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

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naturally affected as they called to mind the pomp and splendor of his
triumphal entry on the first occupation of the Moorish capital. [40]

By his dying injunctions, all unnecessary ostentation was interdicted at
his funeral. His body was laid by the side of Isabella's in the monastery
of the Alhambra; and the year following, [41] when the royal chapel of the
metropolitan church was completed, they were both transported thither. A
magnificent mausoleum of white marble was erected over them, by their
grandson, Charles the Fifth. It was executed in a style worthy of the age.
The sides were adorned with figures of angels and saints, richly
sculptured in bas-relief. On the top reposed the effigies of the
illustrious pair, whose titles and merits were commemorated in the
following brief, and not very felicitous inscription.


King Ferdinand's personal appearance has been elsewhere noticed. "He was
of the middle size," says a contemporary, who knew him well. "His
complexion was fresh; his eyes bright and animated; his nose and mouth
small and finely formed, and his teeth white; his forehead lofty and
serene; with flowing hair of a bright chestnut color. His manners were
courteous, and his countenance seldom clouded by anything like spleen or
melancholy. He was grave in speech and action, and had a marvellous
dignity of presence. His whole demeanor, in fine, was truly that of a
great king." For this flattering portrait Ferdinand must have sat at an
earlier and happier period of his life. [43]

His education, owing to the troubled state of the times, had been
neglected in his boyhood, though he was early instructed in all the
generous pastimes and exercises of chivalry. [44] He was esteemed one of
the most perfect horsemen of his court. He led an active life, and the
only kind of reading he appeared to relish was history. It was natural
that so busy an actor on the great political theatre should have found
peculiar interest and instruction in this study. [45]

He was naturally of an equable temper, and inclined to moderation in all
things. The only amusement for which he cared much was hunting, especially
falconry, and that he never carried to excess till his last years. [46] He
was indefatigable in application to business. He had no relish for the
pleasures of the table, and, like Isabella, was temperate even to
abstemiousness in his diet. [47] He was frugal in his domestic and
personal expenditure; partly, no doubt, from a willingness to rebuke the
opposite spirit of wastefulness and ostentation in his nobles. He lost no
good opportunity of doing this. On one occasion, it is said, he turned to
a gallant of the court noted for his extravagance in dress, and laying his
hand on his own doublet, exclaimed, "Excellent stuff this; it has lasted
me three pair of sleeves!" [48] This spirit of economy was carried so far
as to bring on him the reproach of parsimony. [49] And parsimony, though
not so pernicious on the whole as the opposite vice of prodigality, has
always found far less favor with the multitude, from the appearance of
disinterestedness, which the latter carries with it. Prodigality in a
king, however, who draws not on his own resources, but on the public,
forfeits even this equivocal claim to applause. But, in truth, Ferdinand
was rather frugal, than parsimonious. His income was moderate; his
enterprises numerous and vast. It was impossible that he could meet them
without husbanding his resources with the most careful economy. [50] No
one has accused him of attempting to enrich his exchequer by the venal
sale of office, like Louis the Twelfth, or by griping extortion, like
another royal contemporary, Henry the Seventh. He amassed no treasure,
[51] and indeed died so poor, that he left scarcely enough in his coffers
to defray the charges of his funeral. [52]

Ferdinand was devout; at least he was scrupulous in regard to the exterior
of religion. He was punctual in attendance on mass; careful to observe all
the ordinances and ceremonies of his church; and left many tokens of his
piety, after the fashion of the time, in sumptuous edifices and endowments
for religious purposes. Although not a superstitious man for the age, he
is certainly obnoxious to the reproach of bigotry; for he co-operated with
Isabella in all her exceptionable measures in Castile, and spared no
effort to fasten the odious yoke of the Inquisition on Aragon, and
subsequently, though happily with less success, on Naples. [53]

Ferdinand has incurred the more serious charge of hypocrisy. His Catholic
zeal was observed to be marvellously efficacious in furthering his
temporal interests. [54] His most objectionable enterprises, even, were
covered with a veil of religion. In this, however, he did not materially
differ from the practice of the age. Some of the most scandalous wars of
that period were ostensibly at the bidding of the church, or in defence of
Christendom against the infidel. This ostentation of a religious motive
was indeed very usual with the Spanish and Portuguese. The crusading
spirit, nourished by their struggle with the Moors, and subsequently by
their African and American expeditions, gave such a religious tone
habitually to their feelings, as shed an illusion over their actions and
enterprises, frequently disguising their true character, even from

It will not be so easy to acquit Ferdinand of the reproach of perfidy
which foreign writers have so deeply branded on his name, [55] and which
those of his own nation have sought rather to palliate than to deny. [56]
It is but fair to him, however, even here, to take a glance at the age. He
came forward when government was in a state of transition from the feudal
forms to those which it has assumed in modern times; when the superior
strength of the great vassals was circumvented by the superior policy of
the reigning princes. It was the dawn of the triumph of intellect over the
brute force, which had hitherto controlled the movements of nations, as of
individuals. The same policy which these monarchs had pursued in their own
domestic relations, they introduced into those with foreign states, when,
at the close of the fifteenth century, the barriers that had so long kept
them asunder were broken down. Italy was the first field, on which the
great powers were brought into anything like a general collision. It was
the country, too, in which this crafty policy had been first studied, and
reduced to a regular system. A single extract from the political manual of
that age [57] may serve as a key to the whole science, as then understood.
"A prudent prince," says Machiavelli, "will not, and ought not to observe
his engagements, when it would operate to his disadvantage, and the causes
no longer exist which induced him to make them." [58] Sufficient evidence
of the practical application of the maxim may be found in the manifold
treaties of the period, so contradictory, or, what is to the same purpose
for our present argument, so confirmatory of one another in their tenor,
as clearly to show the impotence of all engagements. There were no less
than four several treaties in the course of three years, solemnly
stipulating the marriage of the archduke Charles and Claude of France.
Louis the Twelfth violated his engagements, and the marriage after all
never took place. [59]

Such was the school in which Ferdinand was to make trial of his skill with
his brother monarchs. He had an able instructor in his father, John the
Second, of Aragon, and the result showed that the lessons were not lost on
him. "He was vigilant, wary, and subtile," writes a French contemporary,
"and few histories make mention of his being outwitted in the whole course
of his life." [60] He played the game with more adroitness than his
opponents, and he won it. Success, as usual, brought on him the reproaches
of the losers. This is particularly true of the French, whose master,
Louis the Twelfth, was more directly pitted against him. [61] Yet
Ferdinand does not appear to be a whit more obnoxious to the charge of
unfairness than his opponent. [62] If he deserted his allies when it
suited his convenience, he, at least, did not deliberately plot their
destruction, and betray them into the hands of their deadly enemy, as his
rival did with Venice, in the league of Cambray. [63] The partition of
Naples, the most scandalous transaction of the period, he shared equally
with Louis; and if the latter has escaped the reproach of the usurpation
of Navarre, it was because the premature death of his general deprived him
of the pretext and means for achieving it. Yet Louis the Twelfth, the
"father of his people," has gone down to posterity with a high and
honorable reputation. [64]

Ferdinand, unfortunately for his popularity, had nothing of the frank and
cordial temper, the genial expansion of the soul, which begets love. He
carried the same cautious and impenetrable frigidity into private life,
that he showed in public. "No one," says a writer of the time, "could read
his thoughts by any change of his countenance." [65] Calm and calculating,
even in trifles, it was too obvious that everything had exclusive
reference to self. He seemed to estimate his friends only by the amount of
services they could render him. He was not always mindful of these
services. Witness his ungenerous treatment of Columbus, the Great Captain,
Navarro, Ximenes,--the men who shed the brightest lustre, and the most
substantial benefits, on his reign. Witness also his insensibility to the
virtues and long attachment of Isabella, whose memory he could so soon
dishonor by a union with one every way unworthy to be her successor.

Ferdinand's connection with Isabella, while it reflected infinite glory on
his reign, suggests a contrast most unfavorable to his character. Hers was
all magnanimity, disinterestedness, and deep devotion to the interests of
her people. His was the spirit of egotism. The circle of his views might
be more or less expanded, but self was the steady, unchangeable centre.
Her heart beat with the generous sympathies of friendship, and the purest
constancy to the first, the only object of her love. We have seen the
measure of his sensibilities in other relations. They were not more
refined in this; and he proved himself unworthy of the admirable woman
with whom his destinies were united, by indulging in those vicious
gallantries, too generally sanctioned by the age. [66] Ferdinand, in fine,
a shrewd and politic prince, "surpassing," as a French writer, not his
friend, has remarked, "all the statesmen of his time in the science of the
cabinet," [67] may be taken as the representative of the peculiar genius
of the age. While Isabella, discarding all the petty artifices of state
policy, and pursuing the noblest ends by the noblest means, stands far
above her age.

In his illustrious consort Ferdinand may be said to have lost his good
genius. [68] From that time his fortunes were under a cloud. Not that
victory sat less constantly on his banner; but at home he had lost

"All that should accompany old age,
As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends."

His ill-advised marriage disgusted his Castilian subjects. He ruled over
them, indeed, but more in severity than in love. The beauty of his young
queen opened new sources of jealousy; [69] while the disparity of their
ages, and her fondness for frivolous pleasure, as little qualified her to
be his partner in prosperity, as his solace in declining years. [70] His
tenacity of power drew him into vulgar squabbles with those most nearly
allied to him by blood, which settled into a mortal aversion. Finally,
bodily infirmity broke the energies of his mind, sour suspicions corroded
his heart, and he had the misfortune to live, long after he had lost all
that could make life desirable.

Let us turn from this gloomy picture to the brighter season of the morning
and meridian of his life; when he sat with Isabella on the united thrones
of Castile and Aragon, strong in the love of his own subjects, and in the
fear and respect of his enemies. We shall then find much in his character
to admire; his impartial justice in the administration of the laws; his
watchful solicitude to shield the weak from the oppression of the strong;
his wise economy, which achieved great results without burdening his
people with oppressive taxes; his sobriety and moderation; the decorum,
and respect for religion, which he maintained among his subjects; the
industry he promoted by wholesome laws and his own example; his consummate
sagacity, which crowned all his enterprises with brilliant success, and
made him the oracle of the princes of the age.

Machiavelli, indeed, the most deeply read of his time in human character,
imputes Ferdinand's successes, in one of his letters, to "cunning and good
luck, rather than superior wisdom." [71] He was indeed fortunate; and the
"star of Austria," which rose as his declined, shone not with a brighter
or steadier lustre. But success through a long series of years
sufficiently, of itself, attests good conduct. "The winds and waves," says
Gibbon, truly enough, "are always on the side of the most skilful
mariner." The Florentine statesman has recorded a riper and more
deliberate judgment in the treatise, which he intended as a mirror for the
rulers of the time. "Nothing," says he, "gains estimation for a prince
like great enterprises. Our own age has furnished a splendid example of
this in Ferdinand of Aragon. We may call him a new king, since from a
feeble one he has made himself the most renowned and glorious monarch of
Christendom; and, if we ponder well his manifold achievements, we must
acknowledge all of them very great, and some truly extraordinary." [72]

Other eminent foreigners of the time join in this lofty strain of
panegyric. [73] The Castilians, mindful of the general security and
prosperity they had enjoyed under his reign, seem willing to bury his
frailties in his grave. [74] While his own hereditary subjects, exulting
with patriotic pride in the glory to which he had raised their petty
state, and touched with grateful recollections of his mild, paternal
government, deplore his loss in strains of national sorrow, as the last of
the revered line, who was to preside over the destinies of Aragon, as a
separate and independent kingdom. [75]


[1] Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. lib. 29, cap. 21.--Zurita, Anales,
tom. vi. lib. 8, cap. 45, 47. 834.

[2] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 55, 69.--Peter Martyr, Opus
Epist., epist. 531.

[3] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 486.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan,
lib. 3, cap. 7.--Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 2.--Giovio, Vita
Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 3, p. 288.

[4] Opus Epist., epist. 487.--Pulgar, Sumario, p. 201.

[5] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 3, p. 289.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, lib. 3, cap. 7, 8.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 38.--Peter
Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 498.--Pulgar, Sumario, p. 201.

[6] Mariana, Hist. de España, tom. ii. lib. 30, cap. 14.--Giovio, Vitae
Illust. Virorum, pp. 290, 291.--Chrónica del Gran Capitan, lib. 3, cap. 7,
8, 9.--Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 28.--Quintana, Españoles
Célebres, tom. i. pp. 328-332.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30,
cap. 20.--Pulgar, Sumario, pp. 201-208.

[7] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1509.--Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10,
cap. 55.

[8] They are detailed with such curious precision by Martyr,--who is much
too precise, indeed, for our pages,--as to leave little doubt of the fact.
Opus Epist., epist. 531.

[9] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1513, et seq.--L. Marineo, Cosas
Memorables, fol. 188.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 146.--Sandoval, Hist.
del Emp. Carlos V., tom. i. p. 27.

"Non idem est vultus," says Peter Martyr of the king in a letter dated in
October, 1513, "non eadem facultas in audiendo, non eadem lenitas. Tria
sunt illi, ne priores resumat vires, opposita: senilis aetas; secundum
namque agit et sexagesimum annum: uxor, quam a latere nunquam abigit: et
venatus coeloque vivendi cupiditas, quae illum in sylvis detinet, ultra
quam in juvenili aetate, citra salutem, fas esset." Opus Epist., epist.

[10] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 93, 94.--Carbajal, Anales MS.,
año 1515.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 550.

[11] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 96.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon,
tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 23.--Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 292.

[12] Giovio Vitae Illust. Virorum, pp. 271, 292.--Chrónica del Gran
Capitan, lib. 3, cap. 9.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 560.--
Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1515.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 20,
cap. 23.--Pulgar, Sumario, p. 209.

[13] See a copy of the original letter in the Chrónica del Gran Capitan,
(fol. 164.) It is dated Jan. 3d, 1516, only three weeks before Ferdinand's

[14] Peter Martyr notices the death of this estimable nobleman, full of
years and of honors, in a letter dated July 18th, 1515. It is addressed to
Tendilla's son, and breathes the consolation flowing from the mild and
philosophical spirit of its amiable author. The count was made marquis of
Mondejar by Ferdinand, a short time before his death. His various titles
and dignities, including the government of Granada, descended to his
eldest son, Don Luis, Martyr's early pupil; his genius was inherited in
full measure by a younger, the famous Diego Hurtado de Mendoza.

[15] The following inscription is placed over them.


Qui propria virtute
Magni Ducis nomen
Proprium sibi fecit,
Perpetuae tandem
Luci restituenda,
Huic interea tumulo
Credita sunt;
Gloria minime consepulta."

[16] Navagiero, Viaggio, fol. 24.

On the top of the monument was seen the marble effigy of the Great
Captain, armed and kneeling. The banners and other military trophies,
which continued to garnish the walls of the chapel, according to Pedraza,
as late as 1600, had disappeared before the eighteenth century; at least
we may infer so from Colmenar's silence respecting them in his account of
the sepulchre. Pedraza, Antiguedad de Granada, fol. 114.--Colmenar,
Délices de l'Espagne, tom. iii p. 505.

[±7] Chrónica del Gran Capitan, lib. 3, cap. 9.--Giovio, Vitae Illust.
Virorum, fol. 292.

Gonsalvo was created duke of Terra Nuova and Sessa, and marquis of
Bitonto, all in Italy, with estates of the value of 40,000 ducats rent. He
was also grand constable of Naples, and a nobleman of Venice. His princely
honors were transmitted by Doña Elvira to her son, Gonzalo Hernandez de
Cordova, who filled the posts, under Charles V., of governor of Milan, and
captain general of Italy. Under Philip II., his descendants were raised to
a Spanish dukedom, with the title of Dukes of Baena. L. Marineo, Cosas
Memorables, fol. 24.--Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 41.--Salazar de
Mendoza, Dignidades, p. 307.

[18] Opus Epist., epist. 498.--Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, p. 292.--
Pulgar, Sumario, p. 212.

[19] Gonsalvo assumed for his device a cross-bow moved by a pulley, with
the motto, "Ingenium superat vires." It was characteristic of a mind
trusting more to policy than force and daring exploit. Brantôme, Oeuvres,
tom. i. p. 75.

[20] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 271.

[21] Ibid., p. 281.--Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 30, cap. 1, 5.

[22] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 271.

"Amigo de sus amigos,
¡Qué Señor para criados
Y parientes!
¡Qué enemigo de enemigos!
¡Qué maestro de esforzados
Y valientes!
¡Qué seso para discretos!
¡Qué gracia para donosos!
¡Qué razon!
Muy benigno á los sugetos,
Y á los bravos y dañosos
Un leon."
Coplas de Don Jorge Manrique.

[23] Borgia, after his father Alexander VI.'s death, escaped to Naples
under favor of a safe conduct signed by Gonsalvo. Here, however, his
intriguing spirit soon engaged him in schemes for troubling the peace of
Italy, and, indeed, for subverting the authority of the Spaniards there;
in consequence of which the Great Captain seized his person, and sent him
prisoner to Castile. Such, at least, is the Spanish version of the story,
and of course the one most favorable to Gonsalvo. Mariana dismisses it
with coolly remarking, that "the Great Captain seems to have consulted the
public good, in the affair, more than his own fame; a conduct well worthy
to be pondered and emulated by all princes and rulers!" Hist. de España,
lib. 28, cap. 8.--Zurita, Anales, tom. v. lib. 5, cap. 72.--Quintana,
Españoles Célebres, pp. 302, 303.

[24] That but one other troubled him, appears from the fact (if it be a
fact) of Gonsalvo's declaring, on his death-bed, that "there were three
acts of his life which he deeply repented." Two of these were his
treatment of Borgia and the duke of Calabria. He was silent respecting the
third. "Some historians suppose," says Quintana, "that by this last he
meant his omission to possess himself of the crown of Naples when it was
in his power!" These historians, no doubt, like Fouché, considered a
blunder in politics as worse than a crime.

[25] The miraculous bell of Velilla, a little village in Aragon, nine
leagues from Saragossa, about this time gave one of those prophetic
tintinnabulations, which always boded some great calamity to the country.
The side on which the blows fell denoted the quarter where the disaster
was to happen. Its sound, says Dr. Dormer, caused dismay and contrition,
with dismal "fear of change," in the hearts of all who heard it. No arm
was strong enough to stop it on these occasions, as those found to their
cost who profanely attempted it. Its ill-omened voice was heard for the
twentieth and last time, in March, 1679. As no event of importance
followed, it probably tolled for its own funeral.--See the edifying
history, in Dr. Diego Dormer, of the miraculous powers and performances of
this celebrated bell, as duly authenticated by a host of witnesses.
Discursos Varios, pp. 198-244.

[26] Carbajal, Anales, MS., años 1513-1516.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol.
146.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 542, 558, 561, 564. Zurita,
Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 99.

Carbajal states, that the king had been warned, by some soothsayer, to
beware of Madrigal, and that he had ever since avoided entering into the
town of that name in Old Castile. The name of the place he was now in was
not precisely that indicated, but corresponded near enough for a
prediction. The event proved, that the witches of Spain, like those of

"Could keep the word of promise to the ear,
And break it to the hope."

The story derives little confirmation from the character of Ferdinand. He
was not superstitious, at least while his faculties were in vigor.

[27] "A la verdad," says Carbajal, "le tentó mucho el enemigo en aquel
paso con incredulidad que le ponia de no morir tan presto, para que ni
confesase ni recibiese los Sacramentos." According to the same writer,
Ferdinand was buoyed up by the prediction of an old sybil, "la beata del
Barco," that "he should not die till he had conquered Jerusalem." (Anales,
MS., cap. 2.) We are again reminded of Shakespeare,

"It hath been prophesied to me many years
I should not die but in Jerusalem."
King Henry IV.

[28] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1516, cap. 1.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, ubi
supra.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 565.--Sandoval, Hist. del Emp.
Carlos V., tom. i. p. 35.

[29] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1516, cap. 2.

Dr. Carbajal, who was a member of the royal council, was present with him
during the whole of his last illness; and his circumstantial and spirited
narrative of it forms an exception to the general character of his

[30] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1516, cap. 2.

[31] Ibid., ubi supra.

[32] Ibid., ubi supra.

[33] Ferdinand's gay widow did not long enjoy this latter pension. Soon
after his death, she gave her hand to the marquis of Brandenburg, and, he
dying, she again married the prince of Calabria, who had been detained in
a sort of honorable captivity in Spain, ever since the dethronement of his
father, King Frederic. (Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 4, dial.
44.) It was the second sterile match, says Guicciardini, which Charles V.,
for obvious politic reasons, provided for the rightful heir of Naples.
Istoria, tom. viii. lib. 15, p. 10.

[34] Ferdinand's testament is to be found in Carbajal, Anales, MS.--
Dormer, Discursos Varies, p. 393 et seq.--Mariana, Hist. de España, ed.
Valencia, tom. ix. Apend. no. 2.

[35] Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 3, dial. 9.--The queen was
at Alcalá de Henares, when she received tidings of her husband's illness.
She posted with all possible despatch to Madrigalejo, but, although she
reached it on the 20th, she was not admitted, says Gomez, notwithstanding
her tears, to a private interview with the king, till the testament was
executed, a few hours only before his death. De Rebus Gestis, fol. 147.

[36] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1516.--L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol.
188.--Gomez, De Rebus Gestis, fol. 148.

"Tot regnorum dominus, totque palmarum cumulis ornatus, Christianae
religionis amplificator et prostrator hostium, Rex in rusticanâ obiit
casâ, et pauper contra hominum opinionem obiit." Peter Martyr, Opus
Epist., epist. 588.--Brantôme, (Vies des Hommes Illustres, Footnote: p.
72,) who speaks of Madrigalejo as a "meschant village," which he had seen.

[37] Since Ferdinand ascended the throne he had seen no less than four
kings of England, as many of France, and also of Naples, three of
Portugal, two German emperors, and half a dozen popes. As to his own
subjects, scarcely one of all those familiar to the reader in the course
of our history now survived, except, indeed, the Nestor of his time, the
octogenarian Ximenes.

[38] Zurita, Anales, tom. vi. lib. 10, cap. 100.--Blancas, Commentarii, p.
275.--Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 1, cap. 25.

[39] Zurita, Anales, ubi supra.

The honest Martyr was one of the few who paid this last tribute of respect
to their ancient master. "Ego ut mortuo debitum praestem," says he, in a
letter to Prince Charles's physician, "corpus ejus exanime, Granatam,
sepulchro sedem destinatam, comitabor." Opus Epist., epist. 566.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[62] Paolo Giovio strikes the balance of their respective merits in this
particular, in the following terms. "Ex horum enim longè maximorum nostrae
tempestatis regum ingeniis, et turn liquidò et multùm anteà praclarè
compertum est, nihil omnino sanctum et inviolabile, vel in ritè conceptis
sancitisque foederibus reperiri, quòd, in proferendis imperiis augendisque
opibus, apud eos nihil ad illustris famae decus interesset, dolone et
nusquam sine fallaciis, an fide integrâ verâque virtute niterentur." Hist.
sui Temporis, lib. 11, p. 160.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, in his "Knighte's Tale,"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



1516, 1517.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"'Voilà mon juge, qui prononcera bientôt ma sentence. Je le prie de tout
mon coeur de me condamner, si, dans mon ministère, je me suis proposé
autre chose que le bien de la religion et celui de l'état.' Le lendemain,
au point du jour, il voulut recevoir l'extrême onction." Jay, Histoire du
Ministère du Cardinal Richelieu, (Paris, 1816,) tom. ii. p. 217.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[35] Fléchier, Histoire de Ximenés, liv. 6, p. 634.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By a pragmatic of 1500, all persons, whether natives or foreigners, were
prohibited from shipping goods in foreign bottoms, from a port where a
Spanish ship could be obtained. [59] Another prohibited the sale of
vessels to foreigners. [60] Another offered a large premium on all vessels
of a certain tonnage and upwards; [61] and others held out protection and
various immunities to seamen. [62] The drift of the first of these laws,
like that of the famous English navigation act, so many years later, was,
as the preamble sets forth, to exclude foreigners from the carrying trade;
and the others were equally designed to build up a marine, for the
defence, as well as commerce of the country. In this, the sovereigns were

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