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delicacies which appeared at his table, but fatisfied himself with that fimple diet which the rule of his order prefcribed. Notwithstanding thefe peculiarities, fo oppofite to the manners of the world, he poffeffed a thorough knowledge of its affairs; and no fooner was he called by his ftation, and by the high opinion which Ferdinand and Ifabella entertained of him, to take a principal fhare in the adminiftration, than he difplayed talents for bufinefs, which rendered the fame of his wildom equal to that of his fanctity. Bold and original in all his plans, his political conduct flowed from his real character, and partook both of its virtues and its defect:. His extenfive genius fuggefted to him fchemes, vaft and magnificent. Confcious of the integrity of his intentions, he purfued thele with unremitting and undaunted firmness. Accustomed from his early youth to mortify his own paffions, he fhewed little indulgence towards thofe of other men. Taught by his fyftem of religion to check even his most innocent defires, he was the enemy of every thing to which he could affix the name of elegance and pleasure; and, though free from any fufpicion of cruelty, he discovered in all his commerce with the world a fevere inflexibility of mind, and aufterity of character, peculiar to the monaflic profeffion, and which can scarce be conceived in a country where that is unknown.
Our Hiftorian gives an account of the fchemes of Ximenes, for extending the prerogative, by depreffing the nobility, by forming a body of troops, depending on the crown, and by recalling the grants of former monarchs to the nobility.
Ximenes perfuaded Charles to vifit Spain, to which the Flemifh were averfe, and Charles, as our Historian observes, from want of experience, and fond of his native country, fuffered himfelf to be unneceffarily detained in the Netherlands.
We know not whether the motive here affigned for Charles's reluctance, is to be juftified from a general obfervation of mankind. Young men, fuch as Charles then was, feldom discover an extreme fondnefs for their native country. Youth, on the contrary, are fond of novelty, and more especially fufceptible of the pleasure of vifiting various climes. It is not till their riper age, that they grow ftationary, and become attached to their native
Charles, however, at length embarked for Spain.
Ximenes, who confidered the prefence of the king as the greatest bleffing to his domi ions, was advancing towards the coaft, as fast as the infirm ftate of his health would permit, in order to receive him. During his regency, and notwithflanding his extreme old age, he abated, in no degree, the rigour or frequency of his mortifications; and to thefe he added fuch laborious affiduity in bufinefs, as would have worn out the moft youthful and vigorous conftitution. Every day he employed feveral hours in devotion; he celebrated mafs in perfon; he even allotted fome Ipace for ftudy. Notwithstanding thefe occupations he regularly attended the council; he received and read all papers prefented to him; he didlated letters and inftructions; and took under his infpection all bufinefs, civil, ecclefiaftical, or military. Every moment of his time was filled up with fome ferious employment. The only amufement in which he indulged himself, by way of relaxation after bufincis, was to canvafs, with a few friars and divines, fome intricate
article in fcholaftic theology. Wafted by fuch a courfe of life, the infirmities of age daily grew upon him. On his journey, a violent diforder feized him at Bos Equillos, attended with uncommon fymptoms; which his followers confidered as the effect of poifon, but could not agree whether the crime ought to be imputed to the hatred of the Spanish nobles, or to the malice of the Flemish courtiers. This accident obliging him to flop fhort, he wrote to Charles, and with his ufual boldness advised him to difmifs all the ftrangers in his train, whofe numbers and credit gave offence already to the Spaniards, and would ere long alienate the affections of the whole people. At the fame time, he earneftly defired to have an interview with the king, that he might inform him of the ftate of the nation, and the temper of his fubjects. To prevent this, not only the Flemings, but the Spanish grandees, employed all their addrefs, and induftriously kept Charles at a distance from Aranda, the place to which the Cardinal removed. Through their fuggeftions, every measure that he recommended was rejected; the utmost care was taken to make him feel, and to point out to the whole nation, that his power was on the decline; even in things purely trivial, fuch a choice was always made, as was deemed molt difagreeable to him. Ximenes did not bear this treatment with his ufual fortitude and fpirit. Conscious of his own integrity and merit, he expected a more grateful return from a prince, to whom he delivered a kingdom more flourishing than it had been in any former age, and authority more extenfive and better eftablished, than the moft illuftrious of his ancestors had ever poffeffed. He could not, therefore, on many occafions, refrain from giving vent to his indignation and complaints. He lamented the fate of his country, and foretold the calamities it would fuffer from the info lence, the rapacioufnefs, and ignorance of ftrangers. While his mind was agitated by thefe paffions, he received a letter from the king, in which, after a few cold and formal expreffions of regard, he was allowed to retire to his diocefe; that after a life of fuch continued labour, he might end his days in tranquillity. This meffage proved fatal to Ximenes. His haughty mind, it is probable, would not furvive difgrace; pehaps his generous heart could not bear the profpect of the misfortunes ready to fall on his country. Which foever of thefe opinions we embrace, certain it is that he expired a few hours after reading the letter. The variety, the grandeur, and the fuccefs of his fchemes, during a regency of only twenty months, leave it doubtful, whether his fagacity in council, his prudence in conduct, or his boldnefs in execution, deferve the greatest praife. His reputation is ftill high in Spain, not only for wisdom, but for fanctity; and he is the only prime minifter mentioned in hiftory, whom his contemporaries reverenced as a faint, and to whom the people under his government afcribed the power of working
After giving an account of fome domeftic difcontents which Charles had to encounter, our Hiftorian takes notice of the death of the emperor Maximilian, for the fucceffion to whofe empire. Charles and Francis the first were competitors. He very accurately explains the views and interefts of the other ftates, and of the electors. To have chofen either of the contending monarchs, would have given the empire a mafter, inftead of a head,
and would have reduced the latter from the rank of equals, to the condition of subjects.
Fall of thefe ideas, they all turned their eyes towards Frederick, duke of Saxony, a prince of fuch eminent virtue, and abilities, as to be distinguished by the name of the Sage, and with one voice offered him the imperial crown. He was not dazzled with that object, which monarchs fo far feperior to him in power courted with fuch eagerness; and after deliberating upon the matter a fhort time, he rejected it with a magnanimity and difintereftedness, no lefs fingular than admirable. Nothing, he obferved, could be more impolitic, than an obftinate adherence to a maxim which, though found and just in many cafes, was not applicable to all. In times of tranquillity, faid he, we wish for an emperor who has not power to invade our liberties; times of danger demand one who is able to fecure our fafety. The Turkish armies, led by a gallant and victorious monarch, are now affembling. They are ready to pour in upon Germany with a violence unknown in former ages. New conjunctures call for new expedients. The imperial fceptre must be committed to fome hand more powerful than mine, or that of any other German prince. We poffefs neither dominions, nor revenues, nor authority, which enable us to encounter fuch a formidable enemy. Re courfe must be had in this exigency to one of the rival monarchs. Each of them can bring into the field forces fufficient for our defence. But as the king of Spain is of German extraction, as he is a member and prince of the empire by the territories which defcend to him from his grandfather; as his dominions ftretch along that frontier which lies most expoled to the enemy; his claim is preferable, in my opinion, to that of a franger to our language, to our blood, and to our country; and therefore I give my vote to confer on him the Imperial crown.
This opinion, dictated by fuch uncommon generofity, and fupported by arguments fo plaufible, made a deep impreffion on the electors, who, in the end, chofe Charles emperor; an election, which occafioned fome difcontents in Spain, which Charles furmounted, and embarked for Germany.
Many concurring circumftances, not only called Charles's thoughts towards the affairs of Germany, but rendered his prefence in that country neceffary. The Electors grew impatient of fo long an interregnum; his hereditary dominions were disturbed by intefline commotions; and the new opinions concerning religion, made fuch rapid progress as required the most ferious confideration. But above all, the motions of the French king drew his attention, and convinced him that it was neceffary to take measures for his own defence, both with fpeed and with vigour.
When Charles and Francis entered the lifts as candidates for the Imperial dignity, they conducted their rivalfhip with many profeffions of regard for each other, and with repeated declarations that they would not fuffer any tincture of enmity to mingle itself with this honourable emulation. "We both court the fame mittrefs," faid Francis, with his ufual vivacity, each ought to urge his funt with all the addrels of which he is mafter; the most fortunate will prevail, and the other muit reft contended." But though two young and high-fpirited Princes, and each of them animated with the hope of fuccefs, might be capable of forming fuch a generous refolution, it was foon found that they promifed ppon a moderation top refined and difinterested for human nature.
preference given to Charles in the fight of all Europe, mortified Francis to the highest degree, and infpired him with all the paffions natural to difappointed ambition. To this was owing the perfonal jealoufy and rivalship which fubfifted between the two monarchs during their whole reign; and the rancour of thefe, added to a real opposition of interest, and to many unavoidable caufes of difcord, involved them in almoft perpetual hoftilities. Charles had paid no regard to the principal article in the treaty of Noyon, by refufing oftener than once to do juftice to John d'Albret, the excluded monarch of Navarre, whom Francis was bound in honour, and prompted by intereft, to restore to his throne. The French king had pretenfions to the crown of Naples, of which Ferdinand had deprived his predeceffor by a moft unjuftifiable breach of faith. The Emperor might reclaim the dutchy of Milan as a fief of the Empire, which Francis had feized, and ftill kept in poffeffion, without having received inveftiture. Charles confidered the dutchy of Burgundy as the patrimonial domain of his ancestors wrefted from them by the unjuft policy of Lewis XI. and obferved with the greatest jealoufy the ftrict connections which Francis had formed with the duke of Gueldres, the hereditary enemy of his family."
Our hiftorian then gives an account of their negociations with the Pope and with the Venetians, previous to the commencement of hoftilities.
"The chief attention both of Charles and of Francis, was employed in order to gain the king of England, from whom each of them expected affiftance more effectual, and afforded with lefs political cau tion. Henry VIII, had afcended the throne of that kingdom in one thoufand five hundred and nine, with fuch circumstances of advantage, as promised a reign of diftinguished felicity and fplendour. The unioa in his person of the two contending titles of York and Lancaster, and the alacrity and emulation with which both factions obeyed him, not only enabled him to exert in his domellic government a degree of vigour and authority which none of his predeceffors could have fafely affumed; but permitted him to take a fhare in the affairs of the continent, from which the attention of the English had long been diverted by their un happy divifions. The immenfe treafures which his father had amaffed, rendered him the most wealthy prince in Europe. The peace which had fubfifted under the cautious adminiftration of that monarch, was of fufficient length to recruit the nation after the defolation of the civil wars, but had not enervated its spirit; and the English, ashamed of having fo long rendered their own country a fcene of difcord and bloodfhed, were eager to display their valour in fome foreign war, and to revive the memory of the victories gained by their ancestors. Henry's own temper perfectly fuited the ftate of his kingdom, and the difpofition of his fubjects. Ambitious, active, enterprizing and accomplished in all the martial exerciles which in that age formed a chief part in the education of perfons of noble birth, and infpired them with an early love of war, he longed to engage in real action, and to fignize the beginning of his reign by fome remarkable exploit. An opportunity of this kind foon prefented itself; and the victory at Gumegate, and the fuccessful fieges of Terouenne and Tournay, though of litle utility to England, reflected great luftre on its monarch, and confirmed the idea which foreign princes entertained of his power and importance, So
many concurring caufes, added to the happy fituation of his own dominions, which fecured them from foreign invafion; and to the fortunate circumitance of his being in poffeffion of Calais, which ferved not only as a key to France, but opened an easy paffage into the Netherlands, rendered the King of England the natural guardian of the liberties of Europe, and the arbiter between the Emperor and French monarch. Henry himfelf was fenfible of this fingular advantage, and convinced, that in order to preferve the balance even, it was his office to prevent either of the rivals from acquiring fuch fuperiority of power as might be fatal to the other, and formidable to the rest of Christendom. But he was deftitute of the penetration, and ftill more of the temper, which fuch a function required. Influenced by caprice, by vanity, by refentment, by affection, he was incapable of forming any regular and extenfive fyllem of policy, or of adhering to it with fteadiness. meafures feldom refulted from attention to the general welfare, or from a deliberate regard to his own intereft, but were dictated by paffions which rendered him blind to both, and prevented his gaining that afcendant in the affairs of Europe, or from reaping fuch advantages to himself, as a prince of greater art, though with inferior talents, might have eafily fecured.
All the impolitic fteps in Henry's administration must not, however, be imputed to defects in his own character; many of them were owing to the violent paffions and infatiable ambition of his prime minifler and favourite cardinal Wolfey. This man, from one of the lowest ranks in life, had rifen to an height of power and dignity, to which no English fubject ever arrived; and governed the haughty, prefumptuous and untractable fpirit of Henry with abfolute authority. Great talents, and of very different kinds, fitted him for the two oppofite itations of minitter, and of favourite. His profound judgment, his unwearied induary, his thorogh acquaintance with the ftate of the kingdom, and his extenive knowledge of the views and interefts of foreign courts, qualified him for that uncontrouled direction of affairs, with which he was intrufted. The elegance of his manners, the gaiety of his converfation, his infinuating addrefs, his love of magnificence, and his proficiency in thofe parts of literature of which Henry was fond, gained him the affection and confidence of the young monarch. Wolley was far from employing this vaft and almoft royal power, to promote either the true interest of the nation, or the real grandeur of his maiter. Rapacious at the fame time, and profufe, he was infatiable in defiring wealth. Of boundless ambition, he afpired after new honours with an eagerness unabated by his former fuccefs; and being rendered prefumptuous by his uncommon elevation, and the afcendant he had gained over a prince, who fearce brooked advice from any other perfon, he discovered in his whole demeanor the most overbearing haughtiness and pride. To thefe paflions he himself facrificed every confideration; and whoever endea voured to obtain his favour, or that of his matter, found it neceffary to footh and to gratify them.
As all the fates of Europe fought Henry's friendship at that time; Courted his minifter with incredible attention and obfequioufnefs, and ve by piefents, by promifes, or by flattery to work upon his avarice, ambition, or his pride. Francis had, in the year one thousand five ...dred and eighteen, employed Bonnivet, admiral of France, 'one of smot accomplished and artful courtiers, to gain the haughty prelate...