Navagiero, who, as an Italian, had a right to be fastidious. (Viaggio, fol. 23.) The artist, however, was not a Spaniard; at least common tradition assigns the work to Philip of Burgundy, an eminent sculptor of the period, who has left many specimens of his excellence in Toledo and other parts of Spain. (Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. p. 577.) Laborde's magnificent work contains an engraving of the monuments of the Catholic sovereigns and Philip and Joanna; "qui rappellent la renaissance des arts en Italie, et sont, a la fois d'une belle execution et d'une conception noble." Laborde, Voyage Pittoresque, tom. ii. p. 25.

[43] L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.

Pulgar's portrait of the king, taken also in the morning of his life, the close of which the writer did not live to see, is equally bright and pleasing. "Habia," says he," una gracia singular, que qualquier con el fablese, luego le amaba e le deseaba servir, porque tenia la communicacion amigable." Reyes Catolicos, p. 36.

[44] "He tilted lightly," says Pulgar, "and with a dexterity not surpassed by any man in the kingdom." Reyes Catolicos, ubi supra.

[45] L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 153.—Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 24.—Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 37.

[46] Pulgar, indeed, notices his fondness for chess, tennis, and other games of skill, in early life. Reyes Catolicos, part. 2, cap. 3.

[47] L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.—Pulgar, Reyes Catolicos, part. 2, cap. 3.

"Stop and dine with us," he was known to say to his uncle, the grand admiral Henriquez; "we are to have a chicken for dinner today." (Sempere, Hist, del Luxo, tom. ii. p. 2, nota.) The royal cuisine would have afforded small scope for the talents of a Vatel or an Ude.

[48] Sempere, Hist. del Luxo, ubi supra.

[49] Machiavelli, by a single coup de pinceau, thus characterizes, or caricatures, the princes of his time. "Un imperatore instabile e vario; un re di Francia sdegnoso e pauroso; un re d'Inghilterra ricco, feroce, e cupido di gloria; un re di Spagna taccagno e avaro; per gli altri re, io no li conosco."

[50] The revenues of his own kingdom of Aragon were very limited. His principal foreign expeditions were undertaken solely on account of that crown; and this, notwithstanding the aid from Castile, may explain, and in some degree excuse, his very scanty remittances to his troops.

[51] On one occasion, having obtained a liberal supply from the states of Aragon, (a rare occurrence,) his counsellors advised him to lock it up against a day of need. "Mas el Rey," says Zurita, "que siempre supo gastar su dinero provechosamente, y nunca fue escosso en despendello en las cosas del estado, tuvo mas aparejo para emplearlo, que para encerrarlo." (Anales, tom. vi. fol. 225.) The historian, it must be allowed, lays quite as much emphasis on his liberality as it will bear.

[52] Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 24.—Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 100.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 566.

"Vix ad funeris pompam et paucis familiaribus praebendas vestes pullatas, pecuniae apud eum, neqne alibi congestae repertae sunt; quod nemo unquam de vivente judicavit." (Peter Martyr, ubi supra.) Guicciardini alludes to the same fact, as evidence of the injustice of the imputations on Ferdinand; "Ma accade," adds the historian, truly enough, "quasi sempre per il giudizio corrotto degli uomini, che nei Re e piu lodata la prodigalita, benche a quella sia annessa la rapacita, che la parsimonia congiunta con l'astinenza dalla roba di altri." (Istoria, tom. vi. lib. 12, p. 273.)

The state of Ferdinand's coffers formed, indeed, a strong contrast to that of his brother monarch's, Henry VII., "whose treasure of store," to borrow the words of Bacon, "left at his death, under his own key and keeping, amounted unto the sum of eighteen hundred thousand pounds sterling; a huge mass of money, even for these times." (Hist. of Henry VII., Works, vol. v. p. 183.) Sir Edward Coke swells this huge mass to "fifty and three hundred thousand pounds"! Institutes, part 4, chap. 35.

[53] Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 24.—L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.—Zurita, Anales, lib. 9, cap. 26.

Ferdinand's conduct in regard to the Inquisition in Aragon displayed singular duplicity. In consequence of the remonstrance of cortes, in 1512, in which that high-spirited body set forth the various usurpations of the Holy Office, Ferdinand signed a compact, abridging its jurisdiction. He repented of these concessions, however, and in the following year obtained a dispensation from Rome from his engagements. This proceeding produced such an alarming excitement in the kingdom, that the monarch found it expedient to renounce the papal brief, and apply for another, confirming his former compact. (Llorente, Hist. de l'Inquisition, tom. i. pp. 371 et seq.) One may well doubt whether bigotry entered as largely, as less pardonable motives of state policy, into this miserable juggling.

[54] "Disoit-on," says Brantome, "que la reyne Isabella de Castille estoit une fort devote et religieuse princesse, et que luy, quel grand zele qu'il y eust, n'estoit devotieux que par ypocrisie, couvrant ses actes et ambitions par ce sainct zele de religion." (Oeuvres, tom. i. p. 70.) "Copri," says Guicciardini, "quasi tutte le sue eupidita sotto colore di onesto zelo della religione e di santa intenzione al bene comune." (Istoria, tom. vi. lib. 12, p. 274.) The penetrating eye of Machiavelli glances at the same trait. II Principe, cap. 21.

[55] Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 12, p. 273.—Du Bellay, Memoires, apud Petitot, Collection des Memoires, tom. xvii. p. 272.—Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 11, p. 160; lib. 16, p. 336.—Machiavelli, Opere, tom. ix. Lett. Diverse, no. 6, ed. Milano, 1805.—Herbert, Life of Henry VIII., p. 63.—Sismondi, Republiques Italiennes, tom. xvi. cap. 112.—Voltaire sums up Ferdinand's character in the following pithy sentence. "On l'appellait en Espagne le sage, le prudent; en Italie le pieux; en France et a Londres le perfide." Essai sur les Moeurs, chap. 114.

[56] "Home era de verdad," says Pulgar, "como quiera que las necesidades grandes en que le pusieron las guerras, le facian algunas veces variar." (Reyes Catolicos, part. 2, cap. 3.) Zurita exposes and condemns this blemish in his hero's character, with a candor which does him credit. "Fue muy notado, no solo de los estrangeros, pero de sus naturales, que no guardava la verdad, y fe que prometia; y que se anteponia siempre, y sobrepujava el respeto de su propria utilidad, a lo que era justo y honesto." Anales, tom. vi. fol. 406.

[57] Charles V., in particular, testified his respect for Machiavelli, by having the "Principe" translated for his own use.

[58] Machiavelli, Opera, tom. vi.—Il Principe, cap. 18, ed. Genova, 1798.

[59] Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, tom. iv. part. 1, nos. 7, 11, 28, 29.— Seyssel, Hist. de Louys XII., pp. 228-230.—St. Gelais, Hist. de Louys XII., p. 184.

[60] Memoires de Bayard, chap. 61.—"This prince," says Lord Herbert, who was not disposed to overrate the talents, any more than the virtues, of Ferdinand, "was thought the most active and politique of his time. No man knew better how to serve his turn on everybody, or to make their ends conduce to his." Life of Henry VIII., p. 63.

[61] According to them, the Catholic king took no great pains to conceal his treachery. "Quelqu'un disant un jour a Ferdinand, que Louis XII. l'accusoit de l'avoir trompe trois fois, Ferdinand parut mecontent qn'il lui ravit une partie de sa gloire; Il en a bien menti, l'ivrogne, dit-il, avec toute la grossierete du temps, je l'ai trompe plus de dix." (Gaillard, Rivalite, tom. iv. p. 240.) The anecdote has been repeated by other modern writers, I know not on what authority. Ferdinand was too shrewd a politician, to hazard his game by playing the braggart.

[62] Paolo Giovio strikes the balance of their respective merits in this particular, in the following terms. "Ex horum enim longe maximorum nostrae tempestatis regum ingeniis, et turn liquido et multum antea praclare compertum est, nihil omnino sanctum et inviolabile, vel in rite conceptis sancitisque foederibus reperiri, quod, in proferendis imperiis augendisque opibus, apud eos nihil ad illustris famae decus interesset, dolone et nusquam sine fallaciis, an fide integra veraque virtute niterentur." Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 11, p. 160.

[63] An equally pertinent example occurs in the efficient support he gave Caesar Borgia in his flagitious enterprises against some of the most faithful allies of France. See Sismondi, Republiques Italiennes, tom. xiii. cap. 101.

[64] Read the honeyed panegyrics of Seyssel, St. Gelais, Voltaire even, to say nothing of Gaillard, Varillas, e lulti quanti, undiluted by scarce a drop of censure. Rare indeed is it to find one so imbued with the spirit of philosophy, as to raise himself above the local or national prejudices which pass for patriotism with the vulgar. Sismondi is the only writer in the French language, that has come under my notice, who has weighed the deserts of Louis XII. in the historic balance with impartiality and candor. And Sismondi is not a Frenchman.

[65] Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 16, p. 335.

[66] Ferdinand left four natural children, one son and three daughters. The former, Don Alonso de Aragon, was born of the viscountess of Eboli, a Catalan lady. He was made archbishop of Saragossa when only six years old. There was little of the religious profession, however, in his life. He took an active part in the political and military movements of the period, and seems to have been even less scrupulous in his gallantries than his father. His manners in private life were attractive, and his public conduct discreet. His father always regarded him with peculiar affection, and intrusted him with the regency of Aragon, as we have seen, at his death.

Ferdinand had three daughters, also, by three different ladies, one of them a noble Portuguese. The eldest child was named Dona Juana, and married the grand constable of Castile. The others, each named Maria, embraced the religious profession in a convent in Madrigal. L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 188.—Salazar de Mendoza, Monarquia, tom. i. p. 410.

[67] "Enfin il surpassa tous les Princes de son siecle en la science du Cabinet, et c'est a lui qu'on doit attribuer le premier et le souverain usage de la politique moderne." Varillas, Politique de Ferdinand, liv. 3, disc. 10.

[68] Brantome notices a sobriquet which his countrymen had given to Ferdinand. "Nos Francois appelloient ce roy Ferdinand Jehan Gipon, je ne scay pour quelle derision; mais il nous cousta bon, et nous fist bien du mal, et fust un grand roy et sage." Which his ancient editor thus explains: "Gipon de i'italien giubone, c'est que nous appellons jupon et jupe; voulant par la taxer ce prince de s'etre laisse gouverner par Isabelle, reine de Castille, sa femme, dont il endossoit la jupe, pour ainsi dire, pendant qu'elle portoit les chausses." (Vies des Hommes Illustres, disc. 5.) There is more humor than truth in the etymology. The gipon was part of a man's attire, being, as Mr. Tyrwhitt defines it, "a short cassock," and was worn under the armor. Thus Chaucer, in the Prologue to his "Canterbury Tales," says of his knight's dress,

"Of fustian he wered a gipon Alle besmotred with his habergeon."

Again, in his "Knighte's Tale,"

"Som wol ben armed in an habergeon, And in a brest-plate, and in a gipon."

[69] When Ferdinand visited Aragon, in 1515, during his troubles with the cortes, he imprisoned the vice-chancellor, Antonio Augustin; being moved to this, according to Carbajal, by his jealousy of that minister's attentions to his young queen. (Anales, MS., ano 1515.) It is possible. Zurita, however, treats it as mere scandal, referring the imprisonment to political offences exclusively. Anales, tom. vi. fol. 393.—See also Dormer, Anales de la Corona de Aragon, (Zaragoza, 1697,) lib. 1, cap. 9.

[70] "Era poco hermosa," says Sandoval, who grudges her even this quality, "algo coja, amiga mucho de holgarse, y andar en banquetes, huertos y jardines, y en fiestas. Introduxo esta Senora en Castilla comidas soberbias, siendo los Castellanos, y sun sus Reyes muy moderados en esto. Pasabansele pocos dias que no convidase, 6 fuese convidada. La que mas gastaba en fiestas y banquetes con ella, era mas su amiga." Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 12.

[71] Opere, tom. ix. Lettere Diverse, no. 6, ed. Milano, 1805. His correspondent, Vettori, is still more severe in his analysis of Ferdinand's public conduct. (Let. di 16 Maggio, 1514.) These statesmen were the friends of France, with whom Ferdinand was at war; and personal enemies of the Medici, whom that prince re-established in the government. As political antagonists therefore, every way, of the Catholic king, they were not likely to be altogether unbiassed in their judgments of his policy.—These views, however, find favor with Lord Herbert, who had evidently read, though he does not refer to, this correspondence. Life of Henry VIII., p. 63.

[72] Opere, tom. vi. II Principe, cap. 21, ed. Genova, 1798.

[73] Martyr, who had better opportunities than any other foreigner for estimating the character of Ferdinand, affords the most honorable testimony to his kingly qualities, in a letter written when the writer had no motive for flattery, after that monarch's death, to Charles V.'s physician. (Opus Epist., epist. 567.) Guicciardini, whose national prejudices did not lie in this scale, comprehends nearly as much in one brief sentence. "Re di eccellentissimo consiglio, e virtu, e nel quale, se fosse stato constante nelle promesse, no potresti facilmente riprendere cosa alcuna." (Istoria, tom. vi. lib. 12, p. 273.)

See also Brantome, (Oeuvres, tom. iv. disc. 5.)—Giovio, with scarcely more qualification, Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 16, p. 336.—Navagiero, Viaggio, fol. 27,—et alios.

[74] "Principe el mas senalado," says the prince of the Castilian historians, in his pithy manner, "en valor y justicia y prudencia que en muchos siglos Espana tuvo. Tachas a nadie pueden faltar sea por la fragilidad propia, o por la malicia y envidia agena que combate principalmente los altos lugares. Espejo sin duda por sus grandes virtudes en que todos los Principes de Espana se deben mirar." (Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ix. p. 375, cap. ult.) See also a similar tribute to his deserts, with greater amplification, in Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 20, cap. 24.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 148.—Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 42.—Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom. ix. p. 426 et seq.—et plurimis auct. antiq. et recentibus.

[75] See the closing chapter of the great Aragonese annalist, who terminates his historic labors with the death of Ferdinand the Catholic. (Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 100.) I will cite only one extract from the profuse panegyrics of the national writers; which attests the veneration in which Ferdinand's memory was held in Aragon. It is from one, whose penis never prostituted to parasitical or party purposes, and whose judgment is usually as correct as the expression of it is candid. "Quo plangore ac lamentatione universa civitas complebatur. Neque solum homines, sed ipsa tecta, et parietes urbis videbantur acerbum illius, qui omnibus charissimus erat, interitum lugere. Et merito. Erat enim, ut scitis, exemplum prudentiae ac fortitudinis: summae in re domestica continentiae: eximiae in publica dignitatis: humanitatis praeterea, ac leporis admirabilis. ***** Neque eos solum, sed omnes certe tanta amplectebatur benevolentia, ut interdum non nobis Rex, sed uniuscujusque nostrum genitor ac parens videretur. Post ejus interitum omnis nostra juventus languet, deliciis plus dedita quam deceret: nec perinde, ac debuerat, in laudis et gloriae cupiditate versatur. ***** Quid plura? nulla res fuit in usu bene regnandi posita, quae illius Regis scientiam effugeret. ***** Fuit enim aeximia corporis venustate praeditus. Sed pluris facere deberent consiliorum ac virtutum suarum, quam posteris reliquit, effigiem: quibus denique factum videmus, ut ab eo usque ad hoc tempus, non solum nobis, sed Hispaniae cunctae, diuturnitas pacis otium confirmarit. Haec aliaque ejusmodi quotidie a nostris senibus de Catholici Regis memoria enarrantur: quae a rei veritate nequaquam abhorrent." Blancas, Commentarii, p. 276.



1516, 1517.

Ximenes Governor of Castile.—Charles Proclaimed King.—Ximenes's Domestic Policy.—He Intimidates the Nobles.—Public Discontents.—Charles Lands in Spain.—His Ingratitude to Ximenes.—The Cardinal's Illness and Death.— His Extraordinary Character.

The personal history of Ferdinand the Catholic terminates, of course, with the preceding chapter. In order to bring the history of his reign, however, to a suitable close, it is necessary to continue the narrative through the brief regency of Ximenes, to the period when the government was delivered into the hands of Ferdinand's grandson and successor, Charles the Fifth.

By the testament of the deceased monarch, as we have seen, Cardinal Ximenez de Cisneros was appointed sole regent of Castile. He met with opposition, however, from Adrian, the dean of Louvain, who produced powers of similar purport from Prince Charles. Neither party could boast a sufficient warrant for exercising this important trust; the one claiming it by the appointment of an individual, who, acting merely as regent himself, had certainly no right to name his successor; while the other had only the sanction of a prince, who, at the time of giving it, had no jurisdiction whatever in Castile. The misunderstanding which ensued, was finally settled by an agreement of the parties to share the authority in common, till further instructions should be received from Charles. [1]

It was not long before they arrived. They confirmed the cardinal's authority in the fullest manner; while they spoke of Adrian only as an ambassador, They intimated, however, the most entire confidence in the latter; and the two prelates continued as before to administer the government jointly. Ximenes sacrificed nothing by this arrangement; for the tame and quiet temper of Adrian was too much overawed by the bold genius of his partner, to raise any opposition to his measures. [2]

The first requisition of prince Charles, was one that taxed severely the power and popularity of the new regent. This was to have himself proclaimed king; a measure extremely distasteful to the Castilians, who regarded it not only as contrary to established usage, during the lifetime of his mother, but as ah indignity to her. It was in vain that Ximenes and the council remonstrated on the impropriety and impolicy of the measure. [3] Charles, fortified by his Flemish advisers, sturdily persisted in his purpose. The cardinal, consequently, called a meeting of the prelates and principal nobles in Madrid, to which he had transferred the seat of government, and whose central position and other local advantages made it, from this time forward, with little variation, the regular capital of the kingdom. [4] The doctor Carbajal prepared a studied and plausible argument in support of the measure. [5] As it failed, however, to produce conviction in his audience, Ximenes, chafed by the opposition, and probably distrusting its real motives, peremptorily declared, that those who refused to acknowledge Charles as king, in the present state of things, would refuse to obey him when he was so. "I will have him proclaimed in Madrid to-morrow," said he, "and I doubt not every other city in the kingdom will follow the example." He was as good as his word; and the conduct of the capital was imitated, with little opposition, by all the other cities in Castile. Not so in Aragon, whose people were too much attached to their institutions to consent to it, till Charles first made oath in person to respect the laws and liberties of the realm. [6]

The Castilian aristocracy, it may be believed, did not much relish the new yoke imposed on them by their priestly regent. On one occasion, it is said, they went in a body and demanded of Ximenes by what powers he held the government so absolutely. He referred them for answer to Ferdinand's testament and Charles's letter. As they objected to these, he led them to a window of the apartment, and showed them a park of artillery below, exclaiming, at the same time. "There are my credentials, then!" The story is characteristic; but, though often repeated, must be admitted to stand on slender authority. [7]

One of the regent's first acts was the famous ordinance, encouraging the burgesses, by liberal rewards, to enroll themselves into companies, and submit to regular military training, at stated seasons. The nobles saw the operation of this measure too well, not to use all their efforts to counteract it. In this they succeeded for a time, as the cardinal, with his usual boldness, had ventured on it without waiting for Charles's sanction, and in opposition to most of the council. The resolute spirit of the minister, however, eventually triumphed over all resistance, and a national corps was organized, competent, under proper guidance, to protect the liberties of the people, but which, unfortunately, was ultimately destined to be turned against them. [8]

Armed with this strong physical force, the cardinal now projected the boldest schemes of reform, especially in the finances, which had fallen into some disorder in the latter days of Ferdinand. He made a strict inquisition into the funds of the military orders, in which there had been much waste and misappropriation; he suppressed all superfluous offices in the state, retrenched excessive salaries, and cut short the pensions granted by Ferdinand and Isabella, which he contended should determine with their lives. Unfortunately, the state was not materially benefited by these economical arrangements, since the greater part of what was thus saved was drawn off to supply the waste and cupidity of the Flemish court, who dealt with Spain with all the merciless rapacity that could be shown to a conquered province. [9]

The foreign administration of the regent displayed the same courage and vigor. Arsenals were established in the southern maritime towns, and a numerous fleet was equipped in the Mediterranean, against the Barbary corsairs. A large force was sent into Navarre, which defeated an invading army of French; and the cardinal followed up the blow by demolishing the principal fortresses of the kingdom; a precautionary measure, to which, in all probability, Spain owes the permanent preservation of her conquest. [10]

The regent's eye penetrated to the farthest limits of the monarchy. He sent a commission to Hispaniola, to inquire into, and ameliorate, the condition of the natives. At the same time he earnestly opposed (though without success, being overruled in this by the Flemish counsellors,) the introduction of negro slaves into the colonies, which, he predicted, from the character of the race, must ultimately result in a servile war. It is needless to remark, how well the event has verified the prediction. [11]

It is with less satisfaction that we must contemplate his policy in regard to the Inquisition. As head of that tribunal, he enforced its authority and pretensions to the utmost. He extended a branch of it to Oran, and also to the Canaries, and the New World. [12] In 1512, the new Christians had offered Ferdinand a large sum of money to carry on the Navarrese war, if he would cause the trials before that tribunal to be conducted in the same manner as in other courts, where the accuser and the evidence were confronted openly with the defendant. To this reasonable petition Ximenes objected, on the wretched plea, that, in that event, none would be found willing to undertake the odious business of informer. He backed his remonstrance with such a liberal donative from his own funds, as supplied the king's immediate exigency, and effectually closed his heart against the petitioners. The application was renewed in 1516, by the unfortunate Israelites, who offered a liberal supply in like manner to Charles, on similar terms. But the proposal, to which his Flemish counsellors, who may be excused, at least, from the reproach of bigotry, would have inclined the young monarch, was firmly rejected through the interposition of Ximenes. [13]

The high-handed measures of the minister, while they disgusted the aristocracy, gave great umbrage to the dean of Louvain, who saw himself reduced to a mere cipher in the administration. In consequence of his representations a second, and afterwards a third minister was sent to Castile, with authority to divide the government with the cardinal. But all this was of little avail. On one occasion, the co-regents ventured to rebuke their haughty partner, and assert their own dignity, by subscribing their names first to the despatches, and then sending them to him for his signature. But Ximenes coolly ordered his secretary to tear the paper in pieces, and make out a new one, which he signed, and sent out without the participation of his brethren. And this course he continued during the remainder of his administration. [14]

The cardinal not only assumed the sole responsibility of the most important public acts, but, in the execution of them, seldom condescended to calculate the obstacles or the odds arrayed against him. He was thus brought into collision, at the same time, with three of the most powerful grandees of Castile; the dukes of Alva and Infantado, and the count of Urena. Don Pedro Giron, the son of the latter, with several other young noblemen, had maltreated and resisted the royal officers, while in the discharge of their duty. They then took refuge in the little town of Villafrata, which they fortified and prepared for a defence. The cardinal without hesitation mustered several thousand of the national militia, and, investing the place, set it on fire, and deliberately razed it to the ground. The refractory nobles, struck with consternation, submitted. Their friends interceded for them in the most humble manner; and the cardinal, whose lofty spirit disdained to trample on a fallen foe, showed his usual clemency by soliciting their pardon from the king. [15]

But neither the talents nor authority of Ximenes, it was evident, could much longer maintain subordination among the people, exasperated by the shameless extortions of the Flemings, and the little interest shown for them by their new sovereign. The most considerable offices in church and state were put up to sale; and the kingdom was drained of its funds by the large remittances continually made, on one pretext or another, to Flanders. All this brought odium, undeserved indeed, on the cardinal's government; [16] for there is abundant evidence, that both he and the council remonstrated in the boldest manner on these enormities; while they endeavored to inspire nobler sentiments in Charles's bosom, by recalling the wise and patriotic administration of his grandparents. [17] The people, in the mean while, outraged by these excesses, and despairing of redress from a higher quarter, loudly clamored for a convocation of cortes, that they might take the matter into their own hands. The cardinal evaded this as long as possible. He was never a friend to popular assemblies, much less in the present inflamed state of public feeling, and in the absence of the sovereign. He was more anxious for his return than any other individual, probably, in the kingdom. Braved by the aristocracy at home, thwarted in every favorite measure by the Flemings abroad, with an injured, indignant people to control, and oppressed, moreover, by infirmities and years, even his stern, inflexible spirit could scarcely sustain him under a burden too grievous, in these circumstances, for any subject. [18]

At length, the young monarch, having made all preliminary arrangements, prepared, though still in opposition to the wishes of his courtiers, to embark for his Spanish dominions. Previously to this, on the 13th of August, 1516, the French and Spanish plenipotentiaries signed a treaty of peace at Noyon. The principal article stipulated the marriage of Charles to the daughter of Francis the First, who was to cede, as her dowry, the French claims on Naples. The marriage, indeed, never took place. But the treaty itself may be considered as finally adjusting the hostile relations which had subsisted, during so many years of Ferdinand's reign, with the rival monarchy of France, and as closing the long series of wars, which had grown out of the league of Cambray. [19]

On the 17th of September, 1517, Charles landed at Villaviciosa, in the Asturias. Ximenes at this time lay ill at the Franciscan monastery of Aguilera, near Aranda on the Douro. The good tidings of the royal landing operated like a cordial on his spirits, and he instantly despatched letters to the young monarch, filled with wholesome counsel as to the conduct he should pursue, in order to conciliate the affections of the people. He received at the same time messages from the king, couched in the most gracious terms, and expressing the liveliest interest in his restoration to health.

The Flemings in Charles's suite, however, looked with great apprehension to his meeting with the cardinal. They had been content that the latter should rule the state, when his arm was needed to curb the Castilian aristocracy; but they dreaded the ascendency of his powerful mind over their young sovereign, when brought into personal contact with him. They retarded this event, by keeping Charles in the north as long as possible. In the mean time, they endeavored to alienate his regards from the minister by exaggerated reports of his arbitrary conduct and temper, rendered more morose by the peevishness of age. Charles showed a facility to be directed by those around him in early years, which gave little augury of the greatness to which he afterwards rose. [20]

By the persuasions of his evil counsellors, he addressed that memorable letter to Ximenes, which is unmatched, even in court annals, for cool and base ingratitude. He thanked the regent for all his past services, named a place for a personal interview with him, where he might obtain the benefit of his counsels for his own conduct, and the government of the kingdom; after which he would be allowed to retire to his diocese, and seek from Heaven that reward, which Heaven alone could adequately bestow! [21]

Such was the tenor of this cold-blooded epistle, which, in the language of more than one writer, killed the cardinal. This, however, is stating the matter too strongly. The spirit of Ximenes was of too stern a stuff to be so easily extinguished by the breath of royal displeasure. [22] He was, indeed, deeply moved by the desertion of the sovereign whom he had served so faithfully, and the excitement which it occasioned brought on a return of his fever, according to Carbajal, in full force. But anxiety and disease had already done its work upon his once hardy constitution; and this ungrateful act could only serve to wean him more effectually from a world that he was soon to part with. [23]

In order to be near the king, he had previously transferred his residence to Roa. He now turned his thoughts to his approaching end. Death may be supposed to have but little terrors for the statesman, who in his last moments could aver, "that he had never intentionally wronged any man; but had rendered to every one his due, without being swayed, as far as he was conscious, by fear or affection." Yet Cardinal Richelieu on his death-bed declared the same! [24]

As a last attempt, he began a letter to the king. His fingers refused, however, to perform their office, and after tracing a few lines he gave it up. The purport of these seems to have been, to recommend his university at Alcala to the royal protection. He now became wholly occupied with his devotions, and manifested such contrition for his errors, and such humble confidence in the divine mercy, as deeply affected all present. In this tranquil frame of mind, and in the perfect possession of his powers, he breathed his last, November 8th, 1517, in the eighty-first year of his age, and the twenty-second since his elevation to the primacy. The last words that he uttered were those of the Psalmist, which he used frequently to repeat in health, "In te, Domine, speravi,"—"In thee, Lord, have I trusted."

His body, arrayed in his pontifical robes, was seated in a chair of state, and multitudes of all degrees thronged into the apartment to kiss the hands and feet. It was afterwards transported to Alcala, and laid in the chapel of the noble college of San Ildefonso, erected by himself. His obsequies were celebrated with great pomp, contrary to his own orders, by, all the religious and literary fraternities of the city; and his virtues commemorated in a funeral discourse by a doctor of the university, who, considering the death of the good a fitting occasion to lash the vices of the living, made the most caustic allusion to the Flemish favorites of Charles, and their pestilent influence on the country. [25]

Such was the end of this remarkable man; the most remarkable, in many respects, of his time. His character was of that stern and lofty cast, which seems to rise above the ordinary wants and weaknesses of humanity; his genius of the severest order, like Dante's and Michael Angelo's in the regions of fancy, impresses us with ideas of power, that excite admiration akin to terror. His enterprises, as we have seen, were of the boldest character. His execution of them equally bold. He disdained to woo fortune by any of those soft and pliant arts, which are often the most effectual. He pursued his ends by the most direct means. In this way he frequently multiplied difficulties; but difficulties seemed to have a charm for him, by the opportunity they afforded of displaying the energies of his soul.

With these qualities he combined a versatility of talent, usually found only in softer and more flexible characters. Though bred in the cloister, he distinguished himself both in the cabinet and the camp. For the latter, indeed, so repugnant to his regular profession, he had a natural genius, according to the testimony of his biographer; and he evinced his relish for it, by declaring, that "the smell of gunpowder was more grateful to him than the sweetest perfume of Arabia!" [26] In every situation, however, he exhibited the stamp of his peculiar calling; and the stern lineaments of the monk were never wholly concealed under the mask of the statesman, or the visor of the warrior. He had a full measure of the religious bigotry which belonged to the age; and he had melancholy scope for displaying it, as chief of that dread tribunal, over which he presided during the last ten years of his life. [27]

He carried the arbitrary ideas of his profession into political life. His regency was conducted on the principles of a military despotism. It was his maxim, that "a prince must rely mainly on his army for securing the respect and obedience of his subjects." [28] It is true he had to deal with a martial and factious nobility, and the end which he proposed was to curb their licentiousness, and enforce the equitable administration of justice; but, in accomplishing this, he showed little regard to the constitution, or to private rights. His first act, the proclaiming of Charles king, was in open contempt of the usages and rights of the nation. He evaded the urgent demands of the Castilians for a convocation of cortes; for it was his opinion, "that freedom of speech, especially in regard to their own grievances, made the people insolent and irreverent to their rulers." [29] The people, of course, had no voice in the measures which involved their most important interests. His whole policy, indeed, was to exalt the royal prerogative, at the expense of the inferior orders of the state. [30] And his regency, short as it was, and highly beneficial to the country in many respects, must be considered as opening the way to that career of despotism, which the Austrian family followed up with such hard-hearted constancy.

But, while we condemn the politics, we cannot but respect the principles of the man. However erroneous his conduct in our eyes, he was guided by his sense of duty. It was this, and the conviction of it in the minds of others, which constituted the secret of his great power. It made him reckless of difficulties, and fearless of all personal consequences. The consciousness of the integrity of his purposes rendered him, indeed, too unscrupulous as to the means of attaining them. He held his own life cheap, in comparison with the great reforms that he had at heart. Was it surprising, that he should hold as lightly the convenience and interests of others, when they thwarted their execution?

His views were raised far above considerations of self. As a statesman, he identified himself with the state; as a churchman, with the interests of his religion. He severely punished every offence against these. He as freely forgave every personal injury. He had many remarkable opportunities of showing this. His administration provoked numerous lampoons and libels. He despised them, as the miserable solace of spleen and discontent, and never persecuted their authors. [31] In this he formed an honorable contrast to Cardinal Richelieu, whose character and condition suggest many points of resemblance with his own.

His disinterestedness was further shown by his mode of dispensing his large revenues. It was among the poor, and on great public objects. He built up no family. He had brothers and nephews; but he contented himself with making their condition comfortable, without diverting to their benefit the great trusts confided to him for the public. [32] The greater part of the funds which he left at his death was settled on the university of Alcala. [33]

He had, however, none of that pride, which would make him ashamed of his poor and humble relatives. He had, indeed, a confidence in his own powers, approaching to arrogance, which led him to undervalue the abilities of others, and to look on them as his instruments rather than his equals. But he had none of the vulgar pride founded on wealth or station. He frequently alluded to his lowly condition in early life, with great humility, thanking Heaven, with tears in his eyes, for its extraordinary goodness to him. He not only remembered, but did many acts of kindness to his early friends, of which more than one touching anecdote is related. Such traits of sensibility, gleaming through the natural austerity and sternness of a disposition like his, like light breaking through a dark cloud, affect us the more sensibly by contrast.

He was irreproachable in his morals, and conformed literally to all the rigid exactions of his severe order, in the court as faithfully as in the cloister. He was sober, abstemious, chaste. In the latter particular, he was careful that no suspicion of the license which so often soiled the clergy of the period, should attach—to him. [34] On one occasion, while on a journey, he was invited to pass the night at the house of the duchess of Maqueda, being informed that she was absent. The duchess was at home, however, and entered the apartment before he retired to rest. "You have deceived me, lady," said Ximenes, rising in anger; "if you have any business with me, you will find me tomorrow at the confessional." So saying, he abruptly left the palace. [35]

He carried his austerities and mortifications so far, as to endanger his health. There is a curious brief extant of Pope Leo the Tenth, dated the last year of the cardinal's life, enjoining him to abate his severe penance, to eat meat and eggs on the ordinary fasts, to take off his Franciscan frock, and sleep in linen and on a bed. He would never consent, however, to divest himself of his monastic weeds. "Even laymen," said he, alluding to the custom of the Roman Catholics, "put these on when they are dying; and shall I, who have worn them all my life, take them off at that time!" [36]

Another anecdote is told in relation to his dress. Over his coarse woollen frock, he wore the costly apparel suited to his rank. An impertinent Franciscan preacher took occasion one day before him to launch out against the luxuries of the time, especially in dress, obviously alluding to the cardinal, who was attired in a superb suit of ermine, which had been presented to him. He heard the sermon, patiently to the end, and after the services were concluded, took the preacher into the sacristy, and, having commended the general tenor of his discourse, showed under his furs and fine linen the coarse frock of his order, next his skin. Some accounts add, that the friar, on the other hand, wore fine linen under his monkish frock. After the cardinal's death, a little box was found in his apartment, containing the implements with which he used to mend the rents of his threadbare garment, with his own hands. [37]

With so much to do, it may well be believed, that Ximenes was avaricious of time. He seldom slept more than four, or at most four hours and a half. He was shaved in the night, hearing at the same time some edifying reading. He followed the same practice at his meals, or varied it with listening to the arguments of some of his theological brethren, generally on some subtile question of school divinity. This was his only recreation. He had as little taste as time for lighter and more elegant amusements. He spoke briefly, and always to the point. He was no friend of idle ceremonies, and useless visits; though his situation exposed him more or less to both. He frequently had a volume lying open on the table before him, and when his visitor stayed too long, or took up his time with light and frivolous conversation, he intimated his dissatisfaction by resuming his reading. The cardinal's book must have been as fatal to a reputation as Fontenelle's ear trumpet. [38]

I will close this sketch of Ximenes de Cisneros with a brief outline of his person. His complexion was sallow; his countenance sharp and emaciated; his nose aquiline; his upper lip projected far over the lower. His eyes were small, deep-set in his head, dark, vivid, and penetrating. His forehead ample, and, what was remarkable, without a wrinkle, though the expression of his features was somewhat severe. [39] His voice was clear, but not agreeable; his enunciation measured and precise. His demeanor was grave, his carriage firm and erect; he was tall in stature, and his whole presence commanding. His constitution, naturally robust, was impaired by his severe austerities and severer cares; and, in the latter years of his life, was so delicate as to be extremely sensible to the vicissitudes and inclemency of the weather. [40]

I have noticed the resemblance which Ximenes bore to the great French minister, Cardinal Richelieu. It was, after all, however, more in the circumstances of situation, than in their characters; though the most prominent traits of these were not dissimilar. [41] Both, though bred ecclesiastics, reached the highest honors of the state, and indeed, may be said to have directed the destinies of their countries. [42] Richelieu's authority, however, was more absolute than that of Ximenes, for he was screened by the shadow of royalty; while the latter was exposed, by his insulated and unsheltered position, to the full blaze of envy, and, of course, opposition. Both were ambitious of military glory, and showed capacity for attaining it. Both achieved their great results by that rare union of high mental endowments and great efficiency in action, which is always irresistible.

The moral basis of their characters was entirely different. The French cardinal's was selfishness, pure and unmitigated. His religion, politics, his principles in short, in every sense, were subservient to this. Offences against the state he could forgive; those against himself he pursued with implacable rancor. His authority was literally cemented with blood. His immense powers and patronage were perverted to the aggrandizement of his family. Though bold to temerity in his plans, he betrayed more than once a want of true courage in their execution. Though violent and impetuous, he could stoop to be a dissembler. Though arrogant in the extreme, he courted the soft incense of flattery. In his manners he had the advantage over the Spanish prelate. He could be a courtier in courts, and had a more refined and cultivated taste. In one respect, he had the advantage over Ximenes in morals. He was not, like him, a bigot. He had not the religious basis in his composition, which is the foundation of bigotry.—Their deaths were typical of their characters. Richelieu died, as he had lived, so deeply execrated, that the enraged populace would scarcely allow his remains to be laid quietly in the grave. Ximenes, on the contrary, was buried amid the tears and lamentations of the people; his memory was honored even by his enemies, and his name is reverenced by his countrymen, to this day, as that of a Saint.

* * * * *

Dr. Lorenzo Galindez de Carbajal, one of the best authorities for transactions in the latter part of our History, was born of a respectable family, at Placencia, in 1472. Little is gathered of his early life, but that he was studious in his habits, devoting himself assiduously to the acquisition of the civil and canon law. He filled the chair of professor in this department, at Salamanca, for several years. His great attainments and respectable character recommended him to the notice of the Catholic queen, who gave him a place in the royal council. In this capacity, he was constantly at the court, where he seems to have maintained himself in the esteem of his royal mistress, and of Ferdinand after her death. The queen testified her respect for Carbajal, by appointing him one of the commissioners for preparing a digest of the Castilian law. He made considerable progress in this arduous work; but how great is uncertain, since, from whatever cause, (there appears to be a mystery about it,) the fruits of his labor were made public; a circumstance deeply regretted by the Castilian jurists. (Asso y Manuel, Instituciones, Introd. p. 99.)

Carbajal left behind him several historical works, according to Nic. Antonio, whose catalogue, however, rests on very slender grounds. (Bibliotheca Nova, tom. ii. p. 3.) The work by which he is best known to Spanish scholars, is his "Anales del Rey Don Fernando el Catolico," which still remains in manuscript. There is certainly no Christian country, for which the invention of printing, so liberally patronized there at its birth, has done so little as for Spain. Her libraries teem at this day with manuscripts of the greatest interest for the illustration of every stage of her history; but which, alas! in the present gloomy condition of affairs, have less chance of coming to the light, than at the close of the fifteenth century, when the art of printing was in its infancy.

Carbajal's Annals cover the whole ground of our narrative, from the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, to the coming of Charles V. into Spain. They are plainly written, without ambition of rhetorical show or refinement. The early part is little better than memoranda of the principal events of the period, with particular notice of all the migrations of the court. In the concluding portion of the work, however, comprehending Ferdinand's death, and the regency of Ximenes, the author is very full and circumstantial. As he had a conspicuous place in the government, and was always with the court, his testimony in regard to this important period is of the highest value as that of an eye-witness and an actor, and, it may be added, a man of sagacity and sound principles. No better commentary on the merit of his work need be required, than the brief tribute of Alvaro Gomez, the accomplished biographer of Cardinal Ximenes. "Porro Annales Laurentii Galendi Caravajali, quibus vir gravissimus rerumque illarum cum primis particeps quinquaginta ferme annorum memoriam complexus est, haud vulgariter meam operam juverunt." De Rebus Gestis, Praefatio.


[1] Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 8.—Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 18.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 150.—Quintanilla, Archetypo, lib. 4, cap. 5.—Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., dial. de Ximeni.

[2] Carbajal has given us Charles's epistle, which is subscribed "El Principe." He did not venture on the title of king in his correspondence with the Castilians, though he affected it abroad. Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 10.

[3] The letter of the council is dated March 14th, 1516. It is recorded by Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 10.

[4] It became permanently so in the following reign of Philip II. Semanario Erudito, tom. iii. p. 79.

[5] Carbajal penetrates into the remotest depths of Spanish history for an authority for Charles's claim. He can find none better, however, than the examples of Alfonso VIII. and Ferdinand III.; the former of whom used force, and the latter obtained the crown by the voluntary cession of his mother. His argument, it is clear, rests much stronger on expediency, than precedent. Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 11.

[6] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 151 et seq.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 9-11.—Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 2, cap. 2.—Dormer, Anales de Aragon, lib. 1, cap. 1, 13.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 572, 590, 603.—Sandoval, Hist, del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 53.

[7] Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 18.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 158.— Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 2, cap. 4.

Alvaro Gomez finds no better authority than vulgar rumor for this story. According to Robles, the cardinal, after this bravado, twirled his cordelier's belt about his fingers, saying, "he wanted nothing better than that to tame the pride of the Castilian nobles with!" But Ximenes was neither a fool nor a madman; although his over-zealous biographers make him sometimes one, and sometimes the other. Voltaire, who never lets the opportunity slip of seizing a paradox in character or conduct, speaks of Ximenes as one "qui, toujours vetu en cordelier, met son faste a fouler sous ses sandales le faste Espagnol." Essai sur les Moeurs, chap. 121.

[8] Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 13.—Quintanilla, Archetypo, lib. 4, cap. 5.—Sempere, Hist. des Cortes, chap. 25.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 159.—Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS.

[9] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 174 et seq.—Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 18.-Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 13.

[10] Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1516, cap. 11.—Aleson, Annales de Navarra, tom. v. p. 327.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 570.— Quintanilla, Archetypo, lib. 4, cap. 5.

[11] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 164, 165.—Herrera, Indias Occidentales, tom. i. p. 278.—Las Casas, Oeuvres, ed. de Llorente, tom. i. p. 239.

Robertson states the ground of Ximenes's objection to have been, the iniquity of reducing one set of men to slavery, in order to liberate another. (History of America, vol. i. p. 285.) A very enlightened reason, for which, however, I find not the least warrant in Herrera, (the authority cited by the historian,) nor in Gomez, nor in any other writer.

[12] Llorente, Hist. de l'Inquisition, tom. i, chap. 10, art. 5.

[13] Paramo, De Origine Inquisitionis, lib. 2, tit. 2, cap. 5.—Llorente, Hist. de l'Inquisition, tom. i. chap. 11, art. l.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 184, 185.

[14] Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1517, cap. 2.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 189, 190.—Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 18.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 581.—Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS.

"Ni properaveritis," says Martyr in a letter to Marliano, Prince Charles's physician, "ruent omnia. Nescit Hispania parere non regibus, aut non legitime regnaturis. Nauseam inducit magnanimis viris hujus fratris, licet potentis et reipublicae amatoris, gubernatio. Est quippe grandis animo, et ipse, ad aedificandum literatosqne viros fovendum natus magis qnam ad imperandum, bellicis colloquiis et apparatibus gaudet." Opus Epist., epist. 573.

[15] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 198-201.—Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 567, 584, 590.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1517, cap. 3, 6.— Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS.—Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 73.

[16] In a letter to Marliano, Martyr speaks of the large sums, "ab hoc gubernatore ad vos missae, sub parandae classis praetextu." (Opus Epist., epist. 576.) In a subsequent epistle to his Castilian correspondents, he speaks in a more sarcastic tone. "Bonus ille frater Ximenez Cardinalis gubernator thesauros ad Belgas transmittendos coacervavit. ***** Glacialis Oceani accolae ditabuntur, vestra expilabitur Castilla." (Epist. 606.) From some cause or other, it is evident the cardinal's government was not at all to honest Martyr's taste. Gomez suggests, as the reason, that his salary was clipped off in the general retrenchment, which he admits was a very hard case. (De Rebus Gestis, fol. 177.) Martyr, however, was never an extravagant encomiast of the cardinal, and one may imagine much more creditable reasons, than that assigned, for his disgust with him now.

[17] See a letter in Carbajal, containing this honest tribute to the illustrious dead. (Anales, MS., ano 1517, cap. 4.) Charles might have found an antidote to the poison of his Flemish sycophants in the faithful counsels of his Castilian ministers.

[18] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 602.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 194.-Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 18.

Martyr, in a letter written just before the king's landing, notices the cardinal's low state of health and spirits. "Cardinalis gubernator Matriti febribus aegrotaverat; convaluerat; nunc recidivavit. ***** Breves fore dies illius, medici automant. Est octogenario major; ipse regis adventum affectu avidissimo desiderare videtur. Sentit sine rege non rite posse corda Hispanorum moderari ac regi." Epist. 598.

[19] Flassan, Diplomatic Francais, tom. i. p. 313.—Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, tom. iv. part. 1, no. 106.

[20] Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1517, cap. 9.—Dormer, Anales de Aragon, lib. 1. cap. 1.—Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 43.—Dolce, Vita di. Carlo V., p. 12.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 212.—Sandoval, Hist, del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 83.

[21] Carbajal, Anales, MS., ubi supra.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 215. —Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 84.

[22] "Cette terrible lettre qui fut la cause de sa mort," says Marsollier, plumply; a writer who is sure either to misstate or overstate. (Ministere du Card. Ximenez, p. 447.) Byron, alluding to the fate of a modern poet, ridicules the idea of

"The mind, that fiery particle, Being extinguished by an Article!"

The frown of a critic, however, might as well prove fatal as that of a king. In both cases, I imagine, it would be hard to prove any closer connection between the two events, than that of time.

[23] "Con aquel despedimiento," says Galindez de Carbajal, "con esto acabo de tantos servicios luego que Ilego esta carta el Cardenal rescibio alteracion y tomole recia calentnra que en pocos dias le des-pacho." (Anales, MS., ano 1517, cap. 9.) Gomez tells a long story of poison administered to the cardinal in a trout, (De Rebus Gestis, fol. 206.) Others say, in a letter from Flanders, (see Moreri, Dictionnaire Historique, voce Ximenes.) Oviedo notices a rumor of his having been poisoned by one of his secretaries; but vouches for the innocence of the individual accused, whom he personally knew. (Quincuagenas, MS., dial, de Xim.) Reports of this kind were too rife in these days, to deserve credit, unless supported by very clear evidence. Martyr and Carbajal, both with the court at the time, intimate no suspicion of foul play.

[24] Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1517, cap. 9.—Gomez, de Rebus Gestis, fol. 213, 214.—Quintanilla, Archetypo, lib. 4, cap. 8.—Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS.

"'Voila mon juge, qui prononcera bientot ma sentence. Je le prie de tout mon coeur de me condamner, si, dans mon ministere, je me suis propose autre chose que le bien de la religion et celui de l'etat.' Le lendemain, au point du jour, il voulut recevoir l'extreme onction." Jay, Histoire du Ministere du Cardinal Richelieu, (Paris, 1816,) tom. ii. p. 217.

[25] Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 18.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 215- 217.—Quintanilla, Archetypo, lib. 4, cap. 12-15; who quotes Marano, an eye-witness.—Carbajal, Anales, MS., ano 1517, cap. 9, who dates the cardinal's death December 8th, in which he is followed by Lanuza.

The following epitaph, of no great merit, was inscribed on his sepulchre, composed by the learned John Vergara in his younger days.

"Condideram musis Franciscus grande lyceum, Condor in exiguo nune ego sarcophago. Praelextam junxi saccho, galeamque galero, Frater, dux, praesul, cardineusque pater. Quin virtute reel junctum est diadema cucullo, Cum mibi regnanti paruit Hesperia."

[26] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 160.—Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 17. —"And who can doubt," exclaimed Gonzalo de Oviedo, "that powder, against the infidel, is incense to the Lord?" Quincuagenas, MS.

[27] During this period, Ximenes "permit la condamnation," to use the mild language of Llorente, of more than 2500 individuals to the stake, and nearly 50,000 to other punishments! (Hist. de l'Inquisition, tom. i. chap. 10, art. 5; tom. iv. chap. 46.) In order to do justice to what is really good in the characters of this age, one must absolutely close his eyes against that odious fanaticism, which enters more or less into all, and into the best, unfortunately, most largely.

[28] "Persuasum haberet, non alia ratione animos humanos imperia aliorum laturos, nisi vi facta aut adhibita. Quare pro certo affirmare solebat, nullum unquam principem exteris populis formidini, aut suis reverentiae fuisse, nisi comparato militum exercitu, atque omnibus belli instrumentis ad manum paratis." (Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 95.) We may well apply to the cardinal what Cato, or rather Lucan, applied to Pompey;

"Praetulit arma togae; sed pacem armatus amavit." Pharsalia, lib. 9.

[29] "Nulla enim re magis populos insolescere, et irreverentiam omnem exhibere, quam cum libertatem loquendi nacti sunt, et pro libidine suas vulgo jactant querimonias." Gomez quotes the language of Ximenes in his correspondence with Charles. De Rebus Gestis, fol. 194.

[30] Oviedo makes a reflection, showing that he conceived the cardinal's policy better than most of his biographers. He states, that the various immunities, and the military organization, which he gave to the towns enabled them to raise the insurrection, known as the war of the "comunidades," at the beginning of Charles's reign. But he rightly considers this as only an indirect consequence of his policy, which made use of the popular arm only to break down the power of the nobles, and establish the supremacy of the crown. Quincuagenas, MS., dial, de Xim.

[31] Quincuagenas, MS., ubi supra. Mr. Burke notices this noble trait, in a splendid panegyric which he poured forth on the character of Ximenes, at Sir Joshua Reynolds's table, as related by Madame d'Arblay, in the last, and not least remarkable of her productions. (Memoirs of Dr. Burney, vol. ii. pp. 231 et seq.) The orator, if the lady reports him right, notices, as two of the cardinal's characteristics, his freedom from bigotry and despotism!

[32] Their connection with so distinguished a person, however enabled most of them to form high alliances; of which Oviedo gives some account. Quincuagenas, MS.

[33] "Die, and endow a college or a cat!"

The verse is somewhat stale, but expresses, better than a page of prose can, the credit due to such posthumous benefactions, when they set aside the dearest natural ties for the mere indulgence of a selfish vanity, which motives cannot be imputed to Ximenes. He had always conscientiously abstained from appropriating his archi-episcopal revenues, as we have seen, to himself or his family. His dying bequest, therefore, was only in keeping with his whole life.

[34] The good father Quintanilla vindicates his hero's chastity, somewhat at the expense of his breeding. "His purity was unexampled," says he. "He shunned the sex, like so many evil spirits; looking on every woman as a devil, let her be never so holy. Had it not been in the way of his professional calling, it is not too much to say he would never have suffered his eyes to light on one of them!" Archetypo, p. 80.

[35] Flechier, Histoire de Ximenes, liv. 6, p. 634.

[36] Quintanilla has given the brief of his Holiness in extenso, with commentaries thereon, twice as long. See Archeotypo, lib. 4, cap. 10.

[37] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 219.—Quintanilla, Archetype, lib. 2, cap. 4. The reader may find a pendant to this anecdote in a similar one recorded of Ximenes's predecessor, the grand cardinal Mendoza, in Part II. Chapter 5, of this History. The conduct of the two primates on the occasion, was sufficiently characteristic.

[38] Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, ubi supra.— Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 13.—Quintanilla, Archetypo, lib. 2, cap. 5, 7, 8; who cites Dr. Vergara, the cardinal's friend. It is Baron Grimm, I think, who tells us of Fontenelle's habit of dropping his trumpet when the conversation did not pay him for the trouble of holding it up. The good- natured Reynolds, according to Goldsmith, could "shift his trumpet" on such an emergency also.

[39] Ximenes's head was examined some forty years after his interment, and the skull was found to be without sutures. (Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 218.) Richelieu's was found to be perforated with little holes. The abbe Richard deduces a theory from this, which may startle the physiologist even more than the facts. "On ouvrit son Test, on y trouva 12 petits trous par ou s'exhaloient les vapeurs de son cerveau, ce qui fit qu' il n'eut jamais aucun mal de tete; au lieu que le Test de Ximenes etoit sans suture, a quoi l'on attribua les effroyables douleurs de tete qu'il avoit presque toujours." Parallele, p. 177.

[40] Robles, Vida de Ximenez, cap. 18.—Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 218.

[41] A little treatise has been devoted to this very subject, entitled "Parallele du Card. Ximenes et du Card. Richelieu, par Mons. l'Abbe Richard; a Trevoux, 1705." 222 pp. 12mo. The author, with a candor rare indeed, where national vanity is interested, strikes the balance without hesitation in favor of the foreigner Ximenes.

[42] The catalogue of the various offices of Ximenes occupies near half a page of Quintanilla. At the time of his death, the chief ones that he filled were, those of archbishop of Toledo, and consequently primate of Spain, grand chancellor of Castile, cardinal of the Roman church, inquisitor-general of Castile, and regent.



Policy of the Crown.—Towards the Nobles.—The Clergy.—Consideration of the Commons.—Advancement of Prerogative.—Legal Complications.—The Legal Profession.—Trade.—Manufactures.—Agriculture.—Restrictive Policy.— Revenues.—Progress of Discovery.—Colonial Administration.—General Prosperity.—Increase of Population.—Chivalrous Spirit.—The Period of National Glory.

We have now traversed that important period of history, comprehending the latter part of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century; a period when the convulsions, which shook to the ground, the ancient political fabrics of Europe, roused the minds of its inhabitants from the lethargy in which they had been buried for ages. Spain, as we have seen, felt the general impulse. Under the glorious rule of Ferdinand and Isabella, we have beheld her, emerging from chaos into a new existence; unfolding, under the influence of institutions adapted to her genius, energies of which she was before unconscious; enlarging her resources from all the springs of domestic industry and commercial enterprise; and insensibly losing the ferocious habits of a feudal age, in the refinements of an intellectual and moral culture.

In the fulness of time, when her divided powers had been concentrated under one head, and the system of internal economy completed, we have seen her descend into the arena with the other nations of Europe, and in a very few years achieve the most important acquisitions of territory, both in that quarter and in Africa; and finally crowning the whole by the discovery and occupation of a boundless empire beyond the waters. In the progress of the action, we may have been too much occupied with its details, to attend sufficiently to the principles which regulated them. But now that we have reached the close, we may be permitted to cast a parting glance over the field that we have traversed, and briefly survey the principal steps by which the Spanish sovereigns, under Divine Providence, led their nation up to such a height of prosperity and glory.

Ferdinand and Isabella, on their accession, saw at once that the chief source of the distractions of the country lay in the overgrown powers, and factious spirit, of the nobility. Their first efforts, therefore, were directed to abate these as far as possible. A similar movement was going forward, in the other European monarchies; but in none was it crowned with so speedy and complete success as in Castile, by means of those bold and decisive measures, which have been detailed in an early chapter of this work. [1] The same policy was steadily pursued during the remainder of their reign; less indeed by open assault than by indirect means. [2]

Among these, one of the most effectual was the omission, to summon the privileged orders to cortes, in several of the most important sessions of that body. This so far from being a new stretch of prerogative, was only an exercise of the anomalous powers already familiar to the crown, as elsewhere noticed. [3] Nor does it seem to have been viewed as a grievance by the other party, who regarded these meetings with the more indifference, since their aristocratic immunities exempted them from the taxation, which was generally the prominent object of them. But, from whatever cause proceeding, by this impolitic acquiescence they surrendered, undoubtedly, the most valuable of their rights,—one which has enabled the British aristocracy to maintain its political consideration unimpaired, while that of the Castilian has faded away into an empty pageant. [4]

Another practice steadily pursued by the sovereigns, was to raise men of humble station to offices of the highest trust; not, however, like their contemporary, Louis the Eleventh, because their station was humble, in order to mortify the higher orders, but because they courted merit, wherever it was to be found; [5]—a policy much and deservedly commended by the sagacious observers of the time. [6] The history of Spain does not probably afford another example of a person of the lowly condition of Ximenes, attaining, not merely the highest offices in the kingdom, but eventually its uncontrolled supremacy. [7] The multiplication of legal tribunals, and other civil offices, afforded the sovereigns ample scope for pursuing this policy, in the demand created for professional science. The nobles, intrusted hitherto with the chief direction of affairs, now saw it pass into the hands of persons, who had other qualifications than martial prowess or hereditary rank. Such as courted distinction, were compelled to seek it by the regular avenues of academic discipline. How extensively the spirit operated, and with what brilliant success, we have already seen. [8] But, whatever the aristocracy may have gained in refinement of character, it resigned much of its prescriptive power, when it condescended to enter the arena on terms of equal competition with its inferiors for the prizes of talent and scholarship.

Ferdinand pursued a similar course in his own dominions of Aragon, where he uniformly supported the commons, or may more properly be said to have been supported by them, in the attempt to circumscribe the authority of the great feudatories. Although he accomplished this, to a considerable extent, their power was too firmly intrenched behind positive institutions to be affected like that of the Castilian aristocracy, whose rights had been swelled beyond their legitimate limits by every species of usurpation. [9]

With all the privileges retrieved from this order, is still possessed a disproportionate weight in the political balance. The great lords still claimed some of the most considerable posts, both civil and military. [10] Their revenues were immense, and their broad lands covered unbroken leagues of extent in every quarter of the kingdom. [11] The queen, who reared many of their children in the royal palace, under her own eye, endeavored to draw her potent vassals to the court; [12] but many, still cherishing the ancient spirit of independence, preferred to live in feudal grandeur, surrounded by their retainers in their strong castles, and wait there, in grim repose, the hour when they might sally forth and reassert by arms their despoiled authority. Such a season occurred on Isabella's death. The warlike nobles eagerly seized it; but the wily and resolute Ferdinand, and afterwards the iron hand of Ximenes, kept them in check, and prepared the way for the despotism of Charles the Fifth, round whom the haughty aristocracy of Castile, shorn of substantial power, were content to revolve as the satellites of a court, reflecting only the borrowed splendors of royalty.

The Queen's government was equally vigilant in resisting ecclesiastical encroachment. It may appear otherwise to one who casts a superficial glance at her reign, and beholds her surrounded always by a troop of ghostly advisers, and avowing religion as the great end of her principal operations at home and abroad. [13]

It is certain, however, that, while in all her acts she confessed the influence of religion, she took more effectual means than any of her predecessors, to circumscribe the temporal powers of the clergy. [14] The volume of her pragmaticas is filled with laws designed to limit their jurisdiction, and restrain their encroachments on the secular authorities. [15] Towards the Roman See, she maintained, as we have often had occasion to notice, the same independent attitude. By the celebrated concordat made with Sixtus the Fourth, in 1482, the pope conceded to the sovereigns the right of nominating to the higher dignities of the church. [16] The Holy See, however, still assumed the collation to inferior benefices, which were too often lavished on non-residents, and otherwise unsuitable persons. The queen sometimes extorted a papal indulgence granting the right of presentation, for a limited time; on which occasions she showed such alacrity, that she is known to have disposed, in a single day, of more than twenty prebends and inferior dignities. At other times, when the nomination made by his Holiness, as not unfrequently happened, was distasteful to her, she would take care to defeat it, by forbidding the bull to be published until laid before the privy council; at the same time sequestrating the revenues of the vacant benefice, till her own requisitions were complied with. [17]

She was equally solicitous in watching over the morals of the clergy, inculcating on the higher prelates to hold frequent pastoral communication with their suffragans, and to report to her such as were delinquent. [18] By these vigilant measures, she succeeded in restoring the ancient discipline of the church, and weeding out the sensuality and indolence, which had so long defiled it; while she had the inexpressible satisfaction to see the principal places, long before her death, occupied by prelates, whose learning and religious principle gave the best assurance of the stability of the reformation. [19] Few of the Castilian monarchs have been brought more frequently into collision, or pursued a bolder policy, with the court of Rome. Still fewer have extorted from it such important graces and concessions; a circumstance, which can only be imputed, says a Castilian writer, "to singular good fortune and consummate prudence;" [20] to that deep conviction of the queen's integrity, we may also add, which disarmed resistance, even in her enemies.

The condition of the commons under this reign was probably, on the whole, more prosperous than in any other period of the Spanish history. New avenues to wealth and honors were opened to them; and persons and property were alike protected under the fearless and impartial administration of the law. "Such was the justice dispensed to every one under this auspicious reign," exclaims Marineo, "that nobles and cavaliers, citizens and laborers, rich and poor, masters and servants, all equally partook of it." [21] We find no complaints of arbitrary imprisonment, and no attempts, so frequent both in earlier and later times, at illegal taxation. In this particular, indeed, Isabella manifested the greatest tenderness for her people. By her commutation of the capricious tax of the alcavala for a determinate one, and still more by transferring its collection from the revenue officers to the citizens themselves, she greatly relieved her subjects. [22]

Finally, notwithstanding the perpetual call for troops for the military operations in which the government was constantly engaged, and notwithstanding the example of neighboring countries, there was no attempt to establish that iron bulwark of despotism, a standing army; at least, none nearer than that of the voluntary levies of the hermandad, raised and paid by the people. The queen never admitted the arbitrary maxims of Ximenes in regard to the foundation of government. Hers was essentially one of opinion, not force. [23] Had it rested on any other than the broad basis of public opinion, it could not have withstood a day the violent shocks, to which it was early exposed, nor have achieved the important revolution that it finally did, both in the domestic and foreign concerns of the country.

The condition of the kingdom, on Isabella's accession, necessarily gave the commons unwonted consideration. In the tottering state of her affairs, she was obliged to rest on their strong arm for support. It did not fail her. Three sessions of the legislature, or rather the popular branch of it, were held during the two first years of her reign. It was in these early assemblies, that the commons bore an active part in concocting the wholesome system of laws, which restored vitality and vigor to the exhausted republic. [24]

After this good work was achieved, the sessions of that body became more rare. There was less occasion for them, indeed, during the existence of the hermandad, which was, of itself, an ample representation of the Castilian commons, and which, by enforcing obedience to the law at home, and by liberal supplies for foreign war, superseded, in a great degree, the call for more regular meetings of cortes. [25] The habitual economy, too, not to say frugality, which regulated the public, as well as private expenditure of the sovereigns, enabled them, after this period, with occasional exceptions, to dispense with other aid than that drawn from the regular revenues of the crown.

There is every ground for believing that the political franchises of the people, as then understood, were uniformly respected. The number of cities summoned to cortes, which had so often varied according to the caprices of princes, never fell short of that prescribed by long usage. On the contrary, an addition was made by the conquest of Granada, and, in a cortes held soon after the queen's death, we find a most narrow and impolitic remonstrance of the legislature itself, against the alleged unauthorized extension of the privilege of representation. [26]

In one remarkable particular, which may be thought to form a material exception to the last observations, the conduct of the crown deserves to be noticed. This was, the promulgation of pragmaticas, or royal ordinances, and that to a greater extent, probably, than under any other reign, before or since. This important prerogative was claimed and exercised, more or less freely, by most European sovereigns in ancient times. Nothing could be more natural, than that the prince should assume such authority, or that the people, blind to the ultimate consequences, and impatient of long or frequent sessions of the legislature, should acquiesce in the temperate use of it. As far as these ordinances were of an executive character, or designed as supplementary to parliamentary enactments, or in obedience to previous suggestions of cortes, they appear to lie open to no constitutional objections in Castile. [27] But it was not likely that limits, somewhat loosely defined, would be very nicely observed; and under preceding reigns this branch of prerogative had been most intolerably abused. [28]

A large proportion of these laws are of an economical character, designed to foster trade and manufactures, and to secure fairness in commercial dealings. [29] Many are directed against the growing spirit of luxury, and many more occupied with the organization of the public tribunals. Whatever be thought of their wisdom in some cases, it will not be easy to detect any attempt to innovate on the settled principles of criminal jurisprudence, or on those regulating the transfer of property. When these were to be discussed, the sovereigns were careful to call in the aid of the legislature; an example which found little favor with their successors. [30] It is good evidence of the public confidence in the government, and the generally beneficial scope of these laws, that, although of such unprecedented frequency, they should have escaped parliamentary animadversion. [31] But, however patriotic the intentions of the Catholic sovereigns, and however safe, or even salutary, the power intrusted to such hands, it was a fatal precedent, and under the Austrian dynasty became the most effectual lever for overturning the liberties of the nation.

The preceding remarks on the policy observed towards the commons in this reign must be further understood as applying with far less qualification to the queen, than to her husband. The latter, owing perhaps to the lessons which he had derived from his own subjects of Aragon, "who never abated one jot of their constitutional rights," says Martyr, "at the command of a king," [32] and whose meetings generally brought fewer supplies to the royal coffers, than grievances to redress, seems to have had little relish for popular assemblies. He convened them as rarely as possible in Aragon, [33] and when he did, omitted no effort to influence their deliberations. [34] He anticipated, perhaps, similar difficulties in Castile, after his second marriage had lost him the affections of the people. At any rate, he evaded calling them together on more than one occasion imperiously demanded by the constitution; [35] and, when he did so, he invaded their privileges, [36] and announced principles of government, [37] which formed a discreditable, and, it must be admitted, rare exception to the usual tenor of his administration. Indeed, the most honorable testimony is borne to its general equity and patriotism, by a cortes convened soon after the queen's death, when the tribute, as far as she was concerned, still more unequivocally, must have been sincere. [38] A similar testimony is afforded by the panegyrics and the practice of the more liberal Castilian writers, who freely resort to this reign, as the great fountain of constitutional precedent. [39]

The commons gained political consideration, no doubt, by the depression of the nobles; but their chief gain lay in the inestimable blessings of domestic tranquillity, and the security of private rights. The crown absorbed the power, in whatever form, retrieved from the privileged orders; the pensions and large domains, the numerous fortified places, the rights of seigniorial jurisdiction, the command of the military orders, and the like. Other circumstances conspired to raise the regal authority still higher; as, for example, the international relations then opened with the rest of Europe, which, whether friendly or hostile, were conducted by the monarch alone, who, unless to obtain supplies, rarely condescended to seek the intervention of the other estates; the concentration of the dismembered provinces of the Peninsula under one government; the immense acquisitions abroad, whether from discovery or conquest, regarded in that day as the property of the crown, rather than of the nation; and, finally, the consideration flowing from the personal character, and long successful rule, of the Catholic sovereigns. Such were the manifold causes, which, without the imputation of a criminal ambition, or indifference to the rights of their subjects, in Ferdinand and Isabella, all combined to swell the prerogative to an unprecedented height under their reign.

This, indeed, was the direction in which all the governments of Europe, at this period, were tending. The people, wisely preferring a single master to a multitude, sustained the crown in its efforts to recover from the aristocracy the enormous powers it so grossly abused. This was the revolution of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The power thus deposited in a single hand, was found in time equally incompatible with the great ends of civil government; while it gradually accumulated to an extent, which threatened to crush the monarchy by its own weight. But the institutions derived from a Teutonic origin have been found to possess a conservative principle, unknown to the fragile despotisms of the east. The seeds of liberty, though dormant, lay deep in the heart of the nation, waiting only the good time to germinate. That time has at length arrived. Larger experience, and a wider moral culture, have taught men not only the extent of their political rights, but the best way to secure them. And it is the reassertion of these by the great body of the people, which now constitutes the revolution going forward in most of the old communities of Europe. The progress of liberal principles must be controlled, of course, by the peculiar circumstances and character of the nation; but their ultimate triumph, in every quarter, none can reasonably distrust. May it not be abused.

The prosperity of the country, under Ferdinand and Isabella, its growing trade and new internal relations, demanded new regulations, which, as before noticed, were attempted to be supplied by the pragmaticas. This was adding, however, to the embarrassments of a jurisprudence already far too cumbrous. The Castilian lawyer might despair of a critical acquaintance with the voluminous mass of legislation, which, in the form of municipal charters, Roman codes, parliamentary statutes, and royal ordinances, were received as authority in the courts. [40] The manifold evils resulting from this unsettled and conflicting jurisprudence, had led the legislature repeatedly to urge its digest into a more simple and uniform system. Some approach was made towards this in the code of the "Ordenancas Reales," compiled in the early part of the queen's reign. [41] The great body of Pragmaticas, subsequently, issued, were also collected into a separate volume by her command, [42] and printed the year before her death. These two codes may therefore be regarded as embracing the ordinary legislation of her reign. [43]

In 1505, the celebrated little code, called "Leyes de Tore," from the place where the cortes was held, received the sanction of that body. [44] Its laws, eighty-four in number, and designed as supplementary to those already existing, are chiefly occupied with the rights of inheritance and marriage. It is here that the ominous term "mayorazgo" may be said to have been naturalized in Castilian jurisprudence. [45] The peculiar feature of these laws, aggravated in no slight degree by the glosses of the civilians, [46] is the facility which they give to entails; a fatal facility, which, chiming in with the pride and indolence natural to the Spanish character, ranks them among the most efficient agents of the decay of husbandry and the general impoverishment of the country.

Besides these codes, there were the "Leyes de la Hermandad," [47] the "Quaderno de Alcavalas," with others of less note for the regulation of trade, made in this reign. [48] But still the great scheme of a uniform digest of the municipal law of Castile, although it occupied the most distinguished jurisconsults of the time, was unattained at the queen's death. [49] How deeply it engaged her mind in that hour, is evinced by the clause in her codicil, in which she bequeaths the consummation of the work, as an imperative duty, to her successors. [50] It was not completed till the reign of Philip the Second; and the large proportion of Ferdinand and Isabella's laws, admitted into that famous compilation, shows the prospective character of their legislation, and the uncommon discernment with which it was accommodated to the peculiar genius and wants of the nation. [51]

The immense increase of empire, and the corresponding development of the national resources, not only demanded new laws, but a thorough reorganization of every department of the administration. Laws may be received as indicating the dispositions of the ruler, whether for good or for evil; but it is in the conduct of the tribunals that we are to read the true character of his government. It was the upright and vigilant administration of these, which constituted the best claim of Ferdinand and Isabella to the gratitude of their country. To facilitate the despatch of business, it was distributed among a number of bureaus or councils, at the head of which stood the "royal council," whose authority and functions I have already noticed. [52] In order to leave this body more leisure for its executive duties, a new audience, or chancery, as it was called, was established at Valladolid, in 1480, whose judges were drawn from the members of the king's council. A similar tribunal was instituted, after the Moorish conquests, in the southern division of the monarchy; and both had supreme jurisdiction over all civil causes, which were carried up to them from the inferior audiences throughout the kingdom. [53]

The "council of the supreme" was placed over the Inquisition with a special view to the interests of the crown; an end, however, which it very imperfectly answered, as appears from its frequent collision with the royal and secular jurisdictions. [54] The "council of the orders" had charge, as the name imports, of the great military fraternities. [55] The "council of Aragon" was intrusted with the general administration of that kingdom and its dependencies, including Naples; and had besides extensive jurisdiction as a court of appeal. [56] Lastly, the "council of the Indies" was instituted by Ferdinand, in 1511, for the control of the American department. Its powers, comprehensive as they were in its origin, were so much enlarged under Charles the Fifth and his successors, that it became the depository of all law, the fountain of all nominations, both ecclesiastical and temporal, and the supreme tribunal, where all questions, whether of government or trade in the colonies, were finally adjudicated. [57]

Such were the forms, which the government assumed under the hands of Ferdinand and Isabella. The great concerns of the empire were brought under the control of a few departments, which looked to the crown as their common head. The chief stations were occupied by lawyers, who were alone competent to the duties; and the precincts of the court swarmed with a loyal militia, who, as they owed their elevation to its patronage, were not likely to interpret the law to the disparagement of prerogative. [58]

The greater portion of the laws of this reign are directed, in some form or other, as might be expected, to commerce and domestic industry. Their very large number, however, implies an extraordinary expansion of the national energy and resources, as well as a most earnest disposition in the government to foster them. The wisdom of these efforts, at all times, is not equally certain. I will briefly enumerate a few of the most characteristic and important provisions.

By a pragmatic of 1500, all persons, whether natives or foreigners, were prohibited from shipping goods in foreign bottoms, from a port where a Spanish ship could be obtained. [59] Another prohibited the sale of vessels to foreigners. [60] Another offered a large premium on all vessels of a certain tonnage and upwards; [61] and others held out protection and various immunities to seamen. [62] The drift of the first of these laws, like that of the famous English navigation act, so many years later, was, as the preamble sets forth, to exclude foreigners from the carrying trade; and the others were equally designed to build up a marine, for the defence, as well as commerce of the country. In this, the sovereigns were favored by their important colonial acquisitions, the distance of which, moreover, made it expedient to employ vessels of greater burden than those hitherto used. The language of subsequent laws, as well as various circumstances within our knowledge, attest the success of these provisions. The number of vessels in the merchant service of Spain, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, amounted to a thousand, according to Campomanes. [63] We may infer the flourishing condition of their commercial marine from their military, as shown in the armaments sent at different times against the Turks, or the Barbary corsairs. [64] The convoy which accompanied the infanta Joanna to Flanders, in 1496, consisted of one hundred and thirty vessels, great and small, having a force of more than twenty thousand men on board; a formidable equipment, inferior only to that of the far-famed "Invincible Armada." [65]

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11     Next Part
Home - Random Browse