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time elected king of the Romans. But these kings of
the Romans had no power in Italy, and that which
was left them in Germany was little more than that
of a doge of Venice ; besides this, the house of Aus-
tria was far from being formidable in itself. They
may in vain show the tomb of this emperor at
Vienna, with this epitaph : " Here lies Frederick III.,
the pious and august emperor, sovereign of Chris-
tendom, king of Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, arch-
duke of Austria," etc., but this only serves to show
the vanity of such inscriptions. Frederick never en-
joyed anything appertaining to Hungary but the
crown, ornamented with a few jewels, which he
always kept locked in his closet, and would never
restore to his pupil, Ladislaus, who was the true king
of Hungary, nor to those whom the Hungarians
afterward chose for their sovereigns, and who de-
fended them against the Turks. He was possessed of
barely half the province of Austria: his cousins had
the rest; and as to the title of sovereign of Chris-
tendom, it is easy to see how well he deserved that.
His son, Maximilian, had, besides the demesnes left
him by his father, the regency of the dominions of
Mary of Burgundy, his wife ; but he governed only
in the name of his son, Philip the Handsome. As to
the rest, we know that he was called "Massimiliano
pochi danari; " a surname which does not show him
to have been a prince of any great power.

England, which was still little better than a nation
of savages, after having been long rent to pieces

172 Ancient and Modern History.

by the civil wars of the white and red roses, in the
manner which we shall soon relate, had but just
begun to breathe under Henry VII., who, after the
example of Louis XL, humbled the barons, and
favored the people.



THE Christian princes of Spain had always been
at variance with one another. The race of Henry de
Transtamare, the bastard usurper since we must
call things by their proper names still continued
to reign in Castile, and a usurpation of a more singu-
lar kind laid the foundation of the Spanish grandeur.
Henry IV., one of the descendants of Transta-
mare, who began his unhappy reign in 1454, was
totally enervated by his pleasures. Never can a
court be entirely given up to debaucheries, but
revolutions, or at least seditions, must be the con-
sequences. Donna Juana, his queen, whom we shall
call by this name to distinguish her from his daugh-
ter, Princess Joan, and several other princesses of
the same name, was a daughter of Portugal: she
took not the least pains to conceal her gallantries,
and few women ever carried on their amours with
less regard to decency. Henry IV. passed his time
with his wife's lovers, and these diverted themselves
with the king's mistresses. In short, everything con-

Spain. 173

spired to set the Spaniards an example of the
greatest effeminacy and most consummate debauch-
ery. The administration being so weak, the mal-
contents, who make the majority at all times, and
in all countries, became very numerous in Castile.
This kingdom was then governed as France, Eng-
land, Germany, and all the other monarchial states
in Europe had for a long time been. The vassals
shared in the sovereign authority ; and if the bishops
were not like those in Germany, sovereign princes,
they were lords and great vassals, the same as in

An archbishop of Toledo, named Carillo, with
several other bishops, headed the party against the
king, and renewed in Spain the same disorders which
had afflicted France in the reign of Louis the Feeble,
Germany, under a number of its emperors, and
which we shall soon see appear again in France
under Henry III., and desolate England in the reign
of Charles I.

1465 The rebels, now grown powerful, deposed
their king in effigy, a ceremony which had never
before entered into the heads of any faction.

They erected a great stage on the plain of Avila,
upon which was placed a sorry wooden figure, repre-
senting Henry IV., dressed in his robes and other
ensigns of royalty. To this figure they read the sen-
tence of deposition, after which the archbishop of
Toledo took off the crown, another person the
sword, and a third took away the sceptre ; they then,

174 Ancient and Modern History.

from the same stage, proclaimed a young brother
of Henry's, named Alphonso, king in his stead.
This farce was followed by all the horrors of civil
war, which did not cease even after the death of
the young prince, on whom the conspirators had
bestowed the kingdom. The archbishop and his
party declared the king impotent, at the very time
that he was surrounded by mistresses; and, by a
proceeding unheard of in any state, pronounced his
daughter Joan a bastard, and born in adultery.

Several of the grandees on this occasion laid claim
to the crown, but the rebels agreed to acknowledge
the king's sister, Isabella, a princess of seventeen
years of age, rather than submit to one of their
equals ; and chose rather to lay the kingdom waste
in the name of a young queen, who had as yet no
interest, than to raise up any person to be their

The archbishop who had made war against his
king in the name of the infant, now continued to
carry it on in the name of the infanta ; and Henry
could not extricate himself from all these troubles.
nor remain quiet upon his throne, until he had
signed, in 1468, one of the most shameful treaties
that had ever been extorted from a sovereign; by
which he acknowledged his sister Isabella as the
only lawful heiress to his kindom, in prejudice to
the undoubted rights of his own daughter, Joan ;
and at this price he purchased of his rebellious
subjects the empty title of king.

Spain. 175

But, in order to complete their work, it was nec-
essary to provide the young princess Isabella a hus-
band able to defend her claim. For this purpose
they cast their eyes on Ferdinand, heir to the crown
of Aragon, a prince nearly the same age as Isabella.
The archbishop married them privately; and this
marriage, concluded under such fatal auspices,
proved nevertheless the foundation of the Spanish
greatness. At first, it revived all the former divi-
sions, civil wars, fraudulent treaties, and those out-
ward reconciliations which serve only to augment a
mutual hatred. Henry, after having once more
settled matters on a quiet footing, was attacked
with a violent disorder at an entertainment given by
one of these reconciled enemies, and died soon after,
in 1474.

He vainly bequeathed his kingdom to his daughter
Joan, and swore in vain that she was his lawful
daughter ; neither his death-bed oaths, nor the assev-
erations of his queen, availed aught against the party
of Isabella and Ferdinand afterward surnamed the
Catholic king of Aragon and Sicily. They did not
live together like man and wife, in the common pos-
session of their estates, under the husband's direc-
tion, but like two monarchs in close alliance. They
neither loved nor hated each other, were seldom in
company together, had each a separate council, and
were frequently jealous of each other in the admin-
istration : the queen found a still greater subject of
jealousy in the infidelity of her husband, who filled

ij6 Ancient and Modern History.

all the great posts in the state with his bastards : but
they were inseparably united in their common
interests, always acting upon the same principles,
always having the words " religion " and " piety " in
their mouths, and wholly taken up with their ambi-
tious views. In short, the rightful heiress, Joan,
was unable to withstand their united forces; at
length her uncle, Don Alphonso, king of Portugal,
who was desirous of espousing her, took up arms in
her favor. But the conclusion of all these efforts and
troubles was that this unfortunate princess ended
in a convent that life which was destined for a

Never was injustice better colored, more success-
ful, or justified by a more daring and prudent con-
duct. Isabella and Ferdinand established such a
power in Spain as had never been known since the
restoration of the Christians. The Moors were now
in possession only of Granada, and drew near their
ruin in that part of Europe, while the Turks seemed
on the point of subduing the other. The Christians
had lost Spain in the beginning of the eighth cen-
tury by their mutual discords and divisions; the
same cause drove the Moors at length out of Spain.

Boabdil, nephew of Abdallah, king of Granada,
engaged in rebellion against him. Ferdinand the
Catholic took every opportunity of fomenting this
civil war, and of supporting the nephew against the
uncle ; by this means to weaken both the one and the
other. Soon after the death of Abdallah, he fell

Spain. 177

upon his ally, Boabdil, with the united forces of
Aragon and Castile. It cost him six years to con-
quer this Mahometan kingdom. At length he came
and laid siege to the city of Granada, which held out
against him for eight months. Queen Isabella came
thither in person to share in her husband's triumph.
Boabdil surrendered on conditions which showed
that he was yet able to defend his capital: for it
was stipulated that nothing should be attempted
against the estates, lands, liberties, or religion of the
Moors ; that the prisoners taken from them should
be restored without ransom ; and that the Jews, who
were comprehended in the same treaty, should enjoy
the same privileges.

1491 Boabdil then came out of the city, and
went to present the keys to Ferdinand and Isabella,
who treated him like a king, for the last time.

Contemporary writers who have related this event,
tell us that the Moorish king shed tears when he
looked back at the walls of that city, which had been
built by the Mahometans nearly five hundred years
before, was full of inhabitants and riches, adorned
with that stupendous palace of the Moorish kings,
in which were the finest baths in Europe, and a num-
ber of magnificent and spacious apartments, sup-
ported by a hundred pillars of alabaster. Perhaps
the very luxury, the loss of which he so much
regretted, had been the instrument of his ruin. He
retired to Africa, and there ended his days.

In Europe Ferdinand was considered as the
Vol. 2612

178 Ancient and Modern History.

avenger of the Christian religion, and the restorer
of his country. From that time he was called king
of Spain: and in fact, being master of Castile by
right of marriage, of Granada by conquest, and of
Aragon by birth, he wanted only Navarre, which he
got possession of in the end. He had several warm
disputes with France about Cerdagne and Roussil-
lon, which had been pledged to Louis XI. It may be
judged whether, as king of Sicily, he could without
jealousy behold Charles VIII. preparing to pass into
Italy, in order to dispossess one of the house of Ara-
gon, then settled on the throne of Naples.

We shall soon see in what manner the conse-
quences of so natural a jealousy broke forth ; but,
previous to entering into the quarrels of princes, you
always desire to observe the fate of the people.
You see that Ferdinand and Isabella did not find the
kingdom of Spain in the condition in which it was
later under Charles V. and Philip II. The mixture
of ancient Visigoths, Vandals, Africans, Jews, and
aborigines had for a long time laid waste the land
of which they disputed the possession, and it did not
grow fruitful till it came into the hands of the
Mahometans. The Moors, after they were con-
quered, became farmers to their conquerors, and the
Christians of Spain were wholly maintained by the
labors of their ancient enemies. They had no man-
ufactures of their own, and as little trade; they
were hardly acquainted with the common necessaries
of life: they had little or no furniture in their

Spain. 179

houses, no inns on their roads, no conveniences for
lodging strangers in their towns ; and the use of fine
linen was for a long time unknown to them, and
even that of the coarse kind was very scarce. All
their trade, both foreign and domestic, was carried
on by the Jews, who had become absolutely nec-
essary in a nation which knew only the use of arms.

1492 When, toward the end of the fifteenth
century, they began in Spain to inquire into the
causes of the wretchedness of the country, it was
found that the Jews had accumulated to themselves
either by trade or usury all the money in the nation ;
and upon a computation there appeared to be no less
than one hundred and fifty thousand of this foreign
nation amongst them, who were at once so odious and
so necessary to the Spaniards. A number of the
grandees, who had nothing left but their titles, had
married into Jewish families, as the only means of
repairing the losses they had sustained by their prod-
igality; and they made the less scruple of such an
alliance, as it had for a long time been customary
for the Christians to intermarry with the Moors. It
was therefore debated in the king and queen's coun-
cil, by what means the nation might be delivered
from this underhand tyranny of the Jews, after hav-
ing shaken off that of the Mahometans. At length
they came to a resolution, in the year 1492, to drive
all the Jews out of the kingdom, and share their
spoils. Accordingly they were allowed only six
months to dispose of their effects, which they were

i8o Ancient and Modern History.

consequently obliged to part with at a very low price.
They were furthermore forbidden, on pain of death,
to carry with them either gold, silver, or jewels. In
consequence of this ordinance, no less than thirty
thousand Jewish families left the kingdom of Spain,
which, at a computation of five persons in each fam-
ily, amounts to one hundred and fifty thousand souls.
Part retired into Africa, and part into Portugal and
France, and several returned, under pretence of
embracing the Christian religion. They had been
expelled from the kingdom for the sake of getting
possession of their riches, and they were received
again for the sake of those they brought back with
them; and it was principally on their account that
the tribunal of the Inquisition was set up, that upon
the least attempt to exercise any act of their own
religion, they might be proceeded against juridically,
and their possessions forfeited. No such treatment
is offered in India to the Banians, who are exactly
in that country what the Jews are in Europe, a
people separated from all the other nations by a relig-
ion as ancient as the annals of the world, but united
with them by the necessity of commerce, of which
they are the factors, and by which they acquire
as great riches as the Jews do amongst us.
These Banians are not hated, either by Mahom-
etans, Christians, or Pagans; whereas the Jews
are held in execration by all nations amongst whom
they are admitted. Some Spanish writers pretend
that this nation had grown formidable: they were

Spain. 1 8 1

certainly hurtful to the Spaniards by the immense
profits they made of them, but they were not a war-
like people, and therefore there was nothing to fear
from them. The Spaniards feigned to be alarmed at
what was only a piece of vanity in the Jews, namely,
their having endeavored long before the Christians to
form a settlement on the southern coasts of the king-
dom. It is certain that they had from time imme-
morial flocked in great numbers into the province of
Andalusia: now they had attempted to cloak this
fact under a thousand idle and fabulous notions,
which have always prevailed among these people, the
more sensible part of whom always confine them-
selves to business, and leave rabbinism to those who
have nothing better to do. The Spanish rabbins
had written a great deal to prove that a colony of
Jews flourished in these parts in the time of King
Solomon, and that the inhabitants of ancient Boeotia
paid a tribute to him : they endeavored to support
this assertion by a number of false medals and
inscriptions. This piece of deceit, with others of a
more essential kind of which they were accused, con-
tributed not a little to their disgrace.

From this time began in Spain and Portugal the
distinction between old and new Christians, or those
families which had intermarried with Jews, and
those which had made alliances with Moors.

Nevertheless the temporary profit which accrued
to the state from the violence offered to the Jews
soon deprived it of the certain revenues which these

1 82 Ancient and Modern History.

people used to pay into the royal treasury. This
deficiency continued to be severely felt till the Span-
iards made themselves masters of the riches of the
new world. However, they provided against this
inconvenience as much as they could by the help of
bulls: that granted by Pope Julius II., in 1509,
called the Cruzado, brought more money into the
government than all the taxes it had laid upon the
Jews. Every private person was obliged to purchase
one of these bulls, for the permission to eat meat in
Lent, and on Fridays, and Saturdays throughout
the year. No one who went to confession could
receive absolution without first showing this bull
to the priest. They afterward fell upon the invention
of the bull of composition, by virtue of which a
person was allowed to keep anything he had stolen,
provided he did not know the owner. Such super-
stitious practices are certainly as bad as anything
with which they reproached the Hebrews. Folly,
infatuation, and vice are in every country a part of
the public revenue.

The form of absolution given to those who pur-
chased this bull is not unworthy a place in this gen-
eral picture of the customs and manners of man-
kind. " By the authority of Almighty God, of St.
Peter and St. Paul, and of our most holy father, the
pope, to me committed, I grant you the remission of
all your sins, confessed, forgotten, and unknown;
and from the pains of purgatory."

The Mahometans underwent the same treatment

Spain. 183

from Isabella, or rather from her minister, Cardinal
Ximenes, as the Jews had done; great numbers of
them were forced to become Christians, notwith-
standing the articles of capitulation at Granada, and
were sent to the stake if they turned again to their
own religion. This drove as many Moors out of the
kingdom as it had done Jews; nor do we lament
the fate of either the Arabs or the Hebrews, the one
having so long held Spain in subjection, and the
other having for a still longer time continued to
plunder it.

About this time the Portuguese first emerged from
their obscurity ; and, notwithstanding the ignorance
of those ages, began to merit a glory as lasting as the
universe, by the great change they wrought in the
commerce of the world, which was the fruit of their
discoveries. The Portuguese were the first of all
the modern nations who navigated on the Atlantic
Ocean, and are indebted only to themselves for the
discovery of the passage round the Cape of Good
Hope, whereas the Spaniards owe the discovery of
America to foreigners. But it is to one man only,
namely, the infant Don Henry, that the Portuguese
are indebted for that great undertaking, against
which they at first so loudly murmured. Whatever
has been done either great or noble in the world has
been brought about wholly by the genius and cour-
age of a single man, who has dared to oppose the
prejudices of the multitude.

Portugal was employed in its great navigations

1 84 Ancient and Modern History.

and successes in Africa, and took no part in the
events of Italy, which alarmed the rest of Europe.


I shall now set before you the powers, the inter-
ests, and the manners of the several nations, from the
mountains of Dauphiny to the extremity of Italy.

The dominions of Savoy, which were not then so
extensive as they are at present, as containing neither
Montferrat nor Saluca, and being destitute both of
money and commerce, were not looked upon as a
barrier. Its sovereigns were attached to the house of
France, which had lately, during their minority, dis-
posed of the government; and the passage of the
Alps was left open.

From Piedmont we descend into the territories of
Milan, the most fertile country of Upper Italy. This,
as well as Savoy, was an imperial principality, but
powerful and altogether independent of a feeble
empire. This state, after having belonged to the
Visconti, passed into the hands of a peasant's bas-
tard, a great man himself, and the son of a great
man. This peasant was Francis Sforza, who by his
own merit rose to be constable of Naples, and one of
the most powerful noblemen in Italy. His bastard
son of one of the condottieri, and chief of these dis-
ciplined banditti, who sold their service to the popes,
the Venetians, and the Neapolitans. He made him-
self master of Naples in the middle of the fifteenth

Italy. 185

century, and some time afterward of Genoa, which
had formerly been so flourishing a republic, and
which, after having sustained nine successive wars
with Venice, was now fluctuating from one state of
slavery to another. It had offered itself to the French
in the reign of Charles VI., and had afterward
revolted : it then acknowledged the authority of
Charles VII., in 1458, and again shook off his yoke.
It would next have submitted to Louis XI. but that
monarch returned for answer that it might give itself
to the devil, for he would have nothing to do with
it. After all, in 1464, it was obliged to submit to
Francis Sforza, duke of Milan.

1476 Galeazzo Sforza, the son of this bastard,
was assassinated in the cathedral church of Milan
on St. Stephen's day. I mention this circumstance,
which otherwise would be frivolous, because here it
is of importance; for the assassins loudly invoked
St. Stephen and St. Ambrose to inspire them with
sufficient courage to murder their prince. Poison-
ings, assassinations, and superstition were the dis-
tinguishing characteristics of the Italians in those
days, who, though well versed in the arts of revenge,
knew not how to fight, consequently the number of
poisoners far exceeded that of good soldiers. The
son of this unfortunate Galeazzo Sforza, while yet an
infant, succeeded him in the duchy of Milan, under
the guardianship of his mother, and Chancellor Sim-
onetta. But his uncle, Ludovico Sforza, or Louis
the Moor, drove the mother out of the kingdom, put

1 86 Ancient and Modern History.

the chancellor to death, and soon after poisoned his

It was this Louis the Moor who entered into a
treaty with Charles VIII. to favor the descent of the
French in Italy.

Tuscany, a country less beholden to the gifts of
nature, was to Milan what the ancient Attica was to
Bceotia; for within the last century Florence had
signalized itself, as we have already seen, by its
attention to commerce and the liberal arts. The fam-
ily of Medici was at the head of this polite nation,
than whom no house ever acquired supreme power
by a more just title. It obtained it by mere dint of
beneficence and virtue. Cosmo de Medici, born in
1389* was a private citizen of Florence, who lived
without seeking for titles; but acquired by com-
merce a fortune equal to the greatest monarchs of his
time. He employed his great wealth in relieving the
poor, in making himself friends among the rich by
lending money to them, in adorning his country with
superb edifices, and in inviting to Florence the men
of learning among the Greeks who were driven from
Constantinople. His advice was for the space of
thirty years the law of the republic. His only arts
were his good deeds, which are of all others the most
just. After his death his papers showed that he had
lent immense sums to his countrymen, of which he
had never demanded the least payment, and he died,
in 1464, universally regretted by his very enemies.
The people of Florence with one consent adorned

Italy. 187

his tomb with the glorious epitaph of father of his
country, a title which not one of the many kings we
have seen pass in review were ever able to obtain.

His reputation procured his descendants the chief
authority in Tuscany. His son took the administra-
tion under the name of Gonfalonier. His two grand-
sons, Lorenzo and Julian, who were masters of the
republic, were set upon in the church by a band of
conspirators at the time of the elevation of the
host. Julian died, in 1478, of the wounds he
received, but Lorenzo made his escape. Florence
resembled Athens, both in government and genius.

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