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able son in pieces. In fine, the journal of the Borgia
family says that the pope at the age of seventy-two
was attacked by a violent tertian, which soon
turned to a continual fever, and proved mortal:
this is not the effect of poison. It is said moreover,
that the duke of Borgia caused himself to be sewed
up in a mule's belly: I should be glad to know to
what sort of poison a mule's belly is an antidote,
and how this dying man could go to the Vatican,
and get his father's money. Was he shut up in his
mule when he carried it off ?

It is certain, that after the pope's death there was
a sedition in Rome; the Colonnas and the Orsini
entered it in arms. This was the most proper time
for accusing the father and son of such a crime.
In fine, Pope Julius II., who was the sworn enemy
of this family, and who had the duke of Borgia for
a long time in his power, never imputed that to him
which was so universally laid to his charge.

But, on the other hand, how happens it that Car-
dinal Bembo, Guicciardini, Paul Giovio, Tommasi,
and so many other writers of those times, all agree
in this strange accusation? Whence such a multi-
tude of particular circumstances ? And why do they
pretend to give the very name of the poison made
use of on this occasion, which it seems was called
Cantarella? To all this it may be answered, that
it is no difficult matter to invent circumstances
in an accusation, and that in one of so horrible a

222 Ancient and Modern History.

nature, it was necessary to give the coloring of

Alexander VI. left behind him a more detestable
memory in Europe than Nero or Caligula in the
Roman Empire ; the sanctity of his station adding a
double weight to his guilt. Nevertheless, Rome
was indebted to him for her temporal greatness;
and it was this pontiff who enabled his successors
to hold at times the balance of Italy.

His son lost all the fruits of his crimes, and the
Church profited by them. Almost all the cities
which he had conquered, either by fraud or force,
chose another master as soon as his father died ; and
Pope Julius II. obliged him soon after to deliver
up the rest, so that he had nothing left of all his
wicked greatness. Everything reverted to the holy
see, which reaped more benefit from his wickedness
than from the abilities of all its popes, assisted by
the arms of religion.

Machiavelli pretends that he had so well con-
certed his measures, that he must have been master
of Rome and the whole ecclesiastical state after the
death of his father, but that it was impossible for
him to foresee that he himself should be at the point
of death at the very time that Alexander finished his

In a very short time he was abandoned by friends,
enemies, allies, relatives, and all the world; and
he who had betrayed so many, was himself at length
betrayed ; Gonsalvo de Cordova, the Great Captain,

Louis XII. 223

with whom he had trusted himself, sent him prisoner
to Spain. Louis XII. took from him his duchy of
Valentinois, and his pension. At length, having
found means to escape from his prison, he took
refuge in Navarre. Courage, which is not a virtue,
but a happy qualification, alike common to the
wicked and the virtuous, did not forsake him in his
distresses ; and, while he was in his asylum, he still
kept up to every part of his character: he carried
on intrigues, and commanded in person the army of
the king of Navarre, his father-in-law, during a
war which that prince entered into at his advice to
dispossess his vassals of their estates, as he himself
had formerly done by the vassals of the holy see.
He was slain fighting. A glorious end! whereas,
we see in the course of this history, lawful sover-
eigns, and men of the strictest virtue, fall by the
hand of the common executioner.



THE French might possibly have repossessed them-
selves of Naples, as they had done of Milan ; But
the ambition of Cardinal d'Amboise, prime minister
to Louis XII., was the occasion of losing that state
forever. Chaumont d'Amboise, archbishop of
Rouen, so much admired for having only a single
benefice, but who had at least another in the kingdom
of France, which he governed without control,

224 Ancient and Modern History.

wanted one of a more elevated rank. He aimed at
the papacy after the death of Alexander VI., and
he must have been elected, had his politics been
equal to his ambition. He was master of great
treasures. The army which was going to invade
Naples was then at the gates of Rome: but the
Italian cardinals persuaded him to remove it to a
greater distance, pretending that the election would
by that means appear more free, and consequently be
of greater validity. He went into the snare, drew off
the army, and then Cardinal Julian de la Rovere,
in 1503, caused Pius III. to be elected, who lived
not quite a month to enjoy his new dignity. After
his death Cardinal Julian, called Julius II., was
himself made pope, and the rainy season coming on,
prevented the French from passing the Garigliano,
and favored the operations of Gonsalvo de Cordova.
Thus Cardinal d'Amboise, who nevertheless passes
for a wise man, lost himself the tiara, and his master
the kingdom of Naples.

A fault of another kind with which he is
reproached is the unaccountable Treaty of Blois, by
which the king's council, with one stroke of a pen,
mutilated and destroyed the French monarchy. By
this treaty the king gave his only daughter, by
Anne of Brittany, in marriage to the grandson of the
emperor, and Ferdinand the Catholic, his two great-
est enemies; this young prince was the same who
afterward proved the scourge and terror of France,
and all Europe, by the name of Charles V. Can it

Louis XII. 225

be supposed that he was to have in dowry with his
wife the entire provinces of Brittany and Burgundy,
with an absolute cession on the part of France, too,
of all her rights to Milan and Genoa? and yet all
this did Louis XII. give away from his kingdom, in
case he should die without male issue. There can
be no excuse for a treaty of so extraordinary a kind,
unless by saying that the king and Cardinal
d'Amboise had no intention to keep it, and that in
short Ferdinand had taught the cardinal the art of

Accordingly, we find that the states-general, in
an assembly held at Tours in 1506, remonstrated
against this fatal scheme. Perhaps the king, who
began to repent of what he had done, was artful
enough to get his kingdom to demand that of him
which he did not dare to do of his own accord ; or
perhaps he yielded to the remonstrances of the
nation from the pure dictates of reason. In fine,
the heiress of Anne of Brittany was taken from the
heir of Austria and Spain, as her mother had been
from the emperor Maximilian. She was then mar-
ried to the count of Angouleme, afterward Francis
I., and Brittany, which had been twice annexed to
the crown of France, and was twice very near
slipping through its hands, was now incorporated
with it ; and Burgundy also was still preserved.

Louis XII. is accused of committing another error
in joining in a league against his allies, the Venetians,

with all their secret enemies. And it was an
Vol. 2615

226 Ancient and Modern History.

unheard-of event, that so many kings should con-
spire to destroy a republic, which not more than
three hundred years before, was a town of fisher-
men, who afterward became illustrious and opulent



POPE JULIUS II., who was a native of Savona, in the
Genoese dominions, could not without indignation
see his country under the French yoke. Genoa had
lately made an effort to recover its ancient liberty,
for which Louis XII. punished that republic with
more ostentation than rigor. He entered the city
with his sword drawn, and ordered all its charters
to be burned in his presence. He afterward caused
a throne to be erected on a high scaffold, in the
market-place, and obliged the principal citizens of
Genoa to come to the foot of this scaffold, and there
upon their knees to hear their sentence, which was
only to pay a fine of one hundred thousand gold
crowns: he then built a citadel to awe the city,
which he called the bridle of Genoa.

The pope, who, like the most of his predecessors,
wished to drive all foreigners out of Italy, endeav-
ored to send the French over the Alps again; but
he was willing, in the first place, to get the Vene-
tians to join with him, and that they should begin

The League of Cambray. 227

by restoring to him several cities, to which the holy
see had pretensions, the greatest part of which had
been wrested from their possessors by Caesar Borgia,
duke of Valentinois: and the Venetians, ever
watchful of their interests, had, immediately after
the death of Alexander VI., seized the towns of
Rimini and Faenza, and several lands in Bologna,
Ferrara, and the duchy of Urbino : these conquests
they were determined to keep. Julius II. then made
use of the French to oppose the Venetians, whom he
had before endeavored to arm against the French:
nor did he think the French alone sufficient, but
endeavored to draw all the other powers of Europe
into the league.

There was hardly one sovereign who had not some
demand on the territories of this republic. Emperor
Maximilian had unlimited pretensions as emperor ;
and besides, Verona, Padua, Vicenza, the march of
Trevizana, and Friuli lay convenient for him. Fer-
dinand the Catholic, king of Aragon, might take
back some seaport towns in Naples, which he had
pledged to the Venetians. This would have been
an easy way of paying off his debts. The king of
Hungary had pretensions to a part of Dalmatia.
The duke of Savoy might also claim the island of
Cyprus, in virtue of his alliance with the princes of
that country, who were now extinct. The people
of Florence likewise, as near neighbors, might come
in for their share in these demands.

1508 Almost all the powers who were at enmity

228 Ancient and Modern History.

with one another suspended their private disputes
to join in the general league set on foot at Cambray,
against the Venetians. The Turk, who was the
natural enemy of this republic, but then at peace
with her, was the only power who did not accede to
this treaty. Never were so many kings in league
against ancient Rome. Venice was as rich as all
the confederates together. To this resource she
trusted, and that dissension which she wisely judged
would speedily happen among so many confederates.
It was in her power to appease Julius II., who was
the chief promoter of this league : but she disdained
to make any concession, and dared the fury of the
storm. This was perhaps the only time the Vene-
tians were rash.

The pope began his declaration of war by excom-
munications, which at that time were held in more
contempt at Venice than in any other nation. Louis
XII. sent a herald at arms to the doge to denounce
war in form against him; at the same time he
demanded the restitution of the territories of Cre-
mona, which he himself had ceded to the Venetians
when they assisted him in retaking Milan, and more-
over laid claim to Brescia, Bergamo, and several
other territories.

The rapid success which had always accompanied
the French army in the beginning of all their expedi-
tions did not fail them in this. Louis XII., at the
head of his army, routed the Venetian forces in the
famous battle of Agnadello, fought near the river

The League of Cambray. 229

Adda, in 1509. Immediately after this victory
every one of the confederates seized his pretended
lot. Julius II. made himself master of all Romagna.
Thus the popes, who, as we are informed by history,
owed their first demesnes to a French emperor, were
now obliged to the victorious army of Louis XII.,
king of France, for the rest ; and from that memor-
able day they became possessed of almost the whole
of these territories which they at present occupy.

The emperor's troops in the meantime advanced
toward Friuli, and seized Trieste, which has ever
since belonged to the house of Austria. The Span-
iards laid hold of the Venetian possessions in Cala-
bria ; and even the duke of Ferrara, and the marquis
of Mantua, who were formerly generals in the
Venetian service, had a share in the general spoil.
Venice now exchanged her foolhardy courage for
the deepest consternation. She abandoned all her
towns on the mainland, released Padua and Verona
from their oath of allegiance, and reduced to her
ancient Lagunes, sued for mercy to Emperor Maxi-
milian, whose great success made him inflexible.

And now Pope Julius, having fulfilled his first
design, which was that of aggrandizing the see of
Rome on the ruins of Venice, began to think of the
second, which was to drive the barbarians, as they
were called, out of Italy.

Louis XII. was returned to France, where, like
Charles VIII., he remained as negligent in securing
his conquests as he had been eager to make them.

230 Ancient and Modern History.

The pope granted the Venetians his pardon, who,
somewhat recovered from their first consternation,
continued to make headway against the emperor.

At length Julius entered into a league with this
republic against those very French whom he had
before invited to assist in oppressing it. His aim
was to ruin all the foreign powers in Italy by the
arms of one another, and to exterminate the small
remains of German authority yet left in that coun-
try, and to raise Italy to a respectable and powerful
state, of which the sovereign pontiff might be the
chief. To compass his project he spared neither
negotiations, money, nor pains. He directed the
war in person, he attended in the trenches, and
braved death in all its shapes. He is blamed by
most historians for his ambition and obstinacy : but
they should do justice to his consummate courage,
and the grandeur of his views.

A fresh error committed by Louis XIL, favored
the designs of Pope Julius. Louis was fond of that
economy which is a virtue in a peaceable administra-
tion, but a vice in the prosecution of great under-

By a mistaken discipline the chief strength of an
army was at that time centred in the gendarmerie,
who fought either on foot or on horseback ; and the
French had never been at the pains to form a good
body of infantry of their own, which, however, was
very easy to be done, as experience has since shown.

The League of Cambray. 23 1

The kings of France then always kept a body of
German and Swiss foot in their pay.

It is well known that the Swiss infantry greatly
contributed to the conquest of Milan. In this busi-
ness they had not only sold their lives, but even their
honor, by betraying Louis the Moor. The Swiss
cantons now demanded an increase of pay from
Louis, which he refused to grant. The pope took
advantage of this ; he wheedled the Swiss, he gave
them money, and flattered them with the title of
Defenders of the Church. He sent emissaries
among them to preach against the French ; the
people, naturally of a warlike disposition, ran in
crowds to hear these sermons. What was this but
preaching up a crusade ?

It may have been observed, that through an unac-
countable concurrence of circumstances and con-
junctures, the French were now allies of the Ger-
mans, whose declared enemies they had been on so
many former occasions. Nay, they were even their
vassals ; for Louis XII. had purchased for one
hundred thousand gold crowns, the investiture of the
duchy of Milan, of the emperor, who was neither a
powerful ally nor a faithful friend, and who, as
emperor, could not be supposed to love either the
French or the pope.

Ferdinand the Catholic, whose dupe Louis had
always been, deserted the League of Cambray as
soon as he had gained possession of the places he
claimed in Calabria. He had prevailed on the pope

232 Ancient and Modern History.

to grant him the full and entire investiture of the
kingdom of Naples, who by this means bound him
firmly in his interest ; so that Julius, by his superior
skill in politics, gained over not only the Venetians,
the Swiss, and the kingdom of Naples, but also the
English, while France was left to bear the brunt of
the war alone.

1510 Louis XIL, on being attacked by the pope,
called an assembly of the bishops at Tours, to know
whether he might safely defend himself against the
pontiff, and whether the excommunications of this
latter would be valid. In these more enlightened
days, we may be surprised that such questions were
thought necessary ; but we should consider the prej-
udices of the times; and here I cannot forbear
remarking the first case of conscience which was
proposed in this assembly. The president put the
question, whether or not the pope had a right to
declare war on an occasion that did not relate to
religion or the Church patrimony ; it was answered
in the negative. Now it is plain that the question
here proposed was not that which should have been
asked, and that the answer was contrary to what
should have been given : for in matters of religion
or church possessions, a bishop, if we believe the
Holy Scriptures, should be so far from making
war, that he is only to pray and to suffer ; but in a
political affair, a pope not only may, but should
assist his allies, and avenge the cause of Italy.
Besides, the pope made war at this time to increase

The League of Cambray. 233

the Church demesnes by the addition of Ferrara and
Bologna, whose possessors were under the protec-
tion of France.

This French assembly made a more noble answer,
when it resolved to abide by the pragmatic sanction
of Charles VIII., to stop all future remittances to
Rome, and to levy a subsidy on the clergy of France
for carrying on the war against the pope, the Roman
head of these clergy.

The operations were begun on the side of Bologna
and Ferrara. The pope laid siege to Mirandola;
and this pontiff, at the age of seventy, appeared in
the trenches armed cap-a-pic, visited all the works,
hastened the operations, and entered the breach in

1511 While the pope, worn out with age, was
toiling under arms, the French king, still in the
prime of his vigor, was holding councils, and
endeavoring to stir up the ecclesiastical powers of
Christendom, as the pope did the military ones.
The council was held at Pisa, whither several car-
dinals, who were the pope's enemies, repaired. But
this council of the king's proved a fruitless under-
taking, while the pope's warlike enterprises met with

They in vain caused medals to be struck at Paris,
in which Louis XII. was represented with this
device, "Perdam Babylonis nomcn" "I will
destroy even the name of Babylon." It was shame-
ful to boast of what he was so little able to execute.

234 Ancient and Modern History.

Heroic deeds, and even battles gained, may serve
to render a nation famous, but can never increase
its power while there is an essential error in the
political administration, which at length must bring
on its ruin. This is what happened to the French
in Italy. The brave Chevalier de Bayard acquired
universal admiration by his courage and generosity.
Young Gaston de Foix made his name immortal at
the age of twenty-three, by repulsing a large body
of Swiss, passing with amazing speed four rivers,
beating the pope in Bologna, and gaining the famous
battle of Ravenna, where he won immortal glory,
and lost his life. These rapid exploits made a noble
figure; but the king was at a great distance from
his army : his orders came often too late, and were
sometimes contradictory. His parsimony, at a time
when he should have been lavish in his rewards,
checked all emulation. Military discipline and sub-
ordination were unknown among his troops. The
infantry was composed of German foreigners, who
were mercenaries attached to no interest. The
French gallantry, and that air of superiority which
belongs to conquerors, at once irritated the subjected
Italians, and made them jealous. At length the
fatal blow was struck by Emperor Maximilian, who,
gained over by the pope, published the imperial
avocatoria or letters of recall by which every
German soldier, serving in the armies of France,
was ordered to quit them, under pain of being
declared a traitor to his country.

The League of Cambray. 235

The Swiss at the same time came down from their
mountains to fight against the French, who at the
time of the League of Cambray had all Europe for
their ally, and now beheld it up in arms against
them. These mountaineers made an honor of bring-
ing with them the son of that Louis the Moor, duke
of Milan, whom they had betrayed, to expiate in
some measure the treachery they had been guilty of
toward the father, by crowning his son.

The French, who were commanded by Marshal
Trivulce, were obliged to abandon, one after
another, all the towns they had taken from the
furthermost part of Romagna to the borders of
Savoy. The famous Bayard made some fine
retreats; but he was still a hero obliged to fly.
There were but three months between the victory
of Ravenna and the total expulsion of the French
from Italy: and Louis XII. had the mortification
of seeing young Maximilian Sforza, son of the
deceased duke, who had been a prisoner in his
dominions, settled upon his father's throne by the
Swiss; and Genoa, where that prince had estab-
lished a kind of Asiatic pomp of power, resumed
its liberty, and drove the French out of his terri-

The Swiss, who from being mercenaries to the
French king, had now become his enemies, laid siege
to the city of Dijon, with twenty thousand men.
Paris was struck with dread ; and Louis de la Tri-
mouille, governor of the province of Burgundy,

236 Ancient and Modern History.

could not get rid of these invaders, without paying
them twenty thousand crowns in ready money, with
a promise in the king's name of four hundred thou-
sand more, and giving seven hostages for the pay-
ment. Thus were the French obliged to pay dearer
for the invasion of these people than they would
have done for their assistance. The Swiss, enraged
at not receiving the fourth part of the money stipu-
lated, condemned the hostages to be put to death:
upon which the king was obliged to promise not only
to pay them the whole sum agreed, but also to
advance as much more. But the hostages having
luckily made their escape, the king saved his money,
but not his honor.



THIS famous League of Cambray, which was at
first set on foot against the Venetians, was at length
turned against France, and became particularly fatal
to Louis XII. We have already seen that there were
two princes in Europe above the rest, superior in
abilities to the French king; these were Ferdinand
the Catholic and the pope. Louis had made himself
feared only for a short time ; and afterward had all
the rest of Europe to fear.

While he was losing Milan and Genoa, together

Louis XII., Etc. 237

with his money and his troops, he was moreover
deprived of a barrier which France had against
Spain. His ally and relative, John d'Albret, king
of Navarre, saw his dominions in an instant seized
by Ferdinand the Catholic. This robbery was
covered by a religious pretext. Ferdinand pre-
tended a bull from Pope Julius II., excommunicat-
ing John d'Albret as an adherent of the French king,
and the Council of Pisa. The kingdom of Navarre
has ever since continued in the possession of the

The better to understand the politics of this Fer-
dinand, so remarkable for his continual professions
of religion and good faith, and his always breaking
them, let us examine the art he used in this con-
quest. The young king of England, Henry VIII.,
was his son-in-law. To him he proposed a treaty
of alliance, by which the English were to be rein-
stated in Guienne, their ancient patrimony, whence
they had been expelled above a century. The young
king, dazzled with this specious promise, sent a
fleet and forces into the Bay of Biscay, in 1512,
which Ferdinand employed in the conquest of Na-
varre; and afterward left the English to return
home, without making the least attempt upon Gui-
enne, which indeed it was impracticable to invade.
Thus he deceived his son-in-law, after having
successively imposed on the king of Naples, the
Venetians, Louis XII., and the pope. His Spanish
subjects gave him the titles of the Wise and the

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