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The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V2 by William H. Prescott

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and 600 horse, which last in his History he raises to 700. I have followed
Zurita, as presenting the more probable statement, and as generally more
accurate in all that relates to his own nation. It is a hopeless task to
attempt to reconcile the manifold inaccuracies, contradictions, and
discrepancies, which perplex the narratives of the writers on both sides,
in everything relating to numerical estimates. The difficulty is greatly
increased by the extremely vague application of the term _lance_, as
we meet with it, including six, four, three, or even a less number of
followers, as the case might be.

[13] Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. lib. 26, cap. 10.--Zurita, Hist.
del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 7.

The occupation of these places by Gonsalvo excited the pope's jealousy, as
to the designs of the Spanish sovereigns. In consequence of his
remonstrances, the Castilian envoy, Garcilasso de la Vega, was instructed
to direct Gonsalvo, that, "in case any inferior places had been since put
into his hands, he should restore them; if they were of importance,
however, he was first to confer with his own government." King Ferdinand,
as Abarca assures his readers, "was unwilling to give cause of complaint
to any one, _unless he were greatly a gainer by it_." Reyes de Aragon, rey
30, cap. 8.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. lib. 2, cap. 8.

[14] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, pp. 215-217.--Idem, Hist. sui Temporis,
pp. 83-85.--Bembo, Istoria Viniziana, lib. 3, pp. 160, 185.--Zurita, Hist.
del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 8.--Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 2, pp. 88,
92.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 25.

[15] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1.--Du Bos, Ligue de Cambray,
introd., p. 58.

[16] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 7.--Giovio, Vita Magni
Gonsalvi, ubi supra.

[17] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1, pp. 216, 217.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, cap. 24.--Quintana, Españoles Célebres, tom. i. pp. 223-227.

[18] Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 3, pp. 83-85.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, cap. 24.--Summonte, Hist. di Napoli, tom. iii. lib. 6, cap. 2.--
Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 2, p. 112.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib.
19, p. 690.

[19] Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 1, p. 112.--Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis,
lib. 3, p. 85.--Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 1, cap. 7.

[20] Summonte, Hist. di Napoli, tom. vi. p. 519.--Guicciardini, Istoria,
lib. 2, pp. 113, 114.--Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 3, pp. 87, 88.--
Villeneuve, Mémoires, apud Petitot, Collection des Mémoires, tom. xiv. pp.
264, 265.

[21] Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 3, pp. 88-90, 114-119.--
Guicciardini, Istoria, lib, 2, pp. 114-117.--Summonte, Hist. di Napoli,
tom. vi. pp. 520, 521.

[22] Bembo, Istoria Viniziana, lib. 3, pp. 173, 174.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, cap. 26.--Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1, p. 218.--
Villeneuve, Mémoires, p. 313.--Sismondi, Républiques Italiennes, tom. xii.
p. 386.

[23] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 11, 20.--Guicciardini,
Istoria, lib. 2, p. 140.--Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1, pp. 219,
220.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 25, 26.

[24] Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 3, pp. 140, 157, 158.--Comines, Mémoires,
liv. 8, chap. 23, 24.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 183.

Du Bos discriminates between the character of the German levies or
landsknechts and the Swiss, in the following terms. "Les lansquenets
étoient même de beaucoup mieux faits, _généralement_ parlant, et de
bien meilleure mine sous les armes, que les fantassins Suisses; mais ils
étoient incapables de discipline. Au contraire des Suisses, ils étoient
sans obéissance pour leur chefs, et sans amitié pours leurs camarades."
(Ligue de Cambray, tom. i. dissert. prélim., p. 66.) Comines confirms the
distinction with a high tribute to the loyalty of the Swiss, which has
continued their honorable characteristic to the present day. Mémoires,
liv. 8, chap. 21.

[25] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1, pp. 218, 219.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, cap. 28.--Quintana, Españoles Célebres, tom. i. p. 226.--Bembo,
Istoria Viniziana, lib. 3, p. 184.--Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 3, p. 158.

[26] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, pp. 219, 220.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, cap. 27.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 2, cap.
26.--Quintana, Españoles Célebres, tom. i. pp. 227, 228.--Guicciardini,
Istoria, lib. 3, pp. 158, 159.--Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. lib.
26, cap. 12.

[27] Giovio, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 4, p. 132.

[28] Quintana, Españoles Célebres, tom. i. p. 228.--Giovio, Vita Magni
Gonsalvi, lib. 1, p. 220.

The Aragonese historians are much ruffled by the irreverent manner in
which Guicciardini notices the origin of the cognomen of the Great
Captain; which even his subsequent panegyric cannot atone for. "Era
capitano Gonsalvo Ernandes, di casa d'Aghilar, di patria Cordovese, uomo
di molto valore, ed esercitato lungamente nelle guerre di Granata, il
quale nel principio della venuta sua in Italia, cognominato _dalla
jattanza Spagnuola_ il Gran Capitano, per significare con questo titolo
la suprema podestà sopra loro, meritò per le preclare vittorie che ebbe
dipoi, che per consentimento universale gli fosse confermato e perpetuate
questo sopranome, per significazione di virtù grande, e di grande
eccellenza nella disciplina militare." (Istoria, tom. i. p. 112.)
According to Zurita, the title was not conferred till the Spanish
general's appearance before Atella, and the first example of its formal
recognition was in the instrument of capitulation at that place. (Hist.
del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 27.) This seems to derive support from the
fact that Gonsalvo's biographer and contemporary, Giovio, begins to
distinguish him by that epithet from this period. Abarca assigns a higher
antiquity to it, quoting the words of the royal grant of the duchy of
Sessa, made to Gonsalvo, as authority. (Reyes de Aragon, rey 39, cap. 9.)
In a former edition, I intimated my doubt of the historian's accuracy. A
subsequent inspection of the instrument itself, in a work since come into
my possession, shows this distrust to have been well founded; for it is
there simply said, that the title was conferred in Italy. Pulgar, Sumario,
p. 188.

[29] This was improving on the somewhat similar expedient ascribed by
Polybius to King Pyrrhus, who mingled alternate cohorts, armed with short
weapons after the Roman fashion, with those of his Macedonian spearmen.
Lib. 17 sec. 24.

[30] Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 4, p. 133.--Idem, Vita Magni
Gonsalvi, pp. 220, 221.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 27.
--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 28.--Quintana, Españoles Célebres, tom.
i. p. 229.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, rey 30, cap. 9.

[31] Villeneuve, Mémoires, p. 318.--Comines, Mémoires, liv. 8, chap. 21.--
Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, lib. 4, p. 136.

[32] Comines, Mémoires, liv. 8, chap. 21.

[33] Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, p. 137.--Comines, Mémoires, liv. 8, chap.
21.--Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1, p. 221.--Guicciardini, Istoria,
lib. 3, p. 160.--Villeneuve, Mémoires, apud Petitot, tom. xiv. p. 318.

[34] Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 2.--Summonte, Hist. di
Napoli, lib. 6, cap. 2.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 188.

While stretched on his death-bed, Ferdinand, according to Bembo, caused
the head of his prisoner, the Bishop of Teano, to be brought to him, and
laid at the foot of his couch, that he might be assured with his own eyes
of the execution of the sentence. Istoria Viniziana, lib. 3, p. 189.

[35] Giovio, Hist. sui Temporis, lib, 4, p. 139.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey
Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 30, 33.--Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 3, p. 160.--
Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, tom. iii. lib. 29, cap. 3.




Gonsalvo Succors the Pope.--Storms Ostia.--Reception in Rome.--Peace with
France.--Ferdinand's Reputation advanced by his Conduct in the War.--
Organization of the Militia.

It had been arranged by the treaty of Venice, that while the allies were
carrying on the war in Naples, the emperor elect and the king of Spain
should make a diversion in their favor, by invading the French frontiers.
Ferdinand had performed his part of the engagement. Ever since the
beginning of the war, he had maintained a large force along the borders
from Fontarabia to Perpignan. In 1496, the regular army kept in pay
amounted to ten thousand horse and fifteen thousand foot; which, together
with the Sicilian armament, necessarily involved an expenditure
exceedingly heavy under the financial pressure occasioned by the Moorish
war. The command of the levies in Roussillon was given to Don Enrique
Enriquez de Guzman, who, far from acting on the defensive, carried his men
repeatedly over the border, sweeping off fifteen or twenty thousand head
of cattle in a single foray, and ravaging the country as far as Carcassona
and Narbonne. [1] had concentrated a considerable force in the south,
retaliated by similar inroads, in one of which they succeeded in
surprising the fortified town of Salsas. The works, however, were in so
dilapidated a state, that the place was scarcely tenable, and it was
abandoned on the approach of the Spanish army. A truce soon followed,
which put an end to further operations in that quarter. [2]

The submission of Calabria seemed to leave no further occupation for the
arms of the Great Captain in Italy. Before quitting that country, however,
he engaged in an adventure, which, as narrated by his biographers, forms a
brilliant episode to his regular campaigns. Ostia, the seaport of Rome,
was, among the places in the papal territory, forcibly occupied by Charles
the Eighth, and on his retreat had been left to a French garrison under
the command of a Biscayan adventurer named Menaldo Guerri. The place was
so situated as entirely to command the mouth of the Tiber, enabling the
piratical horde who garrisoned it almost wholly to destroy the commerce of
Rome, and even to reduce the city to great distress for want of
provisions. The imbecile government, incapable of defending itself,
implored Gonsalvo's aid in dislodging this nest of formidable freebooters.
The Spanish general, who was now at leisure, complied with the pontiff's
solicitations, and soon after presented himself before Ostia with his
little corps of troops, amounting in all to three hundred horse and
fifteen hundred foot. [3]

Guerri, trusting to the strength of his defences, refused to surrender.
Gonsalvo, after coolly preparing his batteries, opened a heavy cannonade
on the place, which at the end of five days effected a practicable breach
in the walls. In the mean time, Garcilasso de la Vega, the Castilian
ambassador at the papal court, who could not bear to remain inactive so
near the field where laurels were to be won, arrived to Gonsalvo's
support, with a handful of his own countrymen resident in Rome. This
gallant little band, scaling the walls on the opposite side to that
assailed by Gonsalvo, effected an entrance into the town, while the
garrison was occupied with maintaining the breach against the main body of
the Spaniards. Thus surprised, and hemmed in on both sides, Guerri and his
associates made no further resistance, but surrendered themselves
prisoners of war; and Gonsalvo, with more clemency than was usually shown
on such occasions, stopped the carnage, and reserved his captives to grace
his entry into the capital. [4]

This was made a few days after, with all the pomp of a Roman triumph. The
Spanish general entered by the gate of Ostia, at the head of his martial
squadrons in battle array, with colors flying and music playing, while the
rear was brought up by the captive chief and his confederates, so long the
terror, now the derision, of the populace. The balconies and windows were
crowded with spectators, and the streets, lined with multitudes, who
shouted forth the name of Gonsalvo de Cordova, the "deliverer of Rome!"
The procession took its way through the principal streets of the city
towards the Vatican, where Alexander the Sixth awaited its approach,
seated under a canopy of state in the chief saloon of the palace,
surrounded by his great ecclesiastics and nobility. On Gonsalvo's
entrance, the cardinals rose to receive him. The Spanish general knelt
down to receive the benediction of the pope; but the latter, raising him
up, kissed him on the forehead, and complimented him with the golden rose,
which the Holy See was accustomed to dispense as the reward of its most
devoted champions.

In the conversation which ensued, Gonsalvo obtained the pardon of Guerri
and his associates, and an exemption from taxes for the oppressed
inhabitants of Ostia. In a subsequent part of the discourse, the pope
taking occasion most inopportunely to accuse the Spanish sovereigns of
unfavorable dispositions towards himself, Gonsalvo replied with much
warmth, enumerating the various good offices rendered by them to the
church; and, roundly taxing the pope with ingratitude, somewhat bluntly
advised him to reform his life and conversation, which brought scandal on
all Christendom. His Holiness testified no indignation at this unsavory
rebuke of the Great Captain, though, as the historians with some
simplicity inform us, he was greatly surprised to find the latter so
fluent in discourse, and so well instructed in matters foreign to his
profession. [5]

Gonsalvo experienced the most honorable reception from King Frederic on
his return to Naples. During his continuance there, he was lodged and
sumptuously entertained in one of the royal fortresses; and the grateful
monarch requited his services with the title of Duke of St. Angelo, and an
estate in Abruzzo, containing three thousand vassals. He had before
pressed these honors on the victor, who declined accepting them till he
had obtained the consent of his own sovereigns. Soon after, Gonsalvo,
quitting Naples, revisited Sicily, where he adjusted certain differences
which had arisen betwixt the viceroy and the inhabitants respecting the
revenues of the island. Then embarking with his whole force, he reached
the shores of Spain in the month of August, 1498. His return to his native
land was greeted with a general enthusiasm far more grateful to his
patriotic heart, than any homage or honors conferred by foreign princes.
Isabella welcomed him with pride and satisfaction, as having fully
vindicated her preference of him to his more experienced rivals for the
difficult post of Italy; and Ferdinand did not hesitate to declare, that
the Calabrian campaigns reflected more lustre on his crown, than the
conquest of Granada. [6]

The total expulsion of the French from Naples brought hostilities between
that nation and Spain to a close. The latter had gained her point, and the
former had little heart to resume so disastrous an enterprise. Before this
event, indeed, overtures had been made by the French court for a separate
treaty with Spain. The latter, however, was unwilling to enter into any
compact, without the participation of her allies. After the total
abandonment of the French enterprise, there seemed to exist no further
pretext for prolonging the war. The Spanish government, moreover, had
little cause for satisfaction with its confederates. The emperor had not
co-operated in the descent on the enemy's frontier, according to
agreement; nor had the allies ever reimbursed Spain for the heavy charges
incurred in fulfilling her part of the engagements. The Venetians were
taken up with securing to themselves as much of the Neapolitan territory
as they could, by way of indemnification for their own expenses. [7] The
duke of Milan had already made a separate treaty with King Charles. In
short, every member of the league, after the first alarm subsided, had
shown itself ready to sacrifice the common weal to its own private ends.
With these causes of disgust, the Spanish government consented to a truce
with France, to begin for itself on the 5th of March, and, for the allies,
if they chose to be included in it, seven weeks later, and to continue
till the end of October, 1497. This truce was subsequently prolonged, and,
after the death of Charles the Eighth, terminated in a definitive treaty
of peace, signed at Marcoussi, August 5th, 1498. [8]

In the discussions to which these arrangements gave rise, the project is
said to have been broached for the conquest and division of the kingdom of
Naples by the combined powers of France and Spain, which was carried into
effect some years later. According to Comines, the proposition originated
with the Spanish court, although it saw fit, in a subsequent period of the
negotiations, to disavow the fact. [9] The Spanish writers, on the other
hand, impute the first suggestion of it to the French, who, they say, went
so far as to specify the details of the partition subsequently adopted,
according to which the two Calabrias were assigned to Spain. However this
may be, there is little doubt that Ferdinand had long since entertained
the idea of asserting his claim, at some time or other, to the crown of
Naples. He, as well as his father, and indeed the whole nation, had beheld
with dissatisfaction the transfer of what they deemed their rightful
inheritance, purchased by the blood and treasure of Aragon, to an
illegitimate branch of the family. The accession of Frederic, in
particular, who came to the throne with the support of the Angevin party,
the old enemies of Aragon, had given great umbrage to the Spanish monarch.

The Castilian envoy, Garcilasso de la Vega, agreeably to the instructions
of his court, urged Alexander the Sixth to withhold the investiture of the
kingdom from Frederic, but unavailingly, as the pope's interests were too
closely connected, by marriage, with those of the royal family of Naples.
Under these circumstances, it was somewhat doubtful what course Gonsalvo
should be directed to pursue in the present exigency. That prudent
commander, however, found the new monarch too strong in the affections of
his people to be disturbed at present. All that now remained for
Ferdinand, therefore, was to rest contented with the possession of the
strong posts pledged for the reimbursement of his expenses in the war, and
to make such use of the correspondence which the late campaigns had opened
to him in Calabria, that, when the time arrived for action, he might act
with effect. [10]

Ferdinand's conduct through the whole of the Italian war had greatly
enhanced his reputation throughout Europe for sagacity and prudence. It
afforded a most advantageous comparison with that of his rival, Charles
the Eighth, whose very first act had been the surrender of so important a
territory as Roussillon. The construction of the treaty relating to this,
indeed, laid the Spanish monarch open to the imputation of artifice. But
this, at least, did no violence to the political maxims of the age and
only made him regarded as the more shrewd and subtile diplomatist; while,
on the other hand, he appeared before the world in the imposing attitude
of the defender of the church, and of the rights of his injured kinsman.
His influence had been clearly discernible in every operation of moment,
whether civil or military. He had been most active, through his
ambassadors at Genoa, Venice, and Rome, in stirring up the great Italian
confederacy, which eventually broke the power of King Charles; and his
representations had tended, as much as any other cause, to alarm the
jealousy of Sforza, to fix the vacillating politics of Alexander, and to
quicken the cautious and dilatory movements of Venice. He had shown equal
vigor in action; and contributed mainly to the success of the war by his
operations on the side of Roussillon, and still more in Calabria. On the
latter, indeed, he had not lavished any extraordinary expenditure; a
circumstance partly attributable to the state of his finances, severely
taxed, as already noticed, by the Granadine war, as well as by the
operations in Roussillon, but in part, also, to his habitual frugality,
which, with a very different spirit from that of his illustrious consort,
always stinted the measure of his supplies to the bare exigency of the
occasion. Fortunately, the genius of the Great Captain was so fruitful in
resources, as to supply every deficiency; enabling him to accomplish such
brilliant results, as effectually concealed any poverty of preparation on
the part of his master.

The Italian wars were of signal importance to the Spanish nation. Until
that time, they had been cooped up within the narrow limits of the
Peninsula, uninstructed and taking little interest in the concerns of the
rest of Europe. A new world was now opened to them. They were taught to
measure their own strength by collision with other powers on a common
scene of action; and, success inspiring them with greater confidence,
seemed to beckon them on towards the field, where they were destined to
achieve still more splendid triumphs.

This war afforded them also a most useful lesson of tactics. The war of
Granada had insensibly trained up a hardy militia, patient and capable of
every privation and fatigue, and brought under strict subordination. This
was a great advance beyond the independent and disorderly habits of the
feudal service. A most valuable corps of light troops had been formed,
schooled in all the wild, irregular movements of guerilla warfare. But the
nation was still defective in that steady, well-disciplined infantry,
which, in the improved condition of military science, seemed destined to
decide the fate of battles in Europe thenceforward.

The Calabrian campaigns, which were suited in some degree to the display
of their own tactics, fortunately gave the Spaniards opportunity for
studying at leisure those of their adversaries. The lesson was not lost.
Before the end of the war important innovations were made in the
discipline and arms of the Spanish soldier. The Swiss pike, or lance,
which, as has been already noticed, Gonsalvo de Cordova had mingled with
the short sword of his own legions, now became the regular weapon of one-
third of the infantry. The division of the various corps in the cavalry
and infantry services was arranged on more scientific principles, and the
whole, in short, completely reorganized. [11]

Before the end of the war, preparations were made for embodying a national
militia, which should take the place of the ancient hermandad. Laws were
passed regulating the equipment of every individual according to his
property. A man's arms were declared not liable for debt, even to the
crown; and smiths and other artificers were restricted, under severe
penalties, from working them up into other articles. [12] In 1496, a
census was taken of all persons capable of bearing arms; and by an
ordinance, dated at Valladolid, February 22d, in the same year, it was
provided that one out of every twelve inhabitants, between twenty and
forty-five years of age, should be enlisted in the service of the state,
whether for foreign war, or the suppression of disorders at home. The
remaining eleven were liable to be called on in case of urgent necessity.
These recruits were to be paid during actual service, and excused from
taxes; the only legal exempts were the clergy, hidalgos, and paupers. A
general review and inspection of arms were to take place every year, in
the months of March and September, when prizes were to be awarded to those
best accoutred, and most expert in the use of their weapons. Such were the
judicious regulations by which every citizen, without being withdrawn from
his regular occupation, was gradually trained up for the national defence;
and which, without the oppressive incumbrance of a numerous standing army,
placed the whole effective force of the country, prompt and fit for
action, at the disposal of the government, whenever the public good should
call for it. [13]


[1] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 12-14; 16, 24.

Giovio says, in allusion to King Ferdinand's show of preparation on the
frontier, "Ferdinandus, maximè cautus et pecuniae tenax, speciem ingentis
coacti exercitus ad deterrendos hostes praebere, quam bellum gerere
mallet, quum id sine ingenti pecunià administrari non posse intelligeret."
Hist. sui Temporis, p. 140.

[2] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 35, 36.--Abarca, Reyes de
Aragon, rey 30, cap. 9.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 5.--
Comines, Mémoires, liv. 8, chap. 23.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist.

[3] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1, p. 221.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, cap. 30.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 3, cap. 1.--
Villeneuve, Mémoires, p. 317.

[4] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, p. 222.--Quintana, Españoles Célebres,
tom. i. p. 234.

[5] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, p. 222.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando,
lib. 3, cap. 1.--Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 3, p. 175.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, cap. 30.

[6] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, p. 223.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap.
31, 32.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 3, cap. 38.

[7] Comines says, with some _naïveté_, in reference to the places in
Naples which the Venetians had got into their possession, "Je croy que
leur intention n'est point de les rendre; car ils ne l'ont point de
coustume quand elles leur sont bienséantes comme sont cellescy, qui sont
du costé de leur goufre de Venise." Mémoires, p. 194.

[8] Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 3, p. 178.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey
Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 44; lib. 3, cap. 13, 19, 21, 26.--Comines,
Mémoires, liv. 8, chap. 23.

[9] Comines gives some curious details respecting the French embassy,
which he considers to have been completely outwitted by the superior
management of the Spanish government; who intended nothing further at this
time by the proposal of a division, than to amuse the French court until
the fate of Naples should be decided. Mémoires, liv. 8, chap. 23.

[10] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 26, 33.--Mariana, Hist.
de España, lib. 26, cap. 16.--Salazar de Mendoza, Monarquía, tom. i. lib.
3, cap. 10.

[11] Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 6.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey
Hernando, lib. 3, cap. 6.

The ancient Spaniards, who were as noted as the modern for the temper and
finish of their blades, used short swords, in the management of which they
were very adroit. "Hispano," says Livy, "punctim magis, quam caesim,
adsueto petere hostem, brevitate habiles [gladii] et cum macronibus."
(Hist., lib. 22, cap. 47.) Sandoval notices the short sword, "cortas
espadas," as the peculiar weapon of the Spanish soldier in the twelfth
century. Historia de los Reyes de Castilla y de Leon, (Madrid, 1792,) tom.
ii. p. 240.

[12] Pragmáticas del Reyno, fol. 83, 127, 129.

The former of these ordinances, dated Taraçona, Sept. 18th, 1495, is
extremely precise in specifying the appointments required for each

Among other improvements, introduced somewhat earlier, may be mentioned
that of organizing and thoroughly training a small corps of heavy-armed
cavalry, amounting to twenty-five hundred. The number of men-at-arms had
been greatly reduced in the kingdom of late years, in consequence of the
exclusive demand for the _ginetes_ in the Moorish war. Oviedo,
Quincuagenas, MS.

Ordinances were also passed for encouraging the breed of horses, which had
suffered greatly from the preference very generally given by the Spaniards
to mules. This had been carried to such a length, that, while it was
nearly impossible, according to Bernaldez, to mount ten or twelve thousand
cavalry on horses, ten times that number could be provided with mules.
(Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 184.) "E porque si a esto se diesse lugar,"
says one of the _pragmáticas_, adverting to this evil, "muy prestamente se
perderia en nuestros reynos la nobleza de la cauellería que en ellos suele
auer, e se oluidaria el exercicio militar de que en los tiempos passados
nuestra nacion de España ha alcançado gran fama e loor;" it was ordered
that no person in the kingdom should be allowed to keep a mule, unless he
owned a horse also; and that none but ecclesiastics and women should be
allowed the use of mules in the saddle. These edicts were enforced with
the utmost rigor, the king himself setting the example of conformity to
them. By these seasonable precautions, the breed of Spanish horses, so
long noted throughout Europe, was restored to its ancient credit, and the
mule consigned to the humble and appropriate offices of drudgery, or
raised only for exportation. For these and similar provisions, see
Pragmáticas del Reyno, fol. 127-132.

Matéo Aleman's whimsical _picaresco_ novel, Guzman d'Alfarache, contains a
comic adventure, showing the excessive rigor with which the edict against
mules was enforced, as late as the close of Philip II.'s reign. The
passage is extracted in Roscoe's elegant version of the Spanish Novelists,
Vol. I. p. 132.

[13] See a copy of the ordinance taken from the Archives of Simancas; apud
Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. apend. 13.

When Francis I, who was destined to feel the effects of this careful
military discipline, beheld, during his detention in Spain in the
beginning of the following century, striplings with scarce down upon the
chin, all armed with swords at their sides, he is said to have cried out,
"O bienaventurada España, que pare y eria los hombres armados!" (L.
Marineo, Cosas Memorables, lib. 5.) An exclamation not unworthy of a
Napoleon,--or an Attila.



Royal Family of Castile.--Matrimonial Alliances with Portugal.--With
Austria.--Marriage of John and Margaret.--Death of Prince John.--The
Queen's Resignation.--Independence of the Cortes of Aragon.--Death of the
Princess Isabella.--Recognition of her Infant Son Miguel.

The credit and authority which the Castilian sovereigns established by the
success of their arms, were greatly raised by the matrimonial connections
which they formed for their children. This was too important a spring of
their policy to be passed over in silence. Their family consisted of one
son and four daughters, whom they carefully educated in a manner befitting
their high rank; and who repaid their solicitude by exemplary filial
obedience, and the early manifestation of virtues rare even in a private
station. [1] They seem to have inherited many of the qualities which
distinguished their illustrious mother; great decorum and dignity of
manners, combined with ardent sensibilities, and unaffected piety, which,
at least in the eldest and favorite daughter, Isabella, was, unhappily,
strongly tinctured with bigotry. They could not, indeed, pretend to their
mother's comprehensive mind, and talent for business, although there seems
to have been no deficiency in these respects; or, if any, it was most
effectually supplied by their excellent education. [2]

The marriage of the princess Isabella with Alonso, the heir of the
Portuguese crown, in 1490, has been already noticed. This had been eagerly
desired by her parents, not only for the possible contingency, which it
afforded, of bringing the various monarchies of the Peninsula under one
head, (a design of which they never wholly lost sight,) but from the wish
to conciliate a formidable neighbor, who possessed various means of
annoyance, which he had shown no reluctance to exert. The reigning
monarch, John the Second, a bold and crafty prince, had never forgotten
his ancient quarrel with the Spanish sovereigns in support of their rival
Joanna Beltraneja, or Joanna the Nun, as she was generally called in the
Castilian court after she had taken the veil. John, in open contempt of
the treaty of Alcantara, and indeed of all monastic rule, had not only
removed his relative from the convent of Santa Clara, but had permitted
her to assume a royal state, and subscribe herself "I the Queen." This
empty insult he accompanied with more serious efforts to form such a
foreign alliance for the liberated princess as should secure her the
support of some arm more powerful than his own, and enable her to renew
the struggle for her inheritance with better chance of success. [3] These
flagrant proceedings had provoked the admonitions of the Roman see, and
had formed the topic, as may be believed, of repeated, though ineffectual
remonstrance from the court of Castile. [4]

It seemed probable that the union of the princess of the Asturias with the
heir of Portugal, as originally provided by the treaty of Alcantara, would
so far identify the interests of the respective parties as to remove all
further cause of disquietude. The new bride was received in Portugal in a
spirit which gave cordial assurance of these friendly relations for the
future; and the court of Lisbon celebrated the auspicious nuptials with
the gorgeous magnificence, for which, at this period of its successful
enterprise, it was distinguished above every other court in Christendom.

Alonso's death, a few months after this event, however, blighted the fair
hopes which had begun to open of a more friendly feeling between the two
countries. His unfortunate widow, unable to endure the scenes of her
short-lived happiness, soon withdrew into her own country to seek such
consolation as she could find in the bosom of her family. There,
abandoning herself to the melancholy regrets to which her serious and
pensive temper naturally disposed her, she devoted her hours to works of
piety and benevolence, resolved to enter no more into engagements, which
had thrown so dark a cloud over the morning of her life. [6]

On King John's death, in 1495, the crown of Portugal devolved on Emanuel,
that enlightened monarch, who had the glory in the very commencement of
his reign of solving the grand problem, which had so long perplexed the
world, of the existence of an undiscovered passage to the east. This
prince had conceived a passion for the young and beautiful Isabella during
her brief residence in Lisbon; and, soon after his accession to the
throne, he despatched an embassy to the Spanish court inviting her to
share it with him. But the princess, wedded to the memory of her early
love, declined the proposals, notwithstanding they were strongly seconded
by the wishes of her parents, who, however, were unwilling to constrain
their daughter's inclinations on so delicate a point, trusting perhaps to
the effects of time, and the perseverance of her royal suitor. [7]

In the mean while, the Catholic sovereigns were occupied with negotiations
for the settlement of the other members of their family. The ambitious
schemes of Charles the Eighth established a community of interests among
the great European states, such as had never before existed, or, at least,
been understood; and the intimate relations thus introduced naturally led
to intermarriages between the principal powers, who, until this period,
seem to have been severed almost as far asunder as if oceans had rolled
between them. The Spanish monarchs, in particular, had rarely gone beyond
the limits of the Peninsula for their family alliances. The new
confederacy into which Spain had entered, now opened the way to more
remote connections, which were destined to exercise a permanent influence
on the future politics of Europe. It was while Charles the Eighth was
wasting his time at Naples, that the marriages were arranged between the
royal houses of Spain and Austria, by which the weight of these great
powers was thrown into the same scale, and the balance of Europe unsettled
for the greater part of the following century. [8]

The treaty provided, that Prince John, the heir of the Spanish monarchies,
then in his eighteenth year, should be united with the princess Margaret,
daughter of the emperor Maximilian; and that the archduke Philip, his son
and heir, and sovereign of the Low Countries in his mother's right, should
marry Joanna, second daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. No dowry was to
be required with either princess. [9]

In the course of the following year, arrangements were also concluded for
the marriage of the youngest daughter of the Castilian sovereigns with a
prince of the royal house of England, the first example of the kind for
more than a century. [10] Ferdinand had cultivated the good-will of Henry
the Seventh, in the hope of drawing him into the confederacy against the
French monarch; and in this had not wholly failed, although the wary king
seems to have come into it rather as a silent partner, if we may so say,
than with the intention of affording any open or very active co-operation.
[11] The relations of amity between the two courts were still further
strengthened by the treaty of marriage above alluded to, finally adjusted
October 1st, 1496, and ratified the following year, between Arthur, prince
of Wales, and the infanta Doña Catalina, conspicuous in English history,
equally for her misfortunes and her virtues, as Catharine of Aragon. [12]
The French viewed with no little jealousy the progress of these various
negotiations, which they zealously endeavored to thwart by all the
artifices of diplomacy. But King Ferdinand had sufficient address to
secure in his interests persons of the highest credit at the courts of
Henry and Maximilian, who promptly acquainted him with the intrigues of
the French government, and effectually aided in counteracting them. [13]

The English connection was necessarily deferred for some years, on account
of the youth of the parties, neither of whom exceeded eleven years of age.
No such impediment occurred in regard to the German alliances, and
measures were taken at once for providing a suitable conveyance for the
infanta Joanna into Flanders, which should bring back the princess
Margaret on its return. By the end of summer, in 1496, a fleet consisting
of one hundred and thirty vessels, large and small, strongly manned and
thoroughly equipped with all the means of defence against the French
cruisers, was got ready for sea in the ports of Guipuscoa and Biscay. [14]
The whole was placed under the direction of Don Fadrique Enriquez, admiral
of Castile, who carried with him a splendid show of chivalry, chiefly
drawn from the northern provinces of the kingdom. A more gallant and
beautiful armada never before quitted the shores of Spain. The infanta
Joanna, attended by a numerous suite, arrived on board the fleet towards
the end of August, at the port of Laredo, on the eastern borders of the
Asturias, where she took a last farewell of the queen her mother, who had
postponed the hour of separation as long as possible, by accompanying her
daughter to the place of embarkation.

The weather soon after her departure became extremely rough and
tempestuous; and it was so long before any tidings of the squadron reached
the queen, that her affectionate heart was filled with the most
distressing apprehensions. She sent for the oldest and most experienced
navigators in these boisterous northern seas, consulting them, says
Martyr, day and night on the probable causes of delay, the prevalent
courses of the winds at that season, and the various difficulties and
dangers of the voyage; bitterly regretting that the troubles with France
prevented any other means of communication, than the treacherous element
to which she had trusted her daughter. [15] Her spirits were still further
depressed at this juncture by the death of her own mother, the dowager
Isabella, who, under the mental infirmity with which she had been visited
for many years, had always experienced the most devoted attention from her
daughter, who ministered to her necessities with her own hands, and
watched over her declining years with the most tender solicitude.[16]

At length, the long-desired intelligence came of the arrival of the
Castilian fleet at its place of destination. It had been so grievously
shattered, however, by tempests, as to require being refitted in the ports
of England. Several of the vessels were lost, and many of Joanna's
attendants perished from the inclemency of the weather, and the numerous
hardships to which they were exposed. The infanta, however, happily
reached Flanders in safety, and, not long after, her nuptials with the
archduke Philip were celebrated in the city of Lisle with all suitable
pomp and solemnity.

The fleet was detained until the ensuing winter, to transport the destined
bride of the young prince of the Asturias to Spain. This lady, who had
been affianced in her cradle to Charles the Eighth of France, had received
her education in the court of Paris. On her intended husband's marriage
with the heiress of Brittany, she had been returned to her native land
under circumstances of indignity never to be forgiven by the house of
Austria. She was now in the seventeenth year of her age, and had already
given ample promise of those uncommon powers of mind which distinguished
her in riper years, and of which she has left abundant evidence in various
written compositions. [17]

On her passage to Spain, in midwinter, the fleet encountered such
tremendous gales, that part of it was ship-wrecked, and Margaret's vessel
had wellnigh foundered. She retained, however, sufficient composure amidst
the perils of her situation, to indite her own epitaph, in the form of a
pleasant distich, which Pontenelle has made the subject of one of his
amusing dialogues, where he affects to consider the fortitude displayed by
her at this awful moment as surpassing that of the philosophic Adrian in
his dying hour, or the vaunted heroism of Cato of Utica. [18]

Fortunately, however, Margaret's epitaph was not needed; she arrived in
safety at the port of Santander in the Asturias, early in March, 1497.

The young prince of the Asturias, accompanied by the king his father,
hastened towards the north to receive his royal mistress, whom they met
and escorted to Burgos, where she was received with the highest marks of
satisfaction by the queen and the whole court. Preparations were instantly
made for solemnizing the nuptials of the royal pair, after the expiration
of Lent, in a style of magnificence such as had never before been
witnessed under the present reign. The marriage ceremony took place on the
3d of April, and was performed by the archbishop of Toledo in the presence
of the grandees and principal nobility of Castile, the foreign
ambassadors, and the delegates from Aragon. Among these latter were the
magistrates of the principal cities, clothed in their municipal insignia
and crimson robes of office, who seem to have had quite as important parts
assigned them by their democratic communities, in this and all similar
pageants, as any of the nobility or gentry. The nuptials were followed by
a brilliant succession of fetes, tourneys, tilts of reeds, and other
warlike spectacles, in which the matchless chivalry of Spain poured into
the lists to display their magnificence and prowess in the presence of
their future queen. [19] The chronicles of the day remark on the striking
contrast, exhibited at these entertainments, between the gay and familiar
manners of Margaret and her Flemish nobles, and the pomp and stately
ceremonial of the Castilian court, to which, indeed, the Austrian
princess, nurtured as she had been in a Parisian atmosphere, could never
be wholly reconciled. [20]

The marriage of the heir apparent could not have been celebrated at a more
auspicious period. It was in the midst of negotiations for a general
peace, when the nation might reasonably hope to taste the sweets of
repose, after so many uninterrupted years of war. Every bosom swelled with
exultation in contemplating the glorious destinies of their country under
the beneficent sway of a prince, the first heir of the hitherto divided
monarchies of Spain. Alas! at the moment when Ferdinand and Isabella,
blessed in the affections of their people, and surrounded by all the
trophies of a glorious reign, seemed to have reached the very zenith of
human felicity, they were doomed to receive one of those mournful lessons,
which admonish us that all earthly prosperity is but a dream. [21]

Not long after Prince John's marriage, the sovereigns had the satisfaction
to witness that of their daughter Isabella, who, notwithstanding her
repugnance to a second union, had yielded at length to the urgent
entreaties of her parents to receive the addresses of her Portuguese
lover. She required as the price of this, however, that Emanuel should
first banish the Jews from his dominions, where they had bribed a resting-
place since their expulsion from Spain; a circumstance to which the
superstitious princess imputed the misfortunes which had fallen of late on
the royal house of Portugal. Emanuel, whose own liberal mind revolted at
this unjust and impolitic measure, was weak enough to allow his passion to
get the better of his principles, and passed sentence of exile on every
Israelite in his kingdom; furnishing, perhaps, the only example, in which
love has been made one of the thousand motives for persecuting this
unhappy race. [22]

The marriage, ushered in under such ill-omened auspices, was celebrated at
the frontier town of Valencia de Alcantara, in the presence of the
Catholic sovereigns, without pomp or parade of any kind. While they were
detained there, an express arrived from Salamanca, bringing tidings of the
dangerous illness of their son, the prince of the Asturias. He had been
seized with a fever in the midst of the public rejoicings to which his
arrival with his youthful bride in that city had given rise. The symptoms
speedily assumed an alarming character. The prince's constitution,
naturally delicate, though strengthened by a life of habitual temperance,
sunk under the violence of the attack; and when his father, who posted
with all possible expedition to Salamanca, arrived there, no hopes were
entertained of his recovery. [23]

Ferdinand, however, endeavored to cheer his son with hopes which he did
not feel himself; but the young prince told him that it was too late to be
deceived; that he was prepared to part with a world, which in its best
estate was filled with vanity and vexation; and that all he now desired
was, that his parents might feel the same sincere resignation to the
divine will, which he experienced himself. Ferdinand gathered new
fortitude from the example of his heroic son, whose presages were
unhappily too soon verified. He expired on the 4th of October, 1497, in
the twentieth year of his age, in the same spirit of Christian philosophy
which he had displayed during his whole illness. [24]

Ferdinand, apprehensive of the effect which the abrupt intelligence of
this calamity might have on the queen, caused letters to be sent at brief
intervals, containing accounts of the gradual decline of the prince's
health, so as to prepare her for the inevitable stroke. Isabella, however,
who through all her long career of prosperous fortune may be said to have
kept her heart in constant training for the dark hour of adversity,
received the fatal tidings in a spirit of meek and humble acquiescence,
testifying her resignation in the beautiful language of Scripture, "The
Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be his name!" [25]

"Thus," says Martyr, who had the melancholy satisfaction of rendering the
last sad offices to his royal pupil, "was laid low the hope of all Spain."
"Never was there a death," says another chronicler, "which occasioned such
deep and general lamentation throughout the land." All the unavailing
honors which affection could devise were paid to his memory. His funeral
obsequies were celebrated with melancholy splendor, and his remains
deposited in the noble Dominican monastery of St. Thomas at Avila, which
had been erected by his parents. The court put on a new and deeper
mourning than that hitherto used, as if to testify their unwonted grief.
[26] All offices, public and private, were closed for forty days; and
sable-colored banners were suspended from the walls and portals of the
cities. Such extraordinary tokens of public sorrow bear strong testimony
to the interest felt in the young prince, independently of his exalted
station; similar, and perhaps more unequivocal evidence of his worth, is
afforded by abundance of contemporary notices, not merely in works
designed for the public, but in private correspondence. The learned
Martyr, in particular, whose situation, as Prince John's preceptor,
afforded him the best opportunities of observation, is unbounded in
commendations of his royal pupil, whose extraordinary promise of
intellectual and moral excellence had furnished him with the happiest,
alas! delusive auguries, for the future destiny of his country. [27]

By the death of John without heirs, the succession devolved on his eldest
sister, the queen of Portugal. [28] Intelligence, however, was received
soon after that event, that the archduke Philip, with the restless
ambition which distinguished him in later life, had assumed for himself
and his wife Joanna the title of "princes of Castile." Ferdinand and
Isabella, disgusted with this proceeding, sent to request the attendance
of the king and queen of Portugal in Castile, in order to secure a
recognition of their rights by the national legislature. The royal pair,
accordingly, in obedience to the summons, quitted their capital of Lisbon,
early in the spring of 1498. In their progress through the country, they
were magnificently entertained at the castles of the great Castilian
lords, and towards the close of April reached the ancient city of Toledo,
where the cortes had been convened to receive them. [29]

After the usual oaths of recognition had been tendered, without
opposition, by the different branches to the Portuguese princes, the court
adjourned to Saragossa, where the legislature of Aragon was assembled for
a similar purpose.

Some apprehensions were entertained, however, of the unfavorable
disposition of that body, since the succession of females was not
countenanced by the ancient usage of the country; and the Aragonese, as
Martyr remarks in one of his Epistles, "were well known to be a
pertinacious race, who would leave no stone unturned, in the maintenance
of their constitutional rights." [30]

These apprehensions were fully realized; for, no sooner was the object of
the present meeting laid before cortes in a speech from the throne, with
which parliamentary business in Aragon was always opened, than decided
opposition was manifested to a proceeding, which it was declared had no
precedent in their history. The succession of the crown, it was contended,
had been limited by repeated testaments of their princes to male heirs,
and practice and public sentiment had so far coincided with this, that the
attempted violation of the rule by Peter the Fourth, in favor of his own
daughters, had plunged the nation in a civil war. It was further urged
that by the will of the very last monarch, John the Second, it was
provided that the crown should descend to the male issue of his son
Ferdinand, and in default of such to the male issue of Ferdinand's
daughters, to the entire exclusion of the females. At all events, it was
better to postpone the consideration of this matter until the result of
the queen of Portugal's pregnancy, then far advanced, should be
ascertained; since, should it prove to be a son, all doubts of
constitutional validity would be removed.

In answer to these objections, it was stated, that no express law existed
in Aragon excluding females from the succession; that an example had
already occurred, as far back indeed as the twelfth century, of a queen
who held the crown in her own right; that the acknowledged power of
females to transmit the right of succession necessarily inferred that
right existing in themselves; that the present monarch had doubtless as
competent authority as his predecessors to regulate the law of
inheritance, and that his act, supported by the supreme authority of
cortes, might set aside any former disposition of the crown; that this
interference was called for by the present opportunity of maintaining the
permanent union of Castile and Aragon; without which they must otherwise
return to their ancient divided state, and comparative insignificance.

These arguments, however cogent, were far from being conclusive with the
opposite party; and the debate was protracted to such length, that
Isabella, impatient of an opposition to what the practice in her own
dominions had taught her to regard as the inalienable right of her
daughter, inconsiderately exclaimed, "It would be better to reduce the
country by arms at once, than endure this insolence of the cortes." To
which Antonio de Fonseca, the same cavalier who spoke his mind so
fearlessly to King Charles the Eighth, on his march to Naples, had the
independence to reply, "That the Aragonese had only acted as good and
loyal subjects, who, as they were accustomed to mind their oaths,
considered well before they took them; and that they must certainly stand
excused if they moved with caution in an affair, which they found so
difficult to justify by precedent in their history." [32] This blunt
expostulation of the honest courtier, equally creditable to the sovereign
who could endure, and the subject who could make it, was received in the
frank spirit in which it was given, and probably opened Isabella's eyes to
her own precipitancy, as we find no further allusion to coercive measures.

Before anything was determined, the discussion was suddenly brought to a
close by an unforeseen and most melancholy event,--the death of the queen
of Portugal, the unfortunate subject of it. That princess had possessed a
feeble constitution from her birth, with a strong tendency to pulmonary
complaints. She had early felt a presentiment that she should not survive
the birth of her child; this feeling strengthened as she approached the
period of her delivery; and in less than one hour after that event, which
took place on the 23d of August, 1498, she expired in the arms of her
afflicted parents. [33]

This blow was almost too much for the unhappy mother, whose spirits had
not yet had time to rally, since the death of her only son. She, indeed,
exhibited the outward marks of composure, testifying the entire
resignation of one who had learned to rest her hopes of happiness on a
better world. She schooled herself so far, as to continue to take an
interest in all her public duties, and to watch over the common weal with
the same maternal solicitude as before; but her health gradually sunk
under this accumulated load of sorrow, which threw a deep shade of
melancholy over the evening of her life.

The infant, whose birth had cost so dear, proved a male, and received the
name of Miguel, in honor of the saint on whose day he first saw the light.
In order to dissipate, in some degree, the general gloom occasioned by the
late catastrophe, it was thought best to exhibit the young prince before
the eyes of his future subjects; and he was accordingly borne in the arms
of his nurse, in a magnificent litter, through the streets of the city,
escorted by the principal nobility. Measures were then taken for obtaining
the sanction of his legitimate claims to the crown. Whatever doubts had
been entertained of the validity of the mother's title, there could be
none whatever of the child's; since those who denied the right of females
to inherit for themselves, admitted their power of conveying such a right
to male issue. As a preliminary step to the public recognition of the
prince, it was necessary to name a guardian, who should be empowered to
make the requisite engagements, and to act in his behalf. The Justice of
Aragon, in his official capacity, after due examination, appointed the
grandparents, Ferdinand and Isabella, to the office of guardians during
his minority, which would expire by law at the age of fourteen. [34]

On Saturday, the 22d of September, when the queen had sufficiently
recovered from a severe illness brought on by her late sufferings, the
four _arms_ of the cortes of Aragon assembled in the house of deputation
at Saragossa; and Ferdinand and Isabella made oath as guardians of the
heir apparent, before the Justice, not to exercise any jurisdiction
whatever in the name of the young prince during his minority; engaging,
moreover, as far as in their power, that, on his coming of age, he should
swear to respect the laws and liberties of the realm, before entering on
any of the rights of sovereignty himself. The four estates then took the
oath of fealty to Prince Miguel, as lawful heir and successor to the crown
of Aragon; with the protestation, that it should not be construed into a
precedent for exacting such an oath hereafter during the minority of the
heir apparent. With such watchful attention to constitutional forms of
procedure, did the people of Aragon endeavor to secure their liberties;
forms, which continued to be observed in later times, long after those
liberties had been swept away. [35]

In the month of January, of the ensuing year, the young prince's
succession was duly confirmed by the cortes of Castile, and, in the
following March, by that of Portugal. Thus, for once, the crowns of the
three monarchies of Castile, Aragon, and Portugal were suspended over one
head. The Portuguese, retaining the bitterness of ancient rivalry, looked
with distrust at the prospect of a union, fearing, with some reason, that
the importance of the lesser state would be wholly merged in that of the
greater. But the untimely death of the destined heir of these honors,
which took place before he had completed his second year, removed the
causes of jealousy, and defeated the only chance, which had ever occurred,
of bringing under the same rule three independent nations, which, from
their common origin, their geographical position, and, above all, their
resemblance in manners, sentiments, and language, would seem to have
originally been intended to form but one. [36]


[1] The princess Doña Isabel, the eldest daughter, was born at Dueñas,
October 1st, 1470. Their second child and only son, Juan, prince of the
Asturias, was not born until eight years later, June 30th, 1478, at
Seville. Doña Juana, whom the queen used playfully to call her "mother-in-
law," _suegra_, from her resemblance to King Ferdinand's mother, was
born at Toledo, November 6th, 1479. Doña Maria was born at Cordova, in
1482, and Doña Catalina, the fifth and last child, at Alcalá de Henares,
December 5th, 1485. The daughters all lived to reign; but their brilliant
destinies were clouded with domestic afflictions, from which royalty could
afford no refuge. Carbajal, Anales, MS., loc. mult.

[2] The only exception to these remarks, was that afforded by the infanta
Joanna, whose unfortunate eccentricities, developed in later life, must be
imputed, indeed, to bodily infirmity.

[3] Nine different matches were proposed for Joanna in the course of her
life; but they all vanished into air, and the "excellent lady," as she was
usually called by the Portuguese, died as she had lived, in single
blessedness, at the ripe age of sixty-eight. In the Mem. de la Acad. de
Hist., tom. vi., the 19th Ilustracion is devoted to this topic, in regard
to which Father Florez shows sufficient ignorance, or inaccuracy. Reynas
Cathólicas, tom. ii. p. 780.

[4] Instructions relating to this matter, written with the queen's own
hand, still exist in the archives of Simancas. Mem. de la Acad. de Hist.,
ubi supra.

[5] La Clède, Histoire de Portugal, tom. iv. p. 100.

The Portuguese historian, Faria y Sousa, expends half a dozen folio pages
on these royal revelries, which cost six months' preparation, and taxed
the wits of the most finished artists and artificers in France, England,
Flanders, Castile, and Portugal. (Europa Portuguesa, tom. ii. pp. 452 et
seq.) We see, throughout, the same luxury of spectacle, the same elegant
games of chivalry, as the tilt of reeds, the rings, and the like, which
the Castilians adopted from the Spanish Arabs.

[6] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. fol. 38.--Abarca, Reyes de
Aragon, tom. ii. fol. 312.

[7] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. fol. 78, 82.--La Clède, Hist.
de Portugal, tom. iv. p. 95.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 146.

Martyr, in a letter written at the close of 1496, thus speaks of the
princess Isabella's faithful attachment to her husband's memory; "Mira
fuit hujus foeminae in abjiciendis secundis nuptiis constantia. Tanta est
ejus modestia, tanta vidualis castitas, ut neo mensa post mariti mortem
comederit, nec lauti quicquam degustaverit. Jejuniis sese vigiliisque ita
maceravit, ut sicco stipite siccior sit effecta. Suffulta rubore
perturbatur, quandocunque de jugali thalamo sermo intexitur. Parentum
tamen aliquando precibus, veluti olfacimus, inflectetur. Viget fama,
futuram vestri regis Emmanuelis uxorem." Epist. 171.

[8] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. fol. 63.

[9] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. lib. 2, cap. 5.--Ferreras,
Hist. d'Espagne, tom. viii. p. 160.

[10] I believe there is no instance of such a union, save that of John of
Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, with Doña Constanza, daughter of Peter the
Cruel, in 1371, from whom Queen Isabella was lineally descended on the
father's side. The title of _Prince of the Asturias_, appropriated to
the heir apparent of Castile, was first created for the infant Don Henry,
afterwards Henry III., on occasion of his marriage with John of Gaunt's
daughter, in 1388. It was professedly in imitation of the English title of
Prince of Wales; and the Asturias were selected as that portion of the
ancient Gothic monarchy, which had never bowed beneath the Saracen yoke.
Florez, Reynas Cathólicas, tom. ii. pp. 708-715.--Mendoza, Dignidades,
lib. 3, cap. 23.

[11] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 25.--Rymer, Foedera,
(London, 1727,) vol. xii. pp. 638-642.

Ferdinand used his good offices to mediate a peace between Henry VII. and
the king of Scots; and it is a proof of the respect entertained for him by
both these monarchs, that they agreed to refer their disputes to his
arbitration. (Rymer, Foedera, vol. xii. p. 671.) "And so," says the old
chronicler Hall, of the English prince, "beying confederate and alied by
treatie and league with al his neighbors, he gratefied with his moost
heartie thanks kyng Ferdinand and the quene his wife, to which woman none
other was comparable in her tyme, for that they were the mediators,
organes, and instrumentes by the which the truce was concluded betwene the
Scottish kynge and him, and rewarded his ambassadoure moost liberally and
bountefully." Chronicle, p. 483.

[12] See the marriage treaty in Rymer. (Foedera, vol. xii. pp. 658-666.)
The marriage had been arranged between the Spanish and English courts as
far back as March, 1489, when the elder of the parties had not yet reached
the fifth year of her age. This was confirmed by another, more full and
definite, in the following year, 1490. By this treaty, it was stipulated,
that Catharine's portion should be 200,000 gold crowns, one-half to be
paid down at the date of her marriage, and the remainder in two equal
payments in the course of the two years ensuing. The prince of Wales was
to settle on her one-third of the revenues of the principality of Wales,
the dukedom of Cornwall, and earldom of Chester. Rymer, Foedera, vol. xii.
pp. 411-417.

[13] "Procuro," says Zurita, "que se effectuassen los matrimonios de sus
hijos, no solo con promesas, pero con dadivas que se hizieron a los
privados de aquellos principes, que en ello entendian." Hist. del Rey
Hernando, lib. 2, cap. 3.

[14] Historians differ, as usual, as to the strength of this armament.
Martyr makes it 110 vessels, and 10,000 soldiers, (Opus Epist., epist.
168;) while Bernaldez carries the number to 130 sail, and 25,000 soldiers,
(Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 153.) Ferreras adopts the latter estimate,
(tom. viii. p. 173.) Martyr may have intended only the galleys and regular
troops, while Bernaldez, more loosely, included vessels and seamen of
every description. See also the royal ordinances, ap. Coleccion de
Cédulas, (tom. i. nos. 79, 80, 82,) whose language implies a very large
number, without specifying it.

[15] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 172.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año
1496.--Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. lib. 26, cap. 12.

[16] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1496.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist.

[17] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 174.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii.
lib. 19, cap. 6.--Gaillard, Rivalité, tom. iii. pp. 416, 423.--Sandoval,
Historia del Emperador Carlos V., (Amberes, 1681,) tom. i. p. 2.

These, comprehending her verses, public addresses, and discourse on her
own life, have been collected into a single volume, under the title of "La
Couronne Margaritique," Lyons, 1549, by the French writer Jean la Maire de
Belges, her faithful follower, but whose greatest glory it is, to have
been the instructor of Clement Marot.

[18] Fontenelle, Oeuvres, tom. i. dial. 4.

"Ci gist Margot, la gentil' damoiselle
Qu'a deux maris, et encore est pucelle."

It must be allowed that Margaret's quiet nonchalance was much more suited
to Fontenelle's habitual taste, than the imposing scene of Cato's death.
Indeed, the French satirist was so averse to scenes of all kinds, that he
has contrived to find a ridiculous side in this last act of the patriot

[19] That these were not mere holiday sports, was proved by the melancholy
death of Alonso de Cardenas, son of the comendador of Leon, who lost his
life in a tourney. Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 2, dial. 1.

[20] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1497.--Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii.
lib. 26, cap. 16.--Lanuza, Historias, lib. 1, cap. 8.--Abarca, Reyes de
Aragon, tom. ii. fol. 330.

"Y aunque," says the last author, "a la princessa se le dexaron todos sus
criados, estilos, y entretenimientos, se la advirtio, que en las
ceremonias no havia de tratar a las personas Reales, y Grandes con la
familiaridad y llaneza de las casas de Austria, Borgoñia, y Francia, sino
con la gravedad, y mesurada autoridad de los Reyes y naciones de España!"

The sixth volume of the Spanish Academy of History contains an inventory,
taken from the archives of Simancas, of the rich plate and jewels,
presented to the princess Margaret on the day of her marriage. They are
said to be "of such value and perfect workmanship, that the like was never
before seen." (Ilust. 11, pp. 338-342.) Isabella had turned these baubles
to good account in the war of Granada. She was too simple in her taste to
attach much value to luxury of apparel.

[21] It is precisely this period, or rather the whole period from 1493 to
1497, which Oviedo selects as that of the greatest splendor and festivity
at the court of the Catholic sovereigns. "El año de 1493, y uno ó dos
despues, y aun hasta el de 1497 años fué cuando la corte de los Reyes
Católicos Don Fernando é Doña Isabel de gloriosa memoria, mas alegres
tiempos é mas regozijados, vino en su corte, é mas encumbrada andubo la
gala é las fiestas é servicios de galanes é damas." Quincuagenas, MS.,
bat. 1, quinc. 4, dial. 44.

[22] Faria y Sousa, Europa Portuguesa, tom. ii. pp. 498, 499.--La Clède,
Hist. de Portugal, tom. iv. p. 95.--Zurita, tom. v, lib. 3, cap. 6.--
Lanuza, Historias, ubi supra.

[23] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1497.--Florez, Reynas Cathólicas, tom. ii.
pp. 846, 848.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. fol. 127, 128.--La
Clède, Hist. de Portugal, tom. iv. p. 101.

The physicians recommended a temporary separation of John from his young
bride; a remedy, however, which the queen opposed from conscientious
scruples somewhat singular. "Hortantur medici Reginam, hortatur et Rex, ut
a principis latere Margaritam aliquando semoveat, interpellet. Inducias
precantur. Protestantur periculum ex frequenti copulâ ephebo imminere;
qualiter eum suxerit, quamve subtristis incedat, consideret iterum atque
iterum monent; medullas laedi, stomachum hebetari se sentire Reginae
renunciant. Intercidat, dum licet, obstetque principiis, instant. Nil
proficiunt. Respondet Regina, homines non oportere, quos Deus jugali
vinculo junxerit, separare." Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 176.

[24] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 182.--L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables,
fol. 182.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1497.--Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS.,
dial. de Deza.

Peter Martyr, in more of a classic than a Christian vein, refers Prince
John's composure in his latter hours to his familiarity with the divine
Aristotle. "Aetatem quae ferebat superabat; nec mirum tamen. Perlegerat
namque divini Aristotelis pleraque volumina," etc. Ubi supra.

[25] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 183.

Martyr draws an affecting picture of the anguish of the bereaved parents,
which betrayed itself in looks more eloquent than words. "Reges tantam
dissimulare aerumnam nituntur; ast nos prostratum in internis ipsorum
animum cernimus; oculos alter in faciem alterius crebro conjiciunt, in
propatulo sedentes. Unde quid lateat proditur. Nimirum tamen, desinerent
humanâ carne vestiti esse homines, essentque adamante duriores, nisi quid
amiserint sentirent."

[26] Blancas, Coronaciones de los Serenissimos Reyes de Aragon, (Zaragoza,
1641,) lib. 3, cap. 18.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 6.--
Sackcloth was substituted for the white serge, which till this time had
been used as the mourning dress.

[27] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 182.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii.
lib. 19, cap. 6.--L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.--Blancas,
Coronaciones, p. 248.

It must be allowed to furnish no mean proof of the excellence of Prince
John's heart, that it was not corrupted by the liberal doses of flattery
with which his worthy tutor was in the habit of regaling him, from time to
time. Take the beginning of one of Martyr's letters to his pupil, in the
following modest strain. "Mirande in pueritiâ senex, salve. Quotquot tecum
versantur homines, sive genere polleant, sive ad obsequium fortunae
humiliores destinati ministri, te laudant, extollunt, admirantur." Opus
Epist., epist. 98.

[28] Hopes were entertained of a male heir at the time of John's death, as
his widow was left pregnant; but these were frustrated by her being
delivered of a still-born infant at the end of a few months. Margaret did
not continue long in Spain. She experienced the most affectionate
treatment from the king and queen, who made her an extremely liberal
provision. (Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. lib. 3, cap. 4.) But
her Flemish followers could not reconcile themselves to the reserve and
burdensome ceremonial of the Castilian court, so different from the free
and jocund life to which they had been accustomed at home; and they
prevailed on their mistress to return to her native land in the course of
the year 1499. She was subsequently married to the duke of Savoy, who died
without issue in less than three years, and Margaret passed the remainder
of her life in widowhood, being appointed by her father, the emperor, to
the government of the Netherlands, which she administered with ability.
She died in 1530.

[29] Marina has transcribed from the archives of Toledo the writ of
summons to that city on this occasion. Teoría, tom. ii. p. 16.--Zurita,
Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. lib. 3, cap. 18.--Bernaldez, Reyes
Católicos, MS., cap. 154.--La Clède, Hist. de Portugal, tom. iv. p. 101.--
Carbajal, Anales. MS., año 1498.--Faria y Sousa, Europa Portuguesa, tom.
ii. pp. 500, 501.

The last writer expatiates with great satisfaction on the stately
etiquette observed at the reception of the Portuguese monarchs and their
suite by the Spanish sovereigns. "Queen Isabella," he says, "appeared
leaning on the arm of her old favorite Gutierre de Cardenas, comendador of
Leon, and of a Portuguese noble, Don Juan de Sousa. The latter took care
to acquaint her with the rank and condition of each of his countrymen, as
they were presented, in order that she might the better adjust the measure
of condescension and courtesy due to each; a perilous obligation," he
continues, "with all nations, but with the Portuguese most perilous!"

[30] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 194.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom.
ii. fol. 334.--Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. lib. 27, cap. 3.

[31] Blancas, Commentarii, p. 273.--Idem, Coronaciones, lib. 1, cap. 18.--
Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. lib. 27, cap. 3.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey
Hernando, tom. v. fol. 55, 56.

It is remarkable that the Aragonese should so readily have acquiesced in
the right of females to convey a title to the crown which they could not
enjoy themselves. This was precisely the principle on which Edward III.
set up his claim to the throne of France, a principle too repugnant to the
commonest rules of inheritance to obtain any countenance. The exclusion of
females in Aragon could not pretend to be founded on any express law, as
in France, but the practice, with the exception of a single example three
centuries old, was quite as uniform.

[32] Blancas, Coronaciones, lib. 3, cap. 18.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey
Hernando, tom. v. lib. 3, cap. 30.

It is a proof of the high esteem in which Isabella held this independent
statesman, that we find his name mentioned in her testament among half a
dozen others, whom she particularly recommended to her successors for
their meritorious and loyal services. See the document in Dormer,
Discursos Varios, p. 354.

[33] Carbajal, Anales, MS., años 1470, 1498.--Florez, Reynas Cathólicas,
tom. ii. pp. 846, 847.--Faria y Sousa, Europa Portuguesa, tom. ii. p. 504.

[34] Blancas, Commentarii, pp. 510, 511.--Idem, Coronaciones, lib. 3, cap.
19.--Gerónimo Martel, Forma de Celebrar Cortes en Aragon, (Zaragoza,
1641,) cap. 44.--Alvaro Gomez, De Rebus Gestis a Francisco Ximenio
Cisnerio, (Compluti, 1569,) fol. 28.--Lanuza, Historias, lib. 1, cap. 9.

[35] Blancas, Coronaciones, ubi supra.--Idem, Commentarii, pp. 510, 511.

The reverence of the Aragonese for their institutions is shown in their
observance of the most insignificant ceremonies. A remarkable instance of
this occurred in the year 1481, at Saragossa, when, the queen having been
constituted _lieutenant general_ of the kingdom, and duly qualified
to hold a cortes in the absence of the king her husband, who, by the
ancient laws of the land, was required to preside over it in person, it
was deemed necessary to obtain a formal act of the legislature, for
opening the door for her admission. See Blancas, Modo de Proceder en
Cortes de Aragon, (Zaragoza, 1641,) fol. 82, 83.

[36] Faria y Sousa, Europa Portuguesa, tom. ii. pp. 504, 507.--Bernaldez,
Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 154.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1499.--Zurita,
Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. v. lib. 3, cap. 33--Sandoval, Hist. del Emp.
Carlos V., tom. i. p. 4.



Death of Mendoza.--His Early Life and Character.--The Queen his Executor.
--Origin of Ximenes.--He Enters the Franciscan Order.--His Ascetic Life.--
Confessor to the Queen.--Made Archbishop of Toledo.--Austerity of his
Life.--Reform of the Monastic Orders.--Insults Offered to the Queen.--She
Consents to the Reform.

In the beginning of 1495, the sovereigns lost their old and faithful
minister, the grand cardinal of Spain, Don Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza. He
was the fourth son of the celebrated marquis of Santillana, and was placed
by his talents at the head of a family, every member of which must be
allowed to have exhibited a rare union of public and private virtue. The
cardinal reached the age of sixty-six, when his days were terminated after
a long and painful illness, on the 11th of January, at his palace of
Guadalaxara. [1]

In the unhappy feuds between Henry the Fourth and his younger brother
Alfonso, the cardinal had remained faithful to the former. But on the
death of that monarch, he threw his whole weight, with that of his
powerful family, into the scale of Isabella, whether influenced by a
conviction of her superior claims, or her capacity for government. This
was a most important acquisition to the royal cause; and Mendoza's
consummate talents for business, recommended by the most agreeable
address, secured him the confidence of both Ferdinand and Isabella, who
had long been disgusted with the rash and arrogant bearing of their old
minister, Carillo.

On the death of that turbulent prelate, Mendoza succeeded to the
archiepiscopal see of Toledo. His new situation naturally led to still
more intimate relations with the sovereigns, who uniformly deferred to his
experience, consulting him on all important matters, not merely of a
public, but of a private nature. In short, he gained such ascendency in
the cabinet, during a long ministry of more than twenty years, that he was
pleasantly called by the courtiers the "third king of Spain." [2]

The minister did not abuse the confidence so generously reposed in him. He
called the attention of his royal mistress to objects most deserving it.
His views were naturally grand and lofty; and, if he sometimes yielded to
the fanatical impulse of the age, he never failed to support her heartily
in every generous enterprise for the advancement of her people. When
raised to the rank of primate of Spain, he indulged his natural
inclination for pomp and magnificence. He filled his palace with pages,
selected from the noblest families in the kingdom, whom he carefully
educated. He maintained a numerous body of armed retainers, which, far
from being a mere empty pageant, formed a most effective corps for public
service on all requisite occasions. He dispensed the immense revenues of
his bishopric with the same munificent hand which has so frequently
distinguished the Spanish prelacy, encouraging learned men, and endowing
public institutions. The most remarkable of these were the college of
Santa Cruz at Valladolid, and the hospital of the same name for foundlings
at Toledo, the erection of which, completed at his sole charge, consumed
more than ten years each. [3]

The cardinal, in his younger days, was occasionally seduced by those
amorous propensities, in which the Spanish clergy freely indulged,
contaminated, perhaps, by the example of their Mahometan neighbors. He
left several children by his amours with two ladies of rank, from whom
some of the best houses in the kingdom are descended. [4] A characteristic
anecdote is recorded of him in relation to this matter. An ecclesiastic,
who one day delivered a discourse in his presence, took occasion to advert
to the laxity of the age, in general terms, indeed, but bearing too
pertinent an application to the cardinal to be mistaken. The attendants of
the latter boiled with indignation at the preacher's freedom, whom they
determined to chastise for his presumption. They prudently, however,
postponed this until they should see what effect the discourse had on
their master. The cardinal, far from betraying any resentment, took no
other notice of the preacher than to send him a dish of choice game, which
had been served up at his own table, where he was entertaining a party of
friends that day, accompanying it at the same time, by way of sauce, with
a substantial donative of gold doblas; an act of Christian charity not at
all to the taste of his own servants. It wrought its effects on the worthy
divine, who at once saw the error of his ways, and, the next time he
mounted the pulpit, took care to frame his discourse in such a manner as
to counteract the former unfavorable impressions, to the entire
satisfaction, if not edification, of his audience. "Now-a-days," says the
honest biographer who reports the incident, himself a lineal descendant of
the cardinal, "the preacher would not have escaped so easily. And with
good reason; for the holy Gospel should be discreetly preached, 'cum grano
salis,' that is to say, with the decorum and deference due to majesty and
men of high estate." [5]

When Cardinal Mendoza's illness assumed an alarming aspect, the court
removed to the neighborhood of Guadalaxara, where he was confined. The
king and queen, especially the latter, with the affectionate concern which
she manifested for more than one of her faithful subjects, used to visit
him in person, testifying her sympathy for his sufferings, and benefiting
by the lights of the sagacious mind, which had so long helped to guide
her. She still further showed her regard for her old minister by
condescending to accept the office of his executor, which she punctually
discharged, superintending the disposition of his effects according to his
testament, [6] and particularly the erection of the stately hospital of
Santa Cruz, before mentioned, not a stone of which was laid before his
death. [7]

In one of her interviews with the dying minister, the queen requested his
advice respecting the nomination of his successor. The cardinal, in reply,
earnestly cautioned her against raising any one of the principal nobility
to this dignity, almost too exalted for any subject, and which, when
combined with powerful family connections, would enable a man of factious
disposition to defy the royal authority itself, as they had once bitter
experience in the case of Archbishop Carillo. On being pressed to name the
individual whom he thought best qualified, in every point of view, for the
office, he is said to have recommended Fray Francisco Ximenez de Cisneros,
a friar of the Franciscan order, and confessor of the queen. As this
extraordinary personage exercised a more important control over the
destinies of his country than any other subject, during the remainder of
the present reign, it will be necessary to put the reader in possession of
his history. [8]

Ximenez de Cisneros, or Ximenes, as he is usually called, was born at the
little town of Tordelaguna, in the year 1436, [9] of an ancient but
decayed family. [10] He was early destined by his parents for the church,
and, after studying grammar at Alcalá, was removed at fourteen to the
university of Salamanca. Here he went through the regular course of
instruction then pursued, devoting himself assiduously to the civil and
canon law, and at the end of six years received the degree of bachelor in
each of them, a circumstance at that time of rare occurrence. [11]

Three years after quitting the university, the young bachelor removed by
the advice of his parents to Rome, as affording a better field for
ecclesiastical preferment than he could find at home. Here he seems to
have attracted some notice by the diligence with which he devoted himself
to his professional studies and employments. But still he was far from
reaping the golden fruits presaged by his kindred; and at the expiration
of six years he was suddenly recalled to his native country by the death
of his father, who left his affairs in so embarrassed a condition, as to
require his immediate presence. [12]

Before his return, Ximenes obtained a papal bull, or _expectative_,
preferring him to the first benefice of a specified value, which should
become vacant in the see of Toledo. Several years elapsed before such a
vacancy offered itself by the death of the archpriest of Uzeda; and
Ximenes took possession of that living by virtue of the apostolic grant.

This assumption of the papal court to dispose of the church livings at its
own pleasure, had been long regarded by the Spaniards as a flagrant
imposition; and Carillo, the archbishop of Toledo, in whose diocese the
vacancy occurred, was not likely tamely to submit to it. He had, moreover,
promised this very place to one of his own followers. He determined,
accordingly, to compel Ximenes to surrender his pretensions in favor of
the latter, and, finding argument ineffectual, resorted to force,
confining him in the fortress of Uzeda, whence he was subsequently removed
to the strong tower of Santorcaz, then used as a prison for contumacious
ecclesiastics. But Carillo understood little of the temper of Ximenes,
which was too inflexible to be broken by persecution. The archbishop in
time became convinced of this, and was persuaded to release him, but not
till after an imprisonment of more than six years. [13]

Ximenes, thus restored to freedom, and placed in undisturbed possession of
his benefice, was desirous of withdrawing from the jurisdiction of his
vindictive superior; and not long after effected an exchange for the
chaplainship of Siguenza. In this new situation he devoted himself with
renewed ardor to his theological studies, occupying himself diligently,
moreover, with Hebrew and Chaldee, his knowledge of which proved of no
little use in the concoction of his famous Polyglot.

Mendoza was at that time bishop of Siguenza. It was impossible that a man
of his penetration should come in contact with a character like that of
Ximenes, without discerning its extraordinary qualities. It was not long
before he appointed him his vicar, with the administration of his diocese;
in which situation he displayed such capacity for business, that the count
of Cifuentes, on falling into the hands of the Moors, after the
unfortunate affair of the Axarquia, confided to him the sole management of
his vast estates during his captivity. [14]

But these secular concerns grew more and more distasteful to Ximenes,
whose naturally austere and contemplative disposition had been deepened,
probably, by the melancholy incidents of his life, into stern religious
enthusiasm. He determined, therefore, to break at once from the shackles
which bound him to the world, and seek an asylum in some religious
establishment, where he might devote himself unreservedly to the service
of Heaven. He selected for this purpose the Observantines of the
Franciscan order, the most rigid of the monastic societies. He resigned
his various employments and benefices, with annual rents to the amount of
two thousand ducats, and, in defiance of the arguments and entreaties of
his friends, entered on his novitiate in the convent of San Juan de los
Reyes, at Toledo; a superb pile then erecting by the Spanish sovereigns,
in pursuance of a vow made during the war of Granada. [15]

He distinguished his novitiate by practising every ingenious variety of
mortification with which superstition has contrived to swell the
inevitable catalogue of human sufferings. He slept on the ground, or on
the hard floor, with a billet of wood for his pillow. He wore hair-cloth
next his skin; and exercised himself with fasts, vigils, and stripes, to a
degree scarcely surpassed by the fanatical founder of his order. At the
end of the year, he regularly professed, adopting then for the first time
the name of Francisco, in compliment to his patron saint, instead of that
of Gonzalo, by which he had been baptized.

No sooner had this taken place, than his reputation for sanctity, which
his late course of life had diffused far and wide, attracted multitudes of
all ages and conditions to his confessional; and he soon found himself
absorbed in the same vortex of worldly passions and interests, from which
he had been so anxious to escape. At his solicitation, therefore, he was
permitted to transfer his abode to the convent of our Lady of Castañar, so
called from a deep forest of chestnuts, in which it was embosomed. In the
midst of these dark mountain solitudes, he built with his own hands a
little hermitage or cabin, of dimensions barely sufficient to admit his
entrance. Here he passed his days and nights in prayer, and in meditations
on the sacred volume, sustaining life, like the ancient anchorites, on the
green herbs and running waters. In this state of self-mortification, with
a frame wasted by abstinence, and a mind exalted by spiritual
contemplation, it is no wonder that he should have indulged in ecstasies
and visions, until he fancied himself raised into communication with
celestial intelligences. It is more wonderful that his understanding was
not permanently impaired by these distempered fancies. This period of his
life, however, seems to have been always regarded by him with peculiar
satisfaction; for long after, as his biographer assures us, when reposing
in lordly palaces, and surrounded by all the appliances of luxury, he
looked back with fond regret on the hours which glided so peacefully in
the hermitage of Castañar. [16]

Fortunately, his superiors, choosing to change his place of residence
according to custom, transferred him at the end of three years to the
convent of Salzeda. Here he practised, indeed, similar austerities, but it
was not long before his high reputation raised him to the post of guardian
of the convent. This situation necessarily imposed on him the management
of the institution; and thus the powers of his mind, so long wasted in
unprofitable reverie, were again called into exercise for the benefit of
others. An event which occurred some years later, in 1492, opened to him a
still wider sphere of action.

By the elevation of Talavera to the metropolitan see of Granada, the
office of queen's confessor became vacant. Cardinal Mendoza, who was
consulted on the choice of a successor, well knew the importance of
selecting a man of the highest integrity and talent; since the queen's
tenderness of conscience led her to take counsel of her confessor, not
merely in regard to her own spiritual concerns, but all the great measures
of her administration. He at once fixed his eye on Ximenes, of whom he had
never lost sight, indeed, since his first acquaintance with him at
Siguenza. He was far from approving his adoption of the monastic life, and
had been heard to say, that "parts so extraordinary would not long be
buried in the shades of a convent." He is said, also, to have predicted
that Ximenes would one day succeed him in the chair of Toledo. A
prediction, which its author contributed more than any other to verify.

He recommended Ximenes in such emphatic terms to the queen, as raised a
strong desire in her to see and converse with him herself. An invitation
was accordingly sent him from the cardinal to repair to the court at
Valladolid, without intimating the real purpose of it. Ximenes obeyed the
summons, and, after a short interview with his early patron, was
conducted, as if without any previous arrangement, to the queen's
apartment. On finding himself so unexpectedly in the royal presence, he
betrayed none of the agitation or embarrassment to have been expected from
the secluded inmate of a cloister, but exhibited a natural dignity of
manners, with such discretion and fervent piety, in his replies to
Isabella's various interrogatories, as confirmed the favorable
prepossessions she had derived from the cardinal.

Not many days after, Ximenes was invited to take charge of the queen's
conscience. Far from appearing elated by this mark of royal favor, and the
prospects of advancement which it opened, he seemed to view it with
disquietude, as likely to interrupt the peaceful tenor of his religious
duties; and he accepted it only with the understanding, that he should be
allowed to conform in every respect to the obligations of his order, and
to remain in his own monastery when his official functions did not require
attendance at court. [18]

Martyr, in more than one of his letters dated at this time, notices the
impression made on the courtiers by the remarkable appearance of the new
confessor, in whose wasted frame, and pallid, care-worn countenance, they
seemed to behold one of the primitive anchorites from the deserts of Syria
or Egypt. [19] The austerities and the blameless purity of Ximenes's life
had given him a reputation for sanctity throughout Spain; [20] and Martyr
indulges the regret, that a virtue, which had stood so many trials, should
be exposed to the worst of all, in the seductive blandishments of a court.
But Ximenes's heart had been steeled by too stern a discipline to be moved
by the fascinations of pleasure, however it might be by those of ambition.

Two years after this event, he was elected provincial of his order in
Castile, which placed him at the head of its numerous religious
establishments. In his frequent journeys for their inspection he travelled
on foot, supporting himself by begging alms, conformably to the rules of
his order. On his return he made a very unfavorable report to the queen of
the condition of the various institutions, most of which he represented to
have grievously relaxed in discipline and virtue. Contemporary accounts
corroborate this unfavorable picture, and accuse the religious communities
of both sexes throughout Spain, at this period, of wasting their hours,
not merely in unprofitable sloth, but in luxury and licentiousness. The
Franciscans, in particular, had so far swerved from the obligations of
their institute, which interdicted the possession of property of any
description, that they owned large estates in town and country, living in
stately edifices, and in a style of prodigal expense not surpassed by any
of the monastic orders. Those who indulged in this latitude were called
_conventuals_, while the comparatively small number who put the strictest
construction on the rule of their founder were denominated
_observantines_, or brethren of the observance. Ximenes, it will be
remembered, was one of the latter. [21]

The Spanish sovereigns had long witnessed with deep regret the scandalous
abuses which had crept into these ancient institutions, and had employed
commissioners for investigating and reforming them, but ineffectually.
Isabella now gladly availed herself of the assistance of her confessor in
bringing them into a better state of discipline. In the course of the same
year, 1494, she obtained a bull with full authority for this purpose from
Alexander the Sixth, the execution of which she intrusted to Ximenes. The
work of reform required all the energies of his powerful mind, backed by
the royal authority. For, in addition to the obvious difficulty of
persuading men to resign the good things of this world for a life of
penance and mortification, there were other impediments, arising from the
circumstance that the conventuals had been countenanced in their lax
interpretation of the rules of their order by many of their own superiors,
and even the popes themselves. They were besides sustained in their
opposition by many of the great lords, who were apprehensive that the rich
chapels and masses, which they or their ancestors had founded in the
various monasteries, would be neglected by the observantines, whose
scrupulous adherence to the vow of poverty excluded them from what, in
church as well as state, is too often found the most cogent incentive to
the performance of duty. [22]

From these various causes, the work of reform went on slowly; but the
untiring exertions of Ximenes gradually effected its adoption in many
establishments; and, where fair means could not prevail, he sometimes
resorted to force. The monks of one of the convents in Toledo, being
ejected from their dwelling, in consequence of their pertinacious
resistance, marched out in solemn procession, with the crucifix before
them, chanting, at the same time, the psalm _De exitu Israel_, in
token of their persecution. Isabella resorted to milder methods. She
visited many of the nunneries in person, taking her needle or distaff with
her, and endeavoring by her conversation and example to withdraw their
inmates from the low and frivolous pleasures to which they were addicted.

While the reformation was thus silently going forward, the vacancy in the
archbishopric of Toledo already noticed occurred by the death of the grand
cardinal. Isabella deeply felt the responsibility of providing a suitable
person to this dignity, the most considerable not merely in Spain, but
probably in Christendom, after the papacy; and which, moreover, raised its
possessor to eminent political rank, as high chancellor of Castile. [24]
The right of nomination to benefices was vested in the queen by the
original settlement of the crown. She had uniformly discharged this trust
with the most conscientious impartiality, conferring the honors of the
church on none but persons of approved piety and learning. [25] In the
present instance, she was strongly solicited by Ferdinand, in favor of his
natural son Alfonso, archbishop of Saragossa. But this prelate, although
not devoid of talent, had neither the age nor experience, and still less
the exemplary morals, demanded for this important station; and the queen
mildly, but unhesitatingly, resisted all entreaty and expostulation of her
husband on his behalf. [26]

The post had always been filled by men of high family. The queen, loath to
depart from this usage, notwithstanding the dying admonition of Mendoza,
turned her eyes on various candidates before she determined in favor of
her own confessor, whose character presented so rare a combination of
talent and virtue, as amply compensated any deficiency of birth.

As soon as the papal bull reached Castile, confirming the royal
nomination, Isabella summoned Ximenes to her presence, and, delivering to
him the parcel, requested him to open it before her. The confessor, who
had no suspicion of their real purport, took the letters and devoutly
pressed them to his lips; when his eye falling on the superscription, "To
our venerable brother Francisco Ximenez de Cisneros, archbishop elect of
Toledo," he changed color, and involuntarily dropped the packet from his
hands, exclaiming, "There is some mistake in this; it cannot be intended
for me;" and abruptly quitted the apartment.

The queen, far from taking umbrage at this unceremonious proceeding,
waited a while, until the first emotions of surprise should have subsided.
Finding that he did not return, however, she despatched two of the
grandees, who she thought would have the most influence with him, to seek
him out and persuade him to accept the office. The nobles instantly
repaired to his convent in Madrid, in which city the queen then kept her
court. They found, however, that he had already left the place. Having
ascertained his route, they mounted their horses, and, following as fast
as possible, succeeded in overtaking him at three leagues' distance from
the city, as he was travelling on foot at a rapid rate, though in the
noontide heat, on his way to the Franciscan monastery at Ocana.

After a brief expostulation with Ximenes on his abrupt departure, they
prevailed on him to retrace his steps to Madrid; but, upon his arrival
there, neither the arguments nor entreaties of his friends, backed as they
were by the avowed wishes of his sovereign, could overcome his scruples,
or induce him to accept an office, of which he professed himself unworthy.
"He had hoped," he said, "to pass the remainder of his days in the quiet
practice of his monastic duties; and it was too late now to call him into
public life, and impose a charge of such heavy responsibility on him, for
which he had neither capacity nor inclination." In this resolution he
pertinaciously persisted for more than six months, until a second bull was
obtained from the pope, commanding him no longer to decline an appointment
which the church had seen fit to sanction. This left no further room for
opposition, and Ximenes acquiesced, though with evident reluctance, in his
advancement to the first dignity in the kingdom. [27]

There seems to be no good ground for charging Ximenes with hypocrisy in
this singular display of humility. The _nolo episcopal_, indeed, has
passed into a proverb; but his refusal was too long and sturdily
maintained to be reconciled with affectation or insincerity. He was,
moreover, at this time, in the sixtieth year of his age, when ambition,
though not extinguished, is usually chilled in the human heart. His habits
had been long accommodated to the ascetic duties of the cloister, and his
thoughts turned from the business of this world to that beyond the grave.
However gratifying the distinguished honor conferred on him might be to
his personal feelings, he might naturally hesitate to exchange the calm,
sequestered way of life, to which he had voluntarily devoted himself, for
the turmoil and vexations of the world.

But, although Ximenes showed no craving for power, it must be confessed he
was by no means diffident in the use of it. One of the very first acts of
his administration is too characteristic to be omitted. The government of
Cazorla, the most considerable place in the gift of the archbishop of
Toledo, had been intrusted by the grand cardinal to his younger brother
Don Pedro Hurtado de Mendoza. The friends of this nobleman applied to
Ximenes to confirm the appointment, reminding him at the same time of his
own obligations to the cardinal, and enforcing their petition by the
recommendation which they had obtained from the queen. This was not the
way to approach Ximenes, who was jealous of any improper influence over
his own judgment, and, above all, of the too easy abuse of the royal
favor. He was determined, in the outset, effectually to discourage all
such applications; and he declared, that "the sovereigns might send him
back to the cloister again, but that no personal considerations should
ever operate with him in distributing the honors of the church." The
applicants, nettled at this response, returned to the queen, complaining
in the bitterest terms of the arrogance and ingratitude of the new
primate. Isabella, however, evinced no symptoms of disapprobation, not
altogether displeased, perhaps, with the honest independence of her
minister; at any rate, she took no further notice of the affair. [28]

Some time after, the archbishop encountered Mendoza in one of the avenues
of the palace, and, as the latter was turning off to avoid the meeting, he
saluted him with the title of adelantado of Cazorla. Mendoza stared with
astonishment at the prelate, who repeated the salutation, assuring him,
"that, now he was at full liberty to consult his own judgment, without the
suspicion of any sinister influence, he was happy to restore him to a
station, for which he had shown himself well qualified." It is scarcely
necessary to say, that Ximenes was not importuned after this with
solicitations for office. Indeed, all personal application he affected to
regard as of itself sufficient ground for a denial, since it indicated
"the want either of merit or of humility in the applicant." [29]

After his elevation to the primacy, he retained the same simple and
austere manners as before, dispensing his large revenues in public and
private charities, but regulating his domestic expenditure with the
severest economy, [30] until he was admonished by the Holy See to adopt a
state more consonant with the dignity of his office, if he would not
disparage it in popular estimation. In obedience to this, he so far
changed his habits, as to display the usual magnificence of his
predecessors, in all that met the public eye,--his general style of
living, equipage, and the number and pomp of his retainers; but he relaxed
nothing of his own personal mortifications. He maintained the same
abstemious diet, amidst all the luxuries of his table. Under his robes of
silk or costly furs he wore the coarse frock of St. Francis, which he used
to mend with his own hands. He used no linen about his person or bed; and
he slept on a miserable pallet like that used by the monks of his
fraternity, and so contrived as to be concealed from observation under the
luxurious couch in which he affected to repose. [31]

As soon as Ximenes entered on the duties of his office, he bent all the
energies of his mind to the consummation of the schemes of reform which
his royal mistress, as well as himself, had so much at heart. His
attention was particularly directed to the clergy of his diocese, who had
widely departed from the rule of St. Augustine, by which they were bound.
His attempts at reform, however, excited such a lively dissatisfaction in
this reverend body, that they determined to send one of their own number
to Rome, to prefer their complaints against the archbishop at the papal
court. [32]

The person selected for this delicate mission was a shrewd and intelligent
canon by the name of Albornoz. It could not be conducted so privately as
to escape the knowledge of Ximenes. He was no sooner acquainted with it,
than he despatched an officer to the coast, with orders to arrest the
emissary. In case he had already embarked, the officer was authorized to
fit out a fast sailing vessel, so as to reach Italy, if possible, before
him. He was at the same time fortified with despatches from the sovereigns
to the Spanish minister, Garcilasso de la Vega, to be delivered
immediately on his arrival.

The affair turned out as had been foreseen. On arriving at the port, the
officer found the bird had flown. He followed, however, without delay, and
had the good fortune to reach Ostia several days before him. He forwarded
his instructions at once to the Spanish minister, who in pursuance of them
caused Albornoz to be arrested the moment he set foot on shore, and sent
him back as a prisoner of state to Spain; where a close confinement for
two and twenty mouths admonished the worthy canon of the inexpediency of
thwarting the plans of Ximenes. [33]

His attempts at innovation among the regular clergy of his own order were
encountered with more serious opposition. The reform fell most heavily on
the Franciscans, who were interdicted by their rules from holding
property, whether as a community, or as individuals; while the members of
other fraternities found some compensation for the surrender of their
private fortunes, in the consequent augmentation of those of their
fraternity. There was no one of the religious orders, therefore, in which
the archbishop experienced such a dogged resistance to his plans, as in
his own. More than a thousand friars, according to some accounts, quitted
the country and passed over to Barbary, preferring rather to live with the
infidel, than conform to the strict letter of their founder's rules. [34]

One account represents the migration as being to Italy and other Christian
countries, where the conventual order was protected; which would seem the
most probable, though not the best authenticated, statement of the two.

The difficulties of the reform were perhaps augmented by the mode in which
it was conducted. Isabella, indeed, used all gentleness and persuasion;
[35] but Ximenes carried measures with a high and inexorable hand. He was
naturally of an austere and arbitrary temper, and the severe training
which he had undergone made him less charitable for the lapses of others;
especially of those, who, like himself, had voluntarily incurred the
obligations of monastic rule. He was conscious of the rectitude of his
intentions; and, as he identified his own interests with those of the
church, he regarded all opposition to himself as an offence against
religion, warranting the most peremptory exertion of power.

The clamor raised against his proceedings became at length so alarming,
that the general of the Franciscans, who resided at Rome, determined to
anticipate the regular period of his visit to Castile for inspecting the
affairs of the order. As he was himself a conventual, his prejudices were
of course all enlisted against the measures of reform; and he came over
fully resolved to compel Ximenes to abandon it altogether, or to
undermine, if possible, his credit and influence at court. But this
functionary had neither the talent nor temper requisite for so arduous an

He had not been long in Castile before he was convinced that all his own
power, as head of the order, would be incompetent to protect it against
the bold innovations of his provincial, while supported by royal
authority. He demanded, therefore, an audience of the queen, in which he
declared his sentiments with very little reserve. He expressed his
astonishment that she should have selected an individual for the highest
dignity in the church, who was destitute of nearly every qualification,
even that of birth; whose sanctity was a mere cloak to cover his ambition;
whose morose and melancholy temper made him an enemy not only of the
elegances, but the common courtesies of life; and whose rude manners were
not compensated by any tincture of liberal learning. He deplored the
magnitude of the evil, which his intemperate measures had brought on the
church, but which it was, perhaps, not yet too late to rectify; and he
concluded by admonishing her, that, if she valued her own fame, or the
interests of her soul, she would compel this man of yesterday to abdicate
the office, for which he had proved himself so incompetent, and return to
his original obscurity!

The queen, who listened to this violent harangue with an indignation, that
prompted her more than once to order the speaker from her presence, put a
restraint on her feelings, and patiently waited to the end. When he had
finished, she calmly asked him, "If he was in his senses, and knew whom he
was thus addressing?" "Yes," replied the enraged friar, "I am in my
senses, and know very well whom I am speaking to;--the queen of Castile, a
mere handful of dust, like myself!" With these words, he rushed out of the
apartment, shutting the door after him with furious violence. [36]

Such impotent bursts of passion could, of course, have no power to turn
the queen from her purpose. The general, however, on his return to Italy,
had sufficient address to obtain authority from His Holiness to send a
commission of conventuals to Castile, who should be associated with
Ximenes in the management of the reform. These individuals soon found
themselves mere ciphers; and, highly offended at the little account which
the archbishop made of their authority, they preferred such complaints of
his proceedings to the pontifical court, that Alexander the Sixth was
induced, with the advice of the college of cardinals, to issue a brief,
November 9th, 1496, peremptorily inhibiting the sovereigns from proceeding
further in the affair, until it had been regularly submitted for
examination to the head of the church. [37]

Isabella, on receiving this unwelcome mandate, instantly sent it to
Ximenes. The spirit of the latter, however, rose in proportion to the
obstacles it had to encounter. He sought only to rally the queen's
courage, beseeching her not to faint in the good work, now that it was so
far advanced, and assuring her that it was already attended with such
beneficent fruits, as could not fail to secure the protection of Heaven.
Isabella, every act of whose administration may be said to have had
reference, more or less remote, to the interests of religion, was as
little likely as himself to falter in a matter which proposed these
interests as its direct and only object. She assured her minister that she
would support him in all that was practicable; and she lost no time in
presenting the affair, through her agents, in such a light to the court of
Rome, as might work a more favorable disposition in it. In this she
succeeded, though not till after multiplied delays and embarrassments; and
such ample powers were conceded to Ximenes, in conjunction with the
apostolic nuncio, as enabled him to consummate his grand scheme of reform,
in defiance of all the efforts of his enemies. [38]

The reformation thus introduced extended to the religious institutions of
very order equally with his own. It was most searching in its operation,
reaching eventually to the moral conduct of the subjects of it, no less
than the mere points of monastic discipline. As regards the latter; it may
be thought of doubtful benefit to have enforced the rigid interpretation
of a rule, founded on the melancholy principle, that the amount of
happiness in the next world is to be regulated by that of self-inflicted
suffering in this. But it should be remembered, that, however
objectionable such a rule may be in itself, yet, where it is voluntarily
assumed as an imperative moral obligation, it cannot be disregarded
without throwing down the barrier to unbounded license; and that the
reassertion of it, under these circumstances, must be a necessary
preliminary to any effectual reform of morals.

The beneficial changes wrought in this latter particular, which Isabella
had far more at heart than any exterior forms of discipline, are the theme
of unqualified panegyric with her contemporaries. [39] The Spanish clergy,
as I have before had occasion to remark, were early noted for their
dissolute way of life, which, to a certain extent, seemed to be
countenanced by the law itself. [40] This laxity of morals was carried to
a most lamentable extent under the last reign, when all orders of
ecclesiastics, whether regular or secular, infected probably by the
corrupt example of the court, are represented (we may hope it is an
exaggeration) as wallowing in all the excesses of sloth and sensuality. So
deplorable a pollution of the very sanctuaries of religion could not fail
to occasion sincere regret to a pure and virtuous mind like Isabella's.
The stain had sunk too deep, however, to be readily purged away. Her
personal example, indeed, and the scrupulous integrity with which she
reserved all ecclesiastical preferment for persons of unblemished piety,
contributed greatly to bring about an amelioration in the morals of the
secular clergy. But the secluded inmates of the cloister were less open to
these influences; and the work of reform could only be accomplished there,
by bringing them back to a reverence for their own institutions, and by
the slow operation of public opinion.

Notwithstanding the queen's most earnest wishes, it may be doubted whether
this would have ever been achieved without the co-operation of a man like
Ximenes, whose character combined in itself all the essential elements of
a reformer. Happily, Isabella was permitted to see before her death, if
not the completion, at least the commencement, of a decided amendment in
the morals of the religious orders; an amendment, which, so far from being
transitory in its character calls forth the most emphatic eulogium from a
Castilian writer far in the following century; who, while he laments their
ancient laxity, boldly challenges comparison for the religious communities
of his own country, with those of any other, in temperance, chastity, and
exemplary purity of life and conversation. [41]

* * * * *

The authority on whom the life of Cardinal Ximenes mainly rests, is Alvaro
Gomez de Castro. He was born in the village of St. Eulalia, near Toledo,
in 1515, and received his education at Alcalá, where he obtained great
repute for his critical acquaintance with the ancient classics. He was
afterwards made professor of the humanities in the university; a situation
which he filled with credit, but subsequently exchanged for the rhetorical
chair in a school recently founded at Toledo. While thus occupied, he was
chosen by the university of Alcalá to pay the most distinguished honor,
which could be rendered to the memory of its illustrious founder, by a
faithful record of his extraordinary life. The most authentic sources of
information were thrown open to him. He obtained an intimate acquaintance
with the private life of the cardinal, from three of his principal
domestics, who furnished abundance of reminiscences from personal
observation, while the archives of the university supplied a mass of
documents relating to the public services of its patron. From these and
similar materials, Gomez prepared his biography, after many years of
patient labor. The work fully answered public expectation; and its merits
are such as to lead the learned Nic. Antonio to express a doubt, whether
anything more excellent or perfect in its way could be achieved; "quo
opere in eo genere an praestantius quidquam aut perfectius, esse possit,
non immerito saepe dubitavi." (Bibliotheca Nova, tom. i. p. 59.) The
encomium may be thought somewhat excessive; but it cannot be denied, that
the narrative is written in an easy and natural manner, with fidelity and
accuracy, with commendable liberality of opinion, though with a judgment
sometimes warped into an undue estimate of the qualities of his hero. It
is distinguished, moreover, by such beauty and correctness of Latinity, as
have made it a text-book in many of the schools and colleges of the
Peninsula. The first edition, being that used in the present work, was
published at Alcalá, in 1569. It has since been reprinted twice in
Germany, and perhaps elsewhere. Gomez was busily occupied with other
literary lucubrations during the remainder of his life, and published
several works in Latin prose and verse, both of which he wrote with ease
and elegance. He died of a catarrh, in 1580, in the sixty-sixth year of
his age, leaving behind him a reputation for disinterestedness and virtue,
which is sufficiently commemorated in two lines of his epitaph;

"Nemini unquam sciens nocui,
Prodesse quam pluribus curavi."

The work of Gomez has furnished the basis for all those biographies of
Ximenes which have since appeared in Spain. The most important of these,
probably, is Quintanilla's; which, with little merit of selection or
arrangement, presents a copious mass of details, drawn from every quarter
whence his patient industry could glean them. Its author was a Franciscan,
and employed in procuring the beatification of Cardinal Ximenes by the
court of Rome; a circumstance which probably disposed him to easier faith
in the _marvellous_ of his story, than most of his readers will be ready
to give. The work was published at Palermo in 1653.

In addition to these authorities I have availed myself of a curious old
manuscript, presented to me by Mr. O. Rich, entitled "Suma de la Vida del
R. S. Cardenal Don Fr. Francisco Ximenez de Cisneros." It was written
within half a century after the cardinal's death, by "un criado de la casa
de Coruña." The original, in "very ancient letter," was extant in the
archives of that noble house in Quintanilla's time, and is often cited by
him. (Archetypo, apend., p. 77.) Its author evidently had access to those
contemporary notices, some of which furnished the basis of Castro's
narrative, from which, indeed, it exhibits no material discrepancy.

The extraordinary character of Ximenes has naturally attracted the
attention of foreign writers, and especially the French, who have produced
repeated biographies of him. The most eminent of these is by Fléchier, the
eloquent bishop of Nismes. It is written with the simple elegance and
perspicuity, which characterize his other compositions; and in the general
tone of its sentiments, on all matters both of church and state, is quite
as orthodox as the most bigoted admirer of the cardinal could desire.
Another life, by Marsollier, has obtained a very undeserved repute. The
author, not content with the extraordinary qualities really appertaining
to his hero, makes him out a sort of universal genius, quite ridiculous,
rivalling Molière's Dr. Pancrace himself. One may form some idea of the
historian's accuracy from the fact, that he refers the commencement and
conduct of the war of Granada chiefly to the counsels of Ximenes, who, as
we have seen, was not even introduced at court till after the close of the
war. Marsollier reckoned largely on the ignorance and _gullibility_
of his readers. The event proved he was not mistaken.


[1] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1495.--Salazar de Mendoza, Crón. del Gran
Cardenal, lib. 2, cap. 45, 46.--Zurita, Anales, tom. v. fol. 61.--Pulgar,
Claros Varones, tit. 4.

His disorder was an abscess on the kidneys, which confined him to the
house nearly a year before his death. When this event happened, a white
cross of extraordinary magnitude and splendor, shaped precisely like that
on his arms, was seen in the heavens directly over his house, by a crowd
of spectators, for more than two hours; a full account of which was duly
transmitted to Rome by the Spanish court, and has obtained easy credit
with the principal Spanish historians.

[2] Alvaro Gomez says of him, "Nam praeter clarissimum tum natalium, tum
fortunae, tum dignitatis splendorem, quae in ilio ornamenta summa erant,

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