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The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V3
by William H. Prescott
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HISTORY OF THE REIGN OF FERDINAND AND ISABELLA, THE CATHOLIC.

BY WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT.

IN THREE VOLUMES. VOL. III.



CONTENTS OF VOLUME III.

PART SECOND. [CONTINUED.]

CHAPTER X ITALIAN WARS.—PARTITION OF NAPLES.—GONSALVO OVERRUNS CALABRIA. LOUIS XII.'S DESIGNS ON ITALY POLITICS OF THAT COUNTRY THE FRENCH CONQUER MILAN ALARM OF THE SPANISH COURT REMONSTRANCE TO THE POPE BOLDNESS OF GARCILASSO DE LA VEGA NEGOTIATIONS WITH VENICE AND THE EMPEROR LOUIS OPENLY MENACES NAPLES VIEWS OF FERDINAND FLEET FITTED OUT UNDER GONSALVO DE CORDOVA PARTITION OF NAPLES GROUND OF FERDINAND'S CLAIM GONSALVO SAILS AGAINST THE TURKS STORMING OF ST. GEORGE HONORS PAID TO GONSALVO THE POPE CONFIRMS THE PARTITION ASTONISHMENT OF ITALY SUCCESS AND CRUELTIES OF THE FRENCH FATE OF FREDERIC GONSALVO INVADES CALABRIA INVESTS TARENTO DISCONTENTS IN THE ARMY MUNIFICENCE OF GONSALVO HE PUNISHES A MUTINY BOLDER PLAN OF ATTACK TARENTO SURRENDERS PERJURY OF GONSALVO

CHAPTER XI. ITALIAN WARS.—RUPTURE WITH FRANCE.—GONSALVO BESIEGED IN BARLETA. MUTUAL DISTRUST OF THE FRENCH AND SPANIARDS CAUSE OF RUPTURE THE FRENCH BEGIN HOSTILITIES THE ITALIANS FAVOR THEM THE FRENCH ARMY INFERIORITY OF THE SPANIARDS GONSALVO RETIRES TO BARLETA SIEGE OF CANOSA CHIVALROUS CHARACTER OF THE WAR TOURNAMENT NEAR TRANI DUEL BETWEEN BAYARD AND SOTOMAYOR DISTRESS OF THE SPANIARDS SPIRIT OF GONSALVO THE FRENCH REDUCE CALABRIA CONSTANCY OF THE SPANIARDS NEMOURS DEFIES THE SPANIARDS ROUT OF THE FRENCH REAR-GUARD ARRIVAL OF SUPPLIES DESIGN ON RUVO GONSALVO STORMS AND TAKES IT HIS TREATMENT OF THE PRISONERS PREPARES TO LEAVE BARLETA

CHAPTER XII. ITALIAN WARS.—NEGOTIATIONS WITH FRANCE.—VICTORY OF CERIGNOLA.— SURRENDER OF NAPLES. BIRTH OF CHARLES V PHILIP AND JOANNA VISIT SPAIN RECOGNIZED BY CORTES PHILIP'S DISCONTENT LEAVES SPAIN FOR FRANCE NEGOTIATES A TREATY WITH LOUIS XII TREATY OF LYONS THE GREAT CAPTAIN REFUSES TO COMPLY WITH IT MARCHES OUT OF BARLETA DISTRESS OF THE TROOPS ENCAMPS BEFORE CERIGNOLA NEMOURS PURSUES THE SPANISH FORCES THE FRENCH FORCES BATTLE OF CERIGNOLA DEATH OF NEMOURS ROUT OF THE FRENCH THEIR LOSS PURSUIT OF THE ENEMY D'AUBIGNY DEFEATED SUBMISSION OF NAPLES TRIUMPHANT ENTRY OF GONSALVO FORTRESSES OF NAPLES CASTEL NUOVO STORMED NEARLY ALL THE KINGDOM REDUCED

CHAPTER XIII. NEGOTIATIONS WITH FRANCE—UNSUCCESSFUL INVASION OF SPAIN.—TRUCE. TREATY OF LYONS REJECTED BY FERDINAND HIS POLICY EXAMINED JOANNA'S DESPONDENCY FIRST SYMPTOMS OF HER INSANITY THE QUEEN HASTENS TO HER ISABELLA'S DISTRESS HER ILLNESS AND FORTITUDE THE FRENCH INVADE SPAIN SIEGE OF SALSAS ISABELLA'S EXERTIONS FERDINAND'S SUCCESSES TRUCE WITH FRANCE REFLECTIONS ON THE CAMPAIGN IMPEDIMENTS TO HISTORIC ACCURACY SPECULATIVE WRITERS

CHAPTER XIV. ITALIAN WARS.—CONDITION OF ITALY.—FRENCH AND SPANISH ARMIES ON THE GARIGLIANO. MELANCHOLY CONDITION OF ITALY VIEWS OF THE ITALIAN STATES OF THE EMPEROR GREAT PREPARATIONS OF LOUIS XII DEATH OF ALEXANDER VI ELECTIONEERING INTRIGUES JULIUS II GONSALVO REPULSED BEFORE GAETA STRENGTH OF HIS FORCES OCCUPIES SAN GERMANO THE FRENCH ENCAMP ON THE GARIGLIANO PASSAGE OF THE BRIDGE DESPERATE RESISTANCE THE FRENCH RESUME THEIR QUARTERS ANXIOUS EXPECTATION OF ITALY GONSALVO STRENGTHENS HIS POSITION GREAT DISTRESS OF THE ARMY GONSALVO'S RESOLUTION REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF IT PATIENCE OF THE SPANIARDS SITUATION OF THE FRENCH THEIR INSUBORDINATION SALUZZO TAKES THE COMMAND HEROISM OF PAREDES AND BAYARD

CHAPTER XV. ITALIAN WARS.—ROUT OF THE GARIGLIANO.—TREATY WITH FRANCE.—GONSALVO'S MILITARY CONDUCT. GONSALVO SECURES THE ORSINI ASSUMES THE OFFENSIVE PLAN OF ATTACK CONSTERNATION OF THE FRENCH THEY RETREAT ON GAETA ACTION AT THE BRIDGE OF MOLA HOTLY CONTESTED ARRIVAL OF THE SPANISH REAR THE FRENCH ROUTED THEIR LOSS GALLANTRY OF THEIR CHIVALRY CAPITULATION OF GAETA GONSALVO'S COURTESY CHAGRIN OF LOUIS XII SUFFERINGS OF THE FRENCH THE SPANIARDS OCCUPY GAETA PUBLIC ENTHUSIASM EXTORTIONS OF THE SPANISH TROOPS GONSALVO'S LIBERALITY TO HIS OFFICERS APPREHENSIONS OF LOUIS XII TREATY WITH FRANCE GALLANTRY OF LOUIS D'ARS CAUSES OF THE FRENCH FAILURES REVIEW OF GONSALVO'S CONDUCT HIS REFORM OF THE SERVICE INFLUENCE OVER THE ARMY HIS CONFIDENCE IN THEIR CHARACTER POSITION OF THE ARMY RESULTS OF THE CAMPAIGNS MEMOIRS OF GONSALVO DE CORDOVA FRENCH CHRONICLES

CHAPTER XVI. ILLNESS AND DEATH OF ISABELLA.—HER CHARACTER. DECLINE OF THE QUEEN'S HEALTH MAD CONDUCT OF JOANNA THE QUEEN SEIZED WITH A FEVER RETAINS HER ENERGIES ALARM OF THE NATION HER TESTAMENT SETTLES THE SUCCESSION FERDINAND NAMED REGENT PROVISION FOR HIM HER CODICIL SHE FAILS RAPIDLY HER RESIGNATION AND DEATH HER REMAINS TRANSPORTED TO GRANADA LAID IN THE ALHAMBRA ISABELLA'S PERSON HER MANNERS HER MAGNANIMITY HER PIETY HER BIGOTRY COMMON TO HER AGE AND LATER TIMES HER STRENGTH OF PRINCIPLE HER PRACTICAL SENSE HER UNWEARIED ACTIVITY HER COURAGE HER SENSIBILITY PARALLEL WITH QUEEN ELIZABETH UNIVERSAL HOMAGE TO HER VIRTUES

CHAPTER XVII. FERDINAND REGENT.—HIS SECOND MARRIAGE.—DISSENSIONS WITH PHILIP.— RESIGNATION OF THE REGENCY. PHILIP AND JOANNA PROCLAIMED DISCONTENT OF THE NOBLES DON JUAN MANUEL PHILIP'S PRETENSIONS HIS PARTY INCREASES HE TAMPERS WITH GONSALVO DE CORDOVA FERDINAND'S PERPLEXITIES PROPOSALS FOR A SECOND MARRIAGE POLICY OF LOUIS XII TREATY WITH FRANCE ITS IMPOLICY CONCORD OR SALAMANCA PHILIP AND JOANNA EMBARK REACH CORUNA PHILIP JOINED BY THE NOBLES HIS CHARACTER FERDINAND UNPOPULAR INTERVIEW WITH PHILIP COURTEOUS DEPORTMENT OF FERDINAND PHILIP'S DISTRUST FERDINAND RESIGNS THE REGENCY HIS PRIVATE PROTEST HIS MOTIVES SECOND INTERVIEW DEPARTURE OF FERDINAND AUTHORITIES FOR THE ACCOUNT OF PHILIP

CHAPTER XVIII. COLUMBUS.—HIS RETURN TO SPAIN.—HIS DEATH. COLUMBUS'S LAST VOYAGE HE LEARNS ISABELLA'S DEATH HIS ILLNESS HE VISITS THE COURT FERDINAND'S UNJUST TREATMENT OF HIM HE DECLINES IN HEALTH AND SPIRITS HIS DEATH HIS PERSON AND HABITS HIS ENTHUSIASM HIS LOFTY CHARACTER

CHAPTER XIX. REIGN AND DEATH OF PHILIP I.—PROCEEDINGS IN CASTILE.—FERDINAND VISITS NAPLES. PHILIP AND JOANNA PHILIP'S ARBITRARY GOVERNMENT RECKLESS EXTRAVAGANCE TROUBLES FROM THE INQUISITION FERDINAND'S DISTRUST OF GONSALVO HE SAILS FOR NAPLES GONSALVO'S LOYALTY DEATH OF PHILIP HIS CHARACTER PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT JOANNA'S CONDITION CONVOCATION OF CORTES FERDINAND RECEIVED WITH ENTHUSIASM HIS ENTRY INTO NAPLES RESTORES THE ANGEVINS GENERAL DISSATISFACTION

CHAPTER XX. FERDINAND'S RETURN AND REGENCY.—GONSALVO'S HONORS AND RETIREMENT. MEETING OF CORTES JOANNA'S INSANE CONDUCT SHE CHANGES HER MINISTERS DISORDERLY STATE OF CASTILE DISTRESS OF THE KINGDOM FERDINAND'S POLITIC BEHAVIOR HE LEAVES NAPLES GONSALVO DE CORDOVA GRIEF OF THE NEAPOLITANS BRILLIANT INTERVIEW OF FERDINAND AND LOUIS COMPLIMENTS TO GONSALVO THE KING'S RECEPTION IN CASTILE JOANNA'S RETIREMENT IRREGULARITY OF FERDINAND'S PROCEEDINGS GENERAL AMNESTY HE ESTABLISHES A GUARD HIS EXCESSIVE SEVERITY DISGUST OF THE NOBLES GONSALVO'S PROGRESS THROUGH THE COUNTRY FERDINAND BREAKS HIS WORD THE QUEEN'S COOLNESS GONSALVO WITHDRAWS FROM COURT SPLENDOR OF HIS RETIREMENT

CHAPTER XXI. XIMENES.—CONQUESTS IN AFRICA.—UNIVERSITY OF ALCALA—POLYGLOT BIBLE. POLICY OF FERDINAND'S SEVERITY ENTHUSIASM OF XIMENES HIS DESIGNS AGAINST ORAN HIS WARLIKE PREPARATIONS HIS PERSEVERANCE SENDS AN ARMY TO AFRICA ADDRESSES THE TROOPS THE COMMAND LEFT TO NAVARRO BATTLE BEFORE ORAN THE CITY STORMED MOORISH LOSS XIMENES ENTERS ORAN OPPOSITION OF HIS GENERAL HIS DISTRUST OF FERDINAND XIMENES RETURNS TO SPAIN REFUSES PUBLIC HONORS NAVARRO'S AFRICAN CONQUESTS COLLEGE OF XIMENES AT ALCALA ITS MAGNIFICENCE PROVISIONS FOR EDUCATION THE KING VISITS THE UNIVERSITY POLYGLOT EDITION OF THE BIBLE DIFFICULTIES OF THE TASK GRAND PROJECTS OF XIMENES

CHAPTER XXII. WARS AND POLITICS OF ITALY. PROJECTS AGAINST VENICE LEAGUE OF CAMBRAY ITS ORIGIN LOUIS XII. INVADES ITALY 01 RESOLUTION OF VENICE ALARM OF FERDINAND INVESTITURE OF NAPLES HOLY LEAGUE GASTON DE FOIX BATTLE OF RAVENNA DEATH OF GASTON DE FOIX HIS CHARACTER THE FRENCH RETREAT VENICE DISGUSTED BATTLE OF NOVARA OF LA MOTTA THE SPANIARDS VICTORIOUS DARU'S "HISTOIRE DE VENISE"

CHAPTER XXIII. CONQUEST OF NAVARRE. SOVEREIGNS OF NAVARRE DISTRUST OF SPAIN NEGOTIATIONS WITH FRANCE FERDINAND DEMANDS A PASSAGE NAVARRE ALLIED TO FRANCE INVADED BY ALVA AND CONQUERED CHARACTER OF JEAN D'ALBRET DISCONTENT OF THE ENGLISH DISCOMFITURE OF THE FRENCH TREATY OF ORTHES FERDINAND SETTLES HIS CONQUESTS UNITED WITH CASTILE THE KING'S CONDUCT EXAMINED RIGHT OF PASSAGE IMPRUDENCE OF NAVARRE IT AUTHORIZES WAR GROSS ABUSE OF VICTORY AUTHORITIES FOR THE HISTORY OF NAVARRE

CHAPTER XXIV. DEATH OF GONSALVO DE CORDOVA.—ILLNESS AND DEATH OF FERDINAND.—HIS CHARACTER. MAXIMILIAN'S PRETENSIONS GONSALVO ORDERED TO ITALY GENERAL ENTHUSIASM THE KING'S DISTRUST GONSALVO GOES INTO RETIREMENT THE KING'S DESIRE FOR CHILDREN DECLINE OF HIS HEALTH GONSALVO'S ILLNESS AND DEATH PUBLIC GRIEF HIS CHARACTER HIS PRIVATE VIRTUES HIS WANT OF FAITH HIS LOYALTY FERDINAND'S ILLNESS INCREASES HIS INSENSIBILITY TO HIS SITUATION HIS LAST HOURS HIS DEATH AND TESTAMENT HIS BODY TRANSPORTED TO GRANADA HIS PERSON AND CHARACTER HIS TEMPERANCE AND ECONOMY HIS BIGOTRY ACCUSED OF HYPOCRISY HIS PERFIDY HIS SHREWD POLICY HIS INSENSIBILITY CONTRAST WITH ISABELLA GLOOMY CLOSE OF HIS LIFE HIS KINGLY QUALITIES JUDGMENT OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES

CHAPTER XXV. ADMINISTRATION, DEATH, AND CHARACTER OF CARDINAL XIMENES. DISPUTES RESPECTING THE REGENCY CHARLES PROCLAIMED KING ANECDOTE OF XIMENES HIS MILITARY ORDINANCE HIS DOMESTIC POLICY HIS FOREIGN POLICY ASSUMES THE SOLE POWER INTIMIDATES THE NOBLES PUBLIC DISCONTENTS TREATY OF NOYON CHARLES LANDS IN SPAIN HIS UNGRATEFUL LETTER THE CARDINAL'S LAST ILLNESS HIS DEATH HIS CHARACTER HIS VERSATILITY OF TALENT HIS DESPOTIC GOVERNMENT HIS MORAL PRINCIPLE HIS DISINTERESTEDNESS HIS MONASTIC AUSTERITIES HIS ECONOMY OF TIME HIS PERSON PARALLEL WITH RICHELIEU NOTICE OF GALINDEZ DE CARBAJAL

CHAPTER XXVI. GENERAL REVIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF FERDINAND AND ISABELLA. POLICY OF THE CROWN DEPRESSION OF THE NOBLES THEIR GREAT POWER TREATMENT OF THE CHURCH CARE OF MORALS STATE OF THE COMMONS THEIR CONSIDERATION ROYAL ORDINANCES ARBITRARY MEASURES OF FERDINAND ADVANCEMENT OF PREROGATIVE LEGAL COMPILATIONS ORGANIZATION OF COUNCILS LEGAL PROFESSION ADVANCED CHARACTER OF THE LAWS ERRONEOUS PRINCIPLES OF LEGISLATION PRINCIPAL EXPORTS MANUFACTURES AGRICULTURE ECONOMICAL POLICY INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS INCREASE OF EMPIRE GOVERNMENT OF NAPLES REVENUES FROM THE INDIES SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE PROGRESS OF DISCOVERY EXCESSES OF THE SPANIARDS SLAVERY IN THE COLONIES COLONIAL ADMINISTRATION GENERAL PROSPERITY PUBLIC EMBELLISHMENTS AUGMENTATION OF REVENUE INCREASE OF POPULATION PATRIOTIC PRINCIPLE CHIVALROUS SPIRIT OF THE PEOPLE SPIRIT OF BIGOTRY BENEFICENT IMPULSE THE PERIOD OF NATIONAL GLORY



PART SECOND. [CONTINUED.]

CHAPTER X.

ITALIAN WARS.—PARTITION OF NAPLES.—GONSALVO OVERRUNS CALABRIA.

1498-1502.

Louis XII.'s Designs on Italy.—Alarm of the Spanish Court.—Bold Conduct of its Minister at Rome.—Celebrated Partition of Naples.—Gonsalvo Sails against the Turks.—Success and Cruelties of the French.—Gonsalvo Invades Calabria.—He Punishes a Mutiny.—His Munificent Spirit.—He Captures Tarento.—Seizes the Duke of Calabria.

During the last four years of our narrative, in which the unsettled state of the kingdom and the progress of foreign discovery appeared to demand the whole attention of the sovereigns, a most important revolution was going forward in the affairs of Italy. The death of Charles the Eighth would seem to have dissolved the relations recently arisen between that country and the rest of Europe, and to have restored it to its ancient independence. It might naturally have been expected that France, under her new monarch, who had reached a mature age, rendered still more mature by the lessons he had received in the school of adversity, would feel the folly of reviving ambitious schemes, which had cost so dear and ended so disastrously. Italy, too, it might have been presumed, lacerated and still bleeding at every pore, would have learned the fatal consequence of invoking foreign aid in her domestic quarrels, and of throwing open the gates to a torrent, sure to sweep down friend and foe indiscriminately in its progress. But experience, alas! did not bring wisdom, and passion triumphed as usual.

Louis the Twelfth, on ascending the throne, assumed the titles of Duke of Milan and King of Naples, thus unequivocally announcing his intention of asserting his claims, derived through the Visconti family, to the former, and through the Angevin dynasty, to the latter state. His aspiring temper was stimulated rather than satisfied by the martial renown he had acquired in the Italian wars; and he was urged on by the great body of the French chivalry, who, disgusted with a life of inaction, longed for a field where they might win new laurels, and indulge in the joyous license of military adventure.

Unhappily, the court of France found ready instruments for its purpose in the profligate politicians of Italy. The Roman pontiff, in particular, Alexander the Sixth, whose criminal ambition assumes something respectable by contrast with the low vices in which he was habitually steeped, willingly lent himself to a monarch, who could so effectually serve his selfish schemes of building up the fortunes of his family. The ancient republic of Venice, departing from her usual sagacious policy, and yielding to her hatred of Lodovico Sforza, and to the lust of territorial acquisition, consented to unite her arms with those of France against Milan, in consideration of a share (not the lion's share) of the spoils of victory. Florence, and many other inferior powers, whether from fear or weakness, or the short-sighted hope of assistance in their petty international feuds, consented either to throw their weight into the same scale, or to remain neutral. [1]

Having thus secured himself from molestation in Italy, Louis the Twelfth entered into negotiations with such other European powers, as were most likely to interfere with his designs. The emperor Maximilian, whose relations with Milan would most naturally have demanded his interposition, was deeply entangled in a war with the Swiss. The neutrality of Spain was secured by the treaty of Marcoussis, August 5th, 1498, which settled all the existing differences with that country. And a treaty with Savoy in the following year guaranteed a free passage through her mountain passes to the French army into Italy. [2]

Having completed these arrangements, Louis lost no time in mustering his forces, which, descending like a torrent on the fair plains of Lombardy, effected the conquest of the entire duchy in little more than a fortnight; and, although the prize was snatched for a moment from his grasp, yet French valor and Swiss perfidy soon restored it. The miserable Sforza, the dupe of arts which he had so long practised, was transported into France, where he lingered out the remainder of his days in doleful captivity. He had first called the barbarians into Italy, and it was a righteous retribution which made him their earliest victim. [3]

By the conquest of Milan, France now took her place among the Italian powers. A preponderating weight was thus thrown into the scale, which disturbed the ancient political balance, and which, if the projects on Naples should be realized, would wholly annihilate it. These consequences, to which the Italian states seemed strangely insensible, had long been foreseen by the sagacious eye of Ferdinand the Catholic, who watched the movements of his powerful neighbor with the deepest anxiety. He had endeavored, before the invasion of Milan, to awaken the different governments in Italy to a sense of their danger, and to stir them up to some efficient combination against it. [4] Both he and the queen had beheld with disquietude the increasing corruptions of the papal court, and that shameless cupidity and lust of power, which made it the convenient tool of the French monarch.

By their orders, Garcilasso de la Vega, the Spanish ambassador, read a letter from his sovereigns in the presence of his Holiness, commenting on his scandalous immorality, his invasion of ecclesiastical rights appertaining to the Spanish crown, his schemes of selfish aggrandizement, and especially his avowed purpose of transferring his son Caesar Borgia, from a sacred to a secular dignity; a circumstance that must necessarily make him, from the manner in which it was to be conducted, the instrument of Louis the Twelfth. [5]

This unsavory rebuke, which probably lost nothing of its pungency from the tone in which it was delivered, so incensed the pope that he attempted to seize the paper and tear it in pieces, giving vent at the same time to the most indecent reproaches against the minister and his sovereigns. Garcilasso coolly waited till the storm had subsided, and then replied undauntedly, "That he had uttered no more than became a loyal subject of Castile; that he should never shrink from declaring freely what his sovereigns commanded, or what he conceived to be for the good of Christendom; and, if his Holiness were displeased with it, he could dismiss him from his court, where he was convinced, indeed, his residence could be no longer useful." [6]

Ferdinand had no better fortune at Venice, where his negotiations were conducted by Lorenzo Suarez de la Vega, an adroit diplomatist, brother of Garcilasso. [7] These negotiations were resumed after the occupation of Milan by the French, when the minister availed himself of the jealousy occasioned by that event to excite a determined resistance to the proposed aggression on Naples. But the republic was too sorely pressed by the Turkish war,—which Sforza, in the hope of creating a diversion in his own favor, had brought on his country,—to allow leisure for other operations. Nor did the Spanish court succeed any better at this crisis with the emperor Maximilian, whose magnificent pretensions were ridiculously contrasted with his limited authority, and still more limited revenues, so scanty, indeed, as to gain him the contemptuous epithet among the Italians of pochi denari, or "the Moneyless." He had conceived himself, indeed, greatly injured, both on the score of his imperial rights and his connection with Sforza, by the conquest of Milan; but, with the levity and cupidity essential to his character, he suffered himself, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the Spanish court, to be bribed into a truce with King Louis, which gave the latter full scope for his meditated enterprise on Naples. [8]

Thus disembarrassed of the most formidable means of annoyance, the French monarch went briskly forward with his preparations, the object of which he did not affect to conceal. Frederic, the unfortunate king of Naples, saw himself with dismay now menaced with the loss of empire, before he had time to taste the sweets of it. He knew not where to turn for refuge, in his desolate condition, from the impending storm. His treasury was drained, and his kingdom wasted, by the late war. His subjects, although attached to his person, were too familiar with revolutions to stake their lives or fortunes on the cast. His countrymen, the Italians, were in the interest of his enemy; and his nearest neighbor, the pope, had drawn from personal pique motives for the most deadly hostility. [9] He had as little reliance on the king of Spain, his natural ally and kinsman, who, he well knew, had always regarded the crown of Naples as his own rightful inheritance. He resolved, therefore, to apply at once to the French monarch; and he endeavored to propitiate him by the most humiliating concessions,—the offer of an annual tribute, and the surrender into his hands of some of the principal fortresses in the kingdom. Finding these advances coldly received, he invoked, in the extremity of his distress, the aid of the Turkish sultan, Bajazet, the terror of Christendom, requesting such supplies of troops as should enable him to make head against their common foe. This desperate step produced no other result than that of furnishing the enemies of the unhappy prince with a plausible ground of accusation against him, of which they did not fail to make good use. [10]

The Spanish government, in the mean time, made the most vivid remonstrances through its resident minister, or agents expressly accredited for the purpose, against the proposed expedition of Louis the Twelfth. It even went so far as to guarantee the faithful discharge of the tribute proffered by the king of Naples. [11] But the reckless ambition of the French monarch, overleaping the barriers of prudence, and indeed of common sense, disdained the fruits of conquest without the name.

Ferdinand now found himself apparently reduced to the alternative of abandoning the prize at once to the French king, or of making battle with him in defence of his royal kinsman. The first of these measures, which would bring a restless and powerful rival on the borders of the Sicilian dominions, was not to be thought of for a moment. The latter, which pledged him a second time to the support of pretensions hostile to his own, was scarcely more palatable. A third expedient suggested itself; the partition of the kingdom, as hinted in the negotiations with Charles the Eighth, [12] by which means the Spanish government, if it could not rescue the whole prize from the grasp of Louis, would at least divide it with him.

Instructions were accordingly given to Gralla, the minister at the court of Paris, to sound the government on this head, bringing it forward as his own private suggestion. Care was taken at the same time to secure a party in the French councils to the interests of Ferdinand. [13] The suggestions of the Spanish envoy received additional weight from the report of a considerable armament then equipping in the port of Malaga. Its ostensible purpose was to co-operate with the Venetians in the defence of their possessions in the Levant. Its main object, however, was to cover the coasts of Sicily in any event from the French, and to afford means for prompt action on any point where circumstances might require it. The fleet consisted of about sixty sail, large and small, and carried forces amounting to six hundred horse and four thousand foot, picked men, many of them drawn from the hardy regions of the north, which had been taxed least severely in the Moorish wars. [14]

The command of the whole was intrusted to the Great Captain, Gonsalvo of Cordova, who since his return home had fully sustained the high reputation, which his brilliant military talents had acquired for him abroad. Numerous volunteers, comprehending the noblest of the young chivalry of Spain, pressed forward to serve under the banner of this accomplished and popular chieftain. Among them may be particularly noticed Diego de Mendoza, son of the grand cardinal, Pedro de la Paz, [15] Gonzalo Pizarro, father of the celebrated adventurer of Peru, and Diego de Paredes, whose personal prowess and feats of extravagant daring furnished many an incredible legend for chronicle and romance. With this gallant armament the Great Captain weighed anchor in the port of Malaga, in May, 1500, designing to touch at Sicily before proceeding against the Turks. [16]

Meanwhile, the negotiations between France and Spain, respecting Naples, were brought to a close, by a treaty for the equal partition of that kingdom between the two powers, ratified at Granada, November 11th, 1500. This extraordinary document, after enlarging on the unmixed evils flowing from war, and the obligation on all Christians to preserve inviolate the blessed peace bequeathed them by the Saviour, proceeds to state that no other prince, save the kings of France and Aragon, can pretend to a title to the throne of Naples; and as King Frederic, its present occupant, has seen fit to endanger the safety of all Christendom, by bringing on it its bitterest enemy the Turks, the contracting parties, in order to rescue it from this imminent peril, and preserve inviolate the bond of peace, agree to take possession of his kingdom and divide it between them. It is then provided that the northern portion, comprehending the Terra di Lavoro and Abruzzo, be assigned to France, with the title of King of Naples and Jerusalem, and the southern, consisting of Apulia and Calabria, with the title of Duke of those provinces, to Spain. The dogana, an important duty levied on the flocks of the Capitanate, was to be collected by the officers of the Spanish government, and divided equally with France. Lastly, any inequality between the respective territories was to be so adjusted, that the revenues accruing to each of the parties should be precisely equal. The treaty was to be kept profoundly secret, until preparations were completed for the simultaneous occupation of the devoted territory by the combined powers. [17]

Such were the terms of this celebrated compact, by which two European potentates coolly carved out and divided between them the entire dominions of a third, who had given no cause for umbrage, and with whom they were both at that time in perfect peace and amity. Similar instances of political robbery (to call it by the coarse name it merits) have occurred in later times; but never one founded on more flimsy pretexts, or veiled under a more detestable mask of hypocrisy. The principal odium of the transaction has attached to Ferdinand, as the kinsman of the unfortunate king of Naples. His conduct, however, admits of some palliatory considerations, that cannot be claimed for Louis.

The Aragonese nation always regarded the bequest of Ferdinand's uncle, Alfonso the Fifth, in favor of his natural offspring as an unwarrantable and illegal act. The kingdom of Naples had been won by their own good swords, and, as such, was the rightful inheritance of their own princes. Nothing but the domestic troubles of his dominions had prevented John the Second of Aragon, on the decease of his brother, from asserting his claim by arms. His son, Ferdinand the Catholic, had hitherto acquiesced in the usurpation of the bastard branch of his house only from similar causes. On the accession of the present monarch, he had made some demonstrations of vindicating his pretensions to Naples, which, however, the intelligence he received from that kingdom induced him to defer to a more convenient season. [18] But it was deferring, not relinquishing, his purpose. In the mean time, he carefully avoided entering into such engagements, as should compel him to a different policy by connecting his own interests with those of Frederic; and with this view, no doubt, rejected the alliance, strongly solicited by the latter, of the duke of Calabria, heir apparent to the Neapolitan crown, with his third daughter, the infanta Maria. Indeed, this disposition of Ferdinand, so far from being dissembled, was well understood by the court of Naples, as is acknowledged by its own historians. [19]

It may be thought, that the undisturbed succession of four princes to the throne of Naples, each of whom had received the solemn recognition of the people, might have healed any defects in their original title, however glaring. But it may be remarked, in extenuation of both the French and Spanish claims, that the principles of monarchical succession were but imperfectly settled in that day; that oaths of allegiance were tendered too lightly by the Neapolitans, to carry the same weight as in other nations; and that the prescriptive right derived from possession, necessarily indeterminate, was greatly weakened in this case by the comparatively few years, not more than forty, during which the bastard line of Aragon had occupied the throne,—a period much shorter than that after which the house of York had in England, a few years before, successfully contested the validity of the Lancastrian title. It should be added, that Ferdinand's views appear to have perfectly corresponded with those of the Spanish nation at large; not one writer of the time, whom I have met with, intimating the slightest doubt of his title to Naples, while not a few insist on it with unnecessary emphasis. [20] It is but fair to state, however, that foreigners, who contemplated the transaction with a more impartial eye, condemned it as inflicting a deep stain on the characters of both potentates. Indeed, something like an apprehension of this, in the parties themselves, may be inferred from their solicitude to deprecate public censure by masking their designs under a pretended zeal for religion.

Before the conferences respecting the treaty were brought to a close, the Spanish armada under Gonsalvo, after a long detention in Sicily, where it was reinforced by two thousand recruits, who had been serving as mercenaries in Italy, held its course for the Morea. The Turkish squadron, lying before Napoli di Romania, without waiting Gonsalvo's approach, raised the siege, and retreated precipitately to Constantinople. The Spanish general, then uniting his forces with the Venetians, stationed at Corfu, proceeded at once against the fortified place of St. George, in Cephalonia, which the Turks had lately wrested from the republic. [21]

The town stood high on a rock, in an impregnable position, and was garrisoned by four hundred Turks, all veteran soldiers, prepared to die in its defence. We have not room for the details of this siege, in which both parties displayed unbounded courage and resources, and which was protracted nearly two months under all the privations of famine, and the inclemencies of a cold and stormy winter. [22]

At length, weary with this fatal procrastination, Gonsalvo and the Venetian admiral, Pesaro, resolved on a simultaneous attack on separate quarters of the town. The ramparts had been already shaken by the mining operations of Pedro Navarro, who, in the Italian wars, acquired such terrible celebrity in this department, till then little understood. The Venetian cannon, larger and better served than that of the Spaniards, had opened a practicable breach in the works, which the besieged repaired with such temporary defences as they could. The signal being given at the appointed hour, the two armies made a desperate assault on different quarters of the town, under cover of a murderous fire of artillery. The Turks sustained the attack with dauntless resolution, stopping up the breach with the bodies of their dead and dying comrades, and pouring down volleys of shot, arrows, burning oil and sulphur, and missiles of every kind, on the heads of the assailants. But the desperate energy, as well as numbers of the latter, proved too strong for them. Some forced the breach, others scaled the ramparts; and, after a short and deadly struggle within the walls, the brave garrison, four-fifths of whom with their commander had fallen, were overpowered, and the victorious banners of St. Jago and St. Mark were planted side by side triumphantly on the towers. [23]

The capture of this place, although accomplished at considerable loss, and after a most gallant resistance by a mere handful of men, was of great service to the Venetian cause; since it was the first cheek given to the arms of Bajazet, who had filched one place after another from the republic, menacing its whole colonial territory in the Levant. The promptness and efficiency of King Ferdinand's succor to the Venetians gained him high reputation throughout Europe, and precisely of the kind which he most coveted, that of being the zealous defender of the faith; while it formed a favorable contrast to the cold supineness of the other powers of Christendom.

The capture of St. George restored to Venice the possession of Cephalonia; and the Great Captain, having accomplished this important object, returned in the beginning of the following year, 1501, to Sicily. Soon after his arrival there, an embassy waited on him from the Venetian senate, to express their grateful sense of his services; which they testified by enrolling his name on the golden book, as a nobleman of Venice, and by a magnificent present of plate, curious silks and velvets, and a stud of beautiful Turkish horses. Gonsalvo courteously accepted the proffered honors, but distributed the whole of the costly largess, with the exception of a few pieces of plate, among his friends and soldiers. [24]

In the mean while, Louis the Twelfth having completed his preparations for the invasion of Naples, an army, consisting of one thousand lances and ten thousand Swiss and Gascon foot, crossed the Alps, and directed its march towards the south. At the same time a powerful armament, under Philip de Ravenstein, with six thousand five hundred additional troops on board, quitted Genoa for the Neapolitan capital. The command of the land forces was given to the Sire d'Aubigny, the same brave and experienced officer who had formerly coped with Gonsalvo in the campaigns of Calabria. [25]

No sooner had D'Aubigny crossed the papal borders, than the French and Spanish ambassadors announced to Alexander the Sixth and the college of cardinals the existence of the treaty for the partition of the kingdom between the sovereigns, their masters, requesting his Holiness to confirm it, and grant them the investiture of their respective shares. In this very reasonable petition his Holiness, well drilled in the part he was to play, acquiesced without difficulty; declaring himself moved thereto solely by his consideration of the pious intentions of the parties, and the unworthiness of King Frederic, whose treachery to the Christian commonwealth had forfeited all right (if he ever possessed any) to the crown of Naples. [26]

From the moment that the French forces had descended into Lombardy, the eyes of all Italy were turned with breathless expectation on Gonsalvo, and his army in Sicily. The bustling preparations of the French monarch had diffused the knowledge of his designs throughout Europe. Those of the king of Spain, on the contrary, remained enveloped in profound secrecy. Few doubted, that Ferdinand would step forward to shield his kinsman from the invasion which menaced him, and, it might be, his own dominions in Sicily; and they looked to the immediate junction of Gonsalvo with King Frederic, in order that their combined strength might overpower the enemy before he had gained a footing in the kingdom. Great was their astonishment, when the scales dropped from their eyes, and they beheld the movements of Spain in perfect accordance with those of France, and directed to crush their common victim between them. They could scarcely credit, says Guicciardini, that Louis the Twelfth could be so blind as to reject the proffered vassalage and substantial sovereignty of Naples, in order to share it with so artful and dangerous a rival as Ferdinand. [27]

The unfortunate Frederic, who had been advised for some time past of the unfriendly dispositions of the Spanish government, [28] saw no refuge from the dark tempest mustering against him on the opposite quarters of his kingdom. He collected such troops as he could, however, in order to make battle with the nearest enemy, before he should cross the threshold. On the 28th of June, the French army resumed its march. Before quitting Rome, a brawl arose between some French soldiers and Spaniards resident in the capital; each party asserting the paramount right of its own sovereign to the crown of Naples. From words they soon came to blows, and many lives were lost before the fray could be quelled; a melancholy augury for the permanence of the concord so unrighteously established between the two governments. [29]

On the 8th of July, the French crossed the Neapolitan frontier. Frederic, who had taken post at St. Germano, found himself so weak, that he was compelled to give way on its approach, and retreat on his capital. The invaders went forward, occupying one place after another with little resistance till they came before Capua, where they received a temporary check. During a parley for the surrender of that place, they burst into the town, and, giving free scope to their fiendish passions, butchered seven thousand citizens in the streets, and perpetrated outrages worse than death on their defenceless wives and daughters. It was on this occasion that Alexander the Sixth's son, the infamous Caesar Borgia, selected forty of the most beautiful from the principal ladies of the place, and sent them back to Rome to swell the complement of his seraglio. The dreadful doom of Capua intimidated further resistance, but inspired such detestation of the French throughout the country, as proved of infinite prejudice to their cause in their subsequent struggle with the Spaniards. [30]

King Frederic, shocked at bringing such calamities on his subjects, resigned his capital without a blow in its defence, and, retreating to the isle of Ischia, soon after embraced the counsel of the French admiral Ravenstein, to accept a safe-conduct into France, and throw himself on the generosity of Louis the Twelfth. The latter received him courteously, and assigned him the duchy of Anjou with an ample revenue for his maintenance, which, to the credit of the French king, was continued after he had lost all hope of recovering the crown of Naples. [31] With this show of magnanimity, however, he kept a jealous eye on his royal guest; under pretence of paying him the greatest respect, he placed a guard over his person, and thus detained him in a sort of honorable captivity to the day of his death, which occurred soon after, in 1504.

Frederic was the last of the illegitimate branch of Aragon, who held the Neapolitan sceptre; a line of princes, who, whatever might be their characters in other respects, accorded that munificent patronage to letters which sheds a ray of glory over the roughest and most turbulent reign. It might have been expected, that an amiable and accomplished prince, like Frederic, would have done still more towards the moral development of his people, by healing the animosities which had so long festered in their bosoms. His gentle character, however, was ill suited to the evil times on which he had fallen; and it is not improbable, that he found greater contentment in the calm and cultivated retirement of his latter years, sweetened by the sympathies of friendship which adversity had proved, [32] than when placed on the dazzling heights which attract the admiration and envy of mankind. [33]

Early in March, Gonsalvo of Cordova had received his first official intelligence of the partition treaty, and of his own appointment to the post of lieutenant-general of Calabria and Apulia. He felt natural regret at being called to act against a prince, whose character he esteemed, and with whom he had once been placed in the most intimate and friendly relations. In the true spirit of chivalry, he returned to Frederic, before taking up arms against him, the duchy of St. Angel and the other large domains, with which that monarch had requited his services in the late war, requesting at the same time to be released from his obligations of homage and fealty. The generous monarch readily complied with the latter part of his request, but insisted on his retaining the grant, which he declared an inadequate compensation, after all, for the benefits the Great Captain had once rendered him. [34]

The levies assembled at Messina amounted to three hundred heavy-armed, three hundred light horse, and three thousand eight hundred infantry, together with a small body of Spanish veterans, which the Castilian ambassador had collected in Italy. The number of the forces was inconsiderable, but they were in excellent condition, well disciplined, and seasoned to all the toils and difficulties of war. On the 5th of July, the Great Captain landed at Tropea, and commenced the conquest of Calabria, ordering the fleet to keep along the coast, in order to furnish whatever supplies he might need. The ground was familiar to him, and his progress was facilitated by the old relations he had formed there, as well as by the important posts which the Spanish government had retained in its hands, as an indemnification for the expenses of the late war. Notwithstanding the opposition or coldness of the great Angevin lords who resided in this quarter, the entire occupation of the two Calabrias, with the exception of Tarento, was effected in less than a month. [35]

This city, remarkable in ancient times for its defence against Hannibal, was of the last importance. King Frederic had sent thither his eldest son, the duke of Calabria, a youth about fourteen years of age, under the care of Juan de Guevara, count of Potenza, with a strong body of troops, considering it the place of greatest security in his dominions. Independently of the strength of its works, it was rendered nearly inaccessible by its natural position; having no communication with the main land except by two bridges, at opposite quarters of the town, commanded by strong towers, while its exposure to the sea made it easily open to supplies from abroad.

Gonsalvo saw that the only method of reducing the place must be by blockade. Disagreeable as the delay was, he prepared to lay regular siege to it, ordering the fleet to sail round the southern point of Calabria, and blockade the port of Tarento, while he threw up works on the land side, which commanded the passes to the town, and cut off its communications with the neighboring country. The place, however, was well victualled, and the garrison prepared to maintain it to the last.[36]

Nothing tries more severely the patience and discipline of the soldier, than a life of sluggish inaction, unenlivened, as in the present instance, by any of the rencontres, or feats of arms, which keep up military excitement, and gratify the cupidity or ambition of the warrior. The Spanish troops, cooped up within their intrenchments, and disgusted with the languid monotony of their life, cast many a wistful glance to the stirring scenes of war in the centre of Italy, where Caesar Borgia held out magnificent promises of pay and plunder to all who embarked in his adventurous enterprises. He courted the aid, in particular, of the Spanish veterans, whose worth he well understood, for they had often served under his banner, in his feuds with the Italian princes. In consequence of these inducements, some of Gonsalvo's men were found to desert every day; while those who remained were becoming hourly more discontented, from the large arrears due from the government; for Ferdinand, as already remarked, conducted his operations with a stinted economy, very different from the prompt and liberal expenditure of the queen, always competent to its object. [37]

A trivial incident, at this time, swelled the popular discontent into mutiny. The French fleet, after the capture of Naples, was ordered to the Levant to assist the Venetians against the Turks. Ravenstein, ambitious of eclipsing the exploits of the Great Captain, turned his arms against Mitilene, with the design of recovering it for the republic. He totally failed in the attack, and his fleet was soon after scattered by a tempest, and his own ship wrecked on the isle of Cerigo. He subsequently found his way, with several of his principal officers, to the shores of Calabria, where he landed in the most forlorn and desperate plight. Gonsalvo, touched with his misfortunes, no sooner learned his necessities, than he sent him abundant supplies of provisions, adding a service of plate, and a variety of elegant apparel for himself and followers; consulting his own munificent spirit in this, much more than the limited state of his finances. [38]

This excessive liberality was very inopportune. The soldiers loudly complained that their general found treasures to squander on foreigners, while his own troops were defrauded of their pay. The Biscayans, a people of whom Gonsalvo used to say, "he had rather be a lion-keeper than undertake to govern them," took the lead in the tumult. It soon swelled into open insurrection; and the men, forming themselves into regular companies, marched to the general's quarters and demanded payment of their arrears. One fellow, more insolent than the rest, levelled a pike at his breast with the most angry and menacing looks. Gonsalvo, however, retaining his self-possession, gently put it aside, saying, with a good- natured smile, "Higher, you careless knave, lift your lance higher, or you will run me through in your jesting." As he was reiterating his assurances of the want of funds, and his confident expectation of speedily obtaining them, a Biscayan captain called out, "Send your daughter to the brothel, and that will soon put you in funds!" This, was a favorite daughter named Elvira, whom Gonsalvo loved so tenderly, that he would not part with her, even in his campaigns. Although stung to the heart by this audacious taunt, he made no reply; but, without changing a muscle of his countenance, continued, in the same tone as before, to expostulate with the insurgents, who at length were prevailed on to draw off, and disperse to their quarters. The next morning, the appalling spectacle of the lifeless body of the Biscayan, hanging by the neck from a window of the house in which he had been quartered, admonished the, army that there were limits to the general's forbearance it was not prudent to overstep. [39]

An unexpected event, which took place at this juncture, contributed even more than this monitory lesson to restore subordination to the army. This was the capture of a Genoese galleon with a valuable freight, chiefly iron, bound to some Turkish port, as it was said, in the Levant, which Gonsalvo, moved no doubt by his zeal for the Christian cause, ordered to be seized by the Spanish cruisers; and the cargo to be disposed of for the satisfaction of his troops. Giovio charitably excuses this act of hostility against a friendly power with the remark, that "when the Great Captain did anything contrary to law, he was wont to say, 'A general must secure the victory at all hazards, right or wrong; and, when he has done this, he can compensate those whom he has injured with tenfold benefits.'" [40]

The unexpected length of the siege of Tarento determined Gonsalvo, at length, to adopt bolder measures for quickening its termination. The city, whose insulated position has been noticed, was bounded on the north by a lake, or rather arm of the sea, forming an excellent interior harbor, about eighteen miles in circumference. The inhabitants, trusting to the natural defences of this quarter, had omitted to protect it by fortifications, and the houses rose abruptly from the margin of the basin. Into this reservoir, the Spanish commander resolved to transport such of his vessels then riding in the outer bay, as from their size could be conveyed across the narrow isthmus, which divided it from the inner.

After incredible toil, twenty of the smallest craft were moved on huge cars and rollers across the intervening land, and safely launched on the bosom of the lake. The whole operation was performed amid the exciting accompaniments of discharges of ordnance, strains of martial music, and loud acclamations of the soldiery. The inhabitants of Tarento saw with consternation the fleet so lately floating in the open ocean under their impregnable walls, now quitting its native element, and moving, as it were by magic, across the land, to assault them on the quarter where they were the least defended. [41]

The Neapolitan commander perceived it would be impossible to hold out longer, without compromising the personal safety of the young prince under his care. He accordingly entered into negotiations for a truce with the Great Captain, during which articles of capitulation were arranged, guaranteeing to the duke of Calabria and his followers the right of evacuating the place and going wherever they listed. The Spanish general, in order to give greater solemnity to these engagements, bound himself to observe them by an oath on the sacrament. [42]

On the 1st of March, 1502, the Spanish army took possession, according to agreement, of the city of Tarento; and the duke of Calabria with his suite was permitted to leave it, in order to rejoin his father in France. In the mean time, advices were received from Ferdinand the Catholic, instructing Gonsalvo on no account to suffer the young prince to escape from his hands, as he was a pledge of too great importance for the Spanish government to relinquish. The general in consequence sent after the duke, who had proceeded in company with the count of Potenza as far as Bitonto, on his way to the north, and commanded him to be arrested and brought back to Tarento. Not long after, he caused him to be conveyed on board one of the men-of-war in the harbor, and, in contempt of his solemn engagements, sent a prisoner to Spain. [43]

The national writers have made many awkward attempts to varnish over this atrocious act of perfidy in their favorite hero. Zurita vindicates it by a letter from the Neapolitan prince to Gonsalvo, requesting the latter to take this step, since he preferred a residence in Spain to one in France, but could not with decency appear to act in opposition to his father's wishes on the subject. If such a letter, however, were really obtained from the prince, his tender years would entitle it to little weight, and of course it would afford no substantial ground for justification. Another explanation is offered by Paolo Giovio, who states that the Great Captain, undetermined what course to adopt, took the opinion of certain learned jurists. This sage body decided, that Gonsalvo was not bound by his oath, since it was repugnant to his paramount obligations to his master; and that the latter was not bound by it, since it was made without his privity! [44] The man who trusts his honor to the tampering of casuists, has parted with it already. [45]

The only palliation of the act must be sought in the prevalent laxity and corruption of the period, which is rife with examples of the most flagrant violation of both public and private faith. Had this been the act of a Sforza, indeed, or a Borgia, it could not reasonably have excited surprise. But coming from one of a noble, magnanimous nature, like Gonsalvo, exemplary in his private life, and unstained with any of the grosser vices of the age, it excited general astonishment and reprobation, even among his contemporaries. It has left a reproach on his name, which the historian may regret, but cannot wipe away.

FOOTNOTES

[1] Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. lib. 4, p. 214, ed. 1645.—Flassan, Diplomatie Francaise, tom. i. pp. 275, 277.

[2] Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, tom. iii. pp. 397-400.—Flassan, Diplomatie Francaise, tom. i. p. 279.

[3] Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 4, pp. 250-252.—Memoires de La Tremoille, chap. 19, apud Petitot, Collection de Memoires, tom. xiv.—Buonaccorsi, Diario de' Successi piu Importanti, (Fiorenza, 1568,) pp. 26-29.

[4] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 3, cap. 31.

Martyr, in a letter written soon after Sforza's recovery of his capital, says that the Spanish sovereigns "could not conceal their joy at the event, such was their jealousy of France." (Opus Epist., epist. 213.) The same sagacious writer, the distance of whose residence from Italy removed him from those political factions and prejudices which clouded the optics of his countrymen, saw with deep regret their coalition with France, the fatal consequences of which he predicted in a letter to a friend in Venice, the former minister at the Spanish court. "The king of France," says he, "after he has dined with the duke of Milan, will come and sup with you." (Epist. 207.) Daru, on the authority of Burchard, refers this remarkable prediction, which time so fully verified, to Sforza, on his quitting his capital. (Hist. de Venise, tom. iii. p. 326, 2d ed.) Martyr's letter, however, is dated some months previously to that event.

[5] Louis XII., for the good offices of the pope in the affair of his divorce from the unfortunate Jeanne of France, promised the un-cardinalled Caesar Borgia the duchy of Valence in Dauphiny, with a rent of 20,000 livres, and a considerable force to support him in his flagitious enterprises against the princes of Romagna. Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. lib. 4, p. 207.—Sismondi, Hist. des Francais, tom. xv. p. 275.—Carta de Garcilasso de la Vega, MS.

[6] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 3, cap. 33.

Garcilasso de la Vega seems to have possessed little of the courtly and politic address of a diplomatist. In a subsequent audience, which the pope gave him together with a special embassy from Castile, his blunt expostulation so much exasperated his Holiness, that the latter hinted it would not cost him much to have him thrown into the Tiber. The hold bearing of the Castilian, however, appears to have had its effect; since we find the pope soon after revoking an offensive ecclesiastical provision he had made in Spain, taking occasion at the same time to eulogize the character of the Catholic sovereigns in full consistory. Ibid., lib. 3, cap. 33, 35.

[7] Oviedo has made this cavalier the subject of one of his dialogues. Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 3, dial. 44.

[8] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 3, cap. 38, 39.—Daru, Hist. de Venise, tom. iii. pp. 336, 339, 347.—Muratori, Annali d'Italia, (Milano, 1820,) tom. xiv. pp. 9, 10.—Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. lib. 5, p. 260.

[9] Alexander VI. had requested the hand of Carlotta, daughter of King Frederic, for his son, Caesar Borgia; but this was a sacrifice, at which pride and parental affection alike revolted. The slight was not to be forgiven by the implacable Borgias. Comp. Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 3.—Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. lib. 4, p. 223.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 3, cap. 22.

[10] Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. lib. 5, pp. 265, 266.—Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 3.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 3, cap. 40.—Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1, p. 229.—Daru, Hist. de Venise, tom. iii. p, 338.

[11] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 14, epist. 218.

[12] See Part II. Chapter 3, of this History.

[13] According to Zurita, Ferdinand secured the services of Guillaume de Poictiers, lord of Clerieux and governor of Paris, by the promise of the city of Cotron, mortgaged to him in Italy. (Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 3, cap. 40.) Comines calls the same nobleman "a good sort of a man, qui aisement croit, et pour especial tels personnages," meaning King Ferdinand. Comines, Memoires, liv. 8, chap. 23.

[14] Bembo, Istoria Viniziana, tom. iii. lib. 5, p. 324.—Ulloa, Vita et Fatti dell' Invitissimo Imperatore Carlo V., (Venetia, 1606,) fol. 2.— Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 27, cap. 7.—Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, tom. i. p. 226.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 11.—Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 10, sec. 13.

[15] This cavalier, one of the most valiant captains in the army, was so diminutive in size, that, when mounted, he seemed almost lost in the high demipeak war-saddle then in vogue; which led a wag, according to Brantome, when asked if he had seen Don Pedro de Paz pass that way, to answer, that "he had seen his horse and saddle, but no rider." Oeuvres, tom. i. disc. 9.

[16] Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom. viii. p. 217.—Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 161.—Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. lib. 19, cap. 9.

[17] See the original treaty, apud Dumont, Corps Diplomatique, tom. iii. pp. 445, 446.

[18] See Part II. Chapter 3, of this History.

[19] Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 19, cap. 3.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 3, cap. 32.

[20] See, in particular, the Doctor Salazar de Mendoza, who exhausts the subject,—and the reader's patience,—in discussing the multifarious grounds of the incontrovertible title of the house of Aragon to Naples. Monarquia, tom. i. lib. 3, cap. 12-15.

[21] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, tom. i. p. 226.—Chronica del Gran Capitan, cap. 9.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 19.

[22] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, ubi supra.—Chronica del Gran Capitan, cap. 14.

[23] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, ubi supra.—Chronica del Gran Capitan, cap. 10.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 25.— Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 167.

[24] Bernaldez, Reyes Catolicos, MS., cap. 167.—Quintana, Espanoles Celebres, tom. i. p. 246.—Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 228.—Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 4.

[25] Jean d'Auton, Histoire de Louys XII., (Paris, 1622,) part. 1, chap. 44, 45, 48.—Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. p. 265.—Sainct Gelais, Histoire de Louys XII., (Paris, 1622,) p. 163.—Buonaccorsi, Diario, p. 46.

[26] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 43.—Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 1, cap. 14.

[27] Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. lib. 5, p. 266.—Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 8.

[28] In the month of April the king of Naples received letters from his envoys in Spain, written by command of King Ferdinand, informing him that he had nothing to expect from that monarch in case of an invasion of his territories by France. Frederic bitterly complained of the late hour at which this intelligence was given, which effectually prevented an accommodation he might otherwise have made with King Louis. Lanuza, Historias, lib. 1, cap. 14.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 37.

[29] D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part. 1, chap. 48.

[30] Summonte, Hist. di Napoli, tom. iii. lib. 6, cap. 4.—D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part. 1, chap. 51-54.—Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 8.— Guicciardini, Istoria, lib. 5, pp. 268, 269.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 41.—Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 3.

[31] St. Gelais, Hist. de Louys XII., p. 163.—D'Auton, Hist. de Louys XII., part. 1, ch. 56.—Summonte, Hist. di Napoli, tom. iii. p. 541.

[32] The reader will readily call to mind the Neapolitan poet Sannazaro, whose fidelity to his royal master forms so beautiful a contrast with the conduct of Pontano, and indeed of too many of his tribe, whose gratitude is of that sort that will only rise above zero in the sunshine of a court. His various poetical effusions afford a noble testimony to the virtues of his unfortunate sovereign, the more unsuspicious as many of them were produced in the days of his adversity.

[33] "Neque mala vel bona," says the philosophic Roman, "quae vulgus putet; multos, qui conflictari udversis videantur, beatos; ac plerosque, quamquam magnas per opes, miserrimos; si illi gravem fortunam constanter tolerent, hi prospera inconsulte utantur." Tacitus, Annales, lib. 6, sect. 22.

[34] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 35.—Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 230.—Chronica del Gran Capitan, cap. 21.— Lanuza, Historias, tom. i. lib. 1, cap. 14.

[35] Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 11, sec. 8.—Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 44.—Mariana, Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. lib. 27, cap. 9.

[36] Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 231.—Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V, fol. 9.—Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 3.—Chronica del Gran Capitan, cap. 31.

[37] Don Juan Mannel, the Spanish minister at Vienna, seems to hare been fully sensible of this trait of his master. He told the emperor Maximilian, who had requested the loan of 300,000 ducats from Spain, that it was as much money as would suffice King Ferdinand for the conquest, not merely of Italy, but Africa into the bargain. Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 3, cap. 42.

[38] Bembo, Istoria Viniziana, tom. III. lib. 6, p. 368.—Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 232.—D'Auton, part. 1, chap. 71, 72.

[39] Chronica del Gran Capitan, cap. 34.—Quintana, Espanoles Celebres, tom. i. pp. 252, 253.—Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, p. 232.—Carta de Gonzalo, MS.

[40] Giovio, Vita Magni Gonsalvi, lib. 1, p. 233.

[41] Gonsalvo took the hint for this, doubtless, from Hannibal's similar expedient. See Polybius, lib. 8.

[42] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 52, 53.— Guicciardini, Istoria, tom. i. lib. 5, p. 270.—Giannone, Istoria di Napoli, lib. 29, cap. 3.—Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. xiv. p. 14.

The various authorities differ more irreconcilably than usual in the details of the siege. I have followed Paolo Giovio, a contemporary, and personally acquainted with the principal actors. All agree in the only fact, in which one would willingly see some discrepancy, Gonsalvo's breach of faith to the young duke of Calabria.

[43] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, tom. i. lib. 4, cap. 56.—Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii. rey 30, cap. 11, sec. 10-12.—Ulloa, Vita di Carlo V., fol. 9.—Lanuza, Historias, lib. 1, cap. 14.

Martyr, who was present on the young prince's arrival at court, where he experienced the most honorable reception, speaks of him in the highest terms. "Adolescens namque est et regno et regio sanguine dignus, mirae indolis, forma egregius." (See Opus Epist., epist. 252.) He survived to the year 1550, but without ever quitting Spain, contrary to the fond prediction of his friend Sannazaro;

"Nam mihl, nam tempus veniet, cum reddita sceptra Parthenopes, fractosque tua sub cuspide reges Ipse canam." Opera Latina, Ecloga 4.

[44] Zurita, Hist. del Rey Hernando, lib. 4, cap. 58.—Giovio, Vitae Illust. Virorum, lib. 1, p. 234.

Mariana coolly disposes of Gonsalvo's treachery with the remark, "No parece se le guardo lo que tenian asentado. En la guerra quien hay que de todo punto lo guarde?" (Hist. de Espana, tom. ii. p. 675.)

——"Dolus an virtus, quis in hoste requirat?"

[45] In Gonsalvo's correspondence is a letter to the sovereigns written soon after the occupation of Tarento, in which he mentions his efforts to secure the duke of Calabria in the Spanish interests. The communication is too brief to clear up the difficulties in this dark transaction. As coming from Gonsalvo himself, it has great interest, and I will give it to the reader in the curious orthography of the original. "Asi en la platica que estava con el duque don fernando de ponerse al servicio y amparo de vuestras altecas syn otro partido ny ofrecimiento demas de certificarle que en todo tiempo seria libre para yr donde quisiese sy vuestras altezas bien no le tratasen y que vuestras altecas le ternian el respeto que a tal persona como el se deve. El conde de potenca e algunos de los que estan ceerca del han trabajado por apartarle de este proposito e levarle a Iscla asi yo por muchos modos he procurado de reducirle al servicio de vuestras altecas y tengole en tal termino que puedo certificar a vuestras altecas que este mozo no les saldra de la mano con consenso suyo del servicio de vuestras altecas asta tanto que vuestras altecas me embien a mandar como del he de disponer e de lo que con el se ha de facer y por las contrastes que en esto han entrevenido no ha salido de taranto porque asi ha convenido. El viernes que sera once de marzo saldra a castellaneta que es quince millas de aqui con algunos destos suyos que le quieren seguir con alguna buena parte de compania destos criados de vuestras altecas para acompanarle y este mismo dia viernes entrar an las vanderas e gente de vuestras altecas en el castillo de tarento con ayuda de nuestro Senor." De Tarento, 10 de Marzo, 1502, MS.



CHAPTER XI.

ITALIAN WARS.—RUPTURE WITH FRANCE.—GONSALVO BESIEGED IN BARLETA.

1502, 1503.

Rupture between the French and Spaniards.—Gonsalvo Retires to Barleta.— Chivalrous Character of the War.—Tourney near Trani.—Duel between Bayard and Sotomayor.—Distress of Barleta.—Constancy of the Spaniards. —Gonsalvo Storms and Takes Ruvo.—Prepares to Leave Barleta.

It was hardly to be expected that the partition treaty between France and Spain, made so manifestly in contempt of all good faith, would be maintained any longer than suited the convenience of the respective parties. The French monarch, indeed, seems to have prepared, from the first, to dispense with it, as soon as he had secured his own moiety of the kingdom; [1] and sagacious men at the Spanish court inferred that King Ferdinand would do as much, when he should be in a situation to assert his claims with success. [2]

It was altogether improbable, whatever might be the good faith of the parties, that an arrangement could long subsist, which so rudely rent asunder the members of this ancient monarchy; or that a thousand points of collision should not arise between rival hosts, lying as it were on their arms within bowshot of each other, and in view of the rich spoil which each regarded as its own. Such grounds for rupture did occur, sooner probably than either party had foreseen, and certainly before the king of Aragon was prepared to meet it.

The immediate cause was the extremely loose language of the partition treaty, which assumed such a geographical division of the kingdom into four provinces, as did not correspond with any ancient division, and still less with the modern, by which the number was multiplied to twelve. [3] The central portion, comprehending the Capitanate, the Basilicate, and the Principality, became debatable ground between the parties, each of whom insisted on these as forming an integral part of its own moiety. The French had no ground whatever for contesting the possession of the Capitanate, the first of these provinces, and by far the most important, on account of the tolls paid by the numerous flocks which descended every winter into its sheltered valleys from the snow-covered mountains of Abruzzo. [4] There was more uncertainty to which of the parties the two other provinces were meant to be assigned. It is scarcely possible that language so loose, in a matter requiring mathematical precision, should have been unintentional.

Before Gonsalvo de Cordova had completed the conquest of the southern moiety of the kingdom, and while lying before Tarento, he received intelligence of the occupation by the French of several places, both in the Capitanate and Basilicate. He detached a body of troops for the protection of these countries, and, after the surrender of Tarento, marched towards the north to cover them with his whole army. As he was not in a condition for immediate hostilities, however, he entered into negotiations, which, if attended with no other advantage, would at least gain him time. [5]

The pretensions of the two parties, as might have been expected, were too irreconcilable to admit of compromise; and a personal conference between the respective commanders-in-chief led to no better arrangement, than that each should retain his present acquisitions, till explicit instructions could be received from their respective courts.

But neither of the two monarchs had further instructions to give; and the Catholic king contented himself with admonishing his general to postpone an open rupture as long as possible, that the government might have time to provide more effectually for his support, and strengthen itself by alliance with other European powers. But, however pacific may have been the disposition of the generals, they had no power to control the passions of their soldiers, who, thus brought into immediate contact, glared on each other with the ferocity of bloodhounds, ready to slip the leash which held them in temporary check. Hostilities soon broke out along the lines of the two armies, the blame of which each nation charged on its opponent. There seems good ground, however, for imputing it to the French; since they were altogether better prepared for war than the Spaniards, and entered into it so heartily as not only to assail places in the debatable ground, but in Apulia, which had been unequivocally assigned to their rivals. [6]

In the mean while, the Spanish court fruitlessly endeavored to interest the other powers of Europe in its cause. The emperor Maximilian, although dissatisfied with the occupation of Milan by the French, appeared wholly engrossed with the frivolous ambition of a Roman coronation. The pontiff and his son, Caesar Borgia, were closely bound to King Louis by the assistance which he had rendered them in their marauding enterprises against the neighboring chiefs of Romagna. The other Italian princes, although deeply incensed and disgusted by this infamous alliance, stood too much in awe of the colossal power, which had planted its foot so firmly on their territory, to offer any resistance. Venice alone, surveying from her distant watch-tower, to borrow the words of Peter Martyr, the whole extent of the political horizon, appeared to hesitate. The French ambassadors loudly called on her to fulfil the terms of her late treaty with their master, and support him in his approaching quarrel; but that wily republic saw with distrust the encroaching ambition of her powerful neighbor, and secretly wished that a counterpoise might be found in the success of Aragon. Martyr, who stopped at Venice on his return from Egypt, appeared before the senate, and employed all his eloquence in supporting his master's cause in opposition to the French envoys; but his pressing entreaties to the Spanish sovereigns to send thither some competent person, as a resident minister, show his own conviction of the critical position in which their affairs stood. [7]

The letters of the same intelligent individual, during his journey through the Milanese, [8] are filled with the most gloomy forebodings of the termination of a contest for which the Spaniards were so indifferently provided; while the whole north of Italy was alive with the bustling preparations of the French, who loudly vaunted their intention of driving their enemy not merely out of Naples, but Sicily itself. [9]

Louis the Twelfth superintended these preparations in person, and, to be near the theatre of operations, crossed the Alps, and took up his quarters at Asti. At length, all being in readiness, he brought things to an immediate issue, by commanding his general to proclaim war at once against the Spaniards, unless they abandoned the Capitanate in four-and-twenty hours. [10]

The French forces in Naples amounted, according to their own statements, to one thousand men-at-arms, three thousand five hundred French and Lombard, and three thousand Swiss infantry, in addition to the Neapolitan levies raised by the Angevin lords throughout the kingdom. The command was intrusted to the duke of Nemours, a brave and chivalrous young nobleman of the ancient house of Armagnac, whom family connections more than talents had raised to the perilous post of viceroy over the head of the veteran D'Aubigny. The latter would have thrown up his commission in disgust, but for the remonstrances of his sovereign, who prevailed on him to remain where his counsels were more than ever necessary to supply the inexperience of the young commander. The jealousy and wilfulness of the latter, however, defeated these intentions; and the misunderstanding of the chiefs, extending to their followers, led to a fatal want of concert in their movements.

With these officers were united some of the best and bravest of the French chivalry; among whom may be noticed Jacques de Chabannes, more commonly known as the Sire de la Palice, a favorite of Louis the Twelfth, and well entitled to be so by his deserts; Louis d'Ars; Ives d'Alegre, brother of the Precy who gained so much renown in the wars of Charles the Eighth; and Pierre de Bayard, the knight "sans peur et sans reproche," who was then entering on the honorable career in which he seemed to realize all the imaginary perfections of chivalry. [11]

Notwithstanding the small numbers of the French force, the Great Captain was in no condition to cope with them. He had received no reinforcements from home since he first landed in Calabria. His little corps of veterans was destitute of proper clothing and equipments, and the large arrears due them made the tenure of their obedience extremely precarious. [12] Since affairs began to assume their present menacing aspect, he had been busily occupied with drawing together the detachments posted in various parts of Calabria, and concentrating them on the town of Atella in the Basilicate, where he had established his own quarters. He had also opened a correspondence with the barons of the Aragonese faction, who were most numerous as well as most powerful in the northern section of the kingdom, which had been assigned to the French. He was particularly fortunate in gaining over the two Colonnas, whose authority, powerful connections, and large military experience proved of inestimable value to him. [13]

With all the resources he could command, however, Gonsalvo found himself, as before noticed, unequal to the contest, though it was impossible to defer it, after the peremptory summons of the French viceroy to surrender the Capitanate. To this he unhesitatingly answered, that "the Capitanate belonged of right to his own master; and that, with the blessing of God, he would make good its defence against the French king, or any other who should invade it."

Notwithstanding the bold front put on his affairs, however, he did not choose to abide the assault of the French in his present position. He instantly drew off with the greater part of his force to Barleta, a fortified seaport on the confines of Apulia, on the Adriatic, the situation of which would enable him either to receive supplies from abroad, or to effect a retreat, if necessary, on board the Spanish fleet, which still kept the coast of Calabria. The remainder of his army he distributed in Bari, Andria, Canosa, and other adjacent towns; where he confidently hoped to maintain himself till the arrival of reinforcements, which he solicited in the most pressing manner from Spain and Sicily, should enable him to take the field on more equal terms against his adversary. [14]

The French officers, in the mean time, were divided in opinion as to the best mode of conducting the war. Some were for besieging Bari, held by the illustrious and unfortunate Isabella of Aragon; [15] others, in a more chivalrous spirit, opposed the attack of a place defended by a female, and advised an immediate assault on Barleta itself, whose old and dilapidated works might easily be forced, if it did not at once surrender. The duke of Nemours, deciding on a middle course, determined to invest the last- mentioned town; and, cutting off all communication with the surrounding country, to reduce it by regular blockade. This plan was unquestionably the least eligible of all, as it would allow time for the enthusiasm of the French, the furia Francese, as it was called in Italy, which carried them victorious over so many obstacles, to evaporate, while it brought into play the stern resolve, the calm, unflinching endurance, which distinguished the Spanish soldier. [16]

One of the first operations of the French viceroy was the siege of Canosa, a strongly fortified place west of Barleta, garrisoned by six hundred picked men under the engineer Pedro Navarro. The defence of the place justified the reputation of this gallant soldier. He beat off two successive assaults of the enemy, led on by Bayard, La Palice, and the flower of their chivalry. He had prepared to sustain a third, resolved to bury himself under the ruins of the town rather than surrender. But Gonsalvo, unable to relieve it, commanded him to make the best terms he could, saying, "the place was of far less value, than the lives of the brave men who defended it." Navarro found no difficulty in obtaining an honorable capitulation; and the little garrison, dwindled to one-third of its original number, marched out through the enemy's camp, with colors flying and music playing, as if in derision of the powerful force it had so nobly kept at bay. [17]

After the capture of Canosa, D'Aubigny, whose misunderstanding with Nemours still continued, was despatched with a small force into the south, to overrun the two Calabrias. The viceroy, in the mean while, having fruitlessly attempted the reduction of several strong places held by the Spaniards in the neighborhood of Barleta, endeavored to straiten the garrison there by desolating the surrounding country, and sweeping off the flocks and herds which grazed in its fertile pastures. The Spaniards, however, did not remain idle within their defences, but, sallying out in small detachments, occasionally retrieved the spoil from the hands of the enemy, or annoyed him with desultory attacks, ambuscades, and other irregular movements of guerrilla warfare, in which the French were comparatively unpractised. [18]

The war now began to assume many of the romantic features of that of Granada. The knights on both sides, not content with the usual military rencontres, defied one another to jousts and tourneys, eager to establish their prowess in the noble exercises of chivalry. One of the most remarkable of these meetings took place between eleven Spanish and as many French knights, in consequence of some disparaging remarks of the latter on the cavalry of their enemies, which they affirmed inferior to their own. The Venetians gave the parties a fair field of combat in the neutral territory under their own walls of Trani. A gallant array of well-armed knights of both nations guarded the lists, and maintained the order of the fight. On the appointed day, the champions appeared in the field, armed at all points, with horses richly caparisoned, and barbed or covered with steel panoply like their masters. The roofs and battlements of Trani were covered with spectators, while the lists were thronged with the French and Spanish chivalry, each staking in some degree the national honor on the issue of the contest. Among the Castilians were Diego de Paredes and Diego de Vera, while the good knight Bayard was most conspicuous on the other side.

As the trumpets sounded the appointed signal, the hostile parties rushed to the encounter. Three Spaniards were borne from their saddles by the rudeness of the shock, and four of their antagonists' horses slain. The fight, which began at ten in the morning, was not to be protracted beyond sunset. Long before that hour, all the French save two, one of them the chevalier Bayard, had been dismounted, and their horses, at which the Spaniards had aimed more than at the riders, disabled or slain. The Spaniards, seven of whom were still on horseback, pressed hard on their adversaries, leaving little doubt of the fortune of the day. The latter, however, intrenching themselves behind the carcasses of their dead horses, made good their defence against the Spaniards, who in vain tried to spur their terrified steeds over the barrier. In this way the fight was protracted till sunset; and, as both parties continued to keep possession of the field, the palm of victory was adjudged to neither, while both were pronounced to have demeaned themselves like good and valiant knights. [19]

The tourney being ended, the combatants met in the centre of the lists, and embraced each other in the true companionship of chivalry, "making good cheer together," says an old chronicler, before they separated. The Great Captain was not satisfied with the issue of the fight. "We have, at least," said one of his champions, "disproved the taunt of the Frenchmen, and shown ourselves as good horsemen as they." "I sent you for better," coldly retorted Gonsalvo. [20]

A more tragic termination befell a combat a l'outrance between the chevalier Bayard and a Spanish cavalier, named Alonso de Sotomayor, who had accused the former of uncourteous treatment of him, while his prisoner. Bayard denied the charge, and defied the Spaniard to prove it in single fight, on horse or on foot, as he best liked. Sotomayor, aware of his antagonist's uncommon horsemanship, preferred the latter alternative.

At the day and hour appointed, the two knights entered the lists, armed with sword and dagger, and sheathed in complete harness; although, with a degree of temerity unusual in these, combats, they wore their visors up. Both combatants knelt down in silent prayer for a few moments, and then rising and crossing themselves, advanced straight against each other; "the good knight Bayard," says Brantome, "moving as light of step, as if he were going to lead some fair lady down the dance."

The Spaniard was of a large and powerful frame, and endeavored to crush his enemy by weight of blows, or to close with him and bring him to the ground. The latter, naturally inferior in strength, was rendered still weaker by a fever, from which he had not entirely recovered. He was more light and agile than his adversary, however, and superior dexterity enabled him not only to parry his enemy's strokes, but to deal him occasionally one of his own, while he sorely distressed him by the rapidity of his movements. At length, as the Spaniard was somewhat thrown off his balance by an ill-directed blow, Bayard struck him so sharply on the gorget, that it gave way, and the sword entered his throat. Furious with the agony of the wound, Sotomayor collected all his strength for the last struggle, and, grasping his antagonist in his arms, they both rolled in the dust together. Before either could extricate himself, the quick- eyed Bayard, who had retained his poniard in his left hand during the whole combat, while the Spaniard's had remained in his belt, drove the steel with such convulsive strength under his enemy's eye, that it pierced quite through the brain. After the judges had awarded the honors of the day to Bayard, the minstrels as usual began to pour forth triumphant strains in praise of the victor; but the good knight commanded them to desist, and, having first prostrated himself on his knees in gratitude for his victory, walked slowly out of the lists, expressing a wish that the combat had had a different termination, so that his honor had been saved. [2]

In these jousts and tourneys, described with sufficient prolixity, but in a truly heart-stirring tone, by the chroniclers of the day, we may discern the last gleam of the light of chivalry, which illumined the darkness of the Middle Ages; and, although rough in comparison with the pastimes of more polished times, they called forth such displays of magnificence, courtesy, and knightly honor, as throw something like the grace of civilization over the ferocious features of the age.

While the Spaniards, cooped up within the old town of Barleta, sought to vary the monotony of their existence by these chivalrous exercises, or an occasional foray into the neighboring country, they suffered greatly from the want of military stores, food, clothing, and the most common necessaries of life. It seemed as if their master had abandoned them to their fate on this forlorn outpost, without a struggle in their behalf. [22] How different from the parental care with which Isabella watched over the welfare of her soldiers in the long war of Granada! The queen appears to have taken no part in the management of these wars, which, notwithstanding the number of her own immediate subjects embarked in them, she probably regarded, from the first, as appertaining to Aragon, as exclusively as the conquests in the New World did to Castile. Indeed, whatever degree of interest she may have felt in their success, the declining state of her health at this period would not have allowed her to take any part in the conduct of them.

Gonsalvo was not wanting to himself in this trying emergency, and his noble spirit seemed to rise as all outward and visible resources failed. He cheered his troops with promises of speedy relief, talking confidently of the supplies of grain he expected from Sicily, and the men and money he was to receive from Spain and Venice. He contrived, too, says Giovio, that a report should get abroad, that a ponderous coffer lying in his apartment was filled with gold, which he could draw upon in the last extremity. The old campaigners, indeed, according to the same authority, shook their heads at these and other agreeable fictions of their general, with a very skeptical air. They derived some confirmation, however, from the arrival soon after of a Sicilian bark, laden with corn, and another from Venice with various serviceable stores and wearing apparel, which Gonsalvo bought on his own credit and that of his principal officers, and distributed gratuitously among his destitute soldiers. [23]

At this time he received the unwelcome tidings that a small force which had been sent from Spain to his assistance, under Don Manuel de Benavides, and which had effected a junction with one much larger from Sicily under Hugo de Cardona, was surprised by D'Aubigny near Terranova, and totally defeated. This disaster was followed by the reduction of all Calabria, which the latter general, at the head of his French and Scottish gendarmerie, rode over from one extremity to the other without opposition. [24]

The prospect now grew darker and darker around the little garrison of Barleta. The discomfiture of Benavides excluded hopes of relief in that direction. The gradual occupation of most of the strong places in Apulia by the duke of Nemours cut off all communication with the neighboring country; and a French fleet cruising in the Adriatic rendered the arrival of further stores and reinforcements extremely precarious. Gonsalvo, however, maintained the same unruffled cheerfulness as before, and endeavored to infuse it into the hearts of others. He perfectly understood the character of his countrymen, knew all their resources, and tried to rouse every latent principle of honor, loyalty, pride, and national feeling; and such was the authority which he acquired over their minds, and so deep the affection which he inspired, by the amenity of his manners and the generosity of his disposition, that not a murmur or symptom of insubordination escaped them during the whole of this long and painful siege. But neither the excellence of his troops, nor the resources of his own genius, would have been sufficient to extricate Gonsalvo from the difficulties of his situation, without the most flagrant errors on the part of his opponent. The Spanish general, who understood the character of the French commander perfectly well, lay patiently awaiting his opportunity, like a skilful fencer, ready to make a decisive thrust at the first vulnerable point that should be presented. Such an occasion at length offered itself early in the following year. [25]

The French, no less weary than their adversaries of their long inaction, sallied out from Canosa, where the viceroy had established his headquarters, and, crossing the Ofanto, marched up directly under the walls of Barleta, with the intention of drawing out the garrison from the "old den," as they called it, and deciding the quarrel in a pitched battle. The duke of Nemours, accordingly, having taken up his position, sent a trumpet into the place to defy the Great Captain to the encounter; but the latter returned for answer, that "he was accustomed to choose his own place and time for fighting, and would thank the French general to wait till his men found time to shoe their horses, and burnish up their arms." At length, Nemours, after remaining some days, and finding there was no chance of decoying his wily foe from his defences, broke up his camp and retired, satisfied with the empty honors of his gasconade.

No sooner had he fairly turned his back, than Gonsalvo, whose soldiers had been restrained with difficulty from sallying out on their insolent foe, ordered the whole strength of his cavalry under the command of Diego de Mendoza, flanked by two corps of infantry, to issue forth and pursue the French. Mendoza executed these orders so promptly that he brought up his horse, which were somewhat in advance of the foot, on the rear-guard of the French, before it had got many miles from Barleta. The latter instantly halted to receive the charge of the Spaniards, and, after a lively skirmish of no great duration, Mendoza retreated, followed by the incautious enemy, who, in consequence of their irregular and straggling march, were detached from the main body of their army. In the mean time, the advancing columns of the Spanish infantry, which had now come up with the retreating horse, unexpectedly closing on the enemy's flanks, threw them into some disorder, which became complete when the flying cavalry of the Spaniards, suddenly wheeling round in the rapid style of the Moorish tactics, charged them boldly in front. All was now confusion. Some made resistance, but most sought only to escape; a few effected it, but the greater part of those who did not fall on the field were carried prisoners to Barleta; where Mendoza found the Great Captain with his whole army drawn up under the walls in order of battle, ready to support him in person, if necessary. The whole affair passed so expeditiously, that the viceroy, who, as has been said, conducted his retreat in a most disorderly manner, and in fact had already dispersed several battalions of his infantry to the different towns from which he had drawn them, knew nothing of the rencontre, till his men were securely lodged within the walls of Barleta. [26]

The arrival of a Venetian trader at this time, with a cargo of grain, brought temporary relief to the pressing necessities of the garrison. [27] This was followed by the welcome intelligence of the total discomfiture of the French fleet under M. de Prejan by the Spanish admiral Lezcano, in an action off Otranto, which consequently left the seas open for the supplies daily expected from Sicily. Fortune seemed now in the giving vein; for in a few days a convoy of seven transports from that island, laden with grain, meat, and other stores, came safe into Barleta, and supplied abundant means for recruiting the health and spirits of its famished inmates. [28]

Thus restored, the Spaniards began to look forward with eager confidence to the achievement of some new enterprise. The temerity of the viceroy soon afforded an opportunity. The people of Castellaneta, a town near Tarento, were driven by the insolent and licentious behavior of the French garrison to betray the place into the hands of the Spaniards. The duke of Nemours, enraged at this defection, prepared to march at once with his whole force, and take signal vengeance on the devoted little town; and this, notwithstanding the remonstrances of his officers against a step which must inevitably expose the unprotected garrisons in the neighborhood to the assault of their vigilant enemy in Barleta. The event justified these apprehensions. [29]

No sooner had Gonsalvo learned the departure of Nemours on a distant expedition, than he resolved at once to make an attack on the town of Ruvo, about twelve miles distant, and defended by the brave La Palice, with a corps of three hundred French lances, and as many foot. With his usual promptness, the Spanish general quitted the walls of Barleta the same night on which he received the news, taking with him his whole effective force, amounting to about three thousand infantry and one thousand light and heavy-armed horse. So few, indeed, remained to guard the city, that he thought it prudent to take some of the principal inhabitants as hostages to insure its fidelity in his absence.

At break of day, the little army arrived before Ruvo. Gonsalvo immediately opened a lively cannonade on the old ramparts, which in less than four hours effected a considerable breach. He then led his men to the assault, taking charge himself of those who were to storm the breach, while another division, armed with ladders for scaling the walls, was intrusted to the adventurous cavalier Diego de Paredes.

The assailants experienced more resolute resistance than they had anticipated from the inconsiderable number of the garrison. La Palice, throwing himself into the breach with his iron band of dismounted gendarmes, drove back the Spaniards as often as they attempted to set foot on the broken ramparts; while the Gascon archery showered down volleys of arrows thick as hail, from the battlements, on the exposed persons of the assailants. The latter, however, soon rallied under the eye of their general, and returned with fresh fury to the charge, until the overwhelming tide of numbers bore down all opposition, and they poured in through the breach and over the walls with irresistible fury. The brave little garrison were driven before them; still, however, occasionally making fight in the streets and houses. Their intrepid young commander, La Palice, retreated facing the enemy, who pressed thick and close upon him, till, his further progress being arrested by a wall, he placed his back against it, and kept them at bay, making a wide circle around him with the deadly sweep of his battle-axe. But the odds were too much for him; and at length, after repeated wounds, having been brought to the ground by a deep cut in the head, he was made prisoner; not, however, before he had flung his sword far over the heads of the assailants, disdaining, in the true spirit of a knight-errant, to yield it to the rabble around him. [30]

All resistance was now at an end. The women of the place had fled, like so many frightened deer, to one of the principal churches; and Gonsalvo, with more humanity than was usual in these barbarous wars, placed a guard over their persons, which effectually secured them from the insults of the soldiery. After a short time spent in gathering up the booty and securing his prisoners, the Spanish general, having achieved the object of his expedition, set out on his homeward march, and arrived without interruption at Barleta.

The duke of Nemours had scarcely appeared before Castellaneta, before he received tidings of the attack on Ruvo. He put himself, without losing a moment, at the head of his gendarmes, supported by the Swiss pikemen, hoping to reach the beleaguered town in time to raise the siege. Great was his astonishment, therefore, on arriving before it, to find no trace of an enemy, except the ensigns of Spain unfurled from the deserted battlements. Mortified and dejected, be made no further attempt to recover Castellaneta, but silently drew off to hide his chagrin in the walls of Canosa. [31]

Among the prisoners were several persons of distinguished rank. Gonsalvo treated them with his usual courtesy, and especially La Palice, whom he provided with his own surgeon and all the appliances for rendering his situation as comfortable as possible. For the common file, however, he showed no such sympathy; but condemned them all to serve in the Spanish admiral's galleys, where they continued to the close of the campaign. An unfortunate misunderstanding had long subsisted between the French and Spanish commanders respecting the ransom and exchange of prisoners; and Gonsalvo was probably led to this severe measure, so different from his usual clemency, by an unwillingness to encumber himself with a superfluous population in the besieged city. [32] But, in truth, such a proceeding, however offensive to humanity, was not at all repugnant to the haughty spirit of chivalry, which, reserving its courtesies exclusively for those of gentle blood and high degree, cared little for the inferior orders, whether soldier or peasant, whom it abandoned without remorse to all the caprices and cruelties of military license.

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