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The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V3 by William H. Prescott

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Brantôme has introduced sketches of most of the French captains mentioned
in the text into his admirable gallery of national portraits.--See Vies
des Hommes Illustres, Oeuvres, tom. ii. and iii.

[12] Martyr's epistles at this crisis are filled with expostulation,
argument, and entreaties to the sovereigns, begging them to rouse from
their apathy, and take measures to secure the wavering affections of
Venice, as well as to send more effectual aid to their Italian troops.
Ferdinand listened to the first of these suggestions; but showed a strange
insensibility to the last.

[13] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 4, cap. 62, 65.--Carta del Gran
Capitan, MS.

Prospero Colonna, in particular, was distinguished not only for his
military science, but his fondness for letters and the arts, of which he
is commemorated by Tiraboschi as a munificent patron. (Letteratura
Italians, tom. viii. p. 77.) Paolo Giovio has introduced his portrait
among the effigies of illustrious men, who, it must be confessed, are more
indebted in his work to the hand of the historian than the artist. Elogia
Virorum Bellica Virtute Illustrium, (Basiliae, 1578,) lib. 5.

[14] D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part. 2, chap. 8.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo
V., fol. 10.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 42.--Summonte, Hist. di
Napoli, tom. iii. p. 541.

[15] This beautiful and high-spirited lady, whose fate has led Boccalini,
in his whimsical satire of the "Ragguaglí dí Parnasso," to call her the
most unfortunate female on record, had seen her father, Alfonso II., and
her husband, Galeazzo Sforza, driven from their thrones by the French,
while her son still remained in captivity in their hands. No wonder they
revolted from accumulating new woes on her devoted head.

[16] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 237.--Guicciardini, Istoria, lib.
5, pp. 282, 283.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 14.--Peter
Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 249.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap.

[17] Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 47.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando,
tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 69.--Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, tom. i. p. 241.--
D'Auton, part. 2, chap. 11.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 247.

Martyr says, that the Spaniards marched through the enemy's camp, shouting
"España, España, viva España!" (ubi supra.) Their gallantry in the defence
of Canosa elicits a hearty eulogium from Jean D'Auton, the loyal
historiographer of Louis XII. "Je ne veux donc par ma Chronique mettre les
biensfaicts des Espaignols en publy, mais dire que pour vertueuse defence,
doibuent auoir louange honorable." Hist. de Louys XII., chap. 11.

[18] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 169.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V.,
fol. 10.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 66.

[19] Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 53.--D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII.,
part. 2, chap. 26.--Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, pp. 238, 239.--Mémoires
de Bayard par le Loyal Serviteur, chap. 23, apud Petitot, Collection des
Mémoires, tom. xv.--Brantôme, Oeuvres, tom. iii. disc. 77.

This celebrated tourney, its causes, and all the details of the action,
are told in as many different ways as there are narrators; and this,
notwithstanding it was fought in the presence of a crowd of witnesses, who
had nothing to do but look on, and note what passed before their eyes. The
only facts in which all agree, are, that there was such a tournament, and
that neither party gained the advantage. So much for history!

[20] D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., ubi supra.--Quintana, Españoles
Célebres, tom. ii. p. 263.

[21] Brantôme, Oeuvres, tom. vi. Discours sur les Duels.--D'Auton, Hist.
de Louys XII., part. 2, chap. 27.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 11.--
Mémoires de Bayard, chap. 22, apud Collection des Mémoires.--Giovio, Vitae
Illust. Virorum, p. 240.

[22] According to Martyr, the besieged had been so severely pressed by
famine for some time before this, that Gonsalvo entertained serious
thoughts of embarking the whole of his little garrison on board the fleet,
and abandoning the place to the enemy. "Barlettae inclusos fame pesteque
urgeri graviter aiunt. Vicina ipsorum omnia Galli occupant, et nostros
quotidie magis ac magis premunt. Ita obsessi undi que, de relinquendâ
etiam Barlettâ saepius iniere consilium. Ut mari terga dent hostibus, ne
fame pesteque pereant, saepe cadit in deliberationem." Opus Epist., epist.

[23] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 242.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey
Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 4.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap.
167.--Guicciardini, Istoria, p. 283.

[24] Ibid., lib. 5, p. 294.--D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part. 2, chap.
22.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 63.

[25] Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 11.--Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum,
tom. i. p. 247.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 9.

[26] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, pp. 243, 244.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo
V., fol. 11, 12. A dispute arose, soon after this affair, between a French
officer and some Italian gentlemen at Gonsalvo's table, in consequence of
certain injurious reflections made by the former on the bravery of the
Italian nation. The quarrel was settled by a combat _à l'outrance_ between
thirteen knights on each side, fought under the protection of the Great
Captain, who took a lively interest in the success of his allies. It
terminated in the discomfiture and capture of all the French. The tourney
covers more pages in the Italian historians than the longest battle, and
is told with pride and a swell of exultation which show that this insult
of the French cut more deeply than all the injuries inflicted by them.
Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, pp. 244-247.--Guicciardini, Istoria, pp.
296-298.--Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 4.--Summonte, Hist.
di Napoli, tom. iii. pp. 542-552.--et al.

[27]: This supply was owing to the avarice of the French general Alègre,
who, having got possession of a magazine of corn in Foggia, sold it to the
Venetian merchant, instead of reserving it, where it was most needed, for
his own army.

[28] D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part, 1, chap. 72.--Peter Martyr, Opus
Epist., epist. 254.--Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 242.

[29] Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 5, p. 296.--D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII.,
part. 2, chap. 31.

[30] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, pp. 248, 249.--Guicciardini, Istoria,
p. 296.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 175.--D'Auton, Hist. de
Louys XII., part. 2, chap. 31.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 72.

The gallant behavior of La Palice, and indeed the whole siege of Ruvo, is
told by Jean D'Auton in a truly heart-stirring tone, quite worthy of the
chivalrous pen of old Froissart. There is an inexpressible charm imparted
to the French memoirs and chronicles of this ancient date, not only from
the picturesque character of the details, but from a gentle tinge of
romance shed over them, which calls to mind the doughty feats of

"prowest knights,
Both Paynim and the peers of Charlemagne."

[31] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., ubi supra.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V.,
fol. 16.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 72.

[32] D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., ubi supra.--Giovio, Vitae Illust.
Virorum, p. 249.--Quintana, Españoles Célebres, tom. ii. p. 270.--Zurita,
Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 14.

[33] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 249.

[34] Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 15.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey
Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 16.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 17.




Birth of Charles V.--Philip and Joanna Visit Spain.--Treaty of Lyons.--The
Great Captain Refuses to Comply with it.--Encamps before Cerignola.--
Battle and Rout of the French.--Triumphant Entry of Gonsalvo into Naples.

Before accompanying the Great Captain further in his warlike operations,
it will be necessary to take a rapid glance at what was passing in the
French and Spanish courts, where negotiations were in train for putting a
stop to them altogether.

The reader has been made acquainted in a preceding chapter with the
marriage of the infanta Joanna, second daughter of the Catholic
sovereigns, with the archduke Philip, son of the emperor Maximilian, and
sovereign, in right of his mother, of the Low Countries. The first fruit
of this marriage was the celebrated Charles the Fifth, born at Ghent,
February 24th, 1500, whose birth was no sooner announced to Queen
Isabella, than she predicted that to this infant would one day descend the
rich inheritance of the Spanish monarchy. [1] The premature death of the
heir apparent, Prince Miguel, not long after, prepared the way for this
event by devolving the succession on Joanna, Charles's mother. From that
moment the sovereigns were pressing in their entreaties that the archduke
and his wife would visit Spain, that they might receive the customary
oaths of allegiance, and that the former might become acquainted with the
character and institutions of his future subjects. The giddy young prince,
however, thought too much of present pleasure to heed the call of ambition
or duty, and suffered more than a year to glide away, before he complied
with the summons of his royal parents.

In the latter part of 1501, Philip and Joanna, attended by a numerous
suite of Flemish courtiers, set out on their journey, proposing to take
their way through France. They were entertained with profuse magnificence
and hospitality at the French court, where the politic attentions of Louis
the Twelfth not only effaced the recollection of ancient injuries to the
house of Burgundy, [2] but left impressions of the most agreeable
character on the mind of the young prince. [3] After some weeks passed in
a succession of splendid _fêtes_ and amusements at Blois, where the
archduke confirmed the treaty of Trent recently made between his father,
the emperor, and the French king, stipulating the marriage of Louis's
eldest daughter, the princess Claude, with Philip's son Charles, the royal
pair resumed their journey towards Spain, which they entered by the way of
Fontarabia, January 29th, 1502. [4]

Magnificent preparations had been made for their reception. The grand
constable of Castile, the duke of Naxara, and many other of the principal
grandees waited on the borders to receive them. Brilliant _fêtes_ and
illuminations, and all the usual marks of public rejoicing, greeted their
progress through the principal cities of the north, and a _pragmática_
relaxing the simplicity, or rather severity, of the sumptuary laws of the
period, so far as to allow the use of silks and various-colored apparel,
shows the attention of the sovereigns to every circumstance, however
trifling, which could affect the minds of the young princes agreeably, and
diffuse an air of cheerfulness over the scene. [5]

Ferdinand and Isabella, who were occupied with the affairs of Andalusia at
this period, no sooner heard of the arrival of Philip and Joanna, than
they hastened to the north. They reached Toledo towards the end of April,
and in a few days, the queen, who paid the usual penalties of royalty, in
seeing her children, one after another, removed far from her into distant
lands, had the satisfaction of again folding her beloved daughter in her

On the 22d of the ensuing month, the archduke and his wife received the
usual oaths of fealty from the cortes duly convoked for the purpose at
Toledo. [6] King Ferdinand, not long after, made a journey into Aragon, in
which the queen's feeble health would not permit her to accompany him, in
order to prepare the way for a similar recognition by the estates of that
realm. We are not informed what arguments the sagacious monarch made use
of to dispel the scruples formerly entertained by that independent body,
on a similar application in behalf of his daughter, the late queen of
Portugal. [7] They were completely successful, however; and Philip and
Joanna, having ascertained the favorable disposition of cortes, made their
entrance in great state into the ancient city of Saragossa, in the month
of October. On the 27th, having first made oath before the Justice, to
observe the laws and liberties of the realm, Joanna as future queen
proprietor, and Philip as her husband,--were solemnly recognized by the
four _arms_ of Aragon as successors to the crown, in default of male
issue of King Ferdinand. The circumstance is memorable, as affording the
first example of the parliamentary recognition of a female heir apparent
in Aragonese history. [8]

Amidst all the honors so liberally lavished on Philip, his bosom secretly
swelled with discontent, fomented still further by his followers, who
pressed him to hasten his return to Flanders, where the free and social
manners of the people were much more congenial to their tastes, than the
reserve and stately ceremonial of the Spanish court. The young prince
shared in these feelings, to which, indeed, the love of pleasure, and an
instinctive aversion to anything like serious occupation, naturally
disposed him. Ferdinand and Isabella saw with regret the frivolous
disposition of their son-in-law, who, in the indulgence of selfish and
effeminate ease, was willing to repose on others all the important duties
of government. They beheld with mortification his indifference to Joanna,
who could boast few personal attractions, [9] and who cooled the
affections of her husband by alternations of excessive fondness and
irritable jealousy, for which last the levity of his conduct gave her too
much occasion.

Shortly after the ceremony at Saragossa, the archduke announced his
intention of an immediate return to the Netherlands, by the way of France.
The sovereigns, astonished at this abrupt determination, used every
argument to dissuade him from it. They represented the ill effects it
might occasion the princess Joanna, then too far advanced in a state of
pregnancy to accompany him. They pointed out the impropriety, as well as
danger, of committing himself to the hands of the French king, with whom
they were now at open war; and they finally insisted on the importance of
Philip's remaining long enough in the kingdom to become familiar with the
usages, and establish himself in the affections of the people over whom he
would one day be called to reign.

All these arguments were ineffectual; the inflexible prince, turning a
deaf ear alike to the entreaties of his unhappy wife, and the
remonstrances of the Aragonese cortes, still in session, set out from
Madrid, with the whole of his Flemish suite, in the month of December. He
left Ferdinand and Isabella disgusted with the levity of his conduct, and
the queen, in particular, filled with mournful solicitude for the welfare
of the daughter with whom his destinies were united. [10]

Before his departure for France, Philip, anxious to re-establish harmony
between that country and Spain, offered his services to his father-in-law
in negotiating with Louis the Twelfth, if possible, a settlement of the
differences respecting Naples. Ferdinand showed some reluctance at
intrusting so delicate a commission to an envoy in whose discretion he
placed small reliance, which was not augmented by the known partiality
which Philip entertained for the French monarch. [11] Before the archduke
had crossed the frontier, however, he was overtaken by a Spanish
ecclesiastic named Bernaldo Boyl, abbot of St. Miguel de Cuxa, who brought
full powers to Philip from the king for concluding a treaty with France,
accompanied at the same time with private instructions of the most strict
and limited nature. He was enjoined, moreover, to take no step without the
advice of his reverend coadjutor, and to inform the Spanish court at once,
if different propositions were submitted from those contemplated by his
instructions. [12] Thus fortified, the archduke Philip made his appearance
at the French Court in Lyons, where he was received by Louis with the same
lively expressions of regard as before. With these amiable dispositions,
the negotiations were not long in resulting in a definitive treaty,
arranged to the mutual satisfaction of the parties, though in violation of
the private instructions of the archduke. In the progress of the
discussions, Ferdinand, according to the Spanish historians, received
advices from his envoy, the abate Boyl, that Philip was transcending his
commission; in consequence of which the king sent an express to France,
urging his son-in-law to adhere to the strict letter of his instructions.
Before the messenger reached Lyons, however, the treaty was executed. Such
is the Spanish account of this blind transaction. [13]

The treaty, which was signed at Lyons, April 5th, 1503, was arranged on
the basis of the marriage of Charles, the infant son of Philip, and
Claude, princess of France; a marriage, which, settled by three several
treaties, was destined never to take place. The royal infants were
immediately to assume the titles of King and Queen of Naples, and Duke and
Duchess of Calabria. Until the consummation of the marriage, the French
division of the kingdom was to be placed under the administration of some
suitable person named by Louis the Twelfth, and the Spanish under that of
the archduke Philip, or some other deputy appointed by Ferdinand. All
places unlawfully seized by either party were to be restored; and lastly
it was settled, with regard to the disputed province of the Capitanate,
that the portion held by the French should be governed by an agent of King
Louis, and the Spanish by the archduke Philip on behalf of Ferdinand. [14]

Such in substance was the treaty of Lyons; a treaty, which, while it
seemed to consult the interests of Ferdinand, by securing the throne of
Naples eventually to his posterity, was in fact far more accommodated to
those of Louis, by placing the immediate control of the Spanish moiety
under a prince over whom that monarch held entire influence. It is
impossible that so shrewd a statesman as Ferdinand could, from the mere
consideration of advantages so remote to himself and dependent on so
precarious a contingency as the marriage of two infants, then in their
cradles, have seriously contemplated an arrangement, which surrendered all
the actual power into the hands of his rival; and that too at the moment
when his large armament, so long preparing for Calabria, had reached that
country, and when the Great Captain, on the other quarter, had received
such accessions of strength as enabled him to assume the offensive, on at
least equal terms with the enemy.

No misgivings on this head, however, appeared to have entered the minds of
the signers of the treaty, which was celebrated by the court at Lyons with
every show of public rejoicing, and particularly with tourneys and tilts
of reeds, in imitation of the Spanish chivalry. At the same time, the
French king countermanded the embarkation of French troops on board a
fleet equipping at the port of Genoa for Naples, and sent orders to his
generals in Italy to desist from further operations. The archduke
forwarded similar instructions to Gonsalvo, accompanied with a copy of the
powers intrusted to him by Ferdinand. That prudent officer, however,
whether in obedience to previous directions from the king, as Spanish
writers affirm, or on his own responsibility, from a very natural sense of
duty, refused to comply with the ambassador's orders; declaring "he knew
no authority but that of his own sovereigns, and that he felt bound to
prosecute the war with all his ability, till he received their commands to
the contrary." [15]

Indeed, the archduke's despatches arrived at the very time when the
Spanish general, having strengthened himself by a reinforcement from the
neighboring garrison of Tarento under Pedro Navarro, was prepared to sally
forth, and try his fortune in battle with the enemy. Without further
delay, he put his purpose into execution, and on Friday, the 28th of
April, marched out with his whole army from the ancient walls of Barleta;
a spot ever memorable in history as the scene of the extraordinary
sufferings and indomitable constancy of the Spanish soldier.

The road lay across the field of Cannae, where, seventeen centuries
before, the pride of Rome had been humbled by the victorious arms of
Hannibal, [16] in a battle which, though fought with far greater numbers,
was not so decisive in its consequences as that which the same scenes were
to witness in a few hours. The coincidence is certainly singular; and one
might almost fancy that the actors in these fearful tragedies, unwilling
to deface the fair haunts of civilization, had purposely sought a more
fitting theatre in this obscure and sequestered region.

The weather, although only at the latter end of April, was extremely
sultry; the troops, notwithstanding Gonsalvo's orders on crossing the
river Ofanto, the ancient Aufidus, had failed to supply themselves with
sufficient water for the march; parched with heat and dust, they were soon
distressed by excessive thirst; and, as the burning rays of the noontide
sun beat fiercely on their heads, many of them, especially those cased in
heavy armor, sunk down on the road, fainting with exhaustion and fatigue.
Gonsalvo was seen in every quarter, administering to the necessities of
his men, and striving to reanimate their drooping spirits. At length, to
relieve them, he commanded that each trooper should take one of the
infantry on his crupper, setting the example himself by mounting a German
ensign behind him on his own horse.

In this way, the whole army arrived early in the afternoon before
Cerignola, a small town on an eminence about sixteen miles from Barleta,
where the nature of the ground afforded the Spanish general a favorable
position for his camp. The sloping sides of the hill were covered with
vineyards, and its base was protected by a ditch of considerable depth.
Gonsalvo saw at once the advantages of the ground. His men were jaded by
the march; but there was no time to lose, as the French, who, on his
departure from Barleta, had been drawn up under the walls of Canosa, were
now rapidly advancing. All hands were put in requisition, therefore, for
widening the trench, in which they planted sharp-pointed stakes; while the
earth which they excavated enabled them to throw up a parapet of
considerable height on the side next the town. On this rampart he mounted
his little train of artillery, consisting of thirteen guns, and behind it
drew up his forces in order of battle. [17]

Before these movements were completed in the Spanish camp, the bright arms
and banners of the French were seen glistening in the distance amid the
tall fennel and cane-brakes with which the country was thickly covered. As
soon as they had come in view of the Spanish encampment, they were brought
to a halt, while a council of war was called, to determine the expediency
of giving battle that evening. The duke of Nemours would have deferred it
till the following morning, as the day was already far spent, and allowed
no time for reconnoitring the position of his enemy. But Ives d'Allègre,
Chandieu, the commander of the Swiss, and some other officers, were for
immediate action, representing the importance of not balking the
impatience of the soldiers, who were all hot for the assault. In the
course of the debate, Allègre was so much heated as to throw out some rash
taunts on the courage of the viceroy, which the latter would have avenged
on the spot, had not his arm been arrested by Louis d'Ars. He had the
weakness, however, to suffer them to change his cooler purpose,
exclaiming, "We will fight to-night, then; and perhaps those who vaunt the
loudest will be found to trust more to their spurs, than their swords;" a
prediction bitterly justified by the event. [18]

While this dispute was going on, Gonsalvo gained time for making the
necessary disposition of his troops. In the centre he placed his German
auxiliaries, armed with their long pikes, and on each wing the Spanish
infantry under the command of Pedro Navarro, Diego de Paredes, Pizarro,
and other illustrious captains. The defence of the artillery was committed
to the left wing. A considerable body of men-at-arms, including those
recently equipped from the spoils of Ruvo, was drawn up within the
intrenchments, in a quarter affording a convenient opening for a sally,
and placed under the orders of Mendoza and Fabrizio Colonna, whose brother
Prospero and Pedro de la Paz took charge of the light cavalry, which was
posted without the lines to annoy the advance of the enemy, and act on any
point, as occasion might require. Having completed his preparations, the
Spanish general coolly waited the assault of the French.

The duke of Nemours had marshalled his forces in a very different order.
He distributed them into three battles or divisions, stationing his heavy
horse, composing altogether, as Gonsalvo declared, "the finest body of
cavalry seen for many years in Italy," under the command of Louis d'Ars,
on the right. The second and centre division, formed somewhat in the rear
of the right, was made up of the Swiss and Gascon infantry, headed by the
brave Chandieu; and his left, consisting chiefly of his light cavalry, and
drawn up, like the last, somewhat in the rear of the preceding, was
intrusted to Allègre. [19]

It was within half an hour of sunset when the duke de Nemours gave orders
for the attack, and, putting himself at the head of the gendarmerie on the
right, spurred at full gallop against the Spanish left. The hostile armies
were nearly equal, amounting to between six and seven thousand men each.
The French were superior in the number and condition of their cavalry,
rising to a third of their whole force; while Gonsalvo's strength lay
chiefly in his infantry, which had acquired a lesson of tactics under him,
that raised it to a level with the best in Europe.

As the French advanced, the guns on the Spanish left poured a lively fire
into their ranks, when, a spark accidentally communicating with the
magazine of powder, the whole blew up with a tremendous explosion. The
Spaniards were filled with consternation; but Gonsalvo, converting the
misfortune into a lucky omen, called out, "Courage, soldiers, these are
the beacon lights of victory! We have no need of our guns at close

In the mean time, the French van under Nemours, advancing rapidly under
the dark clouds of smoke, which rolled heavily over the field, were
unexpectedly brought up by the deep trench, of whose existence they were
unapprised. Some of the horse were precipitated into it, and all received
a sudden check, until Nemours, finding it impossible to force the works in
this quarter, rode along their front in search of some practicable
passage. In doing this, he necessarily exposed his flank to the fatal aim
of the Spanish arquebusiers. A shot from one of them took effect on the
unfortunate young nobleman, and he fell mortally wounded from his saddle.

At this juncture, the Swiss and Gascon infantry, briskly moving up to
second the attack of the now disordered horse, arrived before the
intrenchments. Undismayed by this formidable barrier, their commander,
Chandieu, made the most desperate attempts to force a passage; but the
loose earth freshly turned up afforded no hold to the feet, and his men
were compelled to recoil from the dense array of German pikes, which
bristled over the summit of the breastwork. Chandieu, their leader, made
every effort to rally and bring them back to the charge; but, in the act
of doing this, was hit by a ball, which stretched him lifeless in the
ditch; his burnished arms, and the snow-white plumes above his helmet,
making him a conspicuous mark for the enemy.

All was now confusion. The Spanish arquebusiers, screened by their
defences, poured a galling fire into the dense masses of the enemy, who
were mingled together indiscriminately, horse and foot, while, the leaders
being down, no one seemed capable of bringing them to order. At this
critical moment, Gonsalvo, whose eagle eye took in the whole operations of
the field, ordered a general charge along the line; and the Spaniards,
leaping their intrenchments, descended with the fury of an avalanche on
their foes, whose wavering columns, completely broken by the violence of
the shock, were seized with a panic, and fled, scarcely offering any
resistance. Louis d'Ars, at the head of such of the men-at-arms as could
follow him, went off in one direction, and Ives d'Allègre, with his light
cavalry, which had hardly come into action, in another; thus fully
verifying the ominous prediction of his commander. The slaughter fell most
heavily on the Swiss and Gascon foot, whom the cavalry under Mendoza and
Pedro de la Paz rode down and cut to pieces without sparing, till the
shades of evening shielded them at length from their pitiless pursuers.

Prospero Colonna pushed on to the French encampment, where he found the
tables in the duke's tent spread for his evening repast; of which the
Italian general and his followers did not fail to make good account. A
trifling incident, that well illustrates the sudden reverses of war.

The Great Captain passed the night on the field of battle, which, on the
following morning, presented a ghastly spectacle of the dying and the
dead. More than three thousand French are computed by the best accounts to
have fallen. The loss of the Spaniards, covered as they were by their
defences, was inconsiderable. [21] All the enemy's artillery, consisting
of thirteen pieces, his baggage, and most of his colors fell into their
hands. Never was there a more complete victory, achieved too within the
space of little more than an hour. The body of the unfortunate Nemours,
which was recognized by one of his pages from the rings on the fingers,
was found under a heap of slain, much disfigured. It appeared that he had
received three several wounds, disproving, if need were, by his honorable
death the injurious taunts of Allègre. Gonsalvo was affected even to tears
at beholding the mutilated remains of his young and gallant adversary,
who, whatever judgment may be formed of his capacity as a leader, was
allowed to have all the qualities which belong to a true knight. With him
perished the last scion of the illustrious house of Armagnac. Gonsalvo
ordered his remains to be conveyed to Barleta, where they were laid in the
cemetery of the convent of St. Francis, with all the honors due to his
high station. [22]

The Spanish commander lost no time in following up his blow, well aware
that it is quite as difficult to improve a victory as to win one. The
French had rushed into battle with too much precipitation to agree on any
plan of operations, or any point on which to rally in case of defeat. They
accordingly scattered in different directions, and Pedro de la Paz was
despatched in pursuit of Louis d'Ars, who threw himself into Venosa, [23]
where he kept the enemy at bay for many months longer. Paredes kept close
on the scent of Allègre, who, finding the gates shut against him wherever
he passed, at length took shelter in Gaeta on the extreme point of the
Neapolitan territory. There he endeavored to rally the scattered relics of
the field of Cerignola, and to establish a strong position, from which the
French, when strengthened by fresh supplies from home, might recommence
operations for the recovery of the kingdom.

The day after the battle of Cerignola the Spaniards received tidings of
another victory, scarcely less important, gained over the French in
Calabria, the preceding week. [24] The army sent out under Portocarrero
had reached that coast early in March; but, soon after its arrival, its
gallant commander fell ill and died. [25] The dying general named Don
Fernando de Andrada as his successor; and this officer, combining his
forces with those before in the country under Cardona and Benavides,
encountered the French commander D'Aubigny in a pitched battle, not far
from Seminara, on Friday, the 21st of April. It was near the same spot on
which the latter had twice beaten the Spaniards. But the star of France
was on the wane; and the gallant old officer had the mortification to see
his little corps of veterans completely routed after a sharp engagement of
less than an hour, while he himself was retrieved with difficulty from the
hands of the enemy by the valor of his Scottish guard. [26]

The Great Captain and his army, highly elated with the news of this
fortunate event, which annihilated the French power in Calabria, began
their march on Naples; Fabrizio Colonna having been first detached into
the Abruzzi to receive the submission of the people in that quarter. The
tidings of the victory had spread far and wide; and, as Gonsalvo's army
advanced, they beheld the ensigns of Aragon floating from the battlements
of the towns upon their route, while the inhabitants came forth to greet
the conqueror, eager to testify their devotion to the Spanish cause. The
army halted at Benevento; and the general sent his summons to the city of
Naples, inviting it in the most courteous terms to resume its ancient
allegiance to the legitimate branch of Aragon. It was hardly to be
expected, that the allegiance of a people, who had so long seen their
country set up as a mere stake for political gamesters, should sit very
closely upon them, or that they should care to peril their lives on the
transfer of a crown which had shifted on the heads of half a dozen
proprietors in as many successive years. [27] With the same ductile
enthusiasm, therefore, with which they greeted the accession of Charles
the Eighth or Louis the Twelfth, they now welcomed the restoration of the
ancient dynasty of Aragon; and deputies from the principal nobility and
citizens waited on the Great Captain at Acerra, where they tendered him
the keys of the city, and requested the confirmation of their rights and

Gonsalvo, having promised this in the name of his royal master, on the
following morning, the 14th of May, 1503, made his entrance in great state
into the capital, leaving his army without the walls. He was escorted by
the military of the city under a royal canopy borne by the deputies. The
streets were strewed with flowers, the edifices decorated with appropriate
emblems and devices, and wreathed with banners emblazoned with the united
arms of Aragon and Naples. As he passed along, the city rung with the
acclamations of countless multitudes who thronged the streets; while every
window and housetop was filled with spectators, eager to behold the man,
who, with scarcely any other resources than those of his own genius, had
so long defied, and at length completely foiled, the power of France.

On the following day a deputation of the nobility and people waited on the
Great Captain at his quarters, and tendered him the usual oaths of
allegiance for his master, King Ferdinand, whose accession finally closed
the series of revolutions which had so long agitated this unhappy country.

The city of Naples was commanded by two strong fortresses still held by
the French, which, being well victualled and supplied with ammunition,
showed no disposition to surrender. The Great Captain determined,
therefore, to reserve a small corps for their reduction, while he sent
forward the main body of his army to besiege Gaeta. But the Spanish
infantry refused to march until the heavy arrears, suffered to accumulate
through the negligence of the government, were discharged; and Gonsalvo,
afraid of awakening the mutinous spirit which he had once found it so
difficult to quell, was obliged to content himself with sending forward
his cavalry and German levies, and to permit the infantry to take up its
quarters in the capital, under strict orders to respect the persons and
property of the citizens.

He now lost no time in pressing the siege of the French fortresses, whose
impregnable situation might have derided the efforts of the most
formidable enemy in the ancient state of military science. But the
reduction of these places was intrusted to Pedro Navarro, the celebrated
engineer, whose improvements in the art of mining have gained him the
popular reputation of being its inventor, and who displayed such
unprecedented skill on this occasion, as makes it a memorable epoch in the
annals of war. [29]

Under his directions, the small tower of St. Vincenzo having been first
reduced by a furious cannonade, a mine was run under the outer defences of
the great fortress called Castel Nuovo. On the 21st of May, the mine was
sprung; a passage was opened over the prostrate ramparts, and the
assailants, rushing in with Gonsalvo and Navarro at their head, before the
garrison had time to secure the drawbridge, applied their ladders to the
walls of the castle, and succeeded in carrying the place by escalade,
after a desperate struggle, in which the greater part of the French were
slaughtered. An immense booty was found in the castle. The Angevin party
had made it a place of deposit for their most valuable effects, gold,
jewels, plate, and other treasures, which, together with its well-stored
magazines of grain and ammunition, became the indiscriminate spoil of the
victors. As some of these, however, complained of not getting their share
of the plunder, Gonsalvo, giving full scope in the exultation of the
moment to military license, called out gayly, "Make amends for it, then,
by what you can find in my quarters!" The words were not uttered to deaf
ears. The mob of soldiery rushed to the splendid palace of the Angevin
prince of Salerno, then occupied by the Great Captain, and in a moment its
sumptuous furniture, paintings, and other costly decorations, together
with the contents of its generous cellar, were seized and appropriated
without ceremony by the invaders, who thus indemnified themselves at their
general's expense for the remissness of government.

After some weeks of protracted operations, the remaining fortress, Castel
d'Uovo, as it was called, opened its gates to Navarro; and a French fleet,
coming into the harbor, had the mortification to find itself fired on from
the walls of the place it was intended to relieve. Before this event,
Gonsalvo, having obtained funds from Spain for paying off his men, quitted
the capital and directed his march on Gaeta. The important results of his
victories were now fully disclosed. D'Aubigny, with the wreck of the
forces escaped from Seminara, had surrendered. The two Abruzzi, the
Capitanate, all the Basilicate, except Venosa, still held by Louis d'Ars,
and indeed every considerable place in the kingdom, had tendered its
submission, with the exception of Gaeta. Summoning, therefore, to his aid
Andrada, Navarro, and his other officers, the Great Captain resolved to
concentrate all his strength on this point, designing to press the siege,
and thus exterminate at a blow the feeble remains of the French power in
Italy. The enterprise was attended with more difficulty than he had
anticipated. [30]


[1] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1500.--Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V.,
tom. i. p. 2.

The queen expressed herself in the language of Scripture. "Sora cecidit
super Mathiam," in allusion to the circumstance of Charles being born on
that saint's day; a day which, if we are to believe Garibay, was fortunate
to him through the whole course of his life. Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19,
cap. 9.

[2] Charles VIII., Louis's predecessor, had contrived to secure the hand
of Anne of Bretagne, notwithstanding she was already married by proxy to
Philip's father, the emperor Maximilian; and this, too, in contempt of his
own engagements to Margaret, the emperor's daughter, to whom he had been
affianced from her infancy. This twofold insult, which sunk deep into the
heart of Maximilian, seems to have made no impression on the volatile
spirits of his son.

[3] Mariana, Hist. de España, lib. 27, cap. 11.--St. Gelais describes the
cordial reception of Philip and Joanna by the Court at Blois, where he was
probably present himself. The historian shows his own opinion of the
effect produced on their young minds by these flattering attentions, by
remarking, "Le roy leur monstra si très grand semblant d'amour, que par
noblesse et honesteté de coeur _il les obligeoit envers luy de leur en
souvenir toute leur vie_." Hist. de Louys. XII., pp. 164, 165.

In passing through Paris, Philip took his seat in parliament as peer of
France, and subsequently did homage to Louis XII., as his suzerain for his
estates in Flanders; an acknowledgment of inferiority not at all palatable
to the Spanish historians, who insist with much satisfaction on the
haughty refusal of his wife, the archduchess, to take part in the
ceremony. Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 4, cap. 55.--Carbajal, Anales, MS.,
año 1502.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 13, sec. 1.--
Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, tom. iv. part. 1, p. 17.

[4] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1501.--Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V.,
tom. i. p. 5.

[5] Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 4, cap. 55.--Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne,
tom. viii. p. 220.

This extreme simplicity of attire, in which Zurita discerns "the modesty
of the times," was enforced by laws, the policy of which, whatever be
thought of their moral import, may well be doubted in an economical view.
I shall have occasion to draw the reader's attention to them hereafter.

[6] The writ is dated at Llerena, March 8. It was extracted by Marina from
the archives of Toledo, Teoría, tom. ii. p. 18.

[7] It is remarkable that the Aragonese writers, generally so inquisitive
on all points touching the constitutional history of their country, should
have omitted to notice the grounds on which the cortes thought proper to
reverse its former decision in the analogous case of the infanta Isabella.
There seems to have been even less reason for departing from ancient usage
in the present instance, since Joanna had a son, to whom the cortes might
lawfully have tendered its oath of recognition; for a female, although
excluded from the throne in her own person, was regarded as competent to
transmit the title unimpaired to her male heirs. Blancas suggests no
explanation of the affair, (Coronaciones, lib. 3, cap. 20, and
Commentarii, pp. 274, 511,) and Zurita quietly dismisses it with the
remark, that "there was some opposition raised, but _the king had managed
it so discreetly beforehand_, that there was not the same difficulty as
formerly." (Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 5.) It is curious
to see with what effrontery the prothonotary of the cortes, in the desire
to varnish over the departure from constitutional precedent, declares, in
the opening address, "the princess Joanna, true and lawful heir to the
crown, to whom, in default of male heirs, the usage and law of the land
require the oath of allegiance." Coronaciones, ubi supra.

[8] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1500.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii.
rey 30, cap. 12, sec. 6.--Robles, Vita de Ximenez, p. 126.--Garibay,
Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 14.--Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V.,
tom. i. p. 5.

Petronilla, the only female who ever sat, in her own right, on the throne
of Aragon, never received the homage of cortes as heir apparent; the
custom not having been established at that time, the middle of the twelfth
century. (Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 5.) Blancas has described
the ceremony of Joanna's recognition with quite as much circumstantiality
as the novelty of the case could warrant. Coronaciones, lib. 3, cap. 20.

[9] "Simplex est foemina," says Martyr, speaking of Joanna, "licet a tantâ
muliere progenita." Opus Epist., epist. 250.

[10] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., ubi supra.--Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib.
5, cap. 10.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 44.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año

[11] Such manifest partiality for the French court and manners was shown
by Philip and his Flemish followers, that the Spaniards very generally
believed the latter were in the pay of Louis XII. See Gomez, De Rebus
Gestis, fol. 44.--Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 23.--Peter Martyr,
Opus Epist., epist. 253.--Lanuza, Historias, cap. 16.

[12] Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 10.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon,
tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 13, sec. 2.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19,
cap. 15.--D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part. 1, chap. 32.

[13] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 23.--St. Gelais,
Hist. de Louys XII., pp. 170, 171.--Claude de Seyssel, Histoire de Louys
XII., (Paris, 1615,) p. 108.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30,
cap. 13, sec. 3.--Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. pp. 690, 691.--
Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. cap. 16.

Some of the French historians speak of two agents besides Philip employed
in the negotiations. Father Boyl is the only one named by the Spanish
writers, as regularly commissioned for the purpose, although it is not
improbable that Gralla, the resident minister at Louis's court, took part
in the discussions.

[14] See the treaty, apud Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, tom. iv. pp. 27-29.

[15] Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 33, sec. 3.--Giannone,
Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 4.--St. Gelais, Hist. de Louys XII., p.
171.--Buonaccorsi, Diario, p. 75.--D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part. 2,
chap. 32.

According to the Aragonese historians, Ferdinand, on the archduke's
departure, informed Gonsalvo of the intended negotiations with France,
cautioning the general at the same time not to heed any instructions of
the archduke till confirmed by him. This circumstance the French writers
regard as unequivocal proof of the king's insincerity in entering into the
negotiation. It wears this aspect at first, certainly; but, on a nearer
view, admits of a very different construction. Ferdinand had no confidence
in the discretion of his envoy, whom, if we are to believe the Spanish
writers, he employed in the affair more from accident than choice; and,
notwithstanding the full powers intrusted to him, he did not consider
himself bound to recognize the validity of any treaty which the other
should sign, until first ratified by himself. With these views, founded on
principles now universally recognized in European diplomacy, it was
natural to caution his general against any unauthorized interference on
the part of his envoy, which the rash and presumptuous character of the
latter, acting, moreover, under an undue influence of the French monarch,
gave him good reason to fear.

As to the Great Captain, who has borne a liberal share of censure on this
occasion, it is not easy to see how he could have acted otherwise than he
did, even in the event of no special instructions from Ferdinand. For he
would scarcely have been justified in abandoning a sure prospect of
advantage on the authority of one, the validity of whose powers he could
not determine, and which, in fact, do not appear to have warranted such
interference. The only authority he knew, was that from which he held his
commission, and to which he was responsible for the faithful discharge of

[16] Neither Polybius (lib. 3, sec. 24 et seq.) nor Livy, (Hist., lib. 22,
cap. 43-50,) who give the most circumstantial narratives of the battle,
are precise enough to enable us to ascertain the exact spot in which it
was fought. Strabo, in his topographical notices of this part of Italy,
briefly alludes to "the affair of Cannae" (_ta peri Kannas_), without
any description of the scene of action. (Geog., lib. 6, p. 285.) Cluverius
fixes the site of the ancient Cannae on the right bank of the Anfidus, the
modern Ofanto, between three and four miles below Canusium; and notices
the modern hamlet of nearly the same name, Canne, where common tradition
recognizes the ruins of the ancient town. (Italia Antiqua, lib. 4, cap.
12, sec. 8.) D'Anville makes no difficulty in identifying these two,
(Géographie Ancienne Abrégée, tom. i. p. 208,) having laid down the
ancient town in his maps in the direct line, and about midway, between
Barleta and Cerignola.

[17] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, fol. 253-255.--Guicciardini, Istoria,
lib. 5, p. 303.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 75, 76.--Zurita, Anales,
tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 27.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 256.--Ulloa,
Vita di Carlo V., fol. 16, 17.

Giovio says, that he had heard Fabrizio Colonna remark more than once, in
allusion to the intrenchments at the base of the hill, "that the victory
was owing, not to the skill of the commander, nor the valor of the troops,
but to a mound and a ditch." This ancient mode of securing a position,
which had fallen into disuse, was revived after this, according to the
same author, and came into general practice among the best captains of the
age. Ubi supra.

[18] Brantôme, Oeuvres, tom. ii. disc. 8.--Garnier, Histoire de France,
(Paris, 1783-8,) tom. v. pp. 395, 396.--Gaillard, Rivalité, tom. iv. p.
244.--St. Gelais, Hist. de Louys XII., p. 171.

[19] Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 76.--Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum,
fol. 253-255.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 17.

[20] Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 75.--Garnier, Hist. de France, tom.
v. pp. 396, 397.--Fleurange, Mémoires, chap. 5, apud Petitot, Collection
des Mémoires, tom. xvi.--Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, ubi supra.--
Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. pp. 303, 304.--St. Gelais, Hist. de Louys
XII., pp. 171, 172.--Brantôme, Oeuvres, tom. ii. disc. 8.

[21] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, fol. 255.--Garibay, Compendio, tom.
ii. lib. 19, cap. 15.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 180.--Peter
Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 256.--Fleurange, Mémoires, chap. 5.

No account, that I know of, places the French loss so low as 3000; Garibay
raises it to 4500, and the French maréchal de Fleurange rates that of the
Swiss alone at 5000; a round exaggeration, not readily accounted for, as
he had undoubted access to the best means of information. The Spaniards
were too well screened to sustain much injury, and no estimate makes it
more than a hundred killed, and some considerable less. The odds are
indeed startling, but not impossible; as the Spaniards were not much
exposed by personal collision with the enemy, until the latter were thrown
into too much disorder to think of anything but escape. The more than
usual confusion and discrepancy in the various statements of the
particulars of this action may probably be attributed to the lateness of
the hour, and consequently imperfect light, in which it was fought.

[22] Quintana, Españoles Célebres, tom i. p. 277.--Giovio, Vitae Illust.
Virorum, fol. 255.--Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom. viii. pp. 248, 249.--
Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 17.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap.

[23] It was to this same city of Venusium that the rash and unfortunate
Varro made his retreat, some seventeen centuries before, from the bloody
field of Cannae. Liv. Hist., lib. 22, cap. 49.

[24] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, fol. 255.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist.,
epist. 256.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 80.

Friday, says Guicciardini, alluding no doubt to Columbus's discoveries, as
well as these two victories, was observed to be a lucky day to the
Spaniards; according to Gaillard, it was regarded from this time by the
French with more superstitious dread than ever. Istoria, tom. i. p. 301.--
Rivalité, tom. iv. p. 348.

[25] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 8, 24.--Giovio,
Vitae Illust. Virorum, fol. 250.

The reader may perhaps recollect the distinguished part played in the
Moorish war by Luis Portocarrero, lord of Palma. He was of noble Italian
origin, being descended from the ancient Genoese house of Boccanegra. The
Great Captain and he had married sisters; and this connection probably
recommended him, as much as his military talents, to the Calabrian
command, which it was highly important should be intrusted to one who
would maintain a good understanding with the commander-in-chief; a thing
not easy to secure among the haughty nobility of Castile.

[26] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, fol. 255.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist.,
epist. 256.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 80.--Varillas, Histoire de
Louis XII. (Paris, 1688,) tom. i. pp. 289-292. See the account of
D'Aubigny's victories at Seminara, in Part II. Chapters 2 and 11, of this

[27] Since 1494 the sceptre of Naples had passed into the hands of no less
than seven princes, Ferdinand I., Alfonso II., Ferdinand II., Charles
VIII., Frederic III., Louis XII., Ferdinand the Catholic. No private
estate in the kingdom in the same time had probably changed masters half
so often. See Cartas del Gran Capitan, MS.

[28] Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. p. 304.--Giannone, Istoria di Napoli,
lib. 29, cap. 4.--Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom. viii. p. 250.--Summonte,
Hist. di Napoli, tom. iii. pp. 552, 553.--Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom.
xiv. p. 40.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 81.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V.,
fol. 18.

[29] The Italians, in their admiration of Pedro Navarro, caused medals to
be struck, on which the invention of mines was ascribed to him. (Marini,
apud Daru, Hist. de Venise, tom. iii. p. 351.) Although not actually the
inventor, his glory was scarcely less, since he was the first who
discovered the extensive and formidable uses to which they might be
applied in the science of destruction. See Part I. Chapter 13, note 23, of
this History.

[30] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 30, 31, 34, 35.
--Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, fol. 255-257.--Garibay, Compendio, tom.
ii. lib. 19, cap. 15.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 183.--
Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 6, pp. 307-309.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol.
18, 19.--Ammirato, Istorie Florentine, tom. iii. p. 271.-Summonte, Hist.
di Napoli, tom. iii. p. 554.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, cap. 84, 86, 87,
93, 95.--Sismondi, Hist. des Français, tom. xv. pp. 407-409.




Ferdinand's Policy Examined.--First Symptoms of Joanna's Insanity.--
Isabella's Distress and Fortitude.--Efforts of France.--Siege of Salsas.--
Isabella's Levies.--Ferdinand's Successes.--Reflections on the Campaign.

The events noticed in the preceding chapter glided away as rapidly as the
flitting phantoms of a dream. Scarcely had Louis the Twelfth received the
unwelcome intelligence of Gonsalvo de Cordova's refusal to obey the
mandate of the archduke Philip, before he was astounded with the tidings
of the victory of Cerignola, the march on Naples, and the surrender of
that capital, as well as of the greater part of the kingdom, following one
another in breathless succession. It seemed as if the very means on which
the French king had so confidently relied for calming the tempest, had
been the signal for awakening all its fury, and bringing it on his devoted
head. Mortified and incensed at being made the dupe of what he deemed a
perfidious policy, he demanded an explanation of the archduke, who was
still in France. The latter, vehemently protesting his own innocence,
felt, or affected to feel, so sensibly the ridiculous and, as it appeared,
dishonorable part played by him in the transaction, that he was thrown
into a severe illness, which confined him to his bed for several days. [1]
Without delay, he wrote to the Spanish court in terms of bitter
expostulation, urging the immediate ratification of the treaty made
pursuant to its orders, and an indemnification to France for its
subsequent violation. Such is the account given by the French historians.

The Spanish writers, on the other hand, say, that before the news of
Gonsalvo's successes reached Spain, King Ferdinand refused to confirm the
treaty sent him by his son-in-law, until it had undergone certain material
modifications. If the Spanish monarch hesitated to approve the treaty in
the doubtful posture of his affairs, he was little likely to do so, when
he had the game entirely in his own hands. [2]

He postponed an answer to Philip's application, willing probably to gain
time for the Great Captain to strengthen himself firmly in his recent
acquisitions. At length, after a considerable interval, he despatched an
embassy to France, announcing his final determination never to ratify a
treaty made in contempt of his orders, and so clearly detrimental to his
interests. He endeavored, however, to gain further time by spinning out
the negotiation, holding up for this purpose the prospect of an ultimate
accommodation, and suggesting the re-establishment of his kinsman, the
unfortunate Frederic, on the Neapolitan throne, as the best means of
effecting it. The artifice, however, was too gross even for the credulous
Louis; who peremptorily demanded of the ambassadors the instant and
absolute ratification of the treaty, and, on their declaring it was beyond
their powers, ordered them at once to leave his court. "I had rather,"
said he, "suffer the loss of a kingdom, which may perhaps be retrieved,
than the loss of honor, which never can." A noble sentiment, but falling
with no particular grace from the lips of Louis the Twelfth. [3]

The whole of this blind transaction is stated in so irreconcilable a
manner by the historians of the different nations, that it is extremely
difficult to draw anything like a probable narrative out of them. The
Spanish writers assert that the public commission of the archduke was
controlled by strict private instructions; [4] while the French, on the
other hand, are either silent as to the latter, or represent them to have
been as broad and unlimited as his credentials. [5] If this be true, the
negotiations must be admitted to exhibit, on the part of Ferdinand, as
gross an example of political jugglery and falsehood, as ever disgraced
the annals of diplomacy. [6]

But it is altogether improbable, as I have before remarked, that a monarch
so astute and habitually cautious should have intrusted unlimited
authority, in so delicate a business, to a person whose discretion,
independent of his known partiality for the French monarch, he held so
lightly. It is much more likely that he limited, as is often done, the
full powers committed to him in public, by private instructions of the
most explicit character; and that the archduke was betrayed by his own
vanity, and perhaps ambition (for the treaty threw the immediate power
into his own hands), into arrangements unwarranted by the tenor of these
instructions. [7]

If this were the case, the propriety of Ferdinand's conduct in refusing
the ratification depends on the question how far a sovereign is bound by
the acts of a plenipotentiary who departs from his private instructions.
Formerly, the question would seem to have been unsettled. Indeed, some of
the most respectable writers on public law in the beginning of the
seventeenth century maintain, that such a departure would not justify the
prince in withholding his ratification; deciding thus, no doubt, on
principles of natural equity, which appear to require that a principal
should be held responsible for the acts of an agent, coming within the
scope of his powers, though at variance with his secret orders, with which
the other contracting party can have no acquaintance or concern. [8]

The inconvenience, however, arising from adopting a principle in political
negotiations, which must necessarily place the destinies of a whole nation
in the hands of a single individual, rash or incompetent, it may be,
without the power of interference or supervision on the part of the
government, has led to a different conclusion in practice; and it is now
generally admitted by European writers, not merely that the exchange of
ratifications is essential to the validity of a treaty, but that a
government is not bound to ratify the doings of a minister who has
transcended his private instructions. [9]

But, whatever be thought of Ferdinand's good faith in the early stages of
this business, there is no doubt that, at a later period, when his
position was changed by the success of his arms in Italy, he sought only
to amuse the French court with a show of negotiation, in order, as we have
already intimated, to paralyze its operations and gain time for securing
his conquests. The French writers inveigh loudly against this crafty and
treacherous policy; and Louis the Twelfth gave vent to his own indignation
in no very measured terms. But, however we may now regard it, it was in
perfect accordance with the trickish spirit of the age; and the French
king resigned all right of rebuking his antagonist on this score, when he
condescended to become a party with him to the infamous partition treaty,
and still more when he so grossly violated it. He had voluntarily engaged
with his Spanish rival in the game, and it afforded no good ground of
complaint, that he was the least adroit of the two.

While Ferdinand was thus triumphant in his schemes of foreign policy and
conquest, his domestic life was clouded with the deepest anxiety, in
consequence of the declining health of the queen, and the eccentric
conduct of his daughter, the infanta Joanna. We have already seen the
extravagant fondness with which that princess, notwithstanding her
occasional sallies of jealousy, doated on her young and handsome husband.
[10] From the hour of his departure she had been plunged in the deepest
dejection, sitting day and night with her eyes fixed on the ground, in
uninterrupted silence, or broken only by occasional expressions of
petulant discontent. She refused all consolation, thinking only of
rejoining her absent lord, and "equally regardless," says Martyr, who was
then at the court, "of herself, her future subjects, and her afflicted
parents." [11]

On the 10th of March, 1503, she was delivered of her second son, who
received the baptismal name of Ferdinand, in compliment to his
grandfather. [12] No change, however, took place in the mind of the
unfortunate mother, who from this time was wholly occupied with the
project of returning to Flanders. An invitation to that effect, which she
received from her husband in the month of November, determined her to
undertake the journey, at all hazards, notwithstanding the affectionate
remonstrances of the queen, who represented the impracticability of
traversing France, agitated, as it then was, with all the bustle of
war-like preparation, or of venturing by sea at this inclement and
stormy season.

One evening, while her mother was absent at Segovia, Joanna, whose
residence was at Medina del Campo, left her apartment in the castle, and
sallied out, though in dishabille, without announcing her purpose to any
of her attendants. They followed, however, and used every argument and
entreaty to prevail on her to return, at least for the night, but without
effect; until the bishop of Burgos, who had charge of her household,
finding every other means ineffectual, was compelled to close the castle
gates, in order to prevent her departure.

The princess, thus thwarted in her purpose, gave way to the most violent
indignation. She menaced the attendants with her utmost vengeance for
their disobedience, and, taking her station on the barrier, she
obstinately refused to re-enter the castle, or even to put on any
additional clothing, but remained cold and shivering on the spot till the
following morning. The good bishop, sorely embarrassed by the dilemma to
which he found himself reduced, of offending the queen by complying with
the mad humor of the princess, or the latter still more, by resisting it,
despatched an express in all haste to Isabella, acquainting her with the
affair, and begging instructions how to proceed.

The queen, who was staying, as has been said, at Segovia, about forty
miles distant, alarmed at the intelligence, sent the king's cousin, the
admiral Henriquez, together with the archbishop of Toledo, at once to
Medina, and prepared to follow as fast as the feeble state of her health
would permit. The efforts of these eminent persons, however, were not much
more successful than those of the bishop. All they could obtain from
Joanna was, that she would retire to a miserable kitchen in the
neighborhood, during the night; while she persisted in taking her station
on the barrier as soon as it was light, and continued there, immovable as
a statue, the whole day. In this deplorable state she was found by the
queen on her arrival; and it was not without great difficulty that the
latter, with all the deference habitually paid her by her daughter,
succeeded in persuading her to return to her own apartments in the castle.
These were the first unequivocal symptoms of that hereditary taint of
insanity which had clouded the latter days of Isabella's mother, and
which, with a few brief intervals, was to shed a deeper gloom over the
long-protracted existence of her unfortunate daughter. [13]

The conviction of this sad infirmity of the princess gave a shock to the
unhappy mother, scarcely less than that which she had formerly been called
to endure in the death of her children. The sorrows, over which time had
had so little power, were opened afresh by a calamity, which naturally
filled her with the most gloomy forebodings for the fate of her people,
whose welfare was to be committed to such incompetent hands. These
domestic griefs were still further swelled at this time by the death of
two of her ancient friends and counsellors, Juan Chacon, adelantado of
Murcia, [14] and Gutierre de Cardenas, grand commander of Leon. [15] They
had attached themselves to Isabella in the early part of her life, when
her fortunes were still under a cloud; and they afterwards reaped the
requital of their services in such ample honors and emoluments as royal
gratitude could bestow, and in the full enjoyment of her confidence, to
which their steady devotion to her interests well entitled them. [16]

But neither the domestic troubles which pressed so heavily on Isabella's
heart, nor the rapidly declining state of her own health, had power to
blunt the energies of her mind, or lessen the vigilance with which she
watched over the interests of her people. A remarkable proof of this was
given in the autumn of the present year, 1503, when the country was
menaced with an invasion from France.

The whole French nation had shared the indignation of Louis the Twelfth,
at the mortifying result of his enterprise against Naples; and it answered
his call for supplies so promptly and liberally, that, in a few months
after the defeat of Cerignola, he was able to resume operations, on a more
formidable scale than France had witnessed for centuries. Three large
armies were raised, one to retrieve affairs in Italy, a second to
penetrate into Spain, by the way of Fontarabia, and a third to cross into
Roussillon, and get possession of the strong post of Salsas, the key of
the mountain passes in that quarter. Two fleets were also equipped in the
ports of Genoa and Marseilles, the latter of which was to support the
invasion of Roussillon by a descent on the coast of Catalonia. These
various corps were intended to act in concert, and thus, by one grand,
simultaneous movement, Spain was to be assailed on three several points of
her territory. The results did not correspond with the magnificence of the
apparatus. [17]

The army destined to march on Fontarabia was placed under the command of
Alan d'Albret, father of the king of Navarre, along the frontiers of whose
dominions its route necessarily lay. Ferdinand had assured himself of the
favorable dispositions of this prince, the situation of whose kingdom,
more than its strength, made his friendship important; and the lord
d'Albret, whether from a direct understanding with the Spanish monarch, or
fearful of the consequences which might result to his son from the
hostility of the latter, detained the forces intrusted to him, so long
among the bleak and barren fastnesses of the mountains, that at length,
exhausted by fatigue and want of food, the army melted away without even
reaching the enemy's borders. [18]

The force directed against Roussillon was of a more formidable character.
It was commanded by the maréchal de Rieux, a brave and experienced
officer, though much broken by age and bodily infirmities. It amounted to
more than twenty thousand men. Its strength, however, lay chiefly in its
numbers. It was, with the exception of a few thousand lansquenets under
William de la Marck, [19] made up of the arrière-ban of the kingdom, and
the undisciplined militia from the great towns of Languedoc. With this
numerous array the French marshal entered Roussillon without opposition,
and sat down before Salsas on the 16th of September, 1503.

The old castle of Salsas, which had been carried without much difficulty
by the French in the preceding war, had been put in a defensible condition
at the commencement of the present, under the superintendence of Pedro
Navarro, although the repairs were not yet wholly completed. Ferdinand, on
the approach of the enemy, had thrown a thousand picked men into the
place, which was well victualled and provided for a siege; while a corps
of six thousand was placed under his cousin, Don Frederic de Toledo, duke
of Alva, with orders to take up a position in the neighborhood, where he
might watch the movements of the enemy, and annoy him as far as possible
by cutting off his supplies. [20]

Ferdinand, in the mean while, lost no time in enforcing levies throughout
the kingdom, with which he might advance to the relief of the beleaguered
fortress. While thus occupied, he received such accounts of the queen's
indisposition as induced him to quit Aragon, where he then was, and hasten
by rapid journeys to Castile. The accounts were probably exaggerated; he
found no cause for immediate alarm on his arrival, and Isabella, ever
ready to sacrifice her own inclinations to the public weal, persuaded him
to return to the scene of operations, where his presence at this juncture
was so important. Forgetting her illness, she made the most unwearied
efforts for assembling troops without delay to support her husband. The
grand constable of Castile was commissioned to raise levies through every
part of the kingdom, and the principal nobility flocked in with their
retainers from the farthest provinces, all eager to obey the call of their
beloved mistress. Thus strengthened, Ferdinand, whose head-quarters were
established at Girona, saw himself in less than a month in possession of a
force, which, including the supplies of Aragon, amounted to ten or twelve
thousand horse, and three or four times that number of foot. He no longer
delayed his march, and about the middle of October put his army in motion,
proposing to effect a junction with the duke of Alva, then lying before
Perpignan, at a few leagues' distance from Salsas. [21] Isabella, who was
at Segovia, was made acquainted by regular expresses with every movement
of the army. She no sooner learned its departure from Gerona than she was
filled with disquietude at the prospect of a speedy encounter with the
enemy, whose defeat, whatever glory it might reflect on her own arms,
could be purchased only at the expense of Christian blood. She wrote in
earnest terms to her husband, requesting him not to drive his enemies to
despair by closing up their retreat to their own land, but to leave
vengeance to Him to whom alone it belonged. She passed her days, together
with her whole household, in fasting and continual prayer, and, in the
fervor of her pious zeal, personally visited the several religious houses
of the city, distributing alms among their holy inmates, and imploring
them humbly to supplicate the Almighty to avert the impending calamity.

The prayers of the devout queen and her court found favor with Heaven.
[23] King Ferdinand reached Perpignan on the 19th of October, and on that
same night the French marshal, finding himself unequal to the rencontre
with the combined forces of Spain, broke up his camp, and, setting fire to
his tents, began his retreat towards the frontier, having consumed nearly
six weeks since first opening trenches. Ferdinand pressed close on his
flying enemy, whose rear sustained some annoyance from the Spanish
_ginetes_, in its passage through the defiles of the sierras. The retreat,
however, was conducted in too good order to allow any material loss to be
inflicted on the French, who succeeded at length in sheltering themselves
under the cannon of Narbonne, up to which place they were pursued by their
victorious foe. Several places on the frontier, as Leocate, Palme, Sigean,
Roquefort, and others, were abandoned to the Spaniards, who pillaged them
of whatever was worth carrying off; without any violence, however, to the
persons of the inhabitants, whom, as a Christian population, if we are to
believe Martyr, Ferdinand refused even to make prisoners. [24]

The Spanish monarch made no attempt to retain these acquisitions; but,
having dismantled some of the towns, which offered most resistance,
returned loaded with the spoils of victory to his own dominions. "Had he
been as good a general as he was a statesman," says a Spanish historian,
"he might have penetrated to the centre of France." [25] Ferdinand,
however, was too prudent to attempt conquests which could only be
maintained, if maintained at all, at an infinite expense of blood and
treasure. He had sufficiently vindicated his honor by meeting his foe so
promptly, and driving him triumphantly over the border; and he preferred,
like a cautious prince, not to risk all he had gained by attempting more,
but to employ his present successes as a vantage-ground for entering on
negotiation, in which at all times he placed more reliance than on the

In this, his good star still further favored him. The armada, equipped at
so much cost by the French king at Marseilles, had no sooner put to sea,
than it was assailed by furious tempests, and so far crippled, that it was
obliged to return to port without even effecting a descent on the Spanish

These accumulated disasters so disheartened Louis the Twelfth, that he
consented to enter into negotiations for a suspension of hostilities; and
an armistice was finally arranged, through the mediation of his pensioner
Frederic, ex-king of Naples, between the hostile monarchs. It extended
only to their hereditary dominions; Italy and the circumjacent seas being
still left open as a common arena, on which the rival parties might meet,
and settle their respective titles by the sword. This truce, first
concluded for five months, was subsequently prolonged to three years. It
gave Ferdinand, what he most needed, leisure, and means to provide for the
security of his Italian possessions, on which the dark storm of war was
soon to burst with ten-fold fury. [26]

The unfortunate Frederic, who had been drawn from his obscurity to take
part in these negotiations, died in the following year. It is singular
that the last act of his political life should have been to mediate a
peace between the dominions of two monarchs, who had united to strip him
of his own.

The results of this campaign were as honorable to Spain, as they were
disastrous and humiliating to Louis the Twelfth, who had seen his arms
baffled on every point, and all his mighty apparatus of fleets and armies
dissolve, as if by enchantment, in less time than it had been preparing.
The immediate success of Spain may no doubt be ascribed in a considerable
degree to the improved organization and thorough discipline introduced by
the sovereigns into the national militia at the close of the Moorish war,
without which it would have been scarcely possible to concentrate so
promptly on a distant point such large masses of men, all well equipped
and trained for active service. So soon was the nation called to feel the
effect of these wise provisions.

But the results of the campaign are, after all, less worthy of notice as
indicating the resources of the country, than as evidence of a pervading
patriotic feeling, which could alone make these resources available.
Instead of the narrow local jealousies, which had so long estranged the
people of the separate provinces, and more especially those of the rival
states of Aragon and Castile, from one another, there had been gradually
raised up a common national sentiment like that knitting together the
constituent parts of one great commonwealth. At the first alarm of
invasion on the frontier of Aragon, the whole extent of the sister
kingdom, from the green, valleys of the Guadalquivir up to the rocky
fastnesses of the Asturias, responded to the call, as to that of a common
country, sending forth, as we have seen, its swarms of warriors, to repel
the foe, and roll back the tide of war upon his own land. What a contrast
did all this present to the cold and parsimonious hand with which the
nation, thirty years before, dealt out its supplies to King John the
Second, Ferdinand's father, when he was left to cope single-handed with
the whole power of France, in this very quarter of Roussillon. Such was
the consequence of the glorious _union_, which brought together the
petty and hitherto discordant tribes of the Peninsula under the same rule;
and, by creating common interests and an harmonious principle of action,
was silently preparing them for constituting one great nation,--one and
indivisible, as intended by nature.

* * * * *

Those who have not themselves had occasion to pursue historical inquiries
will scarcely imagine on what loose grounds the greater part of the
narrative is to be built. With the exception of a few leading outlines,
there is such a mass of inconsistency and contradiction in the details,
even of contemporaries, that it seems almost as hopeless to seize the true
aspect of any particular age as it would be to transfer to the canvas a
faithful likeness of an individual from a description simply of his
prominent features.

Much of the difficulty might seem to be removed, now that we are on the
luminous and beaten track of Italian history; but, in fact, the vision is
rather dazzled than assisted by the numerous cross lights thrown over the
path, and the infinitely various points of view from which every object is
contemplated. Besides the local and party prejudices which we had to
encounter in the contemporary Spanish historians, we have now a host of
national prejudices, not less unfavorable to truth; while the remoteness
of the scene of action necessarily begets a thousand additional
inaccuracies in the gossipping and credulous chroniclers of France and

The mode in which public negotiations were conducted at this period,
interposes still further embarrassments in our search after truth. They
were regarded as the personal concerns of the sovereign, in which the
nation at large had no right to interfere. They were settled, like the
rest of his private affairs, under his own eye, without the participation
of any other branch of the government. They were shrouded, therefore,
under an impenetrable secrecy, which permitted such results only to emerge
into light as suited the monarch. Even these results cannot be relied on
as furnishing the true key to the intentions of the parties. The science
of the cabinet, as then practised, authorized such a system of artifice
and shameless duplicity, as greatly impaired the credit of those official
documents which we are accustomed to regard as the surest foundations of

The only records which we can receive with full confidence are the private
correspondence of contemporaries, which, from its very nature, is exempt
from most of the restraints and affectations incident more or less to
every work destined for the public eye. Such communications, indeed, come
like the voice of departed years; and when, as in Martyr's case, they
proceed from one whose acuteness is combined with singular opportunities
for observation, they are of inestimable value. Instead of exposing to us
only the results, they lay open the interior workings of the machinery,
and we enter into all the shifting doubts, passions, and purposes which
agitate the minds of the actors. Unfortunately, the chain of
correspondence here, as in similar cases, when not originally designed for
historical uses, necessarily suffers from occasional breaks and
interruptions. The scattered gleams which are thrown over the most
prominent points, however, shed so strong a light, as materially to aid us
in groping our way through the darker and more perplexed passages of the

The obscurity which hangs over the period has not been dispelled by those
modern writers, who, like Varillas, in his well-known work, _Politique
de Ferdinand le Catholique_, affect to treat the subject philosophically,
paying less attention to facts than to their causes and consequences.
These ingenious persons, seldom willing to take things as they find them,
seem to think that truth is only to be reached by delving deep below the
surface. In this search after more profound causes of action, they reject
whatever is natural and obvious. They are inexhaustible in conjectures and
fine-spun conclusions, inferring quite as much from what is not said or
done, as from what is. In short, they put the reader as completely in
possession of their hero's thoughts on all occasions, as any professed
romance-writer would venture to do. All this may be very agreeable, and,
to persons of easy faith, very satisfactory; but it is not history and may
well remind us of the astonishment somewhere expressed by Cardinal de Retz
at the assurance of those who, at a distance from the scene of action,
pretended to lay open all the secret springs of policy, of which he
himself, though a principal party, was ignorant.

No prince, on the whole, has suffered more from these unwarrantable
liberties than Ferdinand the Catholic. His reputation for shrewd policy
suggests a ready key to whatever is mysterious and otherwise inexplicable
in his government; while it puts writers like Gaillard and Varillas
constantly on the scent after the most secret and subtile sources of
action, as if there were always something more to be detected than readily
meets the eye. Instead of judging him by the general rules of human
conduct, everything is referred to deep-laid stratagem; no allowance is
made for the ordinary disturbing forces, the passions and casualties of
life; every action proceeds with the same wary calculation that regulates
the moves upon a chessboard; and thus a character of consummate artifice
is built up, not only unsupported by historical evidence, but in manifest
contradiction to the principles of our nature. The part of our subject
embraced in the present chapter has long been debatable ground between the
French and Spanish historians; and the obscurity which hangs over it has
furnished an ample range for speculation to the class of writers above
alluded to, which they have not failed to improve.


[1] St. Gelais seems willing to accept Philip's statement, and to consider
the whole affair of the negotiation as "one of Ferdinand's old tricks,"
"l'ancienne cantele de celuy qui en sçavoit bien faire d'autres." Hist. de
Louys XII., p. 172.

[2] Idem, ubi supra.--Garnier, Hist. de France, tom. v. p. 410.--Gaillard,
Rivalité, tom. iv. pp. 238, 239.--Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap.
23.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 15.--Ferreras, Hist.
d'Espagne, tom. viii. p. 233.

[3] Garnier, Hist. de France, tom. v. p. 388.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon,
tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 13, sec. 3.--Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. p. 300,
ed. 1645.--Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 9.

It is amusing to see with what industry certain French writers, as
Gaillard and Varillas, are perpetually contrasting the _bonne foi_ of
Louis XII. with the _méchanceté_ of Ferdinand, whose secret intentions,
even, are quoted in evidence of his hypocrisy, while the most
objectionable acts of his rival seem to be abundantly compensated by some
fine sentiment like that in the text.

[4] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 10.--Abarca,
Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 13, sec. 2.--Mariana, Hist. de
España, tom. ii. pp. 690, 691.--et al.

[5] Seyssel, Hist. de Louys XII., p. 61.--St. Gelais, Hist. de Louys XII.,
p. 171.--Gaillard, Rivalité, tom. iv. p. 239.--Garnier, Hist. de France,
tom. v. p. 387.--D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part. 2, chap. 32.

[6] Varillas regards Philip's mission to France as a _coup de maître_
on the part of Ferdinand, who thereby rid himself of a dangerous rival at
home, likely to contest his succession to Castile on Isabella's death,
while he employed that rival in outwitting Louis XII. by a treaty which he
meant to disavow. (Politique de Ferdinand, liv. 1, pp. 146-150.) The first
of these imputations is sufficiently disproved by the fact that Philip
quitted Spain in opposition to the pressing remonstrances of the king,
queen, and cortes, and to the general disgust of the whole nation, as is
repeatedly stated by Gomez, Martyr, and other contemporaries. The second
will be difficult to refute, and still harder to prove, as it rests on a
man's secret intentions, known only to himself. Such are the flimsy
cobwebs of which this political dreamer's theories are made. Truly
_châteaux en Espagne_.

[7] Martyr, whose copious correspondence furnishes the most valuable
commentary, unquestionably, on the proceedings of this reign, is
provokingly reserved in regard to this interesting matter. He contents
himself with remarking in one of his letters, that "the Spaniards derided
Philip's negotiations as of no consequence, and indeed altogether
preposterous, considering the attitude assumed by the nation at that very
time for maintaining its claims by the sword;" and he dismisses the
subject with a reflection, that seems to rest the merits of the case more
on might than right. "Exitus, qui judex est rerum aeternus, loquatur.
Nostri regno potiuntur majori ex parte." (Opus Epist., epist. 257.) This
reserve of Martyr might be construed unfavorably for Ferdinand, were it
not for the freedom with which he usually criticizes whatever appears
really objectionable to him in the measures of the government.

[8] Grotius, De Jure Belli et Pacis, lib. 2, cap. 11, sec. 12; lib. 3,
cap. 22, sec. 4.--Gentilis, De Jure Belli, lib. 3, cap. 14, apud
Bynkershoek, Quaest. Juris Publici, lib. 2, cap. 7.

[9] Bynkershoek, Quaest. Juris Publici, lib. 2, cap. 7.--Mably, Droit
Publique, chap. 1.--Vattel, Droit des Gens, liv. 2, chap. 12.--Martens,
Law of Nations, trans., book 2, chap. 1.

Bynkershoek, the earliest of these writers, has discussed the question
with an amplitude, perspicuity, and fairness unsurpassed by any who have
followed him.

[10] Philip is known in history by the title of "the Handsome," implying
that he was, at least, quite as remarkable for his personal qualities, as
his mental.

[11] Opus Epist., epist. 253.--Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom. viii. pp.
235, 238.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 44.

[12] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1503.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 45,

He was born at Alcalá de Henares. Ximenes availed himself of this
circumstance to obtain from Isabella a permanent exemption from taxes for
his favorite city, which his princely patronage was fast raising up to
contest the palm of literary precedence with Salamanca, the ancient
"Athens of Spain." The citizens of the place long preserved, and still
preserve, for aught I know, the cradle of the royal infant, in token of
their gratitude. Robles, Vida de Ximenez, p. 127.

[13] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 268.--Zurita, Hist. del Rey
Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 56.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 46.

[14] "Espejo de bondad," _mirror of virtue,_ as Oviedo styles this
cavalier. He was always much regarded by the sovereigns, and the lucrative
post of _contador mayor_, which he filled for many years, enabled him
to acquire an immense estate, 50,000 ducats a year, without imputation on
his honesty. Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 2, dial. 2.

[15] The name of this cavalier, as well as that of his cousin, Alonso de
Cardenas, grand master of St. James, have become familiar to us in the
Granadine war. If Don Gutierre made a less brilliant figure than the
latter, he acquired, by means of his intimacy with the sovereigns, and his
personal qualities, as great weight in the royal councils as any subject
in the kingdom. "Nothing of any importance," says Oviedo, "was done
without his advice." He was raised to the important posts of comendador de
Leon, and contador mayor, which last, in the words of the same author,
"made its possessor a second king over the public treasury." He left large
estates, and more than five thousand vassals. His eldest son was created
duke of Maqueda. Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 2, dial. 1.--Col. de
Céd., tom. v. no. 182.

[16] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 255.--Gomez, de Rebus Gestis, fol.
45.--For some further account of these individuals see Part I, Chapter 14,
note 10.

Martyr thus panegyrizes the queen's fortitude under her accumulated
sorrows. "Sentit, licet constantissima sit, et supra foeminam prudens, has
alapas fortunae saevientis regina, ita concussa fluctibus undique, veluti
vasta rupes, maris in medio." Opus Epist., loc. cit.

[17] Garnier, Hist. de France, tom. v. pp. 405, 406.--Ferreras, Hist.
d'Espagne, tom. viii. pp. 235-238.--Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. pp.
300, 301.--Mémoires de la Trémoille, chap. 19, apud Petitot, Collection
des Mémoires, tom. xiv.

[18] Aleson, Annales de Navarra, tom. v. pp. 110-112.

The king of Navarre promised to oppose the passage of the French, if
attempted, through his dominions; and, in order to obviate any distrust on
the part of Ferdinand, sent his daughter Margaret to reside at the court
of Castile, as a pledge for his fidelity. Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom.
viii. p. 235.

[19] Younger brother of Robert, third duke of Bouillon. (D'Auton, Hist. de
Louys XII., part. 2, pp. 103, 186.) The reader will not confound him with
his namesake, the famous "boar of Ardennes,"--more familiar to us now in
the pages of romance than history,--who perished ignominiously some twenty
years before this period, in 1484, not in fight, but by the hands of the
common executioner at Utrecht. Duclos, Hist. de Louis XI., tom. ii. p.

[20] Gonzalo Ayora, Capitan de la Guardia Real, Cartas al Rey, Don
Fernando, (Madrid, 1794,) carta 9.--Aleson, Annales de Navarra, tom. v.
pp. 112, 113.--Garnier, Hist. de France, tom. v. p. 407.--Zurita, Anales,
tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 51.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom, ii, rey 30, cap.
13, sec. 11.

[21] Gonzalo Ayora, Cartas, cap. 9.--Zurita, Anales, ubi supra.--
Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 197, 198.--Carbajal, Anales, MS.,
año 1503.--Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 8.--Col. de
Cédulas, tom. i. no. 97.

The most authentic account of the siege of Salsas is to be found in the
correspondence of Gonzalo Ayora, dated in the Spanish camp. This
individual, equally eminent in letters and arms, filled the dissimilar
posts of captain of the royal guard and historiographer of the crown. He
served in the army at this time, and was present at all its operations.
Pref. ad Cartas, de Ayora; and Nic. Antonio, Biliotheca Nova, tom. i. p.

[22] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist, epist. 263.

The loyal captain, Ayora, shows little of this Christian vein. He
concludes one of his letters with praying, no doubt most sincerely, "that
the Almighty would be pleased to infuse less benevolence into the hearts
of the sovereigns, and incite them to chastise and humble the proud
French, and strip them of their ill-gotten possessions, which, however
repugnant to their own godly inclinations, would tend greatly to replenish
their coffers, as well as those of their, faithful and loving subjects."
See this graceless petition in his Cartas, carta 9, p. 66.

[23] "Exaudivit igitur sancte reginee religiosorumque ac virginum preces
summus Altitonans." (Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 263.) The learned
Theban borrows an epithet more familiar to Greek and Roman than to
Christian ears.

[24] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 5, cap. 54.--Abarca,
Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 13, sec. 11.-Peter Martyr, Opus
Epist., epist. 264.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1503.--Bernaldez, Reyes
Católicos, MS., cap. 198.--Garnier, Hist. de France, tom. v. pp. 408,
409.--Gonzalo Ayora, Cartas, carta 11.--Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., dial.
de Deza.

Peter Martyr seems to have shared none of Isabella's scruples in regard to
bringing the enemy to battle. On the contrary, he indulges in a most
querulous strain of sarcasm against the Catholic king for his remissness
in this particular. "Quar elucescente die moniti nostri de Gallorum
discessu ad eos, at sero, concurrerunt. Rex Perpiniani agebat, ad millia
passuum sex non brevia, uti nosti. Propterea sero id actum, venit
concitato cursu, at sero. Ad hostes itur, at sero. Cernunt hostium acies,
at sero, at a longe. Distabant jam milliaria circiter duo. Ergo sero
Phryges sapuerunt. Cujus haec culpa, tu scrutator aliunde; mea est, si
nescis. Maximam dedit ea dies, quae est, si nescis, calendarum Novembrium
sexta, Hispanis ignominiam, et aliquando jacturam illis pariet
collachrymandam." Letter to the cardinal of Santa Cruz, epist. 262.

[25] Aleson, Annales de Navarra, tom. v. p. 113.

Oviedo, who was present in this campaign, seems to have been of the same
opinion. At least he says, "If the king had pursued vigorously, not a
Frenchman would have lived to carry back the tidings of defeat to his own
land." If we are to believe him, Ferdinand desisted from the pursuit at
the earnest entreaty of Bishop Deza, his confessor. Quincuagenas, MS.

[26] Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 55.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon,
tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 13, sec. 11.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist.
264.--Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. cap. 17.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii.
lib. 19, cap. 16.--Machiavelli, Legazione Prima a Roma, let. 27.

Mons. Varillas notices as the weak side of Louis XII., "une démangeaison
de faire la paix à contre temps, dont il fut travaillé durant toute sa
vie." (Politique de Ferdinand, liv. 1, p. 148.) A statesman shrewder than
Varillas, De Retz, furnishes, perhaps, the best key to this policy, in the
remark, "Les gens foibles ne plient jamais quand ils le doivent."




Melancholy State of Italy.--Great Preparations of Louis.--Gonsalvo
Repulsed before Gaeta.--Armies on the Garigliano.--Bloody Passage of the
Bridge.--Anxious Expectation of Italy.--Critical Situation of the
Spaniards.--Gonsalvo's Resolution.--Heroism of Paredes and Bayard.

We must now turn our eyes towards Italy, where the sounds of war, which
had lately died away, were again heard in wilder dissonance than ever. Our
attention, hitherto, has been too exclusively directed to mere military
manoeuvres to allow us to dwell much on the condition of this unhappy
land. The dreary progress of our story, over fields of blood and battle,
might naturally dispose the imagination to lay the scene of action in some
rude and savage age; an age, at best, of feudal heroism, when the energies
of the soul could be roused only by the fierce din of war.

Far otherwise, however; the tents of the hostile armies were now pitched
in the bosom of the most lovely and cultivated regions on the globe;
inhabited by a people who had carried the various arts of policy and
social life to a degree of excellence elsewhere unknown; whose natural
resources had been augmented by all the appliances of ingenuity and
industry; whose cities were crowded with magnificent and costly works of
public utility; into whose ports every wind that blew wafted the rich
freights of distant climes; whose thousand hills were covered to their
very tops with the golden labors of the husbandman; and whose intellectual
development showed itself, not only in a liberal scholarship far
outstripping that of their contemporaries, but in works of imagination,
and of elegant art more particularly, which rivalled the best days of
antiquity. The period before us, indeed, the commencement of the sixteenth
century, was that of their meridian splendor, when Italian genius,
breaking through the cloud which had temporarily obscured its early dawn,
shone out in full effulgence; for we are now touching on the age of
Machiavelli, Ariosto, and Michael Angelo,--the golden age of Leo the

It is impossible, even at this distance of time, to contemplate without
feelings of sadness the fate of such a country, thus suddenly converted
into an arena for the bloody exhibitions of the gladiators of Europe; to
behold her trodden under foot by the very nations on whom she had freely
poured the light of civilization; to see the fierce soldiery of Europe,
from the Danube to the Tagus, sweeping like an army of locusts over her
fields, defiling her pleasant places, and raising the shout of battle, or
of brutal triumph under the shadow of those monuments of genius, which
have been the delight and despair of succeeding ages. It was the old story
of the Goths and Vandals acted over again. Those more refined arts of the
cabinet, on which the Italians were accustomed to rely, much more than on
the sword, in their disputes with one another, were of no avail against
these rude invaders, whose strong arm easily broke through the subtile
webs of policy which entangled the movements of less formidable
adversaries. It was the triumph of brute force over civilization,--one of
the most humiliating lessons by which Providence has seen fit to rebuke
the pride of human intellect. [1]

The fate of Italy inculcates a most important lesson. With all this
outward show of prosperity, her political institutions had gradually lost
the vital principle, which could alone give them stability or real value.
The forms of freedom, indeed, in most instances, had sunk under the
usurpation of some aspiring chief. Everywhere patriotism was lost in the
most intense selfishness. Moral principle was at as low an ebb in private,
as in public life. The hands, which shed their liberal patronage over
genius and learning, were too often red with blood. The courtly precincts,
which seemed the favorite haunt of the Muses, were too often the Epicurean
sty of brutish sensuality; while the head of the church itself, whose
station, exalted over that of every worldly potentate, should have raised
him at least above their grosser vices, was sunk in the foulest
corruptions that debase poor human nature. Was it surprising, then, that
the tree, thus cankered at heart, with all the goodly show of blossoms on
its branches, should have fallen before the blast, which now descended in
such pitiless fury from the mountains?

Had there been an invigorating national feeling, any common principle of
coalition among the Italian states; had they, in short, been true to
themselves, they possessed abundant resources in their wealth, talent, and
superior science, to have shielded their soil from violation.
Unfortunately, while the other European states had been augmenting their
strength incalculably by the consolidation of their scattered fragments
into one whole, those of Italy, in the absence of some great central point
round which to rally, had grown more and more confirmed in their original
disunion. Thus, without concert in action, and destitute of the vivifying
impulse of patriotic sentiment, they were delivered up to be the spoil and
mockery of nations, whom in their proud language they still despised as
barbarians; an impressive example of the impotence of human genius, and of
the instability of human institutions, however excellent in themselves,
when unsustained by public and private virtue. [2]

The great powers, who had now entered the lists, created entirely new
interests in Italy, which broke up the old political combinations. The
conquest of Milan enabled France to assume a decided control over the
affairs of the country. Her recent reverses in Naples, however, had
greatly loosened this authority; although Florence and other neighboring
states, which lay under her colossal shadow, still remained true to her.
Venice, with her usual crafty policy, kept aloof, maintaining a position
of neutrality between the belligerents, each of whom made the most
pressing efforts to secure so formidable an 'ally. She had, however, long
since entertained a deep distrust of her French neighbor; and, although
she would enter into no public engagements, she gave the Spanish minister
every assurance of her friendly disposition towards his government. [3]
She intimated this still more unequivocally, by the supplies she had
allowed her citizens to carry into Barleta during the late campaign, and
by other indirect aid of a similar nature during the present; for all
which she was one day to be called to a heavy reckoning by her enemies.

The disposition of the papal court towards the French monarch was still
less favorable; and it took no pains to conceal this after his reverses in
Naples. Soon after the defeat of Cerignola, it entered into correspondence
with Gonsalvo de Cordova; and, although Alexander the Sixth refused to
break openly with France, and sign a treaty with the Spanish sovereigns,
he pledged himself to do so, on the reduction of Gaeta. In the mean time,
he freely allowed the Great Captain to raise such levies as he could in
Rome, before the very eyes of the French ambassador. So little had the
immense concessions of Louis, including those of principle and honor,
availed to secure the fidelity of this treacherous ally. [4]

With the emperor Maximilian, notwithstanding repeated treaties, he was on
scarcely better terms. That prince was connected with Spain by the
matrimonial alliances of his family, and no less averse to France from
personal feeling, which, with the majority of minds, operates more
powerfully than motives of state policy. He had, moreover, always regarded
the occupation of Milan by the latter as an infringement, in some measure,
of his imperial rights. The Spanish government, availing itself of these
feelings, endeavored through its minister, Don Juan Manuel, to stimulate
Maximilian to the invasion of Lombardy. As the emperor, however, demanded,
as usual, a liberal subsidy for carrying on the war, King Ferdinand, who
was seldom incommoded by a superfluity of funds, preferred reserving them
for his own enterprises, to hazarding them on the Quixotic schemes of his
ally. But, although the negotiations were attended with no result, the
amicable dispositions of the Austrian government were evinced by the
permission given to its subjects to serve under the banners of Gonsalvo,
where indeed, as we have already seen, they formed some of his best
troops. [5]

But while Louis the Twelfth drew so little assistance from abroad, the
heartiness with which the whole French people entered into his feelings at
this crisis, made him nearly independent of it, and, in an incredibly
short space of time, placed him in a condition for resuming operations on
a far more formidable scale than before. The preceding failures in Italy
he attributed in a great degree to an overweening confidence in the
superiority of his own troops, and his neglect to support them with the
necessary reinforcements and supplies. He now provided against this by
remitting large sums to Rome, and establishing ample magazines of grain
and military stores there, under the direction of commissaries for the
maintenance of the army. He equipped without loss of time a large armament
at Genoa, under the marquis of Saluzzo, for the relief of Gaeta, still
blockaded by the Spaniards. He obtained a small supply of men from his
Italian allies, and subsidized a corps of eight thousand Swiss, the
strength of his infantry; while the remainder of his army, comprehending a
fine body of cavalry, and the most complete train of artillery, probably,
in Europe, was drawn from his own dominions. Volunteers of the highest
rank pressed forward to serve in an expedition, to which they confidently
looked for the vindication of the national honor. The command was
intrusted to the maréchal de la Trémouille, esteemed the best general in
France; and the whole amount of force, exclusive of that employed
permanently in the fleet, is variously computed from twenty to thirty
thousand men. [6]

In the month of July, the army was on its march across the broad plains of
Lombardy, but, on reaching Parma, the appointed place of rendezvous for
the Swiss and Italian mercenaries, was brought to a halt by tidings of an
unlooked-for event, the death of Pope Alexander the Sixth. He expired on
the 18th of August, 1503, at the age of seventy-two, the victim, there is
very little doubt, of poison he had prepared for others; thus closing an
infamous life by a death equally infamous. He was a man of undoubted
talent, and uncommon energy of character. But his powers were perverted to
the worst purposes, and his gross vices were unredeemed, if we are to
credit the report of his most respectable contemporaries, by a single
virtue. In him the papacy reached its lowest degradation. His pontificate,
however, was not without its use; since that Providence, which still
educes good from evil, made the scandal, which it occasioned to the
Christian world, a principal spring of the glorious Reformation. [7]

The death of this pontiff occasioned no particular disquietude at the
Spanish court, where his immoral life had been viewed with undisguised
reprobation, and made the subject of more than one pressing remonstrance,
as we have already seen. His public course had been as little to its
satisfaction; since, although a Spaniard by birth, being a native of
Valencia, he had placed himself almost wholly at the disposal of Louis the
Twelfth, in return for the countenance afforded by that monarch to the
iniquitous schemes of his son, Caesar Borgia.

The pope's death was attended with important consequences on the movements
of the French. Louis's favorite minister, Cardinal D'Amboise, had long
looked to this event as opening to him the succession to the tiara. He now
hastened to Italy, therefore, with his master's approbation, proposing to
enforce his pretensions by the presence of the French army, placed, as it
would seem, with this view at his disposal.

The army, accordingly, was ordered to advance towards Rome, and halt
within a few miles of its gates. The conclave of cardinals, then convened
to supply the vacancy in the pontificate, were filled with indignation at
this attempt to overawe their election; and the citizens beheld with
anxiety the encampment of this formidable force under their walls,
anticipating some counteracting movement on the part of the Great Captain,
which might involve their capital, already in a state of anarchy, in all
the horrors of war. Gonsalvo, indeed, had sent forward a detachment of
between two and three thousand men, under Mendoza and Fabrizio Colonna,
who posted themselves in the neighborhood of the city, where they could
observe the movements of the enemy. [8]

At length Cardinal D'Amboise, yielding to public feeling, and the
representations of pretended friends, consented to the removal of the
French forces from the neighborhood, and trusted for success to his
personal influence. He over-estimated its weight. It is foreign to our
purpose to detail the proceedings of the reverend body, thus convened to
supply the chair of St. Peter. They are displayed at full length by the
Italian writers, and must be allowed to form a most edifying chapter in
ecclesiastical history. [9] It is enough to state, that, on the departure
of the French, the suffrages of the conclave fell on an Italian, who
assumed the name of Pius the Third, and who justified the policy of the
choice by dying in less time than his best friends had anticipated;--
within a month after his elevation. [10]

The new vacancy was at once supplied by the election of Julius the Second,
the belligerent pontiff who made his tiara a helmet, and his crosier a
sword. It is remarkable, that, while his fierce, inexorable temper left
him with scarcely a personal friend, he came to the throne by the united
suffrages of each of the rival factions of France, Spain, and, above all,
Venice, whose ruin in return he made the great business of his restless
pontificate. [11]

No sooner had the game, into which Cardinal D'Amboise had entered with
such prospects of success, been snatched from his grasp by the superior
address of his Italian rivals, and the election of Pius the Third been
publicly announced, than the French army was permitted to resume its march
on Naples, after the loss,--an irreparable loss,--of more than a month. A
still greater misfortune had befallen it, in the mean time, in the illness
of Trémouille, its chief; which compelled him to resign the command into
the hands of the marquis of Mantua, an Italian nobleman, who held the
second station in the army. He was a man of some military experience,
having fought in the Venetian service, and led the allied forces, with
doubtful credit indeed, against Charles the Eighth at the battle of
Fornovo. His elevation was more acceptable to his own countrymen than to
the French; and in truth, however competent to ordinary exigencies, he was
altogether unequal to the present, in, which he was compelled to measure
his genius with that of the greatest captain of the age. [12]

The Spanish commander, in the mean while, was detained before the strong
post of Gaeta, into which Ives d'Allègre had thrown himself, as already
noticed, with the fugitives from the field of Cerignola, where he had been
subsequently reinforced by four thousand additional troops under the
marquis of Saluzzo. From these circumstances, as well as the great
strength of the place, Gonsalvo experienced an opposition, to which, of
late, he had been wholly unaccustomed. His exposed situation in the
plains, under the guns of the city, occasioned the loss of many of his
best men, and, among others, that of his friend Don Hugo de Cardona, one
of the late victors at Seminara, who was shot down at his side, while
conversing with him. At length, after a desperate but ineffectual attempt
to extricate himself from his perilous position by forcing the neighboring
eminence of Mount Orlando, he was compelled to retire to a greater
distance, and draw off his army to the adjacent village of Castellone,
which may call up more agreeable associations in the reader's mind, as the
site of the Villa Formiana of Cicero. [13] At this place he was still
occupied with the blockade of Gaeta, when he received intelligence that
the French had crossed the Tiber, and were in full march against him. [14]

While Gonsalvo lay before Gaeta, he had been intent on collecting such
reinforcements as he could from every quarter. The Neapolitan division
under Navarro had already joined him, as well as the victorious legions of
Andrada from Calabria. His strength was further augmented by the arrival
of between two and three thousand troops, Spanish, German, and Italian,
which the Castilian minister, Francisco de Roxas, had levied in Rome; and
he was in daily hopes of a more important accession from the same quarter,
through the good offices of the Venetian ambassador. Lastly, he had
obtained some additional recruits, and a remittance of a considerable sum
of money, in a fleet of Catalan ships lately arrived from Spain. With all
this, however, a heavy amount of arrears remained due to his troops. In
point of numbers he was still far inferior to the enemy; no computation
swelling them higher than three thousand horse, two of them light cavalry,
and nine thousand foot. The strength of his army lay in his Spanish
infantry, on whose thorough discipline, steady nerve, and strong
attachment to his person he felt he might confidently rely. In cavalry,
and still more in artillery, he was far below the French, which, together
with his great numerical inferiority, made it impossible for him to keep
the open country. His only resource was to get possession of some pass or
strong position, which lay in their route, where he might detain them,
till the arrival of further reinforcements should enable him to face them
on more equal terms. The deep stream of the Garigliano presented such a
line of defence as he wanted. [15]

On the 6th of October, therefore, the Great Captain broke up his camp at
Castellone, and, abandoning the whole region north of the Garigliano to
the enemy, struck into the interior of the country, and took post at San
Germano, a strong place on the other side of the river, covered by the two
fortresses of Monte Casino [16] and Rocca Secca. Into this last he threw a
body of determined men under Villalba, and waited calmly the approach of
the enemy.

It was not long before the columns of the latter were descried in full
march on Ponte Corvo, at a few miles' distance only on the opposite side
of the Garigliano. After a brief halt there, they traversed the bridge
before that place and advanced confidently forward in the expectation of
encountering little resistance from a foe so much their inferior. In this
they were mistaken; the garrison of Rocca Secca, against which they
directed their arms, handled them so roughly, that, after in vain
endeavoring to carry the place in two desperate assaults, the marquis of
Mantua resolved to abandon the attempt altogether, and, recrossing the
river, to seek a more practicable point for his purpose lower down. [17]

Keeping along the right bank, therefore, to the southeast of the mountains
of Fondi, he descended nearly to the mouth of the Garigliano, the site, as
commonly supposed, of the ancient Minturnae. [18] The place was covered by
a fortress called the Tower of the Garigliano, occupied by a small Spanish
garrison, who made some resistance, but surrendered on being permitted to
march out with the honors of war. On rejoining their countrymen under
Gonsalvo, the latter were so much incensed that the garrison should have
yielded on any terms, instead of dying on their posts, that, falling on
them with their pikes, they massacred them all to a man. Gonsalvo did not
think proper to punish this outrage, which, however shocking to his own
feelings, indicated a desperate tone of resolution, which he felt he
should have occasion to tax to the utmost in the present exigency. [19]

The ground now occupied by the armies was low and swampy, a character
which it possessed in ancient times; the marshes on the southern side
being supposed to be the same in which Marius concealed himself from his
enemies during his proscription. [20] Its natural humidity was greatly
increased, at this time, by the excessive rains, which began earlier and
with much more violence than usual. The French position was neither so low
nor so wet as that of the Spaniards. It had the advantage, moreover, of
being supported by a well-peopled and friendly country in the rear, where
lay the large towns of Fondi, Itri, and Gaeta; while their fleet, under
the admiral Prejan, which rode at anchor in the mouth of the Garigliano,
might be of essential service in the passage of the river.

In order to effect this, the marquis of Mantua prepared to throw a bridge
across, at a point not far from Trajetto. He succeeded in it,
notwithstanding the swollen and troubled condition of the waters, [20] in
a few days, under cover of the artillery, which he had planted on the bank
of the river, and which from its greater elevation entirely commanded the
opposite shore.

The bridge was constructed of boats belonging to the fleet, strongly
secured together and covered with planks. The work being completed, on the
6th of November the army advanced upon the bridge, supported by such a
lively cannonade from the batteries along the shore, as made all
resistance on the part of the Spaniards ineffectual. The impetuosity with
which the French rushed forward was such as to drive back the advanced
guard of their enemy, which, giving way in disorder, retreated on the main
body. Before the confusion could extend further, Gonsalvo, mounted _á la
gineta_, in the manner of the light cavalry, rode through the broken
ranks, and, rallying the fugitives, quickly brought them to order. Navarro
and Andrada, at the same time, led up the Spanish infantry, and the whole
column charging furiously against the French, compelled them to falter and
at length to fall back on the bridge.

The struggle now became desperate, officers and soldiers, horse and foot,
mingling together, and fighting hand to hand, with all the ferocity
kindled by close personal combat. Some were trodden under the feet of the
cavalry, many more were forced from the bridge, and the waters of the
Garigliano were covered with men and horses, borne down by the current,
and struggling in vain to gain the shore. It was a contest of mere bodily
strength and courage, in which skill and superior tactics were of little
avail. Among those who most distinguished themselves, the name of the
noble Italian, Fabrizio Colonna, is particularly mentioned. An heroic
action is recorded also of a person of inferior rank, a Spanish
_alferez_, or standard-bearer, named Illescas. The right hand of this
man was shot away by a cannon-ball. As a comrade was raising up the fallen
colors, the gallant ensign resolutely grasped them, exclaiming that "he
had one hand still left." At the same time, muffling a scarf round the
bleeding stump, he took his place in the ranks as before. This brave deed
did not go unrewarded, and a liberal pension was settled on him, at
Gonsalvo's instance.

During the heat of the _mêlée_, the guns on the French shore had been
entirely silent, since they could not be worked without doing as much
mischief to their own men as to the Spaniards, with whom they were closely
mingled. But, as the French gradually recoiled before their impetuous
adversaries, fresh bodies of the latter rushing forward to support their
advance necessarily exposed a considerable length of column to the range
of the French guns, which opened a galling fire on the further extremity
of the bridge. The Spaniards, notwithstanding "they threw themselves into
the face of the cannon," as the marquis of Mantua exclaimed, "with as much
unconcern as if their bodies had been made of air instead of flesh and
blood," found themselves so much distressed by this terrible fire, that
they were compelled to fall back; and the van, thus left without support,
at length retreated in turn, abandoning the bridge to the enemy. [21]

This action was one of the severest which occurred in these wars. Don Hugo
de Moncada, the veteran of many a fight by land and sea, told Paolo Giovio
that "he had never felt himself in such imminent peril in any of his
battles, as in this." [22] The French, notwithstanding they remained
masters of the contested bridge, had met with a resistance which greatly
discouraged them; and, instead of attempting to push their success
further, retired that same evening to their quarters on the other side of
the river. The tempestuous weather, which continued with unabated fury,
had now broken up the roads, and converted the soil into a morass, nearly
impracticable for the movements, of horse, and quite so for those of
artillery, on which the French chiefly relied; while it interposed
comparatively slight obstacles to the manoeuvres of infantry, which
constituted the strength of the Spaniards. From a consideration of these
circumstances, the French commander resolved not to resume active
operations till a change of weather, by restoring the roads, should enable
him to do so with advantage. Meanwhile he constructed a redoubt on the
Spanish extremity of the bridge, and threw a body of troops into it, in
order to command the pass whenever he should be disposed to use it. [23]

While the hostile armies thus lay facing each other, the eyes of all Italy
were turned to them, in anxious expectation of a battle which should

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