AFTER the Treaty of Cambray and the Conference of Bologna the interest of European history shifts its centre to Germany. Charles’ efforts in the South were chiefly devoted to the preservation of the existing equilibrium in Italy, to resisting the continuous advance of Muslim power in the Mediterranean, and to the restoration of some degree of prosperity to the shattered homes of Italy. His main attention was centered on the religious question in Germany, and the maintenance of Habsburg power on the Danube. France was still a chronic menace, but the wars were neither so frequent nor so dangerous as they had been from 1522-9. The death of Margaret of Savoy (December 1, 1530) who had governed the Netherlands during Charles’ minority (1507-15), and again with intervals from 1517 until her death, made another break with the past. Margaret had been the confidante and intimate adviser of her father Maximilian and, although for a time after his accession in the Netherlands Charles had been estranged from her, he soon discovered her worth, and relied on her as on another self. She was perhaps the most capable woman of her time, well versed in all the arts of politics and diplomacy, a friend of letters and of art, and under her rule the authority of her nephew over the Burgundian States had sensibly increased, though the prosperity of the provinces had not shown a corresponding advance. He was fortunate in finding in the circle of his own family another woman, perhaps less gifted, but well competent to take her place and carry on her policy. His sister Maria, the widow of the unfortunate King of Hungary who fell at Mohacs, was persuaded to undertake the task, for which she had shown her capacity in the troubles which followed the death of her husband Louis, and she entered upon the duties of her office in 1531. Her government was strengthened by the new ordinance establishing three Councils in the Netherlands for foreign affairs, justice, and finance. Shortly before Charles had procured the election of his brother, the Archduke Ferdinand, to the dignity of King of the Romans, and he could therefore regard the relations of his House to Germany and the Netherlands as satisfactorily established.
But his other European concerns gave him grave cause for anxiety. Henry VIII had been brought into marked hostility with Charles by the affair of the divorce. Francis was ever on the look-out for opportunities of reversing the decisions of Cambray. Clement was perplexed by the demand for a General Council; irritated by the appointment of the Cardinal of Colonna, his enemy, as Governor of Naples; and aggrieved by the award of Reggio and Modena to the Duke of Ferrara (April 21, 1531). Charles’ earnest desire for joint action against the Turks was thwarted by the scarcely concealed hostility of Francis, and the more secret maneuvering of the Pope. On June 9, 1531, Clement concluded an agreement for the marriage of Catharine de' Medici to Henry, Duke of Orleans, second son of Francis, with secret articles binding the Pope to assist France in the recovery of Milan and Genoa. The German antagonists of Ferdinand were allied with Francis. The formation of the League of Schmalkalden and the renewed advance of Solyman upon Vienna (July, 1532) added further complications, and Charles was in consequence obliged to temporize with the Protestant Powers of Germany (August, 1532). Aid was sent to Ferdinand not only from Germany but from Italy, which for once enabled Ferdinand to meet the enemy in force; Solyman retired and Charles had a respite.
In the autumn of 1532 Charles was again able to visit Italy. Here he found all the States wavering. Venice watched the situation with a cautious eye, well informed of all that was moving in every Court, and ready to take any advantage that offered. Milan groaned under the foreign occupation. Mantua and Ferrara were of doubtful fidelity. In Florence, where the old constitution had been abolished in 1532 in favor of an unmasked autocracy, and in Genoa, where the party of Spinola and Fiesco still were strong, there were powerful political forces working for change. Armed intervention had been necessary at Siena. After a long visit to Mantua, where the famous meeting with Titian took place, Charles met the Pope once more at Bologna (December, 1532). Clement managed to avoid the General Council by imposing impossible conditions; and Charles failed to induce him to give up the projected marriage of Catharine with the Duke of Orleans. All that he could secure was the renewal of a defensive League in which Clement, Milan, Ferrara, Mantua, Genoa, Lucca, Siena, were all included. Venice alone refused to join even this deceptive League. On April 9 Charles left Italy for Spain, where his presence had long been eagerly desired.
The marriage of Henry with Anne Boleyn, which was solemnized on May 23, 1533, now threatened a change in the political situation. But Henry was in close alliance with Francis; and Charles was obliged to accept the insult. And although on July 11 the Pope launched against Henry the Bull of Excommunication, which was not however to come into force until October, he was at the same time arranging for a meeting with Francis, and preparing to hand over in person his niece to the Duke of Orleans. The meeting took place at Marseilles in October, 1533. What matters may have been discussed between these rulers, whether Francis disclosed to the Head of Christendom his projected alliance with the Turks, is unknown, and matters little, for Clement did not live to see any of their plans carried into execution. But the marriage sets the stamp on his policy and marks it as essentially dynastic, not Italian or ecclesiastical. In order to win a doubtful Milan for his niece, he was ready to expose the peninsula once more to the terrors of war, terrors of which he had earned bitter and personal experience.
The death of the Marquis of Montferrat in 1533 and the enfeoffment by Charles of the Duke of Mantua with this frontier State led to hostilities between Saluzzo and Mantua which shook the unstable equipoise of Italy. The news of the conquest of Peru (1532), and the welcome arrival of its treasures, were items to set on the other side. But the relations between the German Protestants and Francis assumed a more dangerous phase in 1534 when the Habsburgs were driven out of Württemberg. In September Francis made proposals to Charles which showed that he was meditating the disturbance of peace. A double marriage was to unite the royal Houses; but Milan, Asti, and Genoa were to return to France, and the Emperor was to give satisfaction to Francis’ allies in Germany. The last condition showed that war was inevitable; but Charles determined to gain time by negotiations until a needful piece of work had been accomplished.
The pirates of Algiers. [1533-4
For years the western waters of the Mediterranean had been rendered unsafe by a settlement of Muslim pirates on the north coast of Africa, whose head-quarters were at Algiers. In 1518 an expedition from Spain had succeeded in defeating and killing Barbarossa, the founder of this power, but his younger brother, Khair Eddin, who is known as Barbarossa II, had then taken up the command, under the protection of the Porte, and had still further extended the strength and activity of his robber fleets. The settlement by Charles of the Knights of St John at Tripoli and Malta (1530) had been intended to afford a counterpoise to the Muslim, and war had been waged on both sides with piracy and rapine. The dangers of this situation concerned Charles above all others. Not only had Spain a number of possessions dotted along the African coast, but the coasts of Spain, Naples, and Sicily were especially exposed to the raids of the pirate fleets, and their active commerce was endangered. During the Italian wars Charles had neither leisure nor spare energy to attend to this peril; but now immediate measures were not only desirable but possible. The Barbaresques had recently extended their power to Tunis, and in July, 1534, emboldened by the unconcealed favor of Francis, who had concluded with them a commercial truce, they had made a raid of unusual extent upon the Italian coast. Barbarossa had also been named by Solyman as admiral of the Turkish fleet; and though still a pirate he was the representative of a great Power.
Charles considered that there might just be time for a blow before he was once more paralyzed by hostilities with France. The winter of 1534 was spent in preparations, and on May 30, 1535, Charles sailed from Barcelona, and was joined by Doria from Genoa and the galleys of Italy and Sicily. Assistance came from Portugal, from the Knights of Malta, from Venice, and other Italian States, and especially from the new Pope Paul III. The force amounted to 74 galleys, 30 smaller warships, and 300 ships of burden. The attack was directed against Tunis and proved completely successful. Landing at Carthage, the army first won its way into the fortress of Goletta, taking 84 ships and 200 guns, and then after some hesitation advanced upon Tunis, defeated the troops of Barbarossa, and, assisted by the rising of some 5000 Christian slaves, captured the town. The former ruler of Tunis, Muley Hassan, was restored there, the Spaniards retaining Goletta, Bona, and Biserta. Charles returned in triumph to Sicily, though he had not ventured to attack Algiers. The blow was opportune, for a few months later (February, 1536). Francis concluded a treaty with Solyman, with whom he had previously entered into relations in 1525 and 1528. It had another significance, for the Moors of Valencia, after their forcible conversion to Christianity ordered in 1525 and executed in the following years, had been in relations with the Muslim in Africa, and many of them had escaped to swell the bands of Barbarossa.
Meanwhile, on September 25, 1534, Clement had died, nowhere regretted, unless in France. To him more than to any other man is due the success of the Reformation, as a movement antagonistic to Rome. Intent upon dynastic and political interests, he had not only refused persistently to face the question of religion, but he had done as much as any to fetter the only force, except his own, that could have attempted its solution. At his death all England, Denmark, Sweden, part of Switzerland, and the half of Germany, were in revolt; but up to the last the possession of Florence or Milan was of more account in his eyes than the religious interests of all Christendom. The College of Cardinals, immediately on their meeting, came to the almost unanimous choice of Alessandro Farnese, who took the name of Paul III. He soon showed his proclivities by attempting to take Camerino from Francesco Maria della Rovere, the Duke of Urbino, to give it to his own son Pierluigi. But the choice of the Cardinals was grateful to the Emperor, who hoped better things from Farnese than he had ever obtained from Clement, and in particular the summons of a General Council.
The death of Francesco Sforza (November 1, 1535), to whom the Emperor had in 1534 given his niece Christina of Denmark, disturbed the settlement of Milan and threatened the early outbreak of war. Charles seems to have made up his mind to this, for the demands now made by him on France were provocative rather than conciliatory. He offered the Duchy of Milan not to the Duke of Orleans but to Charles, Duke of Angoulême, with the hand of Christina of Denmark, requiring in return the support of France in the matter of the General Council, against the Turks, and in particular against Barbarossa, for the recognition of Ferdinand’s election, for the subjection of Hungary, against Henry VIII, and even in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. Even Milan was not to be unconditionally given, for the Emperor was to retain the chief places under his own captains and the Duke of Angoulême was to be deposited in his hands. The position of Charles was strengthened on the one hand by the death of his aunt, Queen Catharine, January 7, 1536, and on the other hand by the attitude of the Bavarian Dukes, who for dynastic reasons now turned more definitely to the imperial side. The Pope maintained neutrality, and his help could only be expected for France if the guilt of aggression could be fastened on the Emperor.
Conquest of Savoy by France. [1535-6
The duchy of Savoy, during the campaigns of the first war, had been at the disposal of the French, and opened for them the easiest path to Italy. But the settlement after the Peace of Cambray had brought the weak Duke Charles III into the imperial defensive league, and his marriage with Beatrice of Portugal, in 1521, followed by the marriage of the Emperor with her sister in 1526, formed a permanent link. The first step therefore towards Italy required the subjection or adhesion of Savoy, and the somewhat fanciful claims which the King of France put forward to a part of the ducal inheritance can only be regarded as a cover for attack or a pretext for coercion. Charles III was the weaker at this moment since he had been at war since 1530 with his city of Geneva; and early in the year 1536 his hopes of recovering the town were shattered by an expedition of Bern and the Swiss Protestants, which relieved Geneva and overran the territory of Lausanne and the Pays de Vaud. In March, 1536, the French invaded Savoy, and, in spite of the obstinate resistance of its inhabitants, conquered the whole of Savoy, and occupied Turin. The remainder of the fortified places in Piedmont were seized by order of de Leyva from Milan, to prevent their falling into the hands of the French.
Meanwhile since his landing in Sicily, August 17, 1535, Charles had been devoting his attention to his southern kingdoms. Sicily he now visited for the first time, and he spent ten weeks in considering propositions of reform laid before him by the Parliament, and in inspecting the country. Thence he passed into Italy, leaving Ferrante da Gonzaga as Viceroy in Sicily, and reached Naples on November 25. Here Pedro di Toledo had been Viceroy since 1532, and had given himself to the restoration of order, the improvement of the city, and the re-establishment and extension of the royal power. An attempt which was made to induce Charles to remove him only resulted in strengthening his position, for it soon appeared that the charges against him arose from the stern impartiality of his administration. At Naples Charles remained four months and a subsidy of a million ducats was voted to him, after a larger offer made in a vainglorious spirit had been wisely refused. That so large a sum could be raised proves the excellent results of Toledo’s three years’ rule. From Naples Charles proceeded to Rome, learning on his way that the French had attacked Savoy. He had already begun his preparations for defence in Navarre and Roussillon, and now sent urgent orders to assemble troops and collect money.
His presence in Italy, however, was worth an army to his cause. While still in Naples he had succeeded in securing Venice once more for the defensive league, and after his magnificent entry into Rome on April 5, 1536, he could hope that personal influence and concessions to the Pope’s family ambitions would secure for him at least the neutrality of Rome. Eager, however, to vindicate his honor, he made before the Consistory and Ambassadors in solemn session a detailed exposition of his case against France and called upon the Pope to decide between them. Paul III declared his intention of remaining neutral, and, yielding at length to long-continued pressure, he issued on May 29 a Bull summoning a General Council to Mantua for May, 1537. The Pope had promised to do his best to reconcile the parties; but as France was determined to accept nothing less than Milan for the Duke of Orleans, and Charles could not, in view of the Dauphin’s precarious life, accept his second brother, Henry, whose marriage alliance with the Medici family was another bar, the prospects of successful mediation were poor. But the position in Italy seemed fairly secure; and Henry of England, though an impossible ally for the Emperor, was too busy at home to cause much anxiety. The contest thus confined itself to France, and Charles, who had collected a great army of 50,000 or 60,000 men, was unwilling to consume it in the unpretending task of reconquering Savoy.
The invasion of Provence seemed likely to secure the evacuation of Savoy, besides the promise of further gain. Accordingly on July 25, 1536, the imperial army, taking advantage of the accession of the Marquis of Saluzzo to the Emperor’s side, crossed the French border. But Montmorency, to whom Francis had entrusted the chief command, maintained the strictest defensive. His army was lodged in two fortified camps at Avignon and Valence; the country was systematically devastated; and Charles, though he was able to advance to Aix, found an attack on Marseilles or Arles impracticable. Nothing could be less French and nothing could be more effective than the strategy of Montmorency. On September 13 Charles was obliged to order the retreat.
Meanwhile in the north the Count of Nassau had conquered Guise and undertaken the siege of Peronne. But the war was unpopular in the Netherlands; subsidies were unwillingly granted and the money came in slowly; Peronne held out under the vigorous command of Fleuranges; and at the end of September Nassau also was forced to retire. In Italy Leyva was dead, and the prospects of the imperial cause were not promising. The little place of Mirandola, whose ruler, Galeotto Pico, had put himself under the protection of France, was a valuable outpost for the French, a base where their troops could find harbor and issue forth to attack the confines of Lombardy. On August 10 the Dauphin had died, and the offer of Milan to Charles of Angoulême assumed a different aspect. Charles while negotiating for peace prepared for war.
For this purpose it was necessary that he should visit Spain to raise the necessary funds, leaving many Italian questions unsettled. The Duke of Mantua received the investiture of Montferrat. Del Guasto was appointed to the command in Milan in place of Leyva. But the attitude of the Pope aroused suspicion; and Charles was obliged to depart without having contented him. On November 17 he left Genoa; but his journey was repeatedly interrupted by storms, while a hostile fleet of French and Turkish galleys lay at Marseilles. At length the fleet was able to make the coast of Catalonia. In Spain many months and continuous efforts resulted in the raising of sums quite insufficient to meet the pressing needs. Francis meanwhile had proclaimed the resumption of the suzerainty over Flanders and Artois, which he had renounced at the Peace of Cambray; and on March 16, 1537, a considerable army invaded Artois. Hesdin surrendered and Charles of Gelders was once more in arms. But Francis soon grew weary and drew away a large part of his army to the south; the Estates of the Netherlands granted for self-defence the sums which they had refused for general purposes; the attack was driven back; and on July 30 a ten months’ armistice was concluded for the Netherlands and north-eastern France.
Cosimo I, Duke of Florence. [1536-7
Meanwhile del Guasto had held his own in Lombardy and even won back some places of Piedmont from the enemy. The Turkish assistance had been worth little to the French. Even in the kingdom of Sicily, owing to the energetic measures of defence, Barbarossa had been able to effect little. The Mediterranean war deviated into a contest between Venice and the Muslim. The remaining islands of the Aegean fell into the hands of the Barbaresques. Nauplia and Monembasia (Malvasia), the sole strongholds of Venice in the Morea, were besieged by the Turks. The murder of Alessandro de’ Medici in Florence, January 7, 1537, strengthened rather than weakened the position of Charles in Italy. In spite of the efforts of French agents the imperial vicegerents had their way; the attacks of the fuorusciti under Filippo Strozzi, though aided by the French, were driven off; and the cool and competent Cosimo became Duke of Florence in the imperial interests, and was married to a daughter of Toledo. Filippo Strozzi was put to torture and died in prison. Paul was won over by the gift of Alessandro’s widow Margaret, the Emperor's natural daughter, to his grandson, Ottavio Farnese, and Pierluigi, the Pope’s son, was invested with Novara. On February 8, 1538, a defensive league against the Turk was concluded between the Pope, the Emperor, Ferdinand, and Venice, which prepared the way for a favorable intervention of the Pope between the two great Powers.
However, in October, 1537, Montmorency with a new army had appeared in Savoy, and the imperial troops were obliged to evacuate Pinerolo and Turin. But these successes led to nothing further. Both monarchs were ready for peace; an armistice was concluded (November, 1537); negotiations began in earnest, but were long prolonged, so many were the questions at issue between the rivals. After the conclusion of the League against the Turks the Pope left Rome, and journeyed to Nice, to mediate between Francis and Charles. Here some ill-feeling was aroused because the Duke of Savoy refused to put the fortress of Nice, his last remaining possession, in Charles’ hand for the meetings. In a neighboring monastery therefore the Emperor and King negotiated personally and separately with the Pope, and a truce was arranged for ten years (June 17, 1538), on the basis of uti possidetis. The Pope and Emperor set forth at once for Genoa to concert operations against the Turk.
Although at Nice the King and the Emperor had refused to meet, it soon became known that a future interview had been arranged, perhaps through the mediation of Queen Eleonora. At Aigues-Mortes the visits took place on July 14-16, with the most surprising demonstrations of good feeling. Nothing definite was arranged, but hopes of agreement succeeded to something like despair. And Charles was anxious to make the most of the apparent friendship.
For the Emperor the war of 1536-7 had been on the whole far less successful than those of 1522-9. Francis had overrun almost the whole of Savoy and Piedmont, he had invaded Artois, and successfully repelled two invasions of France. He was content for the present to rest upon his conquests, to hold Savoy, an outpost for defence, a ready road for attack, and to defer the settlement of other outstanding questions for a season. Charles was the more willing to leave Savoy in Francis’ possession because the Duke had offended him deeply in the matter of Nice. On the other hand he needed peace above all for his affairs in Germany, and to meet the Turkish danger. A long truce with the appearance of durability suited him as well or better than a peace, which could only have been secured at the price of humiliating and damaging concessions. In fact the two Powers, after violent oscillations to and fro, had reached a position of comparatively stable equilibrium. They had learnt their own limitations, and the strength of their adversaries. A stage was reached on the road to the more permanent settlement of Cateau-Cambrésis.
Revolt of Ghent. [1533-40
The truce between the great Powers and the League of 1538 led to the hope that something serious would now be undertaken against the Turks. But exhaustion, the mutiny of soldiers at Goletta, in Sicily, in Lombardy, a thousand reasons made it impossible for Charles to put out his full strength in 1538. The force that was sent under Andrea Doria to the Levant from Sicily, Naples, Genoa, and Barcelona, to co-operate with the Venetians and a papal squadron, had no orders to undertake any great enterprise. The Venetians desired to attack Prevesa, at the mouth of the Gulf of Arta, where the Turkish fleet was lying, but Doria was unwilling to risk so much on a single encounter; national, urban, and personal jealousies were at work; the League, like other leagues, soon showed its inherent weakness; futile skirmishes were the only result; and the allies soon began to talk of peace. Charles had important business elsewhere, in the Netherlands, in Germany, and the enterprise was put off. After long negotiations, delays, and disappointments, the Venetians made peace with the Turks (October, 1540), surrendering Nauplia and Monembasia.
Not only the affairs of Germany, becoming more and more complicated, but a serious difficulty in the Netherlands contributed to this result. The war of 1536 had necessitated application to the States-General of the Netherlands for a heavy subsidy. All the provinces consented (1537), and in Flanders the three Members Ypres, Bruges, and le Franc gave their vote, but Ghent refused; and when Mary declared that the grant of three Members out of four bound also the fourth, and took measures to levy the city’s quota, the citizens appealed to Charles, who gave his full support to his vicegerent. After prolonged discontent, at length in 1539 Ghent broke into open rebellion. The government of the town gave way to the pressure of the mob, fortifications were repaired, militia was levied, the subject-cities of Ghent, Alost, Oudenarde, and Courtrai, were drawn into the rising, and Mary was obliged to recognize the revolutionary movement.
At this moment the friendly relations of Charles with France stood him in good stead. Charles had recently lost his beloved wife, Isabella of Portugal, and the French King hoped to engage him in some profitable marriage alliance. He offered a free passage through his States, and Charles, though he refused to hear of any marriage propositions, accepted the offer. Leaving instructions to his son Philip for the event of his death, which show that he would have been willing to allow the whole Burgundian dominions to pass to a French prince as the price of a permanent accommodation, he passed through France, met Francis at Loches (December 12, 1539), and was accompanied by him to Paris. Here he was royally received, and set on his way to Valenciennes, where he met Mary, January 21, 1540. Thence he proceeded to Brussels. The news of his coming, with the assembling of German troops, had quelled the rebellious, irresolute spirits of Ghent, and on February 14 he entered the city without resistance. Its punishment was stern though not excessive. Nine of the ringleaders were executed. The town, by tearing up the famous calfskin, had declared its own sentence; the constitution was forfeited and an oligarchical government set up. The disputed subsidy and a money indemnity in addition were exacted. The city was deprived of its rights over the surrounding territory and neighboring towns. A fortress was to be built to prevent rebellion in the future. Solemn submission and humiliation was required. Finally, on these terms the city was pardoned, at the price of all its remaining liberties.
This rapid collapse of a formidable rebellion increased the prestige of Charles very opportunely, for the death of Charles of Gelders in 1538, instead of diminishing his difficulties, had increased them. The Estates of the duchy had at once proceeded to the election of William de la Marck, the heir of Cleves, Berg, and Jülich. The death of his father, Duke John, soon followed (1539), and the union of the four duchies under a prince whose leanings were Protestant was a serious menace to the Habsburg power in the north. Francis I gave Jeanne d'Albret to William of Cleves (treaty of July 17, 1540); which compensated for the rejection of his sister by Henry VIII, announced about the same time. The project of settling matters between Charles and France by one of several alternative marriage schemes had again proved impracticable; and this French alliance with a German prince, an enemy of the Habsburgs, showed a renewal of French hostility; the more so that Charles had hoped that, by a different disposal of Jeanne’s hand, the question of Navarre at least might be settled for ever. Charles replied by investing his son Philip (October 11, 1540) with the duchy of Milan.
Affairs in Italy were fairly quiet. The reduction of Camerino by the papal forces (1539), the revolt of Perugia (1540), the refusal of the Viceroy of Naples to allow his forces to co-operate in its repression, and quarrels between Ottavio Farnese and his bride, were not sufficient to disturb the firm foundations on which the Spanish supremacy was built. The rebellion and chastisement of the Colonna were allowed to pass as of purely local importance. It was thought that some of these movements had been instigated to induce the Pope to give effect to the long-promised Council, but the Council, which had been put off time after time, seemed as far distant as ever. The conference at Ratisbon (1541) and the benevolent intervention of Contarini proved of no avail, except to show that the Lutherans would not accept even the decisions of a General Council.
Expedition against Algiers. French war. [1541-2
Secure for the time in Italy, and temporizing as usual in Germany, Charles thought the moment propitious for another attack on the power of the Barbaresques. When war with France once more became inevitable, the control of the western seas would be valuable; and meanwhile commerce and coast towns urgently required relief. Since 1538 an attempt had been made to win over Barbarossa by way of negotiation. Charles hoped to secure the corsair for his own service, to create for him a vassal kingdom including Tunis, and to turn his arms against the Porte. But at the last moment Barbarossa declined the proposals, and Charles determined if possible to destroy his power. In July, 1541, two French envoys, Antonio Rincon, on his way to Constantinople, and Cesare Fregoso, accredited to Venice, were set upon near Pavia and killed by Spanish soldiers. Their papers were not secured, but the general nature of their errand was notorious. This delayed the conclusion of a new alliance between France and the Porte, and before it could be formed it was necessary if possible to take Algiers. The knowledge of the warlike preparations of the French King seemed to make postponement till the new year impossible, and although the Diet of Ratisbon, the journey through Italy, and a hurried interview with the Pope had brought Charles to September, and his most experienced advisers declared that the season was too late, he determined to push on his expedition.
It was October 20, 1541, before the fleet which had collected at Majorca met the Spanish contingent off Algiers. Heavy weather prevented them from landing for two days, and when at length they were able to put the men on shore the artillery, the supplies, the tents were left on board. A tempest then smote the army, who were at the same time attacked by the Barbaresques; fourteen galleys, and a hundred ships were driven ashore; and Doria was obliged to draw off. The army had to go now to Cape Matifu, where they took ship again at Bugia, and with difficulty set sail for their homes, after severe losses, and without any compensating success (November, 1541).
This failure encouraged the French in their long-determined scheme of attack. New agents had concluded the arrangements with the Sultan, and although the Venetians and Lorraine refused to join, the alliance of Cleves, with the support of Denmark and Sweden, promised results, though not in Italy. The main objective this time was the Netherlands. Antoine, Duke of Vendôme (July, 1542), marched upon Artois and Flanders, hoping for a rising in Ghent and Antwerp. From the side of Cleves Martin van Rossem advanced with 18,000 men, and the Duke of Orleans with a third army entered Luxemburg. A fourth army entered Roussillon under Francis and invested Perpignan, but the defence of Perpignan, under the Duke of Alva, checked any further advance on this side. Van Rossem, after devastating Brabant, and threatening Antwerp, joined the Duke of Orleans in Luxemburg, where before long no place of importance held out excepting Thionville. But the capricious withdrawal of the Duke of Orleans from Luxemburg with the intention of sharing in the great victory expected for the King in the South, took the heart out of this attack, and the Netherland troops soon recovered Luxemburg except Ivoy and Damvillers. In Roussillon instead of a victory an ignominious retreat followed.
1543-4] War with Cleves. Battle of Ceresole.
The following year was threatening for Charles. The Sultan was advancing in force upon Vienna. Barbarossa after devastating the coasts of Italy joined the French fleet under the Duke of Enghien, and laid siege to Nice (August 5, 1543). The city surrendered before long; but the citadel held out, until it was relieved by the approach of del Guasto by land and of Andrea Doria by sea (September 8). Barbarossa returned to winter at Toulon, where throughout the winter Christian slaves were openly sold. Francis on his part invaded Hainault. But Charles, leaving Barcelona for Genoa with the fleet of Doria, arrived in Italy (May, 1543), and, after a hurried interview with the Pope, whose desire for Milan or Siena he was not able to content, continued his journey towards Germany, with a small force of Spaniards and Italians. The Council, already summoned (1542) to Trent, had to be postponed; other things for the moment were more pressing. Ferdinand was left to manage as best he could in the East. At Speier Charles picked up a considerable force of Germans who had assembled to bring aid against the Turks. But Charles led them on with him to Cleves, and attacked Duren. In two days the city was captured by assault. In a fortnight the Duke was at his feet imploring pardon, and on September 7, 1543, a treaty was signed by which the Duke broke off all alliance with France, Denmark, and Sweden, and ceded the duchy of Gelders with the county of Zutphen.
This success fully compensated for the reoccupation of Luxemburg by the French which was completed about the middle of September. Charles moved into Hainault to effect a juncture with the troops which Henry, his ally in this war as he had been in his first, had sent to Calais, and advanced (October 20) to the siege of Landrecies. Francis was in the neighborhood with a superior army; Charles was anxious to meet him in the field, and advanced in hopes of tempting him to battle. In this he did not succeed, but the retreat of the French army left him with the honors of the campaign.
But the war was not over, and Charles needed all the aid that could be by any means procured. Henry was induced to promise to invade France in the coming spring with an army of 35,000 men. Peace was made with Christian III of Denmark. At the Diet of Speier, 1544, Charles met the German Princes and by extensive concessions secured the neutrality or support of the Protestant Estates. François, Count d'Enghien, had invaded Italy, and advanced to recover Carignano near Turin, which del Guasto had occupied. Del Guasto hurried from Milan to relieve it; and d'Enghien, having received permission to risk a battle, attacked him at Ceresole on April 14, 1544, and completely defeated him, with the loss of some 8000 killed and 2000 prisoners. All Italy began to consider the division of the spoil, but their hopes were vain. The Spanish, holding all the strong places of Lombardy, were enabled to prevent d'Enghien from any further success. Piero Strozzi, who had collected 10,000 foot at Mirandola, advanced boldly to Milan, in the hopes of joining d'Enghien there, but the Swiss refused to move for want of pay, and Strozzi had to extricate himself as best he could, and the brilliant victory of Ceresole had no results. Still the news of this defeat rendered his success at Speier the more welcome to Charles.
Peace of Crépy. [1544
His army under Count William von Fürstenberg now advanced upon Luxemburg and recovered his duchy. The siege of St Dizier was then undertaken; and on July 13 Charles arrived, with 10,000 foot, 2300 horse, and 1600 sappers, to take part in the siege. Here the Prince of Orange was struck by a bullet, and died on the following day, leaving as his heir his more famous cousin, Count William of Nassau. The siege dragged on, while the Dauphin and the Admiral Annebaut with a strong army of observation lay at Jâlons between Epernay and Châlons, and outposts at Vitry harassed the besiegers. But on July 23 these outposts were crushed with considerable loss to the French. On August 17 Sancerre, the captain, surrendered St Dizier with all the honors of war. Charles now advanced on Châlons and, declining to attack the Dauphin’s army, pressed on to Château-Thierry and to Soissons (September 12).
If Henry’s army had shown equal enterprise the case of France would have been desperate. He arrived on July 15 at Calais with the bulk of his army, and was joined by the Count van Buren with a small force from the Netherlands. Leaving the Duke of Norfolk to besiege Montreuil, he proceeded with his main force to besiege Boulogne. Without aid from him Charles had reached the end of his tether. His relations with the Pope were becoming more and more uncomfortable. Paul had allowed Piero Strozzi to raise troops in his State; the Orsini had been suffered to join him; and the Pope was considering the gift of his grandchild Vittoria to the Duke of Orleans with Parma and Piacenza as her dowry. On the other hand Charles’ position for concluding peace was favorable and he seized it. The result was the Peace of Crépy, September 18, 1544. Henry was informed of the terms which Charles was willing to accept; he disapproved of the conditions; but was forced to content himself with Boulogne, which surrendered on September 14.
On both sides the territory occupied since the truce of Nice was to be restored. Francis was to renounce all claims to Naples, Flanders, and Artois; the Emperor did not insist on the restitution of the duchy of Burgundy. The rivals were to co-operate for the restoration of unity in the Church, and against the Turks. Charles was to give to the Duke of Orleans either his eldest daughter with the Burgundian lands, or the second daughter of Ferdinand with Milan. If the Netherlands were given, Charles was to retain the supreme dominion for his life, and Francis was to renounce his rights to Milan and Asti, which were, however, to revive in case there was no issue of the marriage. If Milan were given the Emperor was to retain effective hold on the duchy until a son was born; and the gift was declared to be a new fief, not dependent on hereditary rights of the House of Orleans. The King in return was to give a handsome appanage to his son in France. As soon as either of these transfers took place Savoy was to be evacuated, and the questions of right between the King and the Duke were to be decided by arbitration. These public conditions were supplemented by a secret treaty, by which the King was required to aid in procuring a General Council, to give help against the German Protestants, and to assist the Emperor to a peace or durable truce with the Turks. The Dauphin shortly afterwards made a solemn protest before witnesses against the treaty as contrary to the fundamental interests of the kingdom. The Pope was left out in the negotiations, although the religious motive is prominent in the conditions. But Paul was obliged to accommodate himself, and to avoid worse he issued a fresh summons to the Council to meet at Trent on March 15 of 1545.
Thus another stage is reached in the settlement of Europe. The war of 1543-5 differs from preceding wars in that the principal effort was directed on the Netherlands, that an attempt was made on both sides to win substantial support in Germany, that Italy was neglected as no longer offering a favorable ground for attack in spite of the possession of Savoy. It resembles the second war in proving that offensive operations on either side, though in this war more extensive and determined, could not lead to any permanent result. The solidity of the several countries was more abundantly demonstrated. The ugly features of this episode are on the one hand the alliance of Francis with the Turk and the corsairs of Barbary, on the other hand the concessions of Charles to the Protestants of Germany, which involved either treason to the Church or the betrayal of his dupes. But some excuse must be made on the ground of the extremity of his need. Charles was a zealous Churchman, but he could not master fate. So long as he was opposed by France and the Ottomans, ill seconded, even thwarted, by the Popes, he could not in addition take upon himself the task of coercing Protestants in Germany. He and he alone of the Princes in Europe formed a just opinion of the religious danger, and did his best to meet it. His desire for ecclesiastical reform was frustrated by the blind opposition of the Popes. Toleration was forced upon him as a political necessity. But to sacrifice the material to the spiritual was a virtue that lay beyond his ken, and one moreover ill-suited to the spirit of the age. After all Charles was a temporal prince, and as such his first duty was to the State which he governed.
League between Charles V and Paul III. [1544-6
The Peace of Crépy set Charles free for the first time in his life to intervene effectually in the affairs of Germany. His religious zeal is attested by the stringent repressive measures which followed in the Netherlands, and the Edict (1544) which called upon all his subjects in the hereditary Habsburg lands to conform to the Confession of Louvain, the acts of a bigot perhaps, but a good man cannot do more than follow his conscience, and Charles was a conscientious Catholic. His first need was to come to an understanding with the Pope. Charles proposed to him definitely the use of the great sums accumulated for a crusade against the Turks in a war against the Protestants, and in support of the Council.
At the Diet of Worms (March, 1545) the refusal of the Protestants to be satisfied with a General Council in which the Pope would be both party and judge was openly declared. Charles held himself released from his obligations to the Protestants by this attitude, though indeed the proposed Council at Trent was very different from that which he had promised. But the Pope still hung in the wind. To win him the material must be sacrificed to the spiritual; and the exact nature of the sacrifice was made clear when Paul invested his son Pierluigi with Parma and Piacenza (August, 1545) in spite of the claims of Milan to these districts, and without the imperial sanction.
Still the General Council was actually opened at Trent in December, 1545, after many delays and proposals for a removal to an Italian city, which the Emperor emphatically rejected. The choice of Trent was a compromise. Italian cities would attract only Italian clergy, who were too much interested in the abuses of the Curia. German cities would be acceptable only to the Germans. A truce was concluded with the Turks in October, 1545, on very unfavorable terms. The decision of Charles between Milan and the Netherlands as the marriage gift of the Duke of Orleans had at length been made in March, 1545. Milan was to be given with the second daughter of Ferdinand, but the death of the Duke of Orleans in September relieved Charles of this necessity.
Charles was thus free to act in Germany, and, after the futile Religious Conference of Ratisbon (1546) and the so-called Diet which followed, he signed a treaty with the Pope, who pledged himself to send 12,000 men to the support of the Emperor, with a substantial subsidy, and to allow considerable levies from the ecclesiastical resources of Spain (June 22). The Emperor was anxious to keep the terms of the League secret, but the Pope was eager that it should be known, and in letters to the several States he published it at once, exhorting them to join. But the course of the German war aroused once more his fear and suspicions. Only the obstinate resistance of the Emperor had prevented the Pope from removing the Council from Trent to some town where he could more effectively control all its proceedings. Many differences had arisen over the policy to be observed with reference to the Council; the Pope sent his troops, though not the full number, and the 200,000 crowns which he had promised did not arrive; difficulties were raised with regard to the pledging of Church lands in Spain. The Emperor was obliged to raise money by an agreement with the southern cities of Germany, promising them religious liberty. In January, 1547, the Pope withdrew his contingent, the six months for which he had promised it having expired. He was intriguing with the French. In March, 1547, the Council was removed to Bologna, and the Spanish Bishops refused to follow, while Charles refused to recognize a Council at Bologna. The victory of Mühlberg, April 23, 1547, made Charles’ position still more formidable. An actual rupture between the Pope and the Emperor seemed probable, suggested not only by fear of Charles’ exorbitant position in Europe, but by minor Italian interests.
The solidity of Spanish power in the Italian peninsula was apparent especially at this juncture. Ferrante de Gonzaga, who had been named as Governor of Milan in 1546, though the appointment proved unfortunate, secured at least the support of Mantua. The Venetian policy grew more and more cautious, and the greater this caution the greater the difficulty of disturbing existing arrangements. The policy of Ercole II of Ferrara was almost equally prudent. Cosimo de' Medici showed himself the faithful servant of Charles, and in view of his watchful guardianship troubles at Lucca and Siena might pass almost unnoticed. Naples was in the firm hands of Toledo. Doria seemed safe at Genoa, and could be absolutely trusted. Only the Pope showed inclinations to disturb the settled order, in the interests of his greedy Farnese family. And so long as the other factors remained unchanged he was powerless for serious harm. But in Italy revolutions were always possible.
The remarkable enterprise of Francesco Burlamacchi directed from Lucca against Florence with the aid of the Strozzi failed miserably (1546). A more dangerous conspiracy was set on foot in Genoa by Gianluigi Fiesco. Gianluigi, moved by the loss of his own property, jealous of the power of the Doria, and taking advantage of the discontent of the people with the constitution of 1528, which gave all the power to the old nobility, had long since entered into relations with France for the overthrow of the Doria, and the Spanish power resting upon them. The possession of Genoa was the key to the peninsula, and the wealth of the Genoese capitalists a mainstay of Charles. On the other hand the immense debts owed by Charles to the Ligurian financiers secured for him the support of the moneyed interest, but could hardly prevent a sudden stroke of force. The Pope allowed Fiesco to arrange for the purchase of four of his own galleys, at that time lying in Civita Vecchia (1546). The Pope’s relations with Doria were far from friendly, apart from any animus against the Emperor.
The time fixed for the attempt was the night of January a, 1547. At ten o'clock the conspirators, who had a galley and 300 foot-soldiers at their disposal, issued from the palace of Fiesco in three bands. Fiesco himself with one made for Doria’s galleys, seized them, and in the attempt to prevent the liberation of the galley-slaves fell overboard and was drowned. The two other bands made for two of the gates of the city, and at the noise of the tumult, Giannettino, the adopted son of Andrea Doria, came up and was promptly killed. Andrea, however, escaped with his life, and when the conspirators looked upon their work in the morning they discovered that their own chief was missing. Left thus without unity or direction they wavered; the Senators offered them an amnesty on condition that they left the city; and the formidable plot resulted in nothing but the re-establishment of Doria and his master. The amnesty was revoked; the possessions of the conspirators were confiscated; but Doria succeeded in repelling proposals for the reduction of Genoa under direct Spanish rule, and for the erection of a fortress. Certain alterations were made in the constitution for the purpose of securing authority to the partisans of Doria, but Genoa retained at least the forms of liberty. The Castle of Montobbio, the sole remaining possession of the Fieschi, became a danger for a while; but surrendered to the forces of the Republic on June 11, 1547; and Doria succeeded in suppressing other plots instigated by Francesco and Pierluigi Farnese.
Deaths of Henry VIII and of Francis I [1547
The removal of the Council from Trent came a little too soon for Charles, and it would have been impossible for him at that moment to follow the radical counsel of Cosimo de' Medici (February 6, 1547), who advised him to use his power for a complete reform of the Church through the Council, taking away the tyranny of priests, reducing the power of the Pope to its proper spiritual limits, and restoring the pure faith of Christ without the abuses that had grown up about it. Charles was powerless to prevent the removal of the Council, though its subsequent adjournment was a concession to him. The gulf between Emperor and Pope widened; but neither of them was anxious for an open rupture. Henry VIII had died on January 28, and Francis I on March 31, 1547; and the whole scheme of European policy was likely to undergo revision. The Pope would not move until he was sure of support; and Charles was too busy in Germany to wish to provoke complications in the peninsula. Henry II of France showed friendly inclinations towards Paul, but gave him no more definite assurance of friendship than a promise of the hand of his natural daughter for Orazio Farnese. From England under Somerset nothing was to be hoped. The negotiations of the Pope with Charles still turned on the investiture of Parma and Piacenza, and the addition of Siena, as much as upon the question of the Council. Charles was determined that no session should be held at Bologna; and although the Pope had set out to preside over a solemn session intended as preparatory to the close of the Council, Diego de Mendoza, the Emperor’s envoy, had succeeded in procuring a further postponement, when a series of unexpected events changed the whole situation. The aspect of Naples and Siena was threatening, but the cloud burst in Piacenza.
The progress of heretical opinions in Naples was notorious; and in May Paul had sent a commissary to the kingdom, with a brief which hinted at the establishment of the Inquisition. A rebellion at once followed; and the small Spanish garrison was in difficulties. But the prompt and judicious measures of Toledo, and the assurance of Charles himself that he had no intention of introducing the Inquisition or of allowing it to be introduced, soon restored order; yet an uneasy feeling remained that the brief had been sent with the secret intention of provoking revolt. Siena had already in 1545 risen in arms against the imperial commissioner, Juan de Luna, and the Monte del Nove, whom he supported, and had driven out the Spanish garrison. Cosimo succeeded in preventing any great excesses, but Francesco Grassi, whom Charles sent from Milan to appease discontent, failed to effect a compromise. The citizens took up arms again and accepted the protection of the Pope, protesting against any foreign garrison, and excluding the Noveschi from any share in the government. Cosimo, however, succeeded in procuring the acceptance of his own mediation, and on September 28 a garrison of Spaniards was admitted. Mendoza arrived in October, restored the Noveschi, and set up as before a governing body of forty, ten from each Monte, but insisted on naming the half of them himself (November, 1548).
Murder of Pierluigi Farnese at Piacenza.
In Piacenza the rule of Pierluigi Farnese was hated. His measures for reducing the nobility to obedience, by depriving them of their privileges and forcing them to live in the city, though salutary, made him many enemies. Private wrongs increased their number. Gonzaga, who represented the forward policy in Italy, was anxious to take advantage of the troubles at Genoa and Siena to establish direct Spanish rule over those cities, and the discontent at Piacenza was much to his mind. Aware of the hostile movements directed against him, and of the support given by Gonzaga from Milan to his assailants, Pierluigi prepared to defend himself by the building of a fortress at Piacenza. This accelerated the blow which had been long prepared by Gonzaga. On September 10, 1547, the conspirators took up arms; Pierluigi was killed in his palace; and the city was in the power of the rebels. Gonzaga’s promptitude is a sufficient proof of his complicity. On the 12th he entered the city, and occupied it in the name of Spain. Of the projects of his minister Charles had been sufficiently informed, and, although he had counseled prudence, he had not discouraged the enterprise. It was an act of open war against the Pope, wounding him where he was most sensitive. Charles de Guise, the newly elected Cardinal, appeared at Rome in October, and this seemed to give the Pope his opportunity of revenge. Conditions for a league with France were drawn up; Parma and Piacenza were to be given to Orazio Farnese, not to Ottavio, the Emperor’s son-in-law; the King was to supply troops for the defence of the Papal States; French bishops were to attend the Council at Bologna; the Pope was to contribute 7000 men, if the King was to be attacked in his own States. The projected league like many others, though ostensibly defensive, was really intended for offence.
The policy of Gonzaga and Mendoza.
The Diet of Augsburg (1547) gave Charles a lever in his negotiations. He was able to offer the submission of all Germany to the Council as a price for its return to Trent. But the Pope referred the decision to the Fathers at Bologna, who decided in favor of that city. Charles could do nothing but enter a solemn protest before the assembly at Bologna and in the Consistory (January, 1548); and the Spanish Bishops remained at Trent. Negotiations continued while the Council remained in effect suspended. Threats made by the Pope of an attack upon Naples came to nothing, and a fresh plot conducted by Giulio Cibo against Genoa failed. On the other hand Henry II was not satisfied with the terms of the league offered by the Pope. Meanwhile France was arming; the Pope was arming; and Charles put his possessions in a state of defence. Cosimo de’ Medici occupied Elba and Piombino for the further defence of his coasts in the imperial interest. The remonstrances, however, of the Genoese, who feared an attack upon Corsica, led Charles to take these places into his own hands. The visit of Henry II to Savoy and Piedmont (May, 1548) proved to be no more than a reconnaissance in force and led only to the seizure of the Marquisate of Saluzzo. Further delay was caused by the French war with England which broke out in 1548 over the Scottish question, and the Pope’s revenge had to be postponed. The Interim (May, 1548) agrees with the tone of general European politics at the time. Every Power was seeking to enjoy the benefits of time, and in such a policy Charles was a master.
And so the stormy year 1547 passed into the sullen peace of 1548, while the Pope was still offering ecclesiastical concessions as the price for the restitution of Piacenza, and Charles replied by asserting his right not only to Piacenza but to Parma also. Gonzaga continued to push his adventurous plans upon the Emperor, and hoped to take advantage of the passage of the Archduke Philip through Northern Italy in the autumn of 1548, at least to secure the building of a castle in Genoa; but nothing could be done except by force, and the Emperor was above all anxious to preserve the existing equipoise, as is shown by his instructions to Philip, written in February, 1548. With Gonzaga was co-operating Mendoza; he increased his personal authority over Siena, disarmed the citizens, and finally proposed the erection of a castle. The Pope proceeded with his negotiations with France, and although he allowed certain ecclesiastical concessions to be extorted from him, nothing certain resulted. The affairs of the Council became more and more desperate; and finally, in September, 1549, the order came to suspend it. The proposal to give Parma to Orazio Farnese or to incorporate it with the domains of the Church had alienated Ottavio; who, after a futile attempt to seize the city, took refuge with Gonzaga.
Paul III died on November 10, 1549, his last days embittered by dissension with his family, whose advancement had been his chief thought, and for whom he had sacrificed the friendship of the Emperor and the interests of the Church. His last act was to sign an order to place Parma in Ottavio’s hands; but the Orsini, who were holding the town, refused compliance.
1549-51] Accession of Pope Julius III.
The Conclave which followed was unusually prolonged. The imperial party, with whom the Farnese party made common cause in the hopes of winning Parma at least, if not Piacenza, for the family, were in a majority, and aimed at the election of Pole or the Cardinal Juan de Toledo, both known to be well disposed towards ecclesiastical reform. But the French party, though not able to elect any of their own candidates, were fully able to prevent the election of any other; and, after the Conclave had lasted more than two months, the two parties agreed to elect the Cardinal del Monte, who took the name of Julius III (February 7, 1550). Although his sympathies on the whole had been French, although he had been associated with the removal of the Council to Bologna, although he had the reputation of frivolity and vice, the imperial party accepted him as likely to choose tranquility rather than war and intrigue. Tranquility meant the continued domination of Spain. His good disposition towards the Emperor soon became evident in a number of matters, trifling in themselves, but important in the aggregate. More important still was the intention which he soon announced of reopening the Council at Trent. In fact, on November 14, 1550, he published a Bull summoning the Council to meet at Trent in the following May, notwithstanding the opposition of France, and the impossibility of settling the conditions in accordance with the wishes of the Emperor, the demands of the German Diets, and the interests of the Curia.
Julius had restored Ottavio Farnese to Parma in fulfillment of promises made in the Conclave, but he could not effectually protect him against the hostilities of Gonzaga from Milan. Nor could he persuade Charles to restore to his son-in-law Piacenza also. On the contrary the pressure of Gonzaga on the borders of Parma and his intrigues within the Duchy drove Farnese to apply for aid from France (December, 1550). Terms were arranged with France and Ottavio passed into the service of Henry. The King assembled troops at Mirandola. The Emperor pressed for a sentence of confiscation against Ottavio, and offered a loan to enable Julius to carry it out. Gonzaga seized Brescello (to the north-east of Parma) from the Cardinal d'Este. The Pope hesitated, but finally decided that it was more dangerous to offend the Emperor, and (May, 1551) declared Ottavio deprived of his fief. It then became necessary to resort to force, and Giambattista del Monte, the Pope’s nephew in command of the papal troops, received orders to co-operate with Gonzaga in the occupation of the Parmesan (June).
War with the Turks and with France. [1550-1
The war opened badly. On his way to join Gonzaga Giambattista suffered a slight reverse. Bolognese territory was attacked by the Farnesi, and the safety of Bologna itself was doubtful. The Pope was anxious to protect Bologna and called off the chief part of his troops for its defence. Reinforcements reached Parma from Mirandola. Although Mirandola was under French protection it became necessary to attack it, and the double enterprise against Parma and Mirandola proved too much for the scanty forces. The country was ruined but nothing was effected. War had not yet opened between the French King and the Emperor, but the peace concluded with England by Henry II (March 24, 1550), by which Boulogne was restored for a money payment, left him free on that side; and he could choose his own moment for overt hostilities.
Meanwhile the truce between Charles and the Sultan had been broken. A new corsair, Dragut, had established himself on the Tunisian coast of Africa at Mehedia, known as the Port of Africa. His ravages on the neighboring littoral of Sicily and further afield had rendered action imperative; and in September, 1550, the united fleet of Charles’ dominions had attacked and captured his headquarters, though his fleet escaped on this occasion, and again from Dorians blockade in the following spring. Charles could represent that this act of reprisal had been abundantly provoked, but the Sultan had made Dragut his commissioner to rule over the whole of Barbary, and regarded the attack upon him as an attack upon himself. On his return from an expedition against the Sophy of Persia, which the truce with Charles had permitted, the Sultan prepared for war. In July, 1551, a great Turkish fleet appeared in Sicilian waters, and after vainly demanding the restoration of Mehedia, the Ottomans turned upon the Knights of St John, and captured Tripoli (August 14). In September of the same year the Turkish war began afresh in Hungary. Once more Charles had to withstand the simultaneous hostility of the Most Christian King and of the infidels. In the course of 1551 Henry was submitting plans for common action to the Porte, and the use of the Turkish fleet was recommended; war in Hungary being calculated to unite the Germans in defence. The King of France was also in relations with Magdeburg and with Maurice of Saxony.
Under these auspices the Council met once more at Trent in May, 1551, though it was autumn before formal proceedings could be begun. Its prospects were not rosy, for in September, 1551, war opened on the side of Savoy. Although François de Brissac, the French commander, did not push his attack, the necessity of action in two distant fields completely disorganized the imperial finances in Italy. The blockades of Parma and Mirandola were in consequence slackly pursued; the Pope saw little prospect of gain from the war; his debts were burdensome; French hostility threatened him with the failure of French funds; he began to think whether an arrangement with France was not possible.
In April, 1552, he concluded a truce with France, which allowed Ottavio Farnese to hold Parma unmolested for two years. About the same time the Pope’s nephew, Giambattista, died in action. Charles was fain to accept the truce, for the same reason which mainly influenced the final decision of the Pope; the rising of Maurice of Saxony in alliance with the French, and the news of a French invasion. A fresh advance of the Turks in September, 1551, was another of the intolerable burdens which Charles had to bear at this, the darkest moment of his life.
The alliance between Henry II of France and the Protestant Princes of Germany was concluded at Chambord on January 15, 1552. It opened the way for a new development of French policy, the acquisition of territory, not Burgundian, at the expense of the Empire. On March 13, 1552, Henry invaded Lorraine, took the government from the Duchess and her infant son, and, in accordance with his agreement with the Protestant princes, occupied the principal towns of the three great bishoprics of Toul, Metz, and Verdun.
Since the accession of René de Vaudemont the power of the Dukes had been consolidated in the Duchy of Lorraine, by the extension of their influence over the Bishoprics, and the election of relations or partisans to the several Sees. But the policy of the duchy in the wars between France and Burgundy had been to preserve neutrality as far as possible; and thus up to this time immunity had been secured. The marriage of Christina, the Emperor’s niece, to the heir of Lorraine in 1540 had not during the life of her husband disturbed this neutrality; but Christina had been recently left a widow, and her regency in the duchy gave a plausible excuse for French intervention. Lorraine was easily subdued, but an attempt to seize Strasburg failed. The Netherland forces created a diversion by invading France and devastating Champagne; and Henry replied by marching on Luxemburg and occupying the southern part of the duchy.
The Emperor had hoped before the crisis arrived in Germany to reach the Netherlands, but his way was barred by the confederates; in Innsbruck he was not safe, and he was a fugitive at Villach in Carinthia, while the French worked their will in Lorraine and Luxemburg. But in August, 1552, after the confederates had been brought to terms, he issued once more with an army, and passing through Southern Germany, was well received at Strasburg, which had refused to admit the French. Thence notwithstanding the lateness of the season he proceeded to the siege of Metz, which meanwhile had been strongly fortified by François, Duc de Guise, and was ready to hold out. In spite of Charles’ discreditable alliance with Margrave Albert Alcibiades of Brandenburg-Culmbach the siege, which did not begin until October, proved a complete failure, and on January 1, 1553, Charles had to order a retreat. These events had their reaction on the Council of Trent, which was suspended in April, 1552, for two years or until the troubles should be overpast.
Revolt and conquest of Siena. [1552-5
That no more general rising took place in Italy during the months when Charles was suffering the invasion of Lorraine, and afterwards flying from Innsbruck before his enemies, is a remarkable testimony to the solidity of the edifice which he had built up. Charles contributed indeed to this result by abandoning the forward policy and its agents. Mendoza was recalled, and Gonzaga was removed from the government of Milan. There were not wanting centres of disaffection. Ferrara was French, even Cosimo wavered, Siena, irritated by the castle which Charles was building outside the walls by the advice of Mendoza, burst into open rebellion (July 17, 1552); but Cosimo was able to isolate the conflagration, and although the Spanish garrison was driven out and the fortress leveled the rebellion did not spread. It was agreed that Siena should remain free under imperial protection, and foreign forces should be excluded. Nevertheless French troops garrisoned the city, the fortifications were strengthened, and the Cardinal of Ferrara assumed the government in the French interest. The Spanish government had to acquiesce for the present and wait for its time to come. An attempt in January, 1553, to subdue the city by force from Naples failed owing to the death of Toledo, and the recall of his son, who was commanding the army.
In 1554, however, Cosimo gave the word for more energetic action. Piero Strozzi, the ubiquitous opponent of Medici and Habsburg, had entered the city in January. During his temporary absence Florentine troops surprised a gate of the city. Nevertheless Siena held out for fifteen months, the besieging army being commanded by that successful adventurer, Gian Giacomo Medichino, Marquis of Marignane; while Biaise de Montluc governed the city for the French King and Strozzi showed great ability and resource in frequent raids and sallies. But Strozzi’s total defeat at Marciano on August 2, 1554, rendered it possible to complete the blockade, and in April, 1555, the city surrendered to famine. The irreconcilables held out for four years longer at Montalcino, but the issue was no longer doubtful. The city was given up by Philip to Cosimo (1557), and incorporated in his duchy of Tuscany. The Spaniards retained, however, the coast towns (the Presidi). Piombino and Elba Cosimo had already received. So ended the last of the old-fashioned revolutions of Italy, and one more single and independent city was incorporated in the larger system. Cosimo was a main link in the Italian scheme of Charles, and the accessions of territory which he received were well earned by his services to the Habsburg cause.
Meanwhile the French and Turkish fleets had been co-operating in the Mediterranean, raiding the Italian coasts. They then provoked a rebellion in Corsica, which at first had considerable success, but ultimately with Spanish and German aid the Genoese recovered the principal fortresses, and the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis restored the island to Genoa.
The war on the French frontier continued its indecisive course. In June, 1553, Charles had his first success. Terouanne was attacked in April, and after two months capitulated with its garrison of 3000 men, and Montmorency’s eldest son. Emmanuel Philibert, who in this same year succeeded his father as Duke of Savoy, took and destroyed Hesdin. Robert de la Marck, whose hostilities had first involved the Emperor in war (1522), was a captive. An attack on Cambray by the French King failed. In the following year the French changed their objective to the valley of the Meuse, capturing Marienburg, Dinant, and Bouvines. To resist them two new fortresses, Charlemont and Philippeville, were built on the territory of Liege. The defence of Namur by Charles in person ended his fighting days with credit. Almost his last act of authority was to conclude the short-lived Truce of Vaucelles (February 5, 1556).
1553-6] Close of Charles’ career.
The close of Charles’ career is characteristic. A long campaign against odds in which reverses were fully compensated by success; the marriage of Philip with Mary of England (July 25, 1554), conceived in the true Habsburg spirit; the completion and final consolidation of his work in Italy; the Religious Peace of Augsburg, in which Charles was forced by political necessity to acquiesce, against his will and against his convictions. His work was done. During forty years he had striven to discharge the impossible tasks imposed upon him by accident and a mistaken dynastic policy. He had now accomplished what he could perform. The duchy of Milan and preponderance in Italy was a set-off for the lost duchy of Burgundy. The conquest of Lorraine he could regard as a wrong done not to himself but to others. The acquisition of this duchy would have tempted him had he resembled his ancestor Charles the Bold. It does not however appear that he ever contemplated such a conquest, a proof of his essentially conservative policy. He had given peace to Italy and Germany; at the price of much that was valuable, much that could never be restored, but still he had given peace. The accession of Paul IV (May 23, 1555) gave reason to believe that this peace might be disturbed; but its ultimate restoration could be confidently expected. The late war had shown the strong defensive position in Italy and the Netherlands; a position so strong that the main French attack had been diverted from Charles’ hereditary possessions to the neighboring independent and weaker powers. Spain as usual was regarded as inexpugnable. With the Reformation alone he had proved unable to cope. It was an accomplished fact, but he had given it bounds, and extinguished in Germany religious war.
The question of Savoy still remained unsolved, but this he could leave to his son to settle. So long as France still held Savoy and Piedmont she held the gates of Italy; and Spanish garrisons in Milan had to be maintained almost at war-strength. But something must be left undone; and Charles had the right to demand his release. Although he was still young, as we measure youth, his incessant labors had destroyed his health. He was racked with gout, the penalty of his voracious appetite and unsparing industry. His abdication, although it has often been regarded with surprise, was the most natural act, and the moment for it well chosen. In the Netherlands it was accompanied by a touching and impressive ceremony (October 25, 1555), when, in the midst of a splendid assembly at Brussels, the Emperor with tears explained his reasons, recounted his labors, and gave his last exhortation; and then solemnly invested his son with his Northern provinces. Milan and Naples had been previously handed over. On January 16, 1556, Charles resigned his Spanish kingdoms and Sicily. Shortly afterwards he gave up the Franche-Comté. He made over to his brother all his imperial authority, though his formal renunciation of the Empire was not accomplished until 1558. Free at last he set sail for Spain (September 17, 1556) and made his way to the monastery at Yuste. Here he took a constant interest in the political affairs of the time, and occasionally intervened by way of advice and influence. After two years of rest, broken by increasing infirmity, he closed his life in 1558; too soon to see the seal set upon his labors by the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis.
Election of Pope Paul IV. [1555-6
Julius III had concluded on March 24, 1555, his insignificant career; Marcellus II, his successor, died on April 30; and on May 23 Giampiero Caraffa was elected, and took the title of Paul IV. The ecclesiastical activity of Caraffa, his share in the endeavor to restore pontifical and hierarchical authority in the years previous to his election as Pope, his religious attitude and tendencies do not concern us here. But the spirit shown by Caraffa in the treatment of heretics, and the affairs of the Church, promised little peace if it were to be applied to the complicated political relations of the papal see. What all expected to see was an uncompromising postponement of political expediency to the single object of restoring papal supremacy and ecclesiastical unity. What none could have foreseen was that not only the political interests of the Holy See but also all chances of an effective Catholic reaction were to be sacrificed to the demands of intense personal hatred.
It was known that Caraffa was an enemy of Spain. As a Neapolitan, he detested the alien masters of his native country. In 1547 he had urged upon Paul III an attack on Naples in support of the rising which had then occurred in the kingdom; and it had subsequently required all the influence of Julius to procure his admission to the Archbishopric of Naples. But the overmastering nature of his hatred was not known, and is even now not completely to be explained. If we assume that personal grounds of animosity co-operated with intense hatred of foreign rule, a despairing sense that one last blow must be struck to free the Papacy once and for all from Spanish domination, and a stern conscientious antipathy to those methods of compromise with heretics which had been the chief mark of Charles’ action in religious matters, if we assume that all these feelings worked together, each intensifying and exacerbating the other, then we can perhaps begin to understand the attitude of Paul. In addition his advanced age (he was 79 years old at the time of his election) admitted of no delay; what was to be done must be done quickly; and the history of the Papacy can prove that old age exercises no mitigating influence over the passions of anger and hatred.
The forces with which Paul entered on this struggle were in themselves insignificant. The total gross revenues of the Papal State about this time are estimated at 1,000,000 crowns; from which sum 400,000 crowns must be at once deducted for taxation remitted by Caraffa and necessary current expenses. The ecclesiastical revenues had been reduced by the apostasy of Germany, the practical independence of Spain, the condition of England, and by the austere refusal of the Pope himself to allow money to be raised by questionable means employed in the past. The papal troops were inefficient even if judged by an Italian standard; the population was neither prosperous nor devoted; and there were permanent centres of sedition and opposition.
Paul set himself at once to gain external help. Ferrara joined; a league was concluded at Rome with France, which was represented by Charles de Guise, the Cardinal of Lorraine, December 16, 1555; but Venice as usual maintained a watchful neutrality. But his policy of enriching his nephews by confiscation of the goods of Roman nobles, while it agreed ill with the zeal for reform and justice hitherto professed by the Pope, gained him many enemies at home. The conclusion of the Truce of Vaucelles (February, 1556) was a disappointment to Paul; but his able and unscrupulous nephew, Cardinal Carlo Caraffa, succeeded during the summer in persuading Henry II to renew the league for defensive purposes. The seizure and imprisonment of Garcilasso della Vega, the secretary of the Spanish embassy at Rome, was a measure of open hostility; and the Duke of Alva, who had succeeded Toledo at Naples, was forced to address a remonstrance, almost an ultimatum, to the Pope in August, 1556. No satisfaction was to be expected; and in September the Spanish troops crossed the frontier and began to occupy the Campagna. The Pope, ill prepared for war, was forced to beg for an armistice, which was granted (December 2, 1556). He used the interval to call on his ally for help; and before the month was out the Duke of Guise crossed the Alps. Instead of allowing him to proceed to the reduction of Milan, Paul insisted on his pressing on through papal territory to Naples. The passage of the French troops increased the discontent of the papal subjects in Romagna and the Marches, which had already been aroused by the extraordinary subsidies required for the war. The papal troops were melting away for want of pay; and when the allied armies crossed the Neapolitan frontier and laid siege to Civitella, they were soon compelled to withdraw. In August, 1557, the news of the battle of St Quentin caused the recall of Guise, and the Pope was left without defence.
Alva could easily have taken Rome if he had wished, but neither he nor his master wished to reduce the Pope to extremities. The Pope was forced to beg for peace, which was granted on easy terms. The only serious concession required was the restoration to the Colonna and other friends of Spain of the property which had been taken from them and conferred upon the papal nephews. The Spanish hegemony in the peninsula stood firmer than ever , but the Papal State was not curtailed. Alva visited Paul at Rome, and was reconciled to the Pope (September, 1557).
Death of Paul IV. Battle of St Quentin. [1557-9
After this brief and fruitless exposition of hatred, Paul returned rebuked to his work of ecclesiastical reformation and the stimulation of the Inquisition. That action of the Inquisition was frequently directed by political motives was generally believed at the time, and is not in itself improbable. Partly to quell the resentment caused by this and other measures, partly perhaps to indicate the recognition and abandonment of a mistaken policy, Paul (January, 1559) deprived his nephews of all their offices and banished them from Rome. This act of justice was however only the preliminary to the enforcement of still sterner measures of religious repression, and when the Pope expired in August, 1559, it was amid scenes of wild disorder; the head-quarters of the Holy Office at Rome were stormed and wrecked; the Pope's statue was destroyed and dragged with ignominy through the streets. His ecclesiastical policy appeared to be as complete a failure as his attack upon the power of Spain.
But indirectly the action of Paul had a permanent effect on the history of Europe. It led to the rupture of the Truce of Vaucelles. The conclusion of this truce had seemed to be a triumph for Montmorency; but Cardinal Caraffa and the influence of Guise secured the real triumph for the party of Lorraine. Soon after the expedition of Guise to the peninsula war broke out in the North of France, but both sides confined themselves for some time to preparations and defensive measures. On June 7, 1557, Mary of England declared war on France. At length, in July the army of the Netherlands under Emmanuel Philibert began to move, and laid siege first to Guise and then to St Quentin. Coligny succeeded in throwing himself into this place, and animated its defence; but when Montmorency attempted to relieve the fortress (August 10) he was attacked and severely defeated. The Constable himself, with many of the greatest men of France, was taken prisoner. The only French army in the north was scattered, and the way lay open to Paris. But Philip refused to allow the advance, and the French were given time to assemble troops and put their defences in order. Coligny’s obstinate defence in St Quentin gave seventeen days of respite after the battle; and Guise was recalled from Italy. Philip occupied a few trifling fortresses and then disbanded his army.
In November Guise, whose authority with the King was now no longer contested by the conflicting influence of Montmorency, had brought together an army; and on January 1, 1558, the siege of Calais was undertaken; in eight days the town surrendered, and the English were expelled. Guines was captured shortly afterwards, and this gate of France was closed for ever to the English. But the French need was extreme. While the siege of Calais was proceeding the notables of France assembled in Paris at the King’s command, and Henry demanded of them a loan of 3,000,000 crowns, one-third from the clergy, two-thirds from the towns. The news of the capture of Calais caused the proposition to be accepted with acclamation. In April the marriage of the Dauphin to Mary of Scotland, with the secret agreements concluded previously, opened other prospects to French foreign policy.
In May, however, negotiations for peace were begun by the Cardinal of Lorraine, and Antoine de Granvelle, Bishop of Arras, suggested the alliance of France and Spain for the suppression of heresy, pointing out that persons in the highest positions in France, such as Coligny, d'Andelot, and the Bourbon family, were infected by the new doctrines. Religion was beginning in France to intensify party rivalries and serve as an excuse for partisan revenge. But before negotiation could lead to its full result war had once more to play its part.
The French plan of campaign for 1558 was directed to the capture of Thionville, and, as a sequel, to a double invasion of Flanders. But the delays caused by the long resistance of Thionville, which did not fall until June 22, prevented the simultaneous execution of the two attacks. The Maréchal de Termes from Calais was first in the field, and after sacking Dunkirk and ravaging the country he found himself forced by the Flemish army under Egmont to give battle near Gravelines. Here he suffered a complete defeat (July 13) to which the guns of the English fleet contributed. After this the French armies were compelled to confine themselves to the defensive.
In October peace negotiations were resumed on the north-eastern frontier in the county of Saint Pol. During the course of the discussions Mary Tudor died (November 17). Her death facilitated an agreement in two ways. In the first place it reduced the importance of the question of Calais. Philip had no longer any need to insist on the restitution of this town for the benefit of Elizabeth. In the second place it allowed marriage proposals to weigh in the scales, and, although Philip sued for the hand of Elizabeth of England, there was little to be expected in that quarter. After the conference had been removed to Cateau-Cambrésis (February, 1559) Elizabeth, finding that Spain was not supporting her demands for restitution, agreed that France should retain Calais for eight years, and the way was cleared for the main compact. The peace was signed on April 2. The last point decided was that Philip should marry Elizabeth of France.
France restored Marienburg, Thionville, Damvillers, and Montmédy, receiving in return Saint Quentin, Ham, le Catelet, and Térouanne; Bouvines and Bouillon were given back to the Bishop of Liege; Philip retained Hesdin. Montferrat, the Milanese, Corsica, Savoy, Bresse, and Piedmont were abandoned by the French; except for the places of Turin, Pinerolo, Chieri, Chivasso, and Villanuova in the territory of Asti. Montalcino was to be given up to the Duke of Tuscany. France did not press for the restitution of Navarre, but retained Saluzzo.
Thus the contest of sixty years reached its close, never to revive in the same form. The boundaries of the Netherlands were restored with slight alterations. Italy was left as Charles had fixed her system. Savoy was re-established as a buffer-State between France and Italy; a position which the genius of her Dukes would use to good advantage. No treaty marks a more definite stage in the development of the European state system. It involved the acceptance of Spanish supremacy in Italy, and the recognition of the organic unity of France, of Spain, and of the Netherlands. For all her concessions France received compensation in the debatable land which lies between the southern boundaries of the Netherlands and the northern slopes of the Alps. Here the international struggles of the next century would be fought out, until French ambition returned once more to attempt the conquest of the Netherlands, and the obliteration of the Pyrenees. The death of Henry II, and the accession of Elizabeth in England, the death of Paul IV, the marriage of Philip with Elizabeth of France, and the death of Charles V, all occurring within twelve months contributed to emphasize the close of an old epoch, the beginning of a new one. The policy of Montmorency had triumphed over that of the Guises; the obstinate persistence of Charles V had received its posthumous reward; and the outbreak of the wars of religion in France on the one hand, the revolt of the Netherlands on the other, were before long to paralyze all those remaining forces and ambitions which might have reversed the decisions recorded at Cateau-Cambrésis. The Reformation had hitherto run its course almost without opposition; henceforward the energies, which had been absorbed in the long dynastic struggle, would be occupied by the still greater contests arising out of the Counter-Reformation movement. In these contests the resumption of the Council of Trent, and its policy and conclusions, furnished the dogmatic basis, and defined the controversial issues.
Royal authority in the French Church.
Throughout this period there have been two main plots in European history, the one centring in Germany and concerned with the questions of religious reform, the other centring in Italy, and leading to the permanent settlement of territorial questions in Europe. The plots are interwoven, and it has been only possible in the foregoing pages occasionally to indicate important points of contact. But each can be to some extent isolated. The German plot is reserved for full treatment in later chapters. The Italian plot has for its chief actors, on the one side Spain and the Netherlands, on the other side France, while Savoy and the lesser States of Italy each contribute their share to the action. The internal affairs of Italy have received in the description of the main plot such attention as space permitted, and as was necessary to explain the forces at work. But the internal affairs of France, Spain, and the Netherlands have been left aside. Yet some knowledge of these is required if we are to understand the power exerted by each in the forcible settlement of European questions.
The course of the reform movement in France is related below; the institutions of France are described in the first volume of this History. It remains only to give some account of those internal developments and changes that affected the activity of France as a European power.
In the institutions of France there is little change to record. The absolute monarchy had been already established, and was further developed by the school of legists, who had their head-quarters in the University of Toulouse. At their head was the Chancellor Duprat. Their principles and their action aimed at the continuous extension of the royal power. From the King they received their employment and their reward; to his strength they owed everything. All their efforts were directed to its increase both in State and in Church. In the Church especially the Concordat of 1516 proved a valuable instrument in their hands. The absolute authority of the Crown over the Church is proved by the lavish grants frequently made by the clergy to the King, enforced at need by the seizure of property : and by the proposals to sell clerical lands for the King's benefit put forward in 1561 at St Germain. The clergy then offered willingly 16,600,000 livres to avoid this danger, so real did it appear. The old Gallicanism of the Pragmatic died hard, finding its last strongholds in the Parliaments and the Universities; and was not finally defeated until the lit de justice of 1527, which removed all jurisdiction relative to high ecclesiastical office from the Parlement, and gave it to the Grand Conseil. The old Gallicanism was replaced by a new royal Gallicanism, which resented interference with the ecclesiastical affairs of France from beyond the Alps, but placed the Church at the mercy of the King. In consequence of this subjection of the French Church to the King the clergy of France fell into two well-marked divisions: those who held or hoped for rich ecclesiastical promotion from the King, and the poor parochial clergy, who thought and suffered, and whose importance as a political factor will be seen in the Wars of Religion.
Though the general lines remain unaltered, administrative changes can be perceived. The elevation of Jacques de Beaune de Semblancay (1518) to the cognisance of all the King’s finances, extraordinary as well as ordinary, shows the desire for some unification; but his fall in 1527 proves that the new arrangements were not supposed to have worked well. The establishment of the Trésor de l'Épargne in 1523 shows the same effort for centralisation; this measure weakened the Trésoriers and Généraux, and brought the whole question of finance under the eyes of the King’s Council. The scope of the Trésor de l'Épargne was gradually widened; and in 1542 a more radical reform was introduced; the old financial districts were abolished; and 16 new centres were established for the receipt of all funds arising from the areas assigned to them. These reforms were in the right direction, but did not go far enough.
The sources of revenue were unchanged. The taille was still the mainstay of the government, and was increased at will. In 1543 it reached a figure higher than in the time of Louis XI. Extraordinary supplies were raised by the sale of domain lands, and by the creation of new offices, intended to be sold. The consequent multiplication of unnecessary officials, each anxious to recoup his expenditure, was the gravest abuse of the time. Under Francis I the system of aides was gradually extended to the provinces which had hitherto enjoyed immunity; and, in spite of solemn engagements, the quart du sel of Guyenne was first (1541) raised to three-eighths; and then in 1545 the gabelle du sel, with its system of compulsory purchase, was put in full force in all the south-western provinces. The revolt of La Rochelle (1542) and of Guyenne in general (1548) did not prevent the execution of these decrees.
Similarly in the department of justice changes are rather administrative than constitutional. The introduction of the présidiaux, a board of judges appointed for each bailliage or sénéchaussée, and intermediate between the Parlements and the Courts of first instance, was probably advantageous to the people, though its immediate object was the raising of money by the sale of the new offices. The Edict of Villers-Cotterets (1539) was a great landmark in the administration of justice and in the history of legal procedure in France; it instituted the use of the French language in the Courts, and superseded ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the great majority of cases by the lay tribunals. The clergy in 1552 paid three millions of crowns to recover these rights of jurisdiction; but apparently the King did not fulfil his share in the bargain.
The old military system changed slowly. The mounted archers were gradually being separated from the gens d'armes, whose following they had originally constituted. As the importance of hand firearms increased the number of archers was diminished; and some attempt was made so to strengthen the defensive armour of horse and man as to meet this new weapon of offence. Chevau-légers, trained after the Stradiot fashion, and other varieties of cavalry begin to appear. But in infantry France was still deficient. The attempt of Francis I (1543) to form seven provincial legions, each of 6000 foot, alarmed the gentry by placing arms in the hands of the peasantry, and for this reason or because of Francis' habitual inconsequence it was abandoned, and only served as a pretext for levying the additional impost for which this measure was made an excuse.
Thus the chief interest of the time for France consisted in the persons who conducted the government. The system might not change, but the spirit in which it was administered depended on the King and the persons in whom he had trust. Inattentive as he was to business, the character of Francis I had a marked effect upon the history of his reign. The profuse expenditure on his Court must have reacted on his foreign policy. The cost of the Court is estimated by a Venetian ambassador as amounting to 1,500,000 crowns a year, i.e. about three millions of livres tournois. Of this sum 600,000 crowns went in pensions. The King's buildings, important as they are in the history of art, weighed heavily upon his people. The influence of the King's mistresses, Madame de Chateaubriand and Madame d'Étampes, and of his son's mistress, Diane de Poitiers, decided the fate of ministers if not of nations. In the early years of the King's reign, and particularly during his captivity, the influence of the Queen-Mother, Louise of Savoy, was predominant. Her powerful will and vigorous though narrow intellect were not without their value for France; but her rapacity was unlimited, and led to the treason of the Duke of Bourbon, the most important domestic incident of the reign. During his early years Francis was dominated by Bonnivet, and to a less degree by Lautrec and Lescun; during his later life (1541-7) Admiral Annebaut (de Retz) and the Cardinal de Tournon came to the front. The Due d'Enghien also enjoyed so much favor that his accidental death was ascribed by Court gossip to the act of the Dauphin himself. In the King's middle life Philippe de Brion had considerable power. But none of these courtiers can be said to have possessed a definite scheme of policy or to have worked for any definite end. More important was the part played by Anne de Montmorency.
So early as 1522 Montmorency became a Marshal of France. In the negotiations for the King's freedom after Pavia he took a prominent part, and was shortly afterwards appointed grand maître (1526), and from that time until 1541 he was the most conspicuous person at the King’s Court. He was Governor of Languedoc, a post previously held by the Constable de Bourbon, the duties of which he executed as a rule by deputy. The tendencies of his policy were favourable to the Emperor. He was unwilling to break the peace, to form alliances with the Protestant Princes or with the Sultan. Thus the period of his influence shows a certain touch of moderation. Montmorency was not always able to make his counsels prevail; but their weight was always on the side of compromise. In the conclusion of the Treaty of Cambray his influence is especially to be seen. On the other hand there is little reason to believe that the grand maître contributed anything masterly to the inconsequent foreign policy of Francis; any notable ideas of strategy to his army. His intellect was mediocre, and his most brilliant achievement was the devastation of Provence in 1536, which frustrated the invasion of Charles.
In 1538 he reached the culmination of his fortunes under Francis, when he was created Constable of France. The interview at Aigues-Mortes belongs to this period, when his influence was perhaps at its height. He must have the responsibility of the policy which allowed Charles a free hand in the chastisement of Ghent (1540). The failure of this policy left France isolated, unable to rely either upon England or upon the German Protestants. His fall, however, in 1541 was rather due to a Court intrigue, to the fear of Francis of his heir-apparent, to the jealousy of Madame d'Etampes and of Diane de Poitiers, than to the actual failure of his schemes. The party of Madame d'Etampes won the day, and the Constable retired into private life. Francis retained so much animosity against him that he is said to have warned his son before his death not to admit Montmorency to his favor. But the advice, if given, had little effect, and immediately on his accession Henry recalled the Constable to the royal Councils, and even paid the arrears of his pensions for the years of his suspension. The alliance between the Constable and Diane was intimate, but she perceived the danger of having him all-powerful. The Princes of the House of Guise, cadets of the sovereign House of Lorraine, and nearly related to the Houses of Anjou and Bourbon, were the instruments whom she found. Their father, Claude, Due de Guise, a contemporary of Francis I, had not succeeded in pushing his own fortunes at Court, but had nevertheless found opportunities to serve the King by levying troops for him and otherwise, so that he was able to secure dignities for himself, with offices and benefices for his relations. His brother, Jean, Cardinal of Lorraine, was not inconspicuous at the Court of Francis and in the history of the French Renaissance. But the high fortunes of the family begin with the sons of Claude; among whom are pre-eminent, Francis, the soldier, afterwards Duc de Guise, and Charles, Archbishop of Reims, and afterwards Cardinal. Under Henry II the places of power and profit, the spoils of discarded favourites, the determination of the King’s policy, are divided between Montmorency and the Guises; while Diane de Poitiers secured through their rivalry the decisive intermediate position. The Guise policy was aggressive, enterprising, provocative. Montmorency was more cautious, and favourable to peace. To the former were due the League of Rome and the rupture of the Truce of Vaucelles; to the latter the Truce of Vaucelles, and above all, the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis. All alike were zealous Catholics; all alike rapacious and greedy. In view of the powerful elements disputing the supremacy over her husband Catharine de1 Medici wisely kept in the background. Her capacities for rule and intrigue were not seen until a later age.
Montmorency had the advantage through his powerful character, his industry, and will; the Guises through their skill in winning the people and the interests to their side ; in the Church, in the army, in the Parlement their influence was great and was carefully developed. On the other hand, the immense ransoms exacted from Montmorency in 1559 for himself and his relatives impoverished his estate, and the Peace of Cateau-Cambresis was unpopular and diminished his credit. Thus, after the death of Henry II the advantage lay with the younger rivals of the Constable.
The government of Spain.
The changes in the system of the Spanish monarchy during the period are even less significant than those in France. The Cortes of Castile continued to meet and to retain their hold upon finance. The servicio became a regular impost, voted every three years. On the other hand, the alcabala was a ground for frequent bargaining between the King and the Cortes, and the advantage fell to the latter; for the total nett income raised from this source did not increase during the reign, while the purchasing power of money was diminished by at least one half. The real limitation of the royal power in Spain is seen in the refusal of all three Estates, exceptionally summoned to the Cortes of 1538, to agree to Charles’ proposal to raise money by a new excise on meat. The power of the Crown over the Cortes, if it was increasing, was increasing slowly, and its increase was due to the extension of royal authority in the towns, where the royal corregidor was becoming more autocratic, and the regidores themselves were appointed by the Crown. The pressure of the hidalgos for admission to municipal office, which is a notable feature of the time, would tend also gradually to divorce the ruling class in the towns from those who carried on its business and felt the real pinch of tyranny or maladministration.
In Spain more than elsewhere the interests of the Church and the Crown were closely linked. The Church looked to royal protection against heresy and against the Cortes. The King looked to the Church for supplies in time of need; he had its good government thoroughly at heart; he supported and moderated the action of the Inquisition so far as he could, for the Inquisition, though based on royal authority, was not entirely under his control. The forcible conversion of the Moriscos of Valencia in 1525 and following years attests the zeal, rather than the wisdom of Charles. The flight of a large part of this industrious class, and the discontent and apprehensions of those who remained, living as they did in constant fear of the Holy Office, was a main cause of the impoverishment of a considerable part of Spain. Charles seems himself to have perceived his error, and the severity of the decrees against the Moriscos was considerably relaxed during his later years.
In Spain also the administrative developments are more conspicuous than the constitutional. The business of government was becoming more and more complicated. Under Ferdinand and Isabella we have already the Councils of State, of Finance, and of Castile, besides the Council of Aragon; and in addition the Councils of the Inquisition, of the Military Orders, and of the Cruzada. Under Charles we have in addition the Chamber, the Council of War, the Council of the Indies, the Council of Flanders, and the Council of Italy. The several fields of these Councils, with a monarch who was absent from Spain for onehalf of the total period of his reign, required to be carefully limited and circumscribed. This led in its turn to the transaction of more and more business by writing, and that to red-tape and its accompanying delays; so that the excessive elaboration of bureaucratic methods tended to hamper and impede the despatch of business. This became even more conspicuous in the time of Philip. The problem of the decline of Spain has often occupied the minds of historians, who are at a loss to discover why the country which fills so large a place on the European canvas during the sixteenth century afterwards fell into impotence and decay. But the contrast has generally been exaggerated. Spain was never very rich and never very powerful. Individual Spaniards showed great enterprise and great talents. Ferdinand, and after him Charles V, obtained from their country all the energy of which it was capable. The Spanish foot-soldier had admirable qualities. But the work of Charles V depended as much upon the Netherlands as upon Spain; Italian enterprise was supported as much from the Low Countries as from Spain; and from both together support was always insufficient, and had to be eked out by local oppression. No great national impulse raised the Habsburgs to the head of Europe; the conquest of the Indies was due more to good fortune and the enterprise of a few men than to the greatness of the Spanish nation. When Spain lost the stimulus of great rulers, when she was deprived of the efficient support of the Netherland commercial wealth, when she was thrown upon her own resources, then the true weakness of the national character disclosed itself. The Spaniards could never be a great nation because they were never industrious.
Nevertheless, if Spain ever had an age of industry, it was in the time of Charles V. From the time of the conquest of Mexico an immense opening was offered to Spanish trade. Charles was anxious to encourage this trade. In 1529 he opened the export trade to a number of cities of the East and the North, and broke down to some extent the monopoly of Seville. As a consequence many industries increased by leaps and bounds. The silk industry in Toledo and Seville, the cloth industry in Toledo, Cordova, Cuenca and Segovia reached considerable dimensions. The same stimulus reacted upon agriculture and the wool-growing industry. For a time the new discoveries seemed to have opened an industrial era in Spain. But before long the influx of precious metals, rapid after the conquest of Mexico, more rapid after the conquest of Peru, and immense after the discovery of the silver mines of Potosi, began to raise the prices of commodities in Spain, far above the level current in other countries. This made Spain a bad seller and a profitable market. In spite of all the laws against export of treasure the merchants managed to exchange their wares of foreign manufacture for Spanish bullion, and to transport it beyond the border. The trade with the Spanish colonies stimulated competition.
The legislation of 1552 encouraged import and discouraged export in the interests of the inhabitants of Spain. The industries that had flourished began once more to shrink; the influx of treasure, with the appearance of wealth which it brought to so many, discouraged exertion, always distasteful to the Spaniards, and by the end of the reign of Charles V the period of industrial activity was already in its decline. This was not due to the severity of taxation having regard to the rise of prices the taxes of Spain probably became lighter during the period but to the natural action of the circumstances upon the national temperament, aided by bad laws and a misconceived economic policy. But the worst results of these forces and methods fall outside our period.
The returns from the colonies enriched the government and individuals rather than the nation. The fifth share of the treasury in all treasure imported and other profits from colonial trade brought the revenue from this source in 1551 to 400,000 and in 1556 to 700,000 ducats. The whole treasure of the Indian fleet was seized for the first time in 1535 by way of loan; and the evil precedent was followed in later years, until forbidden by a law of Philip in 1567.
In the government of the Indies Charles took a lively interest, and his belief in their future was not to be shaken. His relations with his great adventurers were not always happy. Cortes ended his days in a maze of litigation. Fernando Pizarro was imprisoned in 1539 for a long period. Francisco was killed by the insurgents, against whom the home government gave him insufficient support. Gonzalo Pizarro was executed for rebellion in 1548. But the difficulties of controlling these autocratic soldiers at a distance of 4000 miles accounts for many misunderstandings; and the natural tendency to local despotism and virtual independence required constant supervision and suggested suspicion.
In regard to the treatment of the natives and the question of the encomiendas Charles' policy was humane; though his measures were only in part successful. He leant a ready ear to the representations of Las Casas, and supported the missionaries against the colonists. On the whole his colonial policy achieved its objects; the natives were preserved from extermination or universal slavery; while the provinces of Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Northern Chili, with Venezuela, New Granada, and Central America were in his reign reduced to order and tolerable government. The spice trade with the Moluccas he endeavoured at one time to secure for the Spaniards; but in 1529 he was content to leave the monopoly to the Portuguese in return for an ample money compensation.
Burgundy and the Netherlands.
The provinces of the Netherlands inherited by Charles were substantially increased before his death. The French enclave of Tournay was conquered in 1521. After a long period of civil war Friesland was finally annexed in 1523. The expulsion of the Bishop of Utrecht by the Duke of Gelders was the excuse for the acquisition of the temporal sovereignty of this important diocese by Charles in 1527; and the city of Utrecht was reconquered in 1528. The endless struggle with the Duke of Gelders did not end with the death of Charles of Egmont in 1538; but the rapid campaign of Charles against the Duke of Cleves resulted in the final incorporation of Gelders with the Burgundian possessions in 1543. Groningen and the neighbouring territory had been acquired in 1536. In 1543 Charles forced also Cambray to accept a garrison. Liége, though still in nominal independence, was brought more and more under Burgundian influence. Its Bishop, Évrard de la Marck, maintained with Charles almost unbroken friendship until his death in 1538. Then Charles procured the election of his uncle George, the bastard son of Maximilian. Charles used the territory of Liege as his own, building on it the fortress of Marienburg (1546), and after the capture of this town Charlemont and Philippeville in 1554.
Thus the area of Burgundian supremacy was widened and its boundaries rectified; and in 1548 the status of the Provinces with reference to the Empire was revised. The whole of them was included in the Burgundian Circle; they were declared not to be subject to the laws of the Empire; they were bound however to contribute to imperial subsidies, and received in return the protection of the Empire. The effect of this measure was to sever the connection between the Empire and the Netherlands; for the protection was a figment, and the contribution remained unpaid. The suzerainty of France over Flanders and Artois had been renounced in 1529, and thus the Burgundian possessions became a single and independent whole. The Pragmatic Sanction of 1548 further declared that the law of succession for all the Provinces should be henceforth the same, and prevented the danger of a divided inheritance.
The regency of Margaret of Savoy, which ended in 1530, and that of Maria of Hungary, which terminated in 1552, were both directed by the supreme will of Charles, though much discretion was left to these able and faithful vicegerents. The centralisation of the government was carried further. Councils of State and of Finance for the whole aggregate were established. A central Court of Appeal was set up at Malines, though its authority was not universally accepted. The States-General for all the principalities were frequently summoned; and, although their decisions were not legally binding on the several States, every effort was made to enforce the will of the majority upon every district. Here as elsewhere Charles respected the constitution and did not attempt to enforce his will against the vote of the States. Many instances are on record in which he was obliged to give way. The newly acquired provinces were not immediately incorporated in the assembly of States-General.
In the Netherlands, as in his other dominions, Charles endeavored to enforce his will upon the Church. But the rival interests of the great alien sees, possessing ecclesiastical authority over the chief part of his territory, rendered this difficult; and his plan for the creation of six national dioceses failed owing to the opposition of the existing prelates and the Roman See. But in the matter of heresy he succeeded in holding his own for his lifetime. Early in 1521 before the Diet of Worms he issued his first edict in the Netherlands against Luther. By repeated laws, increasing in stringency, he kept if not the Reformed opinions at any rate their public expression within bounds; and the only serious danger of an outbreak in the Netherlands under Charles was at the time of the Anabaptist movement at Munster (1535), when the attempted seizure of Amsterdam by those sectaries led to a more rigorous persecution of them in various parts of the Netherlands. The Inquisition was established on a secular basis, for Charles could not afford to give this powerful instrument into the hands of alien Bishops or the Holy See. But under the surface the forces were growing; the movement was amorphous and heterogeneous; Lutheranism in the North, Zwinglian views in the South, Anabaptist doctrine among the more violent, and towards the end of the reign the more methodical and better organised Calvinistic system were spreading in spite of the Inquisition. The persecution of Charles, which, although vigorous in appearance, was in effect not especially severe, succeeded in concealing rather than in preventing the spread of heresy. This legacy he left to his son. Indeed, though the Netherlands flourished under Charles, though their trade prospered through the connection with Spain and the Indies, though the wealth of Antwerp and Amsterdam increased year by year, though peace was preserved and apparent obedience, though territory was rounded off and hostile provinces incorporated, the seeds were being sown which bore fruit in the days of Philip. The pressure of taxation was severe. The Spanish garrisons introduced in the early years of Charles’ reign were hated here as elsewhere. Religious causes of discord were constantly growing. Charles spent but a small part of his reign in the Netherlands, but his early years were passed there, and he was never a stranger, nor out of sympathy. His son was a Spaniard, and his home in Spain. The days of Margaret and Maria were to be followed by the rule of a different class of proconsuls, with a different kind of instructions. Then the accumulated discontent, the weariness of long continued burdens borne in a cause that was not their own, the strain of the prolonged strife with France, their natural friend, all the errors and mistaken policy of Charles, would make themselves felt; the issue of these things will be seen in a later volume.