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Within the last twenty years, however, a flood of light has been shed on the details of the great figure, of which, till then, we had seen only the outlines. The Correspondenz des • Kaisers Carl V.;' by Dr. Carl, published in 1845–46, the • Colecion de Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España,' and the Relazioni degli Ambasciatori Veneti,' both works still in course of publication, and the · Papiers d'Etat du Car• dinal de Granvelle,' have revealed so much that was unknown, and rectified so inuch that was mistaken, in his history as an emperor and a king, that it might almost be rewritten; and it now appears that his life, from the time of his abdication, on which little had been published, and that little turns out to have been often erroneous, had been recorded with as much minuteness, and far more fidelity, than even that of Napoleon.
The new sources of information are, A Narrative of the Residence of Charles V. in the Monastery of Yuste, written by one of the monks, and A Correspondence between Charles and his Fainily, and between his" Confidential Attendants and the Spanish Court, embracing rather more than two years, beginning with his arrival in Spain after his abdication, and terminating some months after his death.
These records, however, have, as yet, been imperfectly communicated to the public.
The Narrative is now among the Archives of the Court of Appeal of Brussels. M. Bakhuisen Van der Brinc has published an abridgment of it, and M. Gachard promises to print the whole text in a second volume, still unpublished, of his • Retraite et Mort de Charles-Quint.'
The Correspondence was buried in the Royal Archives of Simancas, which, as might have been expected from the puerile Government of Spain, were carefully kept excluded from foreign, and indeed from native eyes. In 1809, however, the Castle of Simancas was occupied by General Kellerman and his dragoons, acting in the name, and professing to be under the command, of King Joseph. They treated its contents as they usually treated everything that was Spanish. The documents which related to the history of France they sent to Paris, the rest they used as fuel; and when no more was wanted for that purpose, they cut open whole bundles for the sake of the string with which they were tied up. When the Duke of Wellington's surprise of Oporto and advance from Portugal occasioned their retreat, they set fire to the Castle and destroyed a large portion of it, with all that it contained. Ferdinand VII. employed Don Tomas Gonzalez to rearrange and classify the remnant that had not perished during General
Kellerman's occupation. While thus employed'he discovered the correspondence relating to Charles V.'s residence at Yuste. The use to which he turned it was to make it the base of a work on the last two years of Charles's life, consisting of the letters which he thought deserving of publication, connected by a brief explanatory notice. At the time of his death in 1825 the work was transcribed for the press; but unprinted. Don Manuel Gonzalez, his brother, succeeded him in his office at Simancas, and inherited his papers. He was displaced and ruined by the revolution of 1836; and after some ineffectual efforts to get a higher price, sold the manuscript to the French Government in 1844. A mention of it in the Handbook of
· Spain'attracted Mr. Stirling's attention. With some difficulty he ascertained its fate, and with still more difficulty, with the united assistance of the President of the Republic, Lord Normanby, and M. Drouyn de L'huys, gained access to it. It is the foundation of what M. Mignet has well described as le
charmant volume de M. Stirling,' and of that portion of the work of M. Pichot which is subsequent to Charles V.'s abdication.
But neither of these writers saw the original documents: they quoted the Narrative from Backhuisen, and the Correspondence from Gonzalez. M. Gachard, however, the Archiviste General of Belgium, found the guardians of the treasures of Simancas more complaisant than they had been to any previous traveller. He appears to have had an unlimited permission to have papers copied. He used it to obtain copies of the 237 letters which are contained in the first volume of his work. Of these letters, 201 were written by Quijada, the Emperor's chamberlain, or mayordomo.
Luis Mender Quijada, Lord of Villagarcia, had been thirtyfour years in the service of the Emperor at the time of his abdication.
Unconsciously portrayed,' says Mr. Stirling, 'in his own graphic letters, the best of the Yuste correspondence, he stands forth the type of the cavalier, and “old rusty Christian,”* of Castille-spare and sinewy of frame, and somewhat formal and severe in the cut of his beard and the fashion of his manners; in character reserved and punctilious, but true as steel to the cause espoused or the duty undertaken ; keen and clear in his insight into inen and things around him, yet devoutedly believing his master the greatest prince that ever had been or was to be; proud of himself, his family, and his services, and inclined, in a grave decorous way, to exaggerate
• Cristiano viejo rancioso,' Don Quixote, p. i. cap. xxvii., so translated by Shelton.
their importance; a true son of the Church, with an instinctive distrust of its ministers; a hater of Jews, Turks, heretics, friars, and Flemings; somewhat testy, somewhat obstinate, full of strong sense and strong prejudice; a warm-hearted, energetic, and honest man.'
Fifty-seven of the letters were written by Martin Gaztelu, the Emperor's secretary.
• He,' says Mr. Stirling, 'comes next to the mayordomo in order of precedence, and in the importance of his functions. His place was one of great trust. The whole correspondence of the Emperor passed through his hands. Even the most private and confidential communications addressed to the Princess-regent by her father, were generally written, at his dictation, by Gaztelu; for the imperial fingers were seldom sufficiently free from gout to be able to do more than add a brief postscript, in which Doña Juana was assured of the affection of her buen padre Carlos. The secretary had probably spent his life in the service of the Emperor; but I have been unable to learn more of his history than his letters have preserved. His epistolary style was clear, simple, and businesslike, but inferior to that of Quixada in humour, and in careless graphic touch, and more sparing in glimpses of the rural life of Estremadura three hundred years ago.
Twenty-six letters from Dr. Cornelius Mathys, the Flemish physician who had the troublesome task of repairing the infirmities and controlling the appetite of his gouty edacious master, complete the gossiping correspondence which relates the domestic life of Charles V.
Nearly all the rest of the letters are political, and consist principally of a correspondence between Charles V. and his daughter, Doña Juana, acting as Vice Queen of Spain; Juan: Vasquez de Molina, her Secretary of State; Charles's sister, Mary, Queen Dowager of Hungary; and Philip II.
What the contents of M. Gachard's second volume will be we have not been informed, except that it will contain in full the narrative of the Monk of Yuste.
M. Pichot's work is, what he calls it, a chronicle. It is a collection of anecdotes, letters, conversations, and remarks relating to the domestic life of Charles V., both before and after his abdication, and to the persons who came most into contact with him. Its defect is that which most easily besets biographers-partiality to its hero. Some of the faults imputed to Charles V. M. Pichot extenuates; others he takes the bolder course of denying. When the evidence is doubtful, he explains it away; where it is positive, he discredits it. He disbelieves, for instance, much of the language ascribed to Charles V. by the Prior of Yuste, although the Prior's narrative was written
at the request of the Infanta Juana, by a man of high station, who professes to relate only what he witnessed, and although it is in perfect harmony with all the rest of the information respecting Charles that has reached us. M. Pichot's book, however, though written and arranged far less carefully than either of the others, is lively and amusing, and deserves an honourable place among the numerous biographies of which Charles V. has been the subject.
M. Mignet enjoyed the great advantages of writing the last, and of having the use of the original documents, the proofsheets of M. Gachard's work having been communicated to him. His work is not so full as that of M. Pichot, nor so varied as that of Mr. Stirling, but it contains in a small space all that is historically important in the two last years of Charles V., arranged with the skill, and told with the elegance which place M. Mignet in the very first rank of modern historians.
As a specimen of the work, we translate the character of Charles V., with which it is concluded.
'I may be accused, perhaps, of having dwelt too much on the two last years of Charles V. But nothing that relates to a great man is unimportant. We are anxious to know what were his thoughts when he had ceased to act, and what was his life when he had ceased to reign. And these details explain the remarkable termination of his political existence.
Complicated infirmities, unrestrained appetites, long-endured • fatigue of mind, and increasing devotional fervour, carried him • from the throne to the convent, and hurried him from the convent to the tomb.
• Charles V. was in every sense the greatest sovereign of the • 16th century. Uniting the blood of the four houses of Aragon, · Castile, Austria, and Burgundy, he inherited not only their vast territories, but their dissimilar peculiarities. The statesmanship, sometimes degenerating into cunning, of his grand• father, Ferdinand the Catholic, the magnanimity of his grandmother, Isabella of Castile, mixed with the melancholy of his mother, Johanna, the chivalrous audacity of his great-grand• father, Charles the Bold, to whom he bore a personal resem• blance, and the diligent ambition, love of the fine and of the mechanical arts, of his grandfather, the Emperor Maximilian,
all these qualities were transmitted to him, together with their dominions and their schemes. He not merely supported but added to the greatness which had been accumulated on his head by the providence of many royal ancestors and the
chances of many royal successions. The man stood erect
under the load of the sovereign. For many years his talents, • so high and so varied, enabled him to play, not without suc*cess, his many parts, and to carry on his many undertakings. • But the task became too great for a single intellect.
• As King of Aragon he had to keep Sardinia, Sicily, and Naples, left to him by his predecessors, and to acquire Milan, « lest his powerful rival, once ruler of Northern Italy, might * become master of the South. As King of Castile he had to 'conquer and colonise America. As Sovereign of the Low * Countries he had to protect the possessions of the House of • Burgundy against the House of France. As Emperor of « Germany his political duty was to repel the Turks, then in the fulness of their strength and of their ambition; and his religious duty was to check the progress, or at least to prevent the triumph, of Protestantism. . All these tasks he undertook. • Aided by great captains and great statesmen, well chosen and
skilfully employed, he managed with ability and perseverance . a policy which was never simple, and wars which recommenced as soon as they appeared to be terminated. He was to be seen in every country, facing every adversary, leading his own “ armies and conducting his own negotiations. He evaded no
obligation imposed on him by his station or by his belief. • But, perpetually turned aside from one object by the necessity of pursuing another, he often began too late, and was forced to end too soon.
. Some of his enterprises he accomplished. In Italy, opposed . by Francis I. and Henry II., at the price of thirty-four years of exertion and five great wars, in which a king of France and a pope were among his prisoners, he subjected one part of the country to his own government, and the remainder to his own • influence. He not only preserved but extended his dominions in *the Low Countries, adding to them Guelders, Utrecht, Zutphen, 6 and Cambray, which he relieved from their vassalage to France. • The Turk was in Hungary, and the corsairs of Africa habia • tually ravaged the coasts of Italy and the islands of the Medi* terranean. He repulsed the formidable Solyman from before • Vienna in 1532, tore Goletta and Tunis from the fierce Bar* barossa in 1535, and would have conquered Algeria in 1541 if • he had not been conquered himself by the elements. He
would have made Christendom secure from attack by land or . son sea, and have been himself the protector of the Mediter
rancan, instead of leaving it to his heroic son, the victor at • Lepanto, if he had not been perpetually called away to meet ' a different danger in a different quarter.
v0L. CI. NO. CCY.