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such places as they still held. Nearly all such submitted without a
struggle to the victor of Agnadello and his allies of Cambrai; but at
Treviso, when Emperor Maximilian's commissioner presented himself in
order to take possession of it, a shoemaker named Caligaro went running
through the streets, shouting, "Hurrah! for St. Mark."

The people rose, pillaged the houses of those who had summoned the
foreigner, and declared that it would not separate its lot from that of
the republic. So Treviso remained Venetian. Two other small towns,
Marano and Osopo, followed her example; and for several months this was
all that the Venetians preserved of their continental possessions. But
at the commencement of July, 1509, they heard that the important town of
Padua, which had fallen to the share of Emperor Maximilian, was uttering
passionate murmurs against its new master, and wished for nothing better
than to come back beneath the old sway; and, in spite of the opposition
shown by the doge, Loredano, the Venetians resolved to attempt the
venture. During the night between the 16th and 17th of July, a small
detachment, well armed and well led, arrived beneath the walls of Padua,
which was rather carelessly guarded. In the morning, as soon as the gate
was opened, a string of large wagons presented themselves for admittance.
Behind one of these, and partially concealed by its bulk, advanced six
Venetian men-at-arms, each carrying on his crupper a foot-soldier armed
with an arquebuse; they fired on the guard; each killed his man; the
Austrian garrison hurried up and fought bravely; but other Venetian
troops arrived, and the garrison was beaten and surrendered. Padua
became Venetian again. "This surprisal," says M. Darn, "caused
inexpressible joy in Venice; after so many disasters there was seen a
gleans of hope." The Venetians hastened to provision Padua well and to
put it in a state of defence; and they at the same time published a
decree promising such subjects of the republic as should come back to its
sway complete indemnity for the losses they might have suffered during
the war. It blazed forth again immediately, but at first between the
Venetians and the Emperor Maximilian almost alone by himself. Louis
XII., in a hurry to get back to France, contented himself with leaving in
Lombardy a body of troops under the orders of James de Chabannes, Sire de
la Palisse, with orders "to take five hundred of the lustiest men-at-arms
and go into the service of the emperor, who was to make a descent upon
the district of Padua." Maximilian did not make his descent until two
months after that the Venetians had retaken Padua and provisioned it
well; and it was only on the 15th of September that he sat down before
the place. All the allies of the League of Cambrai held themselves bound
to furnish him with their contingent. On sallying from Milan for this
campaign, La Palisse "fell in with the good knight Bayard, to whom he
said, 'My comrade, my friend, would you not like us to be comrades
together?' Bayard, who asked nothing better, answered him graciously
that he was at his service to be disposed of at his pleasure;" and from
the 15th to the 20th of September, Maximilian got together before Padua
an army with a strength, it is said, of about fifty thousand men,
men-at-arms or infantry, Germans, Spaniards, French, and Italians, sent
by the pope and by the Duke of Ferrara, or recruited from all parts of

At the first rumor of such a force there was great emotion in Venice, but
an emotion tempered by bravery and intelligence. The doge, Leonardo
Loredano, the same who had but lately opposed the surprisal of Padua,
rose up and delivered in the senate a long speech, of which only the
essential and characteristic points can be quoted here: -

"Everybody knows, excellent gentlemen of the senate," said he, "that on
the preservation of Padua depends all hope, not only of recovering our
empire, but of maintaining our own liberty. It must be confessed that,
great and wonderful as they have been, the preparations made and the
supplies provided hitherto are not sufficient either for the security of
that town or for the dignity of our republic. Our ancient renown forbids
us to leave the public safety, the lives and honor of our wives and our
children, entirely to the tillers of our fields and to mercenary
soldiers, without rushing ourselves to shelter them behind our own
breasts and defend them with our own arms. For so great and so glorious
a fatherland, which has for so many years been the bulwark of the faith
and the glory of the Christian republic, will the personal service of its
citizens and its sons be ever to seek? To save it who would refuse to
risk his own life and that of his children? If the defence of Padua is
the pledge for the salvation of Venice, who would hesitate to go and
defend it? And, though the forces already there were sufficient, is not
our honor also concerned therein? The fortune of our city so willed it
that in the space of a few days our empire slipped from our hands; the
opportunity has come back to us of recovering what we have lost; by
spontaneously facing the changes and chances of fate, we shall prove that
our disasters have not been our fault or our shame, but one of those
fatal storms which no wisdom and no firmness of man can resist. If it
were permitted us all in one mass to set out for Padua, if we might,
without neglecting the defence of our own homes and our urgent public
affairs, leave our city for some days deserted, I would not await your
deliberation; I would be the first on the road to Padua; for how could I
better expend the last days of my old age than in going to be present at
and take part in such a victory? But Venice may not be deserted by her
public bodies, which protect and defend Padua by their forethought and
their orders just as others do by their arms; and a useless mob of
graybeards would be a burden much more than a reenforcement there. Nor
do I ask that Venice be drained of all her youth; but I advise, I exhort,
that we choose two hundred young gentlemen, from the chiefest of our
families, and that they all, with such friends and following as their
means will permit them to get together, go forth to Padua to do all that
shall be necessary for her defence. My two sons, with many a comrade.
will be the first to carry out what I, their father and your chief, am
the first to propose. Thus Padua will be placed in security; and when
the mercenary soldiers who are there see how prompt are our youth to
guard the gates and everywhere face the battle, they will be moved
thereby to zeal and alacrity incalculable; and not only will Padua thus
be defended and saved, but all nations will see that we, we too, as our
fathers were, are men enough to defend at the peril of our lives the
freedom and th safety of the noblest country in the world."

This generous advice was accepted by the fathers and carried out by the
sons with that earnest, prompt, and effective ardor which accompanies the
resolution of great souls. When the Paduans, before their city was as
yet invested, saw the arrival within their walls of these chosen youths
of the Venetian patriciate, with their numerous troop of friends and
followers, they considered Padua as good as saved; and when the imperial
army, posted before the place, commenced their attacks upon it, they soon
perceived that they had formidable defenders to deal with. "Five hundred
years it was since in prince's camp had ever been seen such wealth as
there was there; and never was a day but there filed off some three or
four hundred lanzknechts who took away to Germany oxen and kine, beds,
corn, silk for sewing, and other articles; in such sort that to the said
country of Padua was damage done to the amount of two millions of crowns
in movables and in houses and palaces burnt and destroyed." For three
days the imperial artillery fired upon the town and made in its walls
three breaches "knocked into one;" and still the defenders kept up their
resistance with the same vigor. "One morning," says the Loyal Serviteur
of Bayard, "the Emperor Maximilian, accompanied by his princes and lords
from Germany, went thither to look; and he marvelled and thought it great
shame to him, with the number of men he had, that he had not sooner
delivered the assault. On returning to his quarters he sent for a French
secretary of his, whom he bade write to the lord of La Palisse a letter,
whereof this was the substance: 'Dear cousin, I have this morning been to
look at the breach, which I find more than practicable for whoever would
do his duty. I have made up my mind to deliver the assault to-day. I
pray you, so soon as my big drum sounds, which will be about midday, that
you do incontinently hold ready all the French gentlemen who are under
your orders at my service, by command of my brother the King of France,
to go to the said assault along with my foot; and I hope that, with God's
help we shall carry it.'

"The lord of La Palisse," continues the chronicler, "thought this a
somewhat strange manner of proceeding; howbeit he hid his thought, and
said to the secretary, 'I am astounded that the emperor did not send for
my comrades and me for to deliberate more fully of this matter; howbeit
you will tell him that I will send to fetch them, and when they are come
I will show them the letter. I do not think there will be many who will
not be obedient to that which the emperor shall be pleased to command.'

"When the French captains had arrived at the quarters of the lord of La
Palisse, he said to them, 'Gentlemen, we must now dine, for I have
somewhat to say to you, and if I were to say it first, peradventure you
would not make good cheer.' During dinner they did nothing but make
sport one of another. After dinner, everybody was sent out of the room,
save the captains, to whom the lord of La Palisse made known the
emperor's letter, which was read twice, for the better understanding of
it. They all looked at one another, laughing, for to see who would speak
first. Then said the lord of Ymbercourt to the lord of La Palisse, 'It
needs not so much thought, my lord; send word to the emperor that we are
all ready; I am even now a-weary of the fields, for the nights are cold;
and then the good wines are beginning to fail us;' whereat every one
burst out a-laughing. All agreed to what was said by the lord of
Ymbercourt. The lord of La Palisse looked at the good knight (Bayard),
and saw that he seemed to be picking his teeth, as if he had not heard
what his comrades had proposed. 'Well, and you,' said he, 'what say you
about it? It is no time for picking one's teeth; we must at once send
speedy reply to the emperor.' Gayly the good knight answered, 'If we
would all take my lord of Ymbercourt's word, we have only to go straight
to the breach. But it is a somewhat sorry pastime for men-at-arms to go
afoot, and I would gladly be excused. Howbeit, since I must give my
opinion, I will. The emperor bids you, in his letter, set all the French
gentlemen afoot for to deliver the assault along with his lanzknechts.
My opinion is, that you, my lord, ought to send back to the emperor a
reply of this sort: that you have had a meeting of your captains, who are
quite determined to do his bidding, according to the charge they have
from the king their master; but that to mix them up with the foot, who
are of small estate, would be to make them of little account; the emperor
has loads of counts, lords, and gentlemen of Germany; let him set them
afoot along with the men-at-arms of France, who will gladly show them the
road; and then his lanzknechts will follow, if they know that it will
pay.' When the good knight had thus spoken, his advice was found
virtuous and reasonable. To the emperor was sent back this answer, which
he thought right honorable. He incontinently had his trumpets sounded
and his drums beaten for to assemble all the princes, and lords, and
captains as well of Germany and Burgundy as of Hainault. Then the
emperor declared to them that he was determined to go, within an hour,
and deliver the assault on the town, whereof he had notified the lords of
France, who were all most desirous of doing their duty therein right
well, and prayed him that along with them might go the gentlemen of
Germany, to whom they would gladly show the road: 'Wherefore, my lords,'
said the emperor, I pray you, as much as ever I can, to be pleased to
accompany them and set yourselves afoot with them; and I hope, with God's
help, that at the first assault we shall be masters of our enemies.'
When the emperor had done speaking, on a sudden there arose among his
Germans a very wondrous and strange uproar, which lasted half an hour
before it was appeased; and then one amongst them, bidden to answer for
all, said that they were not folks to be set afoot or so to go up to a
breach, and that their condition was to fight like gentlemen,
a-horseback. Other answer the emperor could not get; but though it was
not according to his desire, and pleased him not at all, he uttered no
word beyond that he said, 'Good my lords, we must advise, then, how we
shall do for the best.' Then, forthwith he sent for a gentleman of his
who from time to time went backwards and forwards as ambassador to the
French, and said to him, 'Go to the quarters of my cousin, the lord of La
Palisse; commend me to him and to all my lords the French captains you
find with him, and tell them that for to-day the assault will not be
delivered.' I know not," says the chronicler, "how it was nor who gave
the advice; but the night after this speech was spoken the emperor went
off, all in one stretch, more than forty miles from the camp, and from
his new quarters sent word to his people to have the siege raised; which
was done."

So Padua was saved, and Venice once more became a power. Louis XII.,
having returned victorious to France, did not trouble himself much about
the check received in Italy by Emperor Maximilian, for whom he had no
love and but little esteem. Maximilian was personally brave and free
from depravity or premeditated perfidy, but he was coarse, volatile,
inconsistent, and not very able. Louis XII. had amongst his allies of
Cambrai and in Italy a more serious and more skilful foe, who was
preparing for him much greater embarrassments.

Julian Bella Rovera had, before his elevation to the pontifical throne,
but one object, which was, to mount it. When he became pope, he had
three objects: to recover and extend the temporal possessions of the
papacy, to exercise to the full his spiritual power, and to drive the
foreigner from Italy. He was not incapable of doubling and artifice.
In order to rise he had flattered Louis XII. and Cardinal d'Amboise with
the hope that the king's minister would become the head of Christendom.
When once he was himself in possession of this puissant title he showed
himself as he really was; ambitious, audacious, imperious, energetic,
stubborn, and combining the egotism of the absolute sovereign with the
patriotism of an Italian pope. When the League of Cambrai had attained
success through the victory of Louis XII. over the Venetians, Cardinal
d'Amboise, in course of conversation with the two envoys from Florence at
the king's court, let them have an inkling "that he was not without
suspicion of some new design;" and when Louis XII. announced his
approaching departure for France, the two Florentines wrote to their
government that "this departure might have very evil results, for the
power of Emperor Maximilian in Italy, the position of Ferdinand the
Catholic, the despair of the Venetians, and the character and
dissatisfaction of the pope, seemed to foreshadow some fresh
understanding against the Most Christian king." Louis XII. and his
minister were very confident. "Take Spain, the king of the Romans, or
whom you please," said Cardinal d'Amboise to the two Florentines; "there
is none who has observed and kept the alliance more faithfully than the
king has; he has done everything at the moment he promised; he has borne
upon his shoulders the whole weight of this affair; and I tell you," he
added, with a fixed look at those whom he was addressing, "that his army
is a large one, which he will keep up and augment every day." Louis, for
his part, treated the Florentines with great good-will, as friends on
whom he counted and who were concerned in his success. "You have become
the first power in Italy," he said to then one day before a crowd of
people: "how are you addressed just now? Are you Most Serene or Most
Illustrious?" And when he was notified that distinguished Venetians were
going to meet Emperor Maximilian on his arrival in Italy, "No matter,"
said Louis; "let them go whither they will." The Florentines did not the
less nourish their mistrustful presentiments; and one of Louis XII.'s
most intelligent advisers, his finance-minister Florimond Robertet, was
not slow to share them. "The pope," said he to them one day [July 1,
1509], "is behaving very ill towards us; he seeks on every occasion to
sow enmity between the princes, especially between the emperor and the
Most Christian king;" and, some weeks later, whilst speaking of the
money-aids which the new King of England was sending, it was said, to
Emperor Maximilian, he said to the Florentine, Nasi, "It would be a very
serious business, if from all this were to result against us a universal
league, in which the pope, England, and Spain should join."
[_Negotiations Diplomatiques de la France avec la Toscane,_ published by
M. Abel Desjardins, in the _Documents relatifs d l'Histoire de France,_
t. ii. pp. 331, 355, 367, 384, 389, 416.]

Next year (1510) the mistrust of the Florentine envoys was justified.
The Venetians sent a humble address to the pope, ceded to him the places
they but lately possessed in the Romagna, and conjured him to relieve
them from the excommunication he had pronounced against them. Julius
II., after some little waiting, accorded the favor demanded of him.
Louis XII. committed the mistake of embroiling himself with the Swiss by
refusing to add twenty thousand livres to the pay of sixty thousand he
was giving them already, and by styling them "wretched mountain-
shepherds, who presumed to impose upon him a tax he was not disposed to
submit to." The pope conferred the investiture of the kingdom of Naples
upon Ferdinand the Catholic, who at first promised only his neutrality,
but could not fail to be drawn in still farther when war was rekindled in
Italy. In all these negotiations with the Venetians, the Swiss, the
Kings of Spain and England, and the Emperor Maximilian, Julius II. took a
bold initiative. Maximilian alone remained for some time at peace with
the King of France.

In October, 1511, a league was formally concluded between the pope, the
Venetians, the Swiss, and King Ferdinand against Louis XII. A place was
reserved in it for the King of England, Henry VIII., who, on ascending
the throne, had sent word to the King of France that "he desired to abide
in the same friendship that the king his father had kept up," but who, at
the bottom of his heart, burned to resume on the Continent an active and
a prominent part. The coalition thus formed was called the League of
Holy Union. "I," said Louis XII., "am the Saracen against whom this
league is directed."

He had just lost, a few months previously, the intimate and faithful
adviser and friend of his whole life: Cardinal George d'Amboise, seized
at Milan with a fit of the gout, during which Louis tended him with the
assiduity and care of an affectionate brother, died at Lyons on the 25th
of May, 1510, at fifty years of age. He was one not of the greatest, but
of the most honest ministers who ever enjoyed a powerful monarch's
constant favor, and employed it we will not say with complete
disinterestedness, but with a predominant anxiety for the public weal.
In the matter of external policy the influence of Cardinal d'Amboise, was
neither skilfully nor salutarily exercised: he, like his master, indulged
in those views of distant, incoherent, and improvident conquests which
caused the reign of Louis XII. to be wasted in ceaseless wars, with which
the cardinal's desire of becoming pope was not altogether unconnected,
and which, after having resulted in nothing but reverses, were a heavy
heritage for the succeeding reign. But at home, in his relations with
his king and in his civil and religious administration, Cardinal
d'Amboise was an earnest and effective friend of justice, of sound social
order, and of regard for morality in the practice of power. It is said
that, in his latter days, he, virtuously weary of the dignities of this
world, said to the infirmary-brother who was attending him, "Ah! Brother
John, why did I not always remain Brother John!" A pious regret the
sincerity and modesty whereof are rare amongst men of high estate.

[Illustration: Cardinal d'Amboise - - 347]

"At last, then, I am the only pope!" cried Julius II., when he heard that
Cardinal d'Amboise was dead. But his joy was misplaced: the cardinal's
death was a great loss to him; between the king and the pope the cardinal
had been an intelligent mediator, who understood the two positions and
the two characters, and who, though most faithful and devoted to the
king, had nevertheless a place in his heart for the papacy also, and
labored earnestly on every occasion to bring about between the two rivals
a policy of moderation and peace. "One thing you may be certain of,"
said Louis's finance-minister Robertet to the ambassador from Florence,
"that the king's character is not an easy one to deal with; he is not
readily brought round to what is not his own opinion, which is not always
a correct one; he is irritated against the pope; and the cardinal, to
whom that causes great displeasure, does not always succeed, in spite of
all influence, in getting him to do as he would like. If our Lord God
were to remove the cardinal, either by death or in any other manner, from
public life, there would arise in this court and in the fashion of
conducting affairs such confusion that nothing equal to it would ever
have been seen in our day." [_Negociations Diplomatiques de la France
avec la Toscane,_ t. ii. pp. 428 and 460.] And the confusion did, in
fact, arise; and war was rekindled, or, to speak more correctly, resumed
its course after the cardinal's death. Julius II. plunged into it in
person, moving to every point where it was going on, living in the midst
of camps, himself in military costume, besieging towns, having his guns
pointed and assaults delivered under his own eyes. Men expressed
astonishment, not unmixed with admiration, at the indomitable energy of
this soldier-pope at seventy years of age. It was said that he had cast
into the Tiber the keys of St. Peter to gird on the sword of St. Paul.
His answer to everything was, "The barbarians must be driven from Italy."
Louis XII. became more and more irritated and undecided. "To reassure
his people," says Bossuet (to which we may add, 'and to reassure
himself'), "he assembled at Tours (in September, 1510), the prelates of
his kingdom, to consult them as to what he could do at so disagreeable a
crisis without wounding his conscience. Thereupon it was said that the
pope, being unjustly the aggressor, and having even violated an agreement
made with the king, ought to be treated as an enemy, and that the king
might not only defend himself, but might even attack him without fear of
excommunication. Not considering this quite strong enough yet, Louis
resolved to assemble a council against the pope. The general council was
the desire of the whole church since the election of Martin V. at the
council of Constance (November 11, 1417); for, though that council had
done great good by putting an end to the schism which had lasted for
forty years, it had not accomplished what it had projected, which was a
reformation of the Church in its head and in its members; but, for the
doing of so holy a work, it had ordained, on separating, that there
should be held a fresh council. . . . This one was opened at Pisa
(November 1, 1511) with but little solemnity by the proxies of the
cardinals who had caused its convocation. The pope had deposed them, and
had placed under interdict the town of Pisa, where the council was to be
held, and even Florence, because the Florentines had granted Pisa for the
assemblage. Thereupon the religious brotherhoods were unwilling to put
in an appearance at the opening of the council, and the priests of the

Online LibraryFrançois Pierre Guillaume GuizotA Popular History of France from the Earliest Times, Volume 3 → online text (page 29 of 32)