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

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the Eighth. Elizabeth was better educated, and every way more highly
accomplished than Isabella. But the latter knew enough to maintain her
station with dignity; and she encouraged learning by a munificent
patronage. [68] The masculine powers and passions of Elizabeth seemed to
divorce her in a great measure from the peculiar attributes of her sex; at
least from those which constitute its peculiar charm; for she had
abundance of its foibles,--a coquetry and love of admiration, which age
could not chill; a levity, most careless, if not criminal; [69] and a
fondness for dress and tawdry magnificence of ornament, which was
ridiculous, or disgusting, according to the different periods of life in
which it was indulged. [70] Isabella, on the other hand, distinguished
through life for decorum of manners, and purity beyond the breath of
calumny, was content with the legitimate affection which she could inspire
within the range of her domestic circle. Far from a frivolous affectation
of ornament or dress, she was most simple in her own attire, and seemed to
set no value on her jewels, but as they could serve the necessities of the
state; [71] when they could be no longer useful in this way, she gave them
away, as we have seen, to her friends.

Both were uncommonly sagacious in the selection of their ministers; though
Elizabeth was drawn into some errors in this particular, by her levity,
[72] as was Isabella by religious feeling. It was this, combined with her
excessive humility, which led to the only grave errors in the
administration of the latter. Her rival fell into no such errors; and she
was a stranger to the amiable qualities which led to them. Her conduct was
certainly not controlled by religious principle; and, though the bulwark
of the Protestant faith, it might be difficult to say whether she were at
heart most a Protestant or a Catholic. She viewed religion in its
connection with the state, in other words, with herself; and she took
measures for enforcing conformity to her own views, not a whit less
despotic, and scarcely less sanguinary, than those countenanced for
conscience' sake by her more bigoted rival. [73]

This feature of bigotry, which has thrown a shade over Isabella's
otherwise beautiful character, might lead to a disparagement of her
intellectual power compared with that of the English queen. To estimate
this aright, we must contemplate the results of their respective reigns.
Elizabeth found all the materials of prosperity at hand, and availed
herself of them most ably to build up a solid fabric of national grandeur.
Isabella created these materials. She saw the faculties of her people
locked up in a deathlike lethargy, and she breathed into them the breath
of life for those great and heroic enterprises, which terminated in such
glorious consequences to the monarchy. It is when viewed from the
depressed position of her early days, that the achievements of her reign
seem scarcely less than miraculous. The masculine genius of the English
queen stands out relieved beyond its natural dimensions by its separation
from the softer qualities of her sex. While her rival's, like some vast
but symmetrical edifice, loses in appearance somewhat of its actual
grandeur from the perfect harmony of its proportions.

The circumstances of their deaths, which were somewhat similar, displayed
the great dissimilarity of their characters. Both pined amidst their royal
state, a prey to incurable despondency, rather than any marked bodily
distemper. In Elizabeth it sprung from wounded vanity, a sullen conviction
that she had outlived the admiration on which she had so long fed,--and
even the solace of friendship, and the attachment of her subjects. Nor did
she seek consolation, where alone it was to be found, in that sad hour.
Isabella, on the other hand, sunk under a too acute sensibility to the
sufferings of others. But, amidst the gloom which gathered around her, she
looked with the eye of faith to the brighter prospects which unfolded of
the future; and, when she resigned her last breath, it was amidst the
tears and universal lamentations of her people.

It is in this undying, unabated attachment of the nation, indeed, that we
see the most unequivocal testimony to the virtues of Isabella. In the
downward progress of things in Spain, some of the most ill-advised
measures of her administration have found favor and been perpetuated,
while the more salutary have been forgotten. This may lead to a
misconception of her real merits. In order to estimate these, we must
listen to the voice of her contemporaries, the eye-witnesses of the
condition in which she found the state, and in which she left it. We shall
then see but one judgment formed of her, whether by foreigners or natives.
The French and Italian writers equally join in celebrating the triumphant
glories of her reign, and her magnanimity, wisdom, and purity of
character. [74] Her own subjects extol her as "the most brilliant exemplar
of every virtue," and mourn over the day of her death as "the last of the
prosperity and happiness of their country." [75] While those who had
nearer access to her person are unbounded in their admiration of those
amiable qualities, whose full power is revealed only in the unrestrained
intimacies of domestic life. [76] The judgment of posterity has ratified
the sentence of her own age. The most enlightened Spaniards of the present
day, by no means insensible to the errors of her government, but more
capable of appreciating its merits than those of a less instructed age,
bear honorable testimony to her deserts; and, while they pass over the
bloated magnificence of succeeding monarchs, who arrest the popular eye,
dwell with enthusiasm on Isabella's character, as the most truly great in
their line of princes. [77]


[1] Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. lib. 28, cap. 11.--Zurita, Anales,
tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 84.

[2] Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 16.--Peter Martyr, Opus
Epist., epist. 271, 272.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 46.--Carbajal,
Anales, MS., año 1504.

[3] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 46, 47.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist.,
epist. 273.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1504.

[4] Opus Epist., epist. 274.

[5] A short time before her death, she received a visit from the
distinguished officer, Prospero Colonna. The Italian noble, on being
presented to King Ferdinand, told him, that "he had come to Castile to
behold the woman, who from her sick bed ruled the world;" "ver una señora
que desde la cama mandava al mundo." Sandoval, Hist. del Emp. Carlos V.,
tom. i. p. 8.--Carta de Gonzalo, MS.

[6] Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 47.

Among the foreigners introduced to the queen at this time, was a
celebrated Venetian traveller, named Vianelli, who presented her with a
cross of pure gold set with precious stones, among which was a carbuncle
of inestimable value. The liberal Italian met with rather an uncourtly
rebuke from Ximenes, who told him, on leaving the presence, that "he had
rather have the money his diamonds cost, to spend in the service of the
church, than all the gems of the Indies." Ibid.

[7] Opus Epist., epist. 276.

[8] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 200, 201.--Carbajal, Anales,
MS., año 1504.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 16.--Zuñiga,
Annales de Sevilla, pp. 423, 424.

[9] "Ni fagan fnera de los dichos mis Reynos e Señorios, Leyes e
Premáticas, ni las otras cosas que en Cortes se deven hazer segand las
Leyes de ellos;" (Testamento, apud Dormer, Discursos Varios, p. 343;) an
honorable testimony to the legislative rights of the cortes, which
contrasts strongly with the despotic assumption of preceding and
succeeding princes.

[10] I have before me three copies of Isabella's testament; one in MS.,
apud Carbajal, Anales, año 1504; a second printed in the beautiful
Valencia edition of Mariana, tom. ix. apend. no. 1; and a third published
in Dormer's Discursos Varios de Historia, pp. 314-388. I am not aware that
it has been printed elsewhere.

[11] The "Ordenanjas Reales de Castilla," published in 1484, and the
"Pragmáticas del Reyno," first printed in 1503, comprehend the general
legislation of this reign; a particular account of which the reader may
find in Part I. Chapter 6, and Part II. Chapter 26, of this History.

[12] Las Casas, who will not be suspected of sycophancy, remarks, in his
narrative of the destruction of the Indies, "Les plus grandes horreurs de
ces guerres et de cette boucherie commencèrent aussitôt qu'on sut en
Amérique que la reine Isabelle venait de mourir; car jusqu'alors il ne
s'était pas commis autant de crimes dans l'île Espagnole, et l'on avait
même eu soin de les cacher à cette princesse, parce qu'elle ne cessait de
recommander de traiter les Indiens avec douceur, et de ne rien négliger
pour les rendre heureux: _j'ai vu, ainsi que beaucoup d'Espagnols, les
lettres qu'elle écrivait à ce sujet, et les ordres qu'elle envoyait; ce
qui prouve que cette admirable reine aurait mis fin à tant de cruautés, si
elle avait pu les connaître_." Oeuvres, ed. de Llorente, tom. i. p. 21.

[13] The original codicil is still preserved among the manuscripts of the
Royal Library at Madrid. It is appended to the queen's testament in the
works before noticed.

[14] Clemencin has given a fac-simile of this last signature of the queen,
in the Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 21.

[15] L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 187.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii.
lib. 19, cap. 16.

[16] Arevalo, Historia Palentina, MS., apud Mem. de la Acad. de Hist.,
tom. vi. p. 572.--L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 187.--Garibay,
Compendio, ubi supra.

[17] Isabella was born April 22d, 1451, and ascended the throne December
12th, 1474.

[18] Opus Epist., epist. 279.

[19] Opus Epist., epist. 280.--The text does not exaggerate the language
of the epistle.

[20] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 201.--Carbajal, Anales, MS.,
año 1504.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 16.--Zurita, tom. v.
lib. 5, cap. 84.--Navagiero, Viaggio, fol. 23.

[21] The Curate of Los Palacios remarks of her, "Fue muger hermosa, de muy
gentil cuerpo, e gesto, e composicion." (Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 201.)
Pulgar, another contemporary, eulogizes "el mirar muy gracioso, y honesto,
las facciones del rostro bien puestas, la cara toda muy hermosa." (Reyes
Católicos, part. 1, cap. 4.) L. Marineo says, "Todo lo que avia en el rey
de dignidad, se hallava en la reyna de graciosa hermosura, y en entrambos
se mostrava una majestad venerable, aunque a juyzio de muchos la reyna era
de mayor hermosura." (Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.) And Oviedo, who had
likewise frequent opportunities of personal observation, does not hesitate
to declare, "En hermosura puestas delante de S. A. todas las mugeres que
yo he visto, ninguna vi tan graciosa, ni tanto de ver como su persona."
Quincuagenas, MS.

[22] Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 8.

[23] Ibid., ubi supra.

[24] L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos,
part. 1, cap, 4.

[25] Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. p. 323.

[26] Such occasions have rare charms, of course, for the gossipping
chroniclers of the period. See, among others, the gorgeous ceremonial of
the baptism and presentation of Prince John at Seville, 1478, as related
by the good Curate of Los Palacios. (Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 32, 33.)
"Isabella was surrounded and served," says Pulgar, "by grandees and lords
of the highest rank, so that it was said she maintained too great pomp;
_pompa demasiada_." Reyes Católicos, part. 1, cap. 4.

[27] Florez quotes a passage from an original letter of the queen, written
soon after one of her progresses into Galicia, showing her habitual
liberality in this way. "Decid a doña Luisa, que porque vengo de Galicia
desecha de vestidos, no le envio para su hermana; que no tengo agora cosa
buena; mas yo ge los enviare presto buenos." Reynas Cathólicas, tom. ii.
p. 839.

[28] See the magnificent inventory presented to her daughter-in-law,
Margaret of Austria, and to her daughter Maria, queen of Portugal, apud
Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 12.

[29] "Alegre," says the author of "Carro de las Doñas," "de una alegria
honesta y mui mesurada." Ibid., p. 558.

[30] Among the retainers of the court, Bernaldez notices "la moltitud de
poetas, de trobadores, e músicos de todas partes." Reyes Católicos, MS.,
cap. 201.

[31] "Queria que sus cartas é mandamientos fuesen complidos con
diligencia." Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, part. 1, cap. 4

[32] See a remarkable instance of this, in her treatment of the faithless
Juan de Corral, noticed in Part I. Chapter 10, of this History.

[33] The melancholy tone of Columbus's correspondence after the queen's
death, shows too well the color of his fortunes and feelings. (Navarrete,
Coleccion de Viages, tom. i. pp. 341 et seq.) The sentiments of the Great
Captain were still more unequivocally expressed, according to Giovio. "Nec
multis inde diebus Regina fato concessit, incredibili cum dolore atque
jacturâ Consalvi; nam ab eâ tanquam alumnus, ac in ejus regiâ educatus,
cuncta quae exoptari possent virtutis et dignitatis incrementa ademptum
fuisse fatebatur, rege ipso quanquam minus benigno parumque liberali
nunquam reginae voluntati reluctari anso. Id vero praeclare tanquam
verissimum apparuit elatâ reginâ." Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 275.

[34] The reader may recall a striking example of this, in the early part
of her reign, in her great tenderness and forbearance towards the humors
of Carillo, archbishop of Toledo, her quondam friend, but then her most
implacable foe.

[35] Isabella at her brother's court might well have sat for the whole of
Milton's beautiful portraiture.

"So dear to heaven is saintly chastity,
That, when a soul is found sincerely so,
A thousand liveried angels lackey her.
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
And, in clear dream and solemn vision.
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear,
Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape,
The unpolluted temple of the mind,
And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence,
Till all be made immortal."

[36] "Era tanto," says L. Marineo, "el ardor y diligencia que tenia cerca
el culto divino, que aunque de dia y de noche estava muy ocupada en
grandes y arduos negocios de la governacion de muchos reynos y señorios,
parescia que _su vida era mas contemplativa que activa_. Porque siempre se
hallava presente a los divinos oficios y a la palabra de Dios. Era tanta
su atencion que si alguno de los que celebravan o cantavan los psalmos, o
otras cosas de la yglesia errava alguna dicion o syllaba, lo sintia y lo
notava, y despues como maestro a discipulo se lo emendava y corregia.
Acostumbrava cada dia dezir todas las horas canónicas demas de otras
muchas votivas y extraordinarias devociones que tenia." Cosas Memorables,
fol. 183.

[37] Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, part. 1, cap. 4.--Lucio Marineo enumerates
many of these splendid charities.--(Cosas Memorables, fol. 165.) See also
the notices scattered over the Itinerary (Viaggio in Spagna) of Navagiero,
who travelled through the country a few years after.

[38] The archbishop's letters are little better than a homily on the sins
of dancing, feasting, dressing, and the like, garnished with scriptural
allusions, and conveyed in a tone of sour rebuke, that would have done
credit to the most canting Roundhead in Oliver Cromwell's court. The
queen, far from taking exception at it, vindicates herself from the grave
imputations with a degree of earnestness and simplicity, which may provoke
a smile in the reader. "I am aware," she concludes, "that custom cannot
make an action, bad in itself, good; but I wish your opinion, whether,
under all the circumstances, these can be considered bad; that, if so,
they may be discontinued in future." See this curious correspondence in
Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Ilust. 13.

[39] Such encomiums become still more striking in writers of sound and
expansive views like Zurita and Blancas, who, although flourishing in a
better instructed age, do not scruple to pronounce the Inquisition "the
greatest evidence of her prudence and piety, whose uncommon utility, not
only Spain, but all Christendom, freely acknowledged!" Blancas,
Commentarii, p. 263.--Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 1, cap. 6.

[40] Sismondi displays the mischievous influence of these theological
dogmas in Italy, as well as Spain, under the pontificate of Alexander VI.
and his immediate predecessors, in the 90th chapter of his eloquent and
philosophical "Histoire des Républiques Italiennes."

[41] I borrow almost the words of Mr. Hallam, who, noticing the penal
statutes against Catholics under Elizabeth, says, "They established a
persecution, which fell not at all short in principle of that for which
the Inquisition had become so odious." (Constitutional History of England,
(Paris, 1827,) vol. i. chap. 3.) Even Lord Burleigh, commenting on the
mode of examination adopted in certain cases by the High Commission court,
does not hesitate to say, the interrogatories were "so curiously penned,
so full of branches and circumstances, as he thought the inquisitors of
Spain used not so many questions to comprehend and to trap their preys."
Ibid., chap. 4.

[42] Even Milton, in his essay on the "Liberty of Unlicensed Printing,"
the most splendid argument, perhaps, the world had then witnessed in
behalf of intellectual liberty, would exclude Popery from the benefits of
toleration, as a religion which the public good required at all events to
be extirpated. Such were the crude views of the rights of conscience
entertained in the latter half of the seventeenth century, by one of those
gifted minds, whose extraordinary elevation enabled it to catch and
reflect back the coming light of knowledge, long before it had fallen on
the rest of mankind.

[43] The most remarkable example of this, perhaps, occurred in the case of
the wealthy Galician knight, Yañez de Lugo, who endeavored to purchase a
pardon of the queen by the enormous bribe of 40,000 doblas of gold. The
attempt failed, though warmly supported by some of the royal counsellors.
The story is well vouched. Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, part. 2, cap. 97.--L.
Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 180.

[44] The reader may recollect a pertinent illustration of this, on the
occasion of Ximenes's appointment to the primacy. See Part II. Chapter 5,
of this History.

[45] See, among other instances, her exemplary chastisement of the
ecclesiastics of Truxillo. Part I. Chapter 12, of this History.

[46] Ibid., Part I. Chapter 6, Part II. Chapter 10, et alibi. Indeed, this
independent attitude was shown, as I have more than once had occasion to
notice, not merely in shielding the rights of her own crown, but in the
boldest remonstrances against the corrupt practices and personal
immorality of those who filled the chair of St. Peter at this period.

[47] The public acts of this reign afford repeated evidence of the
pertinacity with which Isabella insisted on reserving the benefits of the
Moorish conquests and the American discoveries for her own subjects of
Castile, by whom and for whom they had been mainly achieved. The same
thing is reiterated in the most emphatic manner in her testament.

[48] Opus Epist., epist. 31.

[49] Mem. de la. Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. p. 49.

[50] The preamble of one of her _pragmáticas_ against this lavish
expenditure at funerals, contains some reflections worth quoting for the
evidence they afford of her practical good sense. "Nos deseando proveer e
remediar al tal gasto sin provecho, e considerando que esto no redunda en
sufragio e alivio de las animas de los defuntos," etc. "Pero los Católicos
Christianos que creemos que hai otra vida despues desta, donde las animas
esperan folganza e vida perdurable, _desta habemos de curar e procurar
de la ganar por obras meritorias, e no por cosas transitorias e vanas como
son los lutos e gastos excesivos_," Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi.
p. 318.

[51] Her exposure in this way on one occasion brought on a miscarriage.
According to Gomez, indeed, she finally died of a painful internal
disorder, occasioned by her long and laborious journeys. (De Rebus Gestis,
fol. 47.) Giovio adopts the same account. (Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 275.)
The authorities are good, certainly; but Martyr, who was in the palace,
with every opportunity of correct information, and with no reason for
concealment of the truth, in his private correspondence with Tendilla and
Talavera, makes no allusion whatever to such a complaint, in his
circumstantial account of the queen's illness.

[52] Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom. vii. p. 411.--Mem. de la Acad. de
Hist., tom. vi. p. 29.

[53] L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.--"Pronunciaba con primor el
latin, y era tan habil en la prosodia, que si erraban algun acento, luego
le corregia." Idem., apud Florez, Reynas Cathólicas, tom. ii. pp. 834.

[54] If we are to believe Florez, the king wore no shirt but of the
queen's making. "Preciabase de no haverse puesto su marido camisa, que
elle no huviesse hilado y cosido." (Reynas Cathólicas, tom. ii. p. 832.)
If this be taken literally, his wardrobe, considering the multitude of her
avocations, must have been indifferently furnished.

[55] Among many evidences of this, what other need be given than her
conduct at the famous riot at Segovia? Part I. Chapter 6, of this History.

[56] Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, part. 1, cap. 4.--"No fue la Reyna," says L.
Marineo, "de animo menos fuerte para sufrir los dolores corporales. Porque
como yo fuy informado de las dueñas que le servian en la camara, ni en los
dolores que padescia de sus enfermidades, ni en los del parto (que es cosa
de grande admiracion) nunca la vieron quexar se; antes con increyble y
maravillosa fortaleza los suffria y dissimulava." (Cosas Memorables, fol.
186.) To the same effect writes the anonymous author of the "Carro de las
Doñas," apud Mem. de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. p. 559.

[57] "Era firme en sus propósitos, de los quales se retraia con gran
dificultad." Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, part. 1, cap. 4.

[58] The reader may refresh his recollection of Tasso's graceful sketch of
Erminia in similar warlike panoply.

"Col durissimo acciar preme ed offende
Il delicato collo e l'aurea chioma;
E la tenera man lo scudo prende
Pur troppo grave e insopportabil soma.
Cosi tutta di ferro intorno splende,
E in atto militar se stessa doma."
Gerusalemme Liberata, canto 6, stanza 92.

[59] Viaggio, fol. 27.

[60] We find one of the first articles in the marriage treaty with
Ferdinand enjoining him to cherish, and treat her mother with all
reverence, and to provide suitably for her royal maintenance. (Mem. de la
Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. Apend. no. 1.) The author of the "Carro de las
Doñas" thus notices her tender devotedness to her parent, at a later
period. "Y esto me dijo quien lo vido por sus proprios ojos, que la Reyna
Doña Isabel, nuestra señora, cuando estaba alli en Arevalo visitando a su
madre, ella misma por su persona servia a su misma madre. E aqui tomen
ejemplo los hijos como han de servir à sus padres, pues una Reina tan
poderosa y en negocios tan arduos puesta, todos los mas de los años
(puesto todo aparte y pospuesto) iba a visitar a su madre y la servia
humilmente." Viaggio, p. 557.

[61] Among other little tokens of mutual affection, it may be mentioned
that not only the public coin, but their furniture, books, and other
articles of personal property, were stamped with their initials, F & I, or
emblazoned with their devices, his being a yoke, and hers a sheaf of
arrows. (Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 2, dial. 3.) It was
common, says Oviedo, for each party to take a device, whose initial
corresponded with that of the name of the other; as was the case here,
with _jugo_ and _flechas_.

[62] Marineo thus speaks of the queen's discreet and most amiable conduct
in these delicate matters. "Amava en tanta manera al Rey su marido, que
andava sobre aviso con celos a ver si el amava a otras. Y si sentia que
mirava a alguna dama o donzella de su casa con señal de amores, con mucha
prudencia buscava medios y maneras con que despedir aquella tal persona de
su casa, con su mucha honrra y provecho." (Cosas Memorables, fol. 182.)
There was unfortunately too much cause for this uneasiness. See Part II.
Chapter 24, of this History.

[63] The best beloved of her friends, probably, was the marchioness of
Moya, who, seldom separated from her royal mistress through life, had the
melancholy satisfaction of closing her eyes in death. Oviedo, who saw them
frequently together, says, that the queen never addressed this lady, even
in later life, with any other than the endearing title of _hija marquesa_,
"daughter marchioness." Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 1, dial. 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[22] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 202.--Carbajal, Anales, MS.,
año 1505.

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

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

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

[24] Fleurange, Mémoires, chap. 15.--Seyssel, Hist. de Louys XII., pp.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[41] Opus Epist., epist. 308.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[51] Zurita, Anales, ubi supra.

[52] Idem, ubi supra.

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"A Castilla y á Leon
Nuevo mundo dió Colon;"

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[10] Ibid., p. 338.

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

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

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

[14] Hist. del Almirante, ubi supra.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These suggestions, in which some truth, as usual, was mingled with a large
infusion of error, gradually excited more and more uneasiness in the
breast of the cautious and naturally distrustful Ferdinand. He at first
endeavored to abridge the powers of the Great Captain by recalling half
the troops in his service, notwithstanding the unsettled state of the
kingdom. [10] He then took the decisive step of ordering his return to
Castile, on pretence of employing him in affairs of great importance at
home. To allure him more effectually, he solemnly pledged himself by an
oath to transfer to him, on his landing in Spain, the grandmastership of
St. Jago, with all its princely dependencies and emoluments, the noblest
gift in the possession of the crown. Finding all this ineffectual, and
that Gonsalvo still procrastinated his return on various pretexts, the
king's uneasiness increased to such a degree, that he determined to press
his own departure for Naples, and bring back, if not too late, his too
powerful vassal. [11]

On the 4th of September, 1506, Ferdinand embarked at Barcelona, on board a
well-armed squadron of Catalan galleys, taking with him his young and
beautiful bride, and a numerous train of Aragonese nobles. On the 24th of
the month, after a boisterous and tedious passage, he reached the port of
Genoa. Here, to his astonishment, he was joined by the Great Captain, who,
advised of the king's movements, had come from Naples with a small fleet
to meet him. This frank conduct of his general, if it did not disarm
Ferdinand of his suspicions, showed him the policy of concealing them; and
he treated Gonsalvo with all the consideration and show of confidence,
which might impose, not merely on the public, but on the immediate subject
of them. [12]

The Italian writers of the time express their astonishment that the
Spanish general should have so blindly trusted himself into the hands of
his suspicious master. [13] But he, doubtless, felt strong in the
consciousness of his own integrity. There appears to have been no good
reason for impeaching this. His most equivocal act was his delay to obey
the royal summons. But much weight is reasonably due to his own
explanation, that he was deterred by the distracted state of the country,
arising from the proposed transfer of property to the Angevin barons, as
well as from the precipitate disbanding of the army, which it required all
his authority to prevent from breaking into open mutiny. [14] To these
motives may be probably added the natural, though perhaps unconscious
reluctance to relinquish the exalted station, little short of absolute
sovereignty, which he had so long and so gloriously filled.

He had, indeed, lorded it over his viceroyalty with most princely sway.
But he had assumed no powers to which he was not entitled by his services
and peculiar situation. His public operations in Italy had been uniformly
conducted for the advantage of his country, and, until the late final
treaty with France, were mainly directed to the expulsion of that power
beyond the Alps. [15] Since that event, he had busily occupied himself
with the internal affairs of Naples, for which he made many excellent
provisions, contriving by his consummate address to reconcile the most
conflicting interests and parties. Although the idol of the army and of
the people, there is not the slightest evidence of an attempt to pervert

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