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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 9, by Various, Edited by Rossiter Johnson

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Title: The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 9

Author: Various

Editor: Rossiter Johnson

Release Date: August 17, 2008 [eBook #26337]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by
the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team



Henry VIII, during the festivities at Guines—"The Field
of the Cloth of Gold"—in courtly dance with one of the French Queen's
ladies-in-waiting Henry VIII, during the festivities at Guines—"The Field of the Cloth of Gold"—in courtly dance with one of the French Queen's ladies-in-waiting

Painting by Adolph Menzel












With a staff of specialists


The National Alumni



[Pg vii]



An Outline Narrative of the Great Events, xiii
charles f. horne

Luther Begins the Reformation in Germany (a.d. 1517), 1
julius koestlin
jean m. v. audin

Negro Slavery in America
Its Introduction by Law (a.d. 1517), 36
sir arthur helps

First Circumnavigation of the Globe (a.d. 1519)
Magellan Reaches the Ladrones and Philippines, 41
joan bautista
antonio pigafetta

The Field of the Cloth of Gold (a.d. 1520), 59
j. s. brewer

Cortés Captures the City of Mexico (a.d. 1521), 72
william h. prescott

Liberation of Sweden (a.d. 1523), 79
eric gustave geijer

The Peasants' War in Germany (a.d. 1524), 93
j. h. merle d'aubigné

France Loses Italy (a.d. 1525)
Battle of Pavia, 111
[Pg viii]william robertson

Sack of Rome by the Imperial Troops (a.d. 1527), 124
benvenuto cellini
t. adolphus trollope

Great Religious Movement in England
Fall of Wolsey (a.d. 1529), 137
john richard green

Pizarro Conquers Peru (a.d. 1532), 156
hernando pizarro
william h. prescott

Calvin is Driven from Paris (a.d. 1533)
He Makes Geneva the Stronghold of Protestantism, 176
a. m. fairbairn
jean m. v. audin

England Breaks with the Roman Church (a.d. 1534)
Destruction of Monasteries, 203
john richard green

Cartier Explores Canada (a.d. 1534), 236
h. h. miles

Mendoza Settles Buenos Aires (a.d. 1535), 254
robert southey

Founding of the Jesuits (a.d. 1540), 261
isaac taylor

De Soto Discovers the Mississippi (a.d. 1541), 277
john s. c. abbott

Revolution of Astronomy by Copernicus (a.d. 1543), 285
sir robert stawell ball

Council of Trent and the Counter-reformation (a.d. 1545) 293
adolphus w. ward

Protestant Struggle against Charles V
The Smalkaldic War (a.d. 1546), 313
[Pg ix]edward armstrong

Introduction of Christianity into Japan (a.d. 1549), 325
john h. gubbins

Collapse of the Power of Charles V (a.d. 1552)
France Seizes German Bishoprics, 337
lady c. c. jackson

The Religious Peace of Augsburg (a.d. 1555)
Abdication of Charles V 348
william robertson

Akbar Establishes the Mogul Empire in India (a.d. 1556), 366
j. talboys wheeler

Universal Chronology (a.d. 1517-1557) 385
john rudd

[Pg x]



Henry VIII during the festivities at Guines—"The Field of the Cloth
of Gold
"—in courtly dance with one of the French Queen's
(page 63), Frontispiece
Painting by Adolph Menzel.

Gustavus I (Vasa) addressing his last meeting of the Estates, 79
Painting by L. Hersent.

[Pg xiii]






Our modern world begins with the Protestant Reformation. The term itself is objected to by Catholics, who claim that there was little real reform. But the importance of the event, whether we call it reform or revolution, is undenied. Previous to 1517 the nations of Europe had formed a single spiritual family under the acknowledged leadership of the Pope. The extent of the Holy Father's authority might be disputed, especially when he interfered in affairs of state. Kings had fought against his troops on the field of battle. But in spiritual matters he was still supreme, and when reformers like Huss and Savonarola refused him obedience on questions of doctrine, the very men who had been fighting papal soldiers were shocked by this heretical wickedness. The heretics were burned and the wars resumed. When Alexander Borgia sat upon the papal throne for eleven years, there were even philosophers who drew from his very wickedness an argument for the divine nature of his office. It must be indeed divine, said they, since despite such pollution as his, it had survived and retained its influence.

Some modern critics have even gone so far as to assert that for at least two generations before the Reformation the great majority of the educated classes had ceased to care whether the[Pg xiv] Christian religion were true or not. The Renaissance had so awakened their interest in the affairs of this world, its artistic beauties and intellectual advance, that they gave no thought to the beyond. But we approach controversial matters scarce within our scope. Suffice it to say that the Reformation brought religion once more into intensest prominence in all men's eyes, and that a large portion of the civilized world broke away from the domination of the Pope. Men insisted on judging for themselves in spiritual matters. Only after three centuries of strife was the privilege granted them. Only within the past century has thought been made everywhere free—at least from direct physical coercion. The last execution by the Spanish Inquisition was in 1826, and the institution was formally abolished in 1835.

The era of open warfare and actual bodily torture between various sects all calling themselves Christian, thus extended over three centuries. These may be divided into four periods. The first is one of fierce dispute but little actual warfare, during which the revolt spread over Europe with Germany as its centre. An agreement between the contestants was still hoped for; the break was not recognized as final until 1555, when, by the Peace of Augsburg, the two German factions definitely agreed to separate and to refrain from interference with each other. Or perhaps it would be better to end the first period with 1556, when the mighty Emperor, Charles V, resigned all his authority, giving Germany to his brother, Ferdinand, who maintained peace there, while Spain passed to Charles' son, Philip II, most resolute and fanatic of Catholics.

The second period began in 1558, when the Protestant queen, Elizabeth, ascended the throne of England. She and Philip of Spain became the champions of their respective faiths; the strife extended over Europe, and soon developed into bitter war. This spread from land to land, and finally returned to Germany as the awful Thirty Years' War.

Then came the third period, during which the religious question was less prominent; but Catholic sovereigns like Louis XIV of France and James II of England still hoped by persecutions to force their subjects to reaccept the ancient faith. These aims were only abandoned with the downfall of Louis' military power[Pg xv] before the armies of Marlborough and Eugene, early in the eighteenth century.

During the final hundred years the stubborn contest was confined to the lands still Catholic, in which intellect, under such leaders as Voltaire, struggled with the superstition and prejudice of the masses, and demanded everywhere the freedom it at last attained.

For the present we need look only to the first of these periods, that in which Germany holds the centre of the view.[1] It is an odd coincidence that at the outbreak of the Reformation all the chief states of Europe were ruled by sovereigns of unusual ability, but each one of them a man who obviously thought more of his ambitions, his pleasures, and his political plans than of his religion. Moreover, each of these rulers came to the throne before he was of age, and thus lacked the salutary training of a subordinate position; while, on the other hand, each of them, through varying causes, wielded a power much greater than that of any of his recent predecessors.


Henry VIII of England was the first of these young despots to assume authority. Nine years older than the century, he became king in 1509 at the age of eighteen. His father, Henry VII, had, as we have seen, snatched power from an exhausted aristocracy. He had been what men sneeringly called a "tradesman" king, caring little for the show and splendor of his office, but using it to amass enormous sums of money by means not over-scrupulous. Young Henry VIII, handsome, dashing, and debonair, at once repudiated his father's policy, executed the ministers who had directed it, and was hailed as a liberator by his delighted people. They quite overlooked the fact that he neglected to restore the ill-gotten funds, and soon used them in establishing a far more vigorous tyranny than his father would have dared. Much is forgiven a youthful king if he be but brave and jovial and hearty in his manner. His blunders, his excesses of fury, are put down to his inexperience. Nations are ever yearning for a hero-ruler.

In France a monarch of twenty years, Francis I, ascended[Pg xvi] the throne in 1515, five years older then than the century. Henry of England had descended from a family of simple Welsh gentlemen, far indeed at one time from the crown; Francis I was also of a new line of kings, only a distant cousin of the childless Louis XII, whom he succeeded. "That great boy of Angoulême will ruin all," groaned Louis on his death-bed. Ruin the prosperity of France, he meant, for Louis had been a good and thoughtful king, cherishing his land and enabling it to rise to the height of wealth and power, justified by its natural resources and the ingenuity of its people.

Francis, the "great boy," even more than his rival Henry, proved bent on being a hero. Like Maximilian of Germany, he sought to be known as the flower of knighthood. To win his ambition he also was possessed of youth and wealth, a gallant bearing, and a devoted people. He had intellect, too, and a love of art. He became the great patron of the later Renaissance. The famous artist Da Vinci died at his court, in his arms, legend says. Artists, literary men, flocked to his service. Paris became the intellectual centre of Europe. France snatched from Italy the supremacy of thought, of genius.

Alas for the fickleness of untried youth! Henry seemed to promise his country freedom and he gave it tyranny. Francis promised his people glory—that is, honor and splendor. In the end he brought them shame and suffering. Charles V of Germany, youngest of this mighty trio, seemed by his wisdom to promise his subjects at least protection; and his reign produced anarchy.

Charles, unlike his rivals, was almost born into power. His father died in the lad's babyhood; his mother went insane. His two grandfathers were the two mightiest potentates of Europe, Ferdinand the Wise of Spain, and Maximilian, head of the great Hapsburg house and Emperor of Germany. Neither had any nearer heir than little Charles. His father's position as ruler of the Netherlands was given him as a child, so that he was really a Fleming by education, a silent, thoughtful, secretive youth, far different from the jovial Henry or the brilliant Francis, but ambitious as either and more conscientious perhaps, a dangerous rival in the race for fame.

Ferdinand died in 1515, and Charles became King of Spain,[Pg xvii] with all that the title included of power over the Mediterranean and Southern Italy, and all the vast new world of America. Charles was then fifteen, just the age of the century, nine years younger than Henry, five years younger than Francis. Amid the tumult of the opening Reformation in 1519, the aged Maximilian also died, departed not unwillingly, one fancies, from an age whose intricacies had grown too many for his simple soul. The young King of Spain thus became lord of all the vast Hapsburg possessions of Austria, Bohemia, the Netherlands and so on.

He sought to be elected Emperor of Germany also, but here the matter was less easy. Already his rule extended over more of Europe than any sovereign had held since Charlemagne, and Europe took alarm. Henry and Francis both thrust in, each of them suggesting to the German electorial princes that he had claims of his own, and would make an emperor far more suitable than Charles. Henry polished up his German ancestry; Francis recalled that Germans and Frenchmen were both Franks, had been one mighty race under Charlemagne, and surely might become so once again—under his leadership, of course.

The matter was really decided by a fourth party. The Turks had once more become a serious menace to Europe. During the brief reign of Sultan Selim the Ferocious (1512-1520) they crushed Persia and conquered Syria and Egypt. They seized the caliph, spiritual ruler of the Mahometan faith, and declared themselves heads of the Mahometan world. Triumphant over Asia, they were turning upon Europe with renewed energy. Hungary was at its last expiring gasp. Selim's death in 1520 did not stop the invaders, for his son Solyman, a youth of twenty-five, soon proved himself a fourth giant, fitted to be ranked with the three young rulers of the West. He also was a seeker after glory. History calls him the "magnificent," and holds him greatest among the Turkish rulers. It was certainly under him that the Turks advanced farthest into Europe, if that is to be established as the chief measure of Mahometan greatness. In 1526 Solyman utterly crushed the Hungarians at Mohacs. In 1529 he besieged Vienna; and though he failed to capture the Hapsburg capital, yet at a still later period he exacted from the[Pg xviii] German Emperor Ferdinand a money tribute. His fleets swept the Mediterranean.

This increasing menace of the Turks was much considered by the German electors. At first they refused to add to the power of either of the three monarchs who so assiduously courted them. They chose instead the ablest of their own number, Frederick the Wise, Duke of Saxony. But Frederick proved his wisdom by refusing the task of steering Germany through the troublous seas ahead. He insisted on their electing some ruler strong enough to command obedience, and to gather all Europe against the Turks. So as Charles was after all a German, and of the Hapsburg race which had so long ruled them, they named him Emperor. He was Charles I of Spain, but Charles V of Germany. His rule extended over a wider realm than any monarch has since held.

This success of their younger rival was very differently received by Henry and by Francis. The English King accepted the rebuff good-naturedly; perhaps he had never felt any real hope of success. But Francis was enraged. It was the first check he had met in a career of spectacular success. He invited Henry to their celebrated meeting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold[2] to plan an alliance and revenge. Henry came, but the silent Charles had already managed to enlist his interests by quieter ways; while Francis, by his ostentation and splendor, offended the bluff Englishman. So Henry kept out of the quarrel; but to Charles and Francis it became the main business of their lives. Their reigns thereafter are the story of one long strife between them, rising to such bitterness that at one time they passed the lie and challenged each other to personal combat, over which there was much bustling and bluster, but no result.

To get a full view of this Europe of young men, that beheld the Reformation, we must note one other ruler farther north. Ever since the union of Colmar in 1397, Sweden had been more or less bound to Denmark, the strongest of the northern kingdoms. By the year 1520 the Danish monarch Christian had reduced the Swedes to a state of most cruel vassalage and misery. Only one young noble, Gustavus Vasa, a lad of twenty-three, still held out, and by adventures wild as those of Robin Hood[Pg xix] evaded his enemies and at last roused his countrymen to one more revolt. It was successful, and in 1523 Gustavus, by the unanimous election of the Swedes, became the first of a new line of monarchs.[3] He proved as able as a king as he had been daring as an adventurer, and his long reign laid the foundation of Sweden's greatness in the following century. He early accepted the reformed religion, and thus it spread through the Far North almost without a check.


The Reformation began in Germany in 1517, when the Saxon monk Luther—himself then only thirty-four years a sojourner upon our planet—protested against the Church's sale of indulgences. He was not alone in his protest, but only stood forth as the mouthpiece of many earnest men. His prince, that Frederick the Wise who afterward refused to be emperor, upheld him. Maximilian, dying in the early days of the dispute, had kind words of regard for the hero-monk. Even the Pope, Leo X, treated the matter amicably at first. He also was still in early life, having been made pope at thirty-six, an age quite as juvenile for the leadership of the spiritual world as that of the various temporal monarchs for theirs. Leo, being a member of the famous Medici family, was apparently more interested in art than in religion. He wanted to rebuild the gorgeous cathedral of St. Peter, and he did not want to quarrel with Germany. So also Charles V, desiring to be emperor, could scarce antagonize Frederick of Saxony, who could and did secure him his ambition.

Thus in its earliest days Luther's revolt was handled very gently, and it spread with speed. Then Charles, secure upon his throne and gravely Catholic, resolved on firmer methods of stamping out the heresy. He summoned Luther to that famous interview at Worms (1521), where the reformer, threatened with outlawry and all the terror of the empire's power, refused to unsay his preaching, crying out in agony: "Here I stand! I can no other! God help me! Amen!"

Charles in his shrewd, silent way saw that the matter was not to be settled so easily as he had hoped. Already half Germany[Pg xx]was on Luther's side. Several leading nobles accompanied him as he left the Emperor's presence. Charles wanted their help against the Turks. So there was more temporizing. Then came war with Francis no tune this for quarrelling with obstinate Teutonic princes and their obstinate protege.

The peasants of Germany did Luther's cause more harm than Charles had done. These ignorant and bitterly oppressed unfortunates, constituting everywhere, remember, the vast majority of the human race, heard impassioned preachings of reform, revolt. To them Rome seemed not the oppressor, but their immediate lords; and, thinking they were obeying Luther's behest, they rose in arms. Some of the more violent reformers joined them. Luther preached against the uprising, but it was not to be checked. Terrible were the excesses of the mobs of brutal peasantry, and all the upper classes of the land were forced in self-defence to turn against them and crush them. Many a noble who had once thought well of the reform, abandoned it in fear and horror at its consequences.[4]

Meanwhile the war with France became more serious. The claims of both Charles and Francis to Italian lands made that unlucky country the theatre of their battles. Francis, with his compact domain and readily gathered resources, proved at first more than a match for the scattered forces and insecure authority of the Emperor. Never had the French monarch's fame stood higher than when in 1525, with an army made confident by repeated victories, he besieged Pavia. The city was the last important stronghold of Charles in Italy; it was reduced almost to surrender.

Then came a fatal blunder. Francis confused the old ways with the new. The German generals had been hopeless of raising the siege, the imperial armies were on the point of disbanding, but as a last resort their leaders advanced and defied the enemy to fight on equal terms. Instead of laughing at the proposal as any modern leader would, Francis, in face of the protest of all his generals, accepted and in true chivalrous fashion fought the wholly unnecessary battle of Pavia. His forces were completely defeated, he himself made prisoner. "All is lost," he wrote home to France, "but honor." Even that too was lost,[Pg xxi] had he but known. Charles, unchivalrous, determined to make the most of his good-luck, and, for the release of his royal prisoner, demanded such terms as would make France little more than a subject state.[5]

King Francis refused, threatened heroic suicide to save his country; but he wearied of captivity at last and descended to his rival's level. It was the tragic turning-point of the French monarch's life, the not wholly untragic turning-point of larger destinies, ancient chivalry being admitted unsuccessful and wholly out of date. The two monarchs dickered over the terms of release. Charles abated somewhat of his demands, and Francis was made free, having sworn to a treaty which he never meant to keep. He repudiated it on various pleas, and having thus sacrificed honor to regain something of all it had lost him, recommenced the strife with Charles on more equal terms.

The Pope, not the Leo of earlier years, but Clement VII, another Medici, absolved Francis from his treaty oath. This benevolence can scarce be ascribed to religious grounds, for Charles was assuredly a better Catholic than Francis. But as a temporal ruler Clement feared to have in Italy a neighbor so powerful and unchecked as the Emperor was becoming. Charles had his revenge. A German army of "Lutheran heretics" marched into Italy swearing to hang the Pope to the dome of St. Peter's. They stormed Rome, sacked it with such cruelty as rivalled the barbarian plunderings of over a thousand years before; and if they did not hang Clement, it was only because his castle of St. Angelo proved too strong for their assaults. The marvellous art treasures which had been slowly garnered in Rome since the days of Nicholas V, were almost wholly destroyed.[6] Charles hastened to disclaim responsibility for this direct assault upon the head of his Church; but he did not relinquish any of the advantages it gave. He and the Pope arranged an alliance and the Imperial army turned from Rome against Florence, where Pope Clement's family, the Medici, had recently been expelled as rulers. The siege and capture of Florence (1529) mark almost the last fluttering of real independence in [Pg xxii]Italy. From that time the country remained in the grasp of the Hapsburgs or their heirs and allies. Petty tyrants, minions of Austria or Spain, ruled over the various cities. Their intellectual supremacy passed over to France. Only within the last half-century has a brighter day redawned for Italy, has she ceased to be what she was so long called, "the battle-ground" of other nations.

Meanwhile since neither Pope nor Emperor had found time to offer any vigorous opposition to the German Reformation, it had grown unchecked. In its inception it had unquestionably been a pure and noble movement: but as the "protesting" princes moved further in the matter, it dawned on them that the suppression of the Roman Church meant the suppression of all the bishoprics and abbeys, to which at least half the lands of the empire belonged. Such an opportunity for plunder, and such easy plunder, had never been before. Luther and the other preachers urged that the church property should be used to erect schools and support Protestant divines; but only a small fraction of it was ever surrendered by the princes for these purposes. The Reformation had ceased to be a purely religious movement.

In no country was this new aspect of the revolt so marked as in England. There Henry VIII had grown ever more secure in his power by holding aloof from the jangling that weakened Charles and Francis. He had sunk into a tyrant and a voluptuary. Yet England herself, profiting by almost half a century of peace, was progressing rapidly in culture. She was no longer behind her neighbors. The Renaissance movement can scarce be said to have begun in England before 1500, yet by 1516 her famous chancellor, Sir Thomas More, was writing histories and philosophies. In 1522 the King himself sighed for literary fame and gave opportunity for many future satirists by writing a Latin book against the Lutherans. The Pope conferred upon his royal champion a title, "Defender of the Faith."

As Henry, however, devoted himself more and more to pleasure, the real power in England passed into the hands of his great minister Cardinal Wolsey, who had risen from humble station to be for a time the most influential man in Europe.[7] He even[Pg xxiii] aspired to be pope, with what seemed assured chances of success. But destiny willed otherwise. Henry chanced to fall in love with a lady who insisted on his marrying her. To do this he had to secure from the Pope a divorce from his former Queen, who chanced to be an aunt of the Emperor Charles. What was poor Pope Clement to do? Offend Charles who was just helping him crush the Florentines, or refuse his "Defender of the Faith"? Real reason for the divorce there was none. Clement temporized: and Wolsey with one eye on his own future, helped him.

The result was tempestuous. Wolsey was hurried to his tragic downfall. Henry took matters in his own hands and had his own English bishops divorce him. England joined the ranks of the nations denying the authority of Rome. Sir Thomas More and other nobles who refused to follow Henry's bidding were beheaded. Thomas Cromwell, a new minister, abler perhaps than even Wolsey, and risen from a yet lower sphere of life, directed England's counsel. By one act after another the break with Rome was made complete. A thousand monasteries were suppressed and their wealth added to the crown. Cromwell earned his name, "the hammer of the monks." In 1534 was passed the final "Act of Supremacy," declaring that the King of England and he alone was head of the English Church.[8]

In France, too, was heresy beginning to appear. The young scholar, Jean Calvin, wrote so vigorously against Rome that he was driven to flee from Paris, though King Francis was himself suspected of favoring the free thought of the reformers. Calvin, after many vicissitudes, settled in Geneva and built up there a religious republic, that became intolerant on its own account, and burned heretics who departed from its heresy. But at least Geneva was in earnest. Calvinism spread fast over France; it began crowding Lutheranism from parts of Germany. Geneva became the "Protestant Rome," the centre of the opposition from which ministers went forth to preach the faith.[9]

Science also began to raise its head against the ancient Church. The Polish astronomer Copernicus had long since conceived his idea that the earth was not the centre of the universe.[Pg xxiv] He even pointed out the proofs of his theory to a few brother-scientists; but the Church taught otherwise, so Copernicus kept silent till, on his death-bed, he let his doctrines be published in a book. Then he passed away, bequeathing to posterity the wonderful foundation upon which modern science has so built as to make impossible many of the over-literal teachings of the mediæval Church.[10]


Nothing but a miracle, it seemed, could save the falling cause of Rome, and there have been men to assert that a miracle occurred. The order of the Jesuits was founded in 1540 by Ignatius Loyola.[11] His followers with intense fanaticism and self-abnegation devoted themselves absolutely to upholding the ancient faith, to trampling out heresy wherever it appeared. They sent out missionaries too, to the New World, to Asia, Africa, and even distant Japan. As Catholicism lost ground in Europe it extended over other continents.[12]

Partly at least under Jesuit influence began the great "Counter-reformation," as it is called, the reform within the Church itself. Even the most faithful Catholics had admitted the need of this. Charles V had long urged the calling of a general council, and one finally assembled in 1545 at Trent. It even tried to win the Lutherans back peaceably into the fold, and, though this hope was soon abandoned, a very marked reform was established within the Church. This Council of Trent held sessions extending over nearly twenty years, and when its labors were completed the entire body of laws and doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church were fully established and defined.[13]

The refusal of the Protestants to join the Council of Trent brought matters to a crisis. It placed them definitely outside the pale of the Church, and Charles V could no longer find excuse in his not over-troublous conscience, to avoid taking measures against them. They themselves realized this, and formed a league for mutual support, the Smalkald League; but it was[Pg xxv] never very harmonious. Thought, made suddenly free, could not be expected to run all in the same channel. The Protestants had divided into Lutherans, Calvinists, Anglicans, and a dozen minor sects, some of which opposed one another more bitterly than they did the Catholics. Toleration was as yet a thing unknown.[14]

The state of affairs was thus one peculiarly fitted for the genius of Charles, who managed so to divide the members of the league that only one of them, the Elector of Saxony, successor to Frederick the Wise, met the Emperor's forces in battle. He was easily overthrown. The league dissolved, and Charles, supported by his Spanish forces, was undisputed master of Germany. He used his power mildly, insisting indeed on the Protestants returning to the Church, but promising them many of the reforms they demanded.

This was the moment of Charles' greatest power (1547). His ancient rivals Henry and Francis both died in this year, the one sunk in sensual sloth, the other in shame and gloom and savage cruelty. In his hatred of Charles, Francis had even in his latter years allied himself with Solyman the Magnificent, and encouraged the Turks in their assault on Germany. Henry's crown fell to a child, Edward VI; that of Francis, to his son, another Henry, the second of France, a young man apparently immersed in sports and pleasures. The Turks had been defeated by Charles' fleets in the Mediterranean. The Council of Trent, at first refractory, seemed yielding to his wishes. Spain, where at one time he had faced a violent revolt against his absolutism, was now wholly submissive. Germany seemed equally overcome. The Emperor was at the summit of his ambitions. Europe lay at his feet.

In 1552, with the suddenness of an earthquake, the Protestant princes of Germany burst into a carefully planned revolt.[15] Maurice, another member of the Saxon house, was their leader. Charles, caught unprepared, had to flee from Germany, crossing the Alps in a litter, while he groaned with gout. Henry of France, in alliance with the rebels, proclaimed himself "Defender of the Liberties of Germany," and invading the land,[Pg xxvi] began seizing what cities and strong places he could. The princes, amazed at their own complete success, sent Henry word that their liberties were now fully secured, and he might desist. But he concluded to keep what he had won. So began the series of aggressions by which France gradually advanced her frontier to the Rhine.

Charles returned with an army the next year, and made peace with his Germans, that he might turn all his fury against Henry, who had thus assumed his father's unforgotten quarrel. A mighty German army laid siege to Henry's most valuable bit of spoils, the strong city of Metz. But the young French nobles, under Francis, Duke of Guise, a new, great general who had risen to the help of France, threw themselves gallantly into the fortress for its defence. Cold, hunger, and pestilence wasted the imperial troops until—one can scarce say they raised the siege, they disappeared, those who did not die had slunk away in fear before the grisly death. Charles accepted his fate with bitter calm, commenting that he saw Fortune was indeed a woman, she deserted an aged emperor for a young king.

The Emperor's life had failed. He had not the heart to begin his plots again. In 1555 he consented to the Peace of Augsburg,[16] which granted complete liberty of faith to the German princes, and so ended the first period of the Reformation. Religion, in this celebrated treaty, was still regarded as a matter in which only monarchs were to be considered. By a peculiar obliquity of vision, the princes denied to their subjects the very thing they demanded for themselves. Each ruler was allowed to establish what creed he chose within his own domains, and then to compel his subjects to accept it.

The following year (1556) Charles with solemn ceremony resigned all his kingdoms—Austria and the Empire to his brother, Spain to his son the celebrated Philip II. Charles himself retired to a Spanish monastery, where two years later he died. He had found life a vanity, indeed.


Of the world of Asia during this time it scarce seems necessary to speak. The Tartars or Mongols, driven back from the[Pg xxvii] borders of the Turkish empire, invaded India and there founded the Mongol or Mogul empire which Akbar pushed to its greatest extent.[17] These Moguls remained emperors of India until its conquest by the English, over two centuries later. Even to our own days their title has come down as a symbol of power, "the Great Mogul."

Portuguese adventurers continued and expanded the trade with Asia, which Vasco da Gama had opened. The Spaniards also sought a share in it, and Jesuit missionaries preached the Christian faith. Magellan, a Portuguese but sailing in the service of Spain, was the first to fulfil the vision of Columbus and find the Indies by sailing westward.[18] He crossed the entire Atlantic and Pacific oceans, discovered the Philippine Islands, and was slain there by the natives. One of his ships completed the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Look also to Spain's achievements in America, a new continent, but one already vastly important because of the broad empires Spaniards were winning there, the enormous wealth that was beginning to pour into the mother-country. Settlement had begun immediately on the discovery. Rich mines were opened and the Indians forced to work in them as slaves. As the unhappy aborigines perished by thousands under the unaccustomed toil, negroes were brought from Africa to supply their places, were driven like wild beasts to the labor.[19] The New World became more like a hell than like the paradise for which Isabella and Columbus planned. Cortés conquered Mexico,[20] rich with gold beyond all that Europe had even dreamed. Pizarro found in Peru[21] a civilization whose remarkable advance we are only lately beginning to realize. And he annihilated it—for gold. Lima was founded, and Buenos Aires, to be twice destroyed by Indians and yet become the metropolis of South America.[22] Even here extended the rivalry of the great European monarchs, Charles and Francis. Cartier, in the service of[Pg xxviii] the latter, refused to acknowledge the claims of Spain to America, and exploring the St. Lawrence planned for France a colonial empire to match that of her enemy.[23] De Leon discovered Florida, and died while seeking there to emulate the successes of Cortés. De Soto discovered the Mississippi[24] and he also perished, lured on in the same knight-errant search for another golden empire to conquer. Who, having read the lives of such adventurers as these, shall ridicule the wildest extravagance in all the romances of chivalry? Wonderland grew real around these men. They achieved impossibilities. The maddest imaginings of the poets, the most fantastic tales of knightly wanderings and successes, seem slight beside the exploits of these daring, dauntless, heartless cavaliers of Spain.



[1] See Luther Begins the Reformation in Germany, page 1.

[2] See The Field of the Cloth of Gold, page 59.

[3] See Liberation of Sweden, page 79.

[4] See The Peasants' War in Germany, page 93.

[5] See France Loses Italy, page 111.

[6] See Sack of Rome by the Imperial Troops, page 124.

[7] See Great Religious Movement in England, page 137.

[8] See England Breaks with the Roman Church, page 203.

[9] See Calvin is Driven from Paris, page 176.

[10] See Revolution of Astronomy by Copernicus, page 285.

[11] See Founding of the Jesuits, page 261.

[12] See Introduction of Christianity into Japan, page 325.

[13] See Council of Trent, page 293.

[14] See Protestant Struggle against Charles V, page 313.

[15] See Collapse of the Power of Charles V, page 337.

[16] See The Religious Peace of Augsburg, page 348.

[17] See Akbar Establishes the Mogul Empire in India, page 366.

[18] See First Circumnavigation of the Globe, page 41.

[19] See Negro Slavery in America, page 36.

[20] See Cortés Captures the City of Mexico, page 72.

[21] See Pizarro Conquers Peru, page 156.

[22] See Mendoza Settles Buenos Aires, page 254.

[23] See Cartier Explores Canada, page 236.

[24] See De Soto Discovers the Mississippi, page 277.

[Pg 1]


A.D. 1517


It has seldom happened that the story of one man was essentially the history of a great movement and of an epoch in human progress. In the case of Luther, a large part of the world regards his name as a historic epitome. The monk whose "words were half-battles," and whom Carlyle chose for his hero-priest, was chief among the reformers, and in the general view stands for the Reformation itself.

But recognition of Luther's dominating position and representative character should not leave us blind to other factors in the religious revolution which was also an evolution, the achievement not of one man, but of advancing generations with many leaders. Luther had great helpers in his own time and great successors. He also had great predecessors. The Reformation was the religious development of the Renaissance; it had been heralded by Wycliffe, Huss, and Savonarola, and there were many minor prophets of a reformed church before the great German was born.

Luther's Reformation was a revolt against the power and abuses of the Roman Catholic Church. It was directed against certain doctrines as well as certain practices, and especially against evils in the spiritual and temporal government of the Church.

All the reformers aimed at freeing themselves from oppressive rule at Rome, and endeavored to establish a purer faith. The appeal to private judgment as against unquestioning belief was a natural result of the revival of learning as well as of spiritual quickening.

Before Luther's time, however, such revolts against church authority had been quickly suppressed. It is also true that many abuses had been done away by reformation within the Church itself; and that, indeed, was what Luther at first intended. His movement became "too powerful to be put down, and its leaders soon passed beyond the point at which they were willing to reform the Church from within. Finding that the Church would not respond as quickly and as fully to their demands as they wished, they left the Church and attacked it from without." In Germany the administration of the Church had long caused discontent. Through Martin Luther this feeling found powerful utterance, and in him the demand for reforms became irresistibly urgent.

Luther, the son of a poor miner, was born at Eisleben, Saxony, November[Pg 2] 10, 1483. He became an Augustinian monk, in 1507 was consecrated a priest, and the next year was made professor of philosophy in the University of Wittenberg. In 1511 he visited Rome, and on his return to Wittenberg was made doctor of theology. He had already become known through the power and independence of his preaching. Although he went to Rome "an insane papist," as he said, and while he was still intensely devoted to the Church and its leaders, he made known his belief in what became the fundamental doctrines of Protestantism, exclusive authority of the Bible—implying the right of private judgment—and justification by faith.

The immediate occasion of Luther's first great protest was the sale of indulgences by the Dominican monk John Tetzel. From early times the church authorities had granted indulgences or remissions of penances imposed on persons guilty of mortal sins, the condition being true penitence. At length the Church began to accept money, not in lieu of penitence, but of the customary penances which usually accompanied it. Before 1517 Luther had given warnings against the abuse of indulgences, without blaming the administration of the Church. But when in that year Tetzel approached the borders of Saxony selling indulgences in the name of the Pope, Leo X, who wanted money for the building of St. Peter's Church in Rome, Luther, with many of the better minds of Germany, was greatly offended by the vender's methods. Against the course of Tetzel Luther took a firm stand, and when the reformer posted his theses (summarized by Koestlin) on the church door at Wittenberg the first great movement of the Reformation in the sixteenth century was inaugurated.

In accordance with the impartial plan of the present work regarding the treatment of controverted matters, it is here sought to satisfy the historic sense, which includes the sense of justice, by giving a presentation of each view of the story—the Protestant by Koestlin, the Catholic by Jean M. V. Audin, whose Life of Luther has been called the "tribunal" before which the great reformer must be summoned for his answer.


Luther longed now to make known to theologians and ecclesiastics generally his thoughts about indulgences, his own principles, his own opinions and doubts, to excite public discussion on the subject, and to awake and maintain the fray. This he did by the ninety-five Latin theses or propositions which he posted on the doors of the Castle Church at Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, the eve of All Saints' Day and of the anniversary of the consecration of the church.

These theses were intended as a challenge for disputation. Such public disputations were then very common at the universities[Pg 3] and among theologians, and they were meant to serve as means not only of exercising learned thought, but of elucidating the truth. Luther headed his theses as follows:

"Disputation to Explain the Virtue of Indulgences.—In charity, and in the endeavor to bring the truth to light, a disputation on the following propositions will be held at Wittenberg, presided over by the Reverend Father Martin Luther. Those who are unable to attend personally may discuss the question with us by letter. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."

It was in accordance with the general custom of that time that, on the occasion of a high festival, particular acts and announcements, and likewise disputations at a university, were arranged, and the doors of a collegiate church were used for posting such notices.

The contents of these theses show that their author really had such a disputation in view. He was resolved to defend with all his might certain fundamental truths to which he firmly adhered. Some points he considered still within the region of dispute; it was his wish and object to make these clear to himself by arguing about them with others.

Recognizing the connection between the system of indulgences and the view of penance entertained by the Church, he starts with considering the nature of true Christian repentance; but he would have this understood in the sense and spirit taught by Christ and the Scriptures. He begins with the thesis: "Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when he says repent, desires that the whole life of the believer should be one of repentance." He means, as the subsequent theses express it, that true inward repentance, that sorrow for sin and hatred of one's own sinful self, from which must proceed good works and mortification of the sinful flesh. The pope could only remit his sin to the penitent so far as to declare that God had forgiven it.

Thus then the theses expressly declare that God forgives no man his sin without making him submit himself in humility to the priest who represents him, and that he recognizes the punishments enjoined by the Church in her outward sacrament of penance. But Luther's leading principles are consistently opposed to the customary announcements of indulgences by the[Pg 4] Church. The pope, he holds, can only grant indulgences for what the pope and the law of the Church have imposed; nay, the pope himself means absolution from these obligations only, when he promises absolution from all punishment. And it is only the living against whom those punishments are directed which the Church's discipline of penance enjoins; nothing, according to her own laws, can be imposed upon those in another world.

Further on Luther declares: "When true repentance is awakened in a man, full absolution from punishment and sin comes to him without any letters of indulgence." At the same time he says that such a man would willingly undergo self-imposed chastisement, nay, he would even seek and love it.

Still, it is not the indulgences themselves, if understood in the right sense, that he wishes to be attacked, but the loose babble of those who sold them. Blessed, he says, be he who protests against this, but cursed be he who speaks against the truth of apostolic indulgences. He finds it difficult, however, to praise these to the people, and at the same time to teach them the true repentance of the heart. He would have them even taught that a Christian would do better by giving money to the poor than by spending it in buying indulgences, and that he who allows a poor man near him to starve draws down on himself, not indulgences, but the wrath of God. In sharp and scornful language he denounces the iniquitous trader in indulgences, and gives the Pope credit for the same abhorrence for the traffic that he felt himself. Christians must be told, he says, that, if the Pope only knew of it, he would rather see St. Peter's Church in ashes than have it built with the flesh and bones of his sheep.

Agreeably with what the preceding theses had said about the true penitent's earnestness and willingness to suffer, and the temptation offered to a mere carnal sense of security, Luther concludes as follows: "Away therefore with all those prophets who say to Christ's people 'Peace, peace!' when there is no peace, but welcome to all those who bid them seek the Cross of Christ, not the cross which bears the papal arms. Christians must be admonished to follow Christ their Master through torture, death, and hell, and thus through much tribulation,[Pg 5] rather than, by a carnal feeling of false security, hope to enter the kingdom of heaven."

The Catholics objected to this doctrine of salvation advanced by Luther that, by trusting to God's free mercy, and by undervaluing good works, it led to moral indolence. But, on the contrary, it was to the very unbending moral earnestness of a Christian conscience, which, indignant at the temptations offered to moral frivolity, to a deceitful feeling of ease in respect to sin and guilt, and to a contempt of the fruits of true morality, rebelled against the false value attached to this indulgence money, that these theses, the germ, so to speak, of the Reformation, owed their origin and prosecution. With the same earnestness he now for the first time publicly attacked the ecclesiastical power of the papacy, in so far namely as, in his conviction, it invaded the territory reserved to himself by the heavenly Lord and Judge. This was what the Pope and his theologians and ecclesiastics could least of all endure.

On the same day that these theses were published, Luther sent a copy of them with a letter to the archbishop Albert, his "revered and gracious lord and shepherd in Christ." After a humble introduction, he begged him most earnestly to prevent the scandalizing and iniquitous harangues with which his agents hawked about their indulgences, and reminded him that he would have to give an account of the souls intrusted to his episcopal care.

The next day he addressed himself to the people from the pulpit in a sermon he had to preach on the festival of All Saints. After exhorting them to seek their salvation in God and Christ alone, and to let the consecration by the Church become a real consecration of the heart, he went on to tell them plainly, with regard to indulgences, that he could only absolve from duties imposed by the Church, and that they dare not rely on him for more, nor delay on his account the duties of true repentance.

Theologians before Luther, and with far more acuteness and penetration than he showed in his theses, had already assailed the whole system of indulgences. And, in regard to any idea on Luther's part of the effects of his theses extending widely in Germany, it may be noticed that not only were they composed in[Pg 6] Latin, but that they dealt largely with scholastic expressions and ideas, which a layman would find it difficult to understand.

Nevertheless the theses created a sensation which far surpassed Luther's expectations. In fourteen days, as he tells us, they ran through the whole of Germany, and were immediately translated and circulated in German. They found, indeed, the soil already prepared for them, through the indignation long since and generally aroused by the shameless doings they attacked; though till then nobody, as Luther expresses it, had liked to bell the cat, nobody had dared to expose himself to the blasphemous clamor of the indulgence-mongers and the monks who were in league with them, still less to the threatened charge of heresy. On the other hand, the very impunity with which this traffic in indulgences had been maintained throughout German Christendom had served to increase from day to day the audacity of its promoters.

The task that Luther had now undertaken lay heavy upon his soul. He was sincerely anxious, while fighting for the truth, to remain at peace with his Church, and to serve her by the struggle. Pope Leo, on the contrary, as was consistent with his whole character, treated the matter at first very lightly, and, when it threatened to become dangerous, thought only how, by means of his papal power, to make the restless German monk harmless.

Two expressions of his in these early days of the contest are recorded. "Brother Martin," he said, "is a man of a very fine genius, and this outbreak the mere squabble of envious monks;" and again, "It is a drunken German who has written the theses; he will think differently about them when sober." Three months after the theses had appeared, he ordered the vicar-general of the Augustinians to "quiet down the man," hoping still to extinguish easily the flame. The next step was to institute a tribunal for heretics at Rome for Luther's trial; what its judgment would be was patent from the fact that the single theologian of learning among the judges was Sylvester Prierias. Before this tribunal Luther was cited on August 7th; within sixty days he was to appear there at Rome. Friend and foe could well feel certain that they would look in vain for his return.[Pg 7]

Papal influence, meanwhile, had been brought to bear on the elector Frederick[25] to induce him not to take the part of Luther, and the chief agent chosen for working on the Elector and the emperor Maximilian was the papal legate, Cardinal Thomas Vio of Gaeta, called Cajetan, who had made his appearance in Germany. The University of Wittenberg, on the other hand, interposed on behalf of their member, whose theology was popular there, and whose biblical lectures attracted crowds of enthusiastic hearers. He had just been joined at Wittenberg by his fellow-professor Philip Melanchthon, then only twenty-one years old, but already in the first rank of Greek scholars, and the bond of friendship was now formed which lasted through their lives. The university claimed that Luther should at least be tried in Germany. Luther expressed the same wish through Spalatin[26] to his sovereign.

The Pope meanwhile had passed from his previous state of haughty complacency to one of violent haste. Already, on August 23d, thus long before the sixty days had expired, he demanded the Elector to deliver up this "child of the devil," who boasted of his protection, to the legate, to bring away with him. This is clearly shown by two private briefs from the Pope, of August 23d and 25th, the one addressed to the legate, the other to the head of all the Augustinian convents in Saxony, as distinguished from the vicar of those congregations, Staupitz, who already was looked on with suspicion at Rome. These briefs instructed both men to hasten the arrest of the heretic; his adherents were to be secured with him, and every place where he was tolerated laid under the interdict.

In the summer of 1518 a diet was held at Augsburg at which the papal legate attended. The Pope was anxious to obtain its consent to the imposition of a heavy tax throughout the empire, to be applied ostensibly for the war against the Turks, but alleged to be wanted in reality for entirely other objects. The demand for a tax, however, was received with the utmost disfavor both by the diet and the empire; and a long-cherished[Pg 8] bitterness of feeling now found expression. An anonymous pamphlet was circulated, from the pen of one Fischer, a prebendary of Wuerzburg, which bluntly declared that the avaricious lords of Rome only wished to cheat the "drunken Germans," and that the real Turks were to be looked for in Italy. This pamphlet reached Wittenberg and fell into the hands of Luther, whom now for the first time we hear denouncing "Roman cunning," though he only charged the Pope himself with allowing his grasping Florentine relations to deceive him.

The diet seized the opportunity offered by this demand for a tax, to bring up a whole list of old grievances; the large sums drawn from German benefices by the Pope under the name of annates, or extorted under other pretexts; the illegal usurpation of ecclesiastical patronage in Germany; the constant infringement of concordats, and so on. The demand itself was refused; and in addition to this, an address was presented to the diet from the bishop and clergy of Liège, inveighing against the lying, thieving, avaricious conduct of the Romish minions, in such sharp and violent tones that Luther, on reading it afterward when printed, thought it only a hoax, and not really an episcopal remonstrance.

This was reason enough why Cajetan, to avoid increasing the excitement, should not attempt to lay hands on the Wittenberg opponent of indulgences. The elector Frederick, from whose hands Cajetan would have to demand Luther, was one of the most powerful and personally respected princes of the empire, and his influence was especially important in view of the election of a new emperor. This Prince went now in person to Cajetan on Luther's behalf, and Cajetan promised him, at the very time that the brief was on its way to him from Rome, that he would hear Luther at Augsburg, treat him with fatherly kindness, and let him depart in safety.

Luther accordingly was sent to Augsburg. It was an anxious time for himself and his friends when he had to leave for that distant place, where the Elector, with all his care, could not employ any physical means for his protection, and to stand accused as a heretic before that papal legate who, from his own theological principles, was bound to condemn him. "My thoughts on the way," said Luther afterward, "were now I must[Pg 9] die; and I often lamented the disgrace I should be to my dear parents."

He went thither in humble garb and manner. He made his way on foot till within a short distance of Augsburg, when illness and weakness overcame him, and he was forced to proceed by carriage. Another younger monk of Wittenberg accompanied him, his pupil Leonard Baier. At Nuremberg he was joined by his friend Link, who held an appointment there as preacher. From him he borrowed a monk's frock, his own being too bad for Augsburg. He arrived here on October 7th.

The surroundings he now entered, and the proceedings impending over him, were wholly novel and unaccustomed. But he met with men who received him with kindness and consideration; several of them were gentlemen of Augsburg favorable to him, especially the respected patrician, Dr. Conrad Peutinger, and two counsellors of the Elector. They advised him to behave with prudence, and to observe carefully all the necessary forms to which as yet he was a stranger.

Luther at once announced his arrival to Cajetan, who was anxious to receive him without delay. His friends, however, kept him back until they had obtained a written safe-conduct from the Emperor, who was then hunting in the environs. In the mean time a distinguished friend of Cajetan, one Urbanus of Serralonga, tried to persuade him, in a flippant and, as Luther thought, a downright Italian manner, to come forward and simply pronounce six letters—"Revoco" ("I retract"). Urbanus asked him with a smile if he thought his sovereign would risk his country for his sake. "God forbid!" answered Luther. "Where then do you mean to take refuge?" he went on to ask him. "Under heaven," was Luther's reply.

On October 11th Luther received the letter of safe-conduct, and the next day he appeared before Cajetan. Humbly, as he had been advised, he prostrated himself before the representative of the Pope, who received him graciously and bade him rise.

The Cardinal addressed him civilly and with a courtesy Luther was not accustomed to meet with from his opponents; but he immediately demanded him, in the name and by command[Pg 10] of the Pope, to retract his errors, and promise in future to abstain from them and from everything that might disturb the peace of the Church. He pointed out, in particular, two errors in his theses; namely, that the Church's treasure of indulgences did not consist of the merits of Christ, and that faith on the part of the recipient was necessary for the efficacy of the sacrament. With respect to the second point, the religious principles upon which Luther based his doctrine were altogether strange and unintelligible to the scholastic standpoint of Cajetan; mere tittering and laughter followed Luther's observations, and he was required to retract this thesis unconditionally. The first point settled the question of papal authority. The Cardinal-legate could not believe that Luther would venture to resist a papal bull, and thought he had probably not read it. He read him a vigorous lecture of his own on the paramount authority of the pope over council, Church, and Scripture. As to any argument, however, about the theses to be retracted, Cajetan refused from the first to engage in it, and undoubtedly he went further in that direction than he originally desired or intended. His sole wish was, as he said, to give fatherly correction, and with fatherly friendliness to arrange the matter. But in reality, says Luther, it was a blunt, naked, unyielding display of power. Luther could only beg from him further time for consideration.

Luther's friends at Augsburg, and Staupitz, who had just arrived there, now attempted to divert the course of these proceedings, to collect other decisions of importance bearing on the subject, and to give him the opportunity of a public vindication. Accompanied therefore by several jurists friendly to his cause, and by a notary and Staupitz, he laid before the legate next day a short and formal statement of defence. He could not retract unless convicted of error, and to all that he had said he must hold as being Catholic truth. Nevertheless he was only human, and therefore fallible, and he was willing to submit to a legitimate decision of the Church. He offered, at the same time, publicly to justify his theses, and he was ready to hear the judgment of the learned doctors of Basel, Freiburg, Louvain, and even Paris upon them. Cajetan with a smile dismissed Luther and his proposals, but consented to receive a more detailed reply in writing to the principal points discussed the previous day.[Pg 11]

On the morrow, October 14th, Luther brought his reply to the legate. But in this document also he insisted clearly and resolutely from the commencement on those very principles which his opponents regarded as destructive of all ecclesiastical authority and of the foundations of Christian belief. Still he entreated Cajetan to intercede with Leo X, that the latter might not harshly thrust out into darkness his soul, which was seeking for the light. But he repeated that he could do nothing against his conscience: one must obey God rather than man, and he had the fullest confidence that he had Scripture on his side. Cajetan, to whom he delivered this reply in person, once more tried to persuade him. They fell into a lively and vehement argument; but Cajetan cut it short with the exclamation, "Revoke." In the event of Luther not revoking or submitting to judgment at Rome, he threatened him and all his friends with excommunication, and whatever place he might go to with an interdict; he had a mandate from the Pope to that effect already in his hands. He then dismissed him with the words, "Revoke, or do not come again into my presence." Nevertheless he spoke in quite a friendly manner after this to Staupitz, urging him to try his best to convert Luther, whom he wished well. Luther, however, wrote the same day to his friend Spalatin, who was with the Elector, and to his friends at Wittenberg, telling them he had refused to yield. Luther added further that an appeal would be drawn up for him in the form best fitted to the occasion. He further hinted to his Wittenberg friends at the possibility of his having to go elsewhere in exile; indeed, his friends already thought of taking him to Paris, where the university still rejected the doctrine of papal absolutism. He concluded this letter by saying that he refused to become a heretic by denying that which had made him a Christian; sooner than do that, he would be burned, exiled, or cursed. The appeal, of which Luther here spoke, was "from the Pope ill-informed to the same when better informed." On October 16th he submitted it, formally prepared, to a public notary.

Luther even addressed, on October 17th, a letter to Cajetan, conceding to him the utmost he thought possible. Moved, as he said, by the persuasions of his dear father Staupitz and his brother Link, he offered to let the whole question of indulgences[Pg 12] rest, if only that which drove him to this tragedy were put a stop to; he confessed also to having been too violent and disrespectful in dispute. In after-years he said to his friends, when referring to this concession, that God had never allowed him to sink deeper than when he had yielded so much. The next day, however, he gave notice of his appeal to the legate, and told him he did not wish longer to waste his time in Augsburg. To this letter he received no answer.

Luther waited, however, till the 20th. He and his Augsburg patrons began to suspect whether measures had not already been taken to detain him. They therefore had a small gate in the city wall opened in the night, and sent with him an escort well acquainted with the road. Thus he hastened away, as he himself described it, on a hard-trotting hack, in a simple monk's frock, with only knee-breeches, without boots or spurs, and unarmed. On the first day he rode eight miles, as far as the little town of Monheim. As he entered in the evening an inn and dismounted in the stable, he was unable to stand from fatigue and fell down instantly among the straw. He travelled thus on horseback to Wittenberg, where he arrived, well and joyful, on the anniversary of his ninety-five theses. He had heard on the way of the Pope's brief to Cajetan, but he refused to think it could be genuine. His appeal, meanwhile, was delivered to the Cardinal at Augsburg, who had it posted by his notary on the doors of the cathedral.

Without waiting for an answer direct from Rome, Luther now abandoned all thoughts of success with Leo X. On November 28th he formally and solemnly appealed from the Pope to a general Christian council. By so doing he anticipated the sentence of excommunication which he was daily expecting. With Rome he had broken forever, unless she were to surrender her claims and acquisitions of more than a thousand years.

After once the first restraints of awe were removed with which Luther had regarded the papacy, behind and beyond the matter of the indulgences, and he had learned to know the papal representative at Augsburg, and made a stand against his demands and menaces, and escaped from his dangerous clutches, he enjoyed for the first time the fearless consciousness of freedom. He took a wider survey around him, and saw plainly[Pg 13] the deep corruption and ungodliness of the powers arrayed against him. His mind was impelled forward with more energy as his spirit for the fight was stirred within him. Even the prospect that he might have to fly, and the uncertainty whither his flight could be, did not daunt or deter him.

He was really prepared for exile or flight at any moment. At Wittenberg his friends were alarmed by rumors of designs on the part of the Pope against his life and liberty, and insisted on his being placed in safety. Flight to France was continually talked of; had he not followed in his appeal a precedent set by the University of Paris? We certainly cannot see how he could safely have been conveyed thither, or where, indeed, any other and safer place could have been found for him. Some urged that the Elector himself should take him into custody and keep him in a place of safety, and then write to the legate that he held him securely in confinement and was in future responsible for him. Luther proposed this to Spalatin, and added: "I leave the decision of this matter to your discretion; I am in the hands of God and of my friends." The Elector himself, anxious also in this respect, arranged early in December a confidential interview between Luther and Spalatin at the castle of Lichtenberg. He also, as Luther reported to Staupitz, wished that Luther had some other place to be in, but he advised him against going away so hastily to France. His own wish and counsel, however, he refrained as yet from making known. Luther declared that at all events, if a ban of excommunication were to come from Rome, he would not remain longer at Wittenberg. On this point also the Prince kept secret his resolve.

At Rome the bull of excommunication was published as early as June 16th. It had been considered very carefully in the papal consistory. The jurists there were of opinion that Luther should be cited once more, but their views did not prevail. The bull begins with the words, "Arise, O Lord, and avenge thy cause." It proceeds to invoke St. Peter, St. Paul, the whole body of the saints, and the Church. A wild boar had broken into the vineyard of the Lord, a wild beast was there seeking to devour, etc. Of the heresy against which it was directed, the Pope, as he states, had additional reason to complain, since the Germans, among whom it had broken out, had always[Pg 14] been regarded by him with such tender affection: he gives them to understand that they owed the empire to the Roman Church. Forty-one propositions from Luther's writings are then rejected and condemned as heretical, or at least scandalous and corrupting, and his works collectively are sentenced to be burned. As to Luther himself, the Pope calls God to witness that he has neglected no means of fatherly love to bring him into the right way. Even now he is ready to follow toward him the example of divine mercy which wills not the death of a sinner, but that he should be converted and live; and so once more he calls upon him to repent, in which case he will receive him graciously like the prodigal son. Sixty days are given him to recant. But if he and his adherents will not repent, they are to be regarded as obstinate heretics and withered branches of the vine of Christ, and must be punished according to law. No doubt the punishment of burning was meant; the bull in fact expressly condemns the proposition of Luther which denounces the burning of heretics. All this was called then at Rome, and has been called even latterly by the papal party, "the tone rather of fatherly sorrow than of penal severity."

The emperor Charles V, before leaving the Netherlands on his journey to Aix-la-Chapelle to be crowned (1520),[27] had already been induced to take his first step against Luther. He had consented to the execution of the sentence in the bull condemning Luther's works to be burned, and had issued orders to that effect throughout the Netherlands. They were burned in public at Louvain, Cologne, and Mainz. At Cologne this was done while he was staying there. It was in this town that the two legates approached the elector Frederick with the demand to have the same done in his territory, and to execute due punishment on the heretic himself, or at least to keep him close prisoner or to deliver him over to the Pope. Frederick, however, refused, saying that Luther must first be heard by impartial judges. Erasmus also, who was then staying at Cologne, expressed himself to the same effect, in an opinion obtained from him by Frederick through Spalatin. At an interview with the Elector[Pg 15] he said to him: "Luther has committed two great faults: he has touched the Pope on his crown and the monks on their bellies." The burning of Luther's books at Mainz was effected without hinderance, and the legates in triumph proceeded to carry out their mission elsewhere.

Luther, however, lost no time in following up their execution of the bull with his reply. On December 10th he posted a public announcement that the next morning, at nine o'clock, the anti-Christian decretals, that is, the papal law-books, would be burned, and he invited all the Wittenberg students to attend. He chose for this purpose a spot in front of the Elster gate, to the east of the town, near the Augustinian convent. A multitude poured forth to the scene. With Luther appeared a number of other doctors and masters, and among them Melanchthon and Carlstadt. After one of the masters of art had built up a pile, Luther laid the decretals upon it, and the former applied the fire. Luther then threw the papal bull into the flames, with the words, "Because thou hast vexed the Holy One of the Lord,[28] let the everlasting fire consume thee." While Luther with the other teachers returned to the town, some hundreds of students remained upon the scene and sang a Te Deum, and a Dirge for the decretals. After the ten o'clock meal, some of the young students, grotesquely attired, drove through the town in a large carriage, with a banner, emblazoned with a bull, four yards in length, amid the blowing of brass trumpets and other absurdities. They collected from all quarters a mass of scholastic and papal writings, and hastened with them and the bull to the pile, which their companions had meanwhile kept alight. Another Te Deum was then sung, with a requiem, and the hymn, "O du armer Judas."

Luther at his lecture the next day told his hearers with great earnestness and emotion what he had done. The papal chair, he said, would yet have to be burned. Unless with all their hearts they abjured the kingdom of the pope, they could not obtain salvation.

By this bold act, Luther consummated his final rupture with[Pg 16] the papal system, which for centuries had dominated the Christian world and had identified itself with Christianity. The news of it must also have made the fire which his words had kindled throughout Germany blaze out in all its violence. He saw now, as he wrote to Staupitz, a storm raging, such as only the last day could allay, so fiercely were passions aroused on both sides. Germany was then, in fact, in a state of excitement and tension more critical than at any other period of her history.

The announcement of the retractation required from Luther by the bull was to have been sent to Rome within one hundred twenty days. Luther had given his answer. The Pope declared that the time of grace had expired; and on January 3d Leo X finally pronounced the ban against Luther and his followers, and an interdict on the places where they were harbored.

Never did the most momentous issue in the fortunes of the German nation and church rest so entirely with one man as they did now with the Emperor. Everything depended on this whether he, as head of the empire, should take the great work in hand, or should fling his authority and might into the opposite scale. Charles had been welcomed in Germany as one whose youthful heart seemed likely to respond to the newly awakened life and aspirations, as the son of an old German princely family, who by his election as emperor had won a triumph over the foreign king Francis, supported though the latter was by the Pope. Rumor now alleged that he was in the hands of the Mendicant friars; the Franciscan Glapio was his confessor and influential adviser, the very man who had instigated the burning of Luther's works.

He was, however, by no means so dependent on those about him as might have been supposed. His counsellors, in the general interests of his government, pursued an independent line of policy, and Charles himself, even in these his youthful days, knew to assert his independence as a monarch and display his cleverness as a statesman. He saw the prudence of cultivating friendship and contracting if possible an alliance with the Pope. The pressure desirable for this purpose could now be supplied by means of the very danger with which the papacy was threatened by the great German heresy, and against which Rome so[Pg 17] sorely needed the aid of a temporal power. At the same time, Charles was far too astute to allow his regard for the Pope, and his desire for the unity of the Church, to entangle his policy in measures for which his own power was inadequate, or by which his authority might be shaken and possibly destroyed. Strengthened as was his monarchical power in Spain, in Germany he found it hemmed in and fettered by the estates of the empire and the whole contexture of political relations.

Such were the main points of view which determined for Charles V his conduct toward Luther and his cause. Luther thus was at least a passive sharer in the game of high policy, ecclesiastical and temporal, now being played, and had to pursue his own course accordingly.

The imperial court was quickly enough acquainted with the state of feeling in Germany. The Emperor showed himself prudent at this juncture, and accessible to opinions differing from his own, however small cause his proclamations gave to the friends of Luther to hope for any positive act of favor on his part.

While Charles was on his way up the Rhine to hold, at the beginning of the new year, a diet at Worms, the elector Frederick approached him with the request that Luther should at least be heard before the Emperor took any proceedings against him. The Emperor informed him in reply that he might bring Luther for this purpose to Worms, promising that the monk should not be molested.

The Emperor, on March 6th, issued a citation to Luther, summoning him to Worms to give "information concerning his doctrines and books." An imperial herald was sent to conduct him. In the event of his disobeying the citation, or refusing to retract, the estates declared their consent to treat him as an open heretic. Luther, therefore, had to renounce at once all hope of having the truth touching his articles of faith tested fairly at Worms by the standard of God's word in Scripture. Spalatin indicated to him the points on which he would in any case be expected to make a public recantation.

Luther formed his resolve at once on the two points required of him. He determined to obey the summons to the diet, and, if there unconvicted of error, to refuse the recantation demanded.[Pg 18] The Emperor's citation was delivered to him on March 26th by the imperial herald, Kaspar Sturm, who was to accompany him to Worms. Within twenty-one days after its receipt, Luther was to appear before the Emperor; he was due therefore at Worms on April 16th at the latest.

On April 2d, the Tuesday after Easter, he set out on his way to Worms. His friend Amsdorf and the Pomeranian nobleman Peter Swaven, who was then studying at Wittenberg, accompanied him. He took with him also, according to the rules of the order, a brother of the order, John Pezensteiner. The Wittenberg magistracy provided carriages and horses.

The way led past Leipzig, through Thuringia from Naumburg to Eisenach, southward past Berka, Hersfeld, Gruenberg, Friedberg, Frankfort, and Oppenheim. The herald rode on before in his coat-of-arms, and announced the man whose word had everywhere so mightily stirred the minds of people, and for whose future behavior and fate friend and foe were alike anxious. Everywhere people collected to catch a glimpse of him. On April 6th he was very solemnly received at Erfurt. The large majority of the university there were by this time full of enthusiasm for his cause.

Meanwhile at Worms disquietude and suspense prevailed on both sides. Hutten[29] from the castle of Ebernburg sent threatening and angry letters to the papal legates, who became really anxious lest a blow might be struck from that quarter. Some anxious friends of Luther's were afraid that, according to papal law, the safe-conduct would not be observed in the case of a condemned heretic. Spalatin himself sent from Worms a second warning to Luther after he had left Frankfort, intimating that he would suffer the fate of Huss.

But Luther continued on his way. To Spalatin he replied, though Huss were burned, yet the truth was not burned; he would go to Worms though there were as many devils there as there were tiles on the roofs of the houses.

On April 16th, at ten o'clock in the morning, Luther entered Worms. He sat in an open carriage with his three companions from Wittenberg, clothed in his monk's habit. He was accompanied by a large number of men on horseback, some of whom,[Pg 19] like Jonas, had joined him earlier in his journey; others, like some gentlemen belonging to the Elector's court, had ridden out from Worms to receive him. The imperial herald rode on before. The watchman blew a horn from the tower of the cathedral on seeing the procession approach the gate. Thousands streamed hither to see Luther. The gentlemen of the court escorted him into the house of the Knights of St. John, where he lodged with two counsellors of the Elector. As he stepped from his carriage he said, "God will be with me." Aleander, writing to Rome, said that he looked around with the eyes of a demon. Crowds of distinguished men, ecclesiastics and laymen, who were anxious to know him personally, flocked daily to see him.

On the evening of the following day he had to appear before the diet, which was assembled in the Bishop's palace, the residence of the Emperor, not far from where Luther was lodging. He was conducted thither by side streets, it being impossible to get through the crowds assembled in the main thoroughfare to see him. On his way into the hall where the diet was assembled, tradition tells us how the famous warrior, George von Frundsberg, clapped him on the shoulder and said: "My poor monk! my poor monk! thou art on thy way to make such a stand as I and many of my knights have never done in our toughest battles. If thou art sure of the justice of thy cause, then forward in the name of God, and be of good courage—God will not forsake thee." The Elector had given Luther as his advocate the lawyer Jerome Schurf, his Wittenberg colleague and friend.

When at length, after waiting two hours, Luther was admitted to the diet, Eck, the official of the Archbishop of Treves, put to him simply, in the name of the Emperor, two questions, whether he acknowledged the books—pointing to them on a bench beside him—to be his own, and next, whether he would retract their contents or persist in them. Schurf here exclaimed, "Let the titles of the books be named." Eck then read them out. Among them there were some merely edifying writings, such as A Commentary on the Lord's Prayer, which had never been made the subject of complaint.

Luther was not prepared for this proceeding, and possibly the first sight of the august assembly made him nervous. He[Pg 20] answered in a low voice, and as if frightened, that the books were his, but that since the question as to their contents concerned the highest of all things, the Word of God and the salvation of souls, he must beware of giving a rash answer, and must therefore humbly entreat further time for consideration. After a short deliberation the Emperor instructed Eck to reply that he would, out of his clemency, grant him a respite till the next day.

So Luther had again, on April 18th, a Thursday, to appear before the diet. Again he had to wait two hours till six o'clock. He stood there in the hall among the dense crowd, talking unconstrained and cheerfully with the ambassador of the diet, Peutinger, his patron at Augsburg. After he was called in, Eck began by reproaching him for having wanted time for consideration. He then put the second question to him in a form more befitting and more conformable with the wishes of the members of the diet: "Wilt thou defend all the books acknowledged by thee to be thine, or recant some part?" Luther now answered with firmness and modesty, in a well-considered speech. He divided his works into three classes. In some of them he had set forth simple evangelical truths, professed alike by friend and foe. Those he could on no account retract. In others he had attacked corrupt laws and doctrines of the papacy, which no one could deny had miserably vexed and martyred the consciences of Christians, and had tyrannically devoured the property of the German nation: if he were to retract these books, he would make himself a cloak for wickedness and tyranny.

In the third class of his books he had written against individuals who endeavored to shield that tyranny and to subvert godly doctrine. Against these he freely confessed that he had been more violent than was befitting. Yet even these writings it was impossible for him to retract without lending a hand to tyranny and godlessness. But in defence of his books he could only say in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?" If anyone could do so, let him produce his evidence and confute him from the sacred writings, the Old Testament and the Gospel, and he would be the first to throw his books into the fire. And now, as in the course of his speech he had sounded a new[Pg 21] challenge to the papacy, so he concluded by an earnest warning to Emperor and empire, lest, by endeavoring to promote peace by a condemnation of the divine Word, they might rather bring a dreadful deluge of evils, and thus give an unhappy and inauspicious beginning to the reign of the noble young Emperor. He said not these things as if the great personages who heard him stood in any need of his admonitions, but because it was a duty that he owed to his native Germany, and he could not neglect to discharge it.

Luther, like Eck, spoke in Latin, and then, by desire, repeated his speech with equal firmness in German. Schurf, who was standing by his side, declared afterward with pride, "how Martin had made this answer with such bravery and modest candor, with eyes upraised to heaven, that he and everyone were astonished."

The princes held a short consultation after this harangue. Then Eck, commissioned by the Emperor, sharply reproved him for having spoken impertinently and not really answered the question put to him. He rejected his demand that evidence from Scripture might be brought against him by declaring that his heresies had already been condemned by the Church, and in particular by the Council of Constance, and such judgments must suffice if anything were to be held settled in Christianity. He promised him, however, if he would retract the offensive articles, that his other writings should be fairly dealt with, and finally demanded a plain answer "without horns" to the question whether he intended to adhere to all he had written or would retract any part of it?

To this Luther replied he would give an answer "with neither horns nor teeth." Unless he were refuted by proofs from Scripture, or by evident reason, his conscience bound him to adhere to the Word of God which he had quoted in his defence. Popes and councils, as was clear, had often erred and contradicted themselves. He could not, therefore, and he would not, retreat anything, for it was neither safe nor honest to act against one's conscience.

Eck exchanged only a few more words with him in reply to his assertion that councils had erred. "You cannot prove that," said Eck. "I will pledge myself to do it," was Luther's[Pg 22] answer. Pressed and threatened by his enemy, he concluded with the famous words: "Here I stand, I can do no otherwise. God help me. Amen."

The Emperor reluctantly broke up the diet at about eight o'clock in the evening. Darkness had meanwhile come on; the hall was lighted with torches, and the audience were in a state of general excitement and agitation. Luther was led out; whereupon an uproar arose among the Germans, who thought that he had been taken prisoner. As he stood among the heated crowd, Duke Erich of Brunswick sent him a silver tankard of Eimbeck beer, after having first drunk of it himself.

On reaching his lodging, "Luther," to use the words of a Nuremberger present there, "stretched out his hands, and with a joyful countenance exclaimed, 'I am through! I am through!'" Spalatin says: "He entered the lodging so courageous, comforted, and joyful in the Lord that he said before others and myself, 'if he had a thousand heads, he would rather have them all cut off than make one recantation.'" He relates also how the elector Frederick, before his supper, sent for him from Luther's dwelling, took him into his room and expressed to him his astonishment and delight at Luther's speech. "How excellently did Father Martin speak both in Latin and German before the Emperor and the orders! He was bold enough, if not too much so." The Emperor, on the contrary, had been so little impressed by Luther's personality, and had understood so little of it, that he fancied the writings ascribed to him must have been written by someone else. Many of his Spaniards had pursued Luther, as he left the diet, with hisses and shouts of scorn.

Luther, by refusing thus point-blank to retract, effectually destroyed whatever hopes of mediation or reconciliation had been entertained by the milder and more moderate adherents of the Church who still wished for reform. Nor was any union possible with those who, while looking to a truly representative council as the best safeguard against the tyranny of a pope, were anxious also to obtain at such a council a secure and final settlement of all questions of Christian faith and morals. It was these very councils about which Eck purposely called on Luther for a declaration; and Luther's words on this point might well have been considered by the Elector as "too bold."[Pg 23]

Luther remained faithful to himself. True it was that he had often formerly spoken of yielding in mere externals, and of the duty of living in love and harmony, and respecting the weaknesses of others; and his conduct during the elaboration of his own church system will show us how well he knew to accommodate himself to the time, and, where perfection was impossible, to be content with what was imperfect. But the question here was not about externals, or whether a given proceeding were judicious or not for the attainment of an object admittedly good. It was a question of confessing or denying the truth—the highest and holiest truths, as he expressed it—relating to God and the salvation of man. In this matter his conscience was bound.

And the trial thus offered for his endurance was not yet over. On the morning of the 19th the Emperor sent word to the estates that he would now send Luther back in safety to Wittenberg, but treat him as a heretic. The majority insisted on attempting further negotiations with him through a committee specially appointed. These were conducted accordingly by the Elector of Treves. The friendliness and the visible interest in his cause with which Luther now was urged were more calculated to move him than Eck's behavior at the diet. He himself bore witness afterward how the Archbishop had shown himself more than gracious to him and would willingly have arranged matters peaceably. Instead of being urged simply to retract all his propositions condemned by the Pope, or his writings directed against the papacy, he was referred in particular to those articles in which he rejected the decisions of the Council of Constance. He was desired to submit in confidence to a verdict of the Emperor and the empire when his books should be submitted to judges beyond suspicion. After that he should at least accept the decision of a future council, unfettered by any acknowledgment of the previous sentence of the Pope.

So freely and independently of the Pope did this committee of the German Diet, including several bishops and Duke George of Saxony, proceed in negotiating with a papal heretic. But everything was shipwrecked on Luther's firm reservation that the decision must not be contrary to the Word of God; and on that question his conscience would not allow him to renounce the right of judging for himself. After two days' negotiations,[Pg 24] he thus, on April 25th, according to Spalatin, declared himself to the Archbishop: "Most gracious Lord, I cannot yield; it must happen with me as God wills," and continued: "I beg of your grace that you will obtain for me the gracious permission of his imperial majesty that I may go home again, for I have now been here for ten days and nothing yet has been effected." Three hours later the Emperor sent word to Luther that he might return to the place he came from, and should be given a safe-conduct for twenty-one days, but would not be allowed to preach on the way.

Free residence, however, and protection at Wittenberg, in case Luther were condemned by the empire, was more than even Frederick the Wise would be able to assure him. But he had already laid his plan for the emergency. Spalatin refers to it in these words: "Now was my most gracious Lord somewhat disheartened; he was certainly fond of Dr. Martin, and was also most unwilling to act against the Word of God or to bring upon himself the displeasure of the Emperor. Accordingly, he devised means how to get Dr. Martin out of the way for a time, until matters might be quietly settled, and caused Luther also to be informed, the evening before he left Worms, of his scheme for getting him out of the way. At this Dr. Martin, out of deference to his Elector, was submissively content, though certainly, then and at all times, he would much rather have gone courageously to the attack."

The very next morning, Friday, the 26th, Luther departed. The imperial herald went behind him, so as not to attract notice. They took the usual road to Eisenach. At Friedberg Luther dismissed the herald, giving him a letter to the Emperor and the estates, in which he defended his conduct at Worms, and his refusal to trust in the decision of men, by saying that when God's Word and things eternal were at stake, one's trust and dependence should be placed, not on one man or many men, but on God alone. At Hersfeld, where Abbot Crato, in spite of the ban, received him with all marks of honor, and again at Eisenach, he preached, notwithstanding the Emperor's prohibition, not daring to let the Word of God be bound.

From Eisenach, while Swaven, Schurf, and several other of his companions went straight on, he struck southward, together[Pg 25] with Amsdorf and Brother Pezensteiner, in order to go and see his relations at Moehra. Here, after spending the night at the house of his uncle Heinz, he preached the next morning, Saturday, May 4th. Then, accompanied by some of his relations, he took the road through Schweina, past the castle of Altenstein, and then across the back of the Thuringian Forest to Waltershausen and Gotha. Toward evening, when near Altenstein, he bade leave of his relations. About half an hour farther on, at a spot where the road enters the wooded heights, and, ascending between hills along a brook, leads to an old chapel, which even then was in ruins and has now quite disappeared, armed horsemen attacked the carriage, ordered it to stop with threats and curses, pulled Luther out of it, and then hurried him away at full speed. Pezensteiner had run away as soon as he saw them approach. Amsdorf and the coachman were allowed to pass on; the former was in the secret, and pretended to be terrified, to avoid any suspicion on the part of his companion.

The Wartburg[30] lay to the north, about eight miles distant, and had been the starting-point of the horsemen, as it now was their goal; but precaution made them ride first in an eastern direction with Luther. The coachman afterward related how Luther in the haste of the flight dropped a gray hat he had worn. And now Luther was given a horse to ride. The night was dark, and at about eleven o'clock they arrived at the stately castle, situated above Eisenach. Here he was to be kept as a knight-prisoner. The secret was kept as strictly as possible toward friend and foe. For many weeks afterward even Frederick's brother John had no idea of it. Among his friends and followers the terrible news had spread, immediately upon his capture, that he had been made away with by his enemies.

At Worms, however, while the Pope was concluding an alliance with Charles against France, the papal legate Aleander, by commission of the Emperor, prepared the edict against Luther on the 8th of May. It was not, however, until the 25th, after Frederick the Elector of the Palatinate and a great part of the other members of the diet had already left, that it was deemed advisable[Pg 26] to have it communicated to the rest of the estates; nevertheless it was antedated the 8th, and issued "by the unanimous advice of the electors and estates." It pronounced upon Luther, applying the customary strong expressions of papal bulls, the ban and reban; no one was to receive him any longer, or feed him, etc., but wherever he was found he was to be seized and handed over to the Emperor.


The Reformation was a revolution, and they who rebelled against the authority of the Church were revolutionists. However slightly you look into the constitution of the Church, you will be convinced that the Reformation possessed the character of an insurrection. What is the meaning of this fine word, Reformation? Amelioration, doubtless. Well, then, with history before us, it is easy to show that it was only a prostration of the human mind. Glutted with the wealth of which it robbed the Catholics, and the blood which it shed, it gives us, instead of the harmony and Christian love of which it deprived our ancestors, nothing but dissensions, resentments, and discords. No, the Reformation was not an era of happiness and peace; it was only established by confusion and anarchy. Do you feel your heart beat at the mention of justice and truth? Acknowledge, then, what it is impossible to deny, that Luther must not be compared with the apostles. The apostles came teaching in the name of Jesus Christ their master, and the Catholics are entitled to ask us from whom Luther had his mission. We cannot prove that he had a mission direct or indirect. Luther perverted Christianity; he withdrew himself criminally from the communion in which regeneration alone was possible.

It has been said that all Christendom demanded a reformation—who disputes it? But long before the time of Luther the papacy had listened to the complaints of the faithful. The Council of Lateran had been convened to put an end to the scandals which afflicted the Church. The papacy labored to restore the discipline of the early ages, in proportion as Europe, freed from the yoke of brute force, became politically organized and advanced with slow but sure step to civilization. Was it not at that time that the source of all religious truth was made[Pg 27] accessible to scientific study, since, by means of the watchful protection of the papacy, the holy Scriptures were translated into every language? The New Testament of Erasmus, dedicated to Leo X, had preceded the quarrel about indulgences.

A reformer should take care that, in his zeal to get rid of manifest abuses, he does not at the same time shake the faith and its wholesome institutions to the foundation. When the reformers violently separated themselves from the Church of Rome, they thought it necessary to reject every doctrine taught by her. Luther, that spirit of evil, who scattered gold with dirt, declared war against the institutions without which the Church could not exist; he destroyed unity. Who does not remember that exclamation of Melanchthon, "We have committed many errors, and have made good of evil without any necessity for it"?

In justification of the brutal rupture of Germany with Rome, the scandals of the clergy are alleged. But if at the period of the Reformation there were priests and monks in Germany whose conduct was the cause of regret to Christians, their number was not larger than it had been previously. When Luther appeared, there was in Germany a great number of Catholic prelates whose piety the reformers themselves have not hesitated to admire.

What pains they take to deceive us! In books of every size they teach us, even at the present day, that the beast, the man of sin, the creature of Babylon, are the names which God has given in his Scriptures to the pope and the papacy! Can it be imagined that Christ, who died for our sins, and saved us by his blood, would have suffered that for ten or twelve centuries his church should be guided by such an abominable wretch? that he would have allowed millions of his creatures to walk in the shadow of death? and that so many generations should have had no other pastor but Antichrist?

Luther mistook the genius of Christianity in introducing a new principle into the world—the immediate authority of the Bible as the sole criterion of the truth. If tradition is to be rejected, it follows that the Bible cannot be authoritatively explained by acquired knowledge; in a word, human interpretation based upon its comprehensions of the Greek and Hebrew languages.[Pg 28] So, by this theory, the palladium of orthodoxy is to be found in a knowledge of foreign tongues, and living authority is replaced by a dead letter; a slavery a thousand times more oppressive than the yoke of tradition. Has any dogmatist succeeded in drawing up a confession of faith by means of the Bible which could not be attacked by means of reason? This formula, that the Bible must be the "unicum principium theologiæ," is the source of contradictory doctrines in Protestant theology; hence this question arises: "What Protestant theology is there in which there are not errors more or less?" It was the Bible that inspired all the neologists of the sixteenth century; the Bible that they made use of to persecute and condemn themselves as heretics. When Luther maintained that the Bible contains the enunciation of all the truths of which a knowledge is necessary to salvation, and that no doctrine which is not distinctly laid down in the Bible can be regarded as an article of faith, he did not imagine that the time was at hand when everybody, from this very volume, would form a confession for himself, and reject all others which contradicted his individual creed. This necessity for inquiry so occupies the minds of men at the present day that the principal articles of the original creed are rejected by those who call themselves the disciples of Jesus.

But what are we to understand by the Bible? The question was a difficult one to solve even at the beginning of the Reformation, when Luther, in his preface to the translation of the Bible, laid down a difference between the canonical books by preferring the gospel of St. John to the three other evangelists; by depreciating the Epistle of St. James as an epistle of straw, that contained nothing of the Gospel in it, and which an apostle could not have written, since it attributes to works a merit which they did not possess. It was in the Bible that Luther discovered these two great truths of salvation, which he revealed to the world at the beginning of his apostleship—the slavery of man's will, and the impeccability of the believer.

It is said in Exodus, chapter ix, that God hardened the heart of Pharaoh. It was questioned whether these words were to be construed literally. This Erasmus rightly denied, and it roused the doctor's wrath. Luther, in his reply, furiously attacks the fools who, calling reason to their aid, dare call for an account[Pg 29] from God why he condemns or predestines to damnation innocent beings before they have even seen the light. Truly, Luther, in the eyes of all God's creatures, must appear a prodigy of daring when he ventures to maintain that no one can reach heaven unless he adopts the slavery of the human will. And it is not merely by the spirit of disputation, but by settled conviction, that he defends this most odious of all ideas. He lived and died teaching that horrible doctrine, which the most illustrious of his disciples—among others, Melanchthon and Matthew Albert of Reutlingen—condemned. "How rich is the Christian!" repeated Luther; "even though he wished it, he cannot forfeit heaven by any stain; believe, then, and be assured of your salvation: God in eternity cannot escape you. Believe, and you shall be saved: repentance, confession, satisfaction, good works, all these are useless for salvation; it is sufficient to have faith."

Is not this a fearful error—a desolating doctrine? If you demonstrate to Luther its danger or absurdity, he replies that you blaspheme the Spirit of light. Neither attempt to prove to him that he is mistaken; he will tell you that you offend God. No, no, my brother, you will never convince me that the Holy Spirit is confined to Wittenberg any more than to your person.

Not content with maledictions, Luther then turns himself to prophecy; he announces that his doctrine, which proceeds from heaven, will gain, one by one, all the kingdoms of the world. He says of Zwingli's explanation of the eucharist, "I am not afraid of this fanatical interpretation lasting long." On the other hand Zwingli predicted that the Swiss creed would be handed down from generation to generation, crossing the Elbe and the Rhine. Prophet against prophet, if success be the test of truth, Luther will inevitably have to yield in this point.

The Reformation, which at first was entirely a religious phenomenon, soon assumed a political character; it could not fail to do so. When people began to exclaim, like Luther, on the house-tops: "The Emperor Charles V ought not to be supported longer; let him and the Pope be knocked on the head;" that "he is an excited madman, a bloodhound, who must be killed with pikes and clubs," how could civil society continue[Pg 30] subject to authority? It was natural that the monk's virulent writings against the bishops' spiritual power should be reduced by the subjects of the ecclesiastical superiors into a political theory. When he proclaimed that the yoke of priests and monks must be shaken off, we might expect that this wild appeal would be directed against the tithes which the people paid to the prelates and the abbots. The Saxon's doctrine being based wholly on the holy Scriptures, the peasant considered himself authorized in virtue of their text to break violently with his lord; hence that long war between the cottage and the castle. This it was that made Erasmus write sorrowfully to Luther: "You see that we are now reaping the fruits of what you sowed. You will not acknowledge the rebels; but they acknowledge you, and they know only too well that many of your disciples, who clothed themselves in the mantle of the Gospel, have been the instigators of this bloody rebellion. In your pamphlet against the peasants, you in vain endeavor to justify yourself. It is you who have raised the storm by your publications against the monks and the prelates, and you say that you fight for gospel liberty, and against the tyranny of the great! From the moment that you began your tragedy I foresaw the end of it."

That civil war, in which Germany had to mourn the loss of more than a hundred thousand of her children, was the consequence of Luther's preaching. It is fortunate that, through the efforts of a Catholic prince, Duke George of Saxony, it was speedily brought to an end. Had it lasted but a few years longer, of all the ancient monuments with which Germany was filled, not a single vestige would have remained. Karlstadt might then have sat upon their ruins, and sung, with his Bible in his hand, the downfall of the images. The iconoclast's theories, all drawn from the Word of God, held their ground in spite of Luther, and dealt a fatal blow to the arts.

When a gorgeous worship requires magnificent temples, imposing ceremonies, and striking solemnities; when religion presents to the eye sensible images as objects of public veneration; when earth and heaven are peopled with supernatural beings, to whom imagination can lend a sensible form—then it is that the arts, encouraged and ennobled, reach the zenith of their splendor and perfection. The architect, raised to honors[Pg 31] and fortune, conceives the plans of those basilicas and cathedrals whose aspect strikes us with religious awe, and whose richly adorned walls are ornamented with the finest efforts of art. Those temples and altars are decorated with marbles and precious metals, which sculpture has fashioned into the similitude of angels, saints, and the images of illustrious men. The choirs, the jubes, the chapels, and sacristies are hung with pictures on all sides. Here Jesus expires on the cross; there he is transfigured on Mount Tabor. Art, the friend of imagination, which delights only in heaven, finds there the most sublime creations—a St. John, a Cecilia, above all a Mary, that patroness of tender hearts, that virgin model to all mothers, that mediatrix of graces, placed between man and his God, that august and amiable being, of whom no other religion presents either the resemblance or the model. During the solemnities, the most costly stuffs, precious stones, and embroidery cover the altars, vessels, priests, and even the very walls of the sanctuary. Music completes the charm by the most exquisite strains, by the harmony of the choir. These powerful incentives are repeated in a hundred different places; the metropolises, parishes, the numerous religious houses, the simple oratories, sparkle with emulation to captivate all the powers of the religious and devout mind. Thus a taste for the arts becomes general by means of so potent a lever, and artists increase in number and rivalry. Under this influence the celebrated schools of Italy and Flanders flourished; and the finest works which now remain to us testify the splendid encouragement which the Catholic religion lavished upon them.

After this natural progress of events, it cannot be doubted that the Reformation has been unfavorable to the fine arts, and has very much restrained the exercise of them. It has severed the bonds which united them to religion, which sanctified them, and secured for them a place in the veneration of the people. The Protestant worship tends to disenchant the material imagination; it makes fine churches and statues and paintings unnecessary; it renders them unpopular, and takes from them one of their most active springs.

The peasants' war was soon succeeded by the spoliation of the monasteries; "an invasion of the most sacred of all rights, more important, in certain respects, than liberty itself—property."[Pg 32] From that time not a day passed without Luther preaching up the robbery of the religious houses. To excite the greed of the princes whom he wished to secure to his views, he loved to direct their attention to the treasures which the abbeys, cloisters, sacristies, and sanctuaries contained. "Take them," he said; "all these are your own—all belong to you." Luther was convinced that to the value of the golden remonstrances which shone on the Catholic altars he was indebted for more than one conversion. In a moment of humor he said: "The gentry and princes are the best Lutherans; they willingly accept both monasteries and chapters, and appropriate their treasures."

The Landgrave of Hesse, to obtain authority for giving his arm to two lawful wives, took care to make the wealth of the monasteries glitter in the eyes of the Church of Wittenberg, so that as the price of their permission he was willing to give it to the Saxon ministers. The plunder of church property, preached by Luther, will be the eternal condemnation of the Protestants. Though Naboth's vineyard may serve as a bait or reward for apostasy, it cannot justify crime.

A laureate of the Institute of France has discovered grounds for palliating this blow to property. He congratulates the princes who embraced the Reformation for having, by means of the ecclesiastical property, filled their coffers, paid their debts, applied the confiscated wealth to useful establishments, clubs, universities, hospitals, orphanages, retreats, and rewards for the old servants of the state. But Luther himself took care, on more than one occasion, to denounce the avarice of the princes who, when once masters of the monastic property, employed its revenues for the support of mistresses and packs of hounds. We remember the eloquent complaints which he uttered in his old age against these carnal men, who left the Protestant clergy in destitution, and did not even pay the schoolmasters their salaries. He mourned them, but it was too late. Sometimes the chastisement of heaven fell, even in this life, on the spoiler; and Luther has mentioned instances of several of those iron hands, who, after having enriched themselves by the plunder of a monastery, church, or abbey, fell into abject poverty. Besides, we will admit that Luther never thought of consoling the plundered monks by asserting, like Charles Villers, that "one of the[Pg 33] finest effects of these terrible commotions which unsettle all properties, the fruits of social institutions, is to substitute for them greatness of mind, virtues, and talents, the fruits of nature exclusively."

If the triumph of the peasants in the fields of Thuringia might have been an irreparable misfortune to Germany and to Christianity, we cannot deny that Luther's appeal to the secular arm, to suppress the rebellion, may have thoroughly altered the character of the first Reformation. Till then it had been established by preaching; but from the moment of that bloody episode it required the civil authority to move it. The sword, therefore, took the place of the Word; and to perpetuate itself the Reformation was bound to exaggerate the theory of passive obedience. One of the distinguished historians of Heidelberg, Carl Hagen, has recently favored us with some portions of the political code in which Protestantism commands subjects to be obedient to the civil power, even when it commands them to commit sin.

Thus the democratic element, first developed by the Reformation, was effaced to become absorbed in the despotic. It was no longer the people, but the prince, who chose or rejected the Protestant minister. When the Landgrave of Hesse consulted Melanchthon, in 1525, as to the line he should pursue in the appointment of a pastor, the doctor told him that he had the right to interfere in the election of the ministers, and that, if he surmounted the struggles in which the Word of God had involved him, he ought not to commit that sacred Word but to such preacher as seemed best to him; in other terms, observes the historian, to him whom the civil power thinks competent. And Martin Bucer contrived to extend Melanchthon's theory by constituting the civil power supreme judge of religious orthodoxy, by conferring on it the right of ultimate decision in questions of heresy, and of punishing, if necessary by fire and sword innovators, who are a thousand times more culpable, he says, than the robber or murderer, who only steal the material bread and slay the body, while the heretic steals the bread of life and kills the soul.

Intolerance then entered into the councils of the Reformation. It was no longer with the peasants that Luther declared war. Whoever did not believe in his doctrines was denounced[Pg 34] as a rebel; in the Saxon's eyes, the peasant was only an enemy to be despised; the real Satan was Karlstadt, Zwingli, and Krautwald.

His disciples were no longer satisfied with plundering the monasteries—they desired to live in ease; they must have servants, a fine house, a well-supplied table, and plenty of money. The struggle then was no longer with piety and knowledge, but with power and influence. Every city and town had its own Lutheran pope. At Nuremberg, Osiander was a regular pacha. Those who among the Protestants endeavored to reprove his scandalous ostentation were abused and maligned. When he ascended the pulpit, his fingers were adorned with diamonds which dazzled the eyes of his hearers.

The religious disputes which disturbed men's minds in Germany retarded, rather than advanced, the march of intellect. Blind people who fought furiously with each other could not find the road to truth. These quarrels were only another disease of the human mind. Although printing served to disseminate the principles of the reformers, the sudden progress of Lutheranism, and the zeal with which it was embraced, prove that reason and reflection had no part in their development.

Villers has drawn a brilliant sketch of the influence which the Reformation exercised over biblical criticism. "It may be said that criticism of the Scripture text was unknown previous to the time of Luther; and if by this is meant that captious, whimsical, and shuffling criticism which DeWette has so justly condemned—certainly so. But that which relates to languages, antiquities, the knowledge of times, places, authors—in a word, hermeneutics—was known and practised in our schools before the Reformation, as is proved by the works of Cajetan and Sadoletus, and a multitude of learned men whom Leo X had encouraged and rewarded. We have seen besides, in the history of the Reformation, what that vain science has produced. It was by means of his critical researches that, from the time of Luther, Karlstadt found such a meaning of 'Semen immolare Moloch,' as made his disciples shrug their shoulders; that Muenzer preached community of goods and wives; that Melanchthon taught that the dogma of the Trinity deprives our mind of all liberty; that at a later period Ammon asserted that the resurrection[Pg 35] of the dead could not be deduced from the New Testament; Veter, that the Pentateuch was not written by Moses; that the history of the Jews to the time of the Judges is only a popular tradition; Bretschneider, that the Psalms cannot be looked upon as inspired; Augusti, that the true doctrine of Jesus Christ has not been preserved intact in the New Testament; and Geisse, that not one of the four gospels was written by the evangelist whose name it bears.

"Since the days of Semler, Germany presents a singular spectacle: every ten years, or nearly so, its theological literature undergoes a complete revolution. What was admired during the one decennial period is rejected in the next, and the image which they adored is burned to make way for new divinities; the dogmas which were held in honor fall into discredit; the classical treatise of morality is banished among the old books out of date; criticism overturns criticism; and the commentary of yesterday ridicules that of the previous day."


[25] Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, was Luther's friend and protector.

[26] Georg Spalatin, a friend and fellow-reformer of Luther's, was in the diplomatic service of Elector Frederick.

[27] Charles, the grandson of Maximilian I, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, succeeded him 1519. At the time of his coronation Charles was but twenty years old. He was also King of Spain.—Ed.

[28] It is obvious that he refers to Christ, who is spoken of in Scripture as the Holy One of God (St. Mark i. 24; Acts ii. 27), not, as ignorance and malice have suggested, to himself.

[29] Ulrich von Hutten was a friend and supporter of Luther.

[30] In 1521-1522 Frederick the Wise gave Luther asylum in the Wartburg, where for ten months the reformer remained in disguise as "Junker Georg." His room, with its furniture, is still preserved.

[Pg 36]



A.D. 1517


In 1442 the first negro slaves were imported into Europe. They were taken from Africa to Portugal in ships of Prince Henry, the "Navigator." From that time there was little traffic in negroes until after the discovery of America. Then there was great destruction of American Indians by war, disease, and killing work, and the importation of negroes into Spanish America was begun in order to fill the void in the labor market.

Influenced by the spirit of Bartolome de las Casas, a Spanish monk, celebrated as the defender of the Indians against his own countrymen who conquered them, the monarchs of Spain prohibited Indian slavery. "It is a very significant fact that the great 'Protector of the Indians,' Las Casas, should, however innocently, have been concerned with the first large grant of licenses to import negroes into the West India Islands."

We first hear of the introduction of negro slaves in those islands through the instructions given in 1501 to Nicolas de Ovando, who in the following year succeeded Columbus as governor. During the nine years of his governorship negro slavery in the Spanish possessions of the New World was greatly extended. A few years later, as shown by Helps, official license gave it a legal sanction. Helps' account begins with an abstract of Las Casas' memorials to the King of Spain looking to a remedy for the bad government of the West Indies.

The outline of Las Casas' scheme was as follows: The King was to give to every laborer willing to emigrate to Española his living during the journey from his place of abode to Seville, at the rate of half a real a day throughout the journey, for great and small, child and parent. At Seville the emigrants were to be lodged in the Casa de la Contratacion (the India House), and were to have from eleven to thirteen maravedis a day. From thence they were to have a free passage to Española, and to be provided with food for a year. And if the climate "should try them so much" that at the expiration of this year they should not be able to work for themselves, the King was to continue to[Pg 37] maintain them; but this extra maintenance was to be put down to the account of the emigrants, as a loan which they were to repay. The King was to give them lands—his own lands—furnish them with ploughshares and spades, and provide medicines for them. Lastly, whatever rights and profits accrued from their holdings were to become hereditary. This was certainly a most liberal plan of emigration. And, in addition, there were other privileges held out as inducements to these laborers.

In connection with the above scheme, Las Casas, unfortunately for his reputation in after-ages, added another provision, namely, that each Spanish resident in the island should have license to import a dozen negro slaves.

The origin of this suggestion was, as he informs us, that the colonists had told him that, if license were given them to import a dozen negro slaves each, they, the colonists, would then set free the Indians. And so, recollecting that statement of the colonists, he added this provision. Las Casas, writing his history in his old age, thus frankly owns his error: "This advice, that license should be given to bring negro slaves to these lands, the clerigo Casas first gave, not considering the injustice with which the Portuguese take them and make them slaves; which advice, after he had apprehended the nature of the thing, he would not have given for all he had in the world. For he always held that they had been made slaves unjustly and tyrannically; for the same reason holds good of them as of the Indians." The above confession is delicately and truthfully worded—"not considering"; he does not say, not being aware of; but though it was a matter known to him, his moral sense was not watchful, as it were, about it. We must be careful not to press the admissions of a generous mind too far, or to exaggerate the importance of the suggestion of Las Casas.

It would be quite erroneous to look upon this suggestion as being the introduction of negro slavery. From the earliest times of the discovery of America, negroes had been sent there. But what is of more significance, and what it is strange that Las Casas was not aware of, or did not mention, the Hieronymite Fathers[31] had also come to the conclusion that negroes must be[Pg 38] introduced into the West Indies. Writing in January, 1518, when the fathers could not have known what was passing in Spain in relation to this subject, they recommended licenses to be given to the inhabitants of Española, or to other persons, to bring negroes there. From the tenor of their letter it appears that they had before recommended the same thing. Zuazo, the judge of residencia, and the legal colleague of Las Casas, wrote to the same effect. He, however, suggested that the negroes should be placed in settlements and married. Fray Bernardino de Manzanedo, the Hieronymite father, sent over to counteract Las Casas, gave the same advice as his brethren about the introduction of negroes. He added a proviso, which does not appear in their letter—perhaps it did exist in one of the earlier ones—that there should be as many women as men sent over, or more.

The suggestion of Las Casas was approved of by the Chancellor; and, indeed, it is probable there was hardly a man of that time who would have seen further than the excellent clerigo did. Las Casas was asked what number of negroes would suffice? He replied that he did not know; upon which a letter was sent to the officers of the India House at Seville to ascertain the fit number in their opinion. They said that four thousand at present would suffice, being one thousand for each of the islands, Española, Porto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica. Somebody now suggested to the Governor, De Bresa, a Fleming of much influence and a member of the council, that he should ask for this license to be given to him. De Bresa accordingly asked the King for it, who granted his request; and the Fleming sold this license to certain Genoese merchants for twenty-five thousand ducats, having obtained from the King a pledge that for eight years he should give no other license of this kind.

The consequence of this monopoly enjoyed by the Genoese merchants was that negroes were sold at a great price, of which there are frequent complaints. Both Las Casas and Pasamonte—rarely found in accord—suggested to the King that it would be better to pay the twenty-five thousand ducats and resume the license, or to abridge its term. Figueroa, writing to the Emperor from Santo Domingo in July, 1500, says: "Negroes are very much in request; none have come for about a year.[Pg 39] It would have been better to have given De Bresa the customs duties—i.e., the duties that had been usually paid on the importation of slaves—than to have placed a prohibition." I have scarcely a doubt that the immediate effect of the measure adopted in consequence of the clerigo's suggestion was greatly to check that importation of negro slaves which otherwise, had the license been general, would have been very abundant.

Before quitting this part of the subject, something must be said for Las Casas which he does not allege for himself. This suggestion of his about the negroes was not an isolated one. Had all his suggestions been carried out, and the Indians thereby been preserved, as I firmly believe they might have been, these negroes might have remained a very insignificant number in the general population. By the destruction of Indians a void in the laborious part of the community was being constantly created, which had to be filled up by the labor of negroes. The negroes could bear the labor in the mines much better than the Indians; and any man who perceived that a race, of whose Christian virtues and capabilities he thought highly, were fading away by reason of being subjected to labor which their natures were incompetent to endure, and which they were most unjustly condemned to, might prefer the misery of the smaller number of another race treated with equal injustice, but more capable of enduring it. I do not say that Las Casas considered all these things; but, at any rate, in estimating his conduct, we must recollect that we look at the matter centuries after it occurred, and see all the extent of the evil arising from circumstances which no man could then be expected to foresee, and which were inconsistent with the rest of the clerigo's plans for the preservation of the Indians.

I suspect that the wisest among us would very likely have erred with him; and I am not sure that, taking all his plans together, and taking for granted, as he did then, that his influence at court was to last, his suggestion about the negroes was an impolitic one.

One more piece of advice Las Casas gave at this time, which, if it had been adopted, would have been most serviceable. He proposed that forts for mercantile purposes, containing about thirty persons, should be erected at intervals along the coast of[Pg 40] the terra firma, to traffic with merchandise of Spain for gold, silver, and precious stones; and in each of these ports ecclesiastics were to be placed, to undertake the superintendence of spiritual matters. In this scheme may be seen an anticipation of subsequent plans for commercial intercourse with Africa. And, indeed, one is constantly reminded by the proceedings in those times of what has occurred much later and under the auspices of other nations.

Of all these suggestions, some of them certainly excellent, the only questionable one was at once adopted. Such is the irony of life. If we may imagine superior beings looking on at the affairs of men, and bearing some unperceived part of the great contest in the world, this was a thing to have gladdened all the hosts of hell.


[31] Spanish monks, followers of St. Jerome (Hieronymus).

[Pg 41]



A.D. 1519


Ferdinand Magellan, whose name in Portuguese was Fernao de Magalhaes, was born in Portugal about 1480. After serving with the Portuguese in the East Indies, 1505-1512, and in Morocco, 1514, where during an action he was lamed for life, he became disaffected toward his country, and in 1517 renounced his allegiance and turned to Spain in hope of better reward for his services. In conjunction with a fellow-countryman, Ruy Faleiro, a geographer and astronomer, he offered to find for Spain the Moluccas, in the Malay Archipelago, and to prove that they were within the Spanish and not the Portuguese lines of demarcation. The acceptance of this proposal by the Emperor, Charles V, who was also King of Spain, gave Magellan the opportunity, which he so well improved, to immortalize his name in the annals of maritime discovery.

While the specific object of the expedition failed on account of the leader's death, his performance made him worthy, as some historians think, to be considered "the most undaunted and in many respects the most extraordinary man that ever traversed an unknown sea."

A squadron of five ships with two hundred sixty-five men was fitted out by the Emperor, and the two friends were named as joint commanders, but Faleiro was afterward detached from the expedition, leaving full command to Magellan, who sailed from San Lucar, Spain, September 20, 1519, first touching at Madeira.

Magellan passed through the straits that bear his name and so penetrated to the Pacific, that ocean being first so called by him. He was the first European to reach it from the Atlantic. Magellan was killed by natives in the Philippines, April 27, 1521; but his ships continued their course. One by one they were lost from the expedition, except the Victoria, on which was Pigafetta, who wrote for Charles V an account of the voyage. The Victoria returned to Spain in September, 1522, completing the first circumnavigation of the earth. Bautista was pilot and afterward captain of the Trinidad, one of the lost vessels.

In 1898 the Philippines and Guam, one of the Ladrones, were acquired by the United States as a result of the Spanish-American War.

[Pg 42]


Magellan steered to the southwest to make the island of Teneriffe, and they reached the said island on the day of St. Michael, which was September 29th. Thence he made his course to fetch the Cape Verd Islands, and they passed between the islands and the cape without sighting either the one or the other. Having to make for Brazil, and as soon as they sighted the other coast of Brazil, he steered to the southeast along the coast of Cape Frio, which is in 23° south latitude; and from this cape he steered to the west, a matter of thirty leagues, to make the Rio Janeiro, which is in the same latitude as Cape Frio, and they entered the said river on the day of St. Lucy, which was December 13th, in which place they took in wood, and they remained there until the first octave of Christmas, which was December 26th of the same year.

They sailed from this Rio de Janeiro on December 26th, and navigated along the coast to make Cape of St. Mary, which is only 35°; as soon as they sighted it, they made their course west-northwest, thinking they would find a passage for their voyage, and they found that they had got into a great river of fresh water, to which they gave the name of River St. Christopher, and it is in 34°, and they remained in it till February 2, 1520.

He sailed from this river of St. Christopher on the 2d of the said month of February; they navigated along the said coast, and farther on to the south they discovered a point, which is in the same river more to the south, to which they gave the name of Point St. Anthony; it is in 36°; hence they ran to the southwest a matter of twenty-five leagues, and made another cape, which they named Cape St. Apelonia, which is in 36°; thence they navigated to the west-southwest to some shoals, which they named Shoals of the Currents, which are in 39°; and thence they navigated out to the sea, and lost sight of land for a matter of two or three days, when they again made for the land, and they came to a bay, which they entered, and ran within it the whole day, thinking that there was an outlet for Molucca; and when night came they found that it was quite closed up, and in the same night they again stood out by the way which they had come in. This bay is in 34°; they named it the island of St. Matthew.[Pg 43] They navigated from this island of St. Matthew along the coast until they reached another bay, where they caught many sea-wolves and birds; to this they gave the name of Bay of Labors; it is in 37°; here they came near losing the flag-ship in a storm. Thence they navigated along the said coast, and arrived on the last day of March of the year 1520 at the port of St. Julian, which is in 49°. Here they wintered, and found the day a little more or less than seven hours.

In this port three of the ships rose up against the captain-major, their captains saying that they intended to take him to Castile in arrest, as he was taking them all to destruction. Here, through the exertions of the said captain-major, and the assistance and favor of the foreigners whom he carried with him, the captain-major went to the said three ships which were already mentioned, and there the captain of one of them was killed, who was the treasurer of the whole fleet, and named Luis de Mendoza; he was killed in his own ship by stabs with a dagger by the chief constable of the fleet, who was sent to do this by Ferdinand Magellan in a boat with certain men. The said three ships having thus been recovered, five days later Ferdinand Magellan ordered Gaspar de Quexixada to be decapitated and quartered; he was captain of one of the ships and was one of those who had mutinied.

In this port they refitted the ship. Here the captain-major made Alvaro de Mesquita, a Portuguese, a captain of one of the ships the captain of which had been killed. There sailed from this port on August 24th four ships, for the smallest of the ships had been already lost; he had sent it to reconnoitre, and the weather had been heavy and had cast it ashore, where all the crew had been recovered along with the merchandise, artillery, and fittings of the ship. They remained in this port, in which they wintered, five months and twenty-four days, and they were 70° less ten minutes to the southward.

They sailed on August 24th of the said year from this port of St. Julian, and navigated a matter of twenty leagues along the coast, and so they entered a river which was called Santa Cruz, which is in 50°, where they took in goods and as much as they could obtain. The crew of the lost ship were already distributed among the other ships, for they had returned by land[Pg 44] to where Ferdinand Magellan was, and they continued collecting goods which had remained there during August and up to September 18th, and there they took in water and much fish which they caught in this river; and in the other, where they wintered, there were people like savages, and the men are from nine to ten spans in height, very well made; they have not got houses, they only go about from one place to another with their flocks, and eat meat nearly raw. They are all of them archers, and kill many animals with arrows, and with the skins they make clothes, that is to say, they make the skins very supple, and fashion them after the shape of the body, as well as they can, then they cover themselves with them, and fasten them by a belt round the waist. When they do not wish to be clothed from the waist upward, they let that half fall which is above the waist, and the garment remains hanging down from the belt which they have girt around them.

They wear shoes which cover them four inches above the ankle, full of straw inside to keep their feet warm. They do not possess any iron, nor any other ingenuity of weapons, only they make the points of their arrows with flints, and so also the knives with which they cut, and the adze and awls with which they cut and stitch their shoes and clothes. They are very agile people and do no harm, and thus follow their flocks; wherever night finds them, there they sleep; they carry their wives along with them, with all the chattels they possess. The women are very small and carry heavy burdens on their backs. They wear shoes and clothes just like the men. Of these men they obtained three or four and brought them in the ships, and they all died except one, who went to Castile in a ship which went thither.

They sailed from this river of Santa Cruz on October 18th: they continued navigating along the coast until the 21st day of the same month, October, when they discovered a cape, to which they gave the name of Cape of the Virgins, because they sighted it on the day of the eleven thousand virgins; it is in 52°, a little more or less, and from this cape, a matter of two or three leagues' distance, we found ourselves at the mouth of a strait. We sailed along the said coast within that strait, which they had reached the mouth of: they entered in it a little and anchored. Ferdinand[Pg 45] Magellan sent to discover what there was farther in, and they found three channels; that is to say, two more in a southerly direction, and one traversing the country in the direction of Molucca, but at that time this was not yet known, only the three mouths were seen.

The boats went thither, and brought back word, and they set sail and anchored at these mouths of the channels, and Ferdinand Magellan sent two ships to learn what there was within, and these ships went; one returned to the captain-major, and the other, of which Alvaro de Mesquita was captain, entered into one of the bays which was to the south, and did not return any more. Ferdinand Magellan, seeing that it did not come back, set sail, and the next day he did not choose to make for the bays, and went to the south and took another which runs northwest and southeast and a quarter west and east. He left letters in the place from which he sailed, so that, if the other ship returned, it might make the course which he left prescribed.

After this they entered into the channel, which at some places had a width of three leagues, and two, and one, and in some places half a league, and he went through it as long as it was daylight, and anchored when it was night: and he sent the boats, and the ships went after the boats, and they brought news that there was an outlet, for they already saw the great sea on the other side; on which account Ferdinand Magellan ordered artillery to be fired for rejoicing; and before they set forth from this strait they found two islands, the first one larger, and the other, nearer toward the outlet, is the smaller one; and they went out between these islands and the coast on the southern side, as it was deeper than on the other side.

This strait is a hundred leagues in length to the outlet; that outlet and the entrance are in 52° latitude. They made a stay in this strait from October 21st to November 26th, which makes thirty-six days of the said year of 1520, and as soon as they went out from the strait to the sea they made their course, for the most part, to west-northwest, when they found that their needles varied to the northwest almost one-half; and after they had navigated thus for many days they found an island in a little more or less than 18° or 19°, and also another, which was[Pg 46] in from 13° to 14°, and this in south latitude; they are uninhabited.

They ran on until they reached the line, when Ferdinand Magellan said that now they were in the neighborhood of Molucca, and that he would go in a northerly direction as far as 10° or 12°, and they reached to as far as 13° north, and in this latitude they navigated to the west and a quarter southwest a matter of a hundred leagues, where on March 6, 1521, they fetched two islands inhabited by many people of little truth; and they did not take precautions against them until they saw that they were taking away the skiff of the flag-ship, and they cut the rope with which it was made fast, and took it ashore without their being able to prevent it. They gave this island the name of Thieves' Island (dos Ladroes).

Ferdinand Magellan, seeing that the skiff was lost, set sail, it being already night, tacking about until the next day; as soon as it was morning they anchored at the place where they had seen the skiff carried to, and he ordered two boats to be got ready with a matter of fifty or sixty men, and he went ashore in person and burned the whole village, and they killed seven or eight persons, between men and women, and recovered the skiff, and returned to the ships; and while they were there they saw forty or fifty paraos come from the same land, and which brought much refreshments.

Ferdinand Magellan would not make any further stay, and at once set sail, and ordered the course to be steered west and a quarter southwest, and so they made land, which is in barely 11°. This land is an island, but he would not touch at this one, and they went to touch at another farther on which appeared first. Ferdinand Magellan sent a boat ashore to observe the nature of the island; when the boat reached land, they saw, from the ships, paraos come out from behind the point; then they called back their boat. The people of the paraos, seeing that the boat was returning to the ships, turned back the paraos, and the boat reached the ships, which at once set sail for another island very near to this island, which is 10°, and they gave it the name of the Island of Good Signs, because they observed some gold in it.

While they were thus anchored at this island there came to[Pg 47] them two paraos, and brought them fowls and cocoanuts, and told them they had already seen there other men like them, from which they presumed that these might be Lequios or Mogores, a nation of people who have this name, or Chiis; and thence they set sail, and navigated farther on among many islands, to which they gave the name of Valley without Peril, and also St. Lazarus; and they ran on to another island twenty leagues from that from which they sailed, which is in 10°, and came to anchor at another island, which is named Macangor, which is in 9°; and in this island they were very well received, and they placed a cross in it. This King conducted them thence a matter of thirty leagues to another island, named Cabo, which is in 10°, and in this island Ferdinand Magellan did what he pleased with the consent of the country, and in one day eight hundred people became Christian, on which account Ferdinand Magellan desired that the other kings, neighbors to this one, should become subject to this one, who had become Christian; and these did not choose to yield to such obedience. Ferdinand Magellan, seeing that, got ready one night with his boats, and burned the villages of those who would not yield the said obedience; and a matter of ten or twelve days after this was done he sent to a village about half a league from that which he had burned, which is named Matam, and which is also an island, and ordered them to send him at once three goats, three pigs, three loads of rice, and three loads of millet for provisions for the ship. They replied that, of each article which he sent to ask them three of, they would send him by twos, and if he was satisfied with this they would at once comply; if not, it might be as he pleased, but that they would not give it. Because they did not choose to grant what he demanded of them, Ferdinand Magellan ordered three boats to be equipped with a matter of fifty or sixty men, and went against the said place, which was on April 28th in the morning; there they found many people, who might well be as many as three thousand or four thousand men, who fought with such will that the said Ferdinand Magellan was killed there, with six of his men, in the year 1521.

When Ferdinand Magellan was dead the Christians got back to the ships, where they thought fit to make two captains and governors whom they should obey; and, having done this, they[Pg 48] took counsel (and decided) that the captains should go ashore where the people had turned Christians, to ask for pilots to take them to Borneo, and this was on May 1st of the said year. When the two captains went, being agreed upon what had been said, the same people of the country who had become Christians armed themselves against them, and killed the two captains and twenty-six gentlemen; and the other people who remained got back to the boats and returned to the ships, and, finding themselves again without captains, they agreed, inasmuch as the principal persons were killed, that one Joan Lopez, who was the chief treasurer, should be captain-major of the fleet, and the chief constable of the fleet should be captain of one of the ships. He was named Gonzalo Vas Despinosa.

Having done this, they set sail, and ran about twenty-five leagues with three ships, which they still possessed; they then mustered, and found that they were altogether one hundred eight men in all these three ships, and many of them were wounded and sick, on which account they did not venture to navigate the three ships and thought it would be well to burn one of them—the one that should be most suitable for that purpose—and to take into the two ships those that remained: this they did out at sea, out of sight of any land. While they did this many paraos came to speak to them, and navigating among the islands, for in that neighborhood there are a great many. They did not understand one another, for they had no interpreter, for he had been killed with Ferdinand Magellan. Sailing farther on among islets, they came to anchor at an island which is named Carpyam, where there is gold enough, and this island is in fully 8°.

While at anchor in this port of Carpyam they had speech with the inhabitants of the island, and made peace with them, and Carvalho, who was captain-major, gave them the boat of the ship which had been burned: this island has three islets in the offing. Here they took in refreshments, and sailed farther on to the west-southwest, and fell in with another island, which is named Caram, and is in 11°; from this they went on farther to west-southwest, and fell in with a large island, and ran along the coast of this island to the northeast, and reached as far as 9°, where they went ashore one day, with the boats equipped to[Pg 49] seek for provisions, for in the ships there was now not more than eight days' food. On reaching shore the inhabitants would not suffer them to land, and shot at them with arrows of cane hardened in fire, so that they returned to the ships.

Seeing this, they agreed to go to another island, where they had had some dealings, to see if they could get some provisions. Then they met with a contrary wind, and, going about in the direction in which they wished to go, they anchored, and while at anchor they saw people on shore hailing them to go thither; they went there with the boats, and as they were speaking to those people by signs, for they did not understand each other otherwise, a man-at-arms, named Joan de Campos, told them to let him go on shore, since there were no provisions in the ships, and it might be that they would obtain some means of getting provisions, and that, if the people killed him, they would not lose much with him, for God would take thought of his soul; and also if he found provisions, and if they did not kill him, he would find means for bringing them to the ships: and they thought well of this. So he went on shore, and as soon as he reached it the inhabitants received him and took him into the interior the distance of a league, and when he was in the village all the people came to see him, and they gave him food and entertained him well, especially when they saw that he ate pigs' flesh, because in this island they had dealings with the Moors of Borneo, and because the country people were greedy they made them neither eat pigs nor bring them up in the country. The country is called Dyguacam and is in 9°.

The said Christian, seeing that he was favored and well treated by the inhabitants, gave them to understand by his signs that they should carry provisions to the ships, which would be well paid for. In the country there was nothing except rice not pounded. Then the people set to pounding rice all the night, and when it was morning they took the rice and the said Christian and came to the ships, where they did them great honor, and took in the rice and paid them, and they returned on shore. This man being already set on shore, inhabitants of another village a little farther on came to the ships and told them they would give them much provisions for their money; and as soon as the said man whom they had sent arrived, they set sail and went to[Pg 50] anchor at the village of those who had come to call them, which was named Vay Palay Cucar a Canbam, where Carvalho made peace with the King of the country, and they settled the price of rice, and they gave them two measures of rice, which weighed one hundred fourteen pounds, for three fathoms of linen stuff of Britanny; they took there as much rice as they wanted, and goats and pigs; and while they were at this place there came a Moor, who had been in the village of Dyguacam, which belongs to the Moors of Borneo, as had been said above, and after that he went to his country.

While they were at anchor at this village of Dyguacam, there came to them a parao in which there was a negro named Bastiam, who asked for a flag and a passport for the Governor of Dyguacam, and they gave him all this and other things for a present. They asked the said Bastiam, who spoke Portuguese sufficiently well, since he had been in Molucca, where he had become a Christian, if he would go with them and show them Borneo; he said he would be very willing, and when the departure arrived he hid himself, and, seeing that he did not come, they set sail from this port of Dyguacam on July 21st to seek for Borneo. As they set sail there came to them a parao, which was coming to the port of Dyguacam, and they took it, and in it they took three Moors, who said they were pilots and that they would take them to Borneo.

Having got these Moors, they steered along this island to the southwest, and fell in with two islands at its extremity, and passed between them; that on the north side is named Bolyna, and that on the south Bamdym. Sailing to the west-southwest a matter of fourteen leagues, they fell in with a white bottom, which was a shoal below the water; and the black men they carried with them told them to draw near to the coast of the island, as it was deeper there, and that was more in the direction of Borneo, for from that neighborhood the island of Borneo could already be sighted. This same day they reached and anchored at some islands, to which they gave the name of islets of St. Paul, which was a matter of two and a half or three leagues from the great island of Borneo, and they were in about 7° at the south side of these islands. In the island of Borneo there is an exceedingly big mountain to which they gave the name of Mount[Pg 51] St. Paul; and from thence they navigated along the coast of Borneo to the southwest, between an island and the island of Borneo itself; and they went forward on the same course and reached the neighborhood of Borneo, and the Moors they had with them told them that there was no Borneo, and the wind did not suffer them to arrive thither, as it was contrary. They anchored at an island which is there, and which may be eight leagues from Borneo.

Close to this island is another which has many Myrobalans, and the next day they set sail for the other island, which is nearer to the port of Borneo; and going along thus they saw so many shoals that they anchored and sent the boats ashore in Borneo, and they took the aforesaid Moorish pilots on shore, and there went a Christian with them; and the boats went to set them on land, from whence they had to go to the city of Borneo, which was three leagues off, and there they were taken before the Shahbender of Borneo, and he asked what people they were, and for what they came in the ships; and they were presented to the King of Borneo with the Christian. As soon as the boats had set the said men on shore, they sounded, in order to see if the ships should come in closer; and during this they saw three junks which were coming from the port of Borneo—from the said city—out to sea, and as soon as they saw the ships they returned inshore; continuing to sound, they found the channel by which the port is entered; then they set sail, and entered this channel, and being within the channel they anchored, and would not go farther in until they received a message from the shore, which arrived next day with two paraos: these carried certain swivel guns of metal, and a hundred men in each parao, and they brought goats and fowls and two cows, and figs and other fruit, and told them to enter farther in opposite the islands which were near there, which was the true berth; and from this position to the city there might be three or four leagues. While thus at anchor they established peace, and settled that they should trade in what there was in the country, especially wax, to which they answered that they would be willing to sell all that there was in the country for their money. This port of Borneo is in 8°.

For the answer thus received from the King they sent him a[Pg 52] present by Gonzalo Mendes Despinosa, captain of the ship Victoria, and the King accepted the present, and gave to all of them China stuffs; and when there had passed twenty or twenty-three days that they were there trading with the people on the island, and had got five men on shore in the city itself, there came to anchor at the bar, close to them, five junks, at the hour of vespers, and they remained there that evening and the night until next day in the morning, when they saw coming from the city two hundred paraos, some under sail, others rowing. Seeing in this manner the five junks and the paraos, it seemed to them that there might be treachery, and they set sail for the junks, and as soon as the crews of the junks saw them under sail, they also set sail and made off where the wind best served them; and they overhauled one of the junks with boats, and took it with twenty-seven men; and the ships went and anchored abreast off the Island of the Myrobalans, with the junk made fast to the poop of the flag-ship, and the paraos returned to the shore, and when night came there came a squall from the west in which the said junk went to the bottom alongside the flag-ship, without being able to receive any assistance from it whatever.

Next day, in the morning, they saw a sail, and went to it and took it. This was a great junk in which the son of the King of Lucam came as captain, and had with him ninety men; and as soon as they took them they sent some of them to the King of Borneo; and they sent him word by these men to send the Christians whom they had got there, who were seven men, and they would give him all the people they had taken in the junk; on which account the King sent two men of seven whom he had got there in a parao, and they again sent him word to send the five men who still remained, and they would send all the people they had got from the junk. They waited two days for the answer, and there came no message; and they took thirty men from the junk, and sent them to the King of Borneo, and set sail with fourteen men of those they had taken and three women; and they steered along the coast of the said island to the northeast, returning backward, and they again passed between the islands and the great island of Borneo, where the flag-ship grounded on a point of the island, and so remained more than[Pg 53] four hours, and the tide turned and it got off, by which it was seen clearly that the tide was of twenty-four hours.

While making the aforesaid course the wind shifted to northeast, and they stood out to sea, and they saw a sail coming, and the ships anchored and the boats went to it and took it. It was a small junk and carried nothing but cocoanuts; and they took in water and wood, and set sail along the coast of the island to the northeast, until they reached the extremity of the said island, and met with another small island, where they overhauled the ships, and they gave it the name of Port St. Mary of August, and it is in fully 7°.

As soon as they had taken these precautions they set sail and steered to the southwest until they sighted the island, which is called Fagajam, and this is a course of thirty-eight to forty leagues; and as soon as they sighted this island they steered to the southwest, and again made an island which is called Seloque, and they had information that there were many pearls there; and when they had already sighted the island the wind shifted to a head wind, and they could not fetch it by the course they were sailing, and it seemed to them that it might be in 6°. This same night they arrived at the island of Quipe, and ran along it to the southeast, and passed between it and another island called Tamgym; and always running along the coast of the said island, and going thus, they fell in with a parao laden with sago leaves (which is of a tree which is named cajare), which the people of that country eat as bread. The parao carried twenty-one men, and the chief of them had been in Molucca, in the house of Francisco Semrryn; this was in 5°, a little more or less. The inhabitants of this land came to see the ships, and so they had speech of one another, and an old man of these people said he would conduct them to Molucca.

In this manner, having fixed a time with the old man, an agreement was made with him, and they gave him a certain price for this; and when the next day came, and they were to depart, the old man intended to escape, and they understood it, and took him and others who were with him, and who also said that they knew pilots' work, and they set sail; and as soon as the inhabitants saw them go, they fitted out to go after them; and of the paraos, there did not reach the ships more than two,[Pg 54] and these reached so near that they shot arrows into the ships, and the wind was fresh and they could not come up with them. At midnight of that day they sighted some islands, and they steered more toward them; and next day they saw land, which was an island; and at night following that day they found themselves very close to it, and when night fell the wind calmed and the currents drew them very much inshore; there the old pilot cast himself into the sea and betook himself to land.

Sailing thus forward, after one of the pilots had fled, they sighted another island and arrived close to it, and another Moorish pilot said that Molucca was still farther on; and navigating thus, the next day in the morning they sighted three high mountains, which belonged to a nation of people whom they called Salabos; and then they saw a small island and they anchored to take in some water, because they feared that in Molucca they would not be allowed to take it in; and they omitted doing so because the Moorish pilot told them that there were some four hundred in that island, and that they were all very bad, and might do them some injury, as they were men of little faith; and that he would give them no such advice as to go to that island; and also because Molucca, which they were seeking, was now near, and that its kings were good men, who gave a good reception to all sorts of men in their country; and while still in this neighborhood they saw the islands themselves of Molucca, and for rejoicing they fired all the artillery, and they arrived at the island on November 8, 1521, so that they spent from Spain to Molucca two years and two months.

As soon as they arrived at the island of Tydor, which is in 30', the King thereof did them great honor, which could not be exceeded. There they treated with the King for their cargo, and the King engaged to give them whatever there was in the country for their money, and they settled to give for the bahar of cloves fourteen ells of yellow cloth of seventy-seven tem, which are worth in Castile a ducat the ell; of red cloth of the same kind ten ells; they also gave thirty ells of Britanny linen cloth, and for each of these quantities they received a bahar of cloves; likewise for thirty knives, eight bahars. Having thus settled all the above mentioned prices, the inhabitants of the country gave them information that farther on, in another island[Pg 55] near, there was a Portuguese man. This island might be two leagues distant, and it was named Targatell. This man was the chief person of Molucca; there we now have got a fortress. They then wrote letters to the said Portuguese to come and speak with them, to which he answered that he did not dare, because the King of the country forbade it; that if they obtained permission from the King he would come at once. This permission they soon got, and the Portuguese came to speak with them.

They gave him an account of the prices which they had settled, at which he was amazed, and said on that account the King had ordered him not to come, as they did not know the truth about the prices of the country; and while they were thus taking in cargo there arrived the King of Baraham, which is near there, and said that he wished to be a vassal of the King of Castile, and also that he had got four hundred bahars of cloves, and that he had sold them to the King of Portugal, and that they had bought it, but that he had not yet delivered it; and if they wished for it, he would give it all to them; to which the captains answered that if he brought it to them, and came with it, they would buy it, but not otherwise. The King, seeing that they did not wish to take the cloves, asked them for a flag and a letter of safe-conduct, which they gave him, signed by the captains of the ships.

While they were thus waiting for the cargo, it seemed to them, from the delay in delivery, that the King was preparing some treachery against them, and the greater part of the ships' crews made an uproar and told the captains to go, as the delays which the King made were for nothing else than treachery: as it seemed to them all that it might be so, they were abandoning everything and were intending to depart; and being about to unfurl the sails, the King, who had made the agreement with them, came to the flag-ship and asked the captain why he wanted to go, because that which he had agreed upon with him he intended to fulfil it as had been settled. The captain replied that the ships' crews said they should go and not remain any longer, as it was only treachery that was being prepared against them. To this the King answered that it was not so, and on that account he at once sent for his Koran, upon which he[Pg 56] wished to make oath that nothing should be done to them. They at once brought him his Koran, and upon it he made oath, and told them to rest at ease with that. At this the crews were set at rest, and he promised them that he would give them their cargo by December 15, 1521, which he fulfilled within the said time, without being wanting in anything.

When the two ships were already laden and about to unfurl their sails, the flag-ship sprung a large leak, and, the King of the country learning this, he sent them twenty-five divers to stop the leak, which they were unable to do. They settled that the other ship should depart, and that this one should again discharge all its cargo and unload it; and as they could not stop the leak, the King promised that they, the people of the country, should give them all that they might be in need of. This was done, and they discharged the cargo of the flag-ship; and when the said ship was repaired, they took in her cargo, and decided on making for the country of the Antilles, and the course from Molucca to it was two thousand leagues, a little more or less. The other ship, which set sail first, left on December of the said year, and went out to sea for the Timor, and made its course behind Java, two thousand fifty-five leagues, to the Cape of Good Hope.


In order to double the Cape of Good Hope, we went as far as 42° south latitude, and we remained off that cape for nine weeks, with the sails struck, on account of the western and northwestern gales, which beat against our bows with fierce squalls. The Cape of Good Hope is in 34° 30' south latitude, sixteen hundred leagues distant from Cape of Molucca, and it is the largest and most dangerous cape in the world.

Some of our men, and among them the sick, would have liked to land at a place belonging to the Portuguese called Mozambique, both because the ship made much water and because of the great cold which we suffered; and much more because we had nothing but rice-water for food and drink, all the meat of which we had made provision having putrefied, for the want of salt had not permitted us to salt it. But the greater number of[Pg 57] us, prizing honor more than life itself, decided on attempting at any risk to return to Spain.

At length, by the aid of God, on the 6th of May, we passed the terrible cape, but we were obliged to approach it within only five leagues' distance, or else we should never have passed it. We then sailed toward the northwest for two whole months without ever taking rest; and in this short time we lost twenty-one men, between Christians and Indians. We made then a curious observation on throwing them into the sea; that was that the Christian remained with the face turned to the sky, and the Indians with the face turned to the sea. If God had not granted us favorable weather, we should all have perished of hunger.

Constrained by extreme necessity, we decided on touching at the Cape Verd island named St. James. Knowing that we were in an enemy's country and among suspicious persons, on sending the boat ashore to get provision of victuals, we charged the seamen to say to the Portuguese that we had sprung our foremast under the equinoctial line—although this misfortune had happened at the Cape of Good Hope—and that our ship was alone, because while we tried to repair it our captain-general had gone with the other two ships to Spain. With these good words, and giving our merchandise in exchange, we obtained two boat-loads of rice.

In order to see whether we had kept an exact account of the days, we charged those who went ashore to ask what day of the week it was, and they were told by the Portuguese inhabitants of the island that it was Thursday, which was a great cause of wondering to us, since with us it was only Wednesday. We could not persuade ourselves that we were mistaken; and I was more surprised than the others, since, having always been in good health, I had every day, without intermission, written down the day that was current. But we were afterward advised that there was no error on our part, since, as we had always sailed toward the west, following the course of the sun, and had returned to the same place, we must have gained twenty-four hours, as it is clear to anyone who reflects upon it.

The boat, having returned for rice a second time to the shore, was detained with thirteen men who were in it. As we saw that, and, from the movement in certain caravels, suspected[Pg 58] that they might wish to capture us and our ship, we at once set sail. We afterward learned, some time after our return, that our boat and men had been arrested, because one of our men had discovered the deception and said that the captain-general was dead, and that our ship was the only one remaining of Magellan's fleet.

At last, when it pleased heaven, on Saturday, September 6, 1522, we entered the Bay of San Lucar; and of sixty men who composed our crew when we left Molucca, we were reduced to only eighteen, and these for the most part sick. Of the others, some died of hunger, some had run away at the island of Timor, and some had been condemned to death for their crimes.

From the day when we left this Bay of San Lucar until our return thither, we reckoned that we had run more than fourteen thousand four hundred sixty leagues, and we had completed going round the earth from east to west.

Monday, September 8th, we cast anchor near the mole of Seville, and discharged all the artillery.

Tuesday we all went in shirts and barefoot, with a taper in our hands, to visit the shrine of Santa Maria de Antigua.

Then leaving Seville, I went to Valladolid, where I presented to his sacred majesty Don Carlos neither gold nor silver, but things more precious in the eyes of so great a sovereign. I presented to him, among other things, a book written by my hand of all the things that occurred day by day in our voyage. I departed thence as I was best able and went to Portugal, and related to King John the things which I had seen.


[32] Translated by Lord Stanley of Alderley.

[Pg 59]


A.D. 1520


From the magnificence of the preparations made for the famous meeting described in the following pages, the plain on which it took place, between Guines and Ardres, France, received the name of the "Field of the Cloth of Gold."

The meeting of the two kings, Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France, was brought about by circumstances connected with the rivalry between Francis and the emperor Charles V. The enmity of the two latter and their repeated wars form a principal subject of European history during many years.

Francis came to the throne in 1515, and the first four years of his reign were marked by brilliant successes, which brought him fame as a ruler and a warrior. But in 1519 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the imperial dignity, and Charles, being preferred before him, became emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

Great was the mortification of Francis and he soon after declared war against his rival. Both sought the alliance of Henry VIII, and in hopes of securing his friendship, and thereby preventing a union of the Emperor and the English King against himself, Francis arranged the meeting so brilliantly pictured by Brewer. But Francis, by overdoing this gorgeous reception, gave offence to Henry, whom he seemed to eclipse in magnificence. Meanwhile Charles, anticipating the interview, had visited Henry in England, and by his more politic address he secured the favor both of the English monarch and his great minister, Cardinal Wolsey.

Situated in a flat and uninviting plain—poor and barren, as the uncultivated border-land of the two kingdoms—Guines and its castle offered little attraction, and if possible less accommodation, to the gay throng now to be gathered within its walls. Its weedy moat and dismantled battlements, "its keep too ruinous to mend," defied the efforts of carpenters and bricklayers, as the English commissioners pathetically complained; and could not by any artifice or contrivance be made to assume the appearance of a formidable, or even a respectable, fortress to friend or enemy. But on the castle green, within the[Pg 60] limits of a few weeks, and in the face of great difficulties, the English artists of that day contrived a summer palace, more like a vision of romance, the creation of some fairy dream—if the accounts of eye-witnesses of all classes may be trusted—than the dull, every-day reality of clay-born bricks and mortar.

No "palace of art" in these beclouded climates of the West ever so truly deserved its name. As if the imagination of the age, pent up in wretched alleys and narrow dwelling-houses, had resolved for once to throw off its ordinary trammels and recompense itself for its long restraint, it prepared to realize those visions of enchanted bowers and ancient pageantry on which it had fed so long in the fictions and romances of the Middle Ages. I have thought it worth while to notice so much of the details as will enable the reader to form some slight conception for himself of this scene of enchantment which the genius of the age had contrived for its own amusement.

The palace was an exact square of three hundred twenty-eight feet. It was pierced on every side with oriel windows and clear-stories curiously glazed, the mullions and posts of which were overlaid with gold. An embattled gate, ornamented on both sides with statues representing men in various attitudes of war, and flanked by an embattled tower, guarded the entrance. From this gate to the entrance of the palace arose in long ascent a sloping dais or half pace, along which were grouped "images of sore and terrible countenances," in armor of argentine or bright metal. At the entrance, under an embowed landing-place, facing the great doors, stood "antique" (classical) figures girt with olive branches. The passages, the roofs of the galleries from place to place and from chamber to chamber, were ceiled and covered with white silk, fluted and embowed with silken hanging of divers colors and braided cloths, "which showed like bullions of fine burnished gold." The roofs of the chambers were studded with roses, set in lozenges, and diapered on a ground of fine gold. Panels enriched with antique carving and gilt bosses covered the spaces between the windows; while along all the corridors and from every window hung tapestry of silk and gold, embroidered with figures. Chairs covered with cushions of turkey-work, cloths of estate, of various shapes and sizes, overlaid[Pg 61] with golden tissue and rich embroidery, ornamented the state apartments. The square on every side was decorated with equal richness, and blazed with the same profusion of glass, gold, and ornamental hangings; and "every quarter of it, even the least, was a habitation fit for a prince," says Fleuranges, who had examined it with the critical eye of a rival and a Frenchman.

To the palace was attached a spacious chapel, still more sumptuously adorned. Its altars were hung with cloth of gold tissue embroidered with pearls; cloth of gold covered the walls and desks. Basins, censers, cruets, and other vessels, of the same precious materials, lent their lustre to its services. On the high altar, shaded by a magnificent canopy of immense proportions, stood enormous candlesticks and other ornaments of gold. Twelve golden images of the apostles, as large as children of four years old, astonished the eyes of the spectator. The copes and vestments of the officiating clergy were cloth of tissue powdered with red roses, brought from the looms of Florence, and woven in one piece, thickly studded with gold and jewelry. No less profusion might be seen in the two closets left apart for the King and the Queen. Images and sacred vessels of solid gold, in gold cloth, cumbrous with pearls and precious stones, attested the rank, the magnificence, and devotion of the occupants. The ceilings of these closets were gilded and painted; the hangings were of tapestry embroidered with fretwork of pearls and gems. The chapel was served by thirty-five priests and a proportionate number of singing-boys.

From the palace a secret gallery led into a private apartment in Guines castle, along which the royal visitors could pass and repass at pleasure.

The King was attended by squires of the body, sewers, gentlemen-ushers, grooms and pages of the chamber, for all of whom suitable accommodation had to be provided. The lord chamberlain, the lord steward, the lord treasurer of the household, the comptroller, with their numerous staffs, had to be lodged in apartments adapted to their rank and services. As it was one great object of the interview to entertain all comers with masques and banquetings of the most sumptuous kind, the mere rank and file of inferior officers and servants formed a colony of themselves. The bakehouse, pantry, cellar, buttery,[Pg 62] kitchen, larder, accatry, were amply provided with ovens, ranges, and culinary requirements, to say nothing of the stables, the troops of grooms, farriers, saddlers, stirrup-makers, furbishers, and footmen. Upward of two hundred attendants were employed in and about the kitchen alone.

Outside the palace gate, on the greensward, stood a quiet fountain, of antique workmanship, with a statue of Bacchus "birlyng the wine." Three runlets, fed by secret conduits hid beneath the earth, spouted claret, hypocras, and water into as many silver cups, to quench the thirst of all comers. On the opposite side was a pillar wreathed in gold, and supported by four gilt lions; and on the top stood an image of blind Cupid, armed with bow and arrows. The gate itself, built in massive style, was pierced with loop-holes. Its windows and recesses were filled with images of Hercules, Alexander, and other ancient worthies, richly gilt and painted. In long array, in the plain beyond, twenty-eight hundred tents stretched their white canvas before the eyes of the spectator, gay with the pennons, badges, and devices of the various occupants; while miscellaneous followers, in tens of thousands, attracted by profit or the novelty of the scene, camped on the grass and filled the surrounding slopes, in spite of the severity of provost-marshal and reiterated threats of mutilation and chastisement. Multitudes from the French frontiers, or the populous cities of Flanders, indifferent to the political significance of the scene, swarmed from their dingy homes to gaze on kings, queens, knights, and ladies dressed in their utmost splendor. Beggars, itinerant minstrels, venders of provisions and small luxuries, mixed with wagoners, ploughmen, laborers, and the motley troop of camp-followers, crowded round, or stretched themselves beneath the summer's sun on bundles of straw and grass, in drunken idleness. No better lodging awaited many a gay knight and lady who had travelled far to be present at the spectacle, and were obliged to content themselves with such open-air accommodation. Backward and forward surged the excited and unwieldy crowd, as every hour brought its fresh contingent of curiosity or criticism in the shape of some new-comer conspicuous for his fantastic bearing or the quaint fashion of his armor. Each new candidate for the love and honor of the ladies, for popular applause,[Pg 63] or less noble objects, was greeted with shouts and acclamations as he succeeded in distinguishing himself from the throng by the strangeness or splendor of his appointments. Christendom had never witnessed such a scene. The fantastic usages of the courts of Love and Beauty were revived once more. The Mediæval Age had gathered up its departing energies for this last display of its favorite pastime—henceforth to be consigned, without regret, to "the mouldered lodges of the past."

At the time that Henry set sail for Calais, Francis started from Montreuil for Ardres. It was a meagre old town, long since in ruins, the fosses and castle of which had been hastily repaired. He was attended on his route by a vast and motley multitude. No less than ten thousand of this poor vagrant crew were compelled to turn back, by a proclamation ordering that no person, without special permission, should approach within two leagues of the King's train, "on pain of the halter." As the French had proposed that both parties should lodge in tents erected on the field, they had prepared numerous pavilions, fitted up with halls, galleries, and chambers, ornamented within and without with gold and silver tissue. Amid golden balls and quaint devices glittering in the sun, rose a gilt figure of St. Michael, conspicuous for his blue mantle powdered with golden fleurs-de-lis, and crowning a royal pavilion, of vast dimensions, supported by a single mast. In his right hand he held a dart, in his left a shield emblazoned with the arms of France. Inside, the roof of the pavilion represented the canopy of heaven, ornamented with stars and figures of the zodiac. The lodgings of the Queen, of the Duchess of Alençon, the King's favorite sister, and of other ladies and princes of the blood were covered with cloth of gold. The rest of the tents, to the number of three hundred or four hundred, emblazoned with the arms of the owners, were pitched on the banks of a small river outside the city walls. A large house in the town, built for the occasion, served as a place of reception for royal visitors.

From June 4, 1520, when Henry first entered Guines, the festivities continued with unabated splendor for twenty days. They were opened by a visit of Wolsey to the French King, and gave the Cardinal an opportunity for displaying his love of magnificence, not unaptly reckoned by poets and philosophers as[Pg 64] the nearest virtue to magnanimity. A hundred archers of the guard, followed by fifty gentlemen of his household, clothed in crimson velvet with chains of gold, bareheaded, bonnet in hand, and mounted on magnificent horses richly caparisoned, led the way. After them came fifty gentlemen ushers, also bareheaded, carrying gold maces with knobs as big as a man's head; next a cross-bearer in scarlet, supporting a crucifix adorned with precious stones. Then four lackeys followed, with gilt bâtons and pole-axes, in paletots of crimson velvet, their bonnets in hand adorned with plumes, their coats ornamented before and behind with the Cardinal's badge in goldsmith's work. Lastly came the Legate himself, mounted on a barded mule trapped in crimson velvet, with gold front-stalls, studs, buckles, and stirrups. Over a chimere of figured crimson velvet he wore a fine linen rochet. Bishops and other ecclesiastics succeeded, and the whole procession was brought up by fifty archers of the King's guard, their bows bent, their quivers at their sides, their jackets of red cloth adorned with a gold rose before and behind.

In this state the procession approached the town of Ardres. Arrived at the King's lodgings Wolsey dismounted, amid the roar of artillery and the sound of drums, trumpets, fifes, and other instruments of music. He was received by the King of France, bonnet in hand, with the greatest demonstrations of affection. The visit was returned next day by the French. These ceremonies were preliminary to the meeting of the two sovereigns on Thursday, June 7th. On that day, the King of England, apparelled in cloth of silver damask, thickly ribbed with cloth of gold, and mounted on a charger arrayed in the most dazzling trappings overlaid with fine gold and curiously wrought in mosaic, advanced toward the valley of Ardres. No man, from personal inclinations or personal qualities, was better calculated to sustain his part in a brilliant ceremonial such as then struck the eyes of the spectators. An admirable horseman, tall and muscular, slightly inclined to corpulence, with a red beard and ruddy countenance, Henry VIII was at this time, by the admission of his rivals, the most comely and commanding prince of his age. Closely attending on the King was Sir Henry Guilford, the master of the horse, leading a spare charger, not less splendidly arrayed in trappings of fine gold wrought in ciphers,[Pg 65] with headstall, reins, and saddle of the same material. Nine henchmen followed in cloth of tissue, the harness of their horses covered with gold scales. In front rode the old Marquis of Dorset, bearing the sword of estate before the King; behind came the Cardinal, the Dukes of Buckingham and Suffolk, with the Earl of Shrewsbury and others.

A shot fired from the castle of Guines, and responded to by a shot from the castle of Ardre, gave warning that the two princes were ready to set forward. As Henry advanced toward the valley with all his company in military array, the French King might be descried on the opposite hill with his dazzling company, in dress, deportment, and the splendor of his retinue not less glorious or conspicuous than his rival. Over a short cassock of gold frieze he wore a mantle of cloth of gold covered with jewels. The front and the sleeves were studded with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and large loose-hanging pearls; on his head he wore a velvet bonnet adorned with plumes and precious stones. Far in advance rode the provost-marshal with his archers to clear the ground. Then followed the marshals of the army in cloth of gold, their orders about their necks, mounted on horses covered with gold trappings; next the grand master, the princes of the blood, and the King of Navarre. After them came the Swiss guard on foot, in new liveries, with their drums, flutes, trumpets, clarions, and hautboys; then the gentlemen of the household; and immediately preceding the King was the grand constable, Bourbon, bearing the sword naked, and the grand ecuyer, with the sword of France, powdered with gold fleurs-de-lis.

As the two companies approached each other, there was a momentary pause. The French watched with some jealousy the close array of the English footmen, who, stretched in a long line on the King's left, marched step for step with all the solemn gravity of their nation, as if they were rather preparing for battle than pastime, while, on the other side, the superior numbers of the French awakened the national jealousy of the Englishmen. "Sir, ye be my king and sovereign," broke in the lord Abergavenny in breathless haste; "wherefore, above all I am bound to show you truth, and not to let [stop] for none. I have been in the French party, and they may be more in number; double[Pg 66] so many as ye be." Then spoke up the Earl of Shrewsbury, "Sire, whatever my lord of Abergavenny sayeth, I myself have been there, and the Frenchmen be more in fear of you and your subjects than your subjects be of them. Wherefore," said the Earl, "if I were worthy to give counsel, your grace should march forward." "So we intend, my lord," replied the King. "On afore, my masters!" shouted the officers of arms; and the whole company halted, face foremost, close by the valley of Ardres.

A minute's pause—a breathless silence, followed by a slight stir on both sides. Then from the dense array of cloth of gold, silver, and jewelry, of white plumes and waving pennons, amid the acclamations of myriads of spectators on the surrounding hills, and the shrill burst of pipes, trumpets, and clarions, two horsemen were seen to emerge, and, in the sight of both nations, slowly descend into the valley from opposite sides. These were the two sovereigns. As they approached nearer they spurred their horses to a gallop; then, uncovering, embraced each other on horseback, and, after dismounting, embraced again. While the two sovereigns proceeded arm in arm to a rich pavilion—which no one else was allowed to enter, except Wolsey on one side and the Admiral of France on the other—the officers on both sides, intermingling their ranks, made good cheer, and toasted each other in broken French and English, "Bons amys, French and English!"

Friday and Saturday were occupied in preparing the field for the tournament. The lists, nine hundred feet in length and three hundred twenty feet broad, were pitched on a rising ground in the territory of Guines, about half way between Guines and Ardres. Galleries hung with tapestry surrounded the enclosure, and on the right side, in the place of honor, were two glazed chambers for the two Queens. A deep foss served to keep off the crowd. The entrances were guarded by twelve French and twelve English archers; and at the foot of the lists, under a triumphal arch, stood the perron, or tree of nobility, from which the shields of the two Kings were suspended on a higher line than those of the other challengers and answerers. The perron for Henry VIII was formed of a hawthorn; and for Francis I a raspberry (framboisier), in supposed allusion to his name. Cloth of gold served for the trunk and dried leaves; the[Pg 67] foliage was of green silk; the flowers and fruits of silver and Venetian gold. Under the tree, which measured in compass not less than one hundred twenty-nine feet, the heralds took their stand on an artificial mound, surrounded by railings of green damask.

On Sunday, while the French King dined at Guines with the Queen of England, the English King dined with the French Queen and the Duchess of Alençon at Ardres. On arriving at the Queen's lodgings, Henry was received by Louis of Savoy and a bevy of ladies magnificently dressed. Passing slowly through their ranks, in leisurely admiration of their charms, he reached the apartment where the Queen attended his coming. As he made his reverence to the Queen, she rose from her chair of state to meet him. Kneeling with one knee on the ground, his bonnet in his hand, he first kissed the Queen, next Madame, then the Duchess of Alençon, and finally all the princesses and ladies of the company. This done, dinner was announced. At the third service, Mountjoy's herald entered with a great golden goblet, crying in the name of the King of England, "Largess to the most high, mighty, and excellent prince, Henry, King of England, etc. Largess, largess!" The banquet ended at five in the evening, when the King took his leave. To display his skill before the ladies, he set spurs to his horse, making it bound and curvet "as valiantly as any man could do."

The jousts commenced on Monday, the 11th. The rules adopted to secure fair play and guard against accidents may be read by those curious in such matters in the original black-letter Ordonnance, printed at the time.

On the first day the Kings of England and France, with their aids, held the lists against all comers; and, with the exception of Wednesday, when the wind was too high, the jousts continued without interruption throughout the week. On Sunday, the two Kings exchanged hospitality as before. On this occasion, Francis, dropping all reserve, visited the King of England before eight in the morning, attended by four companions only, and, entering his apartment without ceremony, embraced him as he was seated at breakfast. The jousts were concluded in the following week, with a solemn mass sung by the Cardinal in a chapel erected on the field. The arrangements observed on this occasion,[Pg 68] not less elaborate than those by which the feats of arms were regulated, may be read in the same volume as the Ordonnance. Here, as in the ceremonial of the lists, the spirit of chivalry reigned triumphant. When the Cardinal of Bourbon, according to the usages of the time, presented the Gospel to the French King to kiss, Francis, declining, commanded it to be offered to the King of England, who was too well bred to accept the honor. When the Pax was presented at the Agnus Dei, the two sovereigns repeated the same mannerly breeding. The two Queens were equally ceremonious. After a polite altercation of some minutes, when neither would decide who should be the first to kiss the Pax, woman-like they kissed each other instead. A sermon in Latin, enlarging on the blessings of peace, was delivered by Pace at the close of the service; and a salamander was sent up in the air in the direction of Guines, to the astonishment and terror of the beholders. The whole was concluded with a banquet, at which the royal ladies, too polite to eat, spent their time in conversation; but the legates, cardinals, and prelates dined, drank, and ate sans fiction in another room by themselves.

On Sunday, June 24th, the Kings met in the lists to interchange gifts and bid each other farewell. Henry and his court left for Calais; Francis returned to Abbeville.

The two Kings parted on the best of terms, as the world thought, and with mutual feelings of regret. Yet Henry had already arranged to meet the Emperor at Gravelines, there settle the terms of a new convention, to the disadvantage of the French King. The imperial envoy, the Marquis d'Arschot, arrived at Calais on July 4th, and was received by the Duke of Buckingham. On the 5th the King visited Gravelines, and returned with the Emperor to Calais three days after. The interview, graced by the presence of Charles, his brother Ferdinand, Herman, the Archbishop of Cologne, and the Lord Chièvres, though less splendid, was more cordial than the interview with the French King, and was meant for business.

Frugal and reserved, the Emperor contrived, by his simple and unostentatious habits, to render himself more agreeable to his English guests than even Francis had been able to do with all his profuse and expensive civilities. Not, as some may condemn[Pg 69] us, in consequence of our national fickleness; nor, as others may excuse us, because Englishmen preferred the plainer manners of the German or the Fleming; but because in the interview with Francis, in spite of appearances, there was no real cordiality. A tournament, in fact, was the least eligible method of promoting friendly feeling; it was more likely to engender unpleasant disputes and jealousies. To enforce the rules laid down for preserving order and fair play among the combatants was not an easy or a popular task. National rivalry was apt to break out, and it was hard for the judges to escape the imputation of partiality. Nor did the English, it must be admitted, return from the field in much good humor. With a feeling of complacency engendered by their insular position and their long isolation from the Continent, they had been wont to consider themselves as far superior to the French in all exercises of strength and agility. The French knights had shown themselves fully equal to their English opponents; the French King was not inferior in personal courage and activity to his English rival. Then rumors, such as spring up like the dragon's teeth in vast and motley multitudes, evidently fanned and fostered by Flemish emissaries, continually represented the French as engaged in contriving some act of treachery against the English King and nation. Among the nobles, also, the Dukes of Suffolk and Buckingham, the lord Abergavenny, and others were glad of any pretext for maligning a pageant of which Wolsey had the prime direction.

Francis still hovered on the frontier in the fruitless hope of being invited to take part in this interview with the Emperor. The day before Charles left Ghent, the Lady Vendôme and the Duchess her daughter-in-law contrived to have business in that town, but their artifice was not successful. Francis was obliged to content himself with the assurance that the visage and countenance of his English ally appeared "not to be so replenished with joy" as at the valley of Ardres, and that he had given proofs of undiminished affection by riding a courser that Francis had given him. With an impressiveness intended to be candid, he told Sir Richard Wingfield, who had succeeded as English resident at the French court, that "if the King Catholic were a prince of like faith unto the King his[Pg 70] brother [Henry], and that he might perceive from Wolsey that his coming thither [to Calais] might be the cause of any good conclusion between them" (that is, between himself and the Emperor), "he would not fail to come in post, and not to have looked for rank and place to him belonging, but would have put him into the King's chamber as one of the number of the same." But neither his extreme humility nor his flattering proposal that Henry and himself, "the chief pillars of Christendom," should handle the Pope, whom Francis knew "to be at some season the fearfulest creature of the world, and at some other to be as brave," nor the schemes and blandishments of the ladies, availed. He chafed under disappointment; still more at his ill-success in counteracting the growing intimacy of Henry and the Emperor. He had exhausted, to little purpose, "that liberal and unsuspicious confidence" which too credulous historians are apt to think characterized his proceedings at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, to the disadvantage of his less attractive and engaging contemporary. He could neither prevent the meetings of his two rivals nor penetrate their secrets. He was utterly foiled, yet dared not show his resentment. While the Pope and the Spaniards, unable to penetrate beneath the surface or read the signs of the times, were puzzled and scandalized at the Emperor's condescension, the world looked on with astonishment, as well it might, to see the two monarchs of the West thus anxiously soliciting the Cardinal's good graces. What could there be in the son of a butcher to command such deference?

Of the projects discussed at this interview we are not precisely informed. The English version, intended for the meridian of the French court, and to lull the suspicions of Francis, is the only account we possess. If any credit be due to a statement prepared under such circumstances and calculated to alienate the French King irrecoverably from the Emperor, we are to believe that the imperial ambassadors had already proposed to Henry to break off his matrimonial engagement with France, and transfer the hand of the princess Mary to the Emperor. As an inducement for the King to coincide in this arrangement, the Emperor undertook to make war on France by sea and land, and not desist until Henry "had recovered his[Pg 71] right and title in the same." The King, according to the same document, rejected such a treacherous overture with the utmost horror, vehemently protesting against its immorality and perfidiousness. That such a proposal was made, though probably not by Chièvres, to whom it is attributed—that it was accepted by England, but with none of the indignation described in the document—is clear beyond dispute. Long before any interruption had occurred in the amicable relations between the two countries, before even the landing of Charles at Canterbury, or in the interview in the valley of Ardres, it had been secretly proposed that the French engagement should be set aside, and the hand of Mary be transferred to the Emperor. The King's horror at this act of faithlessness—if it had any existence beyond the paper on which it was written—must have been tardy and gratuitous, seeing that the chief purpose of the meeting at Calais was to settle the basis of this matrimonial alliance, and obtain the solemn ratification of the Emperor.

[Pg 72]


A.D. 1521


Spain had already begun to conquer and colonize the New World when in 1519 Hernando Cortés, with about 700 men, landed in Mexico, having previously served in Española (Haiti) and Cuba. He was born in Medellin, Estremadura, Spain, in 1485, and was therefore now about thirty-four years of age. To make the retreat of his force impossible, he destroyed his ships and marched into the interior and established himself in the capital city, Tenochtitlan, on the site of the present city of Mexico.

Cortés found Southern Mexico under the rule of the Aztecs (more correctly Aztecas), a partly civilized and powerful branch of Nahuatl Indians of Central Mexico. They had formed a confederacy with other tribes, and now maintained a formidable empire in the Mexican valley plateau. Their emperor was Montezuma II, who sent messengers to remonstrate against the advance of Cortés. The Spaniard continued his march, entered the city, and soon made Montezuma his prisoner, holding him as a hostage. In June, 1520, the Spaniards were besieged in the city; during a parley Montezuma was killed; on the night of the 30th the Spaniards, while trying to leave the city, lost half their men in a severe fight, and only after another battle (July 7th) escaped into Tlascala.

Reorganizing his force, strengthened by Indian allies and by ships which he built on the lakes, Cortés, in May, 1521, began the siege of Mexico, as historians call the Aztec capital. Guatemotzin, the last of the Aztec emperors, made a desperate defence, and before its capture the city was almost destroyed. On August 12th the Spaniards made a strong assault, which so weakened the defenders that the following day was to be the last of the once flourishing empire. Cortés' chief lieutenants were Pedro de Alvarado, Gonzalo de Sandoval, and Olid, famous Spanish soldiers.

After taking the capital city, Cortes, being empowered by Guatemotzin, conquered the whole of Mexico, which was called New Spain, and in 1523 he was appointed governor.

On the morning of August 13, 1521, the Spanish commander again mustered his forces, having decided to follow up the blow of the preceding day before the enemy should have time to rally, and at once to put an end to the war. He had[Pg 73] arranged with Alvarado, on the evening previous, to occupy the market-place of Tlatelolco; and the discharge of an arquebuse was to be the signal for a simultaneous assault. Sandoval was to hold the northern causeway, and, with the fleet, to watch the movements of the Indian Emperor and to intercept the flight to the mainland, which Cortés knew he meditated. To allow him to effect this would be to leave a formidable enemy in his own neighborhood, who might at any time kindle the flame of insurrection throughout the country. He ordered Sandoval, however, to do no harm to the royal person, and not to fire on the enemy at all except in self-defence.

It was the day of St. Hippolytus—from this circumstance selected as the patron saint of modern Mexico—that Cortés led his warlike array for the last time across the black and blasted environs which lay around the Indian capital. On entering the Aztec precincts he paused, willing to afford its wretched inmates one more chance of escape before striking the fatal blow. He obtained an interview with some of the principal chiefs, and expostulated with them on the conduct of their Prince. "He surely will not," said the general, "see you all perish, when he can easily save you." He then urged them to prevail on Guatemotzin to hold a conference with him, repeating the assurances of his personal safety.

The messengers went on their mission, and soon returned with the Cihuacoatl at their head, a magistrate of high authority among the Mexicans. He said, with a melancholy air, in which his own disappointment was visible, that "Guatemotzin was ready to die where he was, but would hold no interview with the Spanish commander"; adding in a tone of resignation, "It is for you to work your pleasure." "Go, then," replied the stern conqueror, "and prepare your countrymen for death. Their hour is come."

He still postponed the assault for several hours. But the impatience of his troops at this delay was heightened by the rumor that Guatemotzin and his nobles were preparing to escape with their effects in the periaguas and canoes which were moored on the margin of the lake. Convinced of the fruitlessness and impolicy of further procrastination, Cortés made his final dispositions for the attack, and took his own[Pg 74] station on an azotea which commanded the theatre of operations.

When the assailants came into the presence of the enemy, they found them huddled together in the utmost confusion, all ages and both sexes, in masses so dense that they nearly forced one another over the brink of the causeways into the water below. Some had climbed on the terraces, others feebly supported themselves against the walls of the buildings. Their squalid and tattered garments gave a wildness to their appearance which still further heightened the ferocity of their expression, as they glared on their enemy with eyes in which hate was mingled with despair. When the Spaniards had approached within bow-shot, the Aztecs let off a flight of impotent missiles, showing to the last the resolute spirit, though they had lost the strength, of their better days. The fatal signal was then given by the discharge of an arquebuse—speedily followed by peals of heavy ordnance, the rattle of fire-arms, and the hellish shouts of the confederates as they sprang upon their victims.

It is unnecessary to stain the page with a repetition of the horrors of the preceding day. Some of the wretched Aztecs threw themselves into the water and were picked up by the canoes. Others sank and were suffocated in the canals. The number of these became so great that a bridge was made of their dead bodies, over which the assailants could climb to the opposite banks. Others again, especially the women, begged for mercy, which, as the chroniclers assure us, was everywhere granted by the Spaniards, and, contrary to the instructions and entreaties of Cortés, everywhere refused by the confederates.

While this work of butchery was going on, numbers were observed pushing off in the barks that lined the shore, and making the best of their way across the lake. They were constantly intercepted by the brigantines, which broke the flimsy array of boats, sending off their volleys to the right and left as the crews of the latter hotly assailed them. The battle raged as fiercely on the lake as on the land. Many of the Indian vessels were shattered and overturned. Some few, however, under cover of smoke, which rolled darkly over the waters, succeeded in clearing themselves of the turmoil, and were fast nearing the opposite shore.[Pg 75] Sandoval had particularly charged his captains to keep an eye on the movements of any vessel in which it was at all probable that Guatemotzin might be concealed. At this crisis, three or four of the largest periaguas were seen skimming over the water and making their way rapidly across the lake. A captain, named Garci Holguin, who had command of one of the best sailors in the fleet, instantly gave them chase. The wind was favorable, and every moment he gained on the fugitives, who pulled their oars with a vigor that despair alone could have given. But it was in vain; and after a short race, Holguin, coming alongside of one of the periaguas, which, whether from its appearance or from information he had received, he conjectured might bear the Indian Emperor, ordered his men to level their cross-bows at the boat. But, before they could discharge them a cry arose from those in it that their lord was on board. At the same moment a young warrior, armed with buckler and maquahuitl, rose up, as if to beat off the assailants. But, as the Spanish captain ordered his men not to shoot, he dropped his weapons and exclaimed: "I am Guatemotzin. Lead me to Malintzin;[33] I am his prisoner, but let no harm come to my wife and my followers."

Holguin assured him that his wishes should be respected, and assisted him to get on board the brigantine, followed by his wife and attendants. These were twenty in number, consisting of Coanaco, the deposed Lord of Tlacopan, the Lord of Tlacopan, and several other caciques and dignitaries, whose rank, probably, had secured them some exemption from the general calamities of the siege. When the captives were seated on the deck of the vessel Holguin requested the Aztec Prince to put an end to the combat by commanding his people in the other canoes to surrender. But with a dejected air he replied: "It is not necessary. They will fight no longer when they see their Prince is taken." He spoke the truth. The news of Guatemotzin's capture spread rapidly through the fleet and on shore, where the Mexicans were still engaged in conflict with their enemies. It ceased, however, at once. They made no further resistance; and those on the water quickly followed the brigantines, which conveyed their captive monarch[Pg 76] to land. It seemed as if the fight had been maintained thus long the better to divert the enemy's attention and cover their master's retreat.

Meanwhile, Sandoval, on receiving tidings of the capture, brought his own brigantine alongside of Holguin's and demanded the royal prisoner to be surrendered to him. But the captain claimed him as his prize. A dispute arose between the parties, each anxious to have the glory of the deed, and perhaps the privilege of commemorating it on his escutcheon. The controversy continued so long that it reached the ears of Cortés, who, in his station on the azotea, had learned with no little satisfaction the capture of his enemy. He instantly sent orders to his wrangling officers to bring Guatemotzin before him, that he might adjust the difference between them. He charged them, at the same time, to treat their prisoner with respect. He then made preparations for the interview, caused the terrace to be carpeted with crimson cloth and matting, and a table to be spread with provisions, of which the unhappy Aztecs stood so much in need. His lovely Indian mistress, Doña Marina, was present to act as interpreter. She stood by his side through all the troubled scenes of the conquest, and she was there now to witness its triumphant termination.

Guatemotzin, on landing, was escorted by a company of infantry to the presence of the Spanish commander. He mounted the azotea with a calm and steady step, and was easily to be distinguished from his attendant nobles, though his full, dark eye was no longer lighted up with its accustomed fire, and his features wore an expression of passive resignation, that told little of the fierce and fiery spirit that burned within. His head was large, his limbs well proportioned, his complexion fairer than that of his bronze-colored nation, and his whole deportment singularly mild and engaging.

Cortés came forward with a dignified and studied courtesy to receive him. The Aztec monarch probably knew the person of his conqueror, for he first broke silence by saying: "I have done all that I could to defend myself and my people. I am now reduced to this state. You will deal with me, Malintzin, as you list." Then, laying his hand on the hilt of a poniard[Pg 77] stuck in the General's belt, he added with vehemence, "Better despatch me with this, and rid me of life at once." Cortés was filled with admiration at the proud bearing of the young barbarian, showing in his reverses a spirit worthy of an ancient Roman. "Fear not," he replied; "you shall be treated with all honor. You have defended your capital like a brave warrior. A Spaniard knows how to respect valor even in an enemy." He then inquired of him where he had left the Princess his wife; and, being informed that she still remained under protection of a Spanish guard on board the brigantine, the General sent to have her escorted to his presence.

She was the youngest daughter of Montezuma, and was hardly yet on the verge of womanhood. On the accession of her cousin Guatemotzin to the throne, she had been wedded to him as his lawful wife. She is celebrated by her contemporaries for her personal charms; and the beautiful Princess Tecuichpo is still commemorated by the Spaniards, since from her by a subsequent marriage are descended some of the illustrious families of their own nation. She was kindly received by Cortés, who showed her the respectful attentions suited to her rank. Her birth, no doubt, gave her an additional interest in his eyes, and he may have felt some touch of compunction as he gazed on the daughter of the unfortunate Montezuma. He invited his royal captives to partake of the refreshments which their exhausted condition rendered so necessary. Meanwhile the Spanish commander made his dispositions for the night, ordering Sandoval to escort the prisoners to Cojohuacan, whither he proposed himself immediately to follow. The other captains, Olid and Alvarado, were to draw off their forces to their respective quarters.

It was impossible for them to continue in the capital, where the poisonous effluvia from the unburied carcasses loaded the air with infection. A small guard only was stationed to keep order in the wasted suburbs. It was the hour of vespers when Guatemotzin surrendered, and the siege might be considered as then concluded. The evening set in dark, and the rain began to fall before the several parties had evacuated the city.

During the night a tremendous tempest, such as the Spaniards had rarely witnessed, and such as is known only within[Pg 78] the tropics, burst over the Mexican valley. The thunder, reverberating from the rocky amphitheatre of hills, bellowed over the waste of waters, and shook the teocallis and crazy tenements of Tenochtitlan—the few that yet survived—to their foundations. The lightning seemed to cleave asunder the vault of heaven, as its vivid flashes wrapped the whole scene in a ghastly glare for a moment, to be again swallowed up in darkness. The war of elements was in unison with the fortunes of the ruined city. It seemed as if the deities of Anahuac,[34] scared from their ancient bodies, were borne along shrieking and howling in the blast, as they abandoned the fallen capital to its fate.


[33] A name given by the Indians to Cortés.

[34] The low water-bordered coastal region of Mexico. The name is now applied to a part of the table-land near the city of Mexico.—Ed.

[Pg 79]


A.D. 1523


Gustavus Vasa, son of Eric Johanson, and hence called Gustavus Ericson, was descended from the house of Vasa, and before the beginning of his long reign (1523-1560) as king of Sweden had served his country against the Danes, who were the controlling power in the union with Sweden and Norway. In a battle fought at the Brennkirk, July 22, 1518, Gustavus, then twenty-two years old, bore the Swedish banner. This battle resulted in the defeat of Christian II of Denmark. Gustavus was given as a hostage to Christian during his interview with the Swedish administrator, and the Dane treacherously carried the young patriot off to Denmark. In the following year he escaped in the disguise of a peasant.

Sweden was conquered by Christian in 1520, and in the same year, having taken Stockholm, he ordered there the massacre of the nobility, known as the "Blood-bath." Ninety of the leading men of Sweden, including the father of Gustavus, were put to death. This outrage provoked an uprising, in which the province of Dalecarlia bore the leading part, and its people followed Gustavus in a movement for independence. He soon gathered an army of his adherents, called "Dalesmen"—men of the dales—strong enough to meet the enemy.

Gustavus Vasa is not only famed as the deliverer of Sweden, but also as the promoter of popular education in his country, and for the support which he gave to the Reformation, he himself having early embraced the doctrines of Luther.

The heroic aspects of this Scandinavian patriot and King have alike endeared his memory to his own people and made his fame to endure in the world annals of mankind. His last appearance and address before the estates of his kingdom, in the closing year of his life, have been finely commemorated in art, with a commingling of power and pathos, the aged monarch taking leave of his people and his throne. "He took his place in the hall of assemblage, accompanied by all his sons. The King having saluted the estates, they listened for the last time to the accents of that eloquence so well liked by the people."

Gustavus I (Vasa) addressing his last meeting of the
Estates Gustavus I (Vasa) addressing his last meeting of the Estates

Painting by L. Hersent

The most influential yeomen of all the parishes in the eastern and western dales elected Gustavus to be "lord and chieftain over them and the commons of the realm of Sweden." Some scholars who had arrived from Westeras brought with[Pg 80] them new accounts of the tyranny of Christian. Gustavus placed them amid a ring of peasants to tell their story and answer the questions of the crowd. Old men represented it as a comfortable sign for the people, that as often as Gustavus discoursed to them the north wind always blew, "which was an old token to them that God would grant them good success." Sixteen active peasants were appointed to be his bodyguard; and two hundred more youths who joined him were called his foot-goers. The chronicles reckon his reign from this small beginning; while the Danes and their abettors in Stockholm long continued to speak of him and his party as a band of robbers in the woods.

Thus the Dalesmen swore fidelity to Gustavus—the inhabitants, namely, of the upper parishes on both arms of the Dal-elf, where a numerous people, living amid wild yet grand natural scenery and hardened by privations, is still known by that name. Gustavus came to the Kopparberg with several hundred men in the early part of February, 1521, there took prisoner his enemy Christopher Olson, the powerful warden of the mines, made himself master of the money collected for the crown dues, and of the wares of the Danish traders on the spot, distributed both the money and goods among his men—who made their first standard from the silk stuffs there taken—and then returned to the Dales. Not long afterward, on a Sunday, when the people of the Kopparberg were at church, Gustavus again appeared at the head of fifteen hundred Dalesmen. He spoke to the people after divine service, and now the miners likewise swore fidelity to his cause. Thereupon the commonalty of the mining districts and the Dalesmen wrote to the commons of Helsingland, requesting that the Helsingers might bear themselves like true Swedish men against the overbearing violence and tyranny of the Danes. Those cruelties which King Christian had already exercised on the best in the land, they said, would soon reach every man's door and fill all the houses of Sweden with the tears and shrieks of widows and orphans; if they would take up arms and show themselves to be stout-hearted men, there was now good hope for victory and triumph under a praiseworthy captain, the lord Gustavus Ericson, whom God had preserved "as a drop[Pg 81] of the knightly blood of Sweden"; wherefore they begged them to give their help for the sake of the brotherly league by which, since early times, the commonalty of both countries had been united.

Ten years afterward, the Dalecarlians recall the fact that they had received a friendly answer to the request which their accredited messengers had preferred on that occasion, and that their neighbors the Helsingers had promised to stand by them as one man, "whatever evils might befall them from the oppression of foreign or native masters." When Gustavus had begun the siege of Stockholm, every third man of the Helsingers in fact marched thither to strengthen his army. Yet at first they hesitated to embrace the cause, although Gustavus himself went among them, and spoke to the assembled people from the barrow on the royal domain of Norrala. Thence he proceeded to Gestricland, where fugitives from Stockholm had already prepared men's minds. The burghers of Gefle, and commissioners from several parishes, swore fidelity to him in the name of the whole province. Here the rumor reached him that the Dalecarlians had already suffered a defeat; he hastened back, and soon received an account of the first victory of his followers.

Letters of the magistracy of Stockholm, which were sent over the whole kingdom, warned the people to avoid all participation in the revolt. Relief was supplicated from the King; additions were made to the fortifications of the capital, sloops and barks were equipped, in order, as it was said, to deprive "Gustavus Ericson and his company of malefactors of all opportunity of quitting the country," but really to keep the approaches on the side of the sea open, which were obstructed by the fishers and peasants of the islets, who had begun to take arms for Gustavus. Special admonitory letters were despatched to Helsingland and Dalecarlia, signed by Gustavus Trolle, his father Eric Trolle, and Canute Bennetson (Sparre) of Engsoe, styling themselves the council of the realm of Sweden, by which, however, say the chronicles, the royal cause was rather damaged than strengthened. "For when the Dalesmen and miners heard the letter, they said it was manifest to them that the council at this time was but small and thin, since it consisted of only three men, and these of little weight."[Pg 82] Gustavus Trolle, the Danish bishops, Canute Bennetson, above named, and Henry of Mellen, the King's lieutenant at Westeras—where they had recently been assembled with commissioners from the magistracy of Stockholm by Bishop Otho—now marched with six thousand men of horse and foot toward the Dal River, and encamped at the ferry of Brunback. On the other side the Dalecarlians guarded this frontier of their country, under the command of Peter Swenson of Viderboda, a powerful miner, whom Gustavus had appointed their captain in his absence. When those in the Danish camp observed how the Dalesmen shot their arrows across the stream, Bishop Beldenacke is said to have inquired of the Swedish lords present—to use the words of the chronicles—"how great a force the tract above the Long Wood (the forest on the boundary between Westmanland and Dalecarlia) could furnish at the utmost?" Answer was made to him, full twenty thousand men. Yet further he asked where so many mouths might obtain sustenance? To this it was replied that the people were not used to dainty meats; they drunk for the most part nothing but water, and, if need were, could be satisfied with bark-bread. Then Beldenacke declared: "Men who eat wood and drink water the devil himself could not overcome, much less anyone else. Brethren, let us leave this place!" The story makes the Danes hereupon prepare for breaking up their encampment. However this may be, it is certain that Peter Swenson, with the Dalesmen, crossed the Dal secretly, by a circuit, at Utsund's Ferry, surprised the camp, and put the foe to rout.

Gustavus had himself dealt with the inhabitants of Helsingland and Gestricland, in order to insure himself against leaving foes in the rear, and, after his return to the Dales, he prepared for an expedition into the lower country. He assembled his troops at Hedemora, and sought to inure them to habits of order and obedience by military exercises. The dale peasant had no fire-arms and knew little of discipline; his weapons were the axe, the bow, the pike, and the sling, the latter sometimes throwing pieces of red-hot iron. Gustavus instructed his men to fashion their arrows in a more effective shape, and increased the length of the spear by four[Pg 83] or five feet, with a view to repel the attacks of cavalry. He caused monetary tokens to be struck—an expedient which seems to have been not uncommon in Sweden, since, from a remote period, even leather money is mentioned. The coins now struck at Hedemora were of copper, with a small admixture of silver, similar to those introduced by the King, and called "Christian's klippings;" on one side was the impress of an armed man; on the other, arrows laid crosswise, with three crowns.

Gustavus broke from his quarters, and marched across the Long Wood into Westmanland. His course lay through districts which bore traces yet fresh of the enemy's passage. The peasantry rose as he advanced. On St. George's Day, April 23d, he mustered his army at the church of Romfertuna. The number is stated by the chronicles at from fifteen to twenty thousand men, yet on the correctness of this little reliance can be placed, even if we did not absolutely class this account with those which compare the multitude of Dalesmen in the fight of Brunneback to the sands of the sea-shore and the leaves of the forest, and their arrows to the hail of the storm-cloud. The liberation of Sweden by Gustavus Vasa is a history written by the people, and they counted neither themselves nor their foes. The army was now divided under two generals, Lawrence Olaveson and Lawrence Ericson, both practised warriors. Gustavus next issued his declaration of war against Christian, and marched to Westeras. He expected here to be met by the peasants of the western mining district from Lindesberg and Nora, who had already taken the oath of fidelity to him through his deputies; but instead of this he was informed that Peter Ugla, one of those intrusted with the performance of this duty, had allowed himself to be surprised at Koping, and cut to pieces with his whole force. On the other hand, tidings arrived that the peasants on Wermd Isle had revolted, slain a band of Christian's men in the church itself, and made themselves masters of two of his ships. The letters conveying the news, and magnifying the advantages gained, Gustavus caused to be read aloud to his followers.

Theodore Slagheck, exercising power with barbarous cruelty and outrage, had himself taken the command of the castle of[Pg 84] Westeras. He caused all the fences of the neighborhood to be broken down, in order to be able to use his cavalry without impediment against the insurgent peasants, who, on April 29th, approached the town. Both horsemen and foot, with field-pieces, marched against them; and Gustavus, who had interdicted his men from engaging in a contest with the enemy, intending to defer the attack till the following day, was still at Balundsas, half a mile from the town, when news reached him that his young soldiers were already at blows with their adversaries, and he hastened to their assistance. The Dalecarlians opposed their long pikes to the onset of the cavalry with such effect that, more than four hundred horses having perished in the assault, they were driven back on the infantry, who were posted in their rear, and compelled to flee along with them, while Lawrence Ericson pushed into the town by a circuitous road and possessed himself of the enemy's artillery in the market-place. When the garrison of the castle observed this, they set fire to the houses by shooting their combustibles, and burned the greatest part of the town. The miners and peasants dispersed to extinguish the flames or to plunder, bartered with one another the goods of the traders in the booths, possessed themselves of the stock of wine in the cathedral and the council-house, seated themselves round the vats, drank and sang. The Danes, reënforced from the castle, rallied anew, and the victory would undoubtedly have been changed into an overthrow had not Gustavus sent Lawrence Olaveson, with the followers he had kept about him, again into the town, where, after a renewal of the conflict, the foe was put to an utter rout. Many cast away their arms, and threw themselves, between fire and sword, into the waters. Gustavus caused all the stores of spirituous liquors to be destroyed, and beat in the wine casks with his own hand.

The fight of Westeras, from its influence on public opinion, acquired greater importance than of itself it would have possessed. Little was gained by the conquest of the town, so long as the castle held out; and how unserviceable a force of peasants was for a siege, Gustavus was often subsequently to experience. Wherever the tidings of his victory came, the people revolted, and he was already enabled to divide his power, and[Pg 85] to invest the castles of several provinces. Siege was accordingly laid to Stegborg, Nykoping, and Orebro. A division of the Vermelanders, with the peasants of Rekarne, in Sudermania, was employed in beleaguering the castle of Westeras; of whose exploits, however, nothing else is told than that they shot the councillor Canute Bennetson (Sparre), to whom Slagheck transferred the command, so that he tumbled in his wolfskin coat from the wall into the stream. Howbeit, another detachment reduced Horningsholm in Sudermania; Christian's governors in Vermeland and Dalsland were slain; the people of the former province, under the command of their justiciary, prepared for an attack upon the councillor Thure Jonson, the King's lieutenant in West-Gothland, and, crossing Lake Vener, entered that district.

In Dalsland, fifteen hundred men took up arms; several thousand peasants from Nerike marched across the Tiwed with the same object. Gustavus had been obliged to grant a furlough to his Dalesmen about seed-time; and to supply their place he caused the people of several districts of Upland to be summoned to assemble in the forest of Rymningen, at Œresundsbro; from which point his two captains essayed an attack upon the Archbishop of Upsala. It was St. Eric's Day (May 18th), and a great confluence of people was present at the fair. An assault was expected; for a deputation of four priests and two burgesses, sent from Upsala to the forest, had received from the leaders the answer that it must be Swedes, not outlandish men, who should bear the shrine of holy Eric, and that they would come to take their part in the festival. Bennet Bjugg (Barley), the Archbishop's bailiff, to show his contempt of such foes, caused a banquet to be set out in the open space between the larger and smaller episcopal manor houses of that day, where, before the eyes of the people, he made himself and his fellows merry till late in the night with drinking, dancing, and singing. Roused from a late sleep by an assault on the gates of the fortified house, and finding it beset by the enemy, they attempted to escape by a concealed passage, which then connected the Bishop's house with the cathedral. But the peasants set fire to this passage, which was of wood, and shot fire arrows at the roof of the episcopal residence, in which[Pg 86] the flames soon burst forth. The building was laid in ashes, and next day the females of the household, with some burghers of Upsala, crept out of its cellars, in which they had taken refuge. Great part of the garrison perished. The bailiff escaped with a wound from an arrow, of which he died after rejoining his master at Stockholm.

This prelate, Archbishop Gustavus Trolle, had lately returned from a journey to Helsingland, undertaken in order to retain this part of his diocese in its allegiance to the King. Shortly afterward he received, by a messenger from Gustavus, who had himself come to Upsala at Whitsuntide, a letter exhorting him to embrace the cause of his country, to which his chapter had been persuaded to annex a memorial to the same effect. The Archbishop detained the messenger, saying that he would carry the answer himself. He broke up immediately with five hundred German horse and three thousand foot of the garrison of Stockholm, and had come within half a mile of Upsala before Gustavus received intelligence of his approach. This the latter did not at first credit, but remained, expecting an answer to his overture of negotiation, until, about six in the morning, being on horseback upon the sand-hill near Upsala, the spot where he afterward built a royal castle, he saw the Archbishop marching across the King's Mead (Kungsang) toward the town. Gustavus had but two hundred of his so-called foot-goers and a small number of horse with him, for the peasants had returned to their homes. He made a hasty retreat, but was overtaken by Trolle's horsemen at the Ford of Laby. Here a young Finnish noble, who was next to him, in the confusion rode down his horse in the midst of the stream; and he would have been lost had not the rest of his followers turned upon the enemy with such effect as to make them desist from the pursuit.

Gustavus now betook himself to the forest of Rymningen, raised the peasantry of the adjoining districts, and sent out young men under his best captains to surprise the Archbishop on his return. The remains of cattle slaughtered on the road betrayed the ambush to the prelate, who drew off in another direction. He was nevertheless overtaken and attacked, escaping the spear of Lawrence Olaveson only by bending downward[Pg 87] on his horse, so that the weapon pierced his neighbor; and he brought back to Stockholm hardly a sixth part of his army. Gustavus followed close after with his collected force, and encamped under the Brunkeberg. Four gibbets on this eminence, stocked with corpses of Swedish inhabitants, attested the character of the government in the capital.

Thus began, at the midsummer of 1521, the siege of Stockholm, which was to last full two years, amid difficulties little thought of nowadays, after the lapse of ages; and the admiration which men so willingly render to the exertions in the cause of freedom have deprived events of their original colors. The path of Gustavus was not in general one of glittering feats, although his life is in itself one grand achievement. What he accomplished was the effect of strong endurance and great sagacity; and though he wanted not for intrepidity, it was of a kind before which the mere warrior must vail his crest. All the remaining movements of the war of liberation consist in sieges of the various castles and fortresses of the country, undertaken as opportunity offered, with levies of the peasantry, whose detachments relieved each other, though sometimes neglecting this duty when pressed by the cares or necessities of their own families. Hence the object of these investments, which was to deprive the besieged of provisions, could only be imperfectly attained, and there were many fortified mansions of which the proprietors adhered to the Danish party, as that of Wik in Upland, which remained blockaded throughout the whole year. These difficulties were the most formidable where, as at Stockholm, access was open by the sea, of which Severin Norby, with the Danish squadron, was master. The scantiness of the means of attack may be discovered from the circumstance that sixty German spearmen, whom Clement Rensel, a burgher of Stockholm, himself a narrator of these events, brought from Dantzic in July for the service of Gustavus, were regarded as a reënforcement of the highest importance. "At this time," says the chronicle, "Lord Gustave enjoyed not much repose or many pleasant days, when he kept his people in so many campaigns and investments, since he bore for them all great anxiety, fear, and peril, how he might lend them help in their need, so that they might not be surprised[Pg 88] through heedlessness and laches. So likewise his pain was not small when he had but little in his money chest, and it was grievous to give this answer when the folk cried for stipend. Therefore he stayed not many days in the same place, but travelled day and night between the camps."

In the month of August he arrived at Stegeborg, which was now besieged by his general, Arwid the West-Goth, who had recently repulsed with great bravery Severin Norby's attempt to relieve the castle, and had even begun to take homage for Gustavus from the people of his province, although in this he experienced difficulties. The East-Goths declared that they had been so chastised for their attack on the Bishop's castle at Linkoping the preceding year that they no longer dared to provoke either King Christian or Bishop Hans Brask. The personal presence of Gustavus decided the waverers, and even the Bishop received him as a friend, because he would otherwise have stood in danger of a hostile visitation. Gustavus now convoked a diet of barons at Vadstena, which was attended by seventy Swedish gentlemen of noble family and by many other persons of all classes in Gothland. These made him a tender of the crown, which he refused to accept. On August 24th, therefore, they swore fealty and obedience to him as administrator of the kingdom—"in like manner," add the chronicles, "as had formerly been done in Upland"; whence they seem to have assumed that he had already been acknowledged as such in Upper Sweden, here called Upland, as we often find it in the chronicles of the Middle Age. This was the first public declaration of the nobility in favor of Gustavus and his cause; although the greatest barons in this division of the kingdom, such as Nils Boson (Grip), Holger Carlson (Gere), and Thure Jenson (Roos) in West-Gothland, all three councillors of state, were still in arms for Christian. That the first-named nobleman joined the party of Gustavus before the end of the year we know from his letter of thanks for a fief of which he received the investure. Both the latter were proclaimed in 1523 to be enemies of the realm, as also was the archbishop Gustavus Trolle. He had repaired to Denmark two years before, in order to obtain, by his personal instances with the King, the often-promised relief for the besieged[Pg 89] garrison of Stockholm, but was received with coldness and reproaches.

After the baronial diet of Vadstena, the Gothlanders acknowledged the authority of the administrator, and, the Danes having been driven out West-Gothland and Smaland, the seat of the war was removed to Finland. By the commencement of the next year the principal castles of the interior had fallen into the hands of Gustavus, and some, as those of Westeras and Orebo, were razed to the ground by the now exasperated peasantry. Stockholm and Kalmar, as well as Abo in Finland, yet stood out, and by help of reënforcement which they received at the beginning of 1522, through the Danish admiral Severin Norby, the enemy were again able to resume the offensive. By sallies from the beleaguered capital on April 7th, 8th, and 13th, the camp of Gustavus was set on fire and destroyed, and for a whole month afterward no Swedish force was seen before the walls of Stockholm. The besiegers of Abo were likewise driven off, and the chief adherents of Gustavus, being obliged to flee from Finland, Arvid, Bishop of Abo, with many noble persons of both sexes, perished at sea.

Christian himself by new cruelties added to the detestation with which he was regarded in Sweden. The wives and children, of the most distinguished among the barons beheaded in Stockholm, had been conveyed to Denmark, and among them the mother and two sisters of Gustavus, whom the King, in spite of the entreaties of his consort, threw into a dungeon. Here they died, either by violence, as Gustavus himself complains in a letter of 1522 concerning the cruel oppression of King Christian, directed to the Pope, the Emperor, and all Christian princes, or, as others assert, of the plague. An order had also been recently issued by the King to commanders in Sweden to put to death all the Swedes of distinction who had fallen into their hands. The chronicles say that Severin Norby had received this order so early as the summer of 1521, but, instead of complying with it, permitted the escape of many noblemen, who afterward did homage to Gustavus at Vadstena, in order, as he expressed it, that they might rather guard their necks like warriors than be slaughtered like chickens. But in Abo a new massacre was perpetrated at the beginning of the next[Pg 90] year by Lord Thomas, the royalist commander there, who afterward, in an attempt to relieve Stockholm, fell, with all his ships, into the hands of Gustavus, and was hanged upon an oak in Tynnels Island.

After Severin Norby had relieved the capital, the secretary, master Gotschalk Ericson, wrote thence to Christian that there were but eighty of the burghers, for the most part Germans, who could be counted on for the King's service, but of footmen and gunners in the castle there were now eight hundred fifty men, well furnished with all; the peasants were, indeed, weary of the war, but were still more fearful of the King's vengeance, and put faith in no assurances, whence the country could only be reduced to obedience by violent methods; if a sufficient force were sent, East-Gothland, Sodermanland, and Upland would submit to the King, and his grace could then punish the Dalecarlians and Helsingers, who first stirred up these troubles.

The governor of the castle of Stockholm informs the King, in a report on military occurrences of the winter, "that his men had compelled him to consent to an increase of pay on account of the successes they had gained; that he had expelled from the town, or imprisoned, the suspected Swedish burghers; that the peasants would rather be hanged on their own hearths than longer endure the burden of war; that Gustavus, who had in vain tempted his fidelity, had already sent his plate and the chief part of his own movable property to a priest in Helsingland; he (the governor) also transmitted an inventory of the goods of the decapitated nobles."

But by the end of one month Gustavus, who in this letter is styled "a forest thief and robber," had again filled three camps around Stockholm with Dalesmen and Norrlanders; and when, pursuant to a convention with Lubeck, he received thence in the month of June an auxiliary force of ten ships, a number that was afterward augmented, he was enabled to dispense with the greatest portion of his peasants, and retained about him only those who were young and unmarried. The assistance of the Lubeckers, it was true, was given only by halves, and from selfish motives; they did not forget their profit on the arms, purchased Swedish iron and copper for klippings,[Pg 91] with which worthless coins they came well provided, and exacted a dear price for their men, ships, and military stores, refusing even, it is said, to supply Gustavus with two pieces of cannon at a decisive moment, although upon the proffered security of two of the royal castles.

This occurred on occasion of a second, and this time unsuccessful, attempt made by Norby to relieve Stockholm; in which he was only saved from ruin by the refusal of the admiral of Lubeck to attack. Meanwhile Gustavus, despite the losses which he sustained by sallies, pushed his three camps by degrees close to the town, then covering little more than the island still contains, the town properly so called. At length, after Kingsholm, Langholm, Sodermalm, Waldemar's Island, now the Zoölogical Gardens, had been connected by block-houses and chains, the place was invested on all sides. Yet it held out through the winter, until the news of Christian's fate, joined to the pangs of hunger, deprived the garrison of all spirit for further resistance.

He did not dare to trust either his subjects or his soldiers, collected twenty ships, in which he embarked the public records, with the treasure and crown jewels, his consort and child, and his adviser Sigbert, who was concealed in his chest. Deserting his kingdom, he sailed away in the face of the whole population of Copenhagen, April 20, 1523.

Thus ended the reign of Christian II, a king in whom one knows not which rivets the attention, the multiplied undertakings he commenced and abandoned in a career so often stained with blood, his audacity, his feebleness, or that misery of many years by which he was to expiate a short and ill-used tenure of power. There are men who, like the storm birds before the tempest, appear in history as foretokens of the approaching outburst of great convulsions. Of such a nature was Christian, who, tossed hither and thither between all the various currents of his time without central consistence, awakened alternately the fear or pity of the beholders.

Frederick I, who was chosen to succeed him in Denmark, wrote to the estates of Sweden, demanding that in accordance with the stipulations of the Union of Kalmar he might also be acknowledged king in Sweden. They replied "that they had[Pg 92] elected Gustavus Ericson to be Sweden's king." That event came to pass at the Diet of Strengess, June 7, 1523. Thus was the union dissolved, after enduring one hundred twenty-six years. Norway wavered at this critical moment. The inhabitants of the southern portion declared, when the Swedes under Thure Jenson (Roos) and Lawrence Siggeson (Sparre) had penetrated into their country as far as Opslo, that they would unite with Sweden if they might rely upon its support. Bohusland was subdued, Bleking likewise on another side, and Gustavus sought, both by negotiation and arms, to enforce the old claims of Sweden to Scania and Halland. The town of Kalmar was taken on May 27th, and the castle on July 7th. Stockholm having surrendered on June 20th, on condition of the free departure of the garrison with their property and arms, and of every other person who adhered to the cause of Christian, Gustavus made his public entry on Midsummer's Eve; before the end of the year Finland also was reduced to obedience. The kingdom was freed from foreign enemies, but internal foes still remained; and Lubeck was an ally whose demands made it more troublesome than it would have been as an enemy.

A town wasted in the civil war had been the scene of the election of Gustavus Vasa to the throne. In the capital, when he made his public entry, one-half of the houses were empty, and of population scarcely a fourth part remained. To fill up the gap, he issued an invitation to the burghers in other towns to settle there, a summons which he was obliged twelve years afterward to renew, "seeing that Stockholm had not yet revived from the days of King Christian." The spectacle which here met his eyes was a type of the condition of the whole kingdom, and never was it said of any sovereign with more justice that the throne to which he had been elevated was more difficult to preserve than to win.


[35] Translated by J. H. Turner, M.A.

[Pg 93]


A.D. 1524


The Peasants' War was the most widespread and most bloody of the mediæval forerunners of the French Revolution. Like the rebellion of the Jacquerie and many another ferocious, desperate outburst of the downtrodden common folk, it foretold a day of vengeance to come. These early uprisings were all hopeless from their start, because the untrained and naked bodies of the people, however numerous, could not possibly hold an open battlefield against skilled and armed men of war. Each revolt terminated in the butchery of the unhappy rebels.

The Peasants' War has acquired special notoriety because of its connection with the Reformation. The people rose in the name of religion, and, as their ignorance and ferocity led them into hideous excesses of revenge upon their oppressors, the new religion was blamed for all the evil thus done in its name. This revolt, because of the fear and disgust it roused, became the most severe set-back Protestantism received in all its struggle with the more ancient and conservative Church.

The following account of the outbreak and its consequences is by a standard Protestant historian, president of the College of Geneva, a student who can see justice on both sides of the great controversy.

A political ferment, very different from that produced by the Gospel, had long been at work in the empire. The people, bowed down by civil and ecclesiastical oppression, bound in many countries to the seigniorial estates, and transferred from hand to hand along with them, threatened to rise with fury and at last to break their chains. This agitation had showed itself long before the Reformation by many symptoms, and even then the religious element was blended with the political; in the sixteenth century it was impossible to separate these two principles, so closely associated in the existence of nations. In Holland, at the close of the preceding century, the peasants had revolted, placing on their banners, by way of arms, a loaf and a cheese, the two great blessings of these poor people. The "Alliance of the Shoes" had shown itself in the neighborhood of Spires in 1502. In 1513 it appeared again in Breisgau,[Pg 94] being encouraged by the priests. In 1514 Wuertemberg had seen the "League of Poor Conrad," whose aim was to maintain by rebellion "the right of God." In 1515 Carinthia and Hungary had been the theatres of terrible agitations. These seditions had been quenched in torrents of blood, but no relief had been accorded to the people. A political reform, therefore, was not less necessary than a religious reform. The people were entitled to this; but we must acknowledge that they were not ripe for its enjoyment.

Since the commencement of the Reformation, these popular disturbances had not been renewed; men's minds were occupied by other thoughts. Luther, whose piercing glance had discerned the condition of the people, had already from the summit of the Wartburg addressed them in serious exhortations calculated to restrain their agitated minds:

"Rebellion," he had said, "never produces the amelioration we desire, and God condemns it. What is it to rebel, if it be not to avenge one's self? The devil is striving to excite to revolt those who embrace the Gospel, in order to cover it with opprobrium; but those who have rightly understood my doctrine do not revolt."

Everything gave cause to fear that the popular agitation could not be restrained much longer. The government that Frederick of Saxony had taken such pains to form, and which possessed the confidence of the nation, was dissolved. The Emperor, whose energy might have been an efficient substitute for the influence of this national administration, was absent; the princes whose union had always constituted the strength of Germany were divided; and the new declaration of Charles V against Luther, by removing every hope of future harmony, deprived the reformer of part of the moral influence by which in 1522 he had succeeded in calming the storm. The chief barriers that hitherto had confined the torrent being broken, nothing could any longer restrain its fury.

It was not the religious movement that gave birth to political agitations; but in many places it was carried away by their impetuous waves. Perhaps we should even go further, and acknowledge that the movement communicated to the people by the Reformation gave fresh strength to the discontent fermenting[Pg 95] in the nation. The violence of Luther's writings, the intrepidity of his actions and language, the harsh truths that he spoke, not only to the Pope and prelates, but also to the princes themselves, must all have contributed to inflame minds that were already in a state of excitement. Accordingly, Erasmus did not fail to tell him, "We are now reaping the fruits that you have sown." And further, the cheering truths of the Gospel, at last brought to light, stirred all hearts and filled them with anticipation and hope. But many unregenerated souls were not prepared by repentance for the faith and liberty of Christians. They were very willing to throw off the papal yoke, but they would not take up the yoke of Christ. And hence, when princes devoted to the cause of Rome endeavored in their wrath to stifle the Reformation, real Christians patiently endured these cruel persecutions; but the multitude resisted and broke out, and, seeing their desires checked in one direction, gave vent to them in another. "Why," said they, "should slavery be perpetuated in the state while the Church invites all men to a glorious liberty? Why should governments rule only by force, when the Gospel preaches nothing but gentleness?" Unhappily, at a time when the religious reform was received with equal joy both by princes and people, the political reform, on the contrary, had the most powerful part of the nation against it; and while the former had the Gospel for its rule and support, the latter had soon no other principles than violence and despotism. Accordingly, while the one was confined within the bounds of truth, the other rapidly, like an impetuous torrent, overstepped all limits of justice. But to shut one's eyes against the indirect influence of the Reformation on the troubles that broke out in the empire would betoken partiality. A fire had been kindled in Germany by religious discussions from which it was impossible to prevent a few sparks escaping, which were calculated to inflame the passions of the people.

The claims of a few fanatics to divine inspiration increased the evil. While the Reformation had continually appealed from the pretended authority of the Church to the real authority of the holy Scriptures, these enthusiasts not only rejected the authority of the Church, but of the Scriptures also; they spoke only of an inner word, of an internal revelation from God;[Pg 96] and, overlooking the natural corruption of their hearts, they gave way to all the intoxication of spiritual pride, and fancied they were saints.

"To them the holy Scriptures were but a dead letter," said Luther, "and they all began to cry, 'The Spirit! the Spirit!' But most assuredly I will not follow where their spirit leads them. May God of his mercy preserve me from a church in which there are none but saints. I desire to dwell with the humble, the feeble, the sick, who know and feel their sins, and who groan and cry continually to God from the bottom of their hearts to obtain his consolation and support." These words of Luther have great depth of meaning, and point out the change that was taking place in his views as to the nature of the Church. They indicate at the same time how contrary were the religious opinions of the rebels to those of the Reformation.

The most notorious of these enthusiasts was Thomas Munzer; he was not devoid of talent, had read his Bible, was zealous, and might have done good if he had been able to collect his agitated thoughts and find peace of heart. But as he did not know himself, and was wanting in true humility, he was possessed with a desire of reforming the world, and forgot, as all enthusiasts do, that the reformation should begin with himself. Some mystical writings that he had read in his youth had given a false direction to his mind. He first appeared at Zwickau, quitted Wittenberg after Luther's return, dissatisfied with the inferior part he was playing, and became pastor of the small town of Alstadt in Thuringia. He could not long remain quiet, and accused the reformers of founding, by their adherence to the letter, a new popery, and of forming churches which were not pure and holy.

"Luther," said he, "has delivered men's consciences from the yoke of the Pope, but he has left them in a carnal liberty, and not led them in spirit toward God."

He considered himself as called of God to remedy this great evil. The revelations of the Spirit were in his eyes the means by which his reform was to be effected. "He who possesses this spirit," said he, "possesses the true faith, although he should never see the Scriptures in his life. Heathens and Turks are better fitted to receive it than many Christians[Pg 97] who style us enthusiasts." It was Luther whom he here had in view. "To receive this Spirit we must mortify the flesh," said he at another time, "wear tattered clothing, let the beard grow, be of sad countenance, keep silence, retire into desert places, and supplicate God to give us a sign of his favor. Then God will come and speak with us, as formerly he spoke with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If he were not to do so, he would not deserve our attention. I have received from God the commission to gather together his elect into a holy and eternal alliance."

The agitation and ferment which were at work in men's minds were but too favorable to the dissemination of these enthusiastic ideas. Man loves the marvellous and whatever flatters his pride. Munzer, having persuaded a part of his flock to adopt his views, abolished ecclesiastical singing and all other ceremonies. He maintained that obedience to princes, "void of understanding," was at once to serve God and Belial. Then, marching out at the head of his parishioners to a chapel in the vicinity of Alstadt, whither pilgrims from all quarters were accustomed to resort, he pulled it down. After the exploit, being compelled to leave that neighborhood, he wandered about Germany, and went as far as Switzerland, carrying with him, and communicating to all who would listen to him, the plan of a general revolution. Everywhere he found men's minds prepared; he threw gunpowder on the burning coals, and the explosion forthwith took place.

Luther, who had rejected the warlike enterprises of Sickengen, could not be led away by the tumultuous movements of the peasantry. He wrote to the Elector: "It causes me especial joy that these enthusiasts themselves boast, to all who are willing to listen to them, that they do not belong to us. The Spirit urges them on, say they; and I reply, it is an evil spirit, for he bears no other fruit than the pillage of convents and churches; the greatest highway robbers upon earth might do as much."

At the same time, Luther, who desired that others should enjoy the liberty he claimed for himself, dissuaded the Prince from all measures of severity: "Let them preach what they please, and against whom they please," said he; "for it is the[Pg 98] Word of God that must march in front of the battle and fight against them. If their spirit be the true spirit, he will not fear our severity; if ours is the true one, he will not fear their violence. Let us leave the spirits to struggle and contend with one another. Perhaps some persons may be led astray; there is no battle without wounds; but he who fighteth faithfully shall be crowned. Nevertheless, if they desire to take up the sword, let your highness forbid it, and order them to quit the country."

The insurrection began in the Black Forest, and near the sources of the Danube, so frequently the theatre of popular commotions. On the 19th of July, 1524, some Thurgovian peasants rose against the Abbot of Reichenau, who would not accord them an evangelical preacher. Ere long thousands were collected round the small town of Tengen to liberate an ecclesiastic who was there imprisoned. The revolt spread with inconceivable rapidity from Swabia as far as the Rhenish provinces, Franconia, Thuringia, and Saxony. In the month of January, 1525, all these countries were in a state of rebellion.

About the end of this month the peasants published a declaration in twelve articles, in which they claimed the liberty of choosing their own pastors; the abolition of small tithes, of slavery, and of fines on inheritance; the right to hunt, fish, and cut wood, etc. Each demand was backed by a passage from holy writ, and they said in conclusion, "If we are deceived, let Luther correct us by Scripture."

The opinions of the Wittenberg divines were consulted. Luther and Melanchthon delivered theirs separately, and they both gave evidence of the difference of their characters. Melanchthon, who thought every kind of disturbance a crime, oversteps the limits of his usual gentleness, and cannot find language strong enough to express his indignation. The peasants are criminals against whom he invokes all laws human and divine. If friendly negotiation is unavailing, the magistrates should hunt them down as if they were robbers and assassins. "And yet," adds he—and we require at least one feature to remind us of Melanchthon—"let them take pity on the orphans when having recourse to the penalty of death!"

Luther's opinion of the revolt was the same as Melanchthon's, but he had a heart that beat for the miseries of the people.[Pg 99] On this occasion he manifested a dignified impartiality, and spoke the truth frankly to both parties. He first addressed the princes, and more especially the bishops:

"It is you," said he, "who are the cause of this revolt; it is your clamors against the Gospel, your guilty oppressions of the poor, that have driven the people to despair. It is not the peasants, my dear lords, that rise up against you—it is God himself who opposes your madness. The peasants are but the instruments he employs to humble you. Do not imagine you can escape the punishment he is preparing for you. Even should you have succeeded in destroying all these peasants, God is able from the very stones to raise up others to chastise your pride. If I desired revenge, I might laugh in my sleeve, and look on while the peasants were carrying on their work, or even increase their fury; but may God preserve me from such thoughts! My dear lords, put away your indignation, treat those poor peasants as a man of sense treats people who are drunk or insane. Quiet these commotions by mildness, lest a conflagration should arise and burn all Germany. Among these twelve articles there are certain demands which are just and equitable."

This prologue was calculated to conciliate the peasants' confidence in Luther, and to make them listen patiently to the truths he had to tell them. He represented to them that the greater number of their demands were well founded, but that to revolt was to act like heathens; that the duty of a Christian is to be patient, not to fight; that if they persisted in revolting against the Gospel in the name of the Gospel, he should look upon them as more dangerous enemies than the Pope. "The Pope and the Emperor," continued he, "combined against me; but the more they blustered, the more did the Gospel gain ground. And why was this? Because I have never drawn the sword or called for vengeance; because I never had recourse to tumult or insurrection: I relied wholly on God, and placed everything in his almighty hands. Christians fight not with swords or arquebuses, but with sufferings and with the Cross. Christ, their captain, handled not the sword. He was hung upon a tree."

But to no purpose did Luther employ this Christian language.[Pg 100] The people were too much excited by the fanatical speeches of the leaders of the insurrection to listen, as of old, to the words of the reformer. "He is playing the hypocrite," said they; "he flatters the nobles. He has declared war against the Pope, and yet wishes us to submit to our oppressors."

The revolt, instead of dying away, became more formidable. At Weinsberg, Count Louis of Helfenstein and the seventy men under his orders were condemned to death by the rebels. A body of peasants drew up with their pikes lowered, while others drove the count and his soldiers against this wall of steel. The wife of the wretched Helfenstein, a natural daughter of the emperor Maximilian, holding an infant two years old in her arms, knelt before them, and with loud cries begged for her husband's life, and vainly endeavored to arrest this march of murder; a boy, who had been in the count's service and had joined the rebels, capered gayly before him, and played the dead march upon his fife, as if he had been leading his victims in a dance. All perished; the child was wounded in its mother's arms, and she herself thrown upon a dung-cart and thus conveyed to Heilbronn.

At the news of these cruelties, a cry of horror was heard from the friends of the Reformation, and Luther's feeling heart underwent a terrible conflict. On the one hand the peasants, ridiculing his advice, pretended to receive revelations from heaven, made an impious use of the threatenings of the Old Testament, proclaimed an equality of rank and a community of goods, defended their cause with fire and sword, and indulged in barbarous atrocities. On the other hand, the enemies of the Reformation asked the reformer, with a malicious sneer, if he did not know that it was easier to kindle a fire than to extinguish it. Shocked at these excesses, alarmed at the thought that they might check the progress of the Gospel, Luther hesitated no longer, no longer temporized; he inveighed against the insurgents with all the energy of his character, and perhaps overstepped the just bounds within which he should have contained himself.

"The peasants," said he, "commit three horrible sins against God and man, and thus deserve the death of body and soul. First, they revolt against their magistrates, to whom they have[Pg 101] sworn fidelity; next, they rob and plunder convents and castles; and lastly, they veil their crimes with the cloak of the Gospel. If you do not put a mad dog to death, you will perish, and all the country with you. Whoever is killed fighting for the magistrates will be a true martyr, if he has fought with a good conscience." Luther then gives a powerful description of the guilty violence of the peasants who force peaceful and simple men to join their alliance and thus drag them to the same condemnation. He then adds: "For this reason, my dear lords, help, save, deliver, have pity on these poor people. Let everyone strike, pierce, and kill who is able. If thou diest, thou canst not meet a happier death; for thou diest in the service of God, and to save thy neighbor from hell."

Neither gentleness nor violence could arrest the popular torrent. The church-bells were no longer rung for divine service; whenever their deep and prolonged sounds were heard in the fields, it was the tocsin, and all ran to arms. The people of the Black Forest had rallied round John Muller of Bulgenbach. With an imposing aspect, covered with a red cloak and wearing a red cap, this leader boldly advanced from village to village followed by the peasantry. Behind him, on a wagon decorated with ribands and branches of trees, was raised the tricolor flag—black, red, and white—the signal of revolt. A herald dressed in the same colors read the twelve articles, and invited the people to join in the rebellion. Whoever refused was banished from the community.

Ere long this march, which at first was peaceful, became more disquieting. "We must compel the lords to submit to our alliance," exclaimed they. And to induce them to do so, they plundered the granaries, emptied the cellars, drew the seigniorial fish-ponds, demolished the castles of the nobles who resisted, and burned the convents. Opposition had inflamed the passions of these rude men; equality no longer satisfied them; they thirsted for blood, and swore to put to death every man who wore a spur.

At the approach of the peasants, the cities that were unable to resist them opened their gates and joined them. In whatever place they entered, they pulled down the images and broke the crucifixes; armed women paraded the streets and threatened[Pg 102] the monks. If they were defeated in one quarter, they assembled in another, and braved the most formidable forces. A committee of peasants was established at Heilbrunn. The counts of Lowenstein were taken prisoners, dressed in a smock-frock, and then, a white staff having been placed in their hands, they were compelled to swear to the twelve articles. "Brother George, and thou, brother Albert," said a tinker of Ohringen to the counts of Hohenlohe who had gone to their camp, "swear to conduct yourselves as our brethren, for you also are now peasants; you are no longer lords." Equality of rank, the dream of many democrats, was established in aristocratic Germany.

Many nobles, some through fear, others from ambition, then joined the insurgents. The famous Goetz von Berlichingen, finding his vassals refuse to obey him, desired to flee to the Elector of Saxony; but his wife, who was lying-in, wishing to keep him near her, concealed the Elector's answer. Goetz, being closely pursued, was compelled to put himself at the head of the rebel army. On the 7th of May the peasants entered Wuerzburg, where the citizens received them with acclamations. The forces of the princes and knights of Swabia and Franconia, which had assembled in this city, evacuated it, and retired in confusion to the citadel, the last bulwark of the nobility.

But the movement had already extended to other parts of Germany. Spires, the Palatinate, Alsace, and Hesse accepted the twelve articles, and the peasants threatened Bavaria, Westphalia, the Tyrol, Saxony, and Lorraine. The Margrave of Baden, having rejected the articles, was compelled to flee. The coadjutor of Fulda acceded to them with a smile. The smaller towns said they had no lances with which to oppose the insurgents. Mentz, Treves, and Frankfort obtained the liberties they had claimed.

An immense revolution was preparing in all the empire. The ecclesiastical and secular privileges, that bore so heavily on the peasants, were to be suppressed; the possessions of the clergy were to be secularized, to indemnify the princes and provide for the wants of the empire; taxes were to be abolished, with the exception of a tribute payable every ten years; the imperial power was to subsist alone, as being recognized by[Pg 103] the New Testament; all the other princes were to cease to reign; sixty-four free tribunals were to be established, in which men of all classes should have a seat; all ranks were to return to their primitive condition; the clergy were to be henceforward merely the pastors of the churches; princes and knights were to be simply the defenders of the weak; uniformity in weights and measures was to be introduced, and only one kind of money was to be coined throughout the empire.

Meanwhile the princes had shaken off their first lethargy, and George von Truchsess, commander-in-chief of the imperial army, was advancing on the side of the Lake of Constance. On the 2d of May he defeated the peasants at Beblingen; then marched on the town of Weinsberg, where the unhappy Count of Helfenstein had perished, burned and razed it to the ground, giving orders that the ruins should be left as an eternal monument of the treason of its inhabitants. At Fairfeld he united with the Elector Palatine and the Elector of Treves, and all three moved toward Franconia.

The Frauenburg, the citadel of Wuerzburg, held out for the princes, and the main army of the peasants still lay before its walls. As soon as they heard of the Truchsess' march, they resolved on an assault, and at nine o'clock at night on the 15th of May the trumpets sounded, the tricolor flag was unfurled, and the peasants rushed to the attack with horrible shouts. Sebastian von Rotenhan, one of the warmest partisans of the Reformation, was governor of the castle. He had put the fortress in a formidable state of defence, and, having exhorted the garrison to repel the assault with courage, the soldiers, holding up three fingers, had all sworn to do so. A most terrible conflict took place. To the vigor and despair of the insurgents, the fortress replied from its walls and towers by petards, showers of sulphur and boiling pitch and the discharges of artillery. The peasants, thus struck by their unseen enemies, were staggered for a moment; but in an instant their fury grew more violent. The struggle was prolonged as the night advanced. The fortress, lit up by a thousand battle-fires, appeared in the darkness like a towering giant, who, vomiting flames, struggled alone amid the roar of thunder, for the salvation of the empire against the ferocious valor of these furious hordes. Two hours after[Pg 104] midnight the peasants withdrew, having failed in all their efforts.

They now tried to enter into negotiations, either with the garrison or with Truchsess, who was advancing at the head of his army. But this was going out of their path; violence and victory alone could save them. After some little hesitation they resolved to march against the imperial forces, but the cavalry and artillery made terrible havoc in their ranks. At Koenigshofen, and afterward at Engelstadt, those unfortunate creatures were totally defeated. The princes, the nobles, and bishops, abusing their victory, indulged in the most unprecedented cruelties. The prisoners were hanged on the trees by the wayside. The Bishop of Wuerzburg, who had run away, now returned, traversed his diocese accompanied by executioners, and watered it alike with the blood of the rebels and of the peaceful friends of the Word of God. Goetz von Berlichingen was sentenced to imprisonment for life. The margrave Casimir of Anspach put out the eyes of eighty-five insurgents who had sworn that their eyes should never look upon that Prince again; and he cast this troop of blinded individuals upon the world, to wander up and down, holding each other by the hand, groping along, tottering, and begging their bread. The wretched boy who had played the dead-march on his fife at the murder of Helfenstein, was chained to a post, a fire was kindled around him, and the knights looked on, laughing at his horrible contortions.

Public worship was now everywhere restored in its ancient forms. The most flourishing and populous districts of the empire exhibited to those who travelled through them nothing but heaps of dead bodies and smoking ruins. Fifty thousand men had perished, and the people lost nearly everywhere the little liberty they had hitherto enjoyed. Such was the horrible termination of this revolt in the south of Germany.

But the evil was not confined to the south and west of Germany. Munzer, after having traversed a part of Switzerland, Alsace, and Swabia, had again directed his steps toward Saxony. A few citizens of Muelhausen, in Thuringia, had invited him to their city and elected him their pastor. The town council having resisted, Munzer deposed it and nominated another, consisting of his friends, with himself at their head.[Pg 105] Full of contempt for that Christ, "sweet as honey," whom Luther preached, and being resolved to employ the most energetic measures, he exclaimed, "Like Joshua, we must put all the Canaanites to the sword." He established a community of goods and pillaged the convents. "Munzer," wrote Luther to Ansdorff on the 11th of April, 1525, "Munzer is not only pastor, but king and emperor of Muelhausen." The poor no longer worked; if anyone needed corn or cloth, he went and demanded it of some rich man; if the latter refused, the poor man took it by force; if the owner resisted, he was hanged. As Muelhausen was an independent city, Munzer was able to exercise his power for nearly a year without opposition. The revolt in the south of Germany led him to imagine that it was time to extend his new kingdom. He had a number of heavy guns cast in the Franciscan convent, and endeavored to raise the peasantry and miners of Mansfeld. "How long will you sleep?" said he to them in a fanatical proclamation: "Arise and fight the battle of the Lord! The time is come. France, Germany, and Italy are moving. On, on, on! (Dran, Dran, Dran!) Heed not the groans of the impious ones. They will implore you like children, but be pitiless. Dran, Dran, Dran! The fire is burning: let your sword be ever warm with blood. Dran, Dran, Dran! Work while it is yet day." The letter was signed, "Munzer, servant of God against the wicked."

The country people, thirsting for plunder, flocked round his standard. Throughout all the districts of Mansfeld, of Stolberg, and Schwarzburg in Hesse, and the duchy of Brunswick the peasantry rose in insurrection. The convents of Michelstein, Ilsenburg, Walkenfied, Rossleben, and many others in the neighborhood of the Hartz, or in the plains of Thuringia, were devastated. At Reinhardsbrunn, which Luther had visited, the tombs of the ancient landgraves were profaned and the library destroyed.

Terror spread far and wide. Even at Wittenberg some anxiety was felt. Those doctors, who had feared neither the Emperor nor the Pope, trembled in the presence of a madman. They were always on the watch for news; every step of the rebels was counted. "We are here in great danger," said Melanchthon. "If Munzer succeeds, it is all over with us, unless Christ[Pg 106] should rescue us. Munzer advances with a worse than Scythian cruelty, and it is impossible to repeat his dreadful threats."

The pious Elector had long hesitated what he should do. Munzer had exhorted him and all the princes to be converted, because, said he, their hour was come; and he had signed these letters: "Munzer, armed with the sword of Gudeon." Frederick would have desired to reclaim these misguided men by gentle measures. On the 14th of April, when he was dangerously ill, he had written to his brother John: "We may have given these wretched people more than one cause for insurrection. Alas! the poor are oppressed in many ways by their spiritual and temporal lords." And when his attention was directed to the humiliation, the revolutions, the dangers to which he would expose himself unless he promptly stifled the rebellion, he replied: "Hitherto I have been a mighty elector, having chariots and horses in abundance; if it be God's pleasure to take them from me now, I will go on foot."

The youthful Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, was the first of the princes who took up arms. His knights and soldiers swore to live and die with him. After pacifying his own states, he directed his march toward Saxony. On their side, Duke John, the Elector's brother, Duke George of Saxony, and Duke Henry of Brunswick advanced and united their troops with those of Hesse. The peasants, terrified at the sight of this army, fled to a small hill, where, without any discipline, without arms, and for the most part without courage, they formed a rampart with their wagons. Munzer had not even prepared ammunition for his large guns. No succors appeared; the rebels were hemmed in by the army; they lost all confidence. The princes, taking pity on them, offered them propositions which they appeared willing to accept. Upon this Munzer had recourse to the most powerful lever that enthusiasm can put in motion. "To-day we shall behold the arm of the Lord," said he, "and all our enemies shall be destroyed." At this moment a rainbow appeared over their heads; the fanatical host, who carried a rainbow on their flags, beheld in it a sure prognostic of the divine protection. Munzer took advantage of it: "Fear nothing," said he to the citizens and peasants: "I will catch all their balls in my sleeve." At the same time he cruelly put[Pg 107] to death a young gentleman, Maternus von Geholfen, an envoy from the princes, in order to deprive the insurgents of all hope of pardon.

The Landgrave, having assembled his horsemen, said to them: "I well know that we princes are often in fault, for we are but men; but God commands all men to honor the powers that be. Let us save our wives and children from the fury of these murderers. The Lord will give us the victory, for he has said, 'Whosoever resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.'" Philip then gave the signal of attack. It was the 15th of May, 1525. The army was put in motion; but the peasant host stood immovable, singing the hymn, "Come, Holy Ghost," and waiting for heaven to declare in their favor. The artillery soon broke down their rude rampart, carrying dismay and death into the midst of the insurgents. Their fanaticism and courage at once forsook them; they were seized with a panic-terror, and ran away in disorder. Five thousand perished in the flight.

After the battle the princes and their victorious troops entered Frankenhausen. A soldier who had gone into a loft in the house where he was quartered, found a man in bed. "Who art thou?" said he; "art thou one of the rebels?" Then, observing a pocket-book, he took it up, and found several letters addressed to Thomas Munzer, "Art thou Munzer?" demanded the trooper. The sick man answered, "No." But as the soldier uttered dreadful threats, Munzer, for it was really he, confessed who he was. "Thou art my prisoner," said the horseman. When Munzer was taken before Duke George and the Landgrave, he persevered in saying that he was right to chastise the princes, since they opposed the Gospel. "Wretched man!" replied they, "think of all those of whose death you have been the cause." But he answered, smiling in the midst of his anguish, "They would have it so!" He took the sacrament, and was beheaded at the same time with Pfeiffer, his lieutenant. Mulhausen was taken, and the peasants were loaded with chains.

A nobleman having observed among the crowd of prisoners a peasant of favorable appearance, went up and said to him: "Well, my man, which government do you like best—that of[Pg 108] the peasants or of the princes?" The poor fellow made answer with a deep sigh, "Ah, my lord, no knife cuts so deep as the rule of the peasant over his fellows."

The remnants of the insurrection were quenched in blood; Duke George, in particular, acted with the greatest severity. In the states of the Elector, there were neither executions nor punishment. The Word of God, preached in all its purity, had shown its power to restrain the tumultuous passions of the people.

From the very beginning, indeed, Luther had not ceased to struggle against the rebellion, which was, in his opinion, the forerunner of the Judgment-day. Advice, prayers, and even irony had not been spared. At the end of the articles drawn up at Erfurth by the rebels he had subjoined, as a supplementary article: "Item. The following article has been omitted. Henceforward the honorable council shall have no power; it shall do nothing; it shall sit like an idol or a log of wood; the commonalty shall chew its food, and it shall govern with its hands and feet tied; henceforth the wagon shall guide the horses, the horses shall hold the reins, and we shall go on admirably, in conformity with the glorious system set forth in these articles."

Luther did not confine himself to writing. While the disturbance was still at its height, he quitted Wittenberg and went through some of the districts where the agitation was greatest. He preached, he labored to soften his hearers' hearts, and his hand, to which God had given power, turned aside, quieted, and brought back the impetuous and overflowing torrents into their natural channels.

In every quarter the doctors of the Reformation exerted a similar influence. At Halle, Brentz had revived the drooping spirits of the citizens by the promise of God's Word, and four thousand peasants had fled before six hundred citizens. At Ichterhausen, a mob of peasants having assembled with an intent to demolish several castles and put their lords to death, Frederick Myconius went out to them alone, and such was the power of his words that they immediately abandoned their design.

Such was the part taken by the reformers and the Reformation[Pg 109] in the midst of this revolt; they contended against it with all their might, with the sword of the Word, and boldly maintained those principles which alone, in every age, can preserve order and subjection among the nations. Accordingly, Luther asserted that, if the power of sound doctrine had not checked the fury of the people, the revolt would have extended its ravages far more widely, and have overthrown both church and state. If the reformers thus contended against sedition, it was not without receiving grievous wounds. That moral agony which Luther had first suffered, in his cell at Erfurth, became still more serious after the insurrection of the peasants. No great change takes place among men without suffering on the part of those who are its instruments. The birth of Christianity was effected by the agony of the Cross; but He who hung upon that cross addressed these words to each of his disciples, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the same baptism that I am baptized with?"

On the side of the princes, it was continually repeated that Luther and his doctrine were the cause of the revolt, and, however absurd this idea may be, the reformer could not see it so generally entertained without experiencing the deepest grief. On the side of the people, Munzer and all the leaders of the insurrection represented him as a vile hypocrite, a flatterer of the great, and these calumnies easily obtained belief. The violence with which Luther had declared against the rebels had displeased even moderate men. The friends of Rome exulted; all were against him, and he bore the heavy anger of his times. But his greatest affliction was to behold the work of heaven thus dragged in the mire and classed with the most fanatical projects. Here he felt was his Gethsemane: he saw the bitter cup that was presented to him; and, foreboding that he would be forsaken by all, he exclaimed: "Soon, perhaps, I shall also be able to say, 'All ye shall be offended because of me this night.'"

Yet in the midst of this deep bitterness he preserved his faith: "He who has given me power to trample the enemy under foot," said he, "when he rose up against me like a cruel dragon or a furious lion, will not permit this enemy to crush[Pg 110] me, now that he appears before me with the treacherous glance of the basilisk. I groan as I contemplate those calamities. Often have I asked myself whether it would not have been better to have allowed the papacy to go on quietly, rather than witness the occurrence of so many troubles and seditions in the world. But no! it is better to have snatched a few souls from the jaws of the devil than to have left them all between his murderous fangs."

Now terminated the revolution in Luther's mind that had begun at the period of his return from the Wartburg. The inner life no longer satisfied him: the Church and her institutions now became most important in his eyes. The boldness with which he had thrown down everything was checked at the sight of still more sweeping destructions; he felt it his duty to preserve, govern, and build up; and from the midst of the blood-stained ruins with which the peasant war had covered all Germany, the edifice of the new Church began slowly to arise.

These disturbances left a lasting and deep impression on men's minds. The nations had been struck with dismay. The masses, who had sought in the Reformation nothing but political reform, withdrew from it of their own accord, when they saw it offered them spiritual liberty only. Luther's opposition to the peasants was his renunciation of the ephemeral favor of the people. A seeming tranquillity was soon established, and the noise of enthusiasm and sedition was followed in all Germany by a silence inspired by terror.

Thus the popular passions, the cause of revolution, the interests of a radical equality, were quelled in the empire; but the Reformation did not yield. These two movements, which many have confounded with each other, were clearly marked out by the difference of their results. The insurrection was from below; the Reformation, from above. A few horsemen and cannon were sufficient to put down the one; but the other never ceased to rise in strength and vigor, in despite of the reiterated assaults of the empire and the Church.

[Pg 111]



A.D. 1525


Close upon the election of Charles V as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire came the first of a series of wars between that sovereign and Francis I, King of France, who had been Charles's rival for the imperial crown. The Emperor was at this time, 1521, favored by Henry VIII of England, and a secret treaty with Charles was finally concluded by Pope Leo X, who from the first had hesitated between the two young rivals, and who had already treated with Francis. The papal support proved the foundation of future power for Charles in Italy. The Pope and the Emperor agreed to unite their forces for expulsion of the French from their seat in the duchy of Milan.

In 1521 hostilities broke out in Navarre and in the Netherlands, and finally in the Milanese, where the people were tired of French government. The various allies drove the French completely out of Italy, and Charles invaded France, but was there repulsed. King Francis, elated by this last success, determined upon another invasion of the Milanese. He went in person to Italy, leaving his mother as regent in France. With largely superior forces, he drove the imperialists before him.

Instead, however, of pursuing the enemy, whom he might have overtaken at an untenable position, Francis, against the almost unanimous advice of his generals, laid siege to the strongly fortified city of Pavia, only to meet before it the crushing defeat which for centuries settled the fate of Italy. Pavia was held by a strong imperialist force under Lannoy.

Francis prosecuted the siege with obstinacy equal to the rashness with which he had undertaken it. During three months everything known to the engineers of that age, or that could be effected by the valor of his troops, was attempted, in order to reduce the place; while Lannoy and Pescara, unable to obstruct his operations, were obliged to remain in such an ignominious state of inaction that a pasquinade was published at Rome offering a reward to any person who could find the[Pg 112] imperial army, lost in the month of October in the mountains between France and Lombardy, and which had not been heard of since that time.

Leyva, well acquainted with the difficulties under which his countrymen labored, and the impossibility of their facing, in the field, such a powerful army as formed the siege of Pavia, placed his only hopes of safety in his own vigilance and valor. The efforts of both were extraordinary, and in proportion to the importance of the place with the defence of which he was intrusted. He interrupted the approaches of the French by frequent and furious sallies. Behind the breaches made by their artillery he erected new works, which appeared to be scarcely inferior in strength to the original fortifications. He repulsed the besiegers in all their assaults, and by his own example brought not only the garrison, but the inhabitants, to bear the most severe fatigues, and to encounter the greatest dangers, without murmuring. The rigor of the season conspired with his endeavors in retarding the progress of the French. Francis, attempting to become master of the town by diverting the course of the Tessino, which is its chief defence on one side, a sudden inundation of the river destroyed, in one day, the labor of many weeks, and swept away all the mounds which his army had raised with infinite toil as well as at great expense.

Notwithstanding the slow progress of the besiegers, and the glory which Leyva acquired by his gallant defence, it was not doubted but that the town would at last be obliged to surrender. Pope Clement, who already considered the French arms as superior in Italy, became impatient to disengage himself from his connections with the Emperor, of whose designs he was extremely jealous, and to enter into terms of friendship with Francis. As Clement's timid and cautious temper rendered him incapable of following the bold plan which Leo had formed of delivering Italy from the yoke of both the rivals, he returned to the more obvious and practicable scheme of employing the power of the one to balance and to restrain that of the other.

For this reason he did not dissemble his satisfaction at seeing the French King recover Milan, as he hoped that the dread of such a neighbor would be some check upon the Emperor's ambition, which no power in Italy was now able to control. He[Pg 113] labored hard to bring about a peace that would secure Francis in the possession of his new conquests; and as Charles, who was always inflexible in the prosecution of his schemes, rejected the proposition with disdain, and with bitter exclamations against the Pope, by whose persuasions, while Cardinal di Medici, he had been induced to invade the Milanese, Clement immediately concluded a treaty of neutrality with the King of France, in which the republic of Florence was included.

Francis having, by this transaction, deprived the Emperor of his two most powerful allies, and at the same time having secured a passage for his own troops through their territories, formed a scheme of attacking the kingdom of Naples, hoping either to overrun that country, which was left altogether without defence, or that at least such an unexpected invasion would oblige the viceroy to recall part of the imperial army out of the Milanese. For this purpose he ordered six thousand men to march under the command of John Stuart, Duke of Albany. But Pescara, foreseeing that the effect of this diversion would depend entirely upon the operations of the armies in the Milanese, persuaded Lannoy to disregard Albany's motions, and to bend his whole force against the King himself; so that Francis not only weakened his army very unseasonably by this great detachment, but incurred the reproach of engaging too rashly in chimerical and extravagant projects.

By this time the garrison of Pavia was reduced to extremity; their ammunition and provisions began to fail; the Germans, of whom it was chiefly composed, having received no pay for seven months, threatened to deliver the town into the enemy's hands, and could hardly be restrained from mutiny by all Leyva's address and authority. The imperial generals, who were no strangers to his situation, saw the necessity of marching without loss of time to his relief. This they had now in their power. Twelve thousand Germans, whom the zeal and activity of Bourbon taught to move with unusual rapidity, had entered Lombardy under his command, and rendered the imperial army nearly equal to that of the French, greatly diminished by the absence of the body under Albany, as well as by the fatigues of the siege and the rigor of the season.

But the more their troops increased in number, the more[Pg 114] sensibly did the imperialists feel the distress arising from want of money. Far from having funds for paying a powerful army, they had scarcely what was sufficient for defraying the charges of conducting their artillery and of carrying their ammunition and provisions. The abilities of the generals, however, supplied every defect. By their own example, as well as by magnificent promises in name of the Emperor, they prevailed on the troops of all the different nations which composed their army to take the field without pay; they engaged to lead them directly toward the enemy, and flattered them with the certain prospect of victory, which would at once enrich them with such royal spoils as would be an ample reward for all their services. The soldiers, sensible that, by quitting the army, they would forfeit the great arrears due to them, and eager to get possession of the promised treasures, demanded a battle with all the impatience of adventurers who fight only for plunder.

The imperial generals, without suffering the ardor of their troops to cool, advanced immediately toward the French camp. On the first intelligence of their approach, Francis called a council of war to deliberate what course he ought to take. All his officers of greatest experience were unanimous in advising him to retire, and to decline a battle with an enemy who courted it from despair. The imperialists, they observed, would either be obliged in a few weeks to disband an army which they were unable to pay, and which they kept together only by the hope of plunder, or the soldiers, enraged at the nonperformance of the promises to which they had trusted, would rise in some furious mutiny, which would allow their generals to think of nothing but their own safety; that meanwhile he might encamp in some strong post, and, waiting in safety the arrival of fresh troops from France and Switzerland, might before the end of spring take possession of all the Milanese without danger or bloodshed. But in opposition to them, Bonnivet, whose destiny it was to give counsels fatal to France during the whole campaign, represented the ignominy that it would reflect on their sovereign if he should abandon a siege which he had prosecuted so long, or turn his back before an enemy to whom he was still superior in number, and insisted on the necessity of fighting the imperialists rather than relinquish an undertaking on the success[Pg 115] of which the King's future fame depended. Unfortunately, Francis' notions of honor were delicate to an excess that bordered on what was romantic. Having often said that he would take Pavia or perish in the attempt, he thought himself bound not to depart from that resolution; and, rather than expose himself to the slightest imputation, he chose to forego all the advantages which were the certain consequences of a retreat, and determined to wait for the imperialists before the walls of Pavia.

The imperial generals found the French so strongly intrenched that, notwithstanding the powerful motives which urged them on, they hesitated long before they ventured to attack them; but at last the necessities of the besieged and the murmurs of their own soldiers obliged them to put everything to hazard. Never did armies engage with greater ardor or with a higher opinion of the importance of the battle which they were going to fight; never were troops more strongly animated with emulation, national antipathy, mutual resentment, and all the passions which inspire obstinate bravery. On the one hand, a gallant young monarch, seconded by a generous nobility and followed by subjects to whose natural impetuosity indignation at the opposition which they had encountered added new force, contended for victory and honor. On the other side, troops more completely disciplined, and conducted by generals of greater abilities, fought from necessity, with courage heightened by despair. The imperialists, however, were unable to resist the first efforts of the French valor, and their firmest battalions began to give way. But the fortune of the day was quickly changed. The Swiss in the service of France, unmindful of the reputation of their country for fidelity and martial glory, abandoned their post in a cowardly manner. Leyva, with his garrison, sallied out and attacked the rear of the French, during the heat of the action, with such fury as threw it into confusion; and Pescara, falling on their cavalry with the imperial horse, among whom he had prudently intermingled a considerable number of Spanish foot armed with the heavy muskets then in use, broke this formidable body by an unusual method of attack, against which they were wholly unprovided. The rout became universal; and resistance ceased in almost every part but where[Pg 116] the King was in person, who fought now, not for fame or victory, but for safety. Though wounded in several places, and thrown from his horse, which was killed under him, Francis defended himself on foot with a heroic courage.

Many of his bravest officers, gathering round him, and endeavoring to save his life at the expense of their own, fell at his feet. Among these was Bonnivet, the author of this great calamity, who alone died unlamented. The King, exhausted with fatigue, and scarcely capable of further resistance, was left almost alone, exposed to the fury of some Spanish soldiers, strangers to his rank and enraged at his obstinacy. At that moment came up Pomperant, a French gentleman, who had entered together with Bourbon into the Emperor's service, and, placing himself by the side of the monarch against whom he had rebelled, assisted in protecting him from the violence of the soldiers, at the same time beseeching him to surrender to Bourbon, who was not far distant. Imminent as the danger was which now surrounded Francis, he rejected with indignation the thoughts of an action which would have afforded such matter of triumph to his traitorous subject, and calling for Lannoy, who happened likewise to be near at hand, gave up his sword to him; which he, kneeling to kiss the King's hand, received with profound respect; and taking his own sword from his side, presented it to him, saying that it did not become so great a monarch to remain disarmed in the presence of one of the Emperor's subjects.

Ten thousand men fell on this day, one of the most fatal France had ever seen. Among these were many noblemen of the highest distinction, who chose rather to perish than to turn their backs with dishonor. Not a few were taken prisoners, of whom the most illustrious was Henry d'Albret, the unfortunate King of Navarre. A small body of the rear-guard made its escape under the command of the Duke of Alençon; the feeble garrison of Milan, on the first news of the defeat, retired, without being pursued, by another road; and, in two weeks after the battle, not a Frenchman remained in Italy.

Lannoy, though he treated Francis with all the outward marks of honor due to his rank and character, guarded him with the utmost attention. He was solicitous, not only to prevent[Pg 117] any possibility of his escaping, but afraid that his own troops might seize his person and detain it as the best security for the payment of their arrears. In order to provide against both these dangers, he conducted Francis, the day after the battle, to the strong castle of Pizzichitone, near Cremona, committing him to the custody of Don Ferdinand Alarcon, general of the Spanish infantry, an officer of great bravery and of strict honor, but remarkable for that severe and scrupulous vigilance which such a trust required.

Francis, who formed a judgment of the Emperor's dispositions by his own, was extremely desirous that Charles should be informed of his situation, fondly hoping that from his generosity or sympathy he should obtain speedy relief. The imperial generals were no less impatient to give their sovereign an early account of the decisive victory which they had gained, and to receive his instructions with regard to their future conduct. As the most certain and expeditious method of conveying intelligence to Spain at that season of the year was by land, Francis gave the commendador Pennalosa, who was charged with Lannoy's despatches, a passport to travel through France.

Charles received the account of this signal and unexpected success that had crowned his arms with a moderation which, if it had been real, would have done him more honor than the greatest victory. Without uttering one word expressive of exultation or of intemperate joy, he retired immediately into his chapel, and, having spent an hour in offering up his thanksgivings to heaven, returned to the presence-chamber, which by that time was filled with grandees and foreign ambassadors assembled in order to congratulate him. He accepted of their compliments with a modest deportment; he lamented the misfortune of the captive King, as a striking example of the sad reverse of fortune to which the most powerful monarchs are subject; he forbade any public rejoicings, as indecent in a war carried on among Christians, reserving them until he should obtain a victory equally illustrious over the infidels; and seemed to take pleasure, in the advantage which he had gained, only as it would prove the occasion of restoring peace to Christendom.

Charles, however, had already begun to form schemes in his own mind which little suited such external appearances. Ambition,[Pg 118] not generosity, was the ruling passion in his mind; and the victory at Pavia opened such new and unbounded prospects of gratifying it as allured him with irresistible force. But it being no easy matter to execute the vast designs which he meditated, he thought it necessary, while proper measures were taking for that purpose, to affect the greatest moderation, hoping under that veil to conceal his real intentions from the other princes of Europe.

Meanwhile France was filled with consternation. The King himself had early transmitted an account of the rout at Pavia in a letter to his mother, delivered by Pennalosa, which contained only these words: "Madam, all is lost except our honor." The officers who made their escape, when they arrived from Italy, brought such a melancholy detail of particulars as made all ranks of men sensibly feel the greatness and extent of the calamity. France, without its sovereign, without money in her treasury, without an army and without generals to command it, and encompassed on all sides by a victorious and active enemy, seemed to be on the very brink of destruction. But on that occasion the great abilities of Louise, the regent, saved the kingdom which the violence of her passions had more than once exposed to the greatest danger. Instead of giving herself up to such lamentations as were natural to a woman so remarkable for her maternal tenderness, she discovered all the foresight and exerted all the activity of a consummate politician. She assembled the nobles at Lyons, and animated them, by her example no less than by her words, with such zeal in defence of their country as its present situation required. She collected the remains of the army which had served in Italy, ransomed the prisoners, paid the arrears, and put them in a condition to take the field. She levied new troops, provided for the security of the frontiers, and raised sums sufficient for defraying these extraordinary expenses. Her chief care, however, was to appease the resentment or to gain the friendship of the King of England; and from that quarter the first ray of comfort broke in upon the French.

Though Henry, in entering into alliances with Charles or Francis, seldom followed any regular or concerted plan of policy, but was influenced chiefly by the caprice of temporary passions,[Pg 119] such occurrences often happened as recalled his attention toward that equal balance of power which it was necessary to keep between the two contending potentates, the preservation of which he always boasted to be his peculiar office. He had expected that his union with the Emperor might afford him an opportunity of recovering some part of those territories in France which had belonged to his ancestors, and for the sake of such an acquisition he did not scruple to give his assistance toward raising Charles to a considerable preëminence above Francis. He had never dreamed, however, of any event so decisive and so fatal as the victory at Pavia, which seemed not only to have broken, but to have annihilated, the power of one of the rivals; so that the prospect of the sudden and entire revolution which this would occasion in the political system filled him with the most disquieting apprehensions. He saw all Europe in danger of being overrun by an ambitious prince, to whose power there now remained no counterpoise; and though he himself might at first be admitted, in quality of an ally, to some share in the spoils of the captive monarch, it was easy to discern that with regard to the manner of making the partition, as well as his security for keeping possession of what should be allotted him, he must absolutely depend upon the will of a confederate, to whose forces his own bore no proportion.

He was sensible that if Charles were permitted to add any considerable part of France to the vast dominions of which he was already master, his neighborhood would be much more formidable to England than that of the ancient French kings; while at the same time the proper balance on the Continent, to which England owed both its safety and importance, would be entirely lost. Concern for the situation of the unhappy monarch coöperated with these political considerations; his gallant behavior in the battle of Pavia had excited a high degree of admiration, which never fails of augmenting sympathy; and Henry, naturally susceptible of generous sentiments, was fond of appearing as the deliverer of a vanquished enemy from a state of captivity. The passions of the English minister seconded the inclinations of the monarch. Wolsey, who had not forgotten the disappointment of his hopes in two successive conclaves, which he imputed chiefly to the Emperor, thought this a proper[Pg 120] opportunity of taking revenge; and, Louise courting the friendship of England with such flattering submissions as were no less agreeable to the King than to the Cardinal, Henry gave her secret assurances that he would not lend his aid toward oppressing France in its present helpless state, and obliged her to promise that she would not consent to dismember the kingdom even in order to procure her son's liberty.

During these transactions, Charles, whose pretensions to moderation and disinterestedness were soon forgotten, deliberated, with the utmost solicitude, how he might derive the greatest advantages from the misfortunes of his adversary. Some of his counsellors advised him to treat Francis with the magnanimity that became a victorious prince, and, instead of taking advantage of his situation to impose rigorous conditions, to dismiss him on such equal terms as would bind him forever to his interest by the ties of gratitude and affection, more forcible as well as more permanent than any which could be formed by extorted oaths and involuntary stipulations.

Such an exertion of generosity is not, perhaps, to be expected in the conduct of political affairs, and it was far too refined for that prince to whom it was proposed. The more obvious but less splendid scheme, of endeavoring to make the utmost of Francis' calamity, had a greater number in the council to recommend it, and suited better with the Emperor's genius. But though Charles adopted this plan, he seems not to have executed it in the most proper manner. Instead of making one great effort to penetrate into France with all the forces of Spain and the Low Countries; instead of crushing the Italian states before they recovered from the consternation which the success of his arms had occasioned, he had recourse to the artifices of intrigue and negotiation. This proceeded partly from necessity, partly from the natural disposition of his mind. The situation of his finances at that time rendered it extremely difficult to carry on any extraordinary armament; and he himself, having never appeared at the head of his armies, the command of which he had hitherto committed to his generals, was averse to bold and martial counsels, and trusted more to the arts with which he was acquainted. He laid, besides, too much stress upon the victory[Pg 121] of Pavia, as if by that event the strength of France had been annihilated, its resources exhausted, and the kingdom itself, no less than the person of its monarch, had been subjected to his power.

Full of this opinion, he determined to set the highest price upon Francis' freedom; and, having ordered the Count de Roeux to visit the captive King in his name, he instructed him to propose the following articles as the conditions on which he would grant him his liberty: That he should restore Burgundy to the Emperor, from whose ancestors it had been unjustly wrested; that he should surrender Provence and Dauphiné, that they might be erected into an independent kingdom for the constable Bourbon; that he should make full satisfaction to the King of England for all his claims, and finally renounce the pretensions of France to Naples, Milan, or any other territory in Italy. When Francis, who had hitherto flattered himself that he should be treated by the Emperor with the generosity becoming one great prince toward another, heard these rigorous conditions, he was so transported with indignation that, drawing his dagger hastily, he cried out, "'Twere better that a king should die thus." Alarcon, alarmed at his vehemence, laid hold on his hand; but though he soon recovered greater composure, he still declared in the most solemn manner that he would rather remain a prisoner during life than purchase liberty by such ignominious concessions.

The chief obstacle that stood in the way of Francis' liberty was the Emperor's continuing to insist so peremptorily on the restitution of Burgundy as a preliminary to that event. Francis often declared that he would never consent to dismember his kingdom; and that, even if he should so far forget the duties of a monarch as to come to such a resolution, the fundamental laws of the nation would prevent its taking effect. On his part he was willing to make an absolute cession to the Emperor of all his pretensions in Italy and the Low Countries; he promised to restore to Bourbon all his lands which had been confiscated; he renewed his proposal of marrying the Emperor's sister, the queen-dowager of Portugal; and engaged to pay a great sum by way of ransom for his own person.

But all mutual esteem and confidence between the two monarchs[Pg 122] were now entirely lost; there appeared, on the one hand, a rapacious ambition, laboring to avail itself of every favorable circumstance; on the other, suspicion and resentment, standing perpetually on their guard; so that the prospect of bringing their negotiations to an issure seemed to be far distant. The Duchess of Alençon, the French King's sister, whom Charles permitted to visit her brother in his confinement, employed all her address in order to procure his liberty on more reasonable terms. Henry of England interposed his good offices to the same purpose; but both with so little success that Francis, in despair, took suddenly the resolution of resigning his crown, with all its rights and prerogatives, to his son, the Dauphin, determining rather to end his days in prison than to purchase his freedom by concessions unworthy of a king. The deed for this purpose he signed with legal formality in Madrid, empowering his sister to carry it into France, that it might be registered in all the parliaments of the kingdom; and, at the same time, intimating his intention to the Emperor, he desired him to name the place of his confinement, and to assign him a proper number of attendants during the remainder of his days.

This resolution of the French King had great effect; Charles began to be sensible that, by pushing rigor to excess, he might defeat his own measures; and instead of the vast advantages which he hoped to draw from ransoming a powerful monarch, he might at last find in his hands a prince without dominions or revenues. About the same time one of the King of Navarre's domestics happened, by an extraordinary exertion of fidelity, courage, and address, to procure his master an opportunity of escaping from the prison in which he had been confined ever since the battle of Pavia. This convinced the Emperor that the most vigilant attention of his officers might be eluded by the ingenuity or boldness of Francis or his attendants, and one unlucky hour might deprive him of all the advantages which he had been so solicitous to obtain. By these considerations he was induced to abate somewhat of his former demands. On the other hand, Francis' impatience under confinement daily increased; and having received certain intelligence of a powerful league forming against his rival in Italy, he grew more compliant with regard to his concessions, trusting that, if he could once[Pg 123] obtain his liberty, he would soon be in a condition to resume whatever he had yielded.

Such being the views and sentiments of the two monarchs, the treaty which procured Francis his liberty was signed at Madrid on January 14, 1526.

[Pg 124]


A.D. 1527


Charles, Duc de Bourbon, known as the Constable de Bourbon, became famous in the wars of the emperor Charles V with Francis I, King of France. The vast estates of both branches of the Bourbon family were united in the possession of the Constable, making him a person of importance independently of his military career. He was born in 1490, and was made Constable of France for his services at the battle of Melegnano (1515), in which Francis gained a brilliant victory over the Swiss.

The attempt of powerful enemies to undermine Bourbon in the favor of the King led to the threatened loss of the Constable's dignities and lands, and provoked him to renounce the French service. After making a secret treaty with Charles V and with his ally, Henry VIII of England, Bourbon led a force of German mercenaries into Lombardy, where in 1523 he joined Charles' Spanish army, and next year aided in driving the French from Italy. Invading France, he marched under the Emperor's orders to Marseilles and laid siege to the city, but failed to take it.

Bourbon contributed materially to the Emperor's great victory at Pavia, and was rewarded by being made Duke of Milan and commander in Northern Italy. But although Charles thus honored Bourbon he did not trust him, and was not really desirous of advancing a person of such great resource and consequence. In the peace between Spain and France in 1526 Bourbon's great interests were neglected. Notwithstanding these things, when Charles V wished to punish Pope Clement VII, who had joined a league against him, Bourbon, with George of Frundsberg, led an army of Spanish and German mercenaries to Rome.

The description of the sack which followed, written by Benvenuto Cellini, the celebrated Italian artist, shows him as an effective participant in the defence. This account of a combatant is of course only fragmentary, and is supplemented by Trollope's critical narrative.


The whole world was now in warfare. Pope Clement had sent to get some troops from Giovanni de' Medici, and when they came they made such disturbances in Rome that it was ill living in open shops.[36] On this account I retired to a good snug[Pg 125] house behind the Banchi, where I worked for all the friends I had acquired. Since I produced few things of much importance at that period, I need not waste time in talking about them. I took much pleasure in music and amusements of the kind.

On the death of Giovanni de' Medici in Lombardy, the Pope, at the advice of Messer Jacopo Salviati, dismissed the five bands he had engaged; and when the Constable of Bourbon knew there were no troops in Rome, he pushed his army with the utmost energy up to the city. The whole of Rome upon this flew to arms. I happened to be intimate with Alessandro, the son of Piero del Bene, who, at the time when the Colonnesi entered Rome, had requested me to guard his palace.[37] On this more serious occasion, therefore, he prayed me to enlist fifty comrades for the protection of the said house, appointing me their captain, as I had been when the Colonnesi came. So I selected fifty young men of the highest courage, and we took up quarters in his palace, with good pay and excellent appointments.

Bourbon's army had now arrived before the walls of Rome, and Alessandro begged me to go with him to reconnoitre. So we went with one of the stoutest fellows in our company; and on the way a youth called Cecchino della Casa joined himself to us. On reaching the walls by the Campo Santo, we could see that famous army, which was making every effort to enter the town. Upon the ramparts where we took our station, several young men were lying, killed by the besiegers; the battle raged there desperately, and there was the densest fog imaginable. I turned to Alessandro and said: "Let us go home as soon as we can, for there is nothing to be done here; you see the enemies are mounting, and our men are in flight." Alessandro, in a panic, cried, "Would God that we had never come here!" and turned in maddest haste to fly. I took him up somewhat sharply with these words: "Since you have brought me here, I must perform some[Pg 126] action worthy of a man"; and, directing my arquebuse where I saw the thickest and most serried troop of fighting men, I aimed exactly at one whom I remarked to be higher than the rest: the fog prevented me from being certain whether he was on horseback or on foot. Then I turned to Alessandro and Cecchino, and bade them discharge their arquebuses, showing them how to avoid being hit by the besiegers. When we had fired two rounds apiece I crept cautiously up to the wall, and, observing among the enemy a most extraordinary confusion, I discovered afterward that one of our shots had killed the Constable of Bourbon; and, from what I subsequently learned, he was the man whom I had first noticed above the heads of the rest.[38]

Quitting our position on the ramparts, we crossed the Campo Santo, and entered the city by St. Peter's; then, coming out exactly at the Church of Santo Agnolo, we got with the greatest difficulty to the great gate of the castle; for the generals, Renzo di Ceri and Orazio Baglioni, were wounding and slaughtering everybody who abandoned the defence of the walls.[39]

By the time we had reached the great gate, part of the foemen had already entered Rome, and we had them in our rear. The castellan had ordered the portcullis to be lowered, in order to do which they cleared a little space, and this enabled us four to get inside. On the instant that I entered, the captain Palone de' Medici claimed me as being of the papal household and forced me to abandon Alessandro, which I had to do much against my will. I ascended to the keep, and at the same instant Pope Clement came in through the corridors into the castle; he had refused to leave the palace of St. Peter earlier, being unable[Pg 127] to believe that his enemies would effect their entrance into Rome.[40]

Having got into the castle in this way, I attached myself to certain pieces of artillery, which were under the command of a bombardier called Giuliano Fiorentino. Leaning there against the battlements, the unhappy man could see his poor house being sacked, and his wife and children outraged; fearing to strike his own folk, he dared not discharge the cannon, and, flinging the burning fuse upon the ground, he wept as though his heart would break, and tore his cheeks with both his hands.[41]

Some of the other bombardiers were behaving in like manner; seeing which, I took one of the matches, and got the assistance of a few men who were not overcome by their emotions. I aimed some swivels and falconets at points where I saw it would be useful, and killed with them a good number of the enemy. Had it not been for this, the troops who poured into Rome that morning and were marching straight upon the castle might possibly have entered it with ease, because the artillery was doing them no damage. I went on firing under the eyes of several cardinals and lords, who kept blessing me and giving me the heartiest encouragement. In my enthusiasm I strove to achieve the impossible; let it suffice that it was I who saved the castle that morning, and brought the other bombardiers back to their duty.[42] I worked hard the whole of that day, and when the evening came—while the army was marching into Rome through Trastevere—Pope Clement appointed a great Roman nobleman named Antonio Santacroce to be a captain of all the gunners. The first thing this man did was to come to me, and, having greeted[Pg 128] me with the utmost kindness, he stationed me with five fine pieces of artillery on the highest point of the castle, to which the name of the "Angel" specially belongs.

This circular eminence goes round the castle and surveys both Prati and the town of Rome. The captain put under my orders enough men to help in managing my guns, and, having seen me paid in advance, he gave me rations of bread and a little wine, and begged me to go forward as I had begun. I was perhaps more inclined by nature to the profession of arms than to the one I had adopted, and I took such pleasure in its duties that I discharged them better than those of my own art.

Night came, the enemy had entered Rome, and we who were in the castle—especially myself, who have always taken pleasure in extraordinary sights—stayed gazing on the indescribable scene of tumult and conflagration in the streets below. People who were anywhere else but where we were could not have formed the least imagination of what it was.


The combined force of Bourbon and Frundsberg was in all respects more like a rabble-rout of brigands and bandits than an army, and was assuredly such as must, even in those days, have been felt to be a disgrace to any sovereign permitting them to call themselves his soldiers. Their pay was, as was often the case with the troops of Charles V, hopelessly in arrear, and discipline was of course proportionably weak among them. Indeed, it seemed every now and then on the point of coming to an end altogether. The two generals had the greatest difficulty in preventing their army from becoming an entirely anarchical and disorganized mob of freebooters as dangerous to its masters as to everybody else. Of course food, raiment, and shelter were the first absolute essentials for keeping this dangerous mass of armed men in any degree of order and organization, and in fact the present march of Frundsberg and Bourbon had the obtaining of these necessaries for its principal and true object.

The progress southward of this bandit army unchecked by any opposing force—for Giovanni delle Bande Nere had lost his life in the attempt to prevent them from passing the Po; and after the death of that great captain, the army of the league did[Pg 129] not muster courage to attack or impede the invaders in any way—filled the cities exposed to their inroad with terror and dismay. They had passed like a destroying locust swarm over Bologna and Imola, and crossing the Apennines, which separate Umbria from Tuscany, had descended into the valley of the Arno not far from Arezzo. Florence and Rome both trembled. On which would the storm burst? That was the all-absorbing question.

Pope Clement, with his usual avarice-blinded imbecility, had, immediately on concluding a treaty with the Neapolitan viceroy, discharged all his troops except a bodyguard of about six hundred men. Florence was nearly in as defenceless a position. She had, says Varchi, "two great armies on her territory; one that under Bourbon, which came as an enemy to sack and plunder her; and the other, that of a league, which came as a friend to protect her, but sacked and plundered her none the less." It was, however, probably the presence of this army, little as it had hitherto done to impede the progress of the enemy, which decided Bourbon eventually to determine on marching toward Rome.

It seems doubtful how far they were, in so doing, executing the orders or carrying out the wishes of the Emperor. Clement, though he had played the traitor to Charles, as he did to everyone else, and had been at war with him recently, had now entered into a treaty with the Emperor's viceroy. And apart from this there was a degree of odium and scandal attaching to the sight of the "most Catholic" Emperor sending a Lutheran army in his pay to attack the head of the Church, and ravage the venerated capital of Christendom, which so decorous a sovereign as Charles would hardly have liked to incur. Still, it may be assumed that if the Emperor wished his army kept together, and provided no sums for the purpose, he was not unwilling that they should live by plunder. And perhaps his real intention was to extort from Rome the means of paying his troops by the mere exhibition of the danger arising from their propinquity while they remained unpaid. Upon the whole we are warranted in supposing that Bourbon and Frundsberg would hardly have ventured on the course they took if they had not had reason to believe that it would not much displease their master. And[Pg 130] Charles was exactly the sort of man who would like to have the profit of an evil deed without the loss of reputation arising from the commission of it, and who would consider himself best served by agents who could commit a profitable atrocity without being guilty of the annoying want of tact of waiting for his direct orders to commit it.

For the especial business in hand, it was impossible, moreover, to have had two more fitting agents than Bourbon and Frundsberg. It was not every knightly general in those days who would have accepted the task, even with direct orders, of marching to the sack of Rome, and the open defiance of its sacred ruler. A Florentine or a Neapolitan soldier might have had small scruple in doing so; and a Roman baron—a Colonna or an Orsini—none at all. But there would have been found few men of such mark as Bourbon, in either France or Spain, willing to undertake the enterprise he was now engaged in. The unfortunate Constable, however, was a disgraced and desperate man. He was disgraced in the face of Europe by unknightly breach of fealty to his sovereign, despite the intensity of the provocation which had driven him to that step. For all the sanctions which held European society together, in the universal bondage which alone then constituted social order, were involved in maintaining the superstition that so branded him. And he was a desperate man in his fortunes; for though no name in all Europe was at that day as great a military power at the head of a host as that of Bourbon, and though the miserable bearer of it had so shortly before been one of the wealthiest and largest territorial nobles of France, yet the Constable had now his sword for his fortune as barely as the rawest lad in the rabble-rout that followed him, sent out from some landless tower of an impoverished knight, in half-starved Galicia or poverty-stricken Navarre, to carve his way in the world.

Even among those whose ranks he had joined, Bourbon was a disgraced and ruined man beyond redemption. Although his well-known military capacity had easily induced Charles to welcome and make use of him, he must have felt that the step he had taken in breaking his allegiance and abandoning his country had rendered him an outcast and almost a pariah in the estimation of the chivalry of Europe. The feeling he had awakened against[Pg 131] himself throughout Christendom is strikingly illustrated by an anecdote recorded of his reception at Madrid. When, shortly after winning the battle of Pavia, Bourbon went thither to meet Charles, and the Marquis of Villane was requested to lodge the victorious general in his palace, the haughty Spaniard told the Emperor that his house and all that he possessed were at his sovereign's disposition, but that he should assuredly burn it down as soon as Bourbon was out of it; since, having been sullied by the presence of a renegade, it could no longer be a fitting residence for a man of honor.

So low had Bourbon fallen! Every man's hand was raised against him, and his hand was against every man. And it is easy to conceive what must have been his tone of mind and feeling, as he led on his mutinous robber-rout to Rome, while men of all parties looked on in panic-stricken horror. Thus Bourbon led his unpaid and mutinous hordes to a deed which, none knew better than he, would shock and scandalize all Europe, as a man who, having fallen already so low as to have lost all self-respect, cares not in his reckless despair to what depth he plunges.

As for Frundsberg, he was a mere soldier of fortune, whose world was his camp, whose opinions and feelings had been formed in quite another school from those of his fellow-general; whose code of honor and of morals was an entirely different one, and whose conscience was not only perfectly at rest respecting the business he was bound on, but approved of it as a good and meritorious work for the advancement of true religion. He carried round his neck a halter of golden tissue, we are told, with which he loudly boasted that he would hang the Pope as soon as he got to Rome; and had others of crimson silk at his saddle-bow, which he said were destined for the cardinals!

Too late Clement became aware of the imminence and magnitude of the danger that threatened him and the capital of Christendom. He besought the Neapolitan viceroy, who had already signed a treaty with him, as has been seen, to exert himself and use his authority to arrest the southward march of Bourbon's army. And it is remarkable that this representative of the Emperor in the government of Naples did, as it would seem, endeavor earnestly to avert the coming avalanche from the Eternal City. But, while the Emperor's viceroy used all his authority[Pg 132] and endeavors to arrest the advance of the Emperor's army, the Emperor's generals advanced and sacked Rome in spite of him. Which of them most really acted according to the secret wishes of that profound dissembler, and most false and crafty monarch, it is impossible to know. It may have been that Bourbon himself had no power to stay the plundering, bandit-like march of his hungry and unpaid troops. And the facts recorded of the state of discipline of the army are perfectly consistent with such a supposition.

The Viceroy sent a messenger to Bourbon, while he was yet in Bologna, informing him of the treaty signed with Clement, and desiring him therefore to come no farther southward. Bourbon, bent, as Varchi says, on deceiving both the Pope and the Viceroy, replied that, if the Pope would send him two hundred thousand florins for distribution to the army, he would stay his march. But, while this answer was carried back to Rome, the tumultuous host continued its fearfully menacing advance; and the alarm in Rome was rapidly growing to desperate terror. At the Pope's earnest request, the Viceroy, "who knew well," says Varchi, "that his holiness had not a farthing," himself took post and rode hard for Florence with letters from Clement, hoping to obtain the money there.

The departure of the Viceroy in person, and the breathless haste of his ride to Florence, speak vividly of this Spanish officer's personal anxiety respecting the dreadful fate which threatened Rome. But the Florentines do not seem to have been equally impressed with the necessity of losing no time in making an effort to avert the calamity from a rival city. It was after "much talking," we are told, that they at last consented to advance a hundred fifty thousand florins, eighty thousand in cash down, and the remainder by the end of October. It was now April; and Bourbon had by this time crossed the Apennines, and was with his army on the western slopes of the mountains, not far from the celebrated monastery of Lavernia. Thither the Viceroy hurried with all speed, accompanied by only two servants and a trumpeter; and having "with much difficulty," says Varchi, come to speech with the general, proffered him the eighty thousand florins. Upon which he was set upon by the tumultuous troops, and "narrowly escaped being torn in pieces by them."[Pg 133] In endeavoring to get away from them and make his way back to Florence, he fell into the hands of certain peasants near Camaldoli, and was here again in danger of his life, and was wounded in the head. He was, however, rescued by a monk of Vallombrosa, and by him conducted to the neighboring little town of Poppi in the Casentino, or upper valley of the Arno, whence he made his way to Siena, and so back to Rome, with no pleasant tidings of what might be expected from Bourbon and his brigand army.

The Vallombrosan monk, who thus bestead the Viceroy at his need, was, as Varchi records, rewarded by the bishopric of Muro, in the kingdom of Naples, which, adds the historian, "he still holds."

The fate of Rome was no longer doubtful. Clement, who by his pennywise parsimony had left himself defenceless, made a feeble and wholly vain attempt to put the city in a state of defence. The corrupt and cowardly citizens could not have opposed any valid resistance to the ruffian hordes who were slowly but surely, like an advancing conflagration, coming upon them, even if they had been willing to do their best. But the trembling Pope's appeal to them to defend the walls fell on the ears of as sorely trembling men, each thinking only of the possible chances of saving his own individual person. Yet it seems clear that means of defence might have been found had not the Pope been thus paralyzed by terror.

Clement, however, was as one fascinated. Martin du Bellay tells us that he himself, then in Italy as ambassador from Francis I, hurried to Rome, and warned the Pope of his danger in abundant time for him to have prepared for the protection of the city by the troops he had at his disposal. But no persuasion availed to induce Clement to take any step for that purpose. Neither would he seek safety by flight, nor permit his unfortunate subjects to do so. John da Casale, ambassador of Henry VIII at Venice, writes thence to Wolsey on May 16th—the fatal tidings of the sack of the city having just reached Venice—as follows: "He"—Clement—"refused to quit the city for some safer place. He even forbade by edict that anyone should carry anything out of the gates on pain of death, though many were anxious to depart and carry their fortunes elsewhere."[Pg 134] Meantime Florence, for her own protection, had hastily induced Francesco Maria, Duke of Urbino, to place himself at the head of the remaining forces of the Italian league, and to take up a position at Incisa, a small town in the Upper Valdarno, about twenty miles from the city, on the road to Arezzo. Thus the torrent was turned off from the capital of the commonwealth. Probably as soon as the invading army once found itself to the south of Florence, that wealthy city was in no immediate danger. Rome was metal more attractive to the invaders, even had there not been an army between them and Florence.

And now it became frightfully clear that the doom of the Eternal City was at hand. On came the strangely heterogeneous rout of lawless soldiery, leaving behind them a trail of burned and ruined cities, devastated fields, and populations plague-stricken from the contamination engendered by the multitude of their unburied dead.

On May 5th Bourbon arrived beneath the walls of Rome. During the last few days the unhappy Pope had endeavored to arm what men he could get together under Renzo di Ceri and one Horatius—not Cocles, unhappily—but Baglioni. "Rome contained within her walls," says Ranke, "some thirty thousand inhabitants capable of bearing arms. Many of these men had seen service. They wore swords by their sides, which they had used freely in their broils among each other, and then boasted of their exploits. But to oppose the enemy, who brought with him certain destruction, five hundred men were the utmost that could be mustered within the city. At the first onset the Pope and his forces were overthrown." On the evening of May 6th the city was stormed and given over to the unbridled cupidity and brutality of the soldiers, who during many a long day of want and hardship had been looking forward to the hour that was to repay them amply for all past sufferings by the boundless gratification of every sense, and every caprice of lawless passion. Bourbon himself had fallen in the first moments of the attack, as he was leading his men to scale the walls, and any small influence that he might have exerted in moderating the excesses of the conquerors was thus at an end.

It does not fall within the scope of the present narrative to[Pg 135] attempt any detailed account of the days and scenes that followed. They have been described by many writers; and the reader who bears in mind what Rome was—her vileness, her cowardice, her imbecility, her wealth, her arts, her monuments, her memories, her helpless population of religious communities of both sexes, and the sacred character of her high places and splendors, which served to give an additional zest to the violence of triumphant heretics—he that bears in mind all these things may safely give the reign to his imagination without any fear of overcharging the picture. Frundsberg had been wont to boast that if ever he reached Rome he would hang the Pope. He never did reach it, having been carried off by a fit of apoplexy while striving to quell a mutiny among his troops shortly after leaving Bologna on his southward march. But the threat is sufficiently indicative of the spirit that animated his army, to show that Clement owed his personal safety only to the strength of the castle of St. Angelo, in which he sought refuge.

The sensation produced throughout Europe by the dreadful misfortune which had fallen on the Eternal City was immense. John da Casale, in the letter cited above, says that it would have been better for Rome to have been taken by the Turks, when they were in Hungary, as the infidels would have perpetrated less odious outrages and less horrible sacrilege. Clerk, Bishop of Bath, writes to Wolsey from Paris on May 28th following: "Please it, your Grace, after my most humble recommendation, to understand that about the fifteenth of this moneth, by letters sent from Venyce, it was spoken, that the Duke of Burbon with the armye imperyall by vyolence shold enter Rome as the 6th of this moneth; and that in the same entree the said Duke should be slayne; and that the Pope had savyd Himself with the Cardynalls in Castell Angell; whiche tydinges bycause they ware not written unto Venyce, but upon relation of a souldier, that came from Rome to Viterbe, and bycause ther cam hither no maner of confirmation thereof unto this day, thay war not belevyd. This day ther is come letters from Venyce confyrming the same tydinges to be true. They write also that they have sackyd and spoylyd the town, and slayne to the nombre of 45,000, non parcentes nec etati nec sexui nec ordini; amongst other that they have murdyrd a marveillous sorte of fryars, and agaynst pristes and[Pg 136] churchis they have behavyd thymselfes as it doth become Murranys and Lutherans to do."

How deeply Wolsey himself was moved by the news is seen by a letter from him to Henry VIII, written on June 2d following. He forwards to the King the letters "nowe arryved, as wel out of Fraunce as out of Italy, confirming the piteous and lamentable spoiles, pilages, with most cruel murdres, committed by the Emperialls in the citie of Rome, non parcentes sacris, etati, sexui, aut relioni; and the extreme daungier that the Poopes Holines and Cardinalles, who fled into the Castel Angel, wer in, if by meane of the armye of the liege, they should not be shortly socoured and releved. Which, sire, is matier that must nedes commove and stire the hartes of al good christen princes and people to helpe and put their handes with effecte to reformacion thereof, and the repressing of such tirannous demenour."

Even Charles himself affected at least to mourn the success of his own army. Nowhere did this terrible Italian misfortune fail to awaken sympathy and compassion save in a rival Italian city. Florence heard the tidings, says Varchi, with the utmost delight. The same historian expresses his own opinion, that the sack of Rome was at once the most cruel and the most merited chastisement ever inflicted by heaven. And another Florentine writer piously accounts for the failure of all means adopted to avert the calamity, by supposing that it was God's eternal purpose then and thus to chastise the crimes of the Roman prelates—a theory, it may occur to some minds, somewhat damaged by the unfortunate fact that the greater part of the miseries suffered in those awful days were inflicted on the unhappy flocks of those purple shepherds.


[36] These troops entered Rome in October, 1526. They were disbanded in March, 1527.

[37] Cellini here refers to the attack made upon Rome by the great Ghibelline house of Colonna, led by their chief captain, Pompeo, in September, 1526. They took possession of the city and drove Clement into the castle of St. Angelo, where they forced him to agree to terms favoring the Imperial cause. It was customary for Roman gentlemen to hire bravoes for the defence of their palaces when any extraordinary disturbance was expected, as, for example, upon the vacation of the papal chair.

[38] All historians of the sack of Rome agree in saying that Bourbon was shot dead while placing ladders against the outworks near the shop Cellini mentions. But the honor of firing the arquebuse which brought him down cannot be assigned to anyone in particular. Very different stories were current on the subject.

[39] Renzo di Ceri was a captain of adventurers, who had conquered Urbino for the Pope in 1515, and afterward fought for the French in the Italian wars. Orazio Baglioni, of the semiprincely Perugian family, was a distinguished condottiere. He subsequently obtained the captaincy of the Bande Nere, and died fighting near Naples in 1528. Orazio murdered several of his cousins in order to acquire the lordship of Perugia. His brother Malatesta undertook to defend Florence in the siege of 1530, and sold the city by treason to Clement.

[40] Giovio, in his Life of the Cardinal Prospero Colonna, relates how he accompanied Clement in his flight from the Vatican to the castle. While passing some open portions of the gallery, he threw his violet mantle and cap of a monseigneur over the white stole of the Pontiff, for fear he might be shot at by the soldiers in the streets below.

[41] The short autobiography of Raffaello da Montelupo, a man in many respects resembling Cellini, confirms this part of our author's narrative. It is one of the most interesting pieces of evidence regarding what went on inside the castle during the sack of Rome. Montelupo was also a gunner and commanded two pieces.

[42] This is an instance of Cellini's exaggeration. He did more than yeoman's service, no doubt, but we cannot believe that, without him, the castle would have been taken.

[Pg 137]



A.D. 1529


The "New Learning" which had been slowly spreading from Italy over all Europe, did not markedly affect England until the sixteenth century. There the long Wars of the Roses had not only gone nigh to exterminating the old nobility, but had so distracted men's minds from more peaceful pursuits that little note was taken of the intellectual movement abroad. Under Henry VII and Henry VIII all this changed. These Tudor monarchs were indeed tyrants over England, but they brought her peace—and time for thought. Under the leadership of the celebrated Dutch scholar Erasmus, and the almost equally renowned Englishmen, Sir Thomas More and Dean Colet, the land awakened about 1500 to a new life of study and of culture, whose principles spread rapidly among the upper classes.

When news of Luther's religious revolt reached England, the leaders of the New Learning were at first inclined to favor his ideas. But the two movements, one scholarly and calm, the other impassioned and intense, soon parted company, as Green shows in his justly famous account.

The true ruler of England at the time was the "great cardinal," Wolsey, whose brain long enabled him to play upon King Henry as a toreador does upon a bull, guiding at will the frenzied rushes of the mighty brute. In 1521, the period when the following account begins, Wolsey was fifty years old. He had risen from being the studious son of a grazier and wool merchant to be a dean of the Church under Henry VII, and a bishop, cardinal and lord chancellor, of England under Henry VIII. His ambition to be pope was thwarted by the emperor Charles V, but he was "cardinal legate," having control of the Catholic Church throughout England; and it was said of him that in all European affairs he was "seven times more powerful than the Pope."

In England Luther's protest seemed at first to find no echo. King Henry VIII was, both on political and on religious grounds, firm on the papal side. England and Rome were drawn to a close alliance by the identity of their political position.[Pg 138] Each was hard pressed between the same great powers; Rome had to hold its own between the masters of Southern and the masters of Northern Italy, as England had to hold her own between the rulers of France and of the Netherlands. From the outset of his reign to the actual break with Clement VII the policy of Henry is always at one with that of the papacy. Nor were the King's religious tendencies hostile to it. He was a trained theologian and proud of his theological knowledge, but to the end his convictions remained firmly on the side of the doctrines which Luther denied. In 1521, therefore, he entered the lists against Luther with an "Assertion of the Seven Sacraments," for which he was rewarded by Leo with the title of "Defender of the Faith." The insolent abuse of the reformer's answer called More and Fisher into the field.

The influence of the "New Learning" was now strong at the English court. Colet and Grocyn were among its foremost preachers; Linacre was Henry's physician; More was a privy councillor; Pace was one of the secretaries of state; Tunstall was master of the rolls. And as yet the New Learning, though scared by Luther's intemperate language, had steadily backed him in his struggle. Erasmus pleaded for him with the Emperor. Ulrich von Hutten attacked the friars in satires and invectives as violent as his own. But the temper of the Renaissance was even more antagonistic to the temper of Luther than that of Rome itself.

From the golden dream of a new age wrought peaceably and purely by the slow progress of intelligence, the growth of letters, the development of human virtue, the reformer of Wittenberg turned away with horror. He had little or no sympathy with the new cult. He despised reason as heartily as any papal dogmatist could despise it. He hated the very thought of toleration or comprehension. He had been driven by a moral and intellectual compulsion to declare the Roman system a false one, but it was only to replace it by another system of doctrine just as elaborate and claiming precisely the same infallibility. To degrade human nature was to attack the very base of the New Learning; and his attack on it called the foremost of its teachers to the field. But Erasmus no sooner advanced to its defence than Luther declared man to be utterly enslaved by original sin and incapable,[Pg 139] through any efforts of his own, of discovering truth or of arriving, at goodness.

Such a doctrine not only annihilated the piety and wisdom of the classic past, from which the New Learning had drawn its larger views of life and of the world; it trampled in the dust reason itself, the very instrument by which More and Erasmus hoped to regenerate both knowledge and religion. To More especially, with his keener perception of its future effect, this sudden revival of a purely theological and dogmatic spirit, severing Christendom into warring camps and ruining all hopes of union and tolerance, was especially hateful. The temper which hitherto had seemed so "endearing, gentle, and happy," suddenly gave way. His reply to Luther's attack upon the King sank to the level of the work it answered; and though that of Bishop Fisher was calmer and more argumentative, the divorce of the New Learning from the Reformation seemed complete.

But if the world of scholars and thinkers stood aloof from the new movement it found a warmer welcome in the larger world where men are stirred rather by emotion than by thought. There was an England of which even More and Colet knew little, in which Luther's words kindled a fire that was never to die. As a great social and political movement Lollardry had ceased to exist, and little remained of the directly religious impulse given by Wycliffe beyond a vague restlessness and discontent with the system of the Church. But weak and fitful as was the life of Lollardry the prosecutions whose records lie scattered over the bishops' registers failed wholly to kill it. We see groups meeting here and there to read "in a great book of heresy all one night certain chapters of the Evangelists in English," while transcripts of Wycliffe's tracts passed from hand to hand.

The smouldering embers needed but a breath to fan them into flame, and the breath came from William Tyndale. Born among the Cotswolds when Bosworth Field gave England to the Tudors, Tyndale passed from Oxford to Cambridge to feel the full impulse given by the appearance there of the New Testament of Erasmus. From that moment one thought was at his heart. He "perceived by experience how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue."[Pg 140]

"If God spare my life," he said to a learned controversialist, "ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost." But he was a man of forty before his dream became fact. Drawn from his retirement in Gloucestershire by the news of Luther's protest at Wittenberg, he found shelter for a year with a London alderman, Humfrey Monmouth. "He studied most part of the day at his book," said his host afterward, "and would eat but sodden meat by his good-will and drink but small single beer." The book at which he studied was the Bible. But it was soon needful to quit England if his purpose was to hold. "I understood at the last not only that there was no room in my lord of London's palace to translate the New Testament, but also that there was no place to do it in all England."

From Hamburg, where he took refuge in 1524, he probably soon found his way to the little town which had suddenly become the sacred city of the Reformation. Students of all nations were flocking there with an enthusiasm which resembled that of the crusades. "As they came in sight of the town," a contemporary tells us, "they returned thanks to God with clasped hands, for from Wittenberg, as heretofore from Jerusalem, the light of evangelical truth had spread to the utmost parts of the earth."

Such a visit could only fire Tyndale to face the "poverty, exile, bitter absence from friends, hunger and thirst and cold, great dangers, and innumerable other hard and sharp fightings," which the work he had set himself was to bring with it. In 1525 his version of the New Testament was completed, and means were furnished by English merchants for printing it at Cologne. But Tyndale had soon to fly with his sheets to Worms, a city whose Lutheran tendencies made it a safer refuge, and it was from Worms that six thousand copies of the New Testament were sent in 1526 to English shores. The King was keenly opposed to a book which he looked on as made "at the solicitation and instance of Luther"; and even the men of the New Learning from whom it might have hoped for welcome were estranged from it by its Lutheran origin. We can only fairly judge their action by viewing it in the light of the time. What Warham and More saw over sea might well have turned them from a movement[Pg 141] which seemed breaking down the very foundations of religion and society. Not only was the fabric of the Church rent asunder and the centre of Christian unity denounced as "Babylon," but the reform itself seemed passing into anarchy.

Luther was steadily moving onward from the denial of one Catholic dogma to that of another; and what Luther still clung to, his followers were ready to fling away. Carlstadt was denouncing the reformer of Wittenberg as fiercely as Luther himself had denounced the Pope, and meanwhile the religious excitement was kindling wild dreams of social revolution, and men stood aghast at the horrors of a peasant war which broke out in Southern Germany. It was not therefore as a mere translation of the Bible that Tyndale's work reached England. It came as a part of the Lutheran movement, and it bore the Lutheran stamp in its version of ecclesiastical words. "Church" became "congregation," "priest" was changed into "elder." It came too in company with Luther's bitter invectives and reprints of the tracts of Wycliffe, which the German traders of the Steelyard were importing in large numbers. We can hardly wonder that More denounced the book as heretical, or that Warham ordered it to be given up by all who possessed it.

Wolsey took little heed of religious matters, but his policy was one of political adhesion to Rome, and he presided over a solemn penance to which some Steelyard men submitted in St. Paul's. "With six-and-thirty abbots, mitred priors, and bishops, and he in his whole pomp mitred," the Cardinal looked on while "great baskets full of books were commanded; after the great fire was made before the Rood of Northen (the crucifix by the great north door of the cathedral), thus to be burned, and those heretics to go thrice about the fire and to cast in their fagots."

But scenes and denunciations such as these were vain in the presence of an enthusiasm which grew every hour. "Englishmen," says a scholar of the time, "were so eager for the Gospel as to affirm that they would buy a New Testament even if they had to give a hundred thousand pieces of money for it." Bibles and pamphlets were smuggled over to England and circulated among the poorer and trading classes through the agency of an association of "Christian Brethren," consisting principally of[Pg 142] London tradesmen and citizens, but whose missionaries spread over the country at large. They found their way at once to the universities, where the intellectual impulse given by the New Learning was quickening religious speculation.

Cambridge had already won a name for heresy; Barnes, one of its foremost scholars, had to carry his fagot before Wolsey at St. Paul's; two other Cambridge teachers, Bilney and Latimer, were already known as "Lutherans." The Cambridge scholars whom Wolsey introduced into Cardinal College, which he was founding, spread the contagion through Oxford. A group of "brethren" was formed in Cardinal College for the secret reading and discussion of the Epistles; and this soon included the more intelligent and learned scholars of the university. It was in vain that Clark, the centre of this group, strove to dissuade fresh members from joining it by warnings of the impending dangers. "I fell down on my knees at his feet," says one of them, Anthony Dalaber, "and with tears and sighs besought him that for the tender mercy of God he should not refuse me, saying that I trusted verily that he who had begun this on me would not forsake me, but would give me grace to continue therein to the end. When he heard me say so, he came to me, took me in his arms, and kissed me, saying, 'The Lord God Almighty grant you so to do, and from henceforth ever take me for your father, and I will take you for my son in Christ.'"

In 1528 the excitement which followed on this rapid diffusion of Tyndale's works forced Wolsey to more vigorous action; many of the Oxford Brethren were thrown into prison and their books seized. But in spite of the panic of the Protestants, some of whom fled over sea, little severity was really exercised. Henry's chief anxiety, indeed, was lest in the outburst against heresy the interest of the New Learning should suffer harm. This was remarkably shown in the protection he extended to one who was destined to eclipse even the fame of Colet as a popular preacher. Hugh Latimer was the son of a Leicestershire yeoman, whose armor the boy had buckled on in the days of Henry VII, ere he set out to meet the Cornish insurgents at Blackheath Field. Latimer has himself described the soldierly training of his youth.

"My father was delighted to teach me to shoot with the bow.[Pg 143] He taught me how to draw, how to lay my body to the bow, not to draw with strength of arm as other nations do, but with the strength of the body."

At fourteen he was at Cambridge, flinging himself into the New Learning which was winning its way there with a zeal that at last told on his physical strength. The ardor of his mental efforts left its mark on him in ailments and enfeebled health from which, vigorous as he was, his frame never wholly freed itself. But he was destined to be known, not as a scholar, but as a preacher. In his addresses from the pulpit the sturdy good-sense of the man shook off the pedantry of the schools as well as the subtlety of the theologian. He had little turn for speculation, and in the religious changes of the day we find him constantly lagging behind his brother-reformers. But he had the moral earnestness of a Jewish prophet, and his denunciations of wrong had a prophetic directness and fire. "Have pity on your soul," he cried to Henry, "and think that the day is even at hand when you shall give an account of your office, and of the blood that hath been shed by your sword."

His irony was yet more telling than his invective. "I would ask you a strange question," he said once at Paul's Cross to a ring of bishops; "who is the most diligent prelate in all England, that passeth all the rest in doing of his office? I will tell you. It is the Devil! Of all the pack of them that have cure, the Devil shall go for my money; for he ordereth his business. Therefore, you unpreaching prelates, learn of the Devil to be diligent in your office. If you will not learn of God, for shame learn of the Devil." But Latimer was far from limiting himself to invective. His homely humor breaks in with story and apologue; his earnestness is always tempered with good-sense; his plain and simple style quickens with a shrewd mother-wit. He talks to his hearers as a man talks to his friends, telling stories such as we have given of his own life at home, or chatting about the changes and chances of the day with a transparent simplicity and truth that raise even his chat into grandeur. His theme is always the actual world about him, and in his simple lessons of loyalty, of industry, of pity for the poor, he touches upon almost every subject from the plough to the throne. No such preaching had been heard in England before his day, and with the growth[Pg 144] of his fame grew the danger of persecution. There were moments when, bold as he was, Latimer's heart failed him. "If I had not trust that God will help me," he wrote once, "I think the ocean sea would have divided my lord of London and me by this day."

A citation for heresy at last brought the danger home. "I intend," he wrote with his peculiar medley of humor and pathos, to "make merry with my parishioners this Christmas, for all the sorrow, lest perchance I may never return to them again." But he was saved throughout by the steady protection of the court. Wolsey upheld him against the threats of the Bishop of Ely; Henry made him his own chaplain; and the King's interposition at this critical moment forced Latimer's judges to content themselves with a few vague words of submission.

What really sheltered the reforming movement was Wolsey's indifference to all but political matters. In spite of the foundation of Cardinal College in which he was now engaged, and of the suppression of some lesser monasteries for its endowment, the men of the New Learning looked on him as really devoid of any interest in the revival of letters or in their hopes of a general enlightenment. He took hardly more heed of the new Lutheranism. His mind had no religious turn, and the quarrel of faiths was with him simply one factor in the political game which he was carrying on and which at this moment became more complex and absorbing than ever. The victory of Pavia had ruined that system of balance which Henry VII, and, in his earlier days, Henry VIII, had striven to preserve. But the ruin had not been to England's profit, but to the profit of its ally. While the Emperor stood supreme in Europe, Henry had won nothing from the war, and it was plain that Charles meant him to win nothing. He set aside all projects of a joint invasion; he broke his pledge to wed Mary Tudor and married a princess of Portugal; he pressed for a peace with France which would give him Burgundy. It was time for Henry and his minister to change their course. They resolved to withdraw from all active part in the rivalry of the two powers.

In June, 1525, a treaty was secretly concluded with France. But Henry remained on fair terms with the Emperor; and though England joined the Holy League for the deliverance of[Pg 145] Italy from the Spaniards which was formed between France, the Pope, and the lesser Italian states on the release of Francis in the spring of 1526 by virtue of a treaty which he at once repudiated, she took no part in the lingering war which went on across the Alps. Charles was too prudent to resent Henry's alliance with his foes, and from this moment the country remained virtually at peace. No longer spurred by the interest of great events, the King ceased to take a busy part in foreign politics, and gave himself to hunting and sport. Among the fairest and gayest ladies of his court stood Anne Boleyn. She was sprung of a merchant family which had but lately risen to distinction through two great marriages, that of her grandfather with the heiress of the earls of Ormond, and that of her father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, with a sister of the Duke of Norfolk.

It was probably through his kinship with the Duke, who was now lord treasurer and high in the King's confidence, that Boleyn was employed throughout Henry's reign in state business, and his diplomatic abilities had secured his appointment as envoy both to France and to the Emperor. His son, George Boleyn, a man of culture and a poet, was among the group of young courtiers in whose society Henry took most pleasure. Anne was his youngest daughter; born in 1507, she was still but a girl of sixteen when the outbreak of war drew her from a stay in France to the English court. Her beauty was small, but her bright eyes, her flowing hair, her gayety and wit soon won favor with the King, and only a month after her return in 1522 the grant of honors to her father marked her influence over Henry.

Fresh gifts in the following years showed that the favor continued; but in 1524 a new color was given to this intimacy by a resolve on the King's part to break his marriage with the Queen. Catharine had now reached middle age; her personal charms had departed. The death of every child save Mary may have woke scruples as to the lawfulness of a marriage on which a curse seemed to rest; the need of a male heir for public security may have deepened this impression. But whatever were the grounds of his action we find Henry from this moment pressing the Roman see to grant him a divorce.

It is probable that the matter was already mooted in 1525, a year which saw new proof of Anne's influence in the elevation[Pg 146] of Sir Thomas Boleyn to the baronage as Lord Rochford. It is certain that it was the object of secret negotiation with the Pope in 1526. No sovereign stood higher in the favor of Rome than Henry, whose alliance had ever been ready in its distress and who was even now prompt with aid in money. But Clement's consent to his wish meant a break with the Emperor, Catharine's nephew; and the exhaustion of France, the weakness of the league in which the lesser Italian states strove to maintain their independence against Charles after the battle of Pavia, left the Pope at the Emperor's mercy. While the English envoy was mooting the question of divorce in 1526 the surprise of Rome by an imperial force brought home to Clement his utter helplessness.

It is hard to discover what part Wolsey had as yet taken in the matter, or whether as in other cases Henry had till now been acting alone, though the Cardinal himself tells us that on Catharine's first discovery of the intrigue she attributed the proposal of divorce to "my procurement and setting forth." But from this point his intervention is clear. As legate he took cognizance of all matrimonial causes, and in May, 1527, a collusive action was brought in his court against Henry for cohabiting with his brother's wife. The King appeared by proctor; but the suit was suddenly dropped. Secret as were the proceedings, they had now reached Catharine's ear; and as she refused to admit the facts on which Henry rested his case her appeal would have carried the matter to the tribunal of the Pope, and Clement's decision could hardly be a favorable one.

The Pope was now in fact a prisoner in the Emperor's hands. At the very moment of the suit Rome was stormed and sacked by the army of the Duke of Bourbon. "If the Pope's holiness fortune either to be slain or taken," Wolsey wrote to the King when the news of this event reached England, "it shall not a little hinder your grace's affairs." But it was needful for the Cardinal to find some expedient to carry out the King's will, for the group around Anne were using her skilfully for their purposes. A great party had now gathered to her support. Her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, an able and ambitious man, counted on her rise to set him at the head of the council board; the brilliant group of young courtiers to which her brother belonged saw[Pg 147] in her success their own elevation; and the Duke of Suffolk with the bulk of the nobles hoped through her means to bring about the ruin of the statesman before whom they trembled.

What most served their plans was the growth of Henry's passion. "If it please you," the King wrote at this time to Anne Boleyn, "to do the office of a true, loyal mistress, and give yourself body and heart to me, who have been and mean to be your loyal servant, I promise you not only the name but that I shall make you my sole mistress, remove all others from my affection, and serve you only." What stirred Henry's wrath most was Catharine's "stiff and obstinate" refusal to bow to his will. Wolsey's advice that "your Grace should handle her both gently and doulcely" only goaded Henry's impatience. He lent an ear to the rivals who charged his minister with slackness in the cause, and danger drove the Cardinal to a bolder and yet more unscrupulous device.

The entire subjection of Italy to the Emperor was drawing closer the French alliance, and a new treaty had been concluded in April. But this had hardly been signed when the sack of Rome and the danger of the Pope called for bolder measures. Wolsey was despatched on a solemn embassy to Francis to promise an English subsidy on the despatch of a French army across the Alps. But he aimed at turning the Pope's situation to the profit of the divorce. Clement was virtually a prisoner in the castle of St. Angelo; and as it was impossible for him to fulfil freely the function of a Pope, Wolsey proposed, in conjunction with Francis, to call a meeting of the college of cardinals at Avignon which should exercise the papal powers till Clement's liberation. As Wolsey was to preside over this assembly, it would be easy to win from it a favorable answer to Henry's request.

But Clement had no mind to surrender his power, and secret orders from the Pope prevented the Italian cardinals from attending such an assembly. Nor was Wolsey more fortunate in another plan for bringing about the same end by inducing Clement to delegate to him his full powers westward of the Alps. Henry's trust in him was fast waning before these failures and the steady pressure of his rivals at court, and the coldness of the King on his return in September was an omen of his minister's[Pg 148] fall. Henry was in fact resolved to take his own course; and while Wolsey sought from the Pope a commission enabling him to try the case in his legatine court and pronounce the marriage null and void by sentence of law, Henry had determined at the suggestion of the Boleyns and apparently of Thomas Cranmer, a Cambridge scholar who was serving as their chaplain, to seek, without Wolsey's knowledge, from Clement either his approval of a divorce or, if a divorce could not be obtained, a dispensation to remarry without any divorce at all.

For some months his envoys could find no admission to the Pope; and though in December Clement succeeded in escaping to Orvieto and drew some courage from the entry of the French army into Italy, his temper was still too timid to venture on any decided course. He refused the dispensation altogether. Wolsey's proposal for leaving the matter to a legatine court found better favor; but when the commission reached England it was found to be "of no effect or authority." What Henry wanted was not merely a divorce but the express sanction of the Pope to his divorce, and this Clement steadily evaded. A fresh embassy, with Wolsey's favorite and secretary, Stephen Gardiner, at its head, reached Orvieto in March, 1528, to find, in spite of Gardiner's threats, hardly better success; but Clement at last consented to a legatine commission for the trial of the case in England. In this commission Cardinal Campeggio, who was looked upon as a partisan of the English King, was joined with Wolsey.

Great as the concession seemed, this gleam of success failed to hide from the minister the dangers which gathered round him. The great nobles whom he had practically shut out from the King's counsels were longing for his fall. The Boleyns and the young courtiers looked on him as cool in Anne's cause. He was hated alike by men of the old doctrine and men of the new. The clergy had never forgotten his extortions, the monks saw him suppressing small monasteries. The foundation of Cardinal College failed to reconcile to him the scholars of the New Learning; their poet, Skelton, was among his bitterest assailants.

The Protestants, goaded by the persecution of this very year, hated him with a deadly hatred. His French alliances, his declaration of war with the Emperor, hindered the trade with Flanders and secured the hostility of the merchant class. The country[Pg 149] at large, galled with murrain and famine and panic-struck by an outbreak of the sweating sickness which carried off two thousand in London alone, laid all its suffering at the door of the Cardinal. And now that Henry's mood itself became uncertain Wolsey knew his hour was come. Were the marriage once made, he told the French ambassador, and a male heir born to the realm, he would withdraw from state affairs and serve God for the rest of his life. But the divorce had still to be brought about ere marriage could be made or heir be born. Henry indeed had seized on the grant of a commission as if the matter were at an end. Anne Boleyn was installed in the royal palace and honored with the state of a wife. The new legate, Campeggio, held the bishopric of Salisbury, and had been asked for as judge from the belief that he would favor the King's cause. But he bore secret instructions from the Pope to bring about if possible a reconciliation between Henry and the Queen, and in no case to pronounce sentence without reference to Rome. The slowness of his journey presaged ill; he did not reach England till the end of September, and a month was wasted in vain efforts to bring Henry to a reconciliation or Catharine to retirement into a monastery.

A new difficulty disclosed itself in the supposed existence of a brief issued by Pope Julius and now in the possession of the Emperor, which overruled all the objections to the earlier dispensation on which Henry relied. The hearing of the cause was delayed through the winter, while new embassies strove to induce Clement to declare this brief also invalid. Not only was such a demand glaringly unjust, but the progress of the imperial arms brought vividly home to the Pope its injustice. The danger which he feared was not merely a danger to his temporal domain in Italy—it was a danger to the papacy itself. It was in vain that new embassies threatened Clement with the loss of his spiritual power over England. To break with the Emperor was to risk the loss of his spiritual power over a far larger world.

Charles had already consented to the suspension of the judgment of his diet at Worms, a consent which gave security to the new Protestantism in North Germany. If he burned heretics in the Netherlands, he employed them in his armies. Lutheran soldiers had played their part in the sack of Rome. Lutheranism[Pg 150] had spread from North Germany along the Rhine, it was now pushing fast into the hereditary possessions of the Austrian house, it had all but mastered the Low Countries. France itself was mined with heresy; and were Charles once to give way, the whole Continent would be lost to Rome.

Amid difficulties such as these the papal court saw no course open save one of delay. But the long delay told fatally for Wolsey's fortunes. Even Clement blamed him for having hindered Henry from judging the matter in his own realm and marrying on the sentence of his own courts, and the Boleyns naturally looked upon his policy as dictated by hatred to Anne. Norfolk and the great peers took courage from the bitter tone of the girl; and Henry himself charged the Cardinal with a failure in fulfilling the promises he had made him. King and minister still clung indeed passionately to their hopes from Rome. But in 1529 Charles met their pressure with a pressure of his own; and the progress of his arms decided Clement to avoke the cause to Rome. Wolsey could only hope to anticipate this decision by pushing the trial hastily forward, and at the end of May the two legates opened their court in the great hall of the Blackfriars.

King and Queen were cited to appear before them when the court again met on June 18th. Henry briefly announced his resolve to live no longer in mortal sin. The Queen offered an appeal to Clement, and on the refusal of the legates to admit it flung herself at Henry's feet. "Sire," said Catharine, "I beseech you to pity me, a woman and a stranger, without an assured friend and without an indifferent counsellor. I take God to witness that I have always been to you a true and loyal wife, that I have made it my constant duty to seek your pleasure, that I have loved all whom you loved, whether I have reason or not, whether they are friends to me or foes. I have been your wife for years; I have brought you many children. God knows that when I came to your bed I was a virgin, and I put it to your own conscience to say whether it was not so. If there be any offence which can be alleged against me I consent to depart with infamy; if not, then I pray you to do me justice."

The piteous appeal was wasted on a king who was already entertaining Anne Boleyn with royal state in his own palace; the trial proceeded, and on July 23d the court assembled to[Pg 151] pronounce sentence. Henry's hopes were at their highest when they were suddenly dashed to the ground. At the opening of the proceedings Campeggio rose to declare the court adjourned to the following October. The adjournment was a mere evasion. The pressure of the imperialists had at last forced Clement to summon the cause to his own tribunal at Rome, and the jurisdiction of the legates was at an end.

"Now see I," cried the Duke of Suffolk as he dashed his hand on the table, "that the old saw is true, that there was never legate or cardinal that did good to England!" The Duke only echoed his master's wrath. Through the twenty years of his reign Henry had known nothing of opposition to his will. His imperious temper had chafed at the weary negotiations, the subterfuges and perfidies of the Pope. Though the commission was his own device, his pride must have been sorely galled by the summons to the legates' court. The warmest adherents of the older faith revolted against the degradation of the Crown. "It was the strangest and newest sight and device," says Cavendish, "that ever we read or heard of in any history or chronicle in any region that a king and queen should be convented and constrained by process compellatory to appear in any court as common persons, within their own realm and dominion, to abide the judgment and decree of their own subjects, having the royal diadem and prerogative thereof."

Even this degradation had been borne in vain. Foreign and papal tribunal as that of the legates really was, it lay within Henry's kingdom and had the air of an English court. But the citation to Rome was a summons to the King to plead in a court without his realm. Wolsey had himself warned Clement of the hopelessness of expecting Henry to submit to such humiliation as this. "If the King be cited to appear in person or by proxy and his prerogative be interfered with, none of his subjects will tolerate the insult. To cite the King to Rome, to threaten him with excommunication, is no more tolerable than to deprive him of his royal dignity. If he were to appear in Italy it would be at the head of a formidable army." But Clement had been deaf to the warning, and the case had been avoked out of the realm.

Henry's wrath fell at once on Wolsey. Whatever furtherance or hinderance the Cardinal had given to his remarriage, it[Pg 152] was Wolsey who had dissuaded him from acting, at the first, independently; from conducting the cause in his own courts and acting on the sentence of his own judges. Whether to secure the succession by a more indisputable decision or to preserve uninjured the prerogatives of the papal see, it was Wolsey who had counselled him to seek a divorce from Rome and promised him success in his suit. And in this counsel Wolsey stood alone. Even Clement had urged the King to carry out his original purpose when it was too late. All that the Pope sought was to be freed from the necessity of meddling in the matter at all. It was Wolsey who had forced papal intervention on him, as he had forced it on Henry, and the failure of his plans was fatal to him. From the close of the legatine court Henry would see him no more, and his favorite, Stephen Gardiner, who had become chief secretary of state, succeeded him in the King's confidence.

If Wolsey still remained minister for a while, it was because the thread of the complex foreign negotiations which he was conducting could not be roughly broken. Here too, however, failure awaited him. His diplomacy sought to bring fresh pressure on the Pope and to provide a fresh check on the Emperor by a closer alliance with France. But Francis was anxious to recover his children who had remained as hostages for his return; he was weary of the long struggle, and hopeless of aid from his Italian allies. At this crisis of his fate therefore Wolsey saw himself deceived and outwitted by the conclusion of peace between France and the Emperor in a new treaty at Cambray. Not only was his French policy no longer possible, but a reconciliation with Charles was absolutely needful, and such a reconciliation could only be brought about by Wolsey's fall. In October, on the very day that the Cardinal took his place with a haughty countenance and all his former pomp in the court of chancery an indictment was preferred against him by the King's attorney for receiving bulls from Rome in violation of the Statute of Provisors.

A few days later he was deprived of the seals. Wolsey was prostrated by the blow. In a series of abject appeals he offered to give up everything that he possessed if the King would but cease from his displeasure. "His face," wrote the French ambassador, "is dwindled to half its natural size. In truth his misery[Pg 153] is such that his enemies, Englishmen as they are, cannot help pitying him." For the moment Henry seemed contented with his disgrace. A thousand boats full of Londoners covered the Thames to see the Cardinal's barge pass to the Tower, but he was permitted to retire to Esher.

Although judgment of forfeiture and imprisonment was given against him in the king's bench at the close of October, in the following February he received a pardon on surrender of his vast possessions to the crown and was permitted to withdraw to his diocese of York, the one dignity he had been suffered to retain.

Not less significant was the attitude of the New Learning. On Wolsey's fall the seals had been offered to Warham, and it was probably at his counsel that they were finally given to Sir Thomas More. The Chancellor's dream, if we may judge it from the acts of his brief ministry, seems to have been that of carrying out the religious reformation which had been demanded by Colet and Erasmus while checking the spirit of revolt against the unity of the Church. His severities against the Protestants, exaggerated as they have been by polemic rancor, remain the one stain on a memory that knows no other. But it was only by a rigid severance of the cause of reform from what seemed to him the cause of revolution that More could hope for a successful issue to the projects of reform which the council laid before parliament.

The "Petition of the Commons" sounded like an echo of Colet's famous address to the convocation. It attributed the growth of heresy not more to "frantic and seditious books published in the English tongue contrary to the very true Catholic and Christian faith" than to "the extreme and uncharitable behavior of divers ordinaries." It remonstrated against the legislation of the clergy in convocation without the King's assent or that of his subjects, the oppressive procedure of the church courts, the abuses of ecclesiastical patronage, and the excessive number of holy days. Henry referred the petition to the bishops, but they could devise no means of redress, and the ministry persisted in pushing through the houses their bills for ecclesiastical reform. The importance of the new measures lay really in the action of parliament. They were an explicit announcement that[Pg 154] church reform was now to be undertaken, not by the clergy, but by the people at large. On the other hand it was clear that it would be carried out in a spirit of loyalty to the Church. The commons forced from Bishop Fisher an apology for words which were taken as a doubt thrown on their orthodoxy.

Henry forbade the circulation of Tyndale's translation of the Bible as executed in a Protestant spirit. The reforming measures, however, were pushed resolutely on. Though the questions of convocation and the bishops' courts were adjourned for further consideration, the fees of the courts were curtailed, the clergy restricted from lay employments, pluralities restrained, and residence enforced. In spite of a dogged opposition from the bishops the bills received the assent of the House of Lords, "to the great rejoicing of lay people, and the great displeasure of spiritual persons."

Not less characteristic of the New Learning was the intellectual pressure it strove to bring to bear on the wavering Pope. Cranmer was still active in the cause of Anne Boleyn; he had just published a book in favor of the divorce; and he now urged on the ministry an appeal to the learned opinion of Christendom by calling for the judgment of the chief universities of Europe. His counsel was adopted; but Norfolk trusted to coarser means of attaining his end. Like most of the English nobles and the whole of the merchant class, his sympathies were with the house of Burgundy. He looked upon Wolsey as the real hinderance to the divorce through the French policy which had driven Charles into a hostile attitude; and he counted on the Cardinal's fall to bring about a renewal of friendship with the Emperor and to insure his support.

The father of Anne Boleyn, now created Earl of Wiltshire, was sent in 1530 on this errand to the imperial court. But Charles remained firm to Catharine's cause, and Clement would do nothing in defiance of the Emperor. Nor was the appeal to the learned world more successful. In France the profuse bribery of the English agents would have failed with the University of Paris but for the interference of Francis himself, eager to regain Henry's good-will by this office of friendship. As shameless an exercise of the King's own authority was needed to wring an approval of his cause from Oxford and Cambridge. In Germany[Pg 155] the very Protestants, then in the fervor of their moral revival and hoping little from a proclaimed opponent of Luther, were dead against the King. So far as could be seen from Cranmer's test every learned man in Christendom, but for bribery and threats, would have condemned the royal cause.

Henry was embittered by failures which he attributed to the unskilful diplomacy of his new counsellors; and it was rumored that he had been heard to regret the loss of the more dexterous statesman whom they had overthrown. Wolsey, who since the beginning of the year had remained at York, though busy in appearance with the duties of his see, was hoping more and more as the months passed by for his recall. But the jealousy of his political enemies was roused by the King's regrets, and the pitiless hand of Norfolk was seen in the quick and deadly blow which he dealt at his fallen rival.

On November 4th, the eve of his installation feast, the Cardinal was arrested on a charge of high treason and conducted by the lieutenant of the Tower toward London. Already broken by his enormous labors, by internal disease, and the sense of his fall, Wolsey accepted the arrest as a sentence of death. An attack of dysentery forced him to rest at the Abbey of Leicester, and as he reached the gate he said feebly to the brethren who met him, "I am come to lay my bones among you."

On his death-bed his thoughts still clung to the Prince whom he had served. "Had I but served God as diligently as I have served the King," murmured the dying man, "he would not have given me over in my gray hairs. But this is my due reward for my pains and study, not regarding my service to God, but only my duty to my Prince."

[Pg 156]


A.D. 1532


Before Europeans visited Peru, a highly developed civilization existed there under the native Indian empire of the Incas, as the chiefs were called who ruled from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. These sovereigns constituted a hereditary aristocratic order, and had long been the masters of prodigious wealth taken from the gold and silver mines of the country. It was the rich treasure which they expected to find there that first led the Spaniards to look for conquests in that quarter of the world.

When the "South Sea," as the Spaniards called the Pacific Ocean, had been discovered by Balboa, and the first conquests on the mainland secured, another Spanish soldier, Francisco Pizarro, who had accompanied Balboa, settled in the new city of Panama. While living there in repose, he longed to perform further and greater services for the Spanish sovereign. He therefore obtained permission from the colonial governor to explore the Pacific coast toward the south. After an unsuccessful voyage in 1524-1526, he set out again in the latter year, and sailed for Peru, reaching that country through many hardships, the surmounting of which places him fairly among the great discoverers.

Having collected much information concerning the empire of the Incas, Pizarro went to Spain and received authority to conquer Peru. Returning to Panama, he sailed from there in December, 1531, with three ships, one hundred eighty-three men, and thirty-seven horses. He first landed at the island of Puna, where he was joined by Hernando de Soto, and then, crossing to Tumbez, marched inland and reached Cajamarca, the city of the Incas, in November, 1532.

The circumstantial account of what followed, written by Hernando Pizarro, half-brother and companion of Francisco, is fitly supplemented by the narrative of Prescott, whose story of the last of the Incas is so widely known.


To the Magnificent Lords, the Judges of the Royal Audience of his Majesty, who reside in the city of Santo Domingo.

Magnificent Lords: I arrived in this port of Yaguana on my way to Spain, by order of the governor Francisco Pizarro, to inform his majesty of what has happened in that government[Pg 157] of Peru, to give an account of the country and of its present condition; and, as I believe that those who come to this city give your worships inconsistent accounts, it has seemed well to me to write a summary of what has taken place, that you may be informed of the truth.

The Governor, in the name of his majesty, founded a town near the sea-coast, which was called San Miguel. It is twenty-five leagues from that point of Tumbez. Having left citizens there, and assigned the Indians in the district to them, he set out, with sixty horse and ninety foot, in search of the town of Cajamarca, at which place he was informed that Atahualpa then was brother of him who is now lord of that land. Between the two brothers there had been a very fierce war, and this Atahualpa had conquered the land as far as he then was, which, from the point whence he started, was a hundred fifty leagues. After seven or eight marches, a captain of Atahualpa came to the Governor and said that his lord had heard of his arrival and rejoiced greatly at it, having a strong desire to see the Christians; and when he had been two days with the Governor he said that he wished to go forward and tell the news to his lord, and that another would soon be on the road with a present as a token of peace.

The Governor continued his march until he came to a town called La Ramada. Up to that point all the land was flat, while all beyond was very rugged and obstructed by very difficult passes. When he saw that the messenger from Atahualpa did not return, he wished to obtain intelligence from some Indians who had come from Cajamarca; so they were tortured, and they then said that they had heard that Atahualpa was waiting for the Governor in the mountains to give him battle. The Governor then ordered the troops to advance, leaving the rear-guard in the plain. The rest ascended, and the road was so bad that, in truth, if they had been waiting for us, either in this pass or in another that we came to on the road to Cajamarca, they could very easily have stopped us; for, even by exerting all our skill, we could not have taken our horses by the roads; and neither horse nor foot can cross those mountains except by the roads. The distance across them to Cajamarca is full twenty leagues.[Pg 158] When we were half-way, messengers arrived from Atahualpa and brought provisions to the Governor. They said that Atahualpa was waiting for him at Cajamarca, wishing to be his friend; and that he wished the Governor to know that his captains had taken his brother prisoner, that they would reach Cajamarca within two days, and that all the territory of his father now belonged to him. The Governor sent back to say that he rejoiced greatly at this news, and that, if there was any lord who refused to submit, he would give assistance and subjugate him. Two days afterward the Governor came in sight of Cajamarca, and he met Indians with food. He put the troops in order and marched to the town. Atahualpa was not there, but was encamped on the plain, at a distance of a league, with all his people in tents. When the Governor saw that Atahualpa did not come, he sent a captain, with fifteen horsemen, to speak to Atahualpa, saying that he would not assign quarters to the Christians until he knew where it was the pleasure of Atahualpa that they should lodge, and he desired him to come that they might be friends. Just then I went to speak to the Governor, touching the orders in case the Indians made a night attack. He told me that he had sent men to seek an interview with Atahualpa. I told him that, out of the sixty cavalry we had, there might be some men who were not dexterous on horseback, and some unsound horses, and that it seemed a mistake to pick out fifteen of the best; for, if Atahualpa should attack them, their numbers were insufficient for defence, and any reverse might lead to a great disaster. He therefore ordered me to follow with other twenty horsemen, and to act according to circumstances.

When I arrived I found the other horsemen near the camp of Atahualpa, and that their officer had gone to speak with him. I left my men there also, and advanced with two horsemen to the lodging of Atahualpa, and the captain announced my approach and who I was. I then told Atahualpa that the Governor had sent me to visit him and to ask him to come, that they might be friends. He replied that a cacique of the town of San Miguel had sent to tell him that we were bad people and not good for war, and that he himself had killed some of us, both men and horses. I answered that those people of San Miguel[Pg 159] were like women, and that one horse was enough for the whole of them; that, when he saw us fight, he would know what we were like; that the Governor had a great regard for him; that if he had any enemy he had only to say so, and that the Governor would send to conquer him. He said that, four marches from that spot, there were some very rebellious Indians who would not submit to him, and that the Christians might go there to help his troops. I said that the Governor would send ten horsemen, who would suffice for the whole country, and that his Indians were unnecessary, except to search for those who concealed themselves. He smiled like a man who did not think so much of us. The captain told me that, until I came, he had not been able to get him to speak, but that one of his chiefs had answered for him, while he always kept his head down. He was seated in all the majesty of command, surrounded by all his women, and with many chiefs near him. Before coming to his presence there was another group of chiefs, each standing according to his rank. At sunset I said that I wished to go, and asked him to tell me what to say to the Governor. He replied that he would come to see him on the following morning, that he would lodge in three great chambers in the court-yard, and that the centre one should be set apart for himself.

That night a good lookout was kept. In the morning he sent messengers to put off his visit until the afternoon; and these messengers, in conversing with some Indian girls in the service of the Christians, who were their relations, told them to run away because Atahualpa was coming that afternoon to attack the Christians and kill them. Among the messengers there came that captain who had already met the Governor on the road. He told the Governor that his lord Atahualpa said that, as the Christians had come armed to his camp, he also would come armed. The Governor replied that he might come as he liked. Atahualpa set out from his camp at noon, and when he came to a place which was about half a quarter of a league from Cajamarca he stopped until late in the afternoon. There he pitched his tents, and formed his men in three divisions. The whole road was full of men, and they had not yet left off marching out of the camp.

The Governor had ordered his troops to be distributed in[Pg 160] the three halls which were in the open court-yard, in form of a triangle; and he ordered them to be mounted and armed until the intentions of Atahualpa were known. Having pitched his tents, Atahualpa sent a messenger to the Governor to say that as it was now late he wished to sleep where he was, and that he would come in the morning. The Governor sent back to beg him to come at once, because he was waiting for supper, and that he should not sup until Atahualpa should come. The messengers came back to ask the Governor to send a Christian to Atahualpa, that he intended to come at once, and that he would come unarmed. The Governor sent a Christian, and presently Atahualpa moved, leaving the armed men behind him. He took with him about five or six thousand Indians without arms, except that, under their shirts, they had small darts and slings with stones.

He came in a litter, and before him went three or four hundred Indians in liveries, cleaning the straws from the road and singing. Then came Atahualpa in the midst of his chiefs and principal men, the greatest among them being also borne on men's shoulders. When they entered the open space, twelve or fifteen Indians went up to the little fortress that was there and occupied it, taking possession with a banner fixed on a lance. When Atahualpa had advanced to the centre of an open space, he stopped, and a Dominican friar, who was with the Governor, came forward to tell him, on the part of the Governor, that he waited for him in his lodging, and that he was sent to speak with him. The friar then told Atahualpa that he was a priest, and that he was sent there to teach the things of the faith if they should desire to be Christians. He showed Atahualpa a book which he carried in his hands, and told him that that book contained the things of God. Atahualpa asked for the book, and threw it on the ground, saying: "I will not leave this place until you have restored all that you have taken in my land. I know well who you are and what you have come for." Then he rose up in his litter and addressed his men, and there were murmurs among them and calls to those who were armed. The friar went to the Governor and reported what was being done and that no time was to be lost. The Governor sent to me; and I had arranged with the captain of the artillery that, when a sign[Pg 161] was given, he should discharge his pieces, and that, on hearing the reports, all the troops should come forth at once. This was done, and as the Indians were unarmed they were defeated without danger to any Christian. Those who carried the litter and the chiefs who surrounded Atahualpa were all killed, falling round him. The Governor came out and seized Atahualpa, and in protecting him he received a knife-cut from a Christian in the hand. The troops continued the pursuit as far as the place where the armed Indians were stationed, who made no resistance whatever, because it was now night. All were brought into the town where the Governor was quartered.

Next morning the Governor ordered us to go to the camp of Atahualpa, where we found forty thousand castellanos and four or five thousand marcos of silver. The camp was as full of people as if none were wanting. All the people were assembled, and the Governor desired them to go to their homes, and told them that he had not come to do them harm; that what he had done was by reason of the pride of Atahualpa, and that he himself ordered it. On asking Atahualpa why he had thrown away the book and shown so much pride, he answered that his captain, who had been sent to speak with the Governor, had told him that the Christians were not warriors, that the horses were unsaddled at night, and that with two hundred Indians he could defeat them all. He added that this captain and the chief of San Miguel had deceived him. The Governor then inquired concerning his brother the Cuzco, and he answered that he would arrive next day, that he was being brought as a prisoner, and that his captain remained with the troops in the town of Cuzco. It afterward turned out that in all this he had spoken the truth, except that he had sent orders for his brother to be killed, lest the Governor should restore him to his lordship. The Governor said that he had not come to make war on the Indians, but that our lord the Emperor, who was lord of the whole world, had ordered him to come that he might see the land, and let Atahualpa know the things of our faith, in case he should wish to become a Christian. The Governor also told him that that land and all other lands belonged to the Emperor, and that he must acknowledge him as his lord. He replied that he was content, and, observing that the Christians had collected some[Pg 162] gold, Atahualpa said to the Governor that they need not take such care of it, as if there was so little; for that he could give them ten thousand plates, and that he could fill the room in which he was up to a white line, which was the height of a man and a half from the floor. The room was seventeen or eighteen feet wide and thirty-five feet long. He said that he could do this in two months.

Two months passed away and the gold did not arrive, but the Governor received tidings that every day parties of men were advancing against him. In order both to ascertain the truth of these reports, and to hurry the arrival of the gold, the Governor ordered me to set out with twenty horsemen and ten or twelve foot-soldiers for a place called Guamachuco, which is twenty leagues from Cajamarca. This was the place where it was reported that armed men were collecting together. I advanced to that town, and found a quantity of gold and silver, which I sent thence to Cajamarca. Some Indians, who were tortured, told us that the captains and armed men were at a place six leagues from Guamachuco; and, though I had no instructions from the Governor to advance beyond that point, I resolved to push forward with fourteen horsemen and nine foot-soldiers, in order that the Indians might not take heart at the notion that we had retreated. The rest of my party were sent to guard the gold, because their horses were lame. Next morning I arrived at that town, and did not find any armed men there, and it turned out that the Indians had told lies, perhaps to frighten us and induce us to return.

At this village I received permission from the Governor to go to a mosque of which we had intelligence, which was a hundred leagues away on the sea-coast, in a town called Pachacamac. It took us twenty-two days to reach it. The road over the mountains is a thing worth seeing, because, though the ground is so rugged, such beautiful roads could not in truth be found throughout Christendom. The greater part of them is paved. There is a bridge of stone or wood over every stream. We found bridges of network over a very large and powerful river, which we crossed twice, which was a marvellous thing to see. The horses crossed over by them. At each passage they have two bridges, the one by which the common people go over, and the[Pg 163] other for the lords of the land and their captains. The approaches are always kept closed, with Indians to guard them. These Indians exact transit dues from all passengers. The chiefs and people of the mountains are more intelligent than those of the coast. The country is populous. There are mines in many parts of it. It is a cold climate, it snows, and there is much rain. There are no swamps. Fuel is scarce. Atahualpa has placed governors in all the principal towns, and his predecessors had also appointed governors. In all these towns there were houses of imprisoned women, with guards at the doors, and these women preserve their virginity. If any Indian has any connection with them his punishment is death. Of these houses, some are for the worship of the sun, others for that of old Cuzco, the father of Atahualpa. Their sacrifices consist of sheep and chica, which they pour out on the ground. They have another house of women in each of the principal towns, also guarded. These women are assembled by the chiefs of the neighboring districts, and when the lord of the land passes by they select the best to present to him, and when they are taken others are chosen to fill up their places. These women also have the duty of making chica for the soldiers when they pass that way. They took Indian girls out of these houses and presented them to us. All the surrounding chiefs come to these towns on the roads to perform service when the army passes. They have stores of fuel and maize and of all other necessaries. They count by certain knots on cords, and so record what each chief has brought. When they had to bring us loads of fuel, maize, chica, or meat, they took off knots or made them on some other part; so that those who have charge of the stores keep an exact account. In all these towns they received us with great festivities, dancing, and rejoicing.

When we arrived on the plain of the sea-coast we met with a people who were less civilized, but the country was populous. They also have houses of women, and all the other arrangements as in the towns of the mountains. They never wished to speak to us of the mosque, for there was an order that all who should speak to us of it should be put to death. But as we had intelligence that it was on the coast, we followed the high road until we came to it. The road is very wide, with an earthen wall[Pg 164] on either side, and houses for resting at intervals, which were prepared to receive the Cuzco when he travelled that way. There are very large villages, the houses of the Indians being built of canes, and those of the chiefs are of earth with roofs of branches of trees; for in that land it never rains. From the city of San Miguel to this mosque the distance is one hundred sixty or one hundred eighty leagues, the road passing near the sea-shore through a very populous country. The road, with a wall on each side, traverses the whole of this country; and, neither in that part nor in the part farther on, of which we had notice for two hundred leagues, does it ever rain.

They live by irrigation, for the rainfall is so great in the mountains that many rivers flow from them, so that throughout the land there is not three leagues without a river. The distance from the sea to the mountains is in some parts ten leagues, in others twelve. It is not cold. Throughout the whole of this coast-land, and beyond it, tribute is not paid to Cuzco, but to the mosque. The bishop of it was in Cajamarca with the Governor. He had ordered another room of gold, such as Atahualpa had ordered, and the Governor ordered me to go on this business, and to hurry those who were collecting it. When I arrived at the mosque I asked for the gold, and they denied it to me, saying that they had none. I made some search, but could not find it. The neighboring chiefs came to see me, and brought presents, and in the mosque there was found some gold-dust, which was left behind when the rest was concealed. Altogether I collected eighty-five thousand castellanos and three thousand marcos of silver.

This town of the mosque is very large, and contains grand edifices and courts. Outside, there is another great space surrounded by a wall, with a door opening on the mosque. In this space there are the houses of the women, who, they say, are the women of the devil. Here, also, are the storerooms, where the stores of gold are kept. There is no one in the place where these women are kept. Their sacrifices are the same as those to the sun, which I have already described. Before entering the first court of the mosque, a man must fast for twenty days; before ascending to the court above, he must fast for a year. In[Pg 165] this upper court the bishop used to be. When messengers of the chiefs, who had fasted for a year, went up to pray to God that he would give them a good harvest, they found the bishop seated, with his head covered. There are other Indians whom they call pages of the sun. When these messengers of the chief delivered their messages to the bishop, the pages of the devil went into a chamber, where they said that he speaks to them; and that devil said that he was enraged with the chiefs, with the sacrifices they had to offer, and with the presents they wished to bring. I believe that they do not speak with the devil, but that these his servants deceive the chiefs. For I took pains to investigate the matter, and an old page, who was one of the chief and most confidential servants of their god, told a chief, who repeated it to me, that the devil said they were not to fear the horses, as they could do no harm. I caused the page to be tortured, and he was so stubborn in his evil creed that I could never gather anything from him, but that they really held their devil to be a god. This mosque is so feared by all the Indians that they believe that, if any of those servants of the devil asked them for anything and they refused it, they would presently die. It would seem that the Indians do not worship this devil from any feelings of devotion, but from fear. For the chiefs told me that, up to that time, they had served that mosque because they feared it, but that now they had no fear but of us; and that, therefore, they wished to serve us. The cave in which the devil was placed was very dark, so that one could not enter it without a light, and within it was very dirty. I made all the caciques, who came to see me, enter the place, that they might lose their fear; and, for want of a preacher, I made my sermon, explaining to them the errors in which they lived.

In this town I learned that the principal captain of Atahualpa was at a distance of twenty leagues from us, in a town called Jauja. I sent to tell him to come and see me, and he replied that I should take the road to Cajamarca, and that he would take another road and meet me. The Governor, on hearing that the captain was for peace and that he was ready to come with me, wrote to me to tell me to return; and he sent three Christians to Cuzco, which is fifty leagues beyond Jauja, to take possession and to see the country. I returned by the road of[Pg 166] Cajamarca, and by another road, where the captain of Atahualpa was to join me. But he had not started; and I learned from certain chiefs that he had not moved, and that he had taken me in. So I went back to the place where he was, and the road was very rugged, and so obstructed with snow that it cost us much labor to get there. Having reached the royal road, and come to a place called Bombon, I met a captain of Atahualpa with five thousand armed Indians whom Atahualpa had sent on pretence of conquering a rebel chief; but, as it afterward appeared, they were assembled to kill the Christians. Here we found five hundred thousand pesos of gold that they were taking to Cajamarca. This captain told me that the captain-general remained in Jauja, that he knew of our approach, and was much afraid. I sent a messenger to him to tell him to remain where he was and to fear nothing. I also found a negro here who had gone with the Christians to Cuzco, and he told me that these fears were feigned; for that the captain-general had many well-armed men with him, that he counted them by his knots in presence of the Christians, and that they numbered thirty-five thousand Indians. So we went to Jauja, and, when we were half a league from the town, and found that the captain did not come out to receive us, a chief of Atahualpa, whom I had with me and whom I had treated well, advised me to advance in order of battle, because he believed that the captain intended to fight. We went up a small hill overlooking Jauja, and saw a large black mass in the plaza, which appeared to be something that had been burned. I asked what it was, and they told me it was a crowd of Indians. The plaza is large, and has a length of a quarter of a league. As no one came to receive us on reaching the town, our people advanced in the expectation of having to fight the Indians. But, at the entrance of the square, some principal men came out to meet us with offers of peace, and told us that the captain was not there, as he had gone to reduce certain chiefs to submission. It would seem that he had gone out of fear, with some of his troops, and had crossed a river near the town by a bridge of network. I sent to tell him to come to me peaceably or else the Christians would destroy him. Next morning the people came who were in the square. They were Indian servants, and it is true that they numbered over a hundred thousand souls. We remained[Pg 167] here five days, and during all that time they did nothing but dance and sing and hold great drinking-feasts. The captain did not wish to come with me, but when he saw that I was determined to make him he came of his own accord. I left the chief who came with me as captain there. This town of Jauja is very fine and picturesque, with very good level approaches, and it has an excellent river-bank. In all my travels I did not see a better site for a Christian settlement, and I believe that the Governor intends to form one there, though some think that it would be more convenient to select a position near the sea, and are, therefore, of an opposite opinion. All the country, from Jauja to Cajamarca, by the road we returned, is like that of which I have already given a description.

After returning to Cajamarca and reporting my proceedings to the Governor, he ordered me to go to Spain and to give an account to his majesty of this and other things which appertain to his service. I took, from the heap of gold, one hundred thousand castellanos for his majesty, being the amount of his fifth. The day after I left Cajamarca, the Christians, who had gone to Cuzco, returned, and brought one million five hundred thousand of gold. After I arrived at Panama, another ship came in, with some knights. They say that a distribution of the gold was made; and that the share of his majesty, besides the one hundred thousand pesos and the five thousand marcos of silver that I bring, was another one hundred sixty-five thousand castellanos and seven thousand or eight thousand marcos of silver; while to all those of us who had gone, a further share of gold was sent.

After my departure, according to what the Governor writes to me, it became known that Atahualpa had assembled troops to make war on the Christians, and justice was done upon him. The Governor made his brother, who was an enemy, lord in his place. Molina comes to this city, and from him your worships may learn anything else that you may desire to know. The shares of the troops were, to the horsemen nine thousand castellanos, to the Governor six thousand, to me three thousand. The Governor has derived no other profit from that land, nor has there been deceit or fraud in the account. I say this to your worships because, if any other statement is made, this is the[Pg 168] truth. May our lord long guard and prosper the magnificent persons of your worships.

Done in this city, November, 1533. At the service of your worships,

Hernando Pizarro.


The clouds of the evening had passed away, and the sun rose bright on the following morning, the most remarkable epoch in the annals of Peru. It was Saturday, November 16, 1532. The loud cry of the trumpet called the Spaniards to arms with the first streak of dawn; and Pizarro, briefly acquainting them with the plan of the assault, made the necessary dispositions.

The plaza was defended on its three sides by low ranges of buildings, consisting of spacious halls with wide doors or vomitories opening into the square. In these halls he stationed his cavalry in two divisions, one under his brother Hernando, the other under De Soto. The infantry he placed in another of the buildings, reserving twenty chosen men to act with himself as occasion might require. Pedro de Candia, with a few soldiers and the artillery, comprehending under this imposing name two small pieces of ordnance called falconets, he established in the fortress. All received orders to wait at their posts till the arrival of the Inca. After his entrance into the great square, they were still to remain under cover, withdrawn from observation, till the signal was given by the discharge of a gun, when they were to cry their war-cries, to rush out in a body from their covert, and, putting the Peruvians to the sword, bear off the person of the Inca. The arrangements of the immense halls, opening on a level with the plaza, seemed to be contrived on purpose for a coup de théâtre. Pizarro particularly inculcated order and implicit obedience, that in the hurry of the moment there should be no confusion. Everything depended on their acting with concert, coolness, and celerity.

The chief next saw that their arms were in good order, and that the breastplates of their horses were garnished with bells, to add by their noise to the consternation of the Indians. Refreshments were also liberally provided, that the troops should be in condition for the conflict. These arrangements being completed, mass was performed with great solemnity by the ecclesiastics[Pg 169] who attended the expedition; the God of battles was invoked to spread his shield over the soldiers who were fighting to extend the empire of the cross; and all joined with enthusiasm in the chant, "Exsurge, Domine" ("Rise, O Lord! and judge thine own cause"). One might have supposed them a company of martyrs about to lay down their lives in defence of their faith, instead of a licentious band of adventurers, meditating one of the most atrocious acts of perfidy on the record of history; yet, whatever were the vices of the Castilian cavalier, hypocrisy was not among the number. He felt that he was battling for the Cross, and under this conviction, exalted as it was at such a moment as this into the predominant impulse, he was blind to the baser motives which mingled with the enterprise. With feelings thus kindled to a flame of religious ardor, the soldiers of Pizarro looked forward with renovated spirits to the coming conflict; and the chieftain saw with satisfaction that in the hour of trial his men would be true to their leader and themselves.

It was late in the day before any movement was visible in the Peruvian camp, where much preparation was making to approach the Christian quarters with due state and ceremony. A message was received from Atahualpa, informing the Spanish commander that he should come with his warriors fully armed, in the same manner as the Spaniards had come to his quarters the night preceding. This was not an agreeable intimation to Pizarro, though he had no reason, probably, to expect the contrary. But to object might imply distrust, or perhaps disclose, in some measure, his own designs. He expressed his satisfaction, therefore, at the intelligence, assuring the Inca that, come as he would, he would be received by him as a friend and brother.

It was noon before the Indian procession was on its march, when it was seen occupying the great causeway for a long extent. In front came a large body of attendants, whose office seemed to be to sweep away every particle of rubbish from the road. High above the crowd appeared the Inca, borne on the shoulders of his principal nobles, while others of the same rank marched by the sides of his litter, displaying such a dazzling show of ornaments on their persons that, in the language of one of the conquerors, "they blazed like the sun." But the greater part of the[Pg 170] Inca's forces mustered along the fields that lined the road, and were spread over the broad meadows as far as the eye could reach.

When the royal procession had arrived within half a mile of the city, it came to a halt; and Pizarro saw, with surprise, that Atahualpa was preparing to pitch his tents as if to encamp there. A messenger soon after arrived, informing the Spaniards that the Inca would occupy his present station the ensuing night and enter the city on the following morning.

This intelligence greatly disturbed Pizarro, who had shared in the general impatience of his men at the tardy movements of the Peruvians. The troops had been under arms since daylight, the cavalry mounted, and the infantry at their post, waiting in silence the coming of the Inca. A profound stillness reigned throughout the town, broken only at intervals by the cry of the sentinel from the summit of the fortress, as he proclaimed the movements of the Indian army. Nothing, Pizarro well knew, was so trying to the soldiers as prolonged suspense in a critical situation like the present; and he feared lest his ardor might evaporate, and be succeeded by that nervous feeling natural to the bravest soul at such a crisis, and which, if not fear, is near akin to it. He returned an answer, therefore, to Atahualpa, deprecating his change of purpose, and adding that he had provided everything for his entertainment, and expected him that night to sup with him.

This message turned the Inca from his purpose; and, striking his tents again, he resumed his march, first advising the general that he should leave the greater part of his warriors behind, and enter the place with only a few of them, and without arms, as he preferred to pass the night at Cajamarca. At the same time he ordered accommodations to be provided for himself and his retinue in one of the large stone buildings, called, from a serpent sculptured on the walls, the "House of the Serpent". No tidings could have been more grateful to the Spaniards. It seemed as if the Indian monarch was eager to rush into the snare that had been spread for him! The fanatical cavalier could not fail to discern in it the immediate finger of Providence.

It is difficult to account for this wavering conduct of Atahualpa, so different from the bold and decided character which[Pg 171] history ascribes to him. There is no doubt that he made his visit to the white men in perfect good faith, though Pizarro was probably right in conjecturing that this amiable disposition stood on a very precarious footing. There is as little reason to suppose that he distrusted the sincerity of the strangers, or he would not thus unnecessarily have proposed to visit them unarmed. His original purpose of coming with all his force was doubtless to display his royal state, and perhaps, also, to show greater respect for the Spaniards; but when he consented to accept their hospitality and pass the night in their quarters, he was willing to dispense with a great part of his armed soldiery, and visit them in a manner that implied entire confidence in their good faith. He was too absolute in his own empire easily to suspect; and he probably could not comprehend the audacity with which a few men, like those now assembled in Cajamarca, meditated an assault on a powerful monarch in the midst of his victorious army. He did not know the character of the Spaniard.

It was not long before sunset when the van of the royal procession entered the gates of the city. First came some hundreds of the menials, employed to clear the path from every obstacle, and singing songs of triumph as they came, "which, in our ears," says one of the conquerors, "sounded like the songs of hell!" Then followed other bodies of different ranks and dressed in different liveries. Some wore a showy stuff, checkered white and red, like the squares of a chess-board. Others were clad in pure white, bearing hammers or maces of silver or copper; and the guards, together with those in immediate attendance on the Prince, were distinguished by a rich azure livery, and a profusion of gay ornaments, while the large pendants attached to the ears indicated the Peruvian noble.

Elevated high above his vassals came the Inca Atahualpa, borne on a sedan or open litter, on which was a sort of throne made of massive gold of inestimable value. The palanquin was lined with the richly colored plumes of tropical birds, and studded with shining plates of gold and silver. The monarch's attire was much richer than on the preceding evening. Round his neck was suspended a collar of emeralds of uncommon size and brilliancy. His short hair was decorated with golden ornaments, and the imperial borla encircled his temples. The bearing[Pg 172] of the Inca was sedate and dignified; and from his lofty station he looked down on the multitudes below with an air of composure, like one accustomed to command.

As the leading lines of the procession entered the great square—larger, says an old chronicler, than any square in Spain—they opened to the right and left for the royal retinue to pass. Everything was conducted with admirable order. The monarch was permitted to traverse the plaza in silence, and not a Spaniard was to be seen. When some five or six thousand of his people had entered the place, Atahualpa halted, and, turning round with an inquiring look, demanded, "Where are the strangers?"

At this moment Fray Vicente de Valverde, a Dominican friar, Pizarro's chaplain, and afterward Bishop of Cuzco, came forward with his breviary, or, as other accounts say, a Bible, in one hand and a crucifix in the other, and, approaching the Inca, told him that he came by order of his commander to expound to him the doctrines of the true faith, for which purpose the Spaniards had come from a great distance to his country. The friar then explained, as clearly as he could, the mysterious doctrine of the Trinity, and, ascending high in his account, began with the creation of man, thence passed to his fall, to his subsequent redemption by Jesus Christ, to the Crucifixion, and the Ascension, when the Saviour left the apostle Peter as his vicegerent upon earth.

This power had been transmitted to the successors of the apostle, good and wise men, who, under the title of popes, held authority over all powers and potentates on earth. One of the last of these popes had commissioned the Spanish Emperor, the most mighty monarch in the world, to conquer and convert the natives in this western hemisphere; and his general, Francisco Pizarro, had now come to execute this important mission. The friar concluded with beseeching the Peruvian monarch to receive him kindly, to abjure the errors of his own faith and embrace that of the Christians now proffered to him, the only one by which he could hope for salvation; and, furthermore, to acknowledge himself a tributary of the emperor Charles, who, in that event, would aid and protect him as his loyal vassal.

Whether Atahualpa possessed himself of every link in the curious chain of argument by which the monk connected Pizarro[Pg 173] with St. Peter, may be doubted. It is certain, however, that he must have had very incorrect notions of the Trinity if, as Garcilasso states, the interpreter, Felipillo, explained it by saying that "the Christians believed in three gods and one God, and that made four." But there is no doubt he perfectly comprehended that the drift of the discourse was to persuade him to resign his sceptre and acknowledge the supremacy of another.

The eyes of the Indian monarch flashed fire and his dark brow grew darker as he replied: "I will be no man's tributary! I am greater than any prince upon earth. Your Emperor may be a great prince; I do not doubt it when I see that he has sent his subjects so far across the waters; and I am willing to hold him as a brother. As for the Pope of whom you speak, he must be crazy to talk of giving away countries which do not belong to him. For my faith," he continued, "I will not change it. Your own God, as you say, was put to death by the very men whom he created. But mine," he concluded, pointing to his deity—then, alas! sinking in glory behind the mountains—"my God still lives in the heavens and looks down on his children."

He then demanded of Valverde by what authority he had said these things. The friar pointed to the book which he held as his authority. Atahualpa, taking it, turned over the pages a moment; then, as the insult he had received probably flashed across his mind, he threw it down with vehemence and exclaimed: "Tell your comrades that they shall give me an account of their doings in my land. I will not go from here till they have made me full satisfaction for all the wrongs they have committed."

The friar, greatly scandalized by the indignity offered to the sacred volume, stayed only to pick it up, and, hastening to Pizarro, informed him of what had been done, exclaiming at the same time: "Do you not see that, while we stand here wasting our breath in talking with this dog, full of pride as he is, the fields are filling with Indians? Set on at once! I absolve you." Pizarro saw that the hour had come. He waved a white scarf in the air, the appointed signal. The fatal gun was fired from the fortress. Then, springing into the square, the Spanish captain and his followers shouted the old war-cry of "St. Iago and at them!"[Pg 174]

It was answered by the battle-cry of every Spaniard in the city, as, rushing from the avenues of the great halls in which they were concealed, they poured into the plaza, horse and foot, each in his own dark column, and threw themselves into the midst of the Indian crowd. The latter, taken by surprise, stunned by the report of artillery and muskets, the echoes of which reverberated like thunder from the surrounding buildings, and blinded by the smoke which rolled in sulphurous volumes along the square, were seized with a panic. They knew not whither to fly for refuge from the coming ruin. Nobles and commoners, all were trampled down under the fierce charge of the cavalry, who dealt their blows right and left without sparing; while their swords, flashing through the thick gloom, carried dismay into the hearts of the wretched natives, who now, for the first time, saw the horse and his rider in all their terrors.

They made no resistance, as, indeed, they had no weapons with which to make it. Every avenue to escape was closed, for the entrance to the square was choked up with the dead bodies of men who had perished in vain efforts to fly; and such was the agony of the survivors under the terrible pressure of their assailants that a large body of Indians, by their convulsive struggles, burst through the wall of stone and dried clay which formed part of the boundary of the plaza! It fell, leaving an opening of more than a hundred paces, through which multitudes now found their way into the country, still hotly pursued by the cavalry, who, leaping the fallen rubbish, hung on the rear of the fugitives, striking them down in all directions.

Meanwhile the fight, or rather massacre, continued hot around the Inca, whose person was the great object of the assault. His faithful nobles, rallying about him, threw themselves in the way of the assailants, and strove, by tearing them from their saddles, or, at least, by offering their own bosoms as a mark for their vengeance, to shield their beloved master. It is said by some authorities that they carried weapons concealed under their clothes. If so, it availed them little, as it is not pretended that they used them. But the most timid animal will defend itself when at bay. That they did not so in the present instance is proof that they had no weapons to use. Yet they still continued to force back the cavaliers, clinging to their horses with dying[Pg 175] grasp, and, as one was cut down, another taking the place of his fallen comrade with a loyalty truly affecting.

The Indian monarch, stunned and bewildered, saw his faithful subjects falling round him without hardly comprehending his situation. The litter on which he rode heaved to and fro as the mighty press swayed backward and forward; and he gazed on the overwhelming ruin, like some forlorn mariner, who, tossed about in his bark by the furious elements, sees the lightning's flash and hears the thunder bursting around him, with the consciousness that he can do nothing to avert his fate. At length, weary with the work of destruction, the Spaniards, as the shades of evening grew deeper, felt afraid that the royal prize might, after all, elude them; and some of the cavaliers made a desperate effort to end the affray at once by taking Atahualpa's life. But Pizarro, who was nearest his person, called out with stentorian voice, "Let no one who values his life strike at the Inca"; and, stretching out his arm to shield him, received a wound on the hand from one of his own men—the only wound received by a Spaniard in the action.

The struggle now became fiercer than ever round the royal litter. It reeled more and more, and at length, several of the nobles who supported it having been slain, it was overturned, and the Indian prince would have come with violence to the ground, had not his fall been broken by the efforts of Pizarro and some other of the cavaliers, who caught him in their arms. The imperial borla was instantly snatched from his temples by a soldier named Estete, and the unhappy monarch, strongly secured, was removed to a neighboring building, where he was carefully guarded.

All attempt at resistance now ceased. The fate of the Inca soon spread over town and country. The charm which might have held the Peruvians together was dissolved. Every man thought only of his own safety. Even the soldiery encamped on the adjacent fields took alarm, and, learning the fatal tidings, were seen flying in every direction before their pursuers, who, in the heat of triumph, showed no touch of mercy. At length night, more pitiful than man, threw her friendly mantle over the fugitives, and the scattered troops of Pizarro rallied once more to the sound of the trumpet in the bloody square of Cajamarca.

[Pg 176]



A.D. 1533


Among what may be called the second generation of Protestant reformers, the great leader was John Calvin. By his writings, and by his directive and administrative work, he exerted a strong influence upon the reformed churches in his own day and upon the theology and polity of later times. He was born in France in 1509, and while still in early manhood, having become familiar with classical learning, with law, and especially with theology, he ardently embraced the Protestant faith and began to preach the reformed doctrines.

Calvin spent some time in Paris, then a centre of the "New Learning" and of religious ferment, and there he felt the effects of raging persecution. The publication of his great work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion, marked an epoch in the history of Protestantism. Though differing on certain points from the teachings of Luther, it was a powerful exposition of the Protestant faith as Calvin understood it, severely logical in form, and especially distinguished by its stern doctrines relating to divine sovereignty.

When in 1536 Calvin went to live in Geneva, it was already a Protestant city. He became virtually its ruler and made it a kind of theocracy, or rather a "religious republic," which he administered with vigorous laws enforced with the greatest strictness. Zealous Protestants from many countries gathered at Geneva, and from there the influence of Calvin, somewhat modified by that of his Swiss predecessor Zwingli, spread rapidly into France, England, Scotland, and Germany. At the time of Calvin's death (1564) there were three types of Protestantism established in the world—his own, and those of Luther and Zwingli. In Great Britain, and afterward in America, the Calvinistic type came to play a most important part in religious and national development.

Two estimates of Calvin, the first from a Protestant point of view, the second that of a Roman Catholic writer, are here presented.


In 1528 Calvin's father, perhaps illuminated by the disputes in his cathedral chapter, discovered that the law was a surer road to wealth and honor than the church, and decided that his son should leave theology for jurisprudence. The son, nothing[Pg 177] loath, obeyed, and left Paris for Orleans, possibly, as he descended the steps of the Collège de Montaigu, brushing shoulders with a Spanish freshman named Ignatius Loyola. In Orleans Calvin studied law under Pierre de l'Estoile, who is described as jurisconsultorum Gallorum facile princeps, and as eclipsing in classical knowledge Reuchlin, Aleander, and Erasmus; and Greek under Wolmar, in whose house he met for the first time Theodore Beza, then a boy about ten years of age.

After a year in Orleans he went to Bourges, attracted by the fame of the Italian jurist Alciati, whose ungainliness of body and speech and vanity of mind his students loved to satirize and even by occasional rebellion to chasten. In 1531 Gérard Calvin died and his son, in 1532, published his first work, a commentary on Seneca's de Clementia. His purpose has been construed by the light of his late career; and some have seen in the book a veiled defence of the Huguenot martyrs, others a cryptic censure of Francis I, and yet others a prophetic dissociation of himself from Stoicism. But there is no mystery in the matter; the work is that of a scholar who has no special interest in either theology or the Bible. This may be statistically illustrated: Calvin cites twenty-two Greek authors and fifty-five Latin, the quotations being most abundant and from many books; but in his whole treatise there are only three Biblical texts expressly cited, and those from the Vulgate.

The man is cultivated and learned, writes elegant Latin, is a good judge of Latinity, criticises like any modern the mind and style, the knowledge and philosophy, the manner, the purpose, and the ethical ideas of Seneca; but the passion for religion has not as yet penetrated as it did later into his very bones. Erasmus is in Calvin's eyes the ornament of letters, though his large edition of Seneca is not all it ought to have been; but even Erasmus could not at twenty-three have produced a work so finished in its scholarship, so real in its learning, or so wide in its outlook.

The events of the next few months are obscure, but we know enough to see how forces, internal and external, were working toward change. In the second half of 1532 and the earlier half of 1533 Calvin was in Orleans, studying, teaching, practising the law, and acting in the university as proctor for the Picard nation; then he went to Noyon, and in October he was once[Pg 178] more in Paris. The capital was agitated; Francis was absent, and his sister, Margaret of Navarre, held her court there, favoring the new doctrines, encouraging the preachers, the chief among them being her own almoner, Gérard Roussel.

Two letters of Calvin to Francis Daniel belong to this date and place; and in them we find a changed note. One speaks of "the troublous times," and the other narrates two events: first, it describes a play "pungent with gall and vinegar," which the students had performed in the College of Navarre to satirize the Queen; and secondly, the action of certain factious theologians who had prohibited Margaret's Mirror of a Sinful Soul. She had complained to the King, and he had intervened. The matter came before the university, and Nicolas Cop, the rector, had spoken strongly against the arrogant doctors and in defence of the Queen, "mother of all the virtues and of all good learning." Le Clerc, a parish priest, the author of the mischief, defended his performance as a task to which he had been formally appointed, praising the King, the Queen as woman and as author, contrasting her book with "such an obscene production" as Pantagruel, and finally saying that the book had been published without the approval of the faculty and was set aside only as "liable to suspicion."

Two or three days later, on November 1, 1533, came the famous rectorial address which Calvin wrote, and Cop revised and delivered, and which shows how far the humanist had travelled since April 4, 1532, the date of the de Clementia. He is now alive to the religious question, though he has not carried it to its logical and practical conclusion. Two fresh influences have evidently come into his life, the New Testament of Erasmus and certain sermons by Luther. The exordium of the address reproduces, almost literally, some sentences from Erasmus' Paraclesis, including those which unfold his idea of the philosophia Christiana; while the body of it repeats Luther's exposition of the beatitudes and his distinction between law and gospel, with the involved doctrines of grace and faith. Yet "Ave gratia plena" is retained in the exordium; and at the end the peace-makers are praised, who follow the example of Christ and contend not with the sword, but with the word of truth.

This address enables us to seize Calvin in the very act and[Pg 179] article of change; he has come under a double influence. Erasmus has compelled him to compare the ideal of Christ with the church of his own day; and Luther has given him a notion of grace which has convinced his reason and taken possession of his imagination. He has thus ceased to be a humanist and a papist, but has not yet become a reformer. And a reformer was precisely what his conscience, his country, and his reason compelled him to become. Francis was flagrantly immoral, but a fanatic in religion; and mercy was not a virtue congenial to either church or state. Calvin had seen the Protestants from within; he knew their honesty, their honor, the purity of their motives, and the integrity of their lives; and he judged, as a jurist would, that a man who had all the virtues of citizenship ought not to be oppressed and treated as unfit for civil office or even as a criminal by the state. This is no conjecture, for it is confirmed by the testimony he bears to the influence exercised over him by the martyred Étienne de la Forge. He thus saw that a changed mind meant a changed religion, and a changed religion a change of abode. Cop had to flee from Paris, and so had Calvin.

In the May of 1534 he went to Noyon, laid down his offices, was imprisoned, liberated, and while there he seems to have finally renounced Catholicism. But he feared the forces of disorder which lurked in Protestantism, and which seemed embodied in the Anabaptists. Hence at Orleans he composed a treatise against one of their favorite beliefs, the sleep of the soul between death and judgment. Conscious personal being was in itself too precious, and in the sight of God too sacred, to be allowed to suffer even a temporary lapse. But to serve the cause he loved was impossible with the stake waiting for him, its fires scorching his face, and kindly friends endangered by his presence. And so, in the winter of 1534, he retired from France and settled at Basel.

Now a city where Protestantism reigned, where learning flourished, and where men so unlike as Erasmus and Farel—the fervid preacher of reform—could do their work unhindered, was certain to make a deep impression on a fugitive harassed and expatriated on account of religion; and the impression it made can be read in the Christianæ Religionis Institutio, and especially in the prefatory Letter to Francis I. The Institutio is[Pg 180] Calvin's positive interpretation of the Christian religion: the Letter is learned, eloquent, elegant, dignified, the address of a subject to his sovereign, yet of a subject who knows that his place in the state is as legal, though not as authoritative, as the sovereign's. It throbs with a noble indignation against injustice, and with a noble enthusiasm for freedom and truth. It is one of the great epistles of the world, a splendid apology for the oppressed and arraignment of the oppressors. It does not implore toleration as a concession, but claims freedom as a right.

Its author is a young man of but twenty-six, yet he speaks with the gravity of age. He tells the King that his first duty is to be just; that to punish unheard is but to inflict violence and perpetrate fraud. Those for whom he speaks are, though simple and godly men, yet charged with crimes that, were they true, ought to condemn them to a thousand fires and gibbets. These charges the King is bound to investigate, for he is a minister of God, and if he fails to serve the God whose minister he is, then he is a robber and no king.

Then he asks, "Who are our accusers?" and he turns on the priests like a new Erasmus, who does not, like the old, delight in satire for its own sake or in a literature which scourges men by holding up the mirror to vice, but who feels the sublimity of virtue so deeply that witticisms at the expense of vice are abhorrent to him. He takes up the charges in detail: it is said that the doctrine is new, doubtful, and uncertain, unconfirmed by miracles, opposed to the fathers and ancient custom, schismatical and productive of schism, and that its fruits are sects, seditions, license. On no point is he so emphatic as the repudiation of the personal charges: the people he pleads for have never raised their voice in faction or sought to subvert law and order; they fear God sincerely and worship him in truth, praying even in exile for the royal person and house.

The book which this address to the King introduces is a sketch or programme of reform in religion. The first edition of the Institutio is distinguished from all later editions by the emphasis it lays, not on dogma, but on morals, on worship, and on polity. Calvin conceives the Gospel as a new law which ought to be embodied in a new life, individual and social. What came later to be known as Calvinism may be stated in an occasional[Pg 181] sentence or implied in a paragraph, but it is not the substance or determinative idea of the book. The problem discussed has been set by the studies and the experience of the author; he has read the New Testament as a humanist learned in the law, and he has been startled by the contrast between its ideal and the reality which confronts him. And he proceeds in a thoroughly juridical fashion, just as Tertullian before him, and as Grotius and Selden after him. Without a document he can decide nothing; he needs a written law or actual custom; and his book falls into divisions which these suggest.

Hence his first chapter is concerned with duty or conduct as prescribed by the Ten Commandments; his second with faith as contained in the apostolic symbol; his third with prayer as fixed by the words of Christ; his fourth with the sacrament as given in the Scriptures; his fifth with the false sacraments as defined by tradition and enforced by Catholic custom; and his sixth with Christian liberty or the relation of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities. But though the book is, as compared with what it became later, limited in scope and contents—the last edition which left the author's hand in 1559 had grown from a work in six chapters to one in four books and eighty chapters—yet its constructive power, its critical force, its large outlook impress the student. We have here none of Luther's scholasticism, or of Melanchthon's deft manipulation of incompatible elements; but we have the first thoughts on religion of a mind trained by ancient literature to the criticism of life.

The Institutio bears the date "Mense Martio; Anno 1536"; but Calvin, without waiting till his book was on the market, made a hurried journey to Ferrara, whose Duchess, Renée, a daughter of Louis XII, stood in active sympathy with the reformers. The reasons for this brief visit are very obscure; but it may have been undertaken in the hope of mitigating, by the help of Renée, the severity of the persecutions in France. On his return Calvin ventured, tradition says, to Noyon, probably for the sake of family affairs; but he certainly reached Paris; and, while in the second half of July making his way into Germany, he arrived at Geneva. An old friend, possibly Louis du Tillet, discovered him, and told Farel; and Farel, in sore straits for a helper, besought him, and indeed in the name of the Almighty[Pg 182] commanded him, to stay. Calvin was reluctant, for he was reserved and shy, and conceived his vocation to be the scholar's rather than the preacher's; but the entreaties of Farel, half tearful, half minatory, prevailed. And thus Calvin's connection with Geneva began.

Calvin's life from this point onward falls into three parts: his first stay in Geneva from July, 1536, to March, 1538; his residence in Strasburg from September, 1538, to September, 1541; and his second stay in Geneva from the last date till his death, May 27, 1564. In the first period, he, in company with Farel, made an attempt to organize the church and reform the mind and manners of Geneva, and failed; his exile, formally voted by the council, was the penalty of his failure. In the second period he was professor of theology and French preacher at Strasburg, a trusted divine and adviser, a delegate to the Protestant churches of Germany, which he learned to know better, making the acquaintance of Melanchthon, and becoming more appreciative of Luther.

At Strasburg some of his best literary work was done—his Letter to Cardinal Sadoleto (in its way his most perfect production), his Commentary on the Romans, a Treatise on the Lord's Supper, the second Latin and the first French edition of his Institutio. In the third period he introduced and completed his legislation at Geneva, taught, preached, and published there, watched the churches everywhere, and conducted the most extensive correspondence of his day. In these twenty-eight years he did a work which changed the face of Christendom.

We come then to Calvin's legislative achievements as his main title to name and fame. But two points must here be noted. In the first place, while his theology was less original and effective than his legislation or polity, yet he so construed the former as to make the latter its logical and indeed inevitable outcome. The polity was a deduction from the theology, which may be defined as a science of the divine will as a moral will, aiming at the complete moralization of man, whether as a unit or as a society. The two were thus so organically connected that each lent strength to the other, the system to the church and the church to the system, while other and more potently reasonable theologies either died or lived a feeble and struggling life.[Pg 183]

Secondly, the legislation was made possible and practicable by Geneva, probably the only place in Europe where it could have been enacted and enforced. We have learned enough concerning Genevan history and institutions to understand why this should have been the case. The city was small, free, homogeneous, distinguished by a strong local patriotism, a stalwart communal life. In obedience to these instincts it had just emancipated itself from the ecclesiastical Prince and its ancient religious system; and the change thus accomplished was, though disguised in a religious habit, yet essentially political. For the council which abolished the bishop had made itself heir to his faculties and functions; it could only dismiss him as civil lord by dismissing him as the ecclesiastical head of Geneva, and in so doing it assumed the right to succeed as well as to supersede him in both capacities.

This, however, involved a notable inversion of old ideas; before the change the ecclesiastical authority had been civil, but because of the change the civil authority became ecclesiastical. If theocracy means the rule of the church or the sovereignty of the clergy in the state, then the ancient constitution of Geneva was theocratic; if democracy means the sovereignty of the people in church as well as in state, then the change had made it democratic. And it was just after the change had been effected that Calvin's connection with the city began.

Its chief pastor had persuaded him to stay as a colleague, and the council appointed him professor and preacher. He was young, exactly twenty-seven years of age, full of high ideals, but inexperienced, unacquainted with men, without any knowledge of Geneva and the state of things there. He could therefore make no terms, could only stay to do his duty. What that duty was soon became apparent. Geneva had not become any more moral in character because it had changed its mind in religion. It had two months before Calvin's arrival sworn to live according to the holy evangelical law and Word of God; but it did not seem to understand its own oath. And the man whom his intellectual sincerity and moral integrity had driven out of Catholicism could not hold office in any church which made light of conviction and conduct; and so he at once set himself to organize a church that should be efficaciously moral.[Pg 184]

He built on the ancient Genevan idea, that the city is a church; only he wished to make the church to be primary and real. The theocracy, which had been construed as the reign of the clergy, he would interpret as ideal and realize as a reign of God. The citizens, who had assumed control of their own spiritual destinies and ecclesiastical affairs, he wanted to instruct in their responsibilities and discipline into obedience. And he would do it in the way of a jurist who believes in the harmony of law and custom; he would by positive enactments train the city, which conceived itself to be a church, to be and behave as if it were indeed a church, living according to the gospel which it had sworn to obey.

Thus a confession of faith was drawn up which the people were to adopt as their own, and so attain clarity and concordance of mind concerning God and his Word; and a catechism was composed which was to be made the basis of religious instruction in both the school and the family, for the citizen as well as the child. Worship was to be carefully regulated, psalm-books prepared, psalm-singing cultivated; the preacher was to interpret the Word, and the pastor to supervise the flock.

The Lord's Supper was to be celebrated monthly, but only those who were morally fit or worthy were to be allowed to communicate. The church, in order that it might fulfil its functions and guard the holy table, must have the right of excommunication. It was not enough that a man should be a citizen or a councillor to be admitted to the Lord's Supper; his mind must be Christian and his conduct Christlike. Without faith the rite was profaned, the presence of Christ was not realized. Moreover, since matrimonial cases were many and infelicity sprang both from differences of faith and impurity of conduct, a board, composed partly of magistrates and partly of ministers, was to be appointed to deal with them; and it was to have the power to exclude from the church those who either did not believe its doctrines or did not obey its commandments.

These were drastic proposals to be made to a city which had just dismissed its bishop, attained political freedom, and proclaimed a reformation of religion; and Calvin was not the man to leave them inoperative. A card-player was pilloried; a tire-woman, a mother, and two bridesmaids were arrested because[Pg 185] they had adorned the bride too gayly; an adulterer was driven with the partner of his guilt through the streets by the common hangman, and then banished. These things taxed the temper of the city sorely; it was not unfamiliar with legislation of the kind, but it had not been accustomed to see it enforced. Hence, men who came to be known as "libertines," though they were both patriotic and moral and only craved freedom, rose and said: "This is an intolerable tyranny; we will not allow any man to be lord over our consciences." And about the same time Calvin's orthodoxy was challenged. Two Anabaptists arrived and demanded liberty to prophesy; and Peter Caroli charged him with heresy as to the Trinity. He would not use the Athanasian creed; and he defended himself by reasons that the scholar who knows its history will respect. The end soon came. When he heard that he had been sentenced to banishment he said, "If I had served men this would have been a poor reward, but I have served Him who never fails to perform what he has promised."

In 1541 Geneva recalled Calvin, and he obeyed as one who goes to fulfil an imperative but unwelcome duty. There is nothing more pathetic in the literature of the period than his hesitancies and fears. He tells Farel that he would rather die a hundred times than again take up that cross "in qua millies quotidie pereundum esset." And he writes to Viret that it were better to perish once for all than "in illa carnificina iterum torqueri." But he loved Geneva, and it was in evil case. Rome was plotting to reclaim it; Savoy was watching her opportunity, the patriots feared to go forward, and even the timid dared not go back. So the necessities of the city, divided between its factions and its foes, constituted an appeal which Calvin could not resist; but he did not yield unconditionally. He went back as the legislator who was to frame laws for its church; and he so adapted them to the civil constitution and the constitution to them, that he raised the little city of Geneva to be the Protestant Rome.

The Ordonnances ecclésiastiques may be described as Calvin's programme of Genevan reform, or his method for applying to the local and external church the government which our Lord had instituted and the Apostles had realized. These ordinances expressed his historical sense and gratified his religious temper, while adapting the church to the city, so that the city might become[Pg 186] a better church. To explain in detail how he proposed to do this is impossible within our limits; and we shall therefore confine ourselves to the most important of the factors he created, the ministry.

The ministerial ideal embodied in these ecclesiastical ordinances may be said to have had certain indirect but international results; it compelled Calvin to develop his system of education; it supplied the reformed church, especially in France, with the men which it needed to fight its battles and to form the iron in its blood; it presented the reformed church everywhere with an intellectual and educational ideal, which must be realized if its work was to be done; and it created the modern preacher, defining the sphere of his activity and setting up for his imitation a noble and lofty example.

Calvin soon found that the reformed faith could live in a democratic city only by an enlightened pulpit speaking to enlightened citizens, and that an educated ministry was helpless without an educated people. His method for creating both entitles him to rank among the foremost makers of modern education. As a humanist he believed in the classical languages and literatures—there is a tradition which says that he read through Cicero once a year—and so "he built his system on the solid rock of Græco-Roman antiquity." Yet he did not neglect religion; he so trained the boys of Geneva through his catechism that each was said to be able to give a reason for his faith "like a doctor of the Sorbonne." He believed in the unity of knowledge and the community of learning, placing the magistrate and the minister, the citizen and the pastor, in the hands of the same teacher, and binding the school and the university together. The boy learned in the one and the man studied in the other, but the school was the way to the university, the university was the goal of the school.

In nothing does the pedagogic genius of Calvin more appear than in his fine jealousy as to the character and competence whether of masters or professors, and in his unwearied quest after qualified men. His letters teem with references to the men in various lands and many universities whom he was seeking to bring to Geneva. The first rector, Antoine Saunier, was a notable man; and he never rested till he had secured his dear[Pg 187] old teacher, Mathurin Cordier. Castellio was a schoolmaster; Theodore Beza was head of college and academy, or school and university, together; and Calvin himself was a professor of theology. The success of the college was great; the success of the academy was greater. Men came from all quarters—English, Italians, Spanish, Germans, Russians, ministers, jurists, old men, young men, all with the passion to learn in their blood—to jostle each other among the thousand hearers who met to listen to the great reformer. But France was the main feeder of the academy; Frenchmen filled its chairs, occupied its benches, learned in it the courage to live and the will to die. From Geneva books poured into France; and the French church was ever appealing for ministers, yet never appealed in vain.

Within eleven years, 1555-1566—Calvin died in 1564—it is known that Geneva sent one hundred sixty-one pastors into France; how many more may have gone unrecorded we cannot tell. And they were learned men, strenuous, fearless, praised by a French bishop as modest, grave, saintly, with the name of Jesus Christ ever on their lips. Charles IX implored the magistrates of Geneva to stop the supply and withdraw the men already sent; but the magistrates replied that the preachers had been sent not by them, but by their ministers, who believed that the sovereign duty of all princes and kings was to do homage to Him who had given to them their dominion. It was small wonder that the Venetian Suriano should describe Geneva as "the mine whence came the ore of heresy"; or that the Protestants should gather courage as they heard the men from Geneva sing psalms in the face of torture and death.

It was indeed a very different France which the eyes of the dying Calvin saw from that which the young man had seen thirty years before. Religious hate was even more bitter and vindictive; war had come and made persecution more ferocious; but the Huguenots had grown numerous, potent, respected, feared, and disputed with Catholicism the supremacy of the kingdom. And Calvin had done it, not by arms nor by threats, nor by encouragement of sedition or insurrection—to such action he was ever resolutely opposed—but by the agency of the men whom he formed in Geneva, and by their persuasive speech. The reformed minister was essentially a preacher, intellectual,[Pg 188] exegetical, argumentative, seriously concerned with the subjects that most appealed to the serious-minded.

Modern oratory may be said to begin with him, and indeed to be his creation. He helped to make the vernacular tongues of Western Europe literary. He accustomed the people to hear the gravest and most sacred themes discussed in the language which they knew; and the themes ennobled the language, the language was never allowed to degrade the themes. And there was no tongue and no people that he influenced more than the French. Calvin made Bossuet and Massillon possible; as a preacher he found his successor in Bourdaloue; and a literary critic who does not love him has expressed a doubt as to whether Pascal could be more eloquent or was so profound. And the ideal then realized in Geneva exercised an influence far beyond France. It extended into Holland, which in the strength of the reformed faith resisted Charles V and his son, achieved independence, and created the freest and best educated state on the continent of Europe.

John Knox breathed for a while the atmosphere of Geneva, was subdued into the likeness of the man who had made it, and when he went home he copied its education and tried to repeat its reformation. English reformers, fleeing from martyrdom, found a refuge within its hospitable walls, and, returning to England, attempted to establish a Genevan discipline, and failed, but succeeded in forming the Puritan character. If the author of the Ordonnances ecclésiastiques accomplished, whether directly or indirectly, so much, we need not hesitate to term him a notable friend to civilization.


When the sword of the law fell upon one of his followers, the voice of Luther was magnificent; it exclaimed, in the ears of emperors, kings, and dukes, "You have shed the blood of the just," and then the Saxon, in honor of the martyr, extemporized a hymn which was chanted in the very face of the civil power:

"In the Low Countries, at Brussels,
The Lord his greatness hath displayed,
In the death of two of his loved children
On whom grand gifts he had bestowed."[Pg 189]

Calvin had not the courage to imitate Luther. He has told us that he wanted courage; he again repeats it: he says that he, a plebeian, trifling as a man, and having but little learning, has nothing in him which could deserve celebrity. And yet he essayed a timid protest in favor of certain Huguenots who had been burned on the public square. "The work," says Prince Masson, "of a double-faced writer, a Catholic in his writings and a Lutheran in his bedchamber."

This is his first book. It is entitled de Clementia (or Treatise on Clemency), and is a paraphrase of some Latin writer of the decline. Moreover, this is the first time that a commentator is ignorant of the life of him whose work he publishes. Calvin has confounded the two Senecas, the father and the son; the rhetorician and the philosopher, of both of whom he makes but one literary personage, living the very patriarchal life of more than one hundred fifteen years.

We must pardon Varillas for having, with sufficient acrimony, brought into relief this mistake of the biographer of Seneca the philosopher, and not, like the historians of the Reformation, become vexed at the proud tone of the French historian. Had the fault been committed by a Catholic, where is the Protestant who would not have done the same thing as Varillas?

The literary work which Calvin, in the shape of a commentary, has interwoven with the treatise of Seneca is a production not unworthy a literator of the revival; it is an amplification, which one would have supposed to have been written in the cell of a Benedictine monk, so numerous are the citations, so great is the display of erudition, so replete is it with the names, Greek and Latin, of poets, historians, moralists, rhetoricians, philosophers, and philologists.

Calvin is a coquettish student, who loves to parade his reading and his memory. His work is a gallery, open to all the modern and ancient glories of literature, whom the commentator calls to his aid, often for the elucidation of a doubtful passage. The young rhetorician glorifies his country, and when upon his march he encounters some historic name, by which his idea can be illustrated, he hastens to proclaim it, with all its titles to admiration. He there salutes Budé in magnificent terms: "Budé, the glory and pillar of human learning, thanks to whom, at[Pg 190] this day, France can claim the palm of erudition." The portrait which he draws of Seneca is the production of a practised pen: "Seneca, whose pure and polished phrase savors, in some sort, of his age; his diction florid and elegant; his style, without labor or restraint, moves on, free and unembarrassed." It may be seen that the student had the honor to study under Mathurin Cordier and to attend the lectures of Alciati; but, after all, his book is but a defective allegory; for what reader could have divined that the writer designed to represent Francis I, under the name of Nero, as addressed by the Cordovan? The treatise could produce no sensation, and, like the work of Seneca, must be shipwrecked in that sea of the passions which, at the two epochs, raged around both writers.

Calvin experienced much trouble in having his Latin commentary printed; he was in need of funds, and the revenues of his benefice of Pont l'Evêque were insufficient to defray the expense of printing. How could he apply to the Mommor family? Moreover, he was in dread that his book should prove a failure and thereby injure his budding reputation. All these alarms of a maiden author are set forth in various letters which he addressed on this subject to the dear friends of his bosom.

"Behold my books of Seneca concerning clemency, printed at my own expense and labor! They must now be sold, in order that I may again obtain the money which I have expended. I must also watch that my reputation does not suffer. You will oblige me, then, by informing me how the work has been received, whether with favor or indifference." The whole anxiety of the poor author is to lose nothing by the enterprise; his purse is empty; it needs replenishing; and he urges the professors to give circulation to the treatise; he solicits one of his friends at Bourges, a member of the university, to bring it forward in his lectures; and appeals to the aid of Daniel, to whom he sent a hundred copies. Papire Masson was mistaken: the commentary on clemency did not first appear, as he supposes, under the title of Lucius Calvinus, civis Romanus, but under that of Calvinus, a name ever after retained by the reformer.

This treatise introduced Calvin to the notice of the learned world: Bucer, Capito, Padius, sent congratulations to the writer; Calvin, in September, 1532, had sent a copy of his work[Pg 191] to Bucer, who was then at Strasburg. The person commissioned to present it was a poor young man, suspected of Anabaptism, and a refugee from France. Calvin's letter of recommendation is replete with tender compassion for the miseries of the sinner. "My dear Bucer," he writes, "you will not be deaf to my entreaties, you will not disregard my tears; I implore you, to come to the aid of the proscribed, be a father to the orphan."

This was sending the sick man to a sad physician. Bucer, by turns Catholic, Lutheran, Anabaptist, Zwinglian! Besides, why this proselytism of a moral curé? The exile was Anabaptist by the same title as Calvin was predestinarian, in virtue of a text of Scripture: "Go; whoever shall believe and be baptized will be saved." The Anabaptist believed in the inefficacy of baptism without faith manifested by an external act; but is not Calvin, at this very hour, as much to be pitied as the Anabaptist? He also doubted, searched, and interrogated his Bible, and imagined that he had caught the meaning of a letter which no intelligence before him had been able to seize. And what was this truth, the conquest of which infused such fear into his soul that, before he could announce it to the world, he sold his charge of Pont l'Evêque and even his paternal inheritance?

In the year 1531 John Calvin presented himself before Simon Legendre and Peter le Roy, royal notaries at Paris, to invest his brothers with powers of attorney to sell what had been left him by his father and mother.

"To all to whom these present letters shall come; John de la Barre, Chevalier Count d'Estampes, Governor of Paris and chief of the judicial tribunal of said city, greeting: We make known that before Simon Legendre and Peter le Roy, notaries of our lord the King, at Paris, came in person Master John Calvin, licentiate at law, and Anthony Cauvin, his brother, clerk, living at Paris, and sons of Gérard Cauvin—while yet alive, secretary of M. the Bishop of Noyon—and of Jeanne le Franc, his wife; who jointly and severally make, name, ordain, appoint, and establish as their general agent and special attorney Master Charles Cauvin, their brother, to whom bearing these present letters they grant, and by these presents do give, full power and right to sell, concede, and alienate, to whatever person or persons the two undivided thirds belonging to the aforesaid constituents,[Pg 192] coming to them in proper right of succession by the demise of the aforesaid deceased Jeanne le Franc, their mother; also the fourth undivided part of a piece of meadow, containing fourteen acres or thereabouts, situated in the territory of Noyon, and pertaining on one part to the wood of Chastelain; on another, to the monks and sisters of the Hôtel-Dieu of St. John, at Noyon; on another, to the nuns and abbess of the French convent, the Abbey aux Bois, and to the chapter of the church of Notre Dame, of the said city, and running up to the highway passing from Noyon to Genury; to make sale and alienation of the same, for such price and at such costs as the aforesaid Master Charles Cauvin, their brother, shall judge for the better; to collect the money and give security, with lien upon all their future possessions.

"Done, and passed, on Wednesday, the fifteenth day of February, in the year 1531."

Some short time after this, Calvin resigned his charge of the Chapel de la Gesine to Anthony de la Marlière, Mediante pretio conventionis, for the sum agreed on, says the act of transfer, and also surrendered his benefice of Pont l'Evêque for a similar consideration.

The storm was gathering. Calvin wished to expose to its fury some other head than his own, and chose that of Nicolas Cop, rector of the Sorbonne, at Paris. Cop was a German of Basel, who was captivated with the student because of his ready speech, his airs of virtue, his scriptural knowledge, his railleries against the monks, and his ridicule of the university. As to the rest, he was a man of a dull, heavy mind, understood nothing of theological subjects, and would have been much better placed in a refectory than in a learned body; at table than in the professor's chair. Cop had to pronounce his usual discourse on All Saints' Day, in presence of the Sorbonne and the university. He had recourse to Calvin, who set to work and "built him up a discourse," says Beza—"an oration quite different from those which were customary." The Sorbonne and university did not assist at the discourse, but only some Franciscans, who appeared to be scandalized at certain propositions of the orator, and among others at one concerning justification by faith alone in Christ—an old error, which, for many ages,[Pg 193] has been trailed along in all the writings of heretics; often dead and resuscitated—and which Calvin, in Cop's discourse, dressed out in tinsel in order to give it some appearance of novelty. But our Franciscans had sight and hearing equally as good; they detected the heresy easily, and denounced to the parliament the evil-sounding propositions, which they had taken pains to note down in writing. Cop was greatly embarrassed by his new glory; he had not expected so much fame. He, however, held up well and convoked the university at the Mathurins. The university assembled in a body in order to judge the cause. The rector there commenced a discourse, drawn up by Calvin, in which he formally denied having preached the propositions denounced, with the exception of one only, precisely the worst, that concerning justification. Imagine the tumult which the orator excited! Scarcely could he make himself heard, and ask mercy. The old Sorbonnists shuddered on their benches. The unfortunate Cop would have been seized had he not made his escape, to return no more.

The student kept himself concealed at the Collège du Forbet, which was already surrounded by a body of archers headed by John Morin. Calvin was warned of their approach. "He escaped through a window, concealed himself in the suburb St. Victor, at the house of a vine-dresser, changed his clothes, assumed the long gown of the vine-dresser, and, placing a wallet of white linen and a rake on his shoulders, he took the road to Noyon." A canon of that city, who was on his way to Paris, met the curé of Pont l'Evêque and recognized him.

"Where are you going, Master John," he demanded, "in this fine disguise?"

"Where God shall please," answered Calvin, who then began to explain the motive and reasons of his disguise. "And would you not do better to return to Noyon and to God?" asked the canon, looking at him sadly. Calvin was a moment silent, then, taking the priest's hand—"Thank you," said he, "but it is too late."

During this colloquy the lieutenant was searching Calvin's papers, and secured those which might have compromised the friends of the fugitive.

Calvin found a refuge with the Queen of Navarre, who was[Pg 194] fortunate enough to reconcile her protégé with the court and the university. The person whom she employed to effect this was an adroit man who had succeeded in deceiving the government. Francis I based his glory upon the patronage and encouragement which he accorded to learning, and Calvin, as a man of letters, merited consideration. The King needed some forgiveness for serious political faults, and, with reason, he believed that the humanists would redeem his character before the people. He was at once the protector and the slave of the literati.

At that period the little court of Nérac was the asylum of writers, who, like Desperriers, there prepared their Cymbalum Mundi; of gallant ladies, who composed love-tales, of which they were often the heroines themselves; of poets, who extemporized odes after Beza's model; of clerics and other gentry of the Church, who entertained packs of hunting-dogs, and courtesans; of Italian play-actors, who, in the Queen's theatre, presented comedies taken from the New Testament, in which Jesus was made to utter horrible things against monks and nuns; or of princes, who, like the Queen's husband, scarcely knew how to read, and yet discoursed, like doctors, about doctrine and discipline.

It was against Roussel, the confessor of Margaret, that Calvin, at a later date, composed his Adversus Nicodemitas. At Nérac he found Le Fevre d'Etaples, who had fled the wrath of the Sorbonne, and who "regarded the young man with a benignant eye, predicting that he was to become the author of the restoration of the Church in France." Le Fevre recalls to our mind that priest about whom Mathesius tells us, who said to Luther, when sick: "My child, you will not die; God has great designs in your regard." As to the rest, James le Fevre d'Etaples was a sufficiently charitable and honest man. He died a Catholic, and very probably without ever having prophesied in the terms mentioned by Beza.

It does not appear that Margaret enjoined the law of silence upon her guest of Noyon, for we find him disseminating his errors in Saintonge, where many laborers flocked to hear him and abandoned Catholicism to embrace the Reformation. It was while on one of his excursions that the missionary encountered[Pg 195] Louis du Tillet, clerk of the Parliament of Paris and secretary of Du Tillet, Bishop of Meaux. Louis possessed a beautiful dwelling at Claix, a sort of Thebais, retired and pleasant, where Calvin commenced his most serious work, Institutes of the Christian Religion. The time he could spare from this literary occupation he devoted to preaching in the neighboring cities, and especially at Angoulême. A vine, beneath which he loved to recline and muse, may still be seen; it was for a long time called "Calvin's vine." He was still living on the last bounties of a church which he had renounced, and which he called "a stepmother and a prostitute"; and on the presents of a queen gallant, whose morals and piety he lauded, continuing to assist at the Catholic service, and composing Latin orations, which were delivered out of the assembly of the synod, at the temple of St. Peter. He left the court of Margaret and reappeared at Orleans.

The Reformation in France, as in Germany, wherever it showed itself, produced, on all sides, disorder and trouble. In place of a uniform symbol, it brought contradictory confessions, which gave rise to interminable disputes. In Germany the Lutheran word caused a thousand sects to spring up—each of which wished to establish a Christian republic on the ruins of Catholicism. Carlstadt, Schwenkfield, Œcolampadius, Zwingli, Munzer, Boskold, begotten by Luther, had denied their father, and taught heterogeneous dogmas, of which every one passed for the production of the Holy Ghost. Luther, who no longer concealed himself beneath a monk's robe, but borrowed the ducal sword, drove before him all these rebel angels, and, at the gate of Wittenberg, stationed an executioner to prohibit their entrance; driven back into the provinces, the dissenters appealed to open force. Germany was then inundated with the blood of her noble intelligences, who had been born for her glory.

Munzer died on the scaffold, and the Anabaptists marched to punishment, denying and cursing the Saxon who did violence to their faith. Everything was perishing—painting, sculpture, poesy, letters. The Reformation imitated Nero, and sang its triumphs amid ruins and blood.

In France it was destined soon to excite similar tempests. It had already troubled the Church. It no longer, as before,[Pg 196] sheltered itself beneath the shades of night to propagate its doctrines. It erected, by the side of the Catholic pulpit, another pulpit, from which its dogmas were defended by its disciples; it led its partisans at court, among the clergy, in the universities and in the parliaments. Calvin's book, de Clementia, gained him a large number of proselytes: his disciples had an austere air, downcast eyes, pale faces, emaciated cheeks—all the signs of labor and sufferings. They mingled little with the world, avoided female conversation, the court, and shows; the Bible was their book of predilection; they spoke, like the Saviour, in apologues. They were termed Christians of the primitive Church. To resemble these, they only needed the very essence of Christianity; namely, faith, hope, and charity.

To be convinced that their symbol was as diversified as their faces, it was only necessary to hear them speak; some taught the sleep of the soul, after this life, till the day of the last judgment; others, the necessity of a second baptism. Among them there were Lutherans, who believed in the real presence, and Zwinglians, who rejected it; apostles of free-will, and defenders of fatalism; Melanchthonians, who admitted an ecclesiastical hierarchy; Carlstadians, who maintained that every Christian is a priest; realists, chained to the letter; idealists, who bent the letter to the thought; rationalists, who rejected every mystery; mystics, who lost themselves in the clouds; and Antitrinitarians, who, like Servetus, admitted but two persons in God. These doctors all carried with them the same book—the Bible.

Servetus,[43] a Spanish physician, had left his own country, and established himself, in 1531, at Hagenau, where he had published different treatises against the Trinity. He had disputed at Basel with Œcolampadius, some time before this renegade from the Lutheran faith "was strangled by the devil," if we are to believe the account given by Doctor Martin Luther. Servetus boasted that he triumphed over the theologian. Having left[Pg 197] Basel in 1532, and crossed the Rhine, he came to hurl a solemn defiance at Calvin; the gauntlet was taken up by the curé of Pont l'Evêque, the place of combat indicated, the day for the tournament named, but at the appointed hour "the heart of this unhappy wretch failed," says Beza, "who having agreed to dispute, did not dare appear." Calvin, on his part—in his refutations of the errors of Servetus, published in 1554—boasts of having in vain offered the Spanish physician remedies suitable to cure his malady. Servetus pretends that his adversary was laying snares for him, which he had the good-fortune to avoid. At a later period he forgot his part, and came to throw himself into the ambuscade of his enemy.

The parliaments redoubled their severity: Calvin was narrowly watched, his liberty might be compromised, and even his life put in peril. He resolved to abandon France, either from fear or spite—if we are to credit an ecclesiastical historian—not being able to forgive Francis I for the preference manifested by this Prince toward a relation of the Constable, "of moderate circumstances," who was promoted to a benefice, for which the author of the Commentary on Seneca had condescended to make solicitation. The testimony of the historian is weighty. Soulier knows neither hatred, passion, nor anger; he seeks after the truth, and he believes that he has found it in the recital which we are about to peruse.

"We, the undersigned—Louis Charreton, counsellor of the King, dean of the presidents of the parliaments of Paris, son of the late Andrew Charreton, who was first Baron of Champagne, and counsellor to the high chamber of the Parliament of Paris; Madam Antoinette Charreton, widow of Noel Renouard, former master in the chamber of the courts of Paris, and daughter of the late Hugh Charreton, Lord of Montauzon; and John Charreton, Sieur de la Terrière; all three cousins, and grandchildren of Hugh Charreton—certify that we have frequently heard from our fathers that the aforesaid Sieur Hugh Charreton had several times told them that under the reign of Francis I, while the court was at Fontainebleau, Calvin, who had a benefice at Noyon, came there and took lodgings in the hotel where the aforesaid Sieur Charreton was lodging, who, understanding that Calvin was a man of letters and of great erudition,[Pg 198] and being very fond of the society of learned men, informed him that he would be delighted to have some interviews with him; to this Calvin the more willingly consented under the belief that the aforesaid Sieur de Charreton might be able to assist him in the affair which had brought him to Fontainebleau; that after several interviews the aforesaid Sieur de Charreton demanded from Calvin the object of his journey, to which he answered that he had come to solicit a priory from the King, for which there was but one rival, who was a relative of the Constable.

"The Sieur de Charreton asked him if he thought this nothing. He replied that he was aware of the high consideration enjoyed by the Constable, but he also knew that the King, in disposing of benefices, was wont to choose the most proper persons, and that the relative of the Constable was of very poor capacity. To which the aforesaid Sieur de Charreton rejoined that this was no obstacle, since no great capacity was needed to hold a simple benefice; whereupon Calvin exclaimed and cried out that if such wrong was done him he would find means to make them speak of him for five hundred years; and the aforesaid Sieur de Charreton having urged him strongly to tell him how he would do this, Calvin conducted him to his room and showed him the commencement of his Institutes; and after having read a portion of them, Calvin demanded his opinion; he answered that it was poison well put in sugar, and advised him not to continue a work which was only a false interpretation of the Scriptures and of everything which the holy fathers had written; and as he perceived that Calvin remained firm in his wicked purpose, he gave notice thereof to the Constable, who declared that Calvin was a fool and should soon be brought to his senses. But two days after, the benefice having been bestowed on the relative of the Constable, Calvin departed and began to propagate his sect, which, being very convenient, was embraced by many persons, some through libertinism, others from weakness of mind.

"That some time after, the Constable was going to his government of Languedoc, and passed through Lyons, where the aforesaid Sieur de Charreton paid him a visit, and was asked if he did not belong to the sect of Calvin, with whom he had lodged. He answered that he would be very sorry to embrace a religion the father and founder of which he had seen born.[Pg 199]

"In testimony whereof we have given our signatures, at Paris, this 20th of September, 1682.

"Signed: Charreton, President; A. Charreton, Widow Renouard; and Charreton de la Terrière."

After having published his Psychopannychia, in 1534, at Orleans, Calvin left that city. He felt a desire to visit Basel, at that time the Athens of Switzerland, a city of renown, so long the abode of Erasmus, famous for its literati, its celebrated printers, and its theologians amorous of novelties; where Froben had published his fine edition of the works of St. Jerome; where Holbein had painted his picture of Christ ready for the sepulchre, where Capito taught Hebrew, and Œcolampadius commented on the Psalms.

He set out from Orleans in company with his friend Du Tillet; near Metz their domestic robbed them and fled with their sacks and valises, and they were forced to seek Strasburg on foot, nearly destitute of clothing, and with but ten crowns in their pockets. Calvin spent some time in Strasburg, studying the different transformations which the reformed gospel had undergone during the brief space of fifteen years. He entered into intimate relations with some of the most celebrated representatives of Protestantism. Anyone else, who had arrived there free from prejudices against Catholicism, would have found salutary instruction in the ceaseless agitations of that city, which knew not where to poise itself in order to find repose, and which, since 1521, had become Lutheran, Anabaptist, Zwinglian, and, at that very moment, was dreaming of a new transfiguration, to be accomplished by the aid of Bucer, one of its new guests.

At Basel, Calvin found Simon Grynæus and Erasmus. Calvin could not neglect this opportunity of visiting the Batavian philologist, whose fame was European. After a short interview they separated. Bucer, who had assisted at the meeting, was solicitous to know the opinion of the caustic old man. "Master," said he, "what think you of the new-comer?" Erasmus smiled, without answering. Bucer insisted. "I behold," said the author of the Colloquies, "a great pest, which is springing up in the Church, against the Church."

On the next day Du Tillet, clerk of the Parliament of Paris, arrived at Basel and, by dint of tears and entreaties, brought[Pg 200] with him his brother Louis, who repented, made his abjuration, and was shortly after elected archdeacon, a dignity disputed with him by Renaudie, who was to be used by the Reformation for the execution of the plot of Amboise.

The Psychopannychia, the first controversial work of Calvin, is a pamphlet directed against the sect of Anabaptists, whom the bloody day of Frankenhausen had conquered, but not subdued. The spirit of Munzer lived again in his disciples, who were parading their mystic reveries through Holland, Flanders, and France. Luther had essayed his powers against Munzer, imagining that by his fiery language, his Pindaric wrath, his flames and thunders, he would soon overwhelm the chief of the miners, as he had defeated, it is said, those theological dwarfs who were unable to stand before him. From the summit of the mountain he had appeared to Munzer in the midst of lightnings, but those lightnings did not alarm his adversary, who was bold enough to face him with unquailing eye.

Munzer also possessed a fiery tongue, which he used with admirable skill, to inflame and arouse the peasants; this time victory remained with the man of the sledge-hammer. And Luther, who wished to terminate the affair at any cost, was reduced, as is well known, to avail himself of the sword of one of his electors. The wrecks which escaped from the funeral obsequies of Thuringia took refuge in a new land. France received and listened to the prophets of Anabaptism.

These Anabaptists maintained seducing doctrines. They dreamed of a sort of Jerusalem, very different from the Jewish Jerusalem; a Jerusalem quite spiritual, without swords, soldiers, or civil magistracy: the true city of the elect. Their speech was infected with Pelagianism and Arianism; on several points of dogma they agreed with Catholics—on predestination, for example, and on the merit of works. Some of them taught the sleep of the soul till the day of judgment. It was against these "sleepers" that Calvin determined to measure himself.

The Commentary on Seneca is a philological work, a book of the revival, a rhetorical declamation, in which Calvin is evidently aspiring to a place among the humanists, and making his court, in sufficiently fine Latin, to all the Ciceronians of the age: this was bringing himself forward with skill and tact. The Latin[Pg 201] language was the idiom of the Church, of the convents, colleges, universities, and parliaments. The Psychopannychia is a religious pamphlet, and now Calvin must expect a rival in the first pamphleteer of Germany, Luther himself. It is certain that Calvin was acquainted with the writings of the Saxon monk against Eck, Tetzel, Prierias, Latomus, and the Sorbonnists. He must be praised for not having dreamed of entering the lists against a spirit of such a temper as his rival. Had he desired, after Luther's manner, to deal in caricature, he would certainly have failed. Sallies, play upon words, and conceits did not suit a mind like his, whose forte was finesse. By nature sober, he could not, like the Saxon monk, fertilize his brain in enormous pots of beer; moreover, beer was not as yet in use beyond the Rhine.

Nor had he at his service those German smoking-houses, where, of an evening, among the companions of gay science, his weary mind might have revived its energies. In France the monks did not resort to taverns. Calvin was, therefore, everything he was destined to become: an adroit, biting disputant, ready at retort, but without warmth or enthusiasm. He loves to bear testimony in his own behalf, that "he did not indulge his wrath, except modestly; that he always made it a rule to set aside outrageous or biting expressions; that he almost always moderated his style, which was better adapted to instruct than to drive forcibly, in such sort, however, that it may ever attract those who would not be led." One must see that, with such humor and style, Calvin might have died forgotten, in some little benefice of Swabia, and that he was never formed for raising storms, but only for using them.

At this epoch the grand agitator of society was first, society itself, and then Luther, that great pamphleteer, "whose books are quite full of demons," who drove humanity into the paths of a revolution, for which all the elements had been prepared years before. Luther had sown the wind, Calvin came to reap the whirlwind. Not that the latter does not sometimes rise even to wrath, but it is a wrath which savors of labor and which he pursues as a rhymester would a rebellious epithet. Besides, he is good enough to repent for it, as if this wrath burned the face over which it glowed. "I have presented some things," he[Pg 202] murmurs, "a little sharply, even roughly said, which, peradventure, may offend the delicate ears of some. But, as I am aware there are some good persons who have conceived such affection for this dream of the sleep of souls, I would not have them offended with me." Where Calvin is concerned we must not allow our admiration to be too easily awaked; we must note that he is speaking of an Anabaptist, that is, of a soul which has thrown off the "papism." But let a Catholic appear—a priest unknown to fame, who, as editor, shall have reprinted a new edition of the work of Henry VIII, "Assertio Septem Sacramentorum"—for instance, Gabriel de Sacconay, precentor of Lyons, and you shall then behold Calvin, under the form of a dithyrambic or congratulatory epistle, without the least regard for delicate ears, throw into the face of the Catholic the most filthy expressions of offence.

Calvin has himself given a correct estimate of the value of his Psychopannychia, and of his treatise against the Anabaptists, which one of his historians desires to have reprinted in our time, purged of all its bitterness of style. He was right in saying, "I have reproved the foolish curiosity of those who were debating these questions, which, in fact, are but vexations of mind."

One day this question, about the sleep of souls—one that in the ancient Church had long since been examined, by Metito—was presented to Luther, who disposed of it in few words. "These," said he, "are picked nutshells."


[43] Michael Servetus was a controversialist in matters of philosophy and religion. For many years he was the object of attack by the different orthodox schools on account of his heretical speeches and writings. In 1553 he published a work which led to his arrest by order of the inquisitor-general at Lyons. Servetus escaped, but was again taken, at the instance of Calvin, and was burned at Geneva, October 27, 1553.—Ed.

[Pg 203]



A.D. 1534


Following the fall of Wolsey, Sir Thomas More became lord chancellor of England, but the real power of Wolsey passed to another and perhaps even more able minister, Thomas Cromwell. Henry VIII needed always some strong, able, crafty guide to show him a path through the intricacies of European politics, and enable him at the same time to follow the savage dictates of his passion and his whims.

Such a helper he found now in Cromwell. Few men have ever been so daring or so ruthless as this great statesman. He helped Henry in all his evil schemes, though Green and other critics as well have thought to discern a larger, wiser policy in the impenetrable mind of the subtle minister. As secretary of state he drove England at his own pace through the vast religious changes of the period. For the ruin he brought upon Catholicism, and more especially for his destruction of the thousand monasteries that dotted England, he has been called the "hammer of the monks." Of even lower birth than Wolsey, and rising to almost equal power, Cromwell began life as a son of a blacksmith.

He wandered over Europe and especially Italy as a soldier, merchant, and general adventurer of the lower and wilder type. He became Wolsey's right-hand man, and held loyally by his chief even after the latter's overthrow.

It had been Henry's passion for Anne Boleyn, and the resulting necessity for divorce from his wife Catherine, that caused Wolsey's fall. On the same passion did Cromwell build his rise. He secretly urged the King to break with Rome entirely and declare himself sole head of the English Church. Thus he could divorce himself. Henry first tried a last negotiation with the Pope; that failing, he turned to his new adviser.

Cromwell was again ready with his suggestion that the King should disavow the papal jurisdiction, declare himself head of the Church within its realm, and obtain a divorce from his own ecclesiastical courts. But the new minister looked on the divorce as simply the prelude to a series of changes which he was bent upon accomplishing. In all his checkered life, that[Pg 204] had left its deepest stamp on him in Italy. Not only in the rapidity and ruthlessness of his designs, but in their larger scope, their admirable combination, the Italian statecraft entered with Cromwell into English politics. He is in fact the first English minister in whom we can trace through the whole period of his rule the steady working out of a great and definite aim, that of raising the King to absolute authority on the ruins of every rival power within his realm.

It was not that Cromwell was a mere slave of tyranny. Whether we may trust the tale that carries him in his youth to Florence or not, his statesmanship was closely modelled on the ideal of the Florentine thinker whose book was constantly in his hand. Even as a servant of Wolsey he startled the future Cardinal, Reginald Pole, by bidding him take for his manual in politics the Prince of Machiavelli. Machiavelli hoped to find in Cæsar Borgia or in the later Lorenzo de' Medici a tyrant who, after crushing all rival tyrannies, might unite and regenerate Italy; and, terrible and ruthless as his policy was, the final aim of Cromwell seems to have been that of Machiavelli, an aim of securing enlightenment and order for England by the concentration of all authority in the Crown.

The first step toward such an end was the freeing the monarchy from its spiritual obedience to Rome. What the first of the Tudors had done for the political independence of the kingdom, the second was to do for its ecclesiastical independence. Henry VII had freed England from the interference of France or the house of Burgundy; and in the question of the divorce Cromwell saw the means of bringing Henry VIII to free it from the interference of the papacy. In such an effort resistance could be looked for only from the clergy. But their resistance was what Cromwell desired. The last check on royal absolutism which had survived the Wars of the Roses lay in the wealth, the independent synods and jurisdiction, and the religious claims of the Church; and for the success of the new policy it was necessary to reduce the great ecclesiastical body to a mere department of the state in which all authority should flow from the sovereign alone, his will be the only law, his decision the only test of truth.

Such a change, however, was hardly to be wrought without a[Pg 205] struggle; and the question of national independence in all ecclesiastical matters furnished ground on which the Crown could conduct this struggle to the best advantage. The secretary's first blow showed how unscrupulously the struggle was to be waged. A year had passed since Wolsey had been convicted of a breach of the Statute of Provisors. The pedantry of the judges declared the whole nation to have been formally involved in the same charge by its acceptance of his authority. The legal absurdity was now redressed by a general pardon, but from this pardon the clergy found themselves omitted. In the spring of 1531 a convocation was assembled to be told that forgiveness could be bought at no less a price than the payment of a fine amounting to a million of our present money, and the acknowledgment of the King as "the chief protector, the only and supreme lord, and head of the Church and clergy of England."

Unjust as was the first demand, they at once submitted to it; against the second they struggled hard. But their appeals to Henry and Cromwell met only with demands for instant obedience. A compromise was at last arrived at by the insertion of a qualifying phrase, "So far as the law of Christ will allow"; and with this addition the words were again submitted by Warham to the convocation. There was a general silence. "Whoever is silent seems to consent," said the Archbishop. "Then are we all silent," replied a voice from among the crowd.

There is no ground for thinking that the "headship of the Church" which Henry claimed in this submission was more than a warning addressed to the independent spirit of the clergy, or that it bore as yet the meaning which was afterward attached to it. It certainly implied no independence of Rome, for negotiations were still being carried on with the papal court. But it told Clement plainly that in any strife that might come between himself and Henry the clergy were in the King's hand, and that he must look for no aid from them in any struggle with the Crown. The warning was backed by an address to the Pope from the lords and some of the commons who assembled after a fresh prorogation of the houses in the spring.

"The cause of his majesty," the peers were made to say, "is the cause of each of ourselves." They laid before the Pope what they represented as the judgment of the universities in[Pg 206] favor of the divorce; but they faced boldly the event of its rejection. "Our condition," they ended, "will not be wholly irremediable. Extreme remedies are ever harsh of application; but he that is sick will by all means be rid of his distemper." In the summer the banishment of Catherine from the King's palace to a house at Ampthill showed the firmness of Henry's resolve. Each of these acts was no doubt intended to tell on the Pope's decision, for Henry still clung to the hope of extorting from Clement a favorable answer; and at the close of the year a fresh embassy, with Gardiner, now Bishop of Winchester, at its head, was despatched to the papal court. But the embassy failed like its predecessors, and at the opening of 1532 Cromwell was free to take more decisive steps in the course on which he had entered.

What the nature of his policy was to be, had already been detected by eyes as keen as his own. More had seen in Wolsey's fall an opening for the realization of those schemes of religious and even of political reform on which the scholars of the New Learning had long been brooding. The substitution of the lords of the council for the autocratic rule of the cardinal-minister, the break-up of the great mass of powers which had been gathered into a single hand, the summons of a parliament, the ecclesiastical reforms which it at once sanctioned, were measures which promised a more legal and constitutional system of government. The question of the divorce presented to More no serious difficulty. Untenable as Henry's claim seemed to the new Chancellor, his faith in the omnipotence of parliament would have enabled him to submit to any statute which named a new spouse as queen and her children as heirs to the crown. But as Cromwell's policy unfolded itself he saw that more than this was impending.

The Catholic instinct of his mind, the dread of a rent Christendom and of the wars and bigotry that must come of its rending, united with More's theological convictions to resist any spiritual severance of England from the papacy. His love for freedom, his revolt against the growing autocracy of the Crown, the very height and grandeur of his own spiritual convictions, all bent him to withstand a system which would concentrate in the king the whole power of church as of state, would leave him without the one check that remained on his despotism, and make[Pg 207] him arbiter of the religious faith of his subjects. The later revolt of the Puritans against the king-worship which Cromwell established proved the justice of the provision which forced More in the spring of 1532 to resign the post of chancellor.

But the revolution from which he shrank was an inevitable one. Till now every Englishman had practically owned a double life and a double allegiance. As citizen of a temporal state his life was bounded by English shores, and his loyalty due exclusively to his English King. But as citizen of the state spiritual, he belonged not to England, but to Christendom. The law which governed him was not a national law, but a law that embraced every European nation, and the ordinary course of judicial appeals in ecclesiastical cases proved to him that the sovereignty in all matters of conscience or religion lay, not at Westminster, but at Rome.

Such a distinction could scarcely fail to bring embarrassment with it as the sense of national life and national pride waxed stronger; and from the reign of the Edwards the problem of reconciling the spiritual and temporal relations of the realm grew daily more difficult. Parliament had hardly risen into life when it became the organ of the national jealousy, whether of any papal jurisdiction without the realm or of the separate life and separate jurisdiction of the clergy within it. The movement was long arrested by religious reaction and civil war. But the fresh sense of national greatness which sprang from the policy of Henry VIII, the fresh sense of national unity as the monarchy gathered all power into its single hand, would have itself revived the contest even without the spur of the divorce.

What the question of the divorce really did was to stimulate the movement by bringing into clearer view the wreck of the great Christian commonwealth of which England had till now formed a part, and the impossibility of any real exercise of a spiritual sovereignty over it by the weakened papacy, as well as by outraging the national pride through the summons of the King to a foreign bar and the submission of English interests to the will of a foreign emperor.

With such a spur as this the movement, which More dreaded, moved forward as quickly as Cromwell desired. The time had[Pg 208] come when England was to claim for herself the fulness of power, ecclesiastical as well as temporal, within her bounds; and, in the concentration of all authority within the hands of the sovereign which was the political characteristic of the time, to claim this power for the nation was to claim it for the king. The import of that headship of the Church which Henry had assumed in the preceding year was brought fully out in one of the propositions laid before the convocation of 1532.

"The King's majesty," runs this memorable clause, "hath as well the care of the souls of his subjects as their bodies; and may by the law of God by his parliament make laws touching and concerning as well the one as the other." The principle embodied in these words was carried out in a series of decisive measures. Under strong pressure the convocation was brought to pray that the power of independent legislation till now exercised by the church should come to an end, and to promise "that from henceforth we shall forbear to enact, promulge, or put into execution any such constitutions and ordinances so by us to be made in time coming, unless your highness by your royal assent shall license us to make, promulge, and execute them, and the same so made be approved by your highness' authority."

Rome was dealt with in the same unsparing fashion. The parliament forbade by statute any further appeals to the papal court; and on a petition from the clergy in convocation the houses granted power to the King to suspend the payments of first-fruits, or the year's revenue which each bishop paid to Rome on his election to a see. All judicial, all financial connection with the papacy was broken by these two measures. The last, indeed, was as yet but a menace which Henry might use in his negotiations with Clement. The hope which had been entertained of aid from Charles was now abandoned; and the overthrow of Norfolk and his policy of alliance with the Empire was seen at the midsummer of 1532 in the conclusion of a league with France. Cromwell had fallen back on Wolsey's system; and the divorce was now to be looked for from the united pressure of the French and English kings on the papal court.

But the pressure was as unsuccessful as before. In November Clement threatened the King with excommunication if he did not restore Catherine to her place as queen and abstain[Pg 209] from all intercourse with Anne Boleyn till the case was tried. But Henry still refused to submit to the judgment of any court outside his realm; and the Pope, ready as he was with evasion and delay, dared not alienate Charles by consenting to a trial within it. The lavish pledges which Francis had given in an interview during the preceding summer may have aided to spur the King to a decisive step which closed the long debate. At the opening of 1533 Henry was privately married to Anne Boleyn. The match, however, was carefully kept secret while the papal sanction was being gained for the appointment of Cranmer to the see of Canterbury, which had become vacant by Archbishop Warham's death in the preceding year. But Cranmer's consecration at the close of March was the signal for more open action, and Cromwell's policy was at last brought fairly into play.

The new primate at once laid the question of the King's marriage before the two houses of convocation, and both voted that the license of Pope Julius had been beyond the papal powers and that the marriage which it authorized was void. In May the King's suit was brought before the Archbishop in his court at Dunstable; his judgment annulled the marriage with Catherine as void from the beginning, and pronounced the marriage with Anne Boleyn, which her pregnancy had forced Henry to reveal, a lawful marriage. A week later the hand of Cranmer placed upon Anne's brow the crown which she had coveted so long.

"There was much murmuring" at measures such as these. Many thought "that the Bishop of Rome would curse all Englishmen, and that the Emperor and he would destroy all the people." Fears of the overthrow of religion told on the clergy; the merchants dreaded an interruption of the trade with Flanders, Italy, and Spain. But Charles, though still loyal to his aunt's cause, had no mind to incur risks for her; and Clement, though he annulled Cranmer's proceedings, hesitated as yet to take sterner action. Henry, on the other hand, conscious that the die was thrown, moved rapidly forward in the path that Cromwell had opened. The Pope's reversal of the primate's judgment was answered by an appeal to a general council. The decision of the cardinals to whom the case was referred in the[Pg 210] spring of 1534, a decision which asserted the lawfulness of Catherine's marriage, was met by the enforcement of the long-suspended statute forbidding the payment of first-fruits to the Pope.

Though the King was still firm in his resistance to Lutheran opinions, and at this moment endeavored to prevent by statute the importation of Lutheran books, the less scrupulous hand of his minister was seen already striving to find a counterpoise to the hostility of the Emperor in an alliance with the Lutheran princes of North Germany. Cromwell was now fast rising to a power which rivalled Wolsey's. His elevation to the post of lord privy seal placed him on a level with the great nobles of the council board; and Norfolk, constant in his hopes of reconciliation with Charles and the papacy, saw his plans set aside for the wider and more daring projects of "the black-smith's son." Cromwell still clung to the political engine whose powers he had turned to the service of the Crown. The parliament which had been summoned at Wolsey's fall met steadily year after year; and measure after measure had shown its accordance with the royal will in the strife with Rome.

It was now called to deal a final blow. Step by step the ground had been cleared for the great statute by which the new character of the English Church was defined in the session of 1534. By the Act of Supremacy authority in all matters ecclesiastical was vested solely in the Crown. The courts spiritual became as thoroughly the king's courts as the temporal courts at Westminster. The statute ordered that the King "shall be taken, accepted, and reputed the only supreme head on earth of the Church of England, and shall have and enjoy, annexed and united to the imperial crown of this realm, as well the title and state thereof as all the honors, jurisdictions, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said dignity belonging, with full power to visit, repress, redress, reform, and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, contempts, and enormities which by any manner of spiritual authority or jurisdiction might or may lawfully be reformed."

The full import of the Act of Supremacy was only seen in the following year. At the opening of 1535 Henry formally took the title of "on earth Supreme Head of the Church of England,"[Pg 211] and some months later Cromwell was raised to the post of vicar-general, or vicegerent of the King in all matters ecclesiastical. His title, like his office, recalled the system of Wolsey. It was not only as legate, but in later years as vicar-general, of the Pope, that Wolsey had brought all spiritual causes in England to an English court. The supreme ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the realm passed into the hands of a minister who as chancellor already exercised its supreme civil jurisdiction. The papal power had therefore long seemed transferred to the crown before the legislative measures which followed the divorce actually transferred it.

It was in fact the system of Catholicism itself that trained men to look without surprise on the concentration of all spiritual and secular authority in Cromwell. Successor to Wolsey as keeper of the great seal, it seemed natural enough that Cromwell should succeed him also as vicar-general of the Church, and that the union of the two powers should be restored in the hands of a minister of the King. But the mere fact that these powers were united in the hands, not of a priest, but of a layman, showed the new drift of the royal policy. The Church was no longer to be brought indirectly under the royal power; in the policy of Cromwell it was to be openly laid prostrate at the foot of the throne.

And this policy his position enabled him to carry out with a terrible thoroughness. One great step toward its realization had already been taken in the statute which annihilated the free legislative powers of the convocations of the clergy. Another followed in an act which, under the pretext of restoring the free election of bishops, turned every prelate into a nominee of the King. The election of bishops by the chapters of their cathedral churches had long become formal, and their appointment had since the time of the Edwards been practically made by the papacy on the nomination of the crown. The privilege of free election was now with bitter irony restored to the chapters, but they were compelled on pain of præmunire to choose whatever candidate was recommended by the king. This strange expedient has lasted till the present time, though its character has wholly changed with the development of constitutional rule.

The nomination of bishops has ever since the accession of the Georges passed from the king in person to the minister, who[Pg 212] represents the will of the people. Practically, therefore, an English prelate, alone among all the prelates of the world, is now raised to his episcopal throne by the same popular election which raised Ambrose to his episcopal chair at Milan. But at the moment of the change Cromwell's measure reduced the English bishops to absolute dependence on the crown. Their dependence would have been complete had his policy been thoroughly carried out, and the royal power of deposition put in force, as well as that of appointment. As it was, Henry could warn the Archbishop of Dublin that, if he persevered in his "proud folly, we be able to remove you again and to put another man of more virtue and honesty in your place." By the more ardent partisans of the Reformation this dependence of the bishops on the crown was fully recognized. On the death of Henry VIII Cranmer took out a new commission from Edward for the exercise of his office. Latimer, when the royal policy clashed with his belief, felt bound to resign the see of Worcester. If the power of deposition was quietly abandoned by Elizabeth, the abandonment was due, not so much to any deference for the religious instincts of the nation as to the fact that the steady servility of the bishops rendered its exercise unnecessary.

A second step in Cromwell's policy followed hard on this enslavement of the episcopate. Master of convocation, absolute master of the bishops, Henry had become master of the monastic orders through the right of visitation over them, which had been transferred by the Act of Supremacy from the papacy to the crown. The monks were soon to know what this right of visitation implied in the hands of the vicar-general. As an outlet for religious enthusiasm, monasticism was practically dead. The friar, now that his fervor of devotion and his intellectual energy had passed away, had sunk into a mere beggar. The monks had become mere landowners. Most of the religious houses were anxious only to enlarge their revenues and to diminish the number of those who shared them.

In the general carelessness which prevailed as to the spiritual objects of their trust, in the wasteful management of their estates, in the indolence and self-indulgence which for the most part characterized them, the monastic establishments simply exhibited the faults of all corporate bodies that have outlived the work[Pg 213] which they were created to perform. They were no more unpopular, however, than such corporate bodies generally are. The Lollard cry for their suppression had died away. In the north, where some of the greatest abbeys were situated, the monks were on good terms with the country gentry, and their houses served as schools for their children; nor is there any sign of a different feeling elsewhere.

But they had drawn on themselves at once the hatred of the New Learning and of the monarchy. In the early days of the revival of letters, popes and bishops had joined with princes and scholars in welcoming the diffusion of culture and the hopes of religious reform. But, though an abbot or a prior here or there might be found among the supporters of the movement, the monastic orders as a whole repelled it with unswerving obstinacy. The quarrel only became more bitter as years went on. The keen sarcasms of Erasmus, the insolent buffoonery of Hutten, were lavished on the "lovers of darkness" and of the cloister.

In England Colet and More echoed with greater reserve the scorn and invective of their friends. The monarchy had other causes for its hate. In Cromwell's system there was no room for either the virtues or the vices of monasticism, for its indolence and superstition, or for its independence of the throne. The bold stand which the monastic orders had made against benevolences had never been forgiven, while the revenues of their foundations offered spoil vast enough to fill the royal treasury and secure a host of friends for the new reforms. Two royal commissioners, therefore, were despatched on a general visitation of the religious houses, and their reports formed a "Black Book" which was laid before parliament in 1536.

It was acknowledged that about a third of the houses, including the bulk of the larger abbeys, were fairly and decently conducted. The rest were charged with drunkenness, with simony, and with the foulest and most revolting crimes. The character of the visitors, the sweeping nature of their report, and the long debate which followed on its reception leave little doubt that these charges were grossly exaggerated. But the want of any effective discipline which had resulted from their exemption from all but papal supervision told fatally against monastic morality even in abbeys like St. Albans; and the acknowledgment[Pg 214] of Warham, as well as a partial measure of suppression begun by Wolsey, goes some way to prove that, in the smaller houses at least, indolence had passed into crime.

A cry of "down with them" broke from the commons as the report was read. The country, however, was still far from desiring the utter downfall of the monastic system, and a long and bitter debate was followed by a compromise which suppressed all houses whose income fell below two hundred pounds a year. Of the thousand religious houses which then existed in England, nearly four hundred were dissolved under this act and their revenues granted to the crown.

The secular clergy alone remained; and injunction after injunction from the vicar-general taught rector and vicar that they must learn to regard themselves as mere mouth-pieces of the royal will. The Church was gagged. With the instinct of genius, Cromwell discerned the part which the pulpit, as the one means which then existed of speaking to the people at large, was to play in the religious and political struggle that was at hand; and he resolved to turn it to the profit of the monarchy.

The restriction of the right of preaching to priests who received licenses from the Crown silenced every voice of opposition. Even to those who received these licenses theological controversy was forbidden; and a high-handed process of "tuning the pulpits," by express directions as to the subject and tenor of each special discourse, made the preachers at every crisis mere means of diffusing the royal will. As a first step in this process every bishop, abbot, and parish priest was required by the new vicar-general to preach against the usurpation of the papacy, and to proclaim the King as supreme head of the Church on earth. The very topics of the sermon were carefully prescribed; the bishops were held responsible for the compliance of the clergy with these orders; and the sheriffs were held responsible for the obedience of the bishops.

While the great revolution which struck down the Church was in progress, England looked silently on. In all the earlier ecclesiastical changes, in the contest over the papal jurisdiction and papal exactions, in the reform of the church courts, even in the curtailment of the legislative independence of the clergy, the nation as a whole had gone with the King. But from the enslavement[Pg 215] of the priesthood, from the gagging of the pulpits, from the suppression of the monasteries, the bulk of the nation stood aloof. There were few voices, indeed, of protest. As the royal policy disclosed itself, as the monarchy trampled under foot the tradition and reverence of ages gone by, as its figure rose bare and terrible out of the wreck of old institutions, England simply held her breath.

It is only through the stray depositions of royal spies that we catch a glimpse of the wrath and hate which lay seething under this silence of the people. For the silence was a silence of terror. Before Cromwell's rise, and after his fall from power, the reign of Henry VIII witnessed no more than the common tyranny and bloodshed of the time. But the years of Cromwell's administration form the one period in our history which deserves the name that men have given to the rule of Robespierre. It was the English "Terror." It was by terror that Cromwell mastered the King. Cranmer could plead for him at a later time with Henry as "one whose surety was only by your majesty, who loved your majesty, as I ever thought, no less than God." But the attitude of Cromwell toward the King was something more than that of absolute dependence and unquestioning devotion.

He was "so vigilant to preserve your majesty from all treasons," adds the primate, "that few could be so secretly conceived but he detected the same from the beginning." Henry, like every Tudor, was fearless of open danger, but tremulously sensitive to the lightest breath of hidden disloyalty; and it was on this dread that Cromwell based the fabric of his power. He was hardly secretary before spies were scattered broadcast over the land. Secret denunciations poured into the open ear of the minister. The air was thick with tales of plots and conspiracies; and with the detection and suppression of each, Cromwell tightened his hold on the King.

As it was by terror that he mastered the King, so it was by terror that he mastered the people. Men felt in England, to use the figure by which Erasmus paints the time, "as if a scorpion lay sleeping under every stone." The confessional had no secrets for Cromwell. Men's talk with their closest friends found its way to his ear. "Words idly spoken," the murmurs of a petulant abbot, the ravings of a moon-struck nun, were, as the[Pg 216] nobles cried passionately at his fall, "tortured into treason." The only chance of safety lay in silence.

"Friends who used to write and send me presents," Erasmus tells us, "now send neither letter nor gifts, nor receive any from anyone, and this through fear." But even the refuge of silence was closed by a law more infamous than any that has ever blotted the statute-book of England. Not only was thought made treason, but men were forced to reveal their thoughts on pain of their very silence being punished with the penalties of treason. All trust in the older bulwarks of liberty was destroyed by a policy as daring as it was unscrupulous. The noblest institutions were degraded into instruments of terror. Though Wolsey had strained the law to the utmost, he had made no open attack on the freedom of justice. If he shrank from assembling parliaments, it was from his sense that they were the bulwarks of liberty.

But under Cromwell the coercion of juries and the management of judges rendered the courts mere mouth-pieces of the royal will; and where even this shadow of justice proved an obstacle to bloodshed, parliament was brought into play to pass bill after bill of attainder. "He shall be judged by the bloody laws he has himself made," was the cry of the council at the moment of his fall, and by a singular retribution the crowning injustice which he sought to introduce even into the practice of attainder, the condemnation of a man without hearing his defence, was only practised on himself.

But, ruthless as was the "Terror" of Cromwell, it was of a nobler type than the Terror of France. He never struck uselessly or capriciously, or stooped to the meaner victims of the guillotine. His blows were effective just because he chose his victims from among the noblest and the best. If he struck at the Church, it was through the Carthusians, the holiest and the most renowned of English churchmen. If he struck at the baronage, it was through Lady Salisbury, in whose veins flowed the blood of kings. If he struck at the New Learning, it was through the murder of Sir Thomas More. But no personal vindictiveness mingled with his crime.

In temper, indeed, so far as we can judge from the few stories which lingered among his friends, he was a generous, kindly[Pg 217] hearted man, with pleasant and winning manners which atoned for a certain awkwardness of person, and with a constancy of friendship which won him a host of devoted adherents. But no touch either of love or hate swayed him from his course. The student of Machiavelli had not studied the Prince in vain. He had reduced bloodshed to a system. Fragments of his papers still show us with what a business-like brevity he ticked off human lives among the casual "remembrances" of the day.

"Item, the Abbot of Reading to be sent down to be tried and executed at Reading." "Item, to know the King's pleasure touching Master More." "Item, when Master Fisher shall go to his execution, and the other." It is indeed this utter absence of all passion, of all personal feeling, that makes the figure of Cromwell the most terrible in our history. He has an absolute faith in the end he is pursuing, and he simply hews his way to it as a woodman hews his way through the forest, axe in hand.

The choice of his first victim showed the ruthless precision with which Cromwell was to strike. In the general opinion of Europe, the foremost Englishman of the time was Sir Thomas More. As the policy of the divorce ended in an open rupture with Rome, he had withdrawn silently from the ministry, but his silent disapproval of the new policy was more telling than the opposition of obscurer foes. To Cromwell there must have been something specially galling in More's attitude of reserve. The religious reforms of the New Learning were being rapidly carried out, but it was plain that the man who represented the very life of the New Learning believed that the sacrifice of liberty and justice was too dear a price to pay even for religious reform.

In the actual changes which the divorce brought about, there was nothing to move More to active or open opposition. Though he looked on the divorce and remarriage as without religious warrant, he found no difficulty in accepting an act of succession passed in 1534 which declared the marriage of Anne Boleyn valid, annulled the title of Catherine's child, Mary, and declared the children of Anne the only lawful heirs to the crown. His faith in the power of parliament over all civil matters was too complete to admit a doubt of its competence to regulate the succession to the throne. But by the same act an oath recognizing the succession as then arranged was ordered to be taken by all[Pg 218] persons; and this oath contained an acknowledgment that the marriage with Catherine was against Scripture, and invalid from the beginning.

Henry had long known More's belief on this point; and the summons to take this oath was simply a summons to death. More was at his house at Chelsea when the summons called him to Lambeth, to the house where he had bandied fun with Warham and Erasmus or bent over the easel of Holbein. For a moment there may have been some passing impulse to yield. But it was soon over. Triumphant in all else, the monarchy was to find its power stop short at the conscience of man. The great battle of spiritual freedom, the battle of the Protestant against Mary, of the Catholic against Elizabeth, of the Puritan against Charles, of the Independent against the Presbyterian, began at the moment when More refused to bend or to deny his convictions at a king's bidding.

"I thank the Lord," More said with a sudden start as the boat dropped silently down the river from his garden steps in the early morning, "I thank the Lord that the field is won." At Lambeth, Cranmer and his fellow-commissioners tendered to him the new oath of allegiance; but, as they expected, it was refused. They bade him walk in the garden, that he might reconsider his reply. The day was hot, and More seated himself in a window from which he could look down into the crowded court. Even in the presence of death, the quick sympathy of his nature could enjoy the humor and life of the throng below.

"I saw," he said afterward, "Master Latimer very merry in the court, for he laughed and took one or twain by the neck so handsomely that if they had been women I should have weened that he waxed wanton." The crowd below was chiefly of priests, rectors, and vicars, pressing to take the oath that More found harder than death. He bore them no grudge for it. When he heard the voice of one who was known to have boggled hard at the oath, a little while before, calling loudly and ostentatiously for drink, he only noted him with his peculiar humor. "He drank," More supposed, "either from dryness or from gladness," or "to show quod ille notus erat Pontifici."

He was called in again at last, but only repeated his refusal. It was in vain that Cranmer plied him with distinctions which[Pg 219] perplexed even the subtle wit of the ex-chancellor; More remained unshaken and passed to the Tower. He was followed there by Bishop Fisher of Rochester, the most aged and venerable of the English prelates, who was charged with countenancing treason by listening to the prophecies of a religious fanatic called the "Nun of Kent." But for the moment even Cromwell shrank from their blood. They remained prisoners, while a new and more terrible engine was devised to crush out the silent but widespread opposition to the religious changes.

By a statute passed at the close of 1534 a new treason was created in the denial of the King's titles; and in the opening of 1535 Henry assumed, as we have seen, the title of "on earth supreme head of the Church of England." The measure was at once followed up by a blow at victims hardly less venerable than More. In the general relaxation of the religious life, the charity and devotion of the brethren of the Charter-house had won the reverence even of those who condemned monasticism. After a stubborn resistance they had acknowledged the royal supremacy and taken the oath of submission prescribed by the act. But, by an infamous construction of the statute which made the denial of the supremacy treason, the refusal of satisfactory answers to official questions, as to a conscientious belief in it, was held to be equivalent to open denial.

The aim of the new measure was well known, and the brethren prepared to die. In the agony of waiting, enthusiasm brought its imaginative consolations; "when the host was lifted up, there came as it were a whisper of air which breathed upon our faces as we knelt; and there came a sweet, soft sound of music." They had not long, however, to wait, for their refusal to answer was the signal for their doom. Three of the brethren went to the gallows; the rest were flung into Newgate, chained to posts in a noisome dungeon, where, "tied and not able to stir," they were left to perish of jail fever and starvation. In a fortnight five were dead and the rest at the point of death, "almost despatched," Cromwell's envoy wrote to him, "by the hand of God, of which, considering their behavior, I am not sorry."

Their death was soon followed by that of More. The interval of imprisonment had failed to break his resolution, and the new statute sufficed to bring him to the block. With Fisher he[Pg 220] was convicted of denying the King's title as only supreme head of the Church. The old bishop approached the scaffold with a book of the New Testament in his hand. He opened it at a venture ere he knelt, and read, "This is life eternal to know thee, the only true God." In July More followed his fellow-prisoners to the block. On the eve of the fatal blow he moved his beard carefully from the reach of the doomsman's axe. "Pity that should be cut," he was heard to mutter with a touch of the old sad irony, "that has never committed treason."

Cromwell had at last reached his aim. England lay panic-stricken at the feet of the "low-born knave," as the nobles called him, who represented the omnipotence of the crown. Like Wolsey he concentrated in his hands the whole administration of the state; he was at once foreign minister and home minister, and vicar-general of the Church, the creator of a new fleet, the organizer of armies, the president of the terrible star chamber. His Italian indifference to the mere show of power stood out in strong contrast with the pomp of the Cardinal. Cromwell's personal habits were simple and unostentatious; if he clutched at money, it was to feed the army of spies whom he maintained at his own expense, and whose work he surveyed with a ceaseless vigilance. For his activity was boundless.

More than fifty volumes remain of the gigantic mass of his correspondence. Thousands of letters from "poor bedesmen," from outraged wives and wronged laborers and persecuted heretics, flowed in to the all-powerful minister, whose system of personal government turned him into the universal court of appeal. But powerful as he was, and mighty as was the work which he had accomplished, he knew that harder blows had to be struck before his position was secure.

The new changes, above all the irritation which had been caused by the outrages with which the dissolution of the monasteries was accompanied, gave point to the mutinous temper that prevailed throughout the country; for the revolution in agriculture was still going on, and evictions furnished embittered outcasts to swell the ranks of any rising. Nor did it seem as though revolt, if it once broke out, would want leaders to head it. The nobles, who had writhed under the rule of the Cardinal, writhed yet more bitterly under the rule of one whom they looked[Pg 221] upon not only as Wolsey's tool, but as a low-born upstart. "The world will never mend," Lord Hussey had been heard to say, "till we fight for it."

"Knaves rule about the King!" cried Lord Exeter; "I trust some day to give them a buffet!" At this moment, too, the hopes of political reaction were stirred by the fate of one whom the friends of the old order looked upon as the source of all their troubles. In the spring of 1536, while the dissolution of the monasteries was marking the triumph of the new policy, Anne Boleyn was suddenly charged with adultery and sent to the Tower. A few days later she was tried, condemned, and brought to the block. The Queen's ruin was everywhere taken as an omen of ruin to the cause which had become identified with her own, and the old nobility mustered courage to face the minister who held them at his feet.

They found their opportunity in the discontent of the North, where the monasteries had been popular, and where the rougher mood of the people turned easily to resistance. In the autumn of 1536 a rising broke out in Lincolnshire, and this was hardly quelled when all Yorkshire rose in arms. From every parish the farmers marched with the parish priest at their head upon York, and the surrender of this city determined the waverers. In a few days Skipton castle, where the Earl of Cumberland held out with a handful of men, was the only spot north of the Humber which remained true to the King. Durham rose at the call of the chiefs of the house of Neville, Lords Westmoreland and Latimer. Though the Earl of Northumberland feigned sickness, the Percies joined the revolt. Lord Dacre, the chief of the Yorkshire nobles, surrendered Pomfret, and was acknowledged as their chief by the insurgents.

The whole nobility of the North were now enlisted in the "Pilgrimage of Grace," as the rising called itself, and thirty thousand "tall men and well horsed" moved on the Don demanding the reversal of the royal policy, a reunion with Rome, the restoration of Catherine's daughter, Mary, to her rights as heiress of the crown, redress for the wrongs done to the Church, and above all the driving away of base-born councillors, or, in other words, the fall of Cromwell. Though their advance was checked by negotiation, the organization of the revolt went steadily on[Pg 222] throughout the winter, and a parliament of the North, which gathered at Pomfret, formally adopted the demands of the insurgents. Only six thousand men under Norfolk barred their way southward, and the Midland counties were known to be disaffected.

But Cromwell remained undaunted by the peril. He suffered, indeed, Norfolk to negotiate; and allowed Henry under pressure from his council to promise pardon and a free parliament at York, a pledge which Norfolk and Dacre alike construed into an acceptance of the demands made by the insurgents. Their leaders at once flung aside the badge of the "Five Wounds" which they had worn, with a cry, "We will wear no badge but that of our lord the King," and nobles and farmers dispersed to their homes in triumph. But the towns of the North were no sooner garrisoned and Norfolk's army in the heart of Yorkshire than the veil was flung aside. A few isolated outbreaks in the spring of 1537 gave a pretext for the withdrawal of every concession.

The arrest of the leaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace was followed by ruthless severities. The country was covered with gibbets. Whole districts were given up to military execution. But it was on the leaders of the rising that Cromwell's hand fell heaviest. He seized his opportunity for dealing at the northern nobles a fatal blow. "Cromwell," one of the chief among them broke fiercely out as he stood at the council board, "it is thou that art the very special and chief cause of all this rebellion and wickedness, and dost daily travail to bring us to our ends and strike off our heads. I trust that ere thou die, though thou wouldst procure all the noblest heads within the realm to be stricken off, yet there shall one head remain that shall strike off thy head."

But the warning was unheeded. Lord Darcy, who stood first among the nobles of Yorkshire, and Lord Hussey, who stood first among the nobles of Lincolnshire, went alike to the block. The Abbot of Barlings, who had ridden into Lincoln with his canons in full armor, swung with his brother-abbots of Whalley, Woburn, and Sawley from the gallows. The abbots of Fountains and of Jervaulx were hanged at Tyburn side by side with the representative of the great line of Percy. Lady[Pg 223] Bulmer was burned at the stake. Sir Robert Constable was hanged in chains before the gate of Hull.

The defeat of the northern revolt showed the immense force which the monarchy had gained. Even among the rebels themselves not a voice had threatened Henry's throne. It was not at the King that they aimed these blows, but at the "low-born knaves" who stood about the King. At this moment, too, Henry's position was strengthened by the birth of an heir. On the death of Anne Boleyn he had married Jane Seymour, the daughter of a Wiltshire knight; and in 1537 this Queen died in giving birth to a boy, the future Edward VI. The triumph of the Crown at home was doubled by its triumph in the great dependency which had so long held the English authority at bay across St. George's Channel.

With England and Ireland alike at his feet, Cromwell could venture on a last and crowning change. He could claim for the monarchy the right of dictating at its pleasure the form of faith and doctrine to be taught throughout the land. Henry had remained true to the standpoint of the New Learning; and the sympathies of Cromwell were mainly with those of his master. They had no wish for any violent break with the ecclesiastical forms of the past. They desired religious reform rather than religious revolution, a simplification of doctrine rather than any radical change in it, the purification of worship rather than the introduction of any wholly new ritual. Their theology remained, as they believed, a Catholic theology, but a theology cleared of the superstitious growths which obscured the true Catholicism of the early Church.

In a word, their dream was the dream of Erasmus and Colet. The spirit of Erasmus was seen in the articles of religion which were laid before convocation in 1536; in the acknowledgment of justification by faith, a doctrine for which the founders of the New Learning, such as Contarini and Pole, were struggling at Rome itself; in the condemnation of purgatory, of pardons, and of masses for the dead, as it was seen in the admission of prayers for the dead and in the retention of the ceremonies of the Church without material change.

A series of royal injunctions which followed carried out the same policy of reform. Pilgrimages were suppressed; the excessive[Pg 224] number of holy days was curtailed; the worship of images and relics was discouraged in words which seemed almost copied from the protest of Erasmus. His appeal for a translation of the Bible which weavers might repeat at their shuttle and ploughmen sing at their plough received at last a reply. At the outset of the ministry of Norfolk and More, the King had promised an English version of the Scriptures, while prohibiting the circulation of Tyndale's Lutheran translation. The work, however, lagged in the hands of the bishops; and as a preliminary measure the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments were now rendered into English, and ordered to be taught by every schoolmaster and father of a family to his children and pupils. But the bishops' version still hung on hand; till, in despair of its appearance, a friend of Archbishop Cranmer, Miles Coverdale, was employed to correct and revise the translation of Tyndale; and the Bible which he edited was published in 1538 under the avowed patronage of Henry himself.

But the force of events was already carrying England far from the standpoint of Erasmus or More. The dream of the New Learning was to be wrought out through the progress of education and piety. In the policy of Cromwell, reform was to be brought about by the brute force of the monarchy. The story of the royal supremacy was graven even on the title-page of the new Bible. It is Henry on his throne who gives the sacred volume to Cranmer, ere Cranmer and Cromwell can distribute it to the throng of priests and laymen below. Hitherto men had looked on religious truth as a gift from the Church. They were now to look on it as a gift from the King. The very gratitude of Englishmen for fresh spiritual enlightenment was to tell to the profit of the royal power. No conception could be further from that of the New Learning, from the plea for intellectual freedom which runs through the life of Erasmus, or the craving for political liberty which gives nobleness to the speculations of More. Nor was it possible for Henry himself to avoid drifting from the standpoint he had chosen. He had written against Luther; he had persisted in opposing Lutheran doctrine; he had passed new laws to hinder the circulation of Lutheran books in his realm. But influences from without as from within drove him nearer to Lutheranism. If the encouragement of Francis[Pg 225] had done somewhat to bring about his final breach with the papacy, he soon found little will in the French King to follow him in any course of separation from Rome; and the French alliance threatened to become useless as a shelter against the wrath of the Emperor.

Charles was goaded into action by the bill annulling Mary's right of succession; and in 1535 he proposed to unite his house with that of Francis by close intermarriage, and to sanction Mary's marriage with a son of the French King if Francis would join in an attack on England. Whether such a proposal was serious or no, Henry had to dread attack from Charles himself and to look for new allies against it. He was driven to offer his alliance to the Lutheran princes of North Germany, who dreaded like himself the power of the Emperor, and who were now gathering in the League of Smalkald.

But the German princes made agreement as to doctrine a condition of their alliance; and their pressure was backed by Henry's partisans among the clergy at home. In Cromwell's scheme for mastering the priesthood it had been needful to place men on whom the King could rely at their head. Cranmer became primate, Latimer became Bishop of Worcester, Shaxton and Barlow were raised to the sees of Salisbury and St. David's, Hilsey to that of Rochester, Goodrich to that of Ely, Fox to that of Hereford. But it was hard to find men among the clergy who paused at Henry's theological resting-place; and of these prelates all except Latimer were known to sympathize with Lutheranism, though Cranmer lagged far behind his fellows in their zeal for reform.

The influence of these men, as well as of an attempt to comply at least partly with the demand of the German princes, left its stamp on the articles of 1536. For the principle of Catholicism, of a universal form of faith overspreading all temporal dominions, the Lutheran states had substituted the principle of territorial religion, of the right of each sovereign or people to determine the form of belief which should be held within their bounds. The severance from Rome had already brought Henry to this principle, and the Act of Supremacy was its emphatic assertion.

In England, too, as in North Germany, the repudiation of[Pg 226] the papal authority as a ground of faith, of the voice of the Pope as a declaration of truth, had driven men to find such a ground and declaration in the Bible; and the articles expressly based the faith of the Church of England on the Bible and the three creeds. With such fundamental principles of agreement it was possible to borrow from the Augsburg Confession five of the ten articles which Henry laid before the convocation. If penance was still retained as a sacrament, baptism and the Lord's Supper were alone maintained to be sacraments with it; the doctrine of transubstantiation, which Henry stubbornly maintained, differed so little from the doctrine maintained by Luther that the words of Lutheran formularies were borrowed to explain it; confession was admitted by the Lutheran churches as well as by the English. The veneration of saints and the doctrine of prayer to them, though still retained, were so modified as to present little difficulty even to a Lutheran.

However disguised in form, the doctrinal advance made in the articles of 1536 was an immense one; and a vehement opposition might have been looked for from those of the bishops like Gardiner, who, while they agreed with Henry's policy of establishing a national church, remained opposed to any change in faith. But the articles had been drawn up by Henry's own hand, and all whisper of opposition was hushed. Bishops, abbots, clergy, not only subscribed to them, but carried out with implicit obedience the injunctions which put their doctrine roughly into practice; and the failure of the Pilgrimage of Grace in the following autumn ended all thought of resistance among the laity.

But Cromwell found a different reception for his reforms when he turned to extend them to the sister-island. The religious aspect of Ireland was hardly less chaotic than its political aspect had been. Ever since Strongbow's landing, there had been no one Irish church, simply because there had been no one Irish nation. There was not the slightest difference in doctrine or discipline between the Church without the pale and the Church within it. But within the pale the clergy were exclusively of English blood and speech, and without it they were exclusively of Irish. Irishmen were shut out by law from abbeys and churches within the English boundary; and the ill-will of the[Pg 227] natives shut out Englishmen from churches and abbeys outside it.

As to the religious state of the country, it was much on a level with its political condition. Feuds and misrule told fatally on ecclesiastical discipline. The bishops were political officers, or hard fighters, like the chiefs around them; their sees were neglected, their cathedrals abandoned to decay. Through whole dioceses the churches lay in ruins and without priests. The only preaching done in the country was done by the begging friars, and the results of the friars' preaching were small. "If the King do not provide a remedy," it was said in 1525, "there will be no more Christentie than in the middle of Turkey."

Unfortunately the remedy which Henry provided was worse than the disease. Politically Ireland was one with England, and the great revolution which was severing the one country from the papacy extended itself naturally to the other. The results of it indeed at first seemed small enough. The supremacy, a question which had convulsed England, passed over into Ireland to meet its only obstacle in a general indifference. Everybody was ready to accept it without a thought of the consequences. The bishops and clergy within the pale bent to the King's will as easily as their fellows in England, and their example was followed by at least four prelates of dioceses without the pale.

The native chieftains made no more scruple than the lords of the council in renouncing obedience to the Bishop of Rome, and in acknowledging Henry as the "supreme head of the Church of England and Ireland under Christ." There was none of the resistance to the dissolution of the abbeys which had been witnessed on the other side of the channel, and the greedy chieftains showed themselves perfectly willing to share the plunder of the Church.

But the results of the measure were fatal to the little culture and religion which even the past centuries of disorder had spared. Such as they were, the religious houses were the only schools that Ireland contained. The system of vicars, so general in England, was rare in Ireland; churches in the patronage of the abbeys were for the most part served by the religious themselves, and the dissolution of their houses suspended public worship over large districts of the country. The friars, hitherto the only preachers,[Pg 228] and who continued to labor and teach in spite of the efforts of the government, were thrown necessarily into a position of antagonism to the English rule.

Had the ecclesiastical changes which were forced on the country ended here, however, in the end little harm would have been done. But in England the breach with Rome, the destruction of the monastic orders, and the establishment of the supremacy had aroused in a portion of the people itself a desire for theological change which Henry shared and was cautiously satisfying. In Ireland the spirit of the Reformation never existed among the people at all. They accepted the legislative measures passed in the English Parliament without any dream of theological consequences, or of any change in the doctrine or ceremonies of the Church. Not a single voice demanded the abolition of pilgrimages or the destruction of images or the reform of public worship.

The mission of Archbishop Browne in 1535 "for the plucking down of idols and extinguishing of idolatry" was a first step in the long effort of the English government to force a new faith on a people who to a man clung passionately to their old religion. Browne's attempts at "tuning the pulpits" were met by a sullen and significant opposition. "Neither by gentle exhortation," the Archbishop wrote to Cromwell, "nor by evangelical instruction, neither by oath of them solemnly taken nor yet by threats of sharp correction, may I persuade or induce any, whether religious or secular, since my coming over once to preach the Word of God, nor the just title of our illustrious Prince."

Even the acceptance of the supremacy, which had been so quietly effected, was brought into question when its results became clear. The bishops abstained from compliance with the order to erase the Pope's name out of their mass-books. The pulpits remained steadily silent. When Browne ordered the destruction of the images and relics in his own cathedral, he had to report that the prior and canons "find them so sweet for their gain that they heed not my words."

Cromwell, however, was resolute for a religious uniformity between the two islands, and the primate borrowed some of his patron's vigor. Recalcitrant priests were thrown into prison, images were plucked down from the rood-loft, and the most venerable[Pg 229] of Irish relics, the staff of St. Patrick, was burned in the market-place. But he found no support in his vigor save from across the channel. The Irish council looked coldly on; even the Lord Deputy still knelt to say prayers before an image at Trim. A sullen, dogged opposition baffled Cromwell's efforts, and their only result was to unite all Ireland against the Crown.

But Cromwell found it easier to deal with Irish inaction than with the feverish activity which his reforms stirred in England itself. It was impossible to strike blow after blow at the Church without rousing wild hopes in the party who sympathized with the work which Luther was doing oversea. Few as these "Lutherans" or "Protestants" still were in numbers, their new hopes made them a formidable force; and in the school of persecution they had learned a violence which delighted in outrages on the faith which had so long trampled them under foot. At the very outset of Cromwell's changes, four Suffolk youths broke into a church at Dovercourt, tore down a wonder-working crucifix, and burned it in the fields.

The suppression of the lesser monasteries was the signal for a new outburst of ribald insult to the old religion. The roughness, insolence, and extortion of the commissioners sent to effect it drove the whole monastic body to despair. Their servants rode along the road with copes for doublets or tunicles for saddle-cloths, and scattered panic among the larger houses which were left. Some sold their jewels and relics to provide for the evil day they saw approaching. Some begged of their own will for dissolution. It was worse when fresh ordinances of the vicar-general ordered the removal of objects of superstitious veneration. Their removal, bitter enough to those whose religion twined itself around the image or the relic which was taken away, was embittered yet more by the insults with which it was accompanied.

A miraculous rood at Boxley, which bowed its head and stirred its eyes, was paraded from market to market and exhibited as a juggle before the court. Images of the Virgin were stripped of their costly vestments and sent to be publicly burned at London. Latimer forwarded to the capital the figure of Our Lady, which he had thrust out of his cathedral church at Worcester[Pg 230] with rough words of scorn: "She with her old sister of Walsingham, her younger sister of Ipswich, and their two other sisters of Doncaster and Penrice, would make a jolly muster at Smithfield." Fresh orders were given to fling all relics from their reliquaries, and to level every shrine with the ground. In 1538 the bones of St. Thomas of Canterbury were torn from the stately shrine which had been the glory of his metropolitan church, and his name was erased from the service-books as that of a traitor.

The introduction of the English Bible into churches gave a new opening for the zeal of the Protestants. In spite of royal injunctions that it should be read decently and without comment, the young zealots of the party prided themselves on shouting it out to a circle of excited hearers during the service of mass, and accompanied their reading with violent expositions. Protestant maidens took the new English primer to church with them and studied it ostentatiously during matins. Insult passed into open violence when the bishops' courts were invaded and broken up by Protestant mobs; and law and public opinion were outraged at once when priests who favored the new doctrines began openly to bring home wives to their vicarages.

A fiery outburst of popular discussion compensated for the silence of the pulpits. The new Scriptures, in Henry's bitter words of complaint, were "disputed, rhymed, sung, and jangled in every tavern and alehouse." The articles which dictated the belief of the English Church roused a furious controversy. Above all, the sacrament of the mass, the centre of the Catholic system of faith and worship, and which still remained sacred to the bulk of Englishmen, was attacked with a scurrility and profaneness which pass belief. The doctrine of transubstantiation, which was as yet recognized by law, was held up in scorn in ballads and mystery plays. In one church a Protestant lawyer raised a dog in his hands when the priest elevated the host. The most sacred words of the old worship, the words of consecration, "Hoc est corpus," were travestied into a nickname for jugglery as "Hocus-pocus."

It was by this attack on the mass, even more than by the other outrages, that the temper both of Henry and the nation was stirred to a deep resentment. With the Protestants Henry[Pg 231] had no sympathy whatever. He was a man of the New Learning; he was proud of his orthodoxy and of his title of "Defender of the Faith." And above all he shared to the utmost his people's love of order, their clinging to the past, their hatred of extravagance and excess. The first sign of reaction was seen in the parliament of 1539. Never had the houses shown so little care for political liberty. The monarchy seemed to free itself from all parliamentary restrictions whatever when a formal statute gave the King's proclamations the force of parliamentary laws.

Nor did the Church find favor with them. No word of the old opposition was heard when a bill was introduced granting to the King the greater monasteries which had been saved in 1536. More than six hundred religious houses fell at a blow, and so great was the spoil that the King promised never again to call on his people for subsidies. But the houses were equally at one in withstanding the new innovations of religion, and an act for "abolishing diversity of opinions in certain articles concerning Christian religion" passed with general assent. On the doctrine of transubstantiation, which was reasserted by the first of six articles to which the act owes its usual name, there was no difference of feeling or belief between the men of the New Learning and the older Catholics. But the road to a further instalment of even moderate reform seemed closed by the five other articles which sanctioned communion in one kind, the celibacy of the clergy, monastic vows, private masses, and auricular confession.

A more terrible feature of the reaction was the revival of persecution. Burning was denounced as the penalty for a denial of transubstantiation; on a second offence it became the penalty for an infraction of the other five doctrines. A refusal to confess or to attend mass was made felony. It was in vain that Cranmer, with the five bishops who partially sympathized with the Protestants, struggled against the bill in the lords: the commons were "all of one opinion," and Henry himself acted as spokesman on the side of the articles. In London alone five hundred Protestants were indicted under the new act. Latimer and Shaxton were imprisoned, and the former forced into a resignation of his see. Cranmer himself was only saved by Henry's personal favor.[Pg 232] But the first burst of triumph was no sooner spent than the hand of Cromwell made itself felt. Though his opinions remained those of the New Learning and differed little from the general sentiment which found itself represented in the act, he leaned instinctively to the one party which did not long for his fall. His wish was to restrain the Protestant excesses, but he had no mind to ruin the Protestants. In a little time therefore the bishops were quietly released. The London indictments were quashed. The magistrates were checked in their enforcement of the law, while a general pardon cleared the prisons of the heretics who had been arrested under its provisions.

A few months after the enactment of the Six Articles we find from a Protestant letter that persecution had wholly ceased, "the Word is powerfully preached and books of every kind may safely be exposed for sale." Never indeed had Cromwell shown such greatness as in his last struggle against fate. "Beknaved" by the King, whose confidence in him waned as he discerned the full meaning of the religious changes which Cromwell had brought about, met too by a growing opposition in the council as his favor declined, the temper of the man remained indomitable as ever. He stood absolutely alone. Wolsey, hated as he had been by the nobles, had been supported by the Church; but churchmen hated Cromwell with an even fiercer hate than the nobles themselves. His only friends were the Protestants, and their friendship was more fatal than the hatred of his foes. But he showed no signs of fear or of halting in the course he had entered on. So long as Henry supported him, however reluctant his support might be, he was more than a match for his foes.

He was strong enough to expel his chief opponent, Bishop Gardiner of Winchester, from the royal council. He met the hostility of the nobles with a threat which marked his power. "If the lords would handle him so, he would give them such a breakfast as never was made in England, and that the proudest of them should know."

He soon gave a terrible earnest of the way in which he could fulfil his threat. The opposition to his system gathered, above all, round two houses which represented what yet lingered of the Yorkist tradition, the Courtenays and the Poles. Courtenay, the Marquis of Exeter, was of royal blood, a grandson through his[Pg 233] mother of Edward IV. He was known to have bitterly denounced the "knaves that ruled about the King"; and his threats to "give them some day a buffet" were formidable in the mouth of one whose influence in the western counties was supreme.

Margaret, the Countess of Salisbury, a daughter of the Duke of Clarence by the heiress of the Earl of Warwick, and a niece of Edward IV, had married Sir Richard Pole, and became mother of Lord Montacute as of Sir Geoffry and Reginald Pole. The temper of her house might be guessed from the conduct of the younger of the three brothers. After refusing the highest favors from Henry as the price of his approval of the divorce, Reginald Pole had taken refuge at Rome, where he had bitterly attacked the King in a book, The Unity of the Church.

"There may be found ways enough in Italy," Cromwell wrote to him in significant words, "to rid a treacherous subject. When Justice can take no place by process of law at home, sometimes she may be enforced to take new means abroad." But he had left hostages in Henry's hands. "Pity that the folly of one witless fool," Cromwell wrote ominously, "should be the ruin of so great a family. Let him follow ambition as fast as he can, those that little have offended (saving that he is of their kin), were it not for the great mercy and benignity of the Prince, should and might feel what it is to have such a traitor as their kinsman." The "great mercy and benignity of the Prince" was no longer to shelter them.

In 1538 the Pope, Paul III, published a bull of excommunication and deposition against Henry, and Pole pressed the Emperor vigorously, though ineffectually, to carry the bull into execution. His efforts only brought about, as Cromwell had threatened, the ruin of his house. His brother, Lord Montacute, and the Marquis of Exeter, with other friends of the two great families, were arrested on a charge of treason and executed in the opening of 1539, while the Countess of Salisbury was attainted in parliament and sent to the Tower.

Almost as terrible an act of bloodshed closed the year. The abbots of Glastonbury, Reading, and Colchester, men who had sat as mitred abbots among the lords, were charged with a denial of the King's supremacy and hanged as traitors. But Cromwell[Pg 234] relied for success on more than terror. His single will forced on a scheme of foreign policy whose aim was to bind England to the cause of the Reformation while it bound Henry helplessly to his minister. The daring boast which his enemies laid afterward to Cromwell's charge, whether uttered or not, is but the expression of his system—"In brief time he would bring things to such a pass that the King with all his power should not be able to hinder him."

His plans rested, like the plan which proved fatal to Wolsey, on a fresh marriage of his master; Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour, had died in childbirth; and in the opening of 1540 Cromwell replaced her by a German consort, Anne of Cleves, a sister-in-law of the Lutheran Elector of Saxony. He dared even to resist Henry's caprice when the King revolted on their first interview from the coarse features and unwieldy form of his new bride. For the moment Cromwell had brought matters "to such a pass" that it was impossible to recoil from the marriage, and the minister's elevation to the earldom of Essex seemed to proclaim his success.

The marriage of Anne of Cleves, however, was but the first step in a policy which, had it been carried out as he designed it, would have anticipated the triumphs of Richelieu. Charles and the house of Austria could alone bring about a Catholic reaction strong enough to arrest and roll back the Reformation; and Cromwell was no sooner united with the princes of North Germany than he sought to league them with France for the overthrow of the Emperor.

Had he succeeded, the whole face of Europe would have been changed, Southern Germany would have been secured for Protestantism, and the Thirty Years' War averted. But he failed as men fail who stand ahead of their age. The German princes shrank from a contest with the Emperor, France from a struggle which would be fatal to Catholicism; and Henry, left alone to bear the resentment of the house of Austria and chained to a wife he loathed, turned savagely on his minister.

In June the long struggle came to an end. The nobles sprang on Cromwell with a fierceness that told of their long-hoarded hate. Taunts and execrations burst from the Lords at the council table as the Duke of Norfolk, who had been intrusted[Pg 235] with the minister's arrest, tore the ensign of the garter from his neck. At the charge of treason Cromwell flung his cap on the ground with a passionate cry of despair. "This, then," he exclaimed, "is my guerdon for the services I have done! On your consciences, I ask you, am I a traitor?" Then, with a sudden sense that all was over, he bade his foes make quick work, and not leave him to languish in prison.

Quick work was made. A few days after his arrest he was attainted in parliament, and at the close of July a burst of popular applause hailed his death on the scaffold.

[Pg 236]



A.D. 1534


Early in the sixteenth century, when France, after the Hundred Years' War with England, had begun to be a notable European power, the nation, under the young and brilliant Francis I, took up the project of prosecuting New World discovery and obtaining a firm footing on the mainland of America. The French King's attention had been directed to the enterprise by his grand admiral, Philip de Chabot, who seems to have been interested in the hardy mariner and skilled navigator, Jacques Cartier, and wished to place him at the head of an expedition to the New World, to prosecute discovery on the northeastern coast of America. This was in the year a.d. 1534, ten year after Verrazano had been in the region and named it New France, in honor of the French King. On April 20, 1534, Cartier, with two small vessels of about sixty tons each, set sail from the Britanny port of St. Malo for Newfoundland, on the banks of which Cartier's Breton and Norman countrymen had long been accustomed to fish. The incidents of this and the subsequent voyages of the St. Malo mariner, with an account of the expedition under the Viceroy of Canada, the Sieur de Roberval, will be found appended in Dr. Miles' interesting narrative.

Canada was discovered in the year 1534, by Jacques Cartier (or Quartier), a mariner belonging to the small French seaport St. Malo. He was a man in whom were combined the qualities of prudence, industry, skill, perseverance, courage, and a deep sense of religion. Commissioned by the King of France, Francis I, he conducted three successive expeditions across the Atlantic for the purpose of prosecuting discovery in the western hemisphere; and it is well understood that he had previously gained experience in seamanship on board fishing-vessels trading between Europe and the Banks of Newfoundland.

He was selected and recommended to the King for appointment as one who might be expected to realize, for the benefit of France, some of the discoveries of his predecessor, Verrazano,[Pg 237] which had been attended with no substantial result, since this navigator and his companions had scarcely done more than view, from a distance, the coasts of the extensive regions to which the name of New France had been given. It was also expected of Cartier that, through his endeavors, valuable lands would be taken possession of in the King's name, and that places suitable for settlement, and stations for carrying on traffic, would be established. Moreover, it was hoped that the precious metals would be procured in those parts, and that a passage onward to China (Cathay) and the East Indies would be found out. And, finally, the ambitious sovereign of France was induced to believe that, in spite of the pretensions of Portugal and Spain,[44] he might make good his own claim to a share in transatlantic territories.

With such objects in view, Jacques Cartier set sail from St. Malo, on Monday, April 20, 1534.[45] His command consisted of two small vessels, with crews amounting to about one hundred twenty men, and provisioned for four or five months.

On May 10th the little squadron arrived off Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland; but, as the ice and snow of the previous winter had not yet disappeared, the vessels were laid up for ten days in a harbor near by, named St. Catherine's. From this, on the 21st, they sailed northward to an island northeast of Cape Bonavista, situated about forty miles from the mainland, which had been called by the Portuguese the "Isle of Birds." Here were found several species of birds which, it appears, frequented the island at that season of the year in prodigious numbers, so that, according to Cartier's own narrative, the crews had no difficulty in capturing enough of them, both for their immediate use and to fill eight or ten large barrels (pippes) for[Pg 238] future consumption. Bears and foxes are described as passing from the mainland, in order to feed upon the birds as well as their eggs and young.

From the Isle of Birds the ships proceeded northward and westward until they came to the Straits of Belle-Isle, when they were detained by foul weather, and by ice, in a harbor, from May 27th until June 9th. The ensuing fifteen days were spent in exploring the coast of Labrador as far as Blanc Sablon and the western coast of Newfoundland. For the most part these regions, including contiguous islands, were pronounced by Cartier to be unfit for settlement, especially Labrador, of which he remarks, "it might, as well as not, be taken for the country assigned by God to Cain." From the shore of Newfoundland the vessels were steered westward across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and about June 25th arrived in the vicinity of the Magdalen Islands. Of an island named "Isle Bryon," Cartier says it contained the best land they had yet seen, and that "one acre of it was worth the whole of Newfoundland." Birds were plentiful, and on its shores were to be seen "beasts as large as oxen and possessing great tusks like elephants, which, when approached, leaped suddenly into the sea." There were very fine trees and rich tracts of ground, on which were seen growing quantities of "wild corn, peas in flower, currants, strawberries, roses, and sweet herbs." Cartier noticed the character of the tides and waves, which swept high and strong among the islands, and which suggested to his mind the existence of an opening between the south of Newfoundland and Cape Breton.

Toward the end of June the islands and mainland of the northwest part of the territory now called New Brunswick came in sight, and, as land was approached, Cartier began at once to search for a passage through which he might sail farther westward.

The ships' boats were several times lowered, and the crews made to row close inshore in the bays and inlets, for the purpose of discovering an opening. On these occasions natives were sometimes seen upon the beach, or moving about in bark canoes, with whom the French contrived to establish a friendly intercourse and traffic, by means of signs and presents of hatchets,[Pg 239] knives, small crucifixes, beads, and toys. On one occasion they had in sight from forty to fifty canoes full of savages, of which seven paddled close up to the French boats, so as to surround them, and were driven away only by demonstrations of force. Cartier learned afterward that it was customary for these savages to come down from parts more inland, in great numbers, to the coast, during the fishing season, and that this was the cause of his finding so many of them at that time. On the 7th day of the month a considerable body of the same savages came about the ships, and some traffic occurred. Gifts, consisting of knives, hatchets, and toys, along with a red cap for their head chief, caused them to depart in great joy.

Early in July, Cartier found that he was in a considerable bay, which he named "La Baie des Chaleurs." He continued to employ his boats in the examination of the smaller inlets and mouths of the rivers flowing into the bay, hoping that an opening might be discovered similar to that by which, a month before, he had passed round the north of Newfoundland into the gulf. After the 16th the weather was boisterous, and the ships were anchored for shelter close to the shore several days. During this time the savages came there to fish for mackerel, which were abundant, and held friendly intercourse with Cartier and his people. They were very poor and miserably clad in old skins, and sang and danced to testify their pleasure on receiving the presents which the French distributed among them.

Sailing eastward and northward, the vessels next passed along the coast of Gaspé, upon which the French landed and held intercourse with the natives. Cartier resolved to take formal possession of the country, and to indicate, in a conspicuous manner, that he did so in the name of the King, his master, and in the interests of religion. With these objects in view, on Friday, July 24th, a huge wooden cross, thirty feet in height, was constructed, and was raised with much ceremony, in sight of many of the Indians, close to the entrance of the harbor; three fleurs-de-lys being carved under the cross, and an inscription, "Vive le Roy de France." The French formed a circle on their knees around it, and made signs to attract the attention of the savages, pointing up to the heavens,[Pg 240] "as if to show that by the cross came their redemption." These ceremonies being ended, Cartier and his people went on board, followed from the shore by many of the Indians. Among these the principal chief, with his brother and three sons, in one canoe, came near Cartier's ship. He made an oration, in course of which he pointed toward the high cross, and then to the surrounding territory, as much as to say that it all belonged to him, and that the French ought not to have planted it there without his permission. The sight of hatchets and knives displayed before him, in such a manner as to show a desire to trade with him, made him approach nearer, and, at the same time, several sailors, entering his canoe, easily induced him and his companions to pass into the ship. Cartier, by signs, endeavored to persuade the chief that the cross had been erected as a beacon to mark the way into the harbor; that he would revisit the place and bring hatchets, knives, and other things made of iron, and that he desired the friendship of his people. Food and drink were offered, of which they partook freely, when Cartier made known to the chief his wish to take two of his sons away with him for a time. The chief and his sons appear to have readily assented. The young men at once put on colored garments, supplied by Cartier, throwing out their old clothing to others near the ship. The chief, with his brother and remaining son, were then dismissed with presents. About midday, however, just as the ships were about to move farther from shore, six canoes, full of Indians, came to them, bringing presents of fish, and to enable the friends of the chief's sons to bid them adieu. Cartier took occasion to enjoin upon the savages the necessity of guarding the cross which had been erected, upon which the Indians replied in unintelligible language. Next day, July 25th, the vessels left the harbor with a fair wind, making sail northward to 50° latitude. It was intended to prosecute the voyage farther westward, if possible; but adverse winds, and the appearance of the distant headlands, discouraged Cartier's hopes so much that on Wednesday, August 5th, after taking counsel with his officers and pilots, he decided that it was not safe to attempt more that season. The little squadron, therefore, bore off toward the east and northeast, and made Blanc Sablon on the 9th. Continuing[Pg 241] thence their passage into the Atlantic, they were favored with fair winds, which carried them to the middle of the ocean, between Newfoundland and Bretagne. They then encountered storms and adverse winds, respecting which Cartier piously remarks: "We suffered and endured these with the aid of God, and after that we had good weather and arrived at the harbor of St. Malo, whence we had set out, on September 5, 1534." Thus ended Jacques Cartier's first voyage to Canada. As a French-Canadian historian of Canada has observed, this first expedition was not "sterile in results"; for, in addition to the other notable incidents of the voyage, the two natives whom he carried with him to France are understood to have been the first to inform him of the existence of the great river St. Lawrence, which he was destined to discover the following year.

It is not certainly known how nearly he advanced to the mouth of that river on his passage from Gaspé Bay. But it is believed that he passed round the western point of Anticosti, subsequently named by him Isle de l'Assumption, and that he then turned to the east, leaving behind the entrance into the great river, which he then supposed to be an extensive bay, and, coasting along the shore of Labrador, came to the river Natachquoin, near Mount Joli, whence, as already stated, he passed eastward and northward to Blanc Sablon.

Cartier and his companions were favorably received on their return to France. The expectations of his employers had been to a certain extent realized, while the narrative of the voyage, and the prospects which this afforded of greater results in future, inspired such feelings of hope and confidence that there seems to have been no hesitation in furnishing means for the equipment of another expedition. The Indians who had been brought to France were instructed in the French language, and served also as specimens of the people inhabiting his majesty's western dominions. During the winter the necessary preparations were made.

On the May 19, 1535, Cartier took his departure from St. Malo on his second expedition. It was in every way better equipped than that of the preceding year, and consisted of three ships, manned by one hundred ten sailors. A number of gentlemen volunteers from France accompanied it. Cartier[Pg 242] himself embarked on board the largest vessel, which was named La Grande Hermine, along with his two interpreters. Adverse winds lengthened the voyage, so that seven weeks were occupied in sailing to the Straits of Belle-Isle. Thence the squadron made for the Gulf of St. Lawrence, so named by Cartier in honor of the day upon which he entered it. Emboldened by the information derived from his Indian interpreters, he sailed up the great river, at first named the River of Canada, or of Hochelaga. The mouth of the Saguenay was passed on September 1st, and the island of Orleans reached on the 9th. To this he gave the name "Isle of Bacchus," on account of the abundance of grape-vines upon it.

On the 16th the ships arrived off the headland since known as Cape Diamond. Near to this, a small river, called by Cartier St. Croix, now the St. Charles, was observed flowing into the St. Lawrence, intercepting, at the confluence, a piece of lowland, which was the site of the Indian village Stadacona. Towering above this, on the left bank of the greater river, was Cape Diamond and the contiguous highland, which in after times became the site of the Upper Town of Quebec. A little way within the mouth of the St. Croix, Cartier selected stations suitable for mooring and laying up his vessels; for he seems, on his arrival at Stadacona, to have already decided upon wintering in the country. This design was favored, not only by the advanced period of the season, but also by the fact that the natives appeared to be friendly and in a position to supply his people abundantly with provisions. Many hundreds came off from the shore in bark canoes, bringing fish, maize, and fruit.

Aided by the two interpreters, the French endeavored at once to establish a friendly intercourse. A chief, Donacona, made an oration, and expressed his desire for amicable relations between his own people and their visitors. Cartier, on his part, tried to allay apprehension, and to obtain information respecting the country higher up the great river. Wishing also to impress upon the minds of the savages a conviction of the French power, he caused several pieces of artillery to be discharged in the presence of the chief and a number of his warriors. Fear and astonishment were occasioned by the sight of the fire and[Pg 243] smoke, followed by sounds such as they had never heard before. Presents, consisting of trinkets, small crosses, beads, pieces of glass, and other trifles, were distributed among them.

Cartier allowed himself a rest of only three days at Stadacona, deeming it expedient to proceed at once up the river with an exploring party. For this purpose he manned his smallest ship, the Ermerillon, and two boats, and departed on the 19th of September, leaving the other ships safely moored at the mouth of the St. Charles. He had learned from the Indians that there was another town, called Hochelaga, situated about sixty leagues above. Cartier and his companions, the first European navigators of the St. Lawrence, and the earliest pioneers of civilization and Christianity in those regions, moved very slowly up the river. At the part since called Lake St. Peter the water seemed to become more and more shallow. The Ermerillon, was therefore left as well secured as possible, and the remainder of the passage made in the two boats. Frequent meetings, of a friendly nature, with Indians on the river bank, caused delays, so that they did not arrive at Hochelaga until October 2d.

As described by Cartier himself, this town consisted of about fifty large huts or cabins, which, for purposes of defence, were surrounded by wooden palisades. There were upward of twelve hundred inhabitants,[46] belonging to some Algonquin tribe.

At Hochelaga, as previously at Stadacona, the French were received by the natives in a friendly manner. Supplies of fish and maize were freely offered, and, in return, presents of beads,[Pg 244] knives, small mirrors, and crucifixes were distributed. Entering into communication with them, Cartier sought information respecting the country higher up the river. From their imperfect intelligence it appears he learned the existence of several great lakes, and that beyond the largest and most remote of these there was another great river which flowed southward. They conducted him to the summit of a mountain behind the town, whence he surveyed the prospect of a wilderness stretching to the south and west as far as the eye could reach, and beautifully diversified by elevations of land and by water. Whatever credit Cartier attached to their vague statements about the geography of their country, he was certainly struck by the grandeur of the neighboring scenery as viewed from the eminence on which he stood. To this he gave the name of Mount Royal, whence the name of Montreal was conferred on the city which has grown up on the site of the ancient Indian town Hochelaga.

According to some accounts, Hochelaga was, even in those days, a place of importance, having subject to it eight or ten outlying settlements or villages.

Anxious to return to Stadacona, and probably placing little confidence in the friendly professions of the natives, Cartier remained at Hochelaga only two days, and commenced his passage down the river on October 4th. His wary mistrust of the Indian character was not groundless, for bands of savages followed along the banks and watched all the proceedings of his party. On one occasion he was attacked by them and narrowly escaped massacre.

Arriving at Stadacona on the 11th, measures were taken for maintenance and security during the approaching winter. Abundant provisions had been already stored up by the natives and assigned for the use of the strangers. A fence or palisade was constructed round the ships, and made as strong as possible, and cannon so placed as to be available in case of any attack. Notwithstanding these precautions, it turned out that, in one essential particular, the preparations for winter were defective. Jacques Cartier and his companions being the first of Europeans to experience the rigors of a Canadian winter, the necessity for warm clothing had not been foreseen when the expedition[Pg 245] left France, and now, when winter was upon them, the procuring of a supply was simply impossible. The winter proved long and severe. Masses of ice began to come down the St. Lawrence on November 15th, and, not long afterward, a bridge of ice was formed opposite to Stadacona. Soon the intensity of the cold—such as Cartier's people had never before experienced—and the want of suitable clothing occasioned much suffering. Then, in December, a disease, but little known to Europeans, broke out among the crew. It was the scurvy, named by the French mal-de-terre.

As described by Cartier, it was very painful, loathsome in its symptoms and effects, as well as contagious. The legs and thighs of the patients swelled, the sinews contracted, and the skin became black. In some cases the whole body was covered with purple spots and sore tumors. After a time the upper parts of the body—the back, arms, shoulders, neck, and face—were all painfully affected. The roof of the mouth, gums, and teeth fell out. Altogether, the sufferers presented a deplorable spectacle.

Many died between December and April, during which period the greatest care was taken to conceal their true condition from the natives. Had this not been done, it is to be feared that Donacona's people would have forced an entrance and put all to death for the purpose of obtaining the property of the French. In fact, the two interpreters were, on the whole, unfaithful, living entirely at Stadacona; while Donacona, and the Indians generally, showed, in many ways, that, under a friendly exterior, unfavorable feelings reigned in their hearts.

But the attempts to hide their condition from the natives might have been fatal, for the Indians, who also suffered from scurvy, were acquainted with means of curing the disease. It was only by accident that Cartier found out what those means were. He had forbidden the savages to come on board the ships, and when any of them came near the only men allowed to be seen by them were those who were in health. One day, Domagaya was observed approaching. This man, the younger of the two interpreters, was known to have been sick of the scurvy at Stadacona, so that Cartier was much surprised to see him out and well. He contrived to make him relate the[Pg 246] particulars of his recovery, and thus found out that a decoction of the bark and foliage of the white spruce-tree furnished the savages with a remedy. Having recourse to this enabled the French captain to arrest the progress of the disease among his own people, and, in a short time, to bring about their restoration to health.

The meeting with Domagaya occurred at a time when the French were in a very sad state—reduced to the brink of despair. Twenty-five of the number had died, while forty more were in expectation of soon following their deceased comrades. Of the remaining forty-five, including Cartier and all the surviving officers, only three or four were really free from disease. The dead could not be buried, nor was it possible for the sick to be properly cared for.

In this extremity, the stout-hearted French captain could think of no other remedy than a recourse to prayers and the setting up of an image of the Virgin Mary in sight of the sufferers. "But," he piously exclaimed, "God, in his holy grace, looked down in pity upon us, and sent to us a knowledge of the means of cure." He had great apprehensions of an attack from the savages, for he says in his narrative: "We were in a marvellous state of terror lest the people of the country should ascertain our pitiable condition and our weakness," and then goes on to relate artifices by which he contrived to deceive them.

One of the ships had to be abandoned in course of the winter, her crew and contents being removed into the other two vessels. The deserted hull was visited by the savages in search of pieces of iron and other things. Had they known the cause for abandoning her, and the desperate condition of the French, they would have soon forced their way into the other ships. They were, in fact, too numerous to be resisted if they had made the attempt.

At length the protracted winter came to an end. As soon as the ships were clear of ice, Cartier made preparations for returning at once to France.

On May 3, 1536, a wooden cross, thirty-five feet high, was raised upon the river bank. Donacona was invited to approach, along with his people. When he did so, Cartier[Pg 247] caused him, together with the two interpreters and seven warriors, to be seized and taken on board his ship. His object was to convey them to France and present them to the King. On the 6th, the two vessels departed. Upward of six weeks were spent in descending the St. Lawrence and traversing the gulf. Instead of passing through the Straits of Belle-Isle, Cartier this time made for the south coast of Newfoundland, along which he sailed out into the Atlantic Ocean. On Sunday, July 17, 1536, he arrived at St. Malo.

By the results of this second voyage, Jacques Cartier established for himself a reputation and a name in history which will never cease to be remembered with respect. He had discovered one of the largest rivers in the world, had explored its banks, and navigated its difficult channel more than eight hundred miles, with a degree of skill and courage which has never been surpassed; for it was a great matter in those days to penetrate so far into unknown regions, to encounter the hazards of an unknown navigation, and to risk his own safety and that of his followers among an unknown people. Moreover, his accounts of the incidents of his sojourn of eight months, and of the features of the country, as well as his estimate of the two principal sites upon which, in after times, the two cities, Quebec and Montreal, have grown up, illustrate both his fidelity and his sagacity. His dealings with the natives appear to have been such as to prove his tact, prudence, and sense of justice, notwithstanding the objectionable procedure of capturing and carrying off Donacona with other chiefs and warriors. This latter measure, however indefensible in itself, was consistent with the almost universal practice of navigators of that period and long afterward. Doubtless Cartier's expectation was that their abduction could not but result in their own benefit by leading to their instruction in civilization and Christianity, and that it might be afterward instrumental in producing the rapid conversion of large numbers of their people. However this may be, considering the inherent viciousness of the Indian character, Cartier's intercourse with the Indians was conducted with dignity and benevolence, and was marked by the total absence of bloodshed—which is more than can be urged in behalf of other eminent discoverers and navigators of[Pg 248] those days or during the ensuing two centuries. Cartier was undoubtedly one of the greatest sea-captains of his own or any other country, and one who provided carefully for the safety and welfare of his followers, and, so far as we know, enjoyed their respect and confidence; nor were his plans hindered or his proceedings embarrassed by disobedience on their part or the display of mutinous conduct calculated to mar the success of a maritime expedition. In fine, Jacques Cartier was a noble specimen of a mariner, in an age when a maritime spirit prevailed.

A severe disappointment awaited Cartier on his return home from his second voyage. France was now engaged in a foreign war; and at the same time the minds of the people were distracted by religious dissensions. In consequence of these untoward circumstances, both the court and the people had ceased to give heed to the objects which he had been so faithfully engaged in prosecuting in the western hemisphere. Neither he nor his friends could obtain even a hearing in behalf of the fitting out of another expedition, for the attention of the King and his advisers was now absorbed by weightier cares at home. Nevertheless, from time to time, as occasion offered, several unsuccessful attempts were made to introduce the project of establishing a French colony on the banks of the St. Lawrence. Meanwhile, Donacona, and the other Indian warriors who had been brought captives to France, pined away and died.

At length, after an interval of about four years, proposals for another voyage westward, and for colonizing the country, came to be so far entertained that plans of an expedition were permitted to be discussed. But now, instead of receiving the unanimous support which had been accorded to previous undertakings, the project was opposed by a powerful party at court, consisting of persons who tried to dissuade the King from granting his assent. These alleged that enough had already been done for the honor of their country; that it was not expedient to take in hand the subjugation and settlement of those far-distant regions, tenanted only by savages and wild animals; that the intensely severe climate and hardships such as had proved fatal to one-fourth of Cartier's people in 1535,[Pg 249] were certain evils, which there was no prospect of advantage to outweigh; that the newly discovered country had not been shown to possess mines of gold and silver; and, finally, that such extensive territories could not be effectively settled without transporting thither a considerable part of the population of the kingdom of France.

Notwithstanding the apparent force of these objections, the French King did eventually sanction the project of another transatlantic enterprise on a larger scale than heretofore.

A sum of money was granted by the King toward the purchase and equipment of ships, to be placed under the command of Jacques Cartier, having the commission of captain-general.[47] Apart from the navigation of the fleet, the chief command in the undertaking was assigned to M. de Roberval, who, in a commission dated January 15, 1540, was named viceroy and lieutenant-general over Newfoundland, Labrador, and Canada. Roberval was empowered to engage volunteers and emigrants, and to supply the lack of these by means of prisoners to be taken from the jails and hulks. Thus, in about five years from the discovery of the river St. Lawrence, and, six years after, of Canada, measures were taken for founding a colony. But from the very commencement of the undertaking, which, it will be seen, proved an entire failure, difficulties presented themselves. Roberval was unable to provide all the requisite supplies of small arms, ammunition, and other stores, as he had engaged to do, during the winter of 1540. It also was found difficult to induce volunteers and emigrants to embark. It was, therefore, settled that Roberval should remain behind to complete his preparations, while Cartier, with five vessels, provisioned for two years, should set sail at once for the St. Lawrence.

On May 23, 1541, Cartier departed from St. Malo on his third voyage to Canada. After a protracted passage of twelve weeks, the fleet arrived at Stadacona. Cartier and some of[Pg 250] his people landed and entered into communication with the natives, who flocked round him as they had done in 1535. They desired to know what had become of their chief, Donacona, and the warriors who had been carried off to France five years before. On being made aware that all had died, they became distant and sullen in their behavior. They held out no inducements to the French to reëstablish their quarters at Stadacona. Perceiving this, as well as signs of dissimulation, Cartier determined to take such steps as might secure himself and followers from suffering through their resentment. Two of his ships he sent back at once to France, with letters for the King and for Roberval, reporting his movements, and soliciting such supplies as were needed. With the remaining ships he ascended the St. Lawrence as far as Cap-Rouge, where a station was chosen close to the mouth of a stream which flowed into the great river. Here it was determined to moor the ships and to erect such storehouses and other works as might be necessary for security and convenience. It was also decided to raise a small fort or forts on the highland above, so as to command the station and protect themselves from any attack which the Indians might be disposed to make. While some of the people were employed upon the building of the fort, others were set at work preparing ground for cultivation. Cartier himself, in his report, bore ample testimony to the excellent qualities of the soil, as well as the general fitness of the country for settlement.[48]

Having made all the dispositions necessary for the security of the station at Cap-Rouge, and for continuing, during his[Pg 251] absence, the works already commenced, Cartier departed for Hochelaga on September 7th, with a party of men, in two barges. On the passage up he found the Indians whom he had met in 1535 as friendly as before. The natives of Hochelaga seemed also well disposed, and rendered all the assistance he sought in enabling him to attempt the passage up the rapids situated above that town. Failing to accomplish this, he remained but a short time among them, gathering all the information they could furnish about the regions bordering on the Upper St. Lawrence. He then hastened back to Cap-Rouge. On his way down he found the Indians, who a short time before were so friendly, changed and cold in their demeanor, if not actually hostile. Arrived at Cap-Rouge, the first thing he learned was that the Indians had ceased to visit the station as at first, and, instead of coming daily with supplies of fish and fruit, that they only approached near enough to manifest, by their demeanor and gestures, feelings decidedly hostile toward the French. In fact, during Cartier's absence, former causes of enmity had been heightened by a quarrel, in which, although some of his own people had, in the first instance, been the aggressors, a powerful savage had killed a Frenchman, and threatened to deal with another in like manner.

Winter came, but not Roberval with the expected supplies of warlike stores and men, now so much needed, in order to curb the insolence of the natives. Of the incidents of that winter passed at Cap-Rouge, there is but little reliable information extant. It is understood, however, that the Indians continued to harass and molest the French throughout the period of their stay, and that Cartier, with his inadequate force, found it difficult to repel their attacks. When spring came round, the inconveniences to which they had been exposed, and the discouraging character of their prospects, led to a unanimous determination to abandon the station and return to France as soon as possible.[49]

[Pg 252]At the very time that Cartier, in Canada, was occupied in preparations for the reëmbarkation of the people who had wintered at Cap-Rouge, Roberval, in France, was completing his arrangements for departure from Rochelle with three considerable ships. In these were embarked two hundred persons, consisting of gentlemen, soldiers, sailors, and colonists, male and female, among whom was a considerable number of criminals taken out of the public prisons. The two squadrons met in the harbor of St. John's, Newfoundland, when Cartier, after making his report to Roberval, was desired to return with the outward-bound expedition to Canada. Foreseeing the failure of the undertaking, or, as some have alleged, unwilling to allow another to participate in the credit of his discoveries, Cartier disobeyed the orders of his superior officer. Various accounts have been given of this transaction, according to some of which, Cartier, to avoid detention or importunity, weighed anchor in the night-time and set sail for France.

Roberval resumed his voyage westward, and by the close of July had ascended the St. Lawrence to Cap-Rouge, where he at once established his colonists in the quarters recently vacated by Cartier.

It is unnecessary to narrate in detail the incidents which transpired in connection with Roberval's expedition, as this proved a signal failure, and produced no results of consequence to the future fortunes of the country. It is sufficient to state that, although Roberval himself was a man endowed with courage and perseverance, he found himself powerless to cope with the difficulties of his position, which included insubordination that could be repressed only by means of the gallows and other extreme modes of punishment; disease, which carried off a quarter of his followers in the course of the ensuing winter; unsuccessful attempts at exploration, attended with considerable loss of life; and finally famine, which reduced the surviving[Pg 253] French to a state of abject dependence upon the natives for the salvation of their lives. Roberval had sent one of his vessels back to France, with urgent demands for succor; but the King, instead of acceding to his petition, despatched orders for him to return home. It is stated, on somewhat doubtful authority, that Cartier himself was deputed to bring home the relics of the expedition; and, if so, this distinguished navigator must have made a fourth voyage out to the regions which he had been the first to make known to the world. Thus ended Roberval's abortive attempt to establish a French colony on the banks of the St. Lawrence.

Of the principal actors in the scenes which have been described, but little remains to be recorded. Roberval, after having distinguished himself in the European wars carried on by Francis I, is stated to have fitted out another expedition, in conjunction with his brother, in the year 1549, for the purpose of making a second attempt to found a colony in Canada; but he and all with him perished at sea. The intrepid Cartier, by whose services in the western hemisphere so extensive an addition had been made to the dominions of the King of France, was suffered to retire into obscurity, and is supposed to have passed the remainder of his days on a small estate possessed by him in the neighborhood of his native place, St. Malo. The date of his decease is unknown.[50]


[44] The courts of Spain and Portugal had protested against any fresh expedition from France to the west, alleging that, by right of prior discovery, as well as the Pope's grant of all the western regions to themselves, the French could not go there without invading their privileges. Francis, on the other hand, treated these pretensions with derision, observing sarcastically that he would "like to see the clause in old Father Adam's will by which an inheritance so vast was bequeathed to his brothers of Spain and Portugal."

[45] The dates in this and subsequent pages are in accordance with the "old style" of reckoning.

[46] It has not been satisfactorily settled to what tribe the Indians belonged who were found by Cartier at Hochelaga. Some have even doubted the accuracy of his description in relation to their numbers, the character of their habitations, and other circumstances, under the belief that allowance must be made for exaggeration in the accounts of the first European visitors, who were desirous that their adventures should rival those of Cortés and Pizarro. It has also been suggested that the people were not Hurons, but remnants of the Iroquois tribes, who might have lingered there on their way southward. At any rate, when the place was revisited by Frenchmen more than half a century afterward, very few savages were seen in the neighborhood, and these different from those met by Cartier, while the town itself was no longer in existence. Champlain, upward of seventy years after Jacques Cartier, visited Hochelaga, but made no mention in his narrative either of the town or of inhabitants.

[47] Commission dated October 20, 1540. In this document the French King's appreciation of Cartier's merits is strongly shown in the terms employed to express his royal confidence "in the character, judgment, ability, loyalty, dignity, hardihood, great diligence, and experience of the said Jacques Cartier." Cartier was also authorized to select fifty prisoners "whom he might judge useful," etc.

[48] His description is substantially as follows: "On both sides of the river were very good lands filled with as beautiful and vigorous trees as are to be seen in the world, and of various sorts. A great many oaks, the finest I have ever seen in my life, and so full of acorns that they seemed like to break down with their weight. Besides these there were the most beautiful maples, cedars, birches, and other kinds of trees not to be seen in France. The forest land toward the south is covered with vines, which are found loaded with grapes as black as brambleberries. There were also many hawthorn-trees, with leaves as large as those of the oak, and fruit like that of the medlar-tree. In short, the country is as fit for cultivation as one could find or desire. We sowed seeds of cabbage, lettuce, turnips, and others of our country, which came up in eight days."

[49] Early in the spring of 1542 Cartier seems to have made several small excursions in search of gold and silver. That these existed in the country, especially in the region of the Saguenay, was intimated to him by the Indians; and this information probably led Roberval afterward to undertake his unfortunate excursion to Tadousac. Cartier did find a yellowish material, which he styled "poudre d'or," and which he took to France, after exhibiting it to Roberval when he met him at Newfoundland. It is likely that this was merely fine sand intermixed with particles of mica. He also took with him small transparent stones, which he supposed to be diamonds, but which could have been no other than transparent crystals of quartz.

[50] Cartier was born December 31, 1494. He was therefore in the prime of life when he discovered Canada, and not more than forty-nine years of age at the time when he returned home from his last trip to the west.

[Pg 254]


A.D. 1535


By the discovery in 1515 of the Rio de la Plata ("River of Silver"), the Spaniards opened for themselves a way to colonization in South America. The first explorer, Juan Diaz de Solis, was killed by the Indians on landing from the river. But in 1519 Magellan, while on his great voyage of circumnavigation, visited the Plata, and in 1526 Sebastian Cabot, in the service of Charles I of Spain (the emperor Charles V), ascended the river to the junction of the Paraguay and the Parana, both of which he then explored for a long distance.

Among the natives, whose silver ornaments, it is said, gave origin to the name La Plata, as well as to that of Argentina, Cabot passed two years in friendly intercourse. He then sent to Spain an account of Paraguay, and a request for authority and reënforcements to take possession of the country with its rich resources. Although his request was favorably received, no efficient action was taken upon it, and, after waiting for five years, Cabot, despairing of the necessary assistance, left the region.

It was not long, however, before a somewhat extensive settlement in those parts was projected. Don Pedro Mendoza, a knight of Guadix, Granada, one of the royal household, undertook the colonization of the country, and September 1, 1534, he sailed from San Lucar.

Mendoza had enriched himself at the sackage of Rome by the Constable de Bourbon in 1527. Ill-gotten wealth has been so often ill-expended as to have occasioned proverbs in all languages; the plunder of Rome did not satisfy him, and, dreaming of other Mexicos and Cuzcos, he obtained a grant of all the country from the river Plata to the straits, to be his government, with permission to proceed across the continent to the South Sea.

He undertook to carry out in two voyages, and within two years, a thousand men, a hundred horses, and stores for one year at his own expense, the King[51] granting him the title of adelantado, and a salary of two thousand ducats for life, with two thousand[Pg 255] more from the fruits of the conquest in aid of his expenses. He was to build three fortresses, and be perpetual alcaid of the first; his heirs after him were to be first alguazils of the place where he fixed his residence, and after he had remained three years he might transfer the task of completing the colonization and conquest either to his heir or any other person whom it might please him to appoint—and with it the privileges annexed—if within two years the King approved the choice.

A king's ransom was now understood to belong to the crown; but as a further inducement this prerogative was waived in favor of Mendoza and his soldiers, who were to share it, first having deduced the royal fifth, and then a sixth. If, however, the King in question were slain in battle, half the spoils should go to the crown. These terms were made in wishful remembrance of the ransom of Atabalipa.

He was to take with him a physician, an apothecary, and a surgeon, and especially eight "religioners." Life is lightly hazarded by those who have nothing more to stake, but that a man should, like Mendoza, stake such riches as would content the most desperate life-gambler for his winnings is one of the many indications how generally and how strongly the contagious spirit of adventure was at that time prevailing.

Mendoza had covenanted to carry five hundred men in his first voyage. Such was his reputation, and such the ardor for going to the Silver River, that more adventurers offered than it was possible for him to take, and he accelerated his departure on account of the enormous expense which such a host occasioned. The force with which he set forth consisted of eleven ships and eight hundred men. So fine an armament had never yet sailed from Europe for America: but they who beheld its departure are said to have remarked that the service of the dead ought to be performed for the adventurers. They reached Rio de Janeiro after a prosperous voyage, and remained there a fortnight, during which time the Adelantado, being crippled by a contraction of the sinews, appointed Juan Osorio to command in his stead. Having made this arrangement they proceeded to their place of destination, anchored at Isle St. Gabriel within the Plata, and then on its southern shore and beside a little river. There Don Pedro de Mendoza laid the foundation of a town[Pg 256] which because of its healthy climate he named "Nuestra Señora de Buenos Aires" ("Our Lady of Good Air"). It was not long before he was made jealous of Osorio by certain envious officers, and, weakly lending ear to wicked accusations, he ordered them to fall upon him and kill him, then drag his body into the plaza, or public market-place, and proclaim him a traitor. The murder was perpetrated, and thus was the expedition deprived of one who is described as an honest and generous good soldier.

Experience had not yet taught the Spaniards that any large body of settlers in a land of savages must starve unless well supplied with food from other sources until they can raise it for themselves. The Quirandies, who possessed the country round about this new settlement, were a wandering tribe who, in places where there was no water, quenched their thirst by eating a root which they called cardes, or by sucking the blood of the animals which they slew.

About three thousand of these savages had pitched their movable dwellings some four leagues from the spot which Mendoza had chosen for the site of his city. They were well pleased with their visitors, and during fourteen days brought fish and meat to the camp; on the fifteenth day they failed, and Mendoza sent a few Spaniards to them to look for provisions, who came back empty-handed and wounded. Upon this, he ordered his brother Don Diego, with three hundred soldiers and thirty horsemen, to storm their town, and kill or take prisoner the whole horde. The Quirandies had sent away their women and children, collected a body of allies, and were ready for the attack. Their weapons were bows and arrows and tardes—stone-headed tridents about half the length of a lance. Against the horsemen they used a long thong, having a ball of stone at either end. With this they were wont to catch their game; throwing it with practised aim at the legs of the animal it coiled round and brought it to the ground. In all former wars with the Indians the horsemen had been the main strength and often the salvation of the Spaniards. This excellent mode of attack made them altogether useless; they could not defend themselves. The commander and six hidalgos were thrown and killed, and the whole body of horse must have been cut off if the rest had not fled in[Pg 257] time and been protected by the infantry. About twenty foot-soldiers were slain with tardes. But it was not possible that these people, brave as they were, could stand against European weapons and such soldiers as the Spaniards: they gave way at last, leaving many of their brethren dead, but not a single prisoner. The conquerors found in their town plenty of flour, fish, what is called "fish-butter"—which probably means inspissated oil—otter-skins, and fishing-nets. They left a hundred men to fish with these nets, and the others returned to the camp.

Mendoza was a wretched leader for such an expedition. He seems, improvidently, to have trusted to the natives for provision and to have quarrelled with them unnecessarily. Very soon after his arrival six ounces of bread had been the daily allowance; it was now reduced to three ounces of flour, and, every third day, a fish. They marked out the city and began a mud wall for its defence, the height of a lance and three feet thick. It was badly constructed: what was built up one day, fell down the next; the soldiers had not as yet learned this part of their duties.

A strong house was built within the circuit for the Adelantado; meantime their strength began to fail for want of food. Rats, snakes, and vermin of every eatable size were soon exterminated from the environs. Three men stole a horse and ate it; they were tortured to make them confess the fact and then hanged for it; their bodies were left upon the gallows, and in the night all the flesh below the waist was cut away. One man ate the corpse of his brother; some murdered their messmates for the sake of receiving their rations as long as they could conceal their death by saying they were ill. The mortality was very great. Mendoza, seeing that all must perish if they remained here, sent George Luchsan, one of his German or Flemish adventurers, up the river, with four brigantines, to seek for food. Wherever they came the natives fled before them and burned what they could not carry away. Half the men were famished to death, and all must have perished if they had not fallen in with a tribe who gave them barely enough maize to support them during their return.

The Quirandies had not been dismayed by one defeat: they prevailed upon the Bartenes, the Zechuruas, and the Timbues to[Pg 258] join them, and with a force which the besieged in their fear estimated at three-and-twenty thousand—though it did not probably amount to a third of that number—suddenly attacked the new city. The weapons which they used were not less ingeniously adapted to their present purpose than those which had proved so effectual against the horse. They are said to have had arrows which took fire at the point as soon as they were discharged, which were not extinguished until they had burned out, and which kindled whatever they touched. With these devilish instruments they set fire to the thatched huts of the settlers and consumed them all. The stone house of the Adelantado was the only dwelling which escaped destruction. At the same time, and with the same weapons, they attacked the ships and burned four; the other three got to a safe distance in time and at length drove them off with their artillery. About thirty Spaniards were slain.

The Adelantado now left a part of his diminished force in the ships to repair the settlement, giving them stores enough to keep them from starving for a year, which they were to eke out as best they could; he himself advancing up the river with the rest in the brigantines and smaller vessels. But he deputed his authority to Juan de Ayolas, being utterly unequal to the fatigue of command—in fact he was, at this time, dying of the most loathsome and dreadful malady that human vices have ever yet brought upon human nature.

About eighty-four leagues up the river they came to an island inhabited by the Timbues, who received them well. Mendoza presented their chief, Zchera Wasu, with a shirt, a red cap, an axe, and a few other trifles, in return for which he received fish and game enough to save the lives of his people. This tribe trusted wholly to fishing and to the chase for food. They used long canoes. The men were naked, and ornamented both nostrils with stones. The women wore a cotton cloth from the waist to the knee, and cut beauty-slashes in their faces. Here the Spaniards took up their abode, and named the place "Buena Esperanza," signifying "Good Hope." One Gonzalo Romero, who had been one of Cabot's people and had been living among the savages, joined them here. He told them there were large and rich settlements up the country, and it was thought advisable[Pg 259] that Ayolas should proceed with the brigantines in search of them.

Meantime Mendoza, who was now become completely crippled, returned to Buenos Aires, where he found a great part of his people dead, and the survivors struggling with famine and every species of wretchedness. They were relieved by the arrival of Gonzalo Mendoza, who, at the beginning of their distresses, had been despatched to the coast of Brazil in quest of supplies. Part of Cabot's people, after the destruction of his settlement, had sailed for Brazil and established themselves in a bay called Ygua, four-and-twenty leagues from St. Vicente. There they began to form plantations, and continued two years on friendly terms with the adjoining natives and with the Portuguese. Disputes then arose, and, according to the Castilian account (for no other remains), the Portuguese resolved to fall upon them and drive them out of the country; of this they obtained intelligence, surprised the intended invaders, plundered the town of St. Vicente, and, being joined by some discontented Portuguese from that infant colony, sailed in two ships for the island of St. Catalina. There these adventurers began a new settlement, but such was their restless spirit that, when Gonzalo Mendoza arrived there, they were easily persuaded to abandon the houses which they had just constructed, and the fields which were now beginning to afford them comfortable subsistence; and the whole colony, with their two ships, joined him and made for the Plata, to partake in the conquest and spoils of the Silver River.

They brought a considerable supply of stores, and were themselves well armed and well supplied with ammunition. Some Brazilian Indians with their families accompanied them, and they themselves, being accustomed to the language and manners of the natives, were of the most essential service to the adventurers with whom they joined company. At sight of this seasonable relief Mendoza returned thanks to God, shedding tears of joy. He waited awhile in hopes of hearing good tidings from Ayolas, and at length sent Juan de Salazar with a second detachment in quest of him. His health grew daily worse and his hopes fainter; he had lost his brother in this expedition, and expended above forty thousand ducats of his substance; nor did there appear much probability of any eventual success to reimburse[Pg 260] him, so he determined to sail for Spain, leaving Francisco Ruyz to command at Buenos Aires, and appointing Ayolas governor if he should return; and Salazar, in case of his death. His instructions were that, as soon as either of them should return, he was to examine what provisions were left, and allow no rations to any persons who could support themselves, nor to any women who were not employed in either washing or in some other such necessary service; that he should sink the ships, or dispose of them in some other manner, and, if he thought fit, proceed across the continent to Peru, where, if he met with Pizarro and Almagro, he was to procure their friendship in the Adelantado's name; and if Almagro should be disposed to give him one hundred fifty thousand ducats for a resignation of his government—as he had given to Pedro de Alvarado—he was to accept it—or even one hundred thousand—unless it should appear more profitable not to close with such an offer. How strong must his hope of plunder have been after four years of continued disappointment and misery!

Moreover, he charged his successor, if it should please God to give him any jewel or precious stone, not to omit sending it him, as some help in his trouble, and he instructed him to form a settlement on the way to Peru, either upon the Paraguay or elsewhere, from whence tidings of his proceedings might be transmitted. Having left these directions Mendoza embarked, still dreaming of gold and jewels. On the voyage they were so distressed for provisions that he was obliged to kill a favorite bitch which had accompanied him through all his troubles. While he was eating this wretched meal his senses failed him—he began to rave, and died in the course of two days.


[51] Charles I of Spain, who was also the emperor Charles V.

[Pg 261]


A.D. 1540


Toward the middle of the sixteenth century definite utterance began to be given to a widespread feeling in the Church that the old monastic orders were no longer fulfilling their purpose. Suggestions of new orders were entertained by the church authorities, and plans for their formation—not to supersede but to supplement the old—began to assume shape.

Meanwhile an enthusiastic Spanish soldier, who had renounced the profession of arms, independently gathered about himself the nucleus of what was to be one of the most famous orders in the history of the Church. This organization, called the Company (or Society) of Jesus, but better known to many as the Order of Jesuits, owes its foundation primarily to Ignatius de Loyola (Inigo Lopez de Recalde), who was born at the castle of Loyola, Guipuzcoa, Spain, in 1491. After being educated as a page at the court of Ferdinand, he joined the army, and during his recovery from a wound received at Pamplona in 1521, he became imbued with spiritual ardor and dedicated himself to the service of the Virgin. Henceforth the "fiery Ignatius" devoted himself to the pursuit and, as he believed, the purification of religion.

In 1528 he entered the University of Paris, and there, with a few associates, in 1534 he projected the new religious order, which in 1540 was confirmed by the Pope. The Constitution of the Order and Spiritual Exercises were written by him in Spanish. The object of these comrades was to battle for the Church in that time of religious warfare, to stop the spread of heresy, and especially to stay the progress of Protestantism and win back those who had abandoned the old faith. Exempting themselves from the routine of monastic duties, the members of the new order were to have freedom for preaching, hearing confessions, and educating the young.

After considering and abandoning various plans for work abroad, the band of fathers at last decided to devote themselves to serving the Church within its own domains, and the first step was a visit of some members of the fraternity to Rome for the purpose of obtaining papal confirmation.

Loyola himself, with his chosen colleagues, Faber and Lainez, undertook the mission to Rome, while the eight others were to disperse themselves throughout Northern Italy, and especially to gain a footing, if they could, and to acquire influence[Pg 262] at those seats of learning where the youth of Italy were to be met with; such as Padua, Ferrara, Bologna, Siena, and Vicenza. Surprising effects resulted, it is said, from these labors; but we turn toward the three fathers, Ignatius, Lainez, and Faber, who were now making their way on foot to Rome.

If Loyola's course of secular study, and if his various engagements as evangelist and as chief of a society, had at all chilled his devotional ardor, or had drawn his thoughts away from the unseen world, this fervor and this upward direction of the mind now returned to him in full force: we are assured that, on this pilgrimage, and "through favor of the Virgin," his days and nights were passed in a sort of continuous ecstasy. As they drew toward the city, and while upon the Siena road, he turned aside to a chapel, then in a ruinous condition, and which he entered alone. Here ecstasy became more ecstatic still; and, in a trance, he believed himself very distinctly to see Him whom, as holy Scripture affirms, "no man hath seen at any time." By the side of this vision of the invisible appeared Jesus, bearing a huge cross. The Father presents Ignatius to the Son, who utters the words, so full of meaning, "I will be favorable to you at Rome."

It is no agreeable task thus to compromise the awful realities of religion, and thus to perplex the distinctions which a religious mind wishes to observe between truth and illusion; yet it seems inevitable to narrate that which comes before us, as an integral and important portion of the history we have to do with. And yet incidents such as these, while they will be very far from availing to bring us over as converts to the system which they are supposed supernaturally to authenticate, need not generate any extreme revulsion of feeling in an opposite direction. Good men, ill-trained, or trained under a system which to so great an extent is factitious, demand from us often, we do not say that which an enlightened Christian charity does not include, but a something which is logically distinguishable from it; we mean a philosophic habit of mind, accustomed to deal with human nature, and with its wonderful inconsistencies, on the broadest principles.

Some diversities of language present themselves in the narratives that have come down to us of this vision. In that which,[Pg 263] perhaps, is worthy of the most regard, the phraseology is such as to suggest the belief that its exact meaning should not easily be gathered from the words. Loyola had asked of the blessed Virgin, "ut eum cum filio suo poneret"; and during this trance this request, whatever it might mean, was manifestly granted.

From this vision, and from the memorable words "Ego vobis Romæ propitius ero," the society may be said to have taken its formal commencement, and to have drawn its appellation. Henceforward it was the "Society of Jesus," for its founder, introduced to the Son of God by the eternal Father, had been orally assured of the divine favor—favor consequent upon his present visit to Rome. Here, then, we have exposed to our view the inner economy or divine machinery of the Jesuit Institute. The Mother of God is the primary mediatrix; the Father, at her intercession, obtains for the founder an auspicious audience of the Son; and the Son authenticates the use to be made of his name in this instance; and so it is that the inchoate order is to be the "Society of Jesus."

An inquiry, to which in fact no certain reply could be given, obtrudes itself upon the mind on an occasion like this; namely, how far the infidelity and atheism which pervaded Europe in the next and the following century sprung directly out of profanation such as this? Merely to narrate them, and to do so in the briefest manner, does violence to every genuine sentiment of piety. What must have been the effect produced upon frivolous and sceptical tempers when with sedulous art such things were put forward as solemn verities not to be distinguished from the primary truths of religion, and entitled to the same reverential regard in our minds!

Loyola, although thus warranted, as he thought, in assuming for his order so peculiar and exclusive a designation, used a discreet reserve at the first in bringing it forward, lest he should wound the self-love of rival bodies, or seem to be challenging for his company a superiority over other religious orders. So much caution as this his experience would naturally suggest to him; and that he felt the need of it is indicated by what he is reported to have said as he entered Rome. Although the words so recently pronounced still sounded in his ear, "Ego vobis Romæ propitius ero," yet as he set foot within the city he turned to his companions[Pg 264] and said, with a solemn significance of tone, "I see the windows shut!"—meaning that they should there meet much opposition, and find occasion for the exercise of prudence and of patient endurance of sufferings; of prudence, not less than of patience.

But while care was to be taken not to draw toward themselves the envious or suspicious regards of the religious orders or of ecclesiastical potentates, there was even a more urgent need of discretion in avoiding those occasions of scandal which might spring from their undertaking the cure of the souls of the other sex. Into what jeopardy of their saintly reputation had certain eminent men fallen in this very manner; and how narrowly had they escaped the heaviest imputations! The fathers were not to take upon themselves the office of confessors to women—"nisi essent admodum illustres." That the risk must necessarily be less, or that there would be none in the instance of ladies of high rank, is not conspicuously certain; but if not, what were those special motives which should warrant the fathers in incurring this peril in such cases? Mere Christian charity would undoubtedly impel a man to meet danger for the welfare of the soul of a poor sempstress as readily as for that of a duchess or the mistress of a monarch. If, therefore, the peril is to be braved in the one case which ought to be evaded in the other, there must be present some motive of which Christian charity knows nothing. So acutely alive was Loyola to the evils that might spring to his order from this source that we find him at a later period not merely rejecting ladies, "admodum illustres," but bearding the Pope and the cardinals, and glaringly contravening his own vow of unconditional obedience to the Vicar of Christ, rather than give way to the solicitations of fair and noble penitents.

Soon after the arrival of the three—i.e., Loyola, Faber, and Lainez—at Rome, in the year 1537, they obtained an audience of the Pope, who welcomed their return, and gave anew his sanction to their endeavors. Faber and Lainez received appointments as theological professors in the gymnasium; while Loyola addressed himself wholly to the care of souls and to the reform of abuses. To several persons of distinction and to some dignitaries of the Church he administered the discipline of the Spiritual Exercises, they, for this purpose, withdrawing to solitudes[Pg 265] in the neighborhood of Rome, where they were daily conversed with and instructed by himself. At the same time he labored in hospitals, schools, and private houses to induce repentance and to cherish the languishing piety of those who would listen to him. Among such, who fully surrendered their souls to his guidance, were the Spanish procurator Peter Ortiz and Cardinal Gaspar Contarini, both of whom were led by him into a course of fervent devotion in which they persisted, and they, moreover, continued to use their powerful influence in favor of the infant society.

The pulpits of many of the churches in the several cities where the fathers had stationed themselves, and some in Rome, had been opened to their use, and the energy and the freshness of their eloquence affected the popular mind in an extraordinary manner; sometimes, indeed, they brought upon themselves violent opposition, but in more frequent instances, their zeal and patient assiduity triumphing over prejudice, jealousy, ecclesiastical inertness, and voluptuousness, the tide of feeling set in with this new impulse, and a commencement was effectively made of that Catholic revival which spread itself throughout Southern Europe, turned back the Reformation wave, saved the papacy, and secured for Christendom the still needed antagonist influence of the Romish and of the reformed systems of doctrine, worship, and polity.

At Rome, Loyola, by his personal exertions, effected great reforms in liturgical services—induced a more frequent and devout attention to the sacraments of confession and the eucharist; established and promoted the catechetical instruction of youth; and, in a word, restored to Romanism much of its vitality.

The author and mover of so much healthful change did not escape the persecutions that are the lot of reformers. Such trials Loyola encountered, and passed through triumphantly—so we are assured; but in listening to the Jesuit writers, when telling their own story, where the credit of the order and the reputation of its founder are deeply implicated, it is with reservation that we follow them.

So fearful a storm—yet a storm long before descried, it is said, by Loyola—fell suddenly upon him and his colleagues that it seemed as if the infant society could by no means resist the impetuous[Pg 266] torrent that assailed it. The populace, as well as persons in authority, suddenly gave heed to rumors most startling which came in at once from Spain, from France, and from the North of Italy, and the purport of which was to throw upon the fathers the most grievous imputations affecting their personal character as well as their doctrine. These men were reported to be heretics, Lutherans in disguise, seducers of youth, and men of flagitious life.

The author or secret mover of this assault is said to have been a Piedmontese monk of the Augustinian order, himself a secret favorer of the Lutheran heresy and "a tool of Satan," and who at last, throwing off the mask, avowed himself a Lutheran. This man, for the purpose of diverting from himself the suspicions of which his mode of preaching had made him the object at Rome, raised this outcry against Loyola and his companions, affirming of them slanderously and falsely what was quite true as to himself.

The Pope and the court having been absent for some time from Rome, this disguised heresiarch had seized the opportunity for gaining the ear of the populace by inveighing against the vices of ecclesiastics, and insinuating opinions to which he gave a color of truth by citations from Scripture and the early fathers. Two of Loyola's colleagues, Salmeron and Lainez, who in their passage through Germany had become skilled in detecting Lutheran pravity, were deputed to listen to this noisy preacher; they did so, and reported that the audacious man was, under some disguise of terms, broaching rank Lutheranism in the very heart of Rome. Loyola, however, determined to treat the heresiarch courteously, and therefore sent him privately an admonition to abstain from a course which occasioned so much scandal, and which could not but afflict Catholic ears. The preacher took fire at this remonstrance, and openly attacked those who had dared thus to rebuke him.

Thus attacked, Loyola and his colleagues, on their side, loudly maintained the great points of Catholic doctrine impugned by this preacher, such as the merit and necessity of good works, the validity of religious vows, and the supreme authority of the Church; and in consequence it became extremely difficult on his part to ward off the imputation of Lutheranism[Pg 267] or to make it appear that he was anything else than a self-condemned heretic. He, however, so far commanded the popular mind that he maintained his reputation and his influence, and actually succeeded in rendering his accusers the objects of almost universal suspicion or hatred. Their powerful friends forsook them; all stood aloof, or all but a Spaniard named Garzonio, who, having lodged Loyola and some of his companions under his roof, knew well their soundness in the faith and their personal piety. Through his timely intervention the cardinal-dean of the sacred college was induced to inform himself, by a personal interview, of their doctrine and life.

This dignitary was satisfied, and more than satisfied, of the innocence and piety of the fathers. Nevertheless, Loyola, looking far forward, and knowing well what detriment to his order might arise in remote quarters from slanders not authoritatively refuted and disallowed, demanded to be confronted with his accusers before the ecclesiastical authorities. He would be content with no vague and irregular expression of approval—he would accept no half acquittal. He sought, and at length obtained, an official exculpation in the amplest terms, with an acknowledgment of his orthodoxy on the part of the highest authority on earth, and this was granted under circumstances that gave it universal notoriety.

In court the principal witness was confounded by proof, under his own hand, of the falseness of the allegation he had advanced; and at the same time testimonials from the highest quarters in favor of the fathers, severally and individually, arrived opportunely; in a word, the society, in this early and signal instance, triumphed over its assailants, and thenceforward it occupied a position the most lofty and commanding in the view of the Catholic world. Loyola and his colleagues saw the ruin of their adversaries, two of whom, falling into the hands of the inquisitors, were burned as heretics.

The time was now come for effecting a permanent organization of the society and for installing a chief at its head. With these purposes in view, Loyola summoned his colleagues to Rome from the cities of Italy where they were severally laboring. The fathers being assembled, he commended to them anew the proposal which they had already accepted, but which[Pg 268] he seemed anxious to fix irrevocably upon their consciences by often-repeated challenges of the most solemn kind. To impart the more solemnity to this repetition of their mutual engagements, and to preclude, by all means, the possibility of retraction, he advised that several days should be devoted to preliminary prayer and fasting, during which season each should, with an absolute surrender of himself to the will of God, await passively the manifestation of that will.

"Heaven," said Loyola to his companions, "heaven has forbidden Palestine to our zeal—nevertheless that zeal burns with increasing intensity from day to day. Should we not hence infer that God has called us—not, indeed, to undertake the conversion of one nation or of a country, but of all the people and of all the kingdoms of the world?"

Such was the founder's profession and such the limits of his ambition. The spiritual mechanism which he had devised, and which he was now putting in movement, intends nothing that is partial or circumscribed; its very purport is universality; it is absolutism carried out until it has embraced the human family and has brought every human spirit into its toils.

But so small a band could hope for no success that should be indicative of ultimate triumph unless they would surrender themselves individually to a common will, which should be to each of them as the will of God, articulately pronounced. After renewing, therefore, the vows of poverty, of chastity, and of unconditional obedience to the Pope, the fathers assented to the proposal that one of their number should, by the suffrages of all, be constituted the superior or general of the order, and as such be invested with an authority as absolute as it was possible for man to exercise or for men to submit to. Yet to whose hands should be assigned—and for life—this irresponsible power over the bodies, souls, and understandings of his companions?

It had not been until after a lengthened preparation of fasting, prayer, and night-watching that a resolution so appalling had been formed. Yet it was easier to consent to the proposal, abstractedly placed before them, than to yield themselves to all its undefined and irrevocable consequences, when the awful surrender of what is most precious to man—his individuality—was to be made, not to a chief unnamed, but to this or that one among[Pg 269] themselves. To whose hands could the ten consign the irresponsible disposal of their souls and bodies? They had, however, already advanced too far to recede. They had, as they believed, in humble imitation of Christ the Lord, offered themselves as a living sacrifice to God—so far as concerned the body—by the vow of poverty and the vow of chastity. They had thus immolated the flesh, and had reserved to themselves nothing of worldly possessions, nothing of earthly solaces; all had been laid upon the altar. They, had, moreover professed their willingness to deposit there their very souls. The vow of unconditional obedience, as thus understood, was a holocaust of the immortal well-being. Each now, as an offering acceptable to God, was to pawn his interest in time and eternity, putting the pledge into the hands of one to be chosen by themselves. It was debated whether this absolute power should be conferred upon the holder of it for life or for a term of years only, and whether in the fullest sense it should be without conditions, or whether it should be limited by constitutional forms. At length, however, the election of a general for life was assented to, and especially for this reason—and it is well to note it—that the new society had been devised and formed for the very purpose of carrying forward vast designs which must demand a long course of years for their development and execution; and that no one who must look forward to the probable termination of his generalship at the expiration of a few years could be expected to undertake, or to prosecute with energy, any such far-reaching project. On the contrary, he should be allowed to believe that the limits of his life alone need be thought of as bounding his holy ambition. Provisions were made, however, for holding some sort of control over the individual to whom so much power was to be intrusted. The actual election of Loyola to the generalship did not formally take place until after the time when the order had received pontifical authentication. Meantime, all implicitly regarded him as their master; from him emanated the acts of the body; and to him was assigned the task—aided by Lainez—of preparing what should be the constitutions of the society.

During the interval between the concerted organization of the order and the formal recognition of Loyola as the general he found several occasions highly favorable for extending and[Pg 270] for enhancing his influence, as well among the common people as among ecclesiastical dignitaries. One such opportunity was afforded, soon after the above-mentioned exculpation of the fathers, by the occurrence of a famine during an unusually severe winter. The streets of Rome presented the spectacle of hundreds of half-naked and starving wretches who fruitlessly implored aid or who silently expired unaided. Loyola and his colleagues, themselves subsisting from day to day on alms, felt often—we are told—the nip of hunger, yet they needed no incitement which these scenes of woe did not spontaneously supply. They were at once alive to the claims of humanity and to the requirements of Christian duty. They begged for the perishing, took them to such shelter as was at their command, carefully and tenderly ministered to the sick, and, withal, used the advantage which these offices of kindness afforded them for purposes of religious instruction. Hundreds, rescued from death through cold and hunger, were thus brought to repentance on the path which the Church prescribes. A great impression in favor of the Jesuit fathers was made upon all classes by this course of conduct. In humanity, self-denying assiduity, and Christian zeal they had immeasurably surpassed any who might have pretended rivalry with them.

It was now, therefore, that Loyola sought from the Pontiff that formal recognition which his personal assurances of regard and approval seemed to show he could not refuse. Paul III was, however, cautious in this instance, and seemed unwilling to commit himself and the Church at this critical moment, except so far as he knew himself to be supported by the feeling and opinion of those of the cardinals whom he most regarded. He referred Loyola's petition to three of them. The first of these was Barthelemi Guidiccioni, who had often declared himself to be decisively opposed to the multiplication of religious orders. The Church, he thought, had too many of these excrescences already, and, instead of adding another to the number, he would gladly have reduced them all to four. His two colleagues were easily induced to concur with him in this opinion, and thus it appeared as if the infant society, notwithstanding the advances it had lately made in securing the good opinion of persons of high rank, as well as in winning popular applause, was little likely to receive[Pg 271] what was indispensable to its permanent establishment—a papal bull in its favor.

Personally, however, the Pope did not conceal his cordial feeling toward Loyola and his companions. He seems to have perceived clearly that these men, resolute in their punctilious adherence to the doctrine and ritual of the Church, and committed by the most solemn engagements to its service—deep-purposed as they were, full of a well-governed energy, resolute in the performance of the most arduous duties, and, moreover, highly accomplished in secular and sacred learning—were the very instruments which the Church had need of in this crisis of its fate. Northern Europe was irrecoverably lost; Germany and Switzerland were held to Catholicism at points only; while France and Northern Italy were listening to the seductions of heresy. Scarcely could it be said, even of Spain, that it was clear of the same infection. The Church ought then, at such a moment, to embrace cordially, and by all means to favor, the efforts of men like Loyola and his distinguished companions.

It was with this feeling that Paul III, while held back by his advisers from the course he would have adopted, went as far as he could in promoting and extending the influence of the society. At the same moment application had been made, on the part of several potentates, for the services of the fathers, who had already gained a high reputation at the courts near to which they had exercised their ministry. It was seen and understood by princes that these were the men—and these almost alone—to whom might be confided those arduous tasks which the perils of the times continually presented: none so well furnished as these fathers; none so self-denying and laborious; none so uncompromising in the maintenance of their principles. They were, therefore, despatched in various directions, and with the papal sanction, to undertake offices more or less spiritual, and in some instances purely secular. It was thus that a commencement was made in that course which has thrown unlimited power into the hands of the society, and which again has brought upon it suspicion, hatred, and reiterated ruin.

But the most noted of these appointments was that which, in sending, as by an accident, Francis Xavier to India, detached[Pg 272] from the Jesuit society the man who, had he remained at home, must have imparted his own character to its constitutions, and have guided its movements, and who probably would have dislodged Loyola from the generalship, and have held Lainez and Faber in a subordinate position. Not merely did Xavier's departure allow Jesuitism to take its form from the hands of these three, but it conferred upon the society, from a very early date, the incalculable advantage of that reflected power and reputation which the Indian missions secured for it. Xavier's apostleship in the East, with its real and with its romantic and exaggerated glories, was a fund upon which the society at home allowed itself to draw without limit. If it be admitted that Xavier effected something real for Christianity in pagan India, it may be affirmed that he accomplished at the same time, though indirectly, far more for Jesuitism throughout Europe. This course of events, so signal in its consequences as favoring the development and rapid extension of the Jesuit scheme throughout Christendom, and which yet could not be attributed to any forethought or machination on the part of Loyola, is well deserving of a distinct notice.

The train of circumstances, as related and affirmed by the Jesuit writers, excludes the supposition of its taking its rise in any plot or intention. John III of Portugal—a religious prince—had long entertained the project of stretching the empire of the Church over those regions which his valiant and enterprising people were subjecting to his secular sway. In modern phraseology, he piously desired to consecrate his military triumphs in the East by spreading the Gospel among the subjugated heathen. His royal wish and intention had become known to Loyola's friend Govea, who wrote to him from Paris on the subject. This letter was as a spark at contact with which Loyola's zeal burst forth in a flame. He replied, however, that, as he and his companions had now solemnly surrendered themselves to the absolute and unconditional disposal of the Vicar of Christ, they could attempt nothing spontaneously. It is easy to imagine how speedily this declaration, conveyed to Govea, would produce its effect, would come round to its destination, and would assume the form of a pontifical injunction addressed to Loyola to despatch some of the fathers to the court of John, there to[Pg 273] await the pleasure of so religious a prince. Six missionaries had been asked for. Loyola, with the consent of the Pope, assigned two—Rodriquez and Bobadilla—to his service. The latter, however, falling ill—so it is affirmed—Francis Xavier was appointed in his place. Xavier, it is said, leaped for joy when summoned, at a moment, to set out toward Portugal commissioned to convert India to the Christian faith. A few hours sufficed for his preparations; by noon of the next day he had sewed the tatters of his attire with his own hand, had packed his bundle, had bid adieu to his friends, and was forward on the road to Lisbon. Upon this desperate enterprise he set forward with his eye steadily fixed upon objects far more remote and more dazzling than the sunny plains of Hindostan. The immeasurable difficulty of his mission was to him its excitement; its dangers brightened in his view into martyrdom; its toils were to be his ease; its privations his solace, and despair the aliment of his hope. But at this initial point of his course we must take leave of Francis Xavier—the prince of missionaries. Bobadilla, with Loyola's consent, remained in Portugal, where his zeal found scope enough.

At length—but it does not appear in what manner this change of opinion had been brought about—Cardinal Guidiccioni professed himself favorable to the suit of Loyola; probably an enhanced conviction that the Romish hierarchy was encountering a peril which called for extraordinary measures, and that the new order was likely to meet the occasion, had prevailed over considerations less urgent and of a more general kind. This opponent gained, no obstacle remained to be overcome. On October 3, 1540 (or September 27th), was issued the bull which gave ecclesiastical existence to the new order under the name of the "Company of Jesus." At the first the society was forbidden to admit more than sixty professed members, but three years later another bull removed entirely this restriction.

The time was now come when the decisive step must be taken which should enable the new institute to realize its intention, which should render Jesuitism Jesuitism indeed. This was the election of a chief, individually, who thenceforward should be absolute lord of the bodies and souls, the will and well-being, of all the members. Until this election should be made and[Pg 274] ratified, the society was a project only; it would then become a dread reality.

Those of the fathers who could leave their functions at foreign courts—and these were three only—were summoned to Rome; those who could not attend there sent forward their votes. But in what manner are we to deal with the account that is presented to us of that which took place on this occasion? How is it to be made to consist either with the straightforwardness and simplicity of intention that are the characteristics of great and noble natures, or how with those maxims of guilelessness which Christianity so much approves? The problem admits of only a partial and unsatisfactory solution; nor can we advance even so far as this unless we make a very large allowance in favor of Loyola personally, on the ground of the ill influence of the system within which he had received his moral and religious training. He conducted himself after the fashion of his Church: this must be his apology.

It was he, unquestionably, who had conceived the primary idea of the society. He was author of the book which constitutes its germ and law, the Spiritual Exercises. He had been principal in digesting the constitutions, or actual code, of the society. It was he, individually, whom the others had always regarded as their leader and teacher. His personal influence was the cement which held the parts in union. It was Loyola who, while his colleagues dispersed themselves throughout Europe, remained in Rome, there to manage the common interests of all, and to carry forward those negotiations with the papal court which were of vital importance and of the highest difficulty. In a word, it was he who had convoked this meeting to elect a chief and who asked the proxies of the absent. Are we then to believe that this bold spirit, this far-seeing mind, this astute, inventive, and politic Ignatius, born to rule other minds, and able always to subjugate his own will; that this contriver of a despotism, after having carried the principle of unconditional obedience, after having won the consent of his companions to the proposal that their master should be their master for life—are we to believe that he had never imagined it as probable (much less wished) that the choice of his compeers should fall upon himself, or that he had peremptorily resolved, in such a case, to reject the proffered sovereignty?[Pg 275] Surely those writers—the champions of the society—use us cruelly who demand that we should believe so much as this.

Le Jay, Brouet, Lainez, and Loyola were those who personally appeared on this occasion. The absent members sent their votes in sealed letters. Three days having passed in prayer and silence, the four assembled on the fourth day, when the votes were ascertained. All but Loyola's own were in his favor; he voted for the one who should carry the majority of votes.

Loyola, we are told, was in an equal degree distressed and amazed in discovering what was in the minds of his colleagues. He, indeed, to be general of the Society of Jesus!—how strange and preposterous a supposition! Positively he could think of no such thing. What a life had he led before his conversion! How abounding in weaknesses had been his course since! How could he aspire to rule others, who so poorly could rule himself? Days of prayer must yet be devoted to the purpose of imploring the divine aid in directing the minds of all toward one who should indeed be qualified for so arduous an office. At the end of this term Loyola was a second time elected, and again refused to comply with the wishes of his friends. He would barely admit their importunities; they could scarcely bring themselves to listen to his contrary reasons. Time passed on, and there seemed a danger lest the society should go adrift upon the rocks even in its first attempt to reach deep water. At length Loyola agreed to submit himself to the direction of his confessor. He might thus, perhaps, find it possible to thrust himself through his scruples by the loophole of passive obedience, for he already held himself bound to comply with the injunctions of his spiritual guide, be they what they might.

This good man, therefore, a father Theodosius of the communion of Minor Brethren, is constituted arbiter of the destinies of the Society of Jesus. To his ear Loyola confides all the reasons, irresistible as they were, which forbade his compliance with the will of his friends. The confessor listens patiently to the long argument, but sets the whole of it at naught. In a word he declares that Loyola, in declining the proffered generalship, is fighting against God. Further resistance would have been a flagrant impiety.[Pg 276]

The installation of the general was carried forward in a course of services held in the seven principal churches of Rome, and with extraordinary solemnity in the Church of St. Paul without the city, April 23, 1541. On this occasion the vows of perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience were renewed before the altar of the Virgin, where Loyola administered the communion to his brethren, they having vowed absolute obedience to him, and he the same to the Pope.

[Pg 277]


A.D. 1541


From the eastern coast of Florida the Spaniards made early explorations of the interior until they reached the Mississippi River. Florida, which was discovered by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513, was soon visited by other voyagers, and in 1528 Panfilo Narvaez made a disastrous march into the forests. One survivor of his party, Cabaça de Vaca, afterward crossed the Mississippi, near the site of Memphis, and made his way to the Spanish settlements in Mexico.

Still the vast Florida region was unexplored, but in 1539 Hernando de Soto, the companion of Pizarro in the conquest of Peru (1532) landed, with upward of six hundred men, at what is now called Tampa Bay, on the west coast, in search of the fabulous wealth believed to await him. "For month after month and year after year the procession of priests and cavaliers, cross-bowmen, arquebusiers, and Indian captives laden with the baggage, wandered on through wild and boundless wastes, lured hither and thither by the ignis fatuus of their hopes." Through untold hardships, increased by fierce battles with the Indians, they traversed wide regions now embraced in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, reaching the great river probably in the spring of 1541, and still looking for the "phantom El Dorado."

De Soto directed his footsteps in a westerly direction, carefully avoiding an approach to the sea, lest his troops should rise in mutiny, send for the ships, and escape from the ill-starred enterprise. This certainly indicates, under the circumstances, an unsound, if not a deranged, mind. For four days the troops toiled along through a dismal region, uninhabited, and encumbered with tangled forests and almost impassable swamps.

At length they came to a small village called Chisca, upon the banks of the most majestic stream they had yet discovered. Sublimely the mighty flood, a mile and a half in width, rolled by them. The current was rapid and bore upon its bosom[Pg 278] a vast amount of trees, logs, and driftwood, showing that its sources must be hundreds of leagues far away in the unknown interior. This was the mighty Mississippi, the "Father of Waters." The Indians at that point called it Chucagua. Its source and its embouchure were alike unknown to De Soto. Little was he then aware of the magnitude of the discovery he had made.

"De Soto," says Irving, "was the first European who looked out upon the turbid waters of this magnificent river; and that event has more surely enrolled his name among those who will ever live in American history than if he had discovered mines of silver and gold."

The Spaniards had reached the river after a four days' march through an unpeopled wilderness. The Indians of Chisca knew nothing of their approach, and probably had never heard of their being in the country. The tribe inhabiting the region of which Chisca was the metropolis was by no means as formidable as many whom they had already encountered. The dwelling of the cacique stood on a large artificial mound from eighteen to twenty feet in height. It was ascended by two ladders, which could of course be easily drawn up, leaving the royal family thus quite isolated from the people below.

Chisca, the chieftain, was far advanced in years, a feeble, emaciated old man of very diminutive stature. In the days of his prime he had been a renowned warrior. Hearing of the arrival of the Spaniards he was disposed to regard them as enemies, and, seizing his tomahawk, he was eager to descend from his castle and lead his warriors to battle.

The contradictory statements are made that De Soto, weary of the harassing warfare of the winter, was very anxious to secure the friendship of these Indians. Unless he were crazed, it must have been so; for there was absolutely nothing to be gained, but everything to be imperilled, by war. On the other hand, it is said that the moment the Spaniards descried the village they rushed into it, plundering the houses, seizing men and women as captives. Both statements may have been partially true. It is not improbable that the disorderly troops of De Soto, to his great regret, were guilty of some outrages, while he personally might have been intensely anxious to repress this violence and cultivate only friendly relations with the natives.[Pg 279]

But, whatever may have been the hostile or friendly attitude assumed by the Spaniards, it is admitted that the cacique was disposed to wage war against the new-comers. The more prudent of his warriors urged that he should delay his attack upon them until he had made such preparations as would secure successful results.

"It will be best first," said they, "to assemble all the warriors of our nation, for these men are well armed. In the mean time let us pretend friendship, and not provoke an attack until we are strong enough to be sure of victory."

The irascible old chief was willing only partially to listen to this advice. He delayed the conflict, but did not disguise his hostility. De Soto sent to him a very kindly message declaring that he came in peace, and wished only for an unmolested march through his country. The cacique returned an angry reply refusing all courteous intercourse.

The Spaniards had been but three hours in the village when, to their surprise, they perceived an army of four thousand warriors, thoroughly prepared for battle, gathered around the mound upon which was reared the dwelling of their chief. If so many warriors could be assembled in so short a time, they feared there must be a large number in reserve who could soon be drawn in. The Spaniards, in their long marches and many battles, had dwindled away to less than five hundred men. Four thousand against five hundred were fearful odds; and yet the number of their foes might speedily be doubled or even quadrupled. In addition to this, the plains around the city were exceedingly unfavorable for the movements of the Spanish army, while they presented great advantages to the nimble-footed natives; for their region was covered with forests, sluggish streams, and bogs.

By great exertions, De Soto succeeded in effecting a sort of compromise. The cacique consented to allow the Spaniards to remain for six days in the village to nurse the sick and the wounded. Food was to be furnished them by the cacique. At the end of six days the Spaniards were to leave, abstaining entirely from pillage, from injuring the crops, and from all other acts of violence.

The cacique and all the inhabitants of the village abandoned[Pg 280] the place, leaving it to the sole occupancy of the Spaniards. April, in that sunny clime, was mild as genial summer. The natives, with their simple habits, probably found little inconvenience in encamping in the groves around. On the last day of his stay, De Soto obtained permission to visit the cacique. He thanked the chief cordially for his hospitality, and, taking an affectionate leave, continued his journey into the unknown regions beyond.

Ascending the tortuous windings of the river on the eastern bank, the Spaniards found themselves, for four days, in almost impenetrable thickets, where there were no signs of inhabitants. At length they came to quite an opening in the forest. A treeless plain, waving with grass, spread far and wide around them. The Mississippi River here was about half a league in width. On the opposite bank large numbers of Indians were seen, many of them warriors in battle array, while a fleet of canoes lined the shore.

De Soto decided, for some unexplained reason, to cross the river at that point, though it was evident that the Indians had in some way received tidings of his approach, and were assembled there to dispute his passage. The natives could easily cross the river in their canoes, but they would hardly venture to attack the Spaniards upon the open plain, where there was such a fine opportunity for the charges of their cavalry.

Here De Soto encamped for twenty days, while all who could handle tools were employed in building four large flat-boats for the transportation of the troops across the stream. On the second day of the encampment several natives from some tribe disposed to be friendly, on the eastern side of the river, visited the Spaniards. With very much ceremony of bowing and semibarbaric parade they approached De Soto and informed him that they were commissioned by their chief to bid him welcome to his territory, and to assure him of his friendly services. De Soto, much gratified by this message, received the envoys with the greatest kindness, and dismissed them highly pleased with their reception.

Though this chief sent De Soto repeated messages of kindness, he did not himself visit the Spanish camp, the alleged reason being—and perhaps the true one—that he was on a[Pg 281] sick-bed. He, however, sent large numbers of his subjects with supplies of food, and to assist the Spaniards in drawing the timber to construct their barges. The hostile Indians on the opposite bank frequently crossed in their canoes, and, attacking small bands of workmen, showered upon them volleys of arrows, and fled again to their boats.

One day the Spaniards, while at work, saw two hundred canoes filled with natives, in one united squadron, descending the river. It was a beautiful sight to witness this fleet, crowded with decorated and plumed warriors, their paddles, ornaments, and burnished weapons flashing in the sunlight. They came in true military style; several warriors standing at the bow and stern of each boat, with large shields of buffalo-hide on their left arms, and with bows and arrows in their hands. De Soto advanced to the shore to meet them, where he stood surrounded by his staff. The royal barge containing the chief paddled within a few rods of the bank. The cacique then rose, and addressed De Soto in words which, translated by the interpreter, were as follows: "I am informed that you are the envoy of the most powerful monarch of the globe. I have come to proffer to you friendship and homage, and to assure you of my assistance in any way in which I can be of service."

De Soto thanked him heartily for his offer and entreated him to land, assuring him that he should meet only with the kindest reception. The boats immediately returned for another load. Rapidly they passed to and fro, and the whole army was transported to the western bank of the Mississippi. The point where De Soto and his army crossed, it is supposed, was at what is called the lowest Chickasaw Bluff.

"The river in this place," says the Portuguese narrative, "was a mile and a half in breadth, so that a man standing still could scarcely be discerned from the opposite shore. It was of great depth, of wonderful rapidity, and very turbid, and was always filled with floating trees and timber carried down by the force of the current."

The army having all crossed, the boats were broken up, as usual, to preserve the nails. It would seem that the hostile Indians had all vanished, for the Spaniards advanced four days in a westerly direction, through an uninhabited wilderness,[Pg 282] encountering no opposition. On the fifth day they toiled up a heavy swell of land, from whose summit they discerned, in a valley on the other side, a large village of about four hundred dwellings. It was situated on the fertile banks of a stream which is supposed to have been the St. Francis.

The extended valley, watered by this river, presented a lovely view as far as the eye could reach, with luxuriant fields of Indian corn and with groves of fruit and trees. The natives had received some intimation of the approach of the Spaniards, and in friendly crowds gathered around them, offering food and the occupancy of their houses. Two of the highest chieftains subordinate to the cacique soon came, with an imposing train of warriors, bearing a welcome from their chief and the offer of his services.

De Soto received them with the utmost courtesy, and, in the interchange of these friendly offices, both Spaniards and natives became alike pleased with each other. The adventurers remained in this village for six days, finding abundant food for themselves and their horses, and experiencing, in the friendship and hospitality of the natives, joys which certainly never were found in the horrors of war. The province was called by the name of Kaski, and was probably the same as that occupied by the Kaskaskia Indians.

Upon commencing anew their march they passed through a populous and well-cultivated country, where peace, prosperity, and abundance seemed to reign. In two days, having journeyed about twenty miles up the western bank of the Mississippi, they approached the chief town of the province, where the cacique lived. It was situated, as is supposed, in the region now called Little Prairie, in the extreme southern part of the State of Missouri, not far from New Madrid. Here they found the hospitable hands of the cacique and his people extended to greet them.

The residence of the chief stood upon a broad artificial mound, sufficiently capacious for twelve or thirteen houses, which were occupied by his numerous family and attendants. He made De Soto a present of a rich fur mantle, and invited him, with his suite, to occupy the royal dwellings for their residence. De Soto politely declined this offer, as he was unwilling[Pg 283] thus to incommode his kind entertainer. He, however, accepted the accommodation of several houses in the village. The remainder of the army were lodged in exceedingly pleasant bowers, skilfully and very expeditiously constructed by the natives of bark and the green boughs of trees, outside the village.

It was now the month of May. The weather was intensely hot, and these rustic bowers were found to be refreshingly cool and grateful. The name of the friendly chief was Casquin. Here the army remained for three days, without a ripple of unfriendly feeling arising between the Spaniards and the natives.

It was a season of unusual drouth in the country, and, on the fourth day following, an extraordinary incident occurred. Casquin, accompanied by quite an imposing retinue of his most distinguished men, came into the presence of De Soto, and, stepping forward with great solemnity of manner, said to him: "Señor, as you are superior to us in prowess and surpass us in arms, we likewise believe that your God is better than our God. These you behold before you are the chief warriors of my dominions. We supplicate you to pray to your God to send us rain, for our fields are parched for the want of water." De Soto, who was a reflective man, of pensive temperament and devoutly inclined, responded: "We are all alike sinners, but we will pray to God, the Father of Mercies, to show his kindness to you."

He then ordered the carpenter to cut down one of the tallest pine trees in the vicinity. It was carefully trimmed and formed into a perfect but gigantic cross. Its dimensions were such that it required the strength of one hundred men to raise and plant it in the ground. Two days were employed in this operation. The cross stood upon a bluff on the western bank of the Mississippi. The next morning after it was reared the whole Spanish army was called out to celebrate the erection of the cross by a solemn religious procession. A large number of the natives, with apparent devoutness, joined in the festival. Casquin and De Soto took the lead, walking side by side. The Spanish soldiers and the native warriors, composing a procession of more than a thousand, persons, walked harmoniously[Pg 284] along as brothers to commemorate the erection of the cross—the symbol of the Christian's faith.

The cross! It should be the emblem of peace on earth and good-will among men. Alas! how often has it been the badge of cruelty and crime!

The priests—for there were several in the army—chanted their Christian hymns and offered fervent prayers. The Mississippi at this point is not very broad, and it is said that upon the opposite bank twenty thousand natives were assembled, watching with intensest interest the imposing ceremony, and apparently at times taking part in the exercises. When the priests raised their hands in prayer, they too extended their arms and raised their eyes, as if imploring the aid of the God of heaven and earth.

Occasionally a low moan was heard wafted across the river—a wailing cry, as if woe-stricken children were imploring the aid of an almighty father. The spirit of De Soto was deeply moved to tenderness and sympathy as he witnessed this benighted people paying such homage to the emblem of man's redemption. After several prayers were offered, the whole procession, slowly advancing two by two, knelt before the cross, as if in brief ejaculatory prayer, and kissed it. All then returned with the same solemnity to the village, the priests chanting the grand anthem, Te Deum Laudamus.

Thus more than three hundred years ago the cross, significant of the religion of Jesus, was planted upon the banks of the Mississippi, and the melody of Christian hymns was wafted across the silent waters and blended with the sighing of the breeze through the tree-tops. It is sad to reflect how little of the spirit of that religion has since been manifested in those realms in man's treatment of his brother-man.

It is worthy of especial notice that upon the night succeeding this eventful day clouds gathered, and the long-looked-for rain fell abundantly. The devout Las Casas writes: "God, in his mercy, willing to show these heathen that he listeneth to those who call upon him in truth, sent down in the middle of the ensuing night a plenteous rain, to the great joy of the Indians."


[52] By permission of the executor of the estate of the late John S. C. Abbott.

[Pg 285]


A.D. 1543


The promulgation of the accepted system of astronomy, called the Copernican system, which represents the earth as revolving on its axis and considers the sun as the centre of motion for the earth and other planets, marked the greatest of scientific revolutions.

Copernicus, whose name, thus Latinized, was Koppernigk or Kopernik, was born at Thorn, Prussia, February 19, 1473, and died at Frauenburg, Prussia, May 24, 1543. The founder of modern astronomy was probably of German descent: according to some authorities his father was a Germanized Slav, his mother a German; and the honor of producing him is claimed by both Germany and Poland.

With equal conciseness and lucidity, in the following pages the eminent British astronomer furnishes important particulars concerning the life of Copernicus; and he gives an account, no less interesting than instructive, of the evolution of the Copernican astronomy in its founder's mind.

Copernicus, the astronomer, whose discoveries make him the great predecessor of Kepler and Newton, did not come from a noble family, as certain other early astronomers have done, for his father was a tradesman. Chroniclers are, however, careful to tell us that one of his uncles was a bishop. We are not acquainted with any of those details of his childhood or youth which are often of such interest in other cases where men have risen to exalted fame. It would appear that the young Nicolaus, for such was his Christian name, received his education at home until such time as he was deemed sufficiently advanced to be sent to the University at Cracow. The education that he there obtained must have been in those days of very primitive description, but Copernicus seems to have availed himself of it to the utmost. He devoted himself more particularly to the study of medicine, with the view of adopting its practice as the profession of his life. The tendencies of the future astronomer were, however, revealed in the fact that he worked hard at mathematics,[Pg 286] and for him, as for one of his illustrious successors, Galileo, the practice of the art of painting had a very great interest, and in it he obtained some measure of success.

By the time he was twenty-seven years old, it would seem that Copernicus had given up the notion of becoming a medical practitioner, and had resolved to devote himself to science. He was engaged in teaching mathematics, and appears to have acquired some reputation. His growing fame attracted the notice of his uncle the Bishop, at whose suggestion Copernicus took holy orders, and he was presently appointed to a canonry in the Cathedral of Frauenburg, near the mouth of the Vistula.

To Frauenburg, accordingly, this man of varied gifts retired. Possessing somewhat of the ascetic spirit, he resolved to devote his life to work of the most serious description. He eschewed all ordinary society, restricting his intimacies to very grave and learned companions, and refusing to engage in conversation of any useless kind. It would seem as if his gifts for painting were condemned as frivolous; at all events, we do not learn that he continued to practise them. In addition to the discharge of his theological duties, his life was occupied partly in ministering medically to the wants of the poor, and partly with his researches in astronomy and mathematics. His equipment in the matter of instruments for the study of the heavens seems to have been of a very meagre description. He arranged apertures in the walls of his house at Allenstein, so that he could observe in some fashion the passage of the stars across the meridian. That he possessed some talent for practical mechanics is proved by his construction of a contrivance for raising water from a stream, for the use of the inhabitants of Frauenburg. Relics of this machine are still to be seen.

The intellectual slumber of the Middle Ages was destined to be awakened by the revolutionary doctrines of Copernicus. It may be noted, as an interesting circumstance, that the time at which he discovered the scheme of the solar system coincided with a remarkable epoch in the world's history. The great astronomer had just reached manhood at the time when Columbus discovered the New World.

Before the publication of the researches of Copernicus, the orthodox scientific creed averred that the earth was stationary,[Pg 287] and that the apparent movements of the heavenly bodies were real movements. Ptolemy had laid down this doctrine fourteen hundred years before. In his theory this huge error was associated with so much important truth, and the whole presented such a coherent scheme for the explanation of the heavenly movements, that the Ptolemaic theory was not seriously questioned until the great work of Copernicus appeared. No doubt others before Copernicus had from time to time in some vague fashion surmised, with more or less plausibility, that the sun, and not the earth, was the centre about which the system really revolved. It is, however, one thing to state a scientific fact; it is quite another thing to be in possession of the train of reasoning, founded on observation or experiment, by which that fact may be established. Pythagoras, it appears, had indeed told his disciples that it was the sun, and not the earth, which was the centre of movement, but it does not seem at all certain that Pythagoras had any grounds which science could recognize for the belief which is attributed to him. So far as information is available to us, it would seem that Pythagoras associated his scheme of things celestial with a number of preposterous notions in natural philosophy. He may certainly have made a correct statement as to which was the most important body in the solar system, but he certainly did not provide any rational demonstration of the fact. Copernicus, by a strict train of reasoning, convinced those who would listen to him that the sun was the centre of the system. It is useful for us to consider the arguments which he urged and by which he effected that intellectual revolution which is always connected with his name.

The first of the great discoveries which Copernicus made relates to the rotation of the earth on its axis. That general diurnal movement, by which the stars and all other celestial bodies appear to be carried completely round the heavens once every twenty-four hours, had been accounted for by Ptolemy on the supposition that the apparent movements were the real movements. Ptolemy himself felt the extraordinary difficulty involved in the supposition that so stupendous a fabric as the celestial sphere should spin in the way supposed. Such movements required that many of the stars should travel with almost inconceivable velocity. Copernicus also saw that the daily rising and[Pg 288] setting of the heavenly bodies could be accounted for either by the supposition that the celestial sphere moved round and that the earth remained at rest, or by the supposition that the celestial sphere was at rest while the earth turned round in the opposite direction. He weighed the arguments on both sides as Ptolemy had done, and as the result of his deliberation Copernicus came to an opposite conclusion from Ptolemy. To Copernicus it appeared that the difficulties attending the supposition that the celestial sphere revolved were vastly greater than those which appeared so weighty to Ptolemy as to force him to deny the earth's rotation.

Copernicus shows clearly how the observed phenomena could be accounted for just as completely by a rotation of the earth as by a rotation of the heavens. He alludes to the fact that, to those on board a vessel which is moving through smooth water, the vessel itself appears to be at rest, while the objects on shore appear to be moving past. If, therefore, the earth were rotating uniformly, we dwellers upon the earth, oblivious of our own movement, would wrongly attribute to the stars the displacement which was actually the consequence of our own motion.

Copernicus saw the futility of the arguments by which Ptolemy had endeavored to demonstrate that a revolution of the earth was impossible. It was plain to him that there was nothing whatever to warrant refusal to believe in the rotation of the earth. In his clear-sightedness on this matter we have specially to admire the sagacity of Copernicus as a natural philosopher. It had been urged that, if the earth moved round, its motion would not be imparted to the air, and that therefore the earth would be uninhabitable by the terrific winds which would be the result of our being carried through the air. Copernicus convinced himself that this deduction was preposterous. He proved that the air must accompany the earth, just as one's coat remains round him, notwithstanding the fact that he is walking down the street. In this way he was able to show that all a priori objections to the earth's movements were absurd, and therefore he was able to compare together the plausibilities of the two rival schemes for explaining the diurnal movement.

Once the issue had been placed in this form, the result could not be long in doubt. Here is the question: Which is it more[Pg 289] likely—that the earth, like a grain of sand at the centre of a mighty globe, should turn round once in twenty-four hours, or that the whole of that vast globe should complete a rotation in the opposite direction in the same time? Obviously, the former is far the more simple supposition. But the case is really much stronger than this. Ptolemy had supposed that all the stars were attached to the surface of a sphere. He had no ground whatever for this supposition, except that otherwise it would have been wellnigh impossible to devise a scheme by which the rotation of the heavens around a fixed earth could have been arranged. Copernicus, however, with the just instinct of a philosopher, considered that the celestial sphere, however convenient, from a geometrical point of view, as a means of representing apparent phenomena, could not actually have a material existence. In the first place, the existence of a material celestial sphere would require that all the myriad stars should be at exactly the same distances from the earth. Of course, no one will say that this or any other arbitrary disposition of the stars is actually impossible; but as there was no conceivable physical reason why the distances of all the stars from the earth should be identical, it seemed in the very highest degree improbable that the stars should be so placed.

Doubtless, also, Copernicus felt a considerable difficulty as to the nature of the materials from which Ptolemy's wonderful sphere was to be constructed. Nor could a philosopher of his penetration have failed to observe that, unless that sphere were infinitely large, there must have been space outside it, a consideration which would open up other difficult questions. Whether infinite or not, it was obvious that the celestial sphere must have a diameter at least many thousands of times as great as that of the earth. From these considerations Copernicus deduced the important fact that the stars and other important celestial bodies must all be vast objects. He was thus enabled to put the question in such a form that it would hardly receive any answer but the correct one: Which is it more rational to suppose, that the earth should turn round on its axis once in twenty-four hours, or that thousands of mighty stars should circle round the earth in the same time, many of them having to describe circles many thousands of times greater in circumference than the circuit of[Pg 290] the earth at the equator? The obvious answer pressed upon Copernicus with so much force that he was compelled to reject Ptolemy's theory of the stationary earth, and to attribute the diurnal rotation of the heavens to the revolution of the earth on its axis.

Once this tremendous step had been taken, the great difficulties which beset the monstrous conception of the celestial sphere vanished, for the stars need no longer be regarded as situated at equal distances from the earth. Copernicus saw that they might lie at the most varied degrees of remoteness, some being hundreds or thousands of times farther away than others. The complicated structure of the celestial sphere as a material object disappeared altogether; it remained only as a geometrical conception, whereon we find it convenient to indicate the places of the stars. Once the Copernican doctrine had been fully set forth, it was impossible for anyone, who had both the inclination and the capacity to understand it, to withhold acceptance of its truth. The doctrine of a stationary earth had gone forever.

Copernicus having established a theory of the celestial movements which deliberately set aside the stability of the earth, it seemed natural that he should inquire whether the doctrine of a moving earth might not remove the difficulties presented in other celestial phenomena. It had been universally admitted that the earth lay unsupported in space. Copernicus had further shown that it possessed a movement of rotation. Its want of stability being thus recognized, it seemed reasonable to suppose that the earth might also have some other kinds of movements as well. In this, Copernicus essayed to solve a problem far more difficult than that which hitherto occupied his attention. It was a comparatively easy task to show how the diurnal rising and setting could be accounted for by the rotation of the earth. It was a much more difficult undertaking to demonstrate that the planetary movements, which Ptolemy had represented with so much success, could be completely explained by the supposition that each of these planets revolved uniformly round the sun, and that the earth was also a planet, accomplishing a complete circuit of the sun once in the course of a year.

It would be impossible, in a sketch like the present, to enter into any detail as to the geometrical propositions on which this[Pg 291] beautiful investigation of Copernicus depended. We can only mention a few of the leading principles. It may be laid down in general that, if an observer is in movement, he will, if unconscious of the fact, attribute to the fixed objects around him a movement equal and opposite to that which he actually possesses. A passenger on a canal-boat sees the objects on the banks apparently moving backward with a speed equal to that by which he himself is advancing forward. By an application of this principle, we can account for all the phenomena of the movements of the planets, which Ptolemy had so ingeniously represented by his circles. Let us take, for instance, the most characteristic feature in the irregularities of the outer planets. Mars, though generally advancing from west to east among the stars, occasionally pauses, retraces his steps for a while, again pauses, and then resumes his ordinary onward progress. Copernicus showed clearly how this effect was produced by the real motion of the earth, combined with the real motion of Mars. When the earth comes directly between Mars and the sun, the retrograde movement of Mars is at its highest. Mars and the earth are then advancing in the same direction. We, on the earth, however, being unconscious of our own motion, attribute, by the principle I have already explained, an equal and opposite motion to Mars. The visible effect upon the planet is that Mars has two movements, a real onward movement in one direction, and an apparent movement in the opposite direction. If it so happened that the earth was moving with the same speed as Mars, then the apparent movement would exactly neutralize the real movement, and Mars would seem to be at rest relatively to the surrounding stars. Under the actual circumstances considered, however, the earth is moving faster than Mars, and the consequence is that the apparent movement of the planet backward exceeds the real movement forward, the net result being an apparent retrograde movement.

With consummate skill, Copernicus showed how the applications of the same principles could account for the characteristic movements of the planets. His reasoning in due time bore down all opposition. The supreme importance of the earth in the system vanished. It had now merely to take rank as one of the planets.[Pg 292]

The same great astronomer now, for the first time, rendered something like a rational account of the changes of the seasons. Nor did certain of the more obscure astronomical phenomena escape his attention.

He delayed publishing his wonderful discoveries to the world until he was quite an old man. He had a well-founded apprehension of the storm of opposition which they would arouse. However, he yielded at last to the entreaties of his friends, and his book[53] was sent to the press. But ere it made its appearance to the world, Copernicus was seized with mortal illness. A copy of the book was brought to him on May 23, 1543. We are told that he was able to see it and to touch it, but no more; and he died a few hours afterward.


[53] De Orbium Cœlestium Revolutionibus.

[Pg 293]


A.D. 1545


An important phase of history in the sixteenth century is summarized by Macaulay when he says that "the Church of Rome, having lost a large part of Europe, not only ceased to lose, but actually regained nearly half of what she had lost." Macaulay is speaking of what is known as the "Counter-reformation," a reaction against the Protestant movement, which was rapidly spreading in Europe. By the Counter-reformation not only were the Roman Catholic losses largely recovered, but an increased zeal for the regeneration of the Church of Rome became fruitful of results.

The reformation of the Church from within had been often attempted by the ecclesiastical leaders. Several "reforming councils" had been held, but the desired object had not been accomplished. During the pontificate of Paul III (1534-1549) the movement for regenerating the Church, as well as for opposing the progress of Protestantism, was effectually inaugurated. At the Council of Trent the new policy was definitely set forth.

A general council had long been demanded by the Germans. Even many of the leading Italians had come to desire it. Charles V, who had his own reasons for temporizing with the Protestants, had urged it year after year. Much as the domination of the Emperor might be feared in such an assembly, Paul at length decided to comply. Twice he ordered the assembling of a council (1536 and 1538), but the distracted state of Europe caused postponement. Meanwhile, owing to the continued progress of the Protestants, Paul and Charles came to an agreement that another summons should be issued. A few prelates were gathered at Trent in 1542, but, owing to the Emperor's war with France and the Turks, the Pope next year dispersed them.

Finally a papal bull summoned all the bishops of Christendom to Trent for March 15, 1545. The Pope showed much sagacity in calling this council at the moment when Charles and his inveterate enemy, Francis I, were concerting the suppression of the Protestants.

On December 13, 1545, three legates appointed by the Pope held their public entry into Trent, and the council was formally opened. Paul III's continued desire to conciliate the Emperor was shown by his adherence to Trent as the locality of[Pg 294] the council, when the legates again urged the choice of a town on Italian soil. Yet the very Bishop of Trent, Cardinal Madruccio, was a prince of the Empire, and by descent attached to the house of Austria, whose interests he consistently represented during the first series of sessions. The papal legates, with whose control over the council the Emperor at the outset showed no intention of interfering, typified the different elements in the ecclesiastical policy of Paul III. The presiding legate, Cardinal del Monte—afterward Pope Julius III—while notable neither for religious zeal nor for wise self-control, was a thoroughgoing supporter of the interests of the Curia. Cardinal Cervino, afterward Pope Marcellus II, a prelate of blameless life, was animated by those ideas of ecclesiastical reform of which Pope Paul had encouraged the open expression; but he was more especially eager for the extirpation of heresy, and not over-scrupulous in the choice of means for reaching his ends. Lastly, Cardinal Pole's[54] presence at Trent, in which some have seen a mere papal ruse, must have surrounded the early proceedings of the council with a hopeful glamour in the eyes of those who, like himself, expected from it the reunion as well as the reinvigoration of Western Christendom.

Nothing, as had probably been foreseen at Rome, could have better facilitated the immediate establishment of the ascendency in the council of the papal policy than the composition of its opening meeting. Of the thirty-four ecclesiastics present, only five were Spanish and two French bishops, and no German bishop had crossed the Alps. Nor had any secular power except the Emperor and King Ferdinand sent their ambassadors. The business machinery of the council, which the legates lost no time in getting into order, was altogether in favor of their influence as managers. Learned doctors, without being, as in former councils, allowed to take part in the debates, prepared the work of the three committees or congregations, who in their turn brought it up for discussion to the general congregations.

The sessions in which the decrees thus prepared were actually[Pg 295] passed had a purely formal character, but before they were successively held opportunity enough was given for manipulation and delay. The voting in the council was by heads, instead of by nations, as at Constance and Basel; and care was taken to refresh by occasional additions the working majority of Italian bishops, mostly, in comparison with the "ultramontane" prelates, holders of petty sees. Some of these are even stated to have bound themselves by a sworn engagement to uphold the interests of the holy see, though by no means all of the Italian bishops were servile Curialists; witness those of Chioggia and of Fiesole. The council in its second session (January 7, 1546) waived the form of title by which previous councils had implicitly declared their representative authority paramount. On the other hand, it boded well for the cause of reform that, by an early resolution, virtually all abbots and members of the monastic orders except five generals were excluded.

Clearly, episcopal interest was resolved upon asserting itself. So long, however, as the German bishops were detained in their dioceses by the duty of repressing heresy there, while the great body of the French were kept away by the vigilant jealousy of their government, the episcopal interest and the episcopal principle were mainly represented in the council by the Spanish prelates, the loyal subjects of Charles. Their leader was Pacheco, Cardinal of Jaën. With him came eminent theological professors, who in the early period of the council at least were without rivals—Dominico de Soto, whom Queen Mary afterward placed in Peter Martyr's chair at Oxford, and Bartolomeo Carranza, afterward primate of all Spain and for many years a prisoner of the Inquisition. Through the Emperor's ambassador, the accomplished and indefatigable but not invariably discreet Mendoza, the Spanish bishops were carefully apprised of the wishes of their sovereign.

The crucial question as to the order in which the council should debate the two divisions of subjects which it had met to settle had to be decided at once; and the compromise arrived at showed both the strength of the minority and the unwillingness of the leaders of the majority, the presiding legates, to push matters to an extreme. Their instructions from the Pope[Pg 296] were to give the declaration of dogma the preference over the announcement of disciplinary reforms; for it seemed to him of primary necessity to draw, while there was time, a clear line of demarcation between the Church and heresy; and for this, as he correctly judged, the assistance of the council was absolutely indispensable. The Emperor, on the other hand, was still unwilling to shut the door completely against the Protestants, while both he and the episcopal party at the council were eager for that reformation of the life and government of the Church which seemed to them her most crying need.

Ultimately it was agreed that the declaration of dogma and the reformation of abuses should be treated pari passu, the decrees formulated in each case being from time to time announced simultaneously. Taking into account the subsequent history of the council, one can hardly deny that this arrangement saved the work of the assembly from being left half done. Nor was the progress made in the period ending with the eighth session of the council (March 11, 1547), intrigues and quarrels notwithstanding, by any means trifling. On the doctrinal side, the foundations of the faith were in the first instance examined, and the whole character of the doctrinal decrees of the council was in point of fact determined, when the authority of the tradition of the Church, including of course the decrees of her ecumenical councils, was acknowledged by the side of that of Scripture. Little to the credit of the council's capacity for taking pains, the authenticity of the Vulgate was proclaimed, a pious wish being added that it should be henceforth printed as correctly as possible. At first, Pope Paul III hesitated about giving his assent to these decrees, which had been passed before receiving his approval, and showed some anxiety to prevent a similar course being taken in the matter of discipline by publishing a regulatory bull on his own authority. But on being more fully advised by the legates of the nature of the situation, he consented to allow the debates to proceed, provided always that the decrees should be submitted to him before publication.

During the next months (April to June, 1546) the work of the council was accordingly vigorously continued in both its branches. In that of discipline, the episcopal and the monastic[Pg 297] interests at once came into conflict on the subject of the license for preaching; and still more excitement was aroused by the question of episcopal residence, which brought into conflict the highest purposes of the episcopal office and the selfish profits of the Roman Curia. The discussions on preaching ended with a reasonable compromise, monks being henceforth prohibited from preaching without the bishop's license in any churches but those of their own order. The question of residence was by the Pope's wish adjourned.

Thus the council, now augmented by Swiss and many other bishops, while all the chief Catholic powers except Poland were represented by ambassadors, could venture to approach those questions of dogma which the Emperor would gladly have seen postponed, so long as he was still pausing on the brink of his conflict with the German Protestants. The Pope, on the contrary, while ostentatiously displaying on the frontier the auxiliary forces which he had promised to the Emperor, was eager to proclaim through the council as distinctly as possible the solid unity of the orthodox Church. The doctrine concerning original sin having been promulgated in the teeth of imperial opposition, the legates pressed for the issue of the decree concerning justification. In the midst of the debates the Smalkaldic War broke out (July, 1546).

For a time it seemed as if at Trent, too, the opposing interests would have proved irreconcilable. Pole, as the justification decree began to shape itself, had, "for reasons of health," withdrawn to Padua; Madruccio and Del Monte exchanged personal insults; Pacheco accused the legates of gross chicanery, and they in their turn threatened a removal of the council to an Italian city, where, in accordance with what they knew to be the papal wish, the council might deliberate without being either overawed by the Emperor or menaced by his Protestant adversaries. Soon, however, the case was altered by the manifest collapse of the latter, notwithstanding their expectations of support from England, Denmark, and France, long before their final catastrophe in the battle of Muhlberg, April 24, 1547. The Emperor would not hear of the removal of the council to Lucca, Ferrara, or any other Italian town, and in consequence the plan of campaign at Trent was modified, in order at all[Pg 298] events to make the breach with the Protestants impassable. The debates on justification were eagerly pushed on, and, after some further trials of finesse, the decree on the subject which anathematized the fundamental doctrines of the Lutheran Reformation was passed in the sixth session of the council, January 13, 1547.

On the other hand, the decree on residence was again postponed, and a very high tone was taken toward the prelates absent from the council—the Germans being, of course, those principally glanced at. In the next session (March 5th) decrees followed asserting the orthodox doctrine of the Church concerning the sacraments, and baptism and confirmation in particular, and with these was at last issued the decree concerning residence. It avoided pronouncing on the view which had been so ardently advocated by the Spanish bishops and argued by the pen of Archbishop Carranza, that the duty of residence was imposed by divine law, and it took care to safeguard the dispensing authority of the Roman see. Yet, though at times evaded or overridden, the prohibition of pluralism contained in this decree, together with certain other provisions for the bona-fide execution of bishops' functions, has indisputably proved most advantageous to the vigor and vitality of the episcopacy of the Church of Rome.

Paul III's attitude toward the Emperor had meanwhile grown more and more suspicious. Partly they had become antagonists on the great question of Church reorganization; partly the Emperor was becoming disposed to thwart the dynastic policy of the Farnese; partly, again, the Pope now thought himself able to fall back on the alliance of France. In January Paul III recalled the auxiliaries and stopped the subsidies which he had furnished to Charles V; and in March Henry II succeeded to the French throne, whose intrigues with the German Protestants, though leaving unaffected his fanatical rigor against his own heretics at home, seemed likely to break the current of imperial success. Thus at Trent the struggle against the Spanish bishops acquired an intense significance; and in the eighth session, March 11th, the legates at last made use of the power intrusted to them, it was said, eighteen months before, and carried, against the votes of Spain, the removal of[Pg 299] the council to Bologna, on the plea of an outbreak of the plague at Trent. By the Emperor's desire, the Spanish bishops, plague or no plague, remained in the city.

"The obstinate old man," said Charles, "would end by ruining the Church;" and sanguine Protestants might dream of a renewal of the situation of 1526-1527. The progress of events widened the breach between the Emperor and the Pope. After Muhlberg Charles V seemed irresistible, and, as he would hear of no solution but a return of the council to Trent, there seemed no choice between submission and defiance. Gradually, however, it became clear that he had no wish again to drive things to extremes, and least of all to provoke anything of the nature of a schism. Moreover, France, where the Guises were now in the ascendant, was becoming more hostile to him; and the murder of the Pope's son at Piacenza, followed by the occupation of that city by Spanish troops, September, 1547, nearly brought about the conclusion of a Franco-Italian league against Charles. But though French bishops arrived at Bologna, their attitude there was by no means acceptable to the Pope, and Henry II had no real intention of making war upon the Emperor. Thus the latter thought himself able to take into his own hands the settlement of the religious difficulty.

In the midst of further disappointments and of fresh designs, the immediate purposes of which are not altogether clear, Pope Paul III died, November 15, 1549. That the most generous of the aspirations which had under his reign first found full opportunity for asserting themselves had survived his manœuvring, was shown by the favorable reception, both outside and inside the conclave, of the proposal that Reginald Pole should be his successor. But Pole refused to be elected by the impulsive method of adoration, and in the end the Farnese[55] interest, supported by the French, prevailed, and Cardinal del Monte was chosen.

The papal government of Julius III (1550 to 1555) showed hardly more of temperate wisdom than had marked his conduct of the presidency at Trent; but he had the courage at the very outset to decide upon the safest course. After a few conditions,[Pg 300] most of them quite in the spirit of the imperial policy, had been proposed and accepted, the bull summoning the council to Trent for the following spring was issued without further ado (November).

Yet even before the council actually reopened, i.e., May 1, 1551, it had become evident that the papal view of its purposes remained as widely divergent from the Imperial as in the days of Paul III. The nomination of Cardinal Crescentio, a Roman by birth, as president of the council, with two Italian prelates, Pighino of Siponto and Lippomano of Verona, by his side, was in itself ominous; and the German Protestants, upon whom the Emperor pressed safe-conducts at Augsburg (1551), perceived the papal intention of treating the council as a mere continuation of that which had previously sat at Trent. Still, several of them, as well as the Catholic electors, finally promised to attend. On the other hand, Henry II of France prohibited the appearance of a single French prelate, and began to talk of a Gallican council. Thus the brief series of sessions held at Trent from May, 1551, to April, 1552, proved in the main, though not altogether, barren of results. Unless the assembled fathers were prepared to reconsider the decrees already passed, and to force the assent of the Pope to a religious policy of quite unprecedented breadth, another deadlock was at hand; and already, in the early months of 1552, the council, this time with the manifest connivance of Rome, began to thin. When, in April, Maurice of Saxony, now the ally of France, approached the southern frontier of the Empire, the Pope, whose own French war had taken a disastrous turn, had reason enough for shunning further coöperation with the Emperor. The council dwindled apace in spite of the efforts of Charles V, who had never ceased to believe in his schemes. Finally, however, he could not prevent the remnants of the council from passing a decree suspending its sessions for two years, which was opposed by not more than a dozen loyal Spanish votes, April 28, 1552.

Charles V's resignation of his thrones (1554-1556) resulted, though far from being so intended, in a confession of his failure. While it was in progress, Julius III died (March 23, 1555), leaving behind him scant evidence to support the rumor of[Pg 301] his having indulged, at all events in the last period of his reign, in ideas of church reformation. But the choice of his successor, Marcellus II (April-May, 1555), shows that these ideas were not yet extinct in the sacred college, notwithstanding the simultaneous creation by Julius III of fourteen cardinals; for Cervino had always been reckoned a member, though a moderate one, of the reforming party. Far greater, however, was the significance attaching to the election of the Pope who speedily took the place of Marcellus.

The pontificate of Paul IV (Gian Pietro Caraffa, May, 1555-August, 1559) forms one of the most remarkable chapters in the history of the Counter-reformation, which in him seemed under both its aspects to have secured the mastery of the Church. God's will alone, he was convinced, had placed him where he stood; for he was unconscious of having achieved anything through the favor of man. He was now seventy-nine years of age, but he had never been more eager to devote himself to his chosen purpose—the establishment in the eyes of all peoples of a pure and spiritually active church, free from all impediments of corruptions and abuses, and purged of all poison of heresy and schism.

Fully aware—though he had belonged to it himself—of the virtual failure of Paul III's commission of reform, Paul IV, in his first bull, solemnly promised an effectual reform of the Church and the Roman Curia, and lost no time in instituting a congregation for the purpose. The commission, which consisted of three divisions, each of them composed jointly of cardinals, bishops, and doctors, wisely addressed itself in the first instance to the question of ecclesiastical appointments. The new Pope likewise issued orders for the specific reform of monastic establishments, and his energy seemed to stand in striking contrast with the hesitations and delays of the recently suspended council.

But once more the seductions of the temporal power overcame its holder. Caraffa's residence in Spain, and enthusiasm for the religious ideals and methods prevalent there, had not eradicated the bitterly anti-Spanish feeling inborn in him as a Neapolitan, and Charles V, returning hatred for hatred, had done his utmost to offend the dignity and damage the interests[Pg 302] of the Cardinal. To these personal and national sentiments had been added the conviction that the Emperor's dealings with the German Protestants had encouraged them to deal a deadly blow to the unity and strength of the Church; and thus Paul IV allowed himself to be borne away by passion. His fiery temperament, fretted rather than soothed by old age, left him and those around him no peace; he maltreated the imperialist cardinals and the dependents of the Emperor within his reach, and sought to instigate the French government to take up arms once more.

Of a sudden, as if in another gust of passion, he made a clean sweep of the obstacles which his own perversity had placed in his path, and then took up in terrible earnest the work of church reform. He would allow no appointment savoring of corruption to any spiritual office; he would hear of no exception to the duty of residence; he completely abolished dispensations for marriages within prohibited degrees. Into the general management of the churches of the city, as well as into that of his own papal court, he introduced so strict a discipline that Rome was likened to a well-conducted monastery. But the agency which above all others he encouraged was that which his own advice had established in the centre of the Catholic world—the Inquisition. From the sacred college downward, no sphere of life was exempted from its control; and his intolerance extended itself to the very Jews whose privileges in the papal states he ruthlessly revoked. On his death-bed he recommended the Inquisition with the holy see itself to the pious cardinals surrounding him. It was afterward observed that many reforms decreed in its third period by the Council of Trent were copied from the ordinances issued by Paul IV in this memorable biennium. But inasmuch as during his pontificate the Church of Rome had lost ground in almost every country of Europe except Italy and Spain, his death (August 18, 1559) naturally brought with it a widespread renewal of the demand for remedies more effective than those supplied by his feverish activity and by the operations of his favorite institution.

Personally, Pius IV (1559-1566) was regarded, and probably chosen, as an opponent of the late Pope; his family history inclined him to the Imperial interest, and he was understood to[Pg 303] favor concessions to Germany with a view of bringing her stray sheep back into the fold. But in general he furthered rather than arrested the religious reaction. Above all, the Inquisition, though he is not known to have done anything to intensify its rigor or augment its authority, went on as before. Carlo Borromeo,[56] the nephew of Pius IV, served the holy see in a spirit of unselfish devotion, and began those efforts on behalf of religion which in the end obtained for him a place among the saints of the Church—a position not reached by many popes' nephews. With the aid of this influence, Pius IV came to perceive that the future, both of the Church and of the papacy, depended on the spirit of confidence and cohesion which could be infused into the former; nor had he from the very outset of his pontificate ever doubted the expediency of reassembling the council at Trent.

The emperor Ferdinand and the French Government, who persisted in treating the reunion of the Church as the primary object of the council, at first strongly urged the substitution for Trent of a genuinely German or French town, where the German bishops, and perhaps even the Protestants, would feel no scruple about attending. But a totally free and new council of this description lay outside the horizon of the papacy; and Pius IV might have let fall the plan altogether but for the fear of the entire separation in that event of the Gallican Church from Rome. In France, Protestantism had made considerable strides during the reign of Henry II (1547-1559). About six weeks before the death of Henry the first national synod of Protestants was held at Paris (May, 1559). Under Francis II the Guise influence became paramount, and the persecution of the Protestants continued. But though the suppression, just before this, of the so-called conspiracy of Amboise had temporarily added to the power of the Guises, it had also made the Queen-mother, Catherine de' Medici, resolve not to let the power of the state pass wholly out of her hands. Hence the appointment of the large-hearted L'Hôpital as chancellor, and the assembly of notables at Fontainebleau (August),[Pg 304] where the grievances against Rome found full expression, and where arrangements were made for a meeting of the States-general and a national council of the French Church. This resolution determined Pius IV to lose no further time. On November 29, 1560, he issued a bull summoning all the prelates and princes of Christendom to Trent for the following Easter. The invitation included both Eastern schismatics and Western heretics, Elizabeth of England among the rest; but neither she nor the German Protestant princes assembled at Naumburg, nor the kings of the Scandinavian North, would so much as receive the papal summons. In France the death of Francis II (December 5, 1560) further depressed the Guise influence; and Catherine entered into negotiations with the Pope with a view to concessions such as would satisfy the Huguenots while approved by the French bishops. The "Edict of January" (1562), which followed, long remained a sort of standard of fair concessions to the Huguenots.

The first deliberations of the reassembled council were barren. The question which really came home to the fathers of the Church assembled at Trent presented itself again when the sacrament of orders had in due course to be debated. The imperial and French ambassadors still coöperated as actively as ever, and the episcopal party, the Spanish prelates in particular, entered upon the struggle with a full sense of its critical importance. If the right divine of episcopacy could be declared, with it would be established the divine obligation of residence. Pius IV accordingly showed considerable shrewdness in instructing the legates at once to formulate a decree on residence, which, while leaving the question of divine obligation open, imposed penalties on nonresidence—except for lawful reasons—sufficient to meet practical requirements. But though such a decree was passed by the council, the debates on the origin of the episcopal office, which involved nothing less than the origin and nature of the papal supremacy, continued (November); and the critical nature of the discussion was the more apparent when in the midst of it there at last arrived nearly a score of French bishops, headed by the Cardinal of Lorraine. Hitherto France had been represented at the council by spokesmen of the French court and of the Parliament[Pg 305] of Paris; now the foremost among the prelates of the monarchy, whose abilities, however, unfortunately fell far short of his pretensions, announced in full conciliar assembly the demands of his branch of the Church. The recent January edict proved the strength of the Huguenots in France; and though the Cardinal's first speech at Trent breathed nothing but condemnation of these heretics, it suited him to pose as the advocate of as extensive a series of reforms as had yet been urged upon the council.

Further additions were made in the "libel," which was shortly afterward (January, 1563) presented by the French ambassador, and perfect harmony existed between the French and the imperial policy at the council. What decision, then, was to be expected on the crucial question as to the relations between papal and episcopal authority? How could a recognition of the Pope's claim to be regarded as rector universalis ecclesiæ be expected from such a union of the ultramontane forces? The current was not likely to be stopped by the papal court, which about this time Pius IV announced on his own account at Rome; it seemed on the point of rising higher than ever when (February, 1563) the Cardinal of Lorraine and some other prelates waited upon the Emperor at Innsbruck. In truth, however, a turning-point in the history of the council was close at hand. The Cardinal of Lorraine had left Trent for Innsbruck with threats of a Gallican synod on his lips. Ferdinand I had arrived there very wroth with the council, and had received the Bishop of Zante (Commendone), whom the legates sent to deprecate his vexation, with marked coolness. The remedies proposed to the Emperor by the Cardinal were drastic enough; the council was to be swamped by French, German, and Spanish bishops, and the Emperor, by repairing to Trent in person, was to awe the assembly into discussing the desired reforms, whether with or without the approval of the legates. But Ferdinand I, by nature moderate in action, and taught by the example of his brother, Charles V, the danger of violent courses, preferred to resort to a series of direct and by no means tame appeals to the Pope. The latter, indisposed as he was to support a fresh proposition for the removal of the council to some German town, urged by France, but resisted[Pg 306] by Spain, which at the same time persistently opposed the concession of the cup demanded by both France and the Emperor, saw his opportunity for taking his adversaries singly. The deaths about this time (March, 1563) of the presiding legate, Cardinal Gonzaga, and of his colleague Cardinal Seripando, both of whom had occasionally shown themselves inclined to yield to the reforming party, were likewise in his favor. Their places were filled by Cardinals Morone, formerly a prisoner indicted by the Inquisition, now an eager champion of papal claims, and Navagero, a Venetian by birth, but not in his political sentiments. Morone, though he had left Rome almost despairing of any favorable issue of the council, at once began to negotiate with the Emperor through the Jesuit Canisius. The leverage employed may, in addition to the distrust between Ferdinand and his Spanish nephew, and the ancient jealousy between Austria and France, have included some reference to the heterodox opinions and the consequently doubtful prospects of the Emperor's eldest son, Maximilian.

In a word, the papal government about this time formed and carried out a definite plan for inducing the Emperor to abandon his conciliar policy. The consideration offered for his assenting to a speedy termination of the council was the promise that, so soon as that event should have taken place, the desired concession of the cup should be made to his subjects. Ferdinand I, without becoming a thoroughgoing partisan of the papal policy, accepted the bargain as seemingly the shortest road to the end which, for the sake of the peace of the empire, he had at heart. Thus, notwithstanding the continued opposition of the French bishops, the decrees concerning the episcopate began to shape themselves more easily, and the Pope of his own accord submitted to the council certain canons of a stringent kind reforming in a similar way the discipline of the cardinalate (June). And when, in the course of a violent quarrel about precedence between the kings of France and Spain, the latter, enraged at his demands not being enforced by the Pope, had threatened, by insisting on the admission of Protestants to the council, indefinitely to prolong it, the Emperor intervened against the proposal. But the conflict between the papal and the episcopal authority seemed still incapable of[Pg 307] solution, and, though Lainez audaciously demanded the reference of all questions of reform to the sole decision of the Pope, and denounced the opposition of the French bishops as proceeding from members of a schismatic church, this opposition steadily continued in conjunction with that of the Spaniards, and still found a leader in the Cardinal of Lorraine.

Yet at this very time a change began to be perceptible in the conduct of this versatile and ambitious prelate. The Cardinal was supposed to have himself aspired to the office of presiding legate, and, though he had missed this place of honor and power, the condition of things in France was such as naturally to incline him in the direction of Rome. The assassination of his brother Francis, Duke of Guise (February, 1563), deprived his family and interest of their natural chief, and inclined Catherine de' Medici to transact with the Huguenots. The Cardinal accordingly became anxious at the same time to return to France and prevent the total eclipse of the influence he had hitherto exercised at court, and to secure himself by an understanding with the Pope.

A letter which about this time arrived from Mary, Queen of Scots, declaring her readiness to submit to the decrees of the council, and, should she ascend the throne of England, to reduce that country to obedience to the holy see, may perhaps be connected with these overtures. Pius IV, delighted to meet the Cardinal half way, sent instructions in this sense to the legates, whom the recent display of Spanish arrogance had already disposed favorably toward France. Thus the decree on the sacrament of orders was passed in the colorless condition desired by the papal party, in a session held on July 15th, the Spanish bishops angrily declaring themselves betrayed by the French Cardinal. Other decrees were passed in this memorable session, among them one of substantial importance for the establishment of diocesan seminaries for priests. Clearly, the council had now become tractable and might speedily be brought to an end. In this sense the Pope addressed urgent letters to the three great Catholic monarchs, and found willing listeners except in Spain.

Meanwhile the remaining decrees, both of doctrine and of discipline, were eagerly pushed on. The sacrament of marriage[Pg 308] gave rise to much discussion; but the proposal that the marriage of priests should be permitted, though formerly included in both the imperial and the French libel, was now advocated only by the two prelates who spoke directly in the name of the Emperor. But in the decree proposed on the all-important subject of the reformation of the life and morals of the clergy, the legates presumed too far on the yielding mood of the governments. It not only contained many admirable reforms as to the conditions under which spiritual offices, from the cardinalate downward, were to be held or conferred, but the papacy had wisely and generously surrendered many existing usages profitable to itself. At the same time, however, it was proposed not only to deprive the royal authority in the several states of a series of analogous profits, but to take away from it the nomination of bishops and the right of citing ecclesiastics before a secular tribunal. To the protest which the ambassadors of the powers inevitably raised against these proposals, the legates replied by raising a cry that the "reformation of the princes" should be comprehended in the decrees. It became necessary to postpone the objectionable article; but now the fears of the supporters of the existing system began to be excited, both at Rome and at Trent, and it was contrived to introduce so many modifications into the proposed decree as seriously to impair its value. Then, though the Cardinal of Lorraine himself, during a visit to Rome (September), showed his readiness to support the papal policy, the French ambassadors at the council carried their opposition to its encroachments upon the claims of their sovereign so far as to withdraw to Venice. And above all, the Spanish bishops, upheld by the persistency of their King, stood firmly by the original form of the reformation decree, and finally obtained its restoration to a very considerable extent. Thus the greater portion of the decree was at last passed in the penultimate session of the council (November 11th).

With the exception of Spain, all the powers now made known their consent to winding up the business of the council without further loss of time. But Count Luna still immovably resisted the closing of the council before the express assent of King Philip should have been received; nor was it till the news—authentic or not—arrived of a serious illness having befallen[Pg 309] the Pope that the fear of the complications which might arise in the event of his death put an end to further delay.

Summoned in all haste, the fathers met on December 3d for their five-and-twentieth session, and on this and the following day rapidly discussed a series of decrees, some of which were by no means devoid of intrinsic importance. In the doctrinal decrees concerning purgatory and indulgences, as in those concerning the invocation of saints and the respect due to their relics and images, it was sought to preclude a reckless exaggeration or distortion of the doctrines of the Church on these heads, and a corrupt perversion of the usages connected with them.

Of the disciplinary decrees, the most important and elaborate related to the religious of both sexes. It contained a clause, inserted on the motion of Lainez, which the Jesuits afterward interpreted as generally exempting their society from the operation of this decree. Another decree enjoined sobriety and moderation in the use of the ecclesiastical penalty of excommunication. For the rest, all possible expedition was used in gathering up the threads of the work done or attempted by the council. The determination of the Index, as well as the revision of missal, breviary, ritual, and catechism, was remitted to the Pope. Then the decrees debated in the last session and at its adjourned meeting were adopted, being subscribed by 234 (or 255?) ecclesiastics; and the decrees passed in the sessions of the council before its reassembling under Pope Pius IV were read over again, and thus its continuity (1545-1563) was established without any use being made of the terms "approbation" and "confirmation." A decree followed, composed by the Cardinal of Lorraine and Cardinal Madruccio, solemnly commending the ordinances of the council to the Church and to the princes of Christendom, and remitting any difficulties concerning the execution of the decrees to the Pope, who would provide for it either by summoning another general council or as he might determine. A concluding decree put an end to the council itself, which closed with a kind of general thanksgiving intoned by the Cardinal of Lorraine.

The decrees of the council were shortly afterward (January 26, 1564) ratified by Pius IV, against the wish of the more[Pg 310] determined Curialists, while others would have wished him to guard himself by certain restrictions. These were, however, unnecessary, as he reserved to himself the interpretation of doubtful or disputed decrees. This reservation remained absolute as to decrees concerning dogma; for the interpretation of those concerning discipline, Sixtus V afterward appointed a special commission under the name of the "congregation of the Council of Trent." While the former became ipso facto binding on the entire Church, the decrees on discipline and reformation could not become valid in any particular state till after they had been published in it with the consent of its government. This distinction is of the greatest importance. The doctrinal system of the Church of Rome was now enduringly fixed; the area which the Church had lost she could henceforth only recover if she reconquered it.

Many attempts at reunion by compromise have since been made from the Protestant side, and some of these have perhaps been met half way by the generous wishes of not a few Catholics; but the Council of Trent has doomed all these projects to inevitable sterility. The gain of the Church of Rome from her acquisition at Trent of a clearly and sharply defined "body of doctrine" is not open to dispute, except from a point of view which her doctors have steadily repudiated. And it is difficult to suppose but that, in her conflict with the spirit of criticism which from the first in some measure animated the Protestant Reformation and afterward urged it far beyond its original scope, the Church of Rome must have proved an unequal combatant had not the Council of Trent renewed the foundations of the authority claimed by herself and of that claimed by her head on earth.

The effect of the disciplinary decrees of the council, though more far-reaching and enduring than has been on all sides acknowledged, was necessarily in the first instance dependent on the reception given to them by the several Catholic powers. The representatives of the Emperor at once signed the whole of the decrees of the council, though only on behalf of his hereditary dominions; and he had his promised reward when, a few months afterward (April), the German bishops were, under certain restrictions, empowered to accord the cup in the eucharist[Pg 311] to the laity. But neither the Empire through its diet, nor Hungary, ever accepted the Tridentine decrees, though several of the Catholic estates of the Empire, both spiritual and temporal, individually accepted them with modifications. The example of Ferdinand was followed by several other powers; but in Poland the diet, to which the decrees were twice (1564 and 1578) presented as having been accepted by King Sigismund Augustus, refused to accord its own acceptance, maintaining that the Polish Church, as such, had never been represented at the council.

In Portugal and in the Swiss Catholic cantons the decrees were received without hesitation, as also by the Seigniory of Venice, whose representatives at Trent had rarely departed from an attitude of studied moderation, and who now merely safeguarded the rights of the republic. True to the part recently played by him, the Cardinal of Lorraine, on his own responsibility, subscribed to the decrees in the name of the King of France. But the Parliament of Paris was on the alert, and on his return home the Cardinal had to withdraw in disgrace to Rheims. Neither the doctrinal decrees of the council nor the disciplinary, which in part clashed with the customs of the kingdom and the privileges of the Gallican Church, were ever published in France. The ambassador of Spain, whose King and prelates had so consistently held out against the closing of the council, refused his signature till he had received express instructions. Yet as it was Spain which had hoped and toiled for the achievement at the council of solid results, so it was here that the decrees fell on the most grateful soil, when, after considerable deliberation and delay, their publication at last took place, accompanied by stringent safeguards as to the rights of the King and the usages of his subjects (1565). The same course was adopted in the Italian and Flemish dependencies of the Spanish monarchy.

The disciplinary decrees of the council, on the whole, fell short in completeness of the doctrinal. But while they consistently maintained the papal authority and confirmed its formal pretensions, the episcopal authority, too, was strengthened by them, not only as against the monastic orders, but in its own moral foundations. More than this, the whole priesthood,[Pg 312] from the Pope downward, benefited by the warnings that had been administered, by the sacrifices that had been made, and by the reforms that had been agreed upon. The Church became more united, less worldly, and more dependent on herself. These results outlasted the movement known as the Counter-reformation, and should be ignored by no candid mind.


[54] Pole became archbishop of Canterbury (1556) and chief adviser to Queen Mary, under whom he was largely responsible for the persecution of English Protestants.

[55] The Farnese were an illustrious Italian family. Alessandro Farnese was Pope Paul III.

[56] Count Carlo Borromeo, Italian cardinal, Archbishop of Milan, was one of the most noted of the ecclesiastical reformers. He was canonized in 1610.

[Pg 313]



A.D. 1546


In 1530 Charles V convened a diet at Augsburg for the settlement of religious disputes in Germany and preparation for war against the Turks, who were advancing into the empire. The diet issued a decree condemning most of the Protestant tenets. In consequence of this the Protestant princes of Germany at once entered into a league, known as the Smalkaldic League, from Smalkald, Germany, where it was formed. They bound themselves to assist each other by arms and money in defence of their faith against the Emperor, and to act together in all religious matters. They concluded an alliance with Francis I, King of France, and from Henry VIII of England they received moral support and some material assistance.

Charles was not yet ready to proceed to extremities. In 1531 terms of pacification were agreed upon, and the Emperor received earnest support from Protestant Germany in his preparations against the Turks, who after all withdrew without a battle. During the next few years there was no open hostility between the two religious parties, but all attempts at reconciliation failed. In 1538 the Catholic princes formed a counter-league, called the Holy League, and violent disputes continued.

At last Charles determined to crush the Reformation in Germany by military force. The German Protestants refused to be bound by the decrees of the Council of Trent (1545), because it was held in a foreign country and presided over by the Pope. Their attitude confirmed the Emperor in his resolve, and in 1546 began the conflict known as the Smalkaldic War, of which Armstrong gives us a spirited and impartial account.

War was actually opened neither by Emperor nor princes, but by the Protestant towns. The capable condottiere Sebastian Schartlin von Burtenbach led the forces of Augsburg and Ulm briskly southward, seized Fussen in the Bishop of Augsburg's territory on July 9th, and then surprised the small force guarding the pass of Ehrenberg, which gave access to the Inn[Pg 314] valley. The religious character of the war was emphasized by plunder of churches and ill usage of monks and clergy. Two obvious courses were now open to the insurgent princes. Either they could march direct on Regensburg, where a mere handful of troops protected Charles from a strongly Protestant population, or in support of Schartlin they could clear Tyrol of imperialists, close the passes to Spanish and Italian reënforcements, and even pay a domiciliary visit to the Council of Trent. This latter was Schartlin's programme; the Tyrolese had Protestant sympathies and dreaded the advent of the foreign troops; Charles averred that even their government was ill-affected. Schartlin would even have persuaded the Venetians and Grisons to forbid passage to the Emperor's troops, and have enlisted the services of Ercole of Ferrara, the enemy of the Pope. But either of the two strategic movements was too bold for the Smalkaldic council of war. The first would have violated the neutrality of Bavaria, in which the league still believed, while it had no quarrel with Ferdinand, who was ostensibly conciliatory. The towns, moreover, wished to keep their captain within hail, for they feared the possibility of attack either from Regensburg or from Ferdinand's paltry forces in the Vorarlberg.

Schartlin retired on Augsburg, but on July 20th, reënforced by a Wuertemberg contingent, occupied Donauworth, and was here joined on August 4th by the Elector and Landgrave. The insurgent army now numbered fifty thousand foot and seven thousand horse. The very size of this force, by far the largest that Germany could remember, is a disproof of the not uncommon assertion that Charles took the Lutherans by surprise.

On a rumor that the enemy were crossing the Danube to separate him from the troops on the march from Italy, Charles moved on Landshut with some six thousand men, not much more than a tenth of the opposing force. He was determined, he wrote, to remain in Germany alive or dead, rejecting as idle vanity the notion that it was beneath his dignity to lead a small force. At Landshut he met papal auxiliaries under Ottavio Farnese and Alessandro Vitelli, with detachments of light horse sent by the Dukes of Florence and Ferrara. When the Spanish foot and Neapolitan cavalry had joined, he could muster at Regensburg twenty-eight thousand men, over whom he placed Alba[Pg 315] in command. The Elector and Landgrave, in renunciation of their fealty, had sent in a herald with a broken staff addressed to Charles self-styled the Fifth and Roman Emperor. To him was delivered the ban of the empire against his masters, condemning them, not for heresy, but for acts of violence and rebellion, for the Pack plot, the attack on Wuertemberg, and the seizure of Brunswick.

The campaign now began in earnest. While the Lutherans timidly wasted their opportunities, Charles with his greatly inferior force made a hazardous night march on Ingolstadt. The movement was executed with much disorder, resembling a flight rather than an advance. The league neglected the chance of making a flank attack on the hurrying, straggling line as it followed the right bank of the Danube until it was conveyed across the river at Neustadt. To add to the Emperor's danger, his German troops were mostly Lutherans, hating the priests and the Spanish and Italian regiments. Many had early deserted from their general, the Marquis of Marignano; all cherished ill-feeling against Charles' confessor as being the cause of the civil war. Even the population of Bavaria, professedly a friendly territory, was in great part a Lutheran.

At Ingolstadt Charles could draw supplies from Bavaria, whose neutrality the league had foolishly respected, and thither the Count of Buren with the Netherland army might find his way. He was by no means out of danger, encamped as he was with but feeble artillery outside the city walls. But the Lutheran princes with all their bluster had little stomach for stand-up fights. From August 31st to September 3d they bombarded the city with one hundred ten guns, to which Charles' thirty-two pieces could make scant reply. They did not dare attack the impoverished trenches. "I would have done it," wrote the Landgrave, "had I been alone." On the other hand it was reported that the Lutherans laid the blame on Philip, that he had refused to move, "for every fox must save his own skin." The Cockerel, as the confessor, De Soto, had contemptuously prophesied, had crowed better than he fought. Charles, on the other hand, was at his best. He rode round the trenches, exhorting his soldiers to stand firm, with the assurance that artillery made more noise than mischief. In vain Granvelle sent the confessor to[Pg 316] persuade him that Christianity needed an emperor less gallant and more sensible. He answered that no king nor emperor had ever been killed by a cannon-ball, and, if he were so unfortunate as to make a start, it would be better so to die than to live. When Ferdinand afterward expostulated with his brother, Charles assured him that his self-exposure had been exaggerated, but that they were short of hands, and it was not a time to set bad example.

The division of Lutheran command was already giving Charles the expected opportunities. The princes withdrew westward, a palpable confession of weakness. They had been the aggressors, and yet they now surrendered the initiative to Charles. Their retirement enabled the Count of Buren to march in with his Netherland division, and with him the troops of Albert and Hans of Hohenzollern. This march of Buren was the strategic feat of the war. He had led the hostile forces which were watching him a dance up and down the Rhine, and slipped across it unopposed. He had brought his troops three hundred miles, mainly through the heart of Protestant Germany, with no certain knowledge where he should find the Emperor, for communications could only be maintained by means of long detours. Finally he marched boldly past the vastly superior army of the league, which had professedly retired from Ingolstadt to bar his passage.

Charles now took the offensive, pushing the enemy slowly up the Danube, and steadily forcing his way toward Ulm. The strongly Protestant Count Palatine of Neuburg, Otto Henry, was the first prince to lose his territory, which, indeed, his debts had already forced him to desert.

The Lutherans now showed more fight, and during the last fortnight of October the advance came almost to a standstill. Charles was ill, money and supplies were falling short, Spaniards and Italians were suffering from the cold rains of the Danube valley. The papal contingent was demoralized for want of pay; three thousand men deserted in a day, whereas the Lutherans were reënforced. Yet Charles, in spite of professional advice, refused to go into winter quarters. He counted on divisions in the League, on the selfish interests of the towns, on the penury of the princes, and reckoned aright. The fighting was[Pg 317] never more than skirmishing; not arms but ducats were deciding the issue; the fate of war was literally hanging on a fortnight's pay.

The Emperor had said that a league between towns and princes could never last. The financial burden pressed mainly on the cities, and they refused to raise further subsidies. The richer classes had always disliked the war; the great merchants were often, as the Fuggers of Augsburg, zealous Catholics. Trade was at a standstill, and they could protest that all their capital was at the Emperor's mercy, at Antwerp, at Seville, in the Indies, or else in Portugal. It was convenient to forget the brisk traffic which still continued with friendly Lyons. Zeal for the Lutheran cause seemed limited to a Catholic, Piero Strozzi the Florentine exile, who in his hatred for the Hapsburgs was vainly spending his fortune on revenge, striving for aid from Venice, negotiating loans from France. There was, moreover, no real solidarity between Northern and Southern Germany. Neither the Protestant princes nor the wealthy cities of the Baltic had as yet stirred a finger for the cause. Under any circumstances the Lutheran army must have broken up. The leaders had resolved to retire to the Rhineland for the winter, live at free quarters on the ecclesiastical princes, and renew the struggle in the spring.

At this critical moment Maurice of Saxony came into action. Hitherto his conduct had been ambiguous. This was probably due less to deliberate deceit than to genuine hesitation. The incompetence of the Lutheran leaders and Ferdinand's expressed intention of invading Ernestine Saxony determined him. Persuading his estates with difficulty that it was necessary to save the Electorate for the house of Wettin, he undertook to execute the ban in his cousin's state. His reward was the title of elector and the Ernestine territories. The correspondence of Charles and his brother on the subject was characteristic of both. Ferdinand, always greedy of territory, had bargained for partition, but Charles persuaded him to be content with John Frederick's Bohemian fiefs.

Charles, cautious and suspicious, was unwilling to grant the title until Maurice had proved his loyalty; Ferdinand, more impetuous, induced him to pay the bribe and give credit for the service.[Pg 318] The Albertine and Austrian troops soon overran the defenceless land. This determined the manner of the Danubian campaign, and the Saxon phase of the war began. John Frederick must withdraw his troops to defend their homes, and he plundered en route the neutral ecclesiastical territories through which he passed. "In a papal country," he told the burgomaster of Aschaffenburg, "there is nothing neutral." The campaign of the Danube was suddenly over. Philip of Hesse retired sullenly to his two wives, as Schartlin put it. As he passed through Frankfurt he hoisted banners with the crucifix, flails, and mattocks, to incite the lower classes to revolt; he had failed to bend the powers above him, he would fain stir Acheron.

Charles could now complete the subjection of Southern Germany. Granvelle, the last to be convinced of the necessity of war, was the first convert to the policy of peace, which the Landgrave and the towns desired. Peace would relieve the financial strain and prevent the Germans from becoming desperate; peace would enable Charles to turn his arms against the Turks. Charles thought it undignified to negotiate with an army in the field: peace entailed the abandonment of Maurice, and henceforth no other prince would dare serve him; Augsburg and Ulm, if they were persuaded that he had no wish to establish a tyranny in Germany, were likely to capitulate, and after a victory his generosity in leaving Germany her liberty would appear the greater. Charles did not at this moment fear the Turk, and it was in his power at any moment to propitiate the French. Pedro de Soto urged the continuance of the war, to avert the danger of a papal-French combination, which would be the natural result of Paul's indignation at a compromise with heretics.

The deserted princes and towns of South Germany now one by one made submission. Very pathetic was the Emperor's meeting with the Elector Palatine, the friend of his youth, the whilom lover of his sister, the husband of his niece. Charles did not extend his hand: the Elector made three low bows, after which Charles drew out a paper which he read and then spoke to him in French—"It has grieved me most of all that you in your old age should have been my enemies' companion, when we have been brought up together in our youth." The Elector[Pg 319] answered almost in a whisper, and left "like a skinned cat," the Emperor half raising his cap, but no one else. He was ordered to go to Granvelle, and the minister played the doctor and healed the wound. He returned with tears in his eyes, and then Charles forgave him. "My cousin, I am content that your past deserts toward me should cancel the errors which you have recently committed." Henceforth the old friendship was renewed.

Ulrich of Wuertemberg escaped less lightly. He paid a large indemnity, received Spanish garrisons in his fortresses, and engaged to serve against his late allies. He had no resource, for his subjects hated him; from the windows of the cottages fluttered the red and white Burgundian colors as a token of what was in the peasants' hearts. Ferdinand pressed warmly for the restoration of the duchy to Austria, but Charles replied that the aim of the war was the service of God and the revival of imperial authority: to seek their private advantage would only quicken the envy with which neighboring powers regarded the house of Hapsburg. Farther north the octogenarian of the Elector of Cologne resigned his see, and the evangelization of the Middle Rhine was at an end. Ulm gave in with a good grace, but Augsburg long delayed. Charles' original intention was, apparently, to garrison these towns, as Milan and Naples, with reliable Spanish troops, and perhaps to destroy their walls and dominate them by fortresses. But he treated the cities leniently. He left here and there companies of imperial troops, levied moderate contributions, replaced at Ulm and Augsburg the democratic constitution of the trades by the old wealthy aristocracies, but promised to respect the existing religion. Strasburg, which, in spite of French entreaties, capitulated in February, 1547, was almost exempt from punishment; it was feared that the distant, wealthy, and headstrong city might hold out a hand to the Swiss and become a canton.

In Southern and Western Germany there was no longer an enemy in the field, but, in the North, Maurice's treachery had brought its penalty. John Frederick, acting with unusual vigor, recovered his dominions, received homage from the feudatories of Halberstadt and Magdeburg, and overran Maurice's territories, until he was checked before the walls of Leipsic. When[Pg 320] Ferdinand prepared to aid Maurice, the German Protestants of Lusatia and Silesia refused their contingents, and the Bohemian Utraquists made common cause with the Lutherans. The Utraquist nobility and towns formed a league in defence of national and religious liberties; they convoked a diet and raised an army. Ferdinand was faced by a general Bohemian revolt. His position was weakened by his wife's death in February, for it was pretended that he was merely consort. Only the Catholic nobles were for the Hapsburg King; the roads were barricaded to prevent the passage of his artillery; and John Frederick, entering Bohemia, received a hearty welcome. The North German maritime and inland cities were now in arms, and the Lutheran princes of Oldenburg and Mansfield were threatening the Netherlands. Charles sent his best troops to Ferdinand's aid, and despatched Hans and Albert Hohenzollern in support of Maurice. But Germans could still beat Germans. Albert was surprised and taken at Rochlitz. Ferdinand eagerly pressed Charles to march north in person. The Emperor was unwilling, and Granvelle strongly dissuaded it. The despatch of Alba was the alternative, but Charles did not trust his generalship. He was delayed, partly by gout, and partly by fear of a fresh rising in the Swabian towns. Here he had left seven thousand men, but he could not himself safely stay in Nuremberg without a garrison of three thousand, and could not afford to lock these up. His sole presence in the North, wrote Piero Colonna, was worth twenty-five thousand foot, and Charles, ill as he was, must march.

The unexpected turn which the war had taken in Saxony was not Charles' only trouble. Paul III had been alarmed by the Emperor's progress, which had been more rapid and complete than he expected, and at the end of six months, for which he had promised his contingent, he withdrew it. The material loss was slight, but the whole aspect of the war was altered. Charles could scarcely now profess to be fighting for submission to Pope and council, for the council in March transferred itself, after violent altercations with the Spanish bishops and imperial envoys, to Bologna. Rome rejoiced at the successes of John Frederick. In the late French war the Turks had figured as the Pope's friends and had spared his shores; it now seemed possible[Pg 321] that the Lutherans might be the Pope's allies. It was certain that, if time were given, the Pope's defection would stimulate the active hostility of France. Charles must have done with the rebellion, and that quickly.

Tortured by gout and fearing that his forces would prove inferior to the Saxons, Charles moved painfully from Nordlingen to Regensburg and thence to Eger, where he was joined by Ferdinand, Maurice, and the electoral prince of Brandenburg. Spending Easter at Eger, he crossed the Saxon frontier on April 13, 1547, with eighteen thousand foot and eight thousand horse. Ten days of incessant marching brought him within touch of the Elector, who was guarding the bridge of Meissen. John Frederick had foolishly frittered away his forces in Saxon and Bohemian garrisons. He now burned the bridge and retired down the Elbe to Muehlberg, hoping to concentrate his scattered forces under the walls of Wittenberg, while his bridge of boats would keep open communications with the left bank.

Charles was too quick for the ponderous Elector. He marched at midnight on April 23-24, and at 9 a.m. reached the Elbe, nearly opposite Muehlberg. As the mist cleared, Alba's light horse descried the bridge of boats swinging from the farther bank, and a dozen Spaniards, covered by an arquebuse fire, swam the river with swords between their teeth, routed the guard, and brought the boats across. Meanwhile Alba and Maurice found a ford by which the light horse crossed with arquebusiers en croupe. Charles and Ferdinand followed, with the water up to the girths, the Emperor pale as death and thin as a skeleton. The Elector, after attending his Sunday sermon, was enjoying his breakfast; he made no attempt to defend his strong position on the higher bank, but withdrew his guns and infantry, covering the retreat in person with his cavalry. The bulk of the imperial forces had crossed by the bridge of boats, and the day was passed in a running rear-guard action. It was a long-drawn sunset, and not till between six and seven did Alba, as ever making sure, deliver his decisive attack. The Saxon horse had turned fiercely on the pursuing light cavalry some nine miles from Muehlberg, and then the imperialists, striking home, converted the retreat into a headlong flight. More than a third of the Saxon forces were left upon the field; the whole of their artillery and[Pg 322] baggage train was taken. John Frederick regained his timid generalship by his personal bravery. Left almost single-handed in the wood through which his troops retired, he slashed at the Neapolitan light-horsemen and Hungarian hussars who surrounded him, but at length surrendered to Ippolito da Porto of Vicenza, who led him, his forehead streaming with blood, to Charles.

Of the interview between the Emperor and his enemy there are several versions, but none inconsistent. "Most powerful and gracious Emperor," said the Elector, vainly endeavoring to dismount, "I am your prisoner." "You recognize me as Emperor now?" rejoined Charles. "I am to-day a poor prisoner; may it please your majesty to treat me as a born prince." "I will treat you as you deserve," said Charles. Then broke in Ferdinand, "You have tried to drive me and my children from our lands."

The evidence as to the angry scene seems conclusive. Charles had been twenty-one hours in the saddle; he had been exasperated by the insolence of the Princess, who had addressed him as "Charles of Ghent, self-styled Emperor." Yet his harsh reception of a wounded prisoner contrasts unpleasantly with the generosity which his biographers have ascribed to him.

Muehlberg was little more than a skirmish, and yet it was decisive. In a far more murderous battle the imperialists were beaten. The forces of the maritime towns had compelled Eric of Brunswick to raise the siege of Bremen, and on his retreat had defeated him near Drakenberg with a heavy loss. But victories belated or premature do not turn the scale against an opportune success. The sole result of the battle was to delay the Landgrave's surrender a little longer. Philip had sworn to die like a mad-dog before he would surrender his fortresses, but he yielded ultimately without a blow. He found discontent rife among his nobles; he was threatened alike from the Netherlands and by the Count of Buren; for months he wavered between capitulation and resistance. Arras assured the nuncio that he was a scoundrel and a coward; that he had implored Maurice to intercede, first for all Lutheran Germany, then for John Frederick and himself, and finally for himself alone. "See what men these are," added the Bishop later. "Philip has even[Pg 323] offered to march against the Duke of Saxony; he is a sorry fellow and of evil nature: he is such a scoundrel that his majesty cannot trust him in any promise that he may make, for he has never kept one yet."

The imperial minister's judgment upon the Landgrave was too severe. He long struggled for honor against fear, and, but for his son-in-law, Maurice's influence might have made a better fight. Maurice had from the first striven to detach Philip from John Frederick, while in turn he was expected by the Landgrave to strike in for a free Germany and a free gospel against the Hungarian hussars and the black Spanish devils. When the two Lutheran leaders parted in November, 1546, on no good terms, Philip warned his son-in-law that the Elector was on the march against him, but begged to intercede with Charles for a general peace. Maurice would have no peace with his Ernestine cousins, but offered to use all his influence on behalf of Philip, who must hasten to decide, for Buren was "on his legs" and the Emperor was an obstinate man. From this moment the Landgrave's irresolution was piteous; the negotiations crippled all enterprise, and yet he could not persuade himself to abandon his ally, although the natural expiry of the League of Smalkald on February 27, 1547, gave him a tolerable pretext. Maurice waxed impatient at the recurring hesitation, at the perpetual amendment of all suggested terms: Philip could not bargain with Charles as though he were a tradesman; he need have no fear for religion, but he must make it clear to the Emperor and Ferdinand that he was against John Frederick. Then came the defeat of Muehlberg, which at least relieved Philip from obligations to his late ally. It was now the surrender of his fortresses and his artillery that he could not stomach, and the victory of Drakenberg raised his once martial ardor to a final flicker.

The flicker died away, and at length Philip yielded to the pressure of Maurice and Joachim of Brandenburg. Charles insisted on unconditional surrender, but promised the mediators that punishment should not extend to personal injury or perpetual imprisonment—this only, however, on their pledge that Philip should not be informed of these limitations. It was agreed that he should dismantle his fortresses with one exception, surrender his artillery, and pay an indemnity, but[Pg 324] that his territory should remain intact and its religion undisturbed.

With Philip's surrender the war seemed virtually at an end. Magdeburg, indeed, still held out, for fear of falling again under its Catholic Hohenzollern Archbishop. There was no reason to believe that the city would prove more courageous than its fellows. Charles did not dare spend his four thousand Spaniards in the assault, but in this case extravagance would have proved to be economy. When he knew his subject, his opinion was usually well founded; he had little knowledge, however, of North Germany, and confused Magdeburg with Ulm or Augsburg. It were better for Charles had his Spaniards been decimated on its parapet than that they should lord it in security over the churches and taverns of Southern Germany.

Apart from his two last mistakes, in the campaign against the league, Charles, whether as a soldier or statesman, is seen at his best. When once the drums beat to arms there was an end to irresolution. He had that reserve of energy upon which an indolent, lethargic nature can sometimes at a crisis draw. The Netherlands seemed threatened from east to west; yet in perfect calm he ordered his agitated sister Mary to watch her frontiers, but to send every man and gun that could be spared under Buren to the front. Taking advantage of his enemies' delays, he made with greatly inferior forces the forward move on Ingolstadt, and was there seen under heavy fire "steady as a rock and smiling." Racked by gout he now sought sleep in his litter behind a bastion, now warmed his aching limbs in a little movable wooden room heated by a stove. In the cold, wet November, when generals and ministers fell sick, and soldiers of every nationality deserted, he resolutely rejected expert advice to withdraw into winter quarters. He would not give his enemies, he said, the least chance of outstaying him. All success, wrote the Marquis of Marignano, was due to the Emperor's resolution to keep the field. Charles vexed the fiery Buren by shrinking from a general engagement, because he knew that his combinations would break up the league without the risk of a battle. But when once danger really pressed, ill as he was, he marched across Germany, and followed fast upon the Elector's heels until he tripped and took him.

[Pg 325]


A.D. 1549


Lands discovered or settled by Europeans after the founding of the Jesuits were quickly chosen by the zealous members of that order as scenes of missionary work. In the case of Japan, missions followed discovery with unusual rapidity.

Excepting what was told by Marco Polo, who visited the coast of Japan in the thirteenth century, nothing was learned of that country by the Western World until its discovery by the Portuguese. In 1541 King John III requested Francis Xavier, one of the Jesuit founders, with other members of his order, to undertake missionary work in the Portuguese colonies. Through his labors in India, Xavier became known as the "Apostle of the Indies." Before sailing to Japan he had established a flourishing mission with a school, called the Seminary of the Holy Faith, at Goa, on the Malabar coast of India.

It was to Portuguese enterprise that Christianity owed its introduction into Japan in the sixteenth century. As early as 1542 Portuguese trading vessels began to visit Japan, where they exchanged Western commodities for the then little-known products of the Japanese islands; and seven years afterward three Portuguese missionaries (Xavier, Torres, and Fernandez) took passage in one of these merchant ships and landed at Kagoshima.

The leading spirit of the three, it need scarcely be said, was Xavier, who had already acquired considerable reputation by his missionary labors in India. After a short residence the missionaries were forced to leave Satsuma, and after as short a stay in the island of Hirado, which appears to have been then the rendezvous of trade between the Portuguese merchants and the Japanese, they crossed over to the mainland and settled down in Yamaguchi in Nagato, the chief town of the territories of the Prince of Choshiu. After a visit to the capital, which was productive of no result, owing to the disturbed[Pg 326] state of the country, Xavier (November, 1551) left Japan with the intention of founding a Jesuit mission in China, but died on his way in the island of Sancian.

In 1553 fresh missionaries arrived, some of whom remained in Bungo, where Xavier had made a favorable impression before his departure, while others joined their fellow-missionaries in Yamaguchi. After having been driven from the latter place by the outbreak of disturbances, and having failed to establish a footing in Hizen, we find the missionaries in 1557 collected in Bungo, and this province appears to have become their headquarters from that time. In the course of the next year but one, Vilela made a visit to Kioto, Sakai, and other places, during which he is said to have gained a convert in the person of the daimio, of the small principality of Omura, who displayed an imprudent excess of religious zeal in the destruction of idols and other extreme measures, which could only tend to provoke the hostility of the Buddhist priesthood. The conversion of this prince was followed by that of Arima-no-Kami (mistakenly called the Prince of Arima by the Jesuits).

Other missionaries arriving in 1560, the circle of operations was extended; but shortly afterward the revolution, headed by Mori, compelled Vilela to leave Kioto, where he had settled, and a simultaneous outbreak in Omura necessitated the withdrawal of the missionaries stationed there. Mori, of Choshiu, was perhaps the most powerful noble of the day, possessing no fewer than ten provinces, and, as he was throughout an open enemy to Christianity, his influence was exercised against it with much ill result.

On Vilela's return to Kioto from Sakai, where a branch mission had been established, he succeeded in gaining several distinguished converts. Among these were Takayama, a leading general of the time, and his nephew. He did not, however, remain long in the capital. The recurrence of troubles in 1568 made it necessary for him to withdraw, and he then proceeded to Nagasaki, where he met with considerable success. In this same year we come across Valegnani preaching in the Goto Isles, and Torres in the island of Seki, where he died. Almeida, too, about this time founded a Christian community at[Pg 327] Shimabara, afterward notorious as the scene of the revolt and massacre of the Christians.

Hitherto we find little mention of Christianity in Japanese books. This may partly be explained by the fact that the labors of the missionaries were chiefly confined to the southern provinces, Christianity having as yet made little progress at Kioto, the seat of literature. But the scarcity of Japanese records can scarcely be wondered at in the face of the edict issued later in the next century, which interdicted not only books on the subject of Christianity, but any book in which even the name of Christian or the word Foreign should be mentioned.

Short notices occur in several native works of the arrival in Kioto at this date of the Jesuit missionary Organtin, and some curious details are furnished respecting the progress of Christianity in the capital and the attitude of Nobunaga in regard to it.

The Saikoku Kirishitan Bateren Jitsu Roku, or "True Record of Christian Padres in Kiushiu," gives a minute account of the appearance and dress of Organtin, and goes on to say: "He was asked his name and why he had come to Japan, and replied that he was the Padre Organtin and had come to spread his religion. He was told that he could not be allowed at once to preach his religion, but would be informed later on. Nobunaga accordingly took counsel with his retainers as to whether he should allow Christianity to be preached or not. One of these strongly advised him not to do so, on the ground that there were already enough religions in the country. But Nobunaga replied that Buddhism had been introduced from abroad and had done good in the country, and he therefore did not see why Christianity should not be granted a trial. Organtin was consequently allowed to erect a church and to send for others of his order, who, when they came, were found to be like him in appearance. Their plan of action was to tend the sick and relieve the poor, and so prepare the way for the reception of Christianity, and then to convert everyone and make the sixty-six provinces of Japan subject to Portugal."

The Ibuki Mogusa gives further details of this subject, and[Pg 328] says that the Jesuits called their church Yierokuji, after the name of the period in which it was built, but that Nobunaga changed the name to Nambanji, or "Temple of the Southern Savages." The word Namban was the term usually applied to the Portuguese and Spaniards.

During the next ten years Organtin and other missionaries worked with considerable success in Kioto under Nobunaga's immediate protection. This period is also remarkable for the conversion of the Prince of Bungo, who made open profession of Christianity and retired into private life, and for the rapid progress which the new doctrine made among the subjects of Arima-no-Kami. This good fortune was again counterbalanced by the course of events in the Goto Islands, where Christianity lost much ground owing to a change of rulers.

Ten years thus passed away, when the Christian communities sustained great loss in the disgrace of Takayama, who was banished to Kaga for taking part in an unsuccessful intrigue against Nobunaga which was headed by the Prince of Choshiu. Takayama's nephew, Ukon, however, declared for Nobunaga, and the latter gave a further proof of his friendly feeling toward Christianity by establishing a church in Adzuchi-no-Shiro, the castle town which he had built for himself in his native province of Omi.

In 1582 a mission was sent to the papal see on the part of the Princes of Bungo and Omura, and Arima-no-Kami. This mission was accompanied by Valegnani, and reached Rome in 1585, returning five years later to Japan.

In the following year Nobunaga was assassinated and Hideyoshi, who succeeded him in the chief power, was content, for the first three or four years of his administration, to follow in the line of policy marked out by his predecessor. Christianity, therefore, progressed in spite of the drawbacks caused by the frequent feuds between the southern daimios, and seminaries were established under Hideyoshi's auspices at Osaka and Sakai. During this period Martinez arrived in the capacity of bishop; he was charged with costly presents from the Viceroy of Goa to Hideyoshi, and received a favorable audience.

Hideyoshi's attitude toward Christianity at this time is easily explained. The powerful southern barons were not[Pg 329] willing to accept him as Nobunaga's successor without a struggle, and there were other reasons against the adoption of too hasty measures. Two of his generals, Kondera and Konishi Setsu-no-Kami, who afterward commanded the second division of the army sent against Corea, the Governor of Osaka, and numerous other officers of state and nobles of rank and influence, had embraced Christianity, and the Christians were therefore not without influential supporters. Hideyoshi's first act was to secure his position. For this purpose he marched into Kiushiu at the head of a large force and was everywhere victorious. This done, he threw off the mask he had been wearing up to this time, and in 1587 took the first step in his new course of action by ordering the destruction of the Christian church at Kioto—which had been in existence for a period of eighteen years—and the expulsion of the missionaries from the capital.

It will be seen by the following extract from the Ibuki Mogusa that Nobunaga at one time entertained designs for the destruction of Nambanji.

"Nobunaga," we read, "now began to regret his previous policy in permitting the introduction of Christianity. He accordingly assembled his retainers and said to them: 'The conduct of these missionaries in persuading people to join them by giving money does not please me. It must be, I think, that they harbor the design of seizing the country. How would it be, think you, if we were to demolish Nambanji?' To this Mayeda Tokuzenin replied: 'It is now too late to demolish the temple of Nambanji. To endeavor to arrest the power of this religion now is like trying to arrest the current of the ocean. Nobles both great and small have become adherents of it. If you would exterminate this religion now, there is fear lest disturbances be created even among your own retainers. I am, therefore, of opinion that you should abandon your intention of destroying Nambanji.' Nobunaga in consequence regretted exceedingly his previous action with regard to the Christian religion, and set about thinking how he could root it out."

The Jesuit writers attribute Hideyoshi's sudden change of attitude to three different causes, but it is clear that Hideyoshi[Pg 330] was never favorable to Christianity, and that he only waited for his power to be secure before taking decided measures of hostility. His real feeling in regard to the Christians and their teachers is explained in the Life of Hideyoshi, from which work we learn that even before his accession to power he had ventured to remonstrate with Nobunaga for his policy toward Christianity.

Hideyoshi's next act was to banish Takayama Ukon to Kaga, where his uncle already was, and he then in 1588 issued a decree ordering the missionaries to assemble at Hirado and prepare to leave Japan. They did so, but finding that measures were not pushed to extremity they dispersed and placed themselves under the protection of various nobles who had embraced Christianity. The territories of these princes offered safe asylums, and in these scattered districts the work of Christianity progressed secretly while openly interdicted.

In 1591 Valegnani had a favorable audience of Hideyoshi, but he was received entirely in an official capacity, namely, in the character of envoy of the Viceroy of Goa.

Christianity was at its most flourishing stage during the first few years of Hideyoshi's administration. We can discern the existence at this date of a strong Christian party in the country, though the turning-point had been reached, and the tide of progress was on the ebb. It is to this influence probably, coupled with the fact that his many warlike expeditions left him little leisure to devote to religious questions, that we must attribute the slight relaxation observable in his policy toward Christianity at this time.

"Up to this date," says Charlevoix, "Hideyoshi had not evinced any special bitterness against Christianity, and had not proceeded to rigorous measures in regard to Christians. The condition of Christianity was reassuring. Rodriguez was well in favor at court, and Organtin had returned to Kioto along with several other missionaries, and found means to render as much assistance to the Christians in that part of the country as he had been able to do before the issue of the edict against Christianity by Hideyoshi."

The inference which it is intended should be drawn from these remarks, taken with the context, is clear; namely, that,[Pg 331] had the Jesuits been left alone to prosecute the work of evangelizing Japan, the ultimate result might have been very different. However, this was not to be.

Hitherto, for a period of forty-four years, the Jesuits had it all their own way in Japan; latterly, by virtue of a bull issued by Pope Gregory XIII in 1585—the date of the appointment of the first bishop and of the arrival at Rome of the Japanese mission—and subsequently confirmed by the bull of Clement III in 1600, by which the réligieux of other orders were excluded from missionary work in Japan. The object of these papal decrees was, it seems, to insure the propagation of Christianity on a uniform system. They were, however, disregarded when the time came, and therefore, for a new influence which was brought to bear upon Christianity at this date—not altogether for its good, if the Jesuit accounts may be credited—we must look to the arrival of an embassy from the Governor of the Philippines, whose ambassador was accompanied by four Franciscan priests.

These new arrivals, when confronted by the Jesuits with the papal bull, declared that they had not transgressed it, and defended their action on the ground that they had come attached to an embassy and not in the character of missionaries; but they argued at the same time, with a casuistry only equalled by their opponents, that, having once arrived in Japan, there was nothing to hinder them from exercising their calling as preachers of Christianity.

The embassy was successful, and Baptiste, who appears to have conducted the negotiations in place of the real envoy, obtained Hideyoshi's consent to his shrewd proposal that, pending the reference to Manila of Hideyoshi's claim to the sovereignty of the Philippines, he and his brother missionaries should remain as hostages. Hideyoshi, while consenting, made their residence conditional on their not preaching Christianity—a condition which it is needless to say was never observed.

Thus, at one and the same time, the Spaniards, who had long been watching with their jealous eyes the exclusive right of trade enjoyed by the Portuguese, obtained an opening for commerce, and the Franciscans a footing for their religious mission.[Pg 332]

It was not long before the newly-arrived missionaries were called upon to prove their devotion to their cause. In 1593, in consequence of the indiscreet statements of the pilot of a Spanish galleon, which, being driven by stress of weather into a port of Tosa, was seized by Hideyoshi, nine missionaries—namely, six Franciscans and three Jesuits—were arrested in Kioto and Osaka, and, having been taken to Nagasaki, were there burned. This was the first execution carried out by the government.

Hideyoshi died in the following year (1594), and the civil troubles which preceded the succession of Iyeyasu to the post of administrator, in which the Christians lost their chief supporter, Konishi, who took part against Iyeyasu, favored the progress of Christianity in so far as diverting attention from it to matters of more pressing moment.

Iyeyasu's policy toward Christianity was a repetition of his predecessor's. Occupied entirely with military campaigns against those who refused to acknowledge his supremacy, he permitted the Jesuits, who now numbered one hundred, to establish themselves in force at Kioto, Osaka, and Nagasaki. But as soon as tranquillity was restored, and he felt himself secure in the seat of power, he at once gave proof of the policy he intended to follow by the issue of a decree of expulsion against the missionaries. This was in 1600. The Jesuit writers affirm that he was induced to withdraw his edict in consequence of the threatening attitude adopted by certain Christian nobles who had espoused his cause in the late civil war, but no mention is made of this in the Japanese accounts.

So varying, and indeed so altogether unintelligible, was the action of the different nobles throughout Kiushiu in regard to Christianity during the next few years, that we see one who was not a Christian offering an asylum in his dominions to several hundred native converts who were expelled from a neighboring province; another who had systematically opposed the introduction of Christianity actually sending a mission to the Philippines to ask for missionaries; while a third, who had hitherto made himself conspicuous by his almost fanatical zeal in the Christian cause, suddenly abandoned his new faith,[Pg 333] and, from having been one of its most ardent supporters, became one of its most bitter foes.

The year 1602 is remarkable for the despatch of an embassy by Iyeyasu to the Philippines, and for the large number of réligieux of all orders who flocked to Japan.

Affairs remained in statu quo for the next two or three years, during which the Christian cause was weakened by the death of two men which it could ill afford to lose. One of these was the noble called Kondera by Charlevoix, but whose name we have been unable to trace in Japanese records. The other was Organtin, who had deservedly the reputation of being the most energetic member of the Jesuit body.

The number of Christians in Japan at this time is stated to have been one million eight hundred thousand. The number of missionaries was of course proportionally large, and was increased by the issue in 1608 of a new bull by Pope Paul V allowing to réligieux of all orders free access to Japan.

The year 1610 is remarkable for the arrival of the Dutch, who settled in Hirado, and for the destruction in the harbor of Nagasaki of the annual Portuguese galleon sent by the traders of Macao. In this latter affair, which rose out of a dispute between the natives and the people of the ship, Arima-no-Kami was concerned, and his alliance with the missionaries was thus terminated.

In 1611 no less than three embassies arrived in Japan from the Dutch, Spanish, and Portuguese respectively, and in 1613 Saris succeeded in founding an English factory in Hirado, where the Dutch had already established themselves. It was early in the following year that Christianity was finally proscribed by Iyeyasu. The decree of expulsion directed against the missionaries was followed by a fierce outbreak of persecution in all the provinces in which Christians were to be found, which was conducted with systematic and relentless severity.

The Jesuit accounts attribute this resolution on the part of Iyeyasu to the intrigues of the English and Dutch traders. Two stories, by one of which it was sought to fix the blame on the former and by the other on the latter, were circulated, and will be found at length in Charlevoix's history.

We have no wish to enter upon a defence either of our[Pg 334] countrymen or of the Dutch, and fully admit the possibility of such intrigues having occurred. Indeed, considering in what relations both Spanish and Portuguese stood at that time to both of the other nations, and how high religious feeling ran in the seventeenth century, it would be strange if some intrigue had not taken place. Still we should like to point out that there were, we think, causes, other than those to which the Jesuit writers confine themselves, quite sufficient in themselves to account for the extreme measures taken against Christianity at this date.

There was the predetermination against Christianity already shown by Iyeyasu; there were the new avenues of trade opened up by the arrival of the English and Dutch; there was the increased activity displayed by the missionaries at a time when Christianity was in a weak state, and lastly there was the influence of the Buddhist priesthood.

That this edict of expulsion issued by Iyeyasu was the effect of no sudden caprice on his part, is clear from the general view which we have of his whole policy, which was similar to that of his predecessor. His early tolerance of Christianity is susceptible of the same explanation as that shown by Hideyoshi. His mind was evidently made up, and he was only biding his time.

It is also highly probable that the new facilities for trade offered by the advent of the Dutch and English may have had some influence upon the action of Iyeyasu. It is impossible that he can have been altogether blind to the fact that the teaching of Christianity had not been unattended with certain evils, dangerous, to say the least, to the tranquillity of the country; and it cannot have escaped his notice that, whereas the respective admissions of Portuguese and Spaniards had been followed by the introduction of Christian missionaries, who in numbers far exceeded the traders, the same feature was not a part of the policy of the two other nations, whose proceedings had no connection whatsoever with religion. Possibly, too, reports may have reached his ears of the growing supremacy of the Dutch in the East, and have induced him to transfer his favor from the Portuguese and Spaniards to the new arrivals.[Pg 335]

As regards the condition of Christianity at this time, the Jesuit accounts supply us with facts which show that, numerically speaking, the Christian cause was never so strong as at this period. There were some two millions of converts, whose spiritual concerns were administered by no fewer than two hundred missionaries, three-fourths of whom were Jesuits. According to the Kerisuto-Ki, a native work, there were Christian churches in every province of Kiushiu except Hiuga and Osumi, and also in Kioto, Osaka, Sendai, and Kanagawa in Kaga; and it was only in eight provinces of Japan that Christianity had gained no footing. An increased activity in the operations of the missionaries is discernible about this time. The Dominicans in Satsuma, the Franciscans in Yedo (Tokio), and the Jesuits in the capital and southern provinces, seem to have been vying with each other which should gain most converts; and the circuit made by Cerqueyra, in which he visited all the Jesuit establishments throughout the country, was probably not without effect in exciting fresh enthusiasm among the converts everywhere, which, again, would naturally draw attention to the progress of Christianity. But, strong as the position of the Christians was numerically, we must not judge of the strength of their cause merely by the number of converts, or by the number of missionaries resident in Japan. If we consider the facts before us, we find that Christianity lacked the best of all strength—influence in the state. All its principal supporters among the aristocracy were either dead, had renounced their new faith, or were in exile; and here we have the real weakness of the Christian cause. While, therefore, circumstances combined to draw attention to its progress, it was in a state which could ill resist any renewed activity of persecution which might be the result of the increased interest which it excited. Without influence at the court and without influence in the country, beyond what slight influence the mass of common people scattered through various provinces, who were Christians, might be said to possess, Christianity presented itself assailable with impunity.

The last cause we have mentioned, as being probably connected with the decisive measures adopted by Iyeyasu, is the influence of the Buddhist priesthood. Japanese history mentions[Pg 336] the great power attained by the priesthood prior to Nobunaga's administration. Although that power was broken by Nobunaga, Hideyoshi did not inherit the former's animosity toward the priests, and Iyeyasu from the first came forward as their patron. And, again, we must not lose sight of the fact that a deep-rooted suspicion of foreigners was ever present in the minds of the Japanese Government; a suspicion which the course of events in China, of which we may presume the Japanese were not altogether ignorant—the jealousy of the native priests; the control of their converts exercised by the missionaries, which doubtless extended to secular matters; the connection of Christianity with trade; and the astounding progress made by it in the space of half a century—all tended to confirm. Enough has been said to show that we need not go so far as the intrigues, real or imaginary, of the English and Dutch, to look for causes for the renewed stimulus given at this date to the measures against Christianity.

In 1614 the edict was carried into effect, and the missionaries, accompanied by the Japanese princes who had been in exile in Kaga, and a number of native Christians, were made to embark from Nagasaki. Several missionaries remained concealed in the country, and in subsequent years not a few contrived to elude the vigilance of the authorities and to reënter Japan. But they were all detected sooner or later, and suffered for their temerity by their deaths.

Persecution did not stop with the expulsion of the missionaries, nor at the death of Iyeyasu was any respite given to the native Christians. And this brings us to the closing scene of this history—the tragedy of Shimabara. In the autumn of 1637 the peasantry of a convert district in Hizen, driven past endurance by the fierce ferocity of the persecution, assembled to the number of thirty thousand, and, fortifying the castle of Shimabara, declared open defiance to the Government; their opposition was soon overborne; troops were sent against them, and after a short but desperate resistance all the Christians were put to the sword. With the rising of Shimabara, and its sanguinary suppression by the Government, the curtain falls on the early history of Christianity in Japan.

[Pg 337]



A.D. 1552


Henry II, son of Francis I, ascended the throne of France in 1547. It had been the ambition of the French to establish the eastern boundary of their country on the Rhine, and thence along the summit of the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea. Jealousy of the growing power of his father's old enemy, the emperor Charles V, probably added to the French King's eagerness to fulfil the desire of his people for extension of their borders.

Charles was now occupied with the religious wars in Germany, and Henry prepared to improve his opportunity by taking full advantage of the Emperor's situation. The fact that the Protestants among his own subjects were cruelly persecuted did not deter the French monarch from furthering his ambition by consenting to assist the German Protestants against their own sovereign.

In 1551, when for six years there had been no actual war between France and the empire, Henry entered into an alliance with German princes against the Emperor. Several of those princes, headed by Maurice of Saxony, had secretly formed a league to resist by force of arms the "measures employed by Charles to reduce Germany to insupportable and perpetual servitude."

Charles V was on the point of becoming as despotic in Germany as he was in Spain. The long interval of peace, though not very profound—war being always threatened and attempts to provoke it frequent—yet was sufficiently so to enable him to devote himself to his favorite scheme of humbling the princes and free states of the empire. He had sown dissension among them, succeeded in breaking up the League of Smalkald, and detained in prison, threatened with perpetual captivity, the Landgrave of Hesse and the elector John Frederick of Saxony. They had been sentenced to death, having taken up arms against him. Frequently appealed to to release them, Charles declared that to[Pg 338] trouble him further on their account would be to bring on them the execution of the sentence they so richly merited.

His political aims he believed to be now accomplished, and the spirit of German independence nearly, if not wholly, extinguished. But with this he was not content. The time had arrived, he thought, for the full and final extirpation of heresy, and the carrying out of his grand scheme of "establishing uniformity of religion in the empire." The formula of faith, called the "Interim," which he had drawn up for general observance until the council reassembled, had been for the sake of peace accepted with slight resistance, except at Magdeburg, which, for its obstinate rejection of it, was placed under the ban of the empire. But the prelates were assembling at Trent, and the full acquiescence of all parties in their decisions—given, of course, in conformity with the views of Charles V—was to be made imperative.

Henry II had already renewed the French alliance with Sultan Solyman, and was urged to send his lieutenants to ravage the coast of Sicily—a suggestion he was not at all loath to follow. Yet the proposal of an alliance with the heretic German princes—though the league was not simply a Protestant one—met with strenuous opposition from that excellent Catholic, Anne de Montmorency. The persecuting King, too, anxious as he was to oppose his arms to those of the Emperor, feared to do so in alliance with heretics, lest he should compromise his soul's salvation.

But the princes had offered him an irresistible bribe. They proposed—even declared they thought it right—that the seigneur King should take possession of those imperial cities which were not Germanic in language—as Metz, Cambray, Toul, Verdun, and similar ones—and retain them in quality of vicar of the Holy Empire. As a further inducement, they promised—having accomplished their own objects—to aid him with their troops to recover from Charles his heritage of Milan. This was decisive.

On October 5th a pact was signed with France by the Lutheran elector Maurice, in his own name and that of the confederate princes, Henry's ambassador being the Catholic Bishop of Bayonne. Extensive preparations for war were immediately[Pg 339] set on foot and new taxes levied; for the King had promised aid in money also—a considerable sum monthly as long as hostilities continued.

He, however, deemed it expedient, before joining his army, to give some striking proof of his continued orthodoxy; first, by way of counterbalancing his heretical alliance with the Lutherans and his infidel one with the Mussulmans; next, to destroy the false hopes founded on them by French reformers. The heretics, during his absence, were therefore to be hunted down with the utmost rigor. The Sorbonne was charged "to examine minutely all books from Geneva, and no unlettered person was permitted to discuss matters of faith." All cities and municipalities were strictly enjoined to elect none but good Catholics to the office of mayor or sheriff, exacting from them a certificate of Catholicism before entering on the duties of their office. Neglect of this would subject the electors themselves to the pains and penalties inflicted on heretics.

A grand inquisitor was appointed to take care of the faith in Lyons, and the daily burnings on the Place de Grève went on simultaneously with the preparations in the arsenals, and no less vigorously. Thus the King was enabled to enter on this war with a safe conscience. Montmorency,[57] unwilling always to oppose the Emperor, was compelled, lest he should seem less patriotic than his rivals, to add his voice also in favor of the project that promised the realization of the views of Charles VII and Francis I that the natural boundary of France was the Rhine.

To return to Germany and the Emperor—whose complicated affairs are so entangled with those of France that they cannot be wholly separated, each in some measure forming the complement of the other. The command-in-chief of the German army was given to Maurice of Saxony—an able general, full of resource, daring and dauntless in the field, crafty and cautious in the cabinet as Charles himself. Throughout the winter he secretly assembled troops, preparing to take the field early in the spring, yet adroitly concealing his projects, and lulling into security "the most artful monarch in Europe."

The Emperor had left Augsburg for Innspruck that he[Pg 340] might at the same time watch over the council and the affairs of Germany and Italy. He was suffering from asthma, gout, and other maladies, chiefly brought on by his excesses at table, and rendered incurable by his inability to put any restraint on his immoderate appetite.

In his retreat some rumors had reached him that the movements of Maurice of Saxony were suspicious, and that he was raising troops in Transylvania. But he gave little heed to this, or to warnings pressed on him by some of his partisans. For Maurice, to serve his own ambitious views, had in fact, though professing the reformed faith, aided Charles to acquire that power and ascendency, that almost unlimited despotism in Germany he now proposed to overthrow. For his services he had obtained the larger part of the electoral dominions of his unfortunate relative, John Frederick of Saxony, whose release, as also that of the Landgrave, now formed part of his programme for delivering Germany from her fetters ere the imperial despot could—as Maurice saw he was prepared to do—rivet them on her. To renew the Protestant league, to place himself at its head and defy the despot, was more congenial to Maurice's restless, aspiring mind than to play the part of his lieutenant.

The winter passed away without any serious suspicions on Charles' part. To throw him off his guard Maurice had undertaken to subdue the Magdeburgers. The leniency of his conduct toward "those rebels" with whom he was secretly in league did at last excite a doubt in Charles' mind. Maurice was summoned to Innspruck, ostensibly to confer with him respecting the liberation of his father-in-law, the Landgrave of Hesse. But Maurice was far too wary to put himself in his power, and readily found some plausible excuse to delay his journey from time to time. But when, early in March, at the head of twenty-five thousand men, thoroughly equipped, he announced that he was about to set out on his journey, the information was accompanied with a declaration of war. "It was a war," he said, "for the defence of the true religion, its ministers and preachers; for the deliverance of prisoners detained against all faith and justice; to free Germany from her wretched condition, and to oppose the Emperor's completion of that absolute monarchy toward which he had so long been aiming."[Pg 341]

To this manifesto was appended another from the King of France. Therein Henry announced himself the "defender of the liberties of Germany, and protector of her captive princes"; further stating "that, broken-hearted [le cœur navre] at the condition of Germany, he could not refuse to aid her, but had determined to do so to the utmost power of his ability, even to personally engaging in this war, undertaken for liberty and not for his personal benefit." This document—written in French—was headed by the representation of a cap between two poniards, and around it the inscription "The Emblem of Liberty." It is said to have been copied from some ancient coins, and to have been appropriated as the symbol of freedom by Cæsar's assassins. Thus singularly was brought to light by a king of the French Renaissance that terrible cap of liberty, before which the ancient crown of France was one day destined to fall.

The declaration of the German princes and that of their ally, the King of France, fell like a thunderbolt on the Emperor—so great was his astonishment and consternation at the events so unexpected. With rapid marches Maurice advanced on Upper Germany, while other divisions of the army, headed by the confederate princes, hastened on toward Tyrol, by way of Franconia and Swabia, everywhere being received with open arms as "Germany's liberators." Maurice reached Augsburg on April 1st, and took possession of that important city—the garrison offering no resistance, and the inhabitants receiving him joyfully. There, as in other towns on his march which had willingly opened their gates to him, the Interim was abolished; the churches restored to the Protestants; the magistrates appointed by the Emperor displaced, and those he had rejected reinstated. Money, too, was freely offered him, and the deficiency in his artillery supplied. At Trent the news that the Protestant princes, joined by several of the Catholics and free states, "had taken up arms for liberty," caused a terrible panic. The fathers of the council, Italian, Spanish, and German, at once made a precipitate retreat, and this famous council, without authority from pope or emperor, dissolved itself, to reassemble only after even a longer interval than before. When Maurice began his march Henry II had joined his army at Châlons, and was on his way to Lorraine. Toul, on his approach, presented the keys of the city[Pg 342] to the constable commanding the vanguard—the King afterward making his entry, and receiving the oath of fidelity from the inhabitants, having previously sworn to maintain their rights and privileges inviolate. After this easy conquest the French army continued its march toward Metz. This old free republican city did not so readily as Toul yield to the French. The municipal authorities very politely offered provisions to the army, but declined to deliver the keys of the city to the constable. They were, however, willing to admit the King and the princes who accompanied him within their walls. "Troops were not permitted to enter Metz, whatever their nation." This was one of their privileges.

Montmorency cared little for privileges, and violence would probably have been used but that the Bishop of Metz, who was a Frenchman, prevailed on the principal burgesses to allow the constable to enter with an escort of two ensigns, each with his company of infantry. Montmorency availed himself of this permission to give his ensigns fifteen hundred of his best troops. The city gates were thrown open, and the burgesses then perceived their error, but too late to remedy it. They were firmly repulsed when attempting to exclude the unwelcome visitors; there was, however, no bloodshed. The people were soon reconciled to the change; and the chief sheriff and town council on the King's entry having assembled on the cathedral porch, Henry there, in the presence of an anxious multitude who crowded around him to hear him, made oath strictly to maintain their franchises and immunities. Thus easily was captured the former capital of the ancient Austrian kings, which remained under the dominion of France until separated from her by the misfortunes of the second empire.

The city of Verdun followed the example of Toul; so that Henry's defence of the liberties of Germany was thus far nothing more than a military promenade, with grand public entries, banquets, and general festivity. The inhabitants of Metz—like the rest of his conquests, French in language and manners—petitioned the King not to restore their city to the empire, of which it had been a vassal republic from the beginning of the feudal era; they feared the Emperor's revenge. Henry, however, had no thought of relinquishing Metz; he was too well pleased with[Pg 343] his new possession, and "proposed to make it one of the ramparts of France."

But while Henry for the defence of German independence was making conquests and annexing them to his dominions, Charles V had fled before Maurice's vigorous pursuit, and had only escaped capture by a mere mischance that briefly retarded his pursuers' progress. When Augsburg was taken, Charles felt that he was not safe at Innspruck. He was neither in a position to crush the rebellious princes nor to resist the invasion of the King of France. Want of means had induced him to disband a large part of his army; Mexico and Peru for some time had failed to make any remittances to his treasury; the bankers of Venice and Genoa were not willing to lend him money, and it was only by placing Piombino in the hands of Cosmo de' Medici that he obtained from him the small sum of two hundred thousand crowns.

His first impulse was to endeavor to pass over the route of the Netherlands by the valleys of the Inn and the Rhine; but as he could only move, owing to his gout, from place to place in a litter, he was compelled, from physical suffering, after proceeding a very short distance on his journey, to return to Innspruck. There he remained with a small body of soldiers sufficient to guard himself personally—having sent all he could possibly spare to hold the mountain pass leading to the almost inaccessible castle of Ehrenberg. But, guided by a shepherd, the heights of Ehrenberg were reached by the troops under George of Brandenburg, after infinite fatigue and danger. The walls were scaled, and the garrison, terrified by the appearance of this unlooked-for enemy, threw down their arms and surrendered.

A few hours only separated Innspruck from Ehrenberg, and Maurice proposed to push on rapidly so as to anticipate the arrival there of any accounts of the loss of the castle, hoping to surprise the Emperor and his attendants in an open, defenceless town, and there to dictate conditions of peace. The dissatisfaction of a portion of the troops at not immediately receiving the usual gratuity for taking a place by assault occasioned a short delay in the advance of Maurice's army. He arrived at Innspruck in the middle of the night, and learned that the Emperor had fled only two hours before to Carinthia, followed by his ministers and[Pg 344] attendants, on foot, on horses, in litters, as they could, but in the greatest hurry and confusion.

The night was stormy; rain was falling in torrents when the modern Charlemagne, unable to move, was borne in a litter by the light of torches across steep mountain paths with a swiftness most surprising; terror adding wings to the footsteps of his bearers, lest they and their gouty burden should fall into the hands of the heretic army, said to be in pursuit. But pursuit was soon given up, for the troops were worn and weary with forced marches and climbing the heights of Ehrenberg; they needed rest, and there was the imperial palace of Innspruck to pillage, Maurice having given it up to them.

Negotiations for peace were opened on May 20th at Passau on the Danube. The King of France was informed of this, it being found necessary to put some check on his proceedings; to remind him that he was the "defender of the liberties of Germany," not Germany's oppressor. He and his army had advanced into Alsace, and Montmorency had assured him that it would be "as easy to enter Strasburg and other cities of the Rhine as to penetrate butter." However, when they knocked at the gates of Strasburg and courteously requested that the Venetian, Florentine, and other ambassadors might be permitted to enter and admire the beautiful city, they found the Strasburgers insensible to these amenities—butter by no means easily melted; for not only they refused to gratify the soi-disant ambassadors with a sight of their fine city, but mounted and pointed their cannon, as a hint to their visitors that they would do well to withdraw.

Henry, perceiving that he would be unable in the present campaign to extend his dominions to the banks of the Rhine, contented himself, "before turning his back on it, with the fact that the horses of his army had drunk of the waters of that stream." The Austrasian expedition was less brilliant in its results than he had expected; nevertheless, whether he was to be included in the peace then negotiating or not, he resolved to retain the three bishoprics—Toul, Metz, and Verdun.

Meanwhile the conference of Passau, between Maurice with his princes of the league on the one part; Ferdinand, King of the Romans, and the Emperor's plenipotentiaries on the other,[Pg 345] proceeded less rapidly than Maurice desired. By prolonging the negotiation Charles hoped to gain time to assemble an army, when the Catholic princes might rally around him. But even those who had joined the league were exceedingly lukewarm toward their Emperor; his despotism, they considered, being as dangerous to them as to the Protestants. Even his brother Ferdinand—who was on such excellent terms with Maurice that it would almost seem that he had connived at an enterprise he could not openly join in—is said to have seen with satisfaction the check put on Charles by the dauntless leader of the league.

But Maurice's propositions being at first rejected, and no counter ones proposed, he at once set off for his army to renew hostilities, as though the negotiations were closed. Charles doubtless renounced the realization of the dream of his life with a pang of despair. That it should vanish at the very moment when he looked for its fulfilment was anguish to him. But pressed by Ferdinand, convinced, too, that resistance is useless, Charles yields an unwilling assent to the demands of the princes, and the "Treaty of Public Peace" is signed on August 2d. Henceforth "the two religions are to be on a footing of equality in the empire"; Germany divided between Luther and the Pope, who are to live side by side in peace, neither interrupting the other. The ban of the empire to be withdrawn from all persons and places; the captive princes, detained for five years in prison if not in fetters, released; while many other matters relating to imperial encroachments are to be satisfactorily settled within six months.

"The defender of German liberty" was not included in this treaty. As he proposed to keep the cities he was to occupy but as vicar of the empire, he would have to fight a battle for them with Charles himself. Though compelled to renounce absolute sway over Germany, he yet thought it incumbent on him to reëstablish the territory of the empire in its full integrity. His valiant sister, the Dowager-queen of Hungary, who governed the Netherlands so ably for him, was diligently collecting an army for the destitute monarch of many kingdoms, and troops were on their way from Spain.

In spite of his infirmities, Charles was in such haste to chastise the French, and revenge himself on Henry—having succeeded[Pg 346] in raising an army sixty thousand strong, besides seven thousand pioneers—that he rejected the prudent counsels of his generals, who begged him to wait until the spring, when Metz might be attacked with much greater advantage. But his excessive obstinacy, which had led to so many of his disasters, again prevailed. The Duc de Guise, now Governor of Metz, had put the citadel into a state of defence. The garrison was numerous, and, as was usual wherever he commanded, thither followed all the young, ardent spirits among the great families of France.

The siege of Metz was a terrible disaster for the Emperor. The extreme severity of the winter, a scant supply of clothing and other necessaries, were soon followed by sickness, typhus, and many deaths. Desertions were numerous; for the sufferings of the troops had quenched all war and subverted all discipline. Desperate efforts to take Metz were continued for nearly three months without avail, when Charles, thoroughly disheartened, and unable to rise from his couch except for removal to his litter, raised the siege—abandoning the greater part of his artillery, which was half buried in the mud. "Fortune," he exclaimed, "I perceive is indeed a woman; she prefers a young king to an old emperor." The spectacle that met the eyes of the victorious defenders of Metz, on issuing forth in pursuit of the enemy, is said to have been one of so harrowing a nature that even rough soldiers, accustomed to the horrors of war, looked on the misery around them with emotions of deepest pity. There lay the dying and the dead heaped up together; the wounded and those who had been stricken down by fever stretched side by side on the gory, muddy earth. Others had sunk into it, and, unable to extricate themselves, were frozen to their knees, and plaintively asked for death to put an end to their wretchedness. Scattered along the route of the retreat lay dead horses, tents, arms, portions of the baggage, and many sick soldiers who had fallen by the way in their efforts to keep up with the hasty march of the remnant of the army—a sad and terrible scene indeed in a career called one of glory.

François de Guise greatly distinguished himself as a general, and added to his military renown by his defence of Metz; but far greater glory attaches to his name for his humane and generous conduct to the suffering, abandoned troops of Charles'[Pg 347] army. All whose lives could be saved, or sufferings relieved, received every care and attention that he and the surgeons of his army could bestow on them. Following his example, instead of the savage brutality with which the victors were then accustomed to treat their fallen foes, kindness and good offices were rendered by all to the poor victims of the Emperor's revenge for the loss of Metz. So utterly contrary was such treatment to the practice of the age that the generosity and humanity of François de Guise toward an enemy's troops passed into a proverb as the "Courtoisie de Metz."


[57] Anne de Montmorency, Marshal and Constable of France. He was distinguished in the wars against Charles V.

[Pg 348]



A.D. 1555


By the victory of Charles V at Muehlberg, in 1547, the Emperor obtained a decided advantage over the Smalkaldic League, and seemed to be master of the situation in Germany. He convened a diet at Augsburg, and promulgated an "interim," or provisional arrangement for peace, but it was imperfectly carried out. Later interims also proving unsatisfactory, various other attempts at settlement were made, and finally, by the Peace of Passau (1552), religious liberty was granted to the Protestants.

Charles now appeared to be at the height of his power; but new danger threatened him from France. The alliance of King Henry II with Maurice of Saxony, and other Protestant princes, was followed by what is sometimes called the second Smalkaldic War. Charles was quickly worsted, and only escaped capture by fleeing into Switzerland. In a later attack upon France he gained but little success.

The Emperor was now more than ever anxious for peace, and only awaited the meeting of a diet which had been summoned soon after the Treaty of Passau. This meeting was delayed by violent commotions raised in Germany by Albert, Margrave of Brandenburg. It was further delayed by the engrossment in his own affairs of Ferdinand, King of Bohemia and Hungary. He was the brother of Charles, had exerted himself, though with slight success, to settle the religious disputes in Germany, and Charles needed his presence at the Diet, whereby he hoped to secure a final pacification.

As a diet was now necessary on many accounts, Ferdinand, about the beginning of the year 1555, had repaired to Augsburg. Though few of the princes were present either in person or by their deputies, he opened the assembly by a speech, in which he proposed a termination of the dissensions to which the new tenets and controversies with regard to religion had given rise, not only as the first and great business of the diet, but as the point which both the Emperor and he had most at heart. He represented the innumerable obstacles which[Pg 349] the Emperor had to surmount before he could procure the convocation of a general council, as well as the fatal accidents which had for some time retarded, and had at last suspended, the consultations of that assembly. He observed that experience had already taught them how vain it was to expect any remedy for evils which demanded immediate redress from a general council, the assembling of which would either be prevented, or its deliberations be interrupted, by the dissensions and hostilities of the princes of Christendom; that a national council in Germany, which, as some imagined, might be called with greater ease, and deliberate with more perfect security, was an assembly of an unprecedented nature, the jurisdiction of which was uncertain in its extent, and the form of its proceedings undefined; that in his opinion there remained but one method for composing their unhappy differences, which, though it had been often tried without success, might yet prove effectual if it were attempted with a better and more pacific spirit than had appeared on former occasions, and that was, to choose a few men of learning, abilities, and moderation, who, by discussing the disputed articles in an amicable conference, might explain them in such a manner as to bring the contending parties either to unite in sentiment, or to differ with charity.

This speech being printed in common form, and dispersed over the empire, revived the fears and jealousies of the Protestants; Ferdinand, they observed with much surprise, had not once mentioned, in his address to the Diet, the Treaty of Passau, the stipulations of which they considered as the great security of their religious liberty. The suspicions to which this gave rise were confirmed by the accounts which were daily received of the extreme severity with which Ferdinand treated their Protestant brethren in his hereditary dominions; and as it was natural to consider his actions as the surest indication of his intentions, this diminished their confidence in those pompous professions of moderation, and of zeal for the reëstablishment of concord, to which his practice seemed to be so repugnant.

The arrival of the cardinal, Morone, whom the Pope had appointed to attend the Diet as his nuncio, completed their conviction, and left them no room to doubt that some dangerous[Pg 350] machination was forming against the peace or safety of the Protestant Church. Julius, elated with the unexpected return of the English nation from apostasy, began to flatter himself that, the spirit of mutiny and revolt having now spent its force, the happy period was come when the Church might resume its ancient authority, and be obeyed by the people with the same tame submission as formerly. Full of these hopes, he had sent Morone to Augsburg with instructions to employ his eloquence to excite the Germans to imitate the laudable example of the English, and his political address in order to prevent any decree of the Diet to the detriment of the Catholic faith. But Julius died, and as soon as Morone heard of this he set out abruptly from Augsburg, where he had resided only a few days, that he might be present at the election of the new pontiff.

One cause of their suspicions and fears being thus removed, the Protestants soon became sensible that their conjectures concerning Ferdinand's intentions, however specious, were ill-founded, and that he had no thoughts of violating the articles favorable to them in the Treaty of Passau. Charles, from the time that Maurice had defeated all his schemes in the empire, and overturned the great system of religious and civil despotism which he had almost established there, gave little attention to the internal government of Germany, and permitted his brother to pursue whatever measures he judged most salutary and expedient. Ferdinand, less ambitious and enterprising than the Emperor, instead of resuming a plan which he, with power and resources so far superior, had failed of accomplishing, endeavored to attach the princes of the empire to his family by an administration uniformly moderate and equitable. To this he gave, at present, particular attention, because his situation at this juncture rendered it necessary to court their favor and support with more than usual assiduity.

Charles had again resumed his favorite project of acquiring the imperial crown for his son Philip, the prosecution of which, the reception it had met with when first proposed had obliged him to suspend, but had not induced him to relinquish. This led him warmly to renew his request to his brother, that he would accept of some compensation for his prior right of succession, and sacrifice that to the grandeur of the house of Austria. Ferdinand,[Pg 351] who was as little disposed as formerly to give such an extraordinary proof of self-denial, being sensible that, in order to defeat this scheme, not only the most inflexible firmness on his part, but a vigorous declaration from the princes of the empire in behalf of his title, were requisite, was willing to purchase their favor by gratifying them in every point that they deemed interesting or essential.

At the same time he stood in need of immediate and extraordinary aid from the Germanic body, as the Turks, after having wrested from him a great part of his Hungarian territories, were ready to attack the provinces still subject to his authority with a formidable army, against which he could bring no equal force into the field. For this aid from Germany he could not hope, if the internal peace of the empire were not established on a foundation solid in itself, and which should appear, even to the Protestants, so secure and so permanent as might not only allow them to engage in a distant war with safety, but might encourage them to act in it with vigor.

A step taken by the Protestants themselves, a short time after the opening of the Diet, rendered him still more cautious of giving them any new cause of offence. As soon as the publication of Ferdinand's speech awakened the fears and suspicions which have been mentioned, the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, together with the Landgrave of Hesse, met at Naumburg, and, confirming the ancient treaty of confraternity which had long united their families, they added to it a new article, by which the contracting parties bound themselves to adhere to the Confession of Augsburg, and to maintain the doctrine which it contained in their respective dominions.

Ferdinand, influenced by all these considerations, employed his utmost address in conducting the deliberations of the Diet, so as not to excite the jealousy of a party on whose friendship he depended, and whose enmity, as they had not only taken the alarm, but had begun to prepare for their defence, he had so much reason to dread. The members of the Diet readily agreed to Ferdinand's proposal of taking the state of religion into consideration previous to any other business. But, soon as they entered upon it, both parties discovered all the zeal and animosity which a subject so interesting naturally engenders,[Pg 352] and which the rancor of controversy, together with the violence of civil war, had inflamed to the highest pitch.

The Protestants contended that the security which they claimed in consequence of the Treaty of Passau should extend, without limitation, to all who had hitherto embraced the doctrine of Luther, or who should thereafter embrace it. The Catholics, having first of all asserted the Pope's right, as the supreme and final judge with respect to all articles of faith, declared that though, on account of the present situation of the empire, and for the sake of peace, they were willing to confirm the toleration granted by the Treaty of Passau to such as had already adopted the new opinions, they must insist that this indulgence should not be extended either to those cities which had conformed to the "interim," or to such ecclesiastics as should for the future apostatize from the Church of Rome. It was no easy matter to reconcile such opposite pretensions, which were supported, on each side, by the most elaborate arguments, and the greatest acrimony of expression, that the abilities or zeal of theologians long exercised in disputation could suggest. Ferdinand, however, by his address and perseverance; by softening some things on each side; by putting a favorable meaning upon others; by representing incessantly the necessity as well as the advantages of concord; and by threatening, on some occasions, when all other considerations were disregarded, to dissolve the Diet, brought them at length to a conclusion in which they all agreed.

Conformably to this, a recess was framed, approved of, and published with the usual formalities. The following are the chief articles which it contained: That such princes and cities as have declared their approbation of the Confession of Augsburg shall be permitted to profess the doctrine and exercise the worship which it authorizes, without interruption or molestation from the Emperor, the King of the Romans, or any power or person whatsoever; that the Protestants, on their part, shall give no disquiet to the princes and states who adhere to the tenets and rites of the Church of Rome; that, for the future, no attempt shall be made toward terminating religious differences but by the gentle and pacific methods of persuasion and conference; that the Popish ecclesiastics shall[Pg 353] claim no spiritual jurisdiction in such states as receive the Confession of Augsburg; that such as had seized the benefices or revenues of the Church, previous to the Treaty of Passau, shall retain possession of them, and be liable to no persecution in the imperial chamber on that account; that the supreme civil power in every state shall have right to establish what form of doctrine and worship it shall deem proper, and, if any of its subjects refuse to conform to these, shall permit them to remove with all their effects whithersoever they shall please; that if any prelate or ecclesiastic shall hereafter abandon the Romish religion, he shall instantly relinquish his diocese or benefice, and it shall be lawful for those in whom the right of nomination is vested to proceed immediately to an election, as if the office were vacant by death or translation, and to appoint a successor of undoubted attachment to the ancient system.

Such are the capital articles in this famous recess, which is the basis of religious peace in Germany, and the bond of union among its various states, the sentiments of which are so extremely different with respect to points the most interesting as well as important. In our age and nation, to which the idea of toleration is familiar, and its beneficial effects well known, it may seem strange that a method of terminating their dissensions, so suitable to the mild and charitable spirit of the Christian religion, did not sooner occur to the contending parties. But this expedient, however salutary, was so repugnant to the sentiments and practice of Christians during many ages that it did not lie obvious to discovery. Among the ancient heathens, all whose deities were local and tutelary, diversity of sentiments concerning the object or rites of religious worship seems to have been no source of animosity, because the acknowledging veneration to be due to any one god did not imply denial of the existence or the power of any other god; nor were the modes and rites of worship established in one country incompatible with those which other nations approved of and observed. Thus the errors in their system of theology were of such a nature as to be productive of concord; and, notwithstanding the amazing number of their deities, as well as the infinite variety of their ceremonies, a sociable and tolerating spirit subsisted almost universally in the Pagan world.[Pg 354]

But when the Christian revelation declared one Supreme Being to be the sole object of religious veneration, and prescribed the form of worship most acceptable to him, whoever admitted the truth of it held, of consequence, every other system of religion, as a deviation from what was established by divine authority, to be false and impious. Hence arose the zeal of the first converts to the Christian faith in propagating its doctrines, and the ardor with which they labored to overturn every other form of worship. They employed, however, for this purpose no methods but such as suited the nature of religion. By the force of powerful arguments, they convinced the understandings of men; by the charms of superior virtue, they allured and captivated their hearts. At length the civil power declared in favor of Christianity; and though numbers, imitating the example of their superiors, crowded into the church, many still adhered to their ancient superstitions. Enraged at their obstinacy, the ministers of religion, whose zeal was still unabated, though their sanctity and virtue were much diminished, forgot so far the nature of their own mission, and of the arguments which they ought to have employed, that they armed the imperial power against these unhappy men, and, as they could not persuade, they tried to compel them to believe.

The Diet of Augsburg was soon followed by the Emperor's resignation of his hereditary dominions to his son Philip; together with his resolution to withdraw entirely from any concern in business or the affairs of this world, in order that he might spend the remainder of his days in retirement and solitude. Though it requires neither deep reflection nor extraordinary discernment to discover that the state of royalty is not exempt from cares and disappointment; though most of those who are exalted to a throne find solicitude, and satiety, and disgust to be their perpetual attendants in that envied preëminence, yet to descend voluntarily from the supreme to a subordinate station, and to relinquish the possession of power in order to attain the enjoyment of happiness, seems to be an effort too great for the human mind. Several instances, indeed, occur in history, of monarchs who have quitted a throne, and have ended their days in retirement. But they were either weak princes, who took this resolution rashly, and repented of[Pg 355] it as soon as it was taken, or unfortunate princes, from whose hands some stronger rival had wrested their sceptre, and compelled them to descend with reluctance into a private station. Diocletian is perhaps the only prince capable of holding the reins of government who ever resigned them from deliberate choice, and who continued during many years to enjoy the tranquillity of retirement without fetching one penitent sigh, or casting back one look of desire toward the power or dignity which he had abandoned.

No wonder, then, that Charles' resignation should fill all Europe with astonishment, and give rise, both among his contemporaries and among the historians of that period, to various conjectures concerning the motives which determined a prince, whose ruling passion had been uniformly the love of power, at the age of fifty-six, when objects of ambition continue to operate with full force on the mind, and are pursued with the greatest ardor, to take a resolution so singular and unexpected. But, while many authors have imputed it to motives so frivolous and fantastical as can hardly be supposed to influence any reasonable mind; while others have imagined it to be the result of some profound scheme of policy, historians more intelligent and better informed neither ascribe it to caprice, nor search for mysterious secrets of state, where simple and obvious causes will fully account for the Emperor's conduct. Charles had been attacked early in life with the gout; and, notwithstanding all the precautions of the most skilful physicians, the violence of the distemper increased as he advanced in age, and the fits became every year more frequent as well as more severe. Not only was the vigor of his constitution broken, but the faculties of his mind were impaired by the excruciating torments which he endured. During the continuance of the fits, he was altogether incapable of applying to business; and even when they began to abate, as it was only at intervals that he could attend to what was serious, he gave up a great part of his time to trifling and even childish occupations, which served to relieve or amuse his mind, enfeebled and worn out with excess of pain. Under these circumstances, the conduct of such affairs as occurred of course in governing so many kingdoms was a burden more than sufficient; but to push forward and complete the vast[Pg 356] schemes which the ambition of his more active years had formed, or to keep in view and carry on the same great system of policy, extending to every nation in Europe, and connected with the operations of every different court, were functions which so far exceeded his strength that they oppressed and overwhelmed his mind. As he had been long accustomed to view the business of every department, whether civil or military or ecclesiastical, with his own eyes, and to decide concerning it according to his own ideas, it gave him the utmost pain, when he felt his infirmities increase so fast upon him, that he was obliged to commit the conduct of all his affairs to his ministers. He imputed every misfortune which befell him, and every miscarriage that happened, even when the former was unavoidable or the latter accidental, to his inability to take the inspection of business himself. He complained of his hard fortune in being opposed, in his declining years, to a rival who was in the full vigor of life; and that, while Henry could take and execute all his resolutions in person, he should now be reduced, both in counsel and in action, to rely on the talents and exertions of other men. Having thus grown old before his time, he wisely judged it more decent to conceal his infirmities in some solitude than to expose them any longer to the public eye, and prudently determined not to forfeit the fame or lose the acquisitions of his better years by struggling, with a vain obstinacy, to retain the reins of government, when he was no longer able to hold them with steadiness, or to guide them with address.[58][Pg 357]

But though Charles had revolved this scheme in his mind for several years, and had communicated it to his sisters the dowager queens of France and Hungary, who not only approved of his intention, but offered to accompany him to whatever place of retreat he should choose, several things had hitherto prevented his carrying it into execution. He could not think of loading his son with the government of so many kingdoms until he should attain such maturity of age and of abilities as would enable him to sustain that weighty burden. But as Philip had now reached his twenty-eighth year, and had been early accustomed to business, for which he discovered both inclination and capacity, it can hardly be imputed to the partiality of paternal affection that his scruples with regard to this point were entirely removed; and that he thought he might place his son, without further hesitation or delay, on the throne which he himself was about to abandon. His mother's situation had been another obstruction in his way. For although she had continued almost fifty years in confinement, and under the same disorder of mind which concern for her husband's death had brought upon her, yet the government of Spain was still vested in her jointly with the Emperor; her name was inserted, together with his, in all the public instruments issued in that kingdom; and such was the fond attachment of the Spaniards to her, that they would probably have scrupled to recognize Philip as their sovereign, unless she had consented to assume him as her partner on the throne. Her utter incapacity for business rendered it impossible to obtain her consent. But her death, which happened this year, removed this difficulty; and as Charles, upon that event, became sole monarch[Pg 358] of Spain, it left the succession open to his son. The war with France had likewise been a reason for retaining the administration of affairs in his own hands, as he was extremely solicitous to have terminated it, that he might have given up his kingdoms to his son at peace with all the world. But as Henry had discovered no disposition to close with any of his overtures, and had even rejected proposals of peace which were equal and moderate, in a tone that seemed to indicate a fixed purpose of continuing hostilities, he saw that it was vain to wait longer in expectation of an event which, however desirable, was altogether uncertain.

As this, then, appeared to be the proper juncture for executing the scheme which he had long meditated, Charles resolved to resign his kingdoms to his son with a solemnity suitable to the importance of the transaction, and to perform this last act of sovereignty with such formal pomp as might leave a lasting impression on the minds not only of his subjects, but of his successor. With this view he called Philip out of England, where the peevish temper of his queen, which increased with her despair of having issue, rendered him extremely unhappy; and the jealousy of the English left him no hopes of obtaining the direction of their affairs. Having assembled the states of the Low Countries at Brussels, on October 25th, Charles seated himself for the last time in the chair of state, on one side of which was placed his son, and on the other his sister the Queen of Hungary, regent of the Netherlands, with a splendid retinue of the princes of the empire and grandees of Spain standing behind him. The president of the council of Flanders, by his command, explained in a few words his intention in calling this extraordinary meeting of the states. He then read the instrument of resignation, by which Charles surrendered to his son Philip all his territories, jurisdiction, and authority in the Low Countries, absolving his subjects there from their oath of allegiance to him, which he required them to transfer to Philip, his lawful heir, and to serve him with the same loyalty and zeal which they had manifested, during so long a course of years, in support of his government.

Charles then rose from his seat, and leaning on the shoulder of the Prince of Orange, because he was unable to stand without[Pg 359] support, he addressed himself to the audience, and from a paper which he held in his hand, in order to assist his memory, he recounted with dignity, but without ostentation, all the great things which he had undertaken and performed since the commencement of his administration. He observed that, from the seventeenth year of his age, he had dedicated all his thoughts and attention to public objects, reserving no portion of his time for the indulgence of his ease, and very little for the enjoyment of private pleasure; that, either in a pacific or hostile manner, he had visited Germany nine times, Spain six times, France four times, Italy seven times, the Low Countries ten times, England twice, Africa as often, and had made eleven voyages by sea; that while his health permitted him to discharge his duty, and the vigor of his constitution was equal, in any degree, to the arduous office of governing such extensive dominions, he had never shunned labor, nor repined under fatigue; that now, when his health was broken, and his vigor exhausted by the rage of an incurable distemper, his growing infirmities admonished him to retire; nor was he so fond of reigning as to retain the sceptre in an impotent hand, which was no longer able to protect his subjects, or to secure to them the happiness which he wished they should enjoy; that instead of a sovereign worn out with diseases, and scarcely half alive, he gave them one in the prime of life, accustomed already to govern, and who added to the vigor of youth all the attention and sagacity of maturer years; and if, during the course of a long administration, he had committed any material error of government, or if, under the pressure of so many and great affairs, and amid the attention which he had been obliged to give to them, he had either neglected or injured any of his subjects, he now implored their forgiveness; that, for his part, he should ever retain a grateful sense of their fidelity and attachment, and would carry the remembrance of it along with him to the place of his retreat, as his sweetest consolation, as well as the best reward for all his services, and in his last prayers to Almighty God would pour forth his most earnest petitions for their welfare.

Then, turning toward Philip, who fell on his knees and kissed his father's hand—"If," said he, "I had left you by[Pg 360] my death this rich inheritance, to which I have made such large additions, some regard would have been justly due to my memory on that account; but now, when I voluntarily resign to you what I might have still retained, I may well expect the warmest expression of thanks on your part. With these, however, I dispense, and shall consider your concern for the welfare of your subjects, and your love of them, as the best and most acceptable testimony of your gratitude to me. It is in your power, by a wise and virtuous administration, to justify the extraordinary proof which I this day give of my paternal affection, and to demonstrate that you are worthy of the confidence which I repose in you. Preserve an inviolable regard for religion; maintain the Catholic faith in its purity; let the laws of your country be sacred in your eyes; encroach not on the rights and privileges of your people; and if the time should ever come when you shall wish to enjoy the tranquillity of private life, may you have a son endowed with such qualities that you can resign your sceptre to him with as much satisfaction as I give up mine to you."

As soon as Charles had finished this long address to his subjects and to their new sovereign, he sank into the chair, exhausted and ready to faint with the fatigue of such an extraordinary effort. During his discourse the whole audience melted into tears, some from admiration of his magnanimity, others softened by the expressions of tenderness toward his son, and of love to his people; and all were affected with the deepest sorrow at losing a sovereign who, during his administration, had distinguished the Netherlands, his native country, with particular marks of his regard and attachment.

Philip then arose from his knees, and after returning thanks to his father, with a low and submissive voice, for the royal gift which his unexampled bounty had bestowed upon him, he addressed the assembly of the states, and, regretting his inability to speak the Flemish language with such facility as to express what he felt on this interesting occasion, as well as what he owed to his good subjects in the Netherlands, he begged that they would permit Granvelle, bishop of Arras, to deliver what he had given him in charge to speak in his name. Granvelle, in a long discourse, expatiated on the zeal with which[Pg 361] Philip was animated for the good of his subjects, on his resolution to devote all his time and talents to the promoting of their happiness, and on his intention to imitate his father's example in distinguishing the Netherlands with peculiar marks of his regard. Maes, a lawyer of great eloquence, replied in the name of the states, with large professions of their fidelity and affection to their new sovereign.

Then Mary, Queen dowager of Hungary, resigned the regency with which she had been intrusted by her brother during the space of twenty-five years. Next day Philip, in the presence of the states, took the usual oaths to maintain the rights and privileges of his subjects; and all the members, in their own name and in that of their constituents, swore allegiance to him.

A few weeks after this transaction, Charles, in an assembly no less splendid and with a ceremonial equally pompous, resigned to his son the crowns of Spain, with all the territories depending on them, both in the Old and in the New world. Of all these vast possessions, he reserved nothing for himself but an annual pension of a hundred thousand crowns, to defray the charges of his family, and to afford him a small sum for acts of beneficence and charity.

As he had fixed on a place of retreat in Spain, hoping that the dryness and the warmth of the climate in that country might mitigate the violence of his disease, which had been much increased by the moisture of the air and rigor of the winters in the Netherlands, he was extremely impatient to embark for that kingdom, and to disengage himself entirely from business, which he found to be impossible while he remained in Brussels. But his physicians remonstrated so strongly against his venturing to sea at that cold and boisterous season of the year, that he consented, though with reluctance, to put off his voyage for some months.

He retained the imperial dignity, not from any unwillingness to relinquish it, for, after having resigned the real and extensive authority that he enjoyed in his hereditary dominions, to part with the limited and often ideal jurisdiction which belongs to an elective crown was no great sacrifice. His sole motive for delay was to gain a few months for making one trial more,[Pg 362] in order to accomplish his favorite scheme in behalf of his son. At the very time Charles seemed to be most sensible of the vanity of worldly grandeur, and when he appeared to be quitting it not only with indifference but with contempt, the vast schemes of ambition, which had so long occupied and engrossed his mind, still kept possession of it. He could not think of leaving his son in a rank inferior to that which he himself had held among the princes of Europe. As he had, some years before, made a fruitless attempt to secure the imperial crown to Philip, that, by uniting it to the kingdoms of Spain and the dominions of the house of Burgundy, he might put it in his power to prosecute, with a better prospect of success, those great plans which his own infirmities had obliged him to abandon, he was still unwilling to relinquish this flattering project as chimerical or unattainable.

Notwithstanding the repulse which he had formerly met with from his brother Ferdinand, he renewed his solicitations with fresh importunity, and during the summer had tried every art, and employed every argument, which he thought could induce him to quit the imperial throne to Philip, and to accept of the investiture of some province, either in Italy or in the Low Countries, as an equivalent. But Ferdinand, who was so firm and inflexible with regard to this point that he had paid no regard to the solicitations of the Emperor, even when they were enforced with all the weight of authority which accompanies supreme power, received the overture, that now came from him in the situation to which he had descended, with great indifference, and would hardly deign to listen to it. Charles, ashamed of his own credulity in having imagined that he might accomplish now that which he had attempted formerly without success, desisted finally from his scheme. He then resigned the government of the empire, and, having transferred all his claims of obedience and allegiance from the Germanic body to his brother the King of the Romans, he executed a deed to that effect, with all the formalities requisite in such an important transaction. The instrument of resignation he committed to William, Prince of Orange, and empowered him to lay it before the college of electors.

Nothing now remained to detain Charles from that retreat[Pg 363] for which he languished. The preparations for his voyage having been made for some time, he set out for Zuitburg, in Zealand, where the fleet which was to convoy him had orders to assemble. In his way thither he passed through Ghent, and after stopping there a few days, to indulge that tender and pleasing melancholy which arises in the mind of every man in the decline of life on visiting the place of his nativity, and viewing the scenes and objects familiar to him in his early youth, he pursued his journey, accompanied by his son Philip, his daughter the archduchess, his sisters the dowager Queens of France and Hungary, Maximilian his son-in-law, and a numerous retinue of the French nobility. Before he went on board he dismissed them with marks of his attention or regard, and, taking leave of Philip with all the tenderness of a father who embraced his son for the last time, he set sail on September 17th, under the convoy of a large fleet of Spanish, Flemish, and English ships. He declined a pressing invitation from the Queen of England to land in some part of her dominions, in order to refresh himself, and that she might have the comfort of seeing him once more. "It cannot, surely," said he, "be agreeable to a queen to receive a visit from a father-in-law who is now nothing more than a private gentleman."

His voyage was prosperous, and he arrived at Laredo, in Biscay, on the eleventh day after he left Zealand. As soon as he landed he fell prostrate on the ground, and, considering himself now as dead to the world, he kissed the earth and said, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked I now return to thee, thou common mother of mankind." From Laredo he pursued his journey to Burgos, carried sometimes in a chair and sometimes in a horse-litter, suffering exquisite pain at every step, and advancing with the greatest difficulty. Some of the Spanish nobility repaired to Burgos, in order to pay court to him, but they were so few in number, and their attendance was so negligent, that Charles observed it, and felt, for the first time, that he was no longer a monarch. Accustomed from his early youth to the dutiful and officious respect with which those who possess sovereign power are attended, he had received it with the credulity common to princes, and was sensibly mortified when he now discovered that he had[Pg 364] been indebted to his rank and power for much of that obsequious regard which he had fondly thought was paid to his personal qualities. But though he might have soon learned to view with unconcern the levity of his subjects, or to have despised their neglect, he was more deeply afflicted with the ingratitude of his son, who, forgetting already how much he owed to his father's bounty, obliged him to remain some weeks at Burgos before he paid him the first moiety of that small pension which was all that he had reserved of so many kingdoms. As, without this sum, Charles could not dismiss his domestics with such rewards as their services merited, or his generosity had destined for them, he could not help expressing both surprise and dissatisfaction. At last the money was paid, and Charles having dismissed a great number of his domestics, whose attendance he thought would be superfluous or cumbersome in his retirement, he proceeded to Valladolid. There he took a last and tender leave of his two sisters, whom he would not permit to accompany him to his solitude, though they requested him with tears, not only that they might have the consolation of contributing by their attendance and care to mitigate or to soothe his sufferings, but that they might reap instruction and benefit by joining with him in those pious exercises to which he had consecrated the remainder of his days.

From Valladolid he continued his journey to Plazentia in Estremadura. He had passed through this place a great many years before, and having been struck at that time with the delightful situation of the monastery of St. Justus, belonging to the order of St. Jerome, not many miles distant from the town, he had then observed to some of his attendants that this was a spot to which Diocletian might have retired with pleasure. The impression had remained so strong in his mind that he pitched upon it as the place of his own retreat. It was seated in a vale of no great extent, watered by a small brook, and surrounded by rising grounds, covered with lofty trees; from the nature of the soil, as well as the temperature of the climate, it was esteemed the most healthful and delicious situation in Spain. Some months before his resignation he had sent an architect thither to add a new apartment to the monastery, for his accommodation; but he gave strict orders that the style[Pg 365] of the building should be such as suited his present station, rather than his former dignity. It consisted only of six rooms, four of them in the form of friars' cells, with naked walls; the other two, each twenty feet square, were hung with brown cloth, and furnished in the most simple manner. They were all on a level with the ground, with a door on one side into a garden, of which Charles himself had given the plan, and had filled it with various plants which he intended to cultivate with his own hands. On the other side, they communicated with the chapel of the monastery, in which he was to perform his devotions. Into this humble retreat, hardly sufficient for the comfortable accommodation of a private gentleman, did Charles enter, with twelve domestics only. He buried there, in solitude and silence, his grandeur, his ambition, together with all those vast projects which, during almost half a century, had alarmed and agitated Europe, filling every kingdom in it, by turns, with the terror of his arms, and the dread of being subdued by his power.


[58] Don Levesque, in his memoirs of Cardinal Granvelle, gives a reason for the Emperor's resignation, which, as far as I recollect, is not mentioned by any other historian. He says that, the Emperor having ceded the government of the kingdom of Naples and the duchy of Milan to his son upon his marriage with the Queen of England, Philip, notwithstanding the advice and entreaties of his father, removed most of the ministers and officers whom he had employed in those countries, and appointed creatures of his own to fill the places which they held. That he aspired openly, and with little delicacy, to obtain a share in the administration of affairs in the Low Countries. That he endeavored to thwart the Emperor's measures and to limit his authority, behaving toward him sometimes with inattention, and sometimes with haughtiness. That Charles, finding that he must either yield on every occasion to his son, or openly contend with him, in order to avoid either of these, which were both disagreeable and mortifying to a father, he took the resolution of resigning his crowns, and of retiring from the world (vol. i. p. 24, etc.). Don Levesque derived his information concerning these curious facts, which he relates very briefly, from the original papers of Cardinal Granvelle. But as that vast collection of papers, which has been preserved and arranged by M. l'Abbé Boizot of Besançon, though one of the most valuable historical monuments of the sixteenth century, and which cannot fail of throwing much light on the transactions of Charles V, is not published, I cannot determine what degree of credit should be given to this account of Charles' resignation. I have, therefore, taken no notice of it in relating this event.

[Pg 366]


A.D. 1556


Between the years 1494 and 1526 Baber, great-grandson of Timur (Tamerlane), the Tartar conqueror, made extensive conquests in India. There he laid the first foundations of the Mahometan Tartar empire of the Moguls, as his followers are called. This empire reached its height under Akbar (Jel-al-eddin Mahomet), who succeeded his father Humayun, son of Baber, in 1556. Humayun did little toward uniting the various territories which Baber had conquered.

Akbar was the contemporary of Queen Elizabeth of England, and his reign is as important in the history of India as is hers in the history of the western world. He ascended the throne at the age of fourteen. At the time of his accession he was in the Punjab warring against the revolted Afghans. The commander of the Mogul armies was Bairam Khan, and when Humayun died that general became Akbar's guardian.

Wheeler's account of this great ruler's achievements presents throughout a most interesting portrayal of his personality and character, and is especially remarkable for its simplicity and its oriental atmosphere.

The reign of Akbar bears a strange resemblance to that of Asoka.[59] Indeed, the likeness between Akbar and Asoka is one of the most remarkable phenomena in history. They were separated from each other by an interval of eighteen centuries; the main features of their respective lives were practically the same. Asoka was putting down revolt in the Punjab when his father died; so was Akbar. Asoka was occupied for years in conquering and consolidating his empire; so was Akbar. Asoka conquered India to the north of the Nerbudda; so did Akbar. Asoka was tolerant of other religions; so was Akbar. Asoka went against the priests; so did Akbar. Asoka taught a religion of his own; so did Akbar. Asoka abstained from flesh[Pg 367] meat; so did Akbar. In the end Asoka took refuge in Buddha, the law, and the assembly. In the end Akbar recited the formula of Islam: "There is but one God, and Mahomet is his prophet."

Some of these coincidents are mere accidents. Others reveal a similarity in the current of religious thought, a similarity in the stages of religious development; consequently they add a new chapter to the history of mankind.

The wars of Akbar are only interesting so far as they bring out types of character. When the news reached the Punjab that Humayun was dead, other news arrived. Hemu had recovered Agra and Delhi; he was advancing with a large army into the Punjab. The Mogul force was very small. The Mogul officers were in a panic; they advised a retreat into Kabul. Akbar and Bairam Khan resolved on a battle. The Afghans were routed. The Hindu general was wounded in the eye and taken prisoner. Bairam Khan bade Akbar slay the Hindu, and win the title of "champion of the faith." Akbar drew his sword, but shrunk back. He was as brave as a lion; he would not hack a wounded prisoner. Bairam Khan had no such sentiment. He beheaded Hemu with his own sword.

This story marks the contrast between the prince and his guardian. Akbar was brave and skilful in the field; he was outwardly gracious and forgiving when the fight was over. Bairam Khan was loyal to the throne; he slaughtered enemies in cold blood without mercy. It was impossible that the two should agree. Akbar grew more and more impatient of his guardian; for years he was self-constrained at Rama. He thought a great deal, but did nothing; he bided his time.

Within four years Bairam Khan had laid the foundations of the Mogul empire. Its limits were as yet restricted. The Mogul pale only covered the Punjab, the northwest provinces, and Oude; it is only extended from the Indus to the junction of the Jumna and Ganges. On the south it was bounded by Rajputana. It included the three capitals of Lahore, Delhi, and Agra. So far it coincided with the kingdom of Ala-ud-din, who conquered the Deccan and Peninsula.

At the end of the four years Akbar was a young man of eighteen. He resolved to throw off the authority of his guardian. He carried out his designs with the artifice of an Asiatic. He[Pg 368] pretended that his mother was sick. He left the camp where Bairam Khan commanded, in order to pay her a visit. He proclaimed that he had assumed the authority of Padishah; that no orders were to be obeyed save his own. Bairam Khan was taken by surprise. Possibly, had he known what was coming, he would have put Akbar out of the way; but his power was gone. He tried to work upon the feelings of Abkar; he found that the Padishah was inflexible. He revolted, but was defeated and forgiven. Akbar offered him any post save that of minister; he would be minister or nothing. In the end he elected to go to Mecca, the last refuge for Mussulman statesmen. Everything was ready for his embarkation; suddenly he was assassinated by an Afghan. It was the old story of Afghan revenge. He had killed the father of the assassin in some battle: in revenge the son had stabbed him to death.

Akbar was now free to act. The political situation was one of extreme peril. The Afghans were fighting one another in Kabul in the northwest; they were also fighting one another in Behar and Bengal in the southeast. When he marched against one, his territories were exposed to the raids of the other. Meantime his Mogul officers often set his sovereignty at defiance; when brought to task they broke out in mutiny and rebellion. Two events at this period will show the actual state of affairs.

Far away in the south of Rajputana lies the remote territory of Malwa. It was originally conquered by Ala-ud-din. During the decline of the Tughlaks the governor Malwa became an independent ruler. At the beginning of the reign of Akbar, Baz Bahadur was ruler of Malwa. He was a type of the Mussulman princes of the time; no doubt he went to mosque; he surrounded himself with Hindu singing and dancing girls; he became more or less Hinduized. Akbar sent an officer named Adham Khan to conquer Malwa. Adham Khan had no difficulty. Baz Bahadur abandoned his treasures and harem and fled. Adham Khan distributed part of the spoil to the Padishah. Akbar could not brook such disobedience. Notwithstanding the distance he hurried to Malwa. He received his rightful share of the plunder; he professed to accept the excuses of the defaulter. When he returned to Agra he recalled Adham Khan to court; he sent another governor to Malwa. Adham Khan obeyed; he went to[Pg 369] Agra; he found that he had lost favor. Commands were given to others. He could get nothing. He was driven mad by delay and disappointment. He did not suspect Akbar; he threw the blame upon the minister. One day he went to the palace; he stabbed the minister to death in the hall of audience; he ran up to an outer terrace. Akbar heard the uproar; he rushed in and beheld the bleeding corpse. He saw the stupefied murderer on the terrace; he half drew his sword, but remembered himself. Adham Khan seized his hands and begged for mercy. Akbar shook him off and ordered the servants to throw him from the terrace. The order was obeyed; Adham Khan was killed on the spot.

Another officer, named Khan Zeman, played a similar game in Behar. He was warned that Akbar was on the move; he escaped punishment by making over the spoil before Akbar came up. This satisfied Akbar; he returned part of the spoil and went back to Agra. Henceforth Khan Zeman was a rebel at heart. Some Usbeg chiefs revolted in Oudh; they were joined by Khan Zeman. Akbar was called away to the Punjab by an Afghan invasion; on his return the rebels were in possession of Oudh and Allahabad. Akbar marched against them in the middle of the rains. He outstripped his army; he reached the Ganges with only his bodyguard. The rebels were encamped on the opposite bank; they had no fear; they expected Akbar to wait until his army came up. That night Akbar swam the river with his bodyguard. At daybreak he attacked the enemy. The rebels heard the thunder of the imperial kettle-drums; they could not believe their ears. They fled in all directions. Khan Zeman was slain in the pursuit. The other leaders were taken prisoners; they were trampled to death by elephants. Thus for a while the rebellion was stamped out.

These incidents are only types of others. In plain truth, the Mussulman power in India had spent its force. The brotherhood of Islam had ceased to bind together conflicting races; it could not hold together men of the same race. The struggle between Shiah and Sunni was dividing the world of Islam. Moguls, Turks, and Afghans were fighting against each other; they were also fighting among themselves. Rebels of different races were combining against the Padishah. Meantime any scruples that[Pg 370] remained against fighting fellow-Mussulmans were a hinderance to Akbar in putting down revolts. The Mussulman power was crumbling to pieces. The dismemberment had begun two centuries earlier in the revolt of the Deccan. Since then the strength which remained in the scattered fragments was wasted in wars and revolts; the whole country was drifting into anarchy.

No one could save the empire but a born statesman. Akbar had already proved himself a born soldier. Had he been only a soldier he might still have held his own against Afghans and Usbegs from Peshawur to Allahabad. Had he been bloodthirsty and merciless, like Bairam Khan, he might have stamped out revolt and mutiny by massacre and terrorism. But he would have left no mark in history, no lessons for posterity, no political ideas for the education of the world. He might have made a name like Genghis Khan or Timur; but the story of his life would have dropped into oblivion. After his death every evil that festered in the body politic would have broken out afresh. His successors would have inherited the same wars, the same revolts, and the same mutinies; unless they had inherited his capacity, they would have died out in anarchy and in revolution.

Akbar had never been educated. He had never learned to write, nor even to read. He had not gone with his father to Persia, where he might have been schooled in Mussulman learning. He had spent a joyless boyhood with a cruel uncle in Kabul; he had been schooled in nothing but war. But he had listened to histories, and pondered over histories, until grand ideas began to seethe in his brain.

The problem before him was the resuscitation of the empire, or rather the creation of a new empire out of the existing chaos. Fresh blood was wanted to infuse life and strength into the body politic; to enable the Mogul Shiahs to subdue the Afghan Sunnis. Akbar saw with the eye of genius that the necessary force was latent in the Rajputs. Henceforth he devoted all the energies of his nature to bring that force into healthy play.

In 1575 Akbar was about thirty-four years of age. Twenty years had passed away since the boy had been installed as padishah. He had not as yet conquered Kabul in the northwest, nor Bengal in the southeast; he had not made any sensible advance[Pg 371] into the Deccan. But he had gained a succession of victories. He had restored order in the Punjab and Hindustan. He had subdued Malwa, Guzerat, and Rajputana. Many Rajputs were still in arms against him; he had nothing to fear from them. He had fixed his capital at Agra; his favorite residence, however, was at Fathipur Sikri, about twelve miles from Agra.

It is easy to individualize Akbar. He was haughty, like all the Moguls; he was outwardly clement and affable. He was tall and handsome; broad in the chest and long in the arms. His complexion was ruddy, a nut-brown. He had a good appetite and a good digestion. His strength was prodigious. His courage was very remarkable. While yet a boy he displayed prodigies of valor in the battle against Hemu. He would spring on the backs of elephants who had killed their keepers; he would compel them to do his bidding. He kept a herd of dromedaries; he gained his victories by the rapidity of his marches. He was an admirable marksman. He had a favorite gun which had brought him thousands of game. With that same gun he shot Jeimal the Rajput at the siege of Chitor.

Akbar, like his father and grandfather, professed to be a Mussulman. His mother was a Persian; he was a Persian in his thoughts and ways. He was imbued with the old Mogul instinct of toleration. He was lax and indifferent, without the semblance of zeal. He consulted soothsayers who divined with burned rams' bones. He celebrated the Persian festival of the Nau-roz, or new year, which had no connection with Islam. He reverenced the seven heavenly bodies by wearing a dress of different color every day in the week. He joined in the Brahmanical worship and sacrifices of his Rajput queens. Still he was outwardly a Mussulman. He had no sons; he vowed that if a son was born to him he would walk to the tomb of a Mussulman saint at Ajmir; it was more than two hundred miles from Fathipur. In 1570 his eldest son Seli was born; Akbar walked to Ajmir; he offered up his prayers at the tomb.

Meantime the Ulama were growing troublesome at Agra. The Ulama comprised the collective body of Mussulman doctors and lawyers who resided at the capital. The Ulama have always possessed great weight in a Mussulman state. Judges, magistrates, and law officers in general are chosen from their[Pg 372] number. Consequently the opinion of the collective body was generally received as the final authority. The Ulama at Agra were bigoted Sunnis. They hated and persecuted the Shiahs. Especially they persecuted the teachers of the Sufi heresy, which had grown up in Persia and was spreading in India. They had grown in power under the Afghan sultans. They had been quiet in the days of Humayun and Bairam Khan; both were confessedly Shiahs; the Ulama were too courtly to offend the power which appointed the law officers. When, however, Akbar threw over Bairam Khan and asserted his own sovereignty, the Ulama became more active. They were anxious to keep the young Padishah in the right way.

Akbar and his vizier Abul Fazl were certainly men of genius. They are still the bright lights of Indian history. They were the foremost men of their time. But each had a characteristic weakness. Akbar was a born Mogul. With all his good qualities he was proud, ignorant, inquisitive, and self-sufficient. Abul Fazl was a born courtier. With all his good qualities he was a flatterer, a time-server, and a eulogist; he made Akbar his idol; he bowed down and worshipped him. They became close friends; they were indeed necessary to each other. Akbar looked to his minister for praise; Abul Fazl looked to his master for advancement. It is difficult to admire the genius of Akbar without seeing that he has been worked upon by Abul Fazl. It is equally difficult to admire the genius of Abul Fazl without seeing that he is pandering to the vanity of Akbar.

When Akbar made the acquaintance of Abul Fazl he was in sore perplexity. He was determined to rule men of all creeds with even hand. The Ulama were thwarting him. The chief justice at Agra had sentenced men to death for being Shiahs and heretics. The Ulama were urging the Padishah to do the same. He was reluctant to quarrel with them; he was still more reluctant to sanction their high-handed proceedings toward men who worshipped the same God, but after a different fashion.

How far Akbar opened his soul to Abul Fazl is unknown. No doubt Abul Fazl read his thoughts. Indeed, he had his own wrongs to avenge. The Ulama had persecuted his father and driven him into exile. The Ulama were ignorant, bigoted, and puffed up with pride and orthodoxy. Their learning was confined[Pg 373] to Arabic and the Koran. They ignored what they did not know and could not understand. Abul Fazl must have hated and despised them. He was far too courtly, too astute, to express his real sentiments. The Ulama were at variance with the Padishah; they were also at variance among themselves. Possibly he foresaw that if they disputed before Akbar they might excite his contempt. How far he worked upon Akbar can never be ascertained. In the end Akbar ordered that the Ulama should discuss all questions in his presence; he would then decide who was right and who was wrong.

There is no evidence that Abul Fazl suggested this course. It was, however, the kind of incense that a courtier would offer to a sovereign like Akbar. The learned men were to lay their opinions before the Padishah; he was to sit and judge. If he needed help, Abul Fazl would be at his side. Indeed, Abul Fazl would ask questions and invite opinions. He, the Padishah, would only hear and decide. Accordingly, preparations were made for the coming debates.

The discussions were held on Thursday evenings. They were carried on in a large pavilion; it was built for the purpose in the royal garden at Fathpur Sikri. All the learned men at Agra were invited to attend. The Padishah and all the grandees of the empire were present. Abul Fazl acted as a kind of director. He started questions; he expounded his master's policy of toleration. Akbar preserved his dignity as padishah. He listened with majestic gravity to all that was said. Occasionally he bestowed praises and presents upon the best speakers.

For many evenings the proceedings were conducted with due decorum. As, however, the speakers grew accustomed to the presence of the Padishah, the spirit of dissension began to work. One evening it led to an uproar; learned men reviled each other before the Padishah. No doubt Abul Fazl did his best to make the Ulama uncomfortable. He shifted the discussion from one point to another. He started dangerous subjects. He placed them in dilemmas. If they sought to please the Padishah they sinned against the Koran; if they stuck to the Koran they offended the Padishah. A question was started as to Akbar's marriages. One orthodox magistrate was too conscientious to hold his tongue; he was removed from his post. The courtiers[Pg 374] saw that the Padishah delighted in the discomfiture of the Ulama with inconsistency, trickery, and cheating. The law officers were unable to defend themselves. Their authority and orthodoxy was set at naught. They were fast drifting into disgrace and ruin. They had cursed one another in their speech; probably in their hearts they were all agreed in cursing Abul Fazl.

By this time Akbar held the Ulama in small esteem. He was growing sceptical of their religion. He had listened to the history of the caliphate; he yearned toward Ali and his family; he became in heart a Shiah. Already he may have doubted Mahomet and the Koran. Still he was outwardly a Mussulman. His object now was to overthrow the Ulama altogether; to become himself the supreme spiritual head, the pope or caliph of Islam. Abul Fazl was laboring to invest him with the same authority. He mooted the question one Thursday evening. He raised a storm of opposition; for this he was prepared. He had started the idea; he exerted all his tact and skill to carry it out.

The debates proved that there were differences of opinion among the Ulama. Abul Fazl urged that there were differences of opinion between the highest Mussulman authorities; between those who were accepted as infallible, and were known as Mujtahids. He thus inserted the thin edge of the wedge. He proposed that when the Mujtahids disagreed, the decision should be left to the Padishah. Weeks and months passed away in these discussions. Nothing could be said against the measure excepting that it would prove offensive to the Padishah.

Meantime a document was drawn up in the names of the chief men among the Ulama. It gave the Padishah the power of deciding between the conflicting authorities. It gave him the still more dangerous power of issuing fresh decrees, provided they were in accordance with some verse of the Koran and were manifestly for the benefit of the people. The document was in the handwriting of Sheik Mubarak; Abul Fazl, Abdul Faiz, and probably Akbar himself had each a hand in the composition. The chief men among the Ulama were required to sign it. Perhaps if they had been priests or divines they might have resisted to the last. But they were magistrates and judges; their posts and emoluments were in danger. In the end they signed it in[Pg 375] sheer desperation. From that day the power of the Ulama was gone; they had abdicated their authority to the padishah; they became mere ciphers in Islam. A worse lot befell their leaders. The head of the Ulama and the obnoxious chief justice were removed from their posts and forced to go to Mecca.

The breaking up of the Ulama is an epoch in history of Mussulman India. The Ulama may have been ignorant and bigoted; they may have sought to keep religions and the government of the empire within the narrow grooves of orthodoxy. Nevertheless, they had played an important part throughout Mussulman rule. As exponents of the law of Mahomet they had often proved a salutary check upon despotism of the sovereign. They had forced every minister, governor, and magistrate to respect the fundamental principles of the Koran. They led and controlled public opinion among the Mussulman population. They formed the only body in the state that ever ventured to oppose the will of the sovereign.

The Thursday evenings had done their work. Within four years they had broken up the power of the Ulama. Abul Fazl had another project in his brain; it combined the audacity of genius with the mendacity of a courtier. He declared that Akbar was himself the twelfth imam, the lord of the period, who was to reconcile the seventy-two sects of Islam, to regenerate the world, to usher in the millennium. The announcement took the court by surprise. It fitted, however, into current ideas; it paved the way for further assumptions. Akbar grasped the notion with eagerness; it fascinated him for the remainder of his life; it bound him in the closest ties of friendship and confidence with Abul Fazl.

The religious life of Akbar had undergone a vast change. He was testing religion by morality and reason. His faith in Islam was fading away. Mahomet had married a girl of ten; he had taken another man's wife; therefore he could not have been a prophet sent by God. Akbar disbelieved the story of his night-journey to heaven. Meantime Akbar was eagerly learning the mysteries of other religions. He entertained Brahmans, Sufis, Parsis, and Christian fathers. He believed in the transmigration of the soul, in the supreme spirit, in the ecstatic reunion of the soul with God, in the deity of fire and the sun. He[Pg 376] leaned toward Christianity; he rejected the trinity and incarnation.

The gravitations of Akbar toward Christianity are invested with singular interest. He had been impressed with what he heard of the Portuguese in India; their large ships, impregnable forts, and big guns. He sent a letter to the Portuguese viceroy at Goa inviting Christian fathers to come to his court at Fathpur Sikri and instruct him in the sacred books. The religious world at Goa was thrown into a ferment at the prospect of converting the Great Mogul. Every priest in Goa prayed that he might be sent on the mission. Three fathers were despatched to Fathpur, which was more than twelve hundred miles away. Akbar awaited their arrival with the utmost impatience. He received them with every mark of favor. They delivered their presents, consisting of a polyglot Bible in four languages and the images of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. To their unspeakable delight the Great Mogul placed the Bible on his head and kissed the images. So eager was he for instruction that he spent the whole night in conversation with the fathers. He provided them with lodgings in the precincts of his palace; he permitted them to set up a chapel and altar.

Akbar had ceased to be a Mussulman; he still maintained appearances. He set apart Saturday evenings for controversies between the fathers and the mollahs. In the end the fathers convinced Akbar of the superiority of Christianity. They contrasted the sensualities of Mahomet with the pure morality of the Gospel; the wars of Mahomet and the caliphs with the preachings and sufferings of the Apostles. The Mussulman historian curses the fathers; he states that Akbar became a Christian. The fathers, however, could never induce Akbar to be baptized. He gave them his favorite son Amurath, a boy of thirteen, to be educated in Christianity and the European sciences. He directed Abul Fazl to prepare a translation of the Gospel. He entered the chapel of the fathers, and prostrated himself before the image of the Saviour. He permitted the fathers to preach Christianity in any part of his empire; to perform their rites in public, in opposition to Mussulman law. A Portuguese was buried at Fathpur with all the pomp of the Roman Catholic ritual; the cross was carried through the streets[Pg 377] for the first time. But Akbar would not become a Christian; he waited, he said, for the divine illumination.

"He hated the Mussulman religion. He overthrew the mosques and converted them into stables. He trusted and employed the Hindus more than the Mussulmans. Many of the Mussulmans rebelled against him; they stirred up his brother, the Governor of Kabul, to take up arms against him; but Akbar defeated the rebels and restored order.

"It is uncertain what really was the religion of Akbar. Some said that he was a Hindu; others that he was a Christian. Some said that he belonged to a fourth sect, which was not connected with either of the three others. He acknowledged one God who was best content with a variety of sects and worshippings. Early in the morning, and again at noon, evening, and midnight, he worshipped the sun. He belonged to a new sect, of which the followers regarded him as their prophet."

Akbar was no fanatic. He was not carried away by religious craze. His religion was the outcome of his policy; it was political rather than superstitious; it began with him and ended with him. Probably the lack of fanaticism caused its failure. Abul Fazl speaks of the numbers who joined it; the list which he has preserved only contains the names of eighteen courtiers, including himself, his father, and his brother. Only one Hindu is on the list; namely, Bir Bar, the Brahman.

Akbar tried hard to improve the morals of his subjects, Hindus as well as Mussulmans. He placed restrictions upon prostitution; he severely punished seducers. He permitted the use of wine; he punished intoxication. He prohibited the slaughter of cows. He forbade the marriage of boys before they were sixteen, and of girls before they were fourteen. He permitted the marriage of Hindu widows. He tried to stop sati among the Hindus, and polygamy among the Mussulmans.

There was much practical simplicity in Akbar's character. It showed itself in a variety of ways. It was not peculiar to Akbar; it was an instinct which shows itself in Moguls generally. His emirs cheated him by bringing borrowed horses to muster; he stopped them by branding every horse with the name of the emir to which it belonged as well as with the imperial mark. He appointed writers to record everything he said or did.[Pg 378] He sent writers into every city and province to report to him everything that was going on. He hung up a bell at the palace; any man who had a grievance might ring the bell and obtain a hearing.

Akbar was very inquisitive. He sent an expedition to discover the sources of the Ganges. He made a strange experiment to discover what language was first spoken by mankind. This experiment is typical of the man. The Mussulmans declared that the first language was Arabic; the Jews said it was Hebrew; the Brahmans said it was Sanskrit. Akbar ordered twelve infants to be brought up by dumb nurses; not a word was to be spoken in their presence until they were twelve years of age. When the time arrived the children were brought before Akbar. Proficients in the learned tongues were present to catch the first words, to decide upon the language to which it belonged. The children could not say a word; they spoke only by signs. The experiment was an utter failure.

The character of Akbar had its dark side. He was sometimes harsh and cruel. His persecution of Mussulmans was unpardonable. He had another way of getting rid of his enemies which is revolting to civilization. He kept a prisoner in his pay. He carried a box with three compartments—one for betel; another for digestive pills; a third for poisoned pills. No one dared to refuse to eat what was offered him by the Padishah; the offer was esteemed an honor. How many were poisoned by Akbar is unknown. The practice was in full force during the reigns of his successors.

Akbar required his emirs to prostrate themselves before him. This rule gave great offence to Mussulmans; prostration is worship; no strict Mussulman will perform worship except when offering his prayers to God. Abul Fazl says that Akbar ordered it to be discontinued. The point is doubtful. It was certainly performed by members of the "divine faith." It was also performed during the reign of his son and successor.

The Mogul government was pure despotism. Every governor and viceroy was supreme within his province; the Padishah was supreme throughout his empire. There was nothing to check provincial rulers but fear of the Padishah; there was nothing to check the Padishah but fear of rebellion. All previous Mussulman[Pg 379] sovereigns had been checked by the Ulama and the authority of the Koran. Akbar had broken up the Ulama and set aside the Koran; he governed the empire according to his will; his will was law. The old Mogul khans had held diets; no trace of a diet is to be found in the history of Mogul India prior to the reign of Aurungzeb. There may have been a semblance of a diet on the accession of a new padishah; all the emirs, rajas, and princes of the empire paid their homage, presented gifts, and received titles and honors. But there was no council or parliament of any sort or kind. The Padishah was one and supreme.

Akbar dwelt many years at Lahore. There he seems to have reached the height of human felicity. A proverb became current, "As happy as Akbar." He established his authority in Kabul and Bengal. He added Cashmere to his dominions. His empire was as large as that of Asoka.

During the reign of Burhan, Akbar sent ambassadors to the sultans of the Deccan to invite them to accept him as their suzerain. In return he would uphold them on their thrones; he would prevent all internecine wars. One and all refused to pay allegiance to the Mogul. Akbar was wroth at the refusal. He sent his son Amurath to command in Guzerat; he ordered Amurath to seize the first opportunity for interfering in the affairs of Ahmadnagar.

The moment soon arrived. Burhan died in 1594. A war ensued between rival claimants for the throne. The minister invited Amurath to interfere. Amurath advanced to Ahmadnagar. Meantime the minister and queen came to terms; they united to resist the Moguls. The Queen dowager, known as Chand Bibi, arrayed herself in armor; she veiled her face and led the troops in person. The Moguls were driven back. At last a compromise was effected. Berar was ceded to the Padishah; Amurath retired from Ahmadnagar.

About this time a strange event took place at Lahore. On Easter Sunday, 1597, the Padishah was celebrating the Nau-roz, or feast of the new year, in honor of the sun. Tented pavilions were set up in a large plain. An image of the sun, fashioned of gold and jewels, was placed upon a throne. Suddenly a thunderbolt fell from the skies. The throne was overturned. The[Pg 380] royal pavilion was set on fire; the flames spread throughout the camp; the whole was burned to the ground. The fire reached the city and burned down the palace. Nearly everything was consumed. The imperial treasures were melted down, and molten gold and silver ran through the streets of Lahore.

This portentous disaster made a deep impression on Akbar. He went away to Cashmere; he took one of the Christian fathers with him. He began to question the propriety of his new religion; he could not bring himself to retract, certainly not to become an open Christian. When the summer was over he returned to Lahore.

In 1598 Akbar left Lahore and set out for Agra. He was displeased with the conduct of the war in the Deccan. His son Amurath was a drunkard. The commander-in-chief, known as the Khan Khanan, who accompanied Amurath, was intriguing and treacherous; he had probably been bribed by the Deccanis. Abul Fazl was still the trusted servant and friend; he had been raised to the rank of commander of two thousand five hundred. Akbar had already recalled the Khan Khanan. He now sent Abul Fazl into the Deccan to bring away Amurath, or to send him away, as should seem most expedient.

Abul Fazl departed on his mission. He arrived at Burhanpur, the capital of Khandesh. He soon discovered the luke-warmness of Bahadur Khan, the ruler. He insisted that Bahadur Khan should join him and help the imperial cause. Bahadur Khan was disinclined to help Akbar to conquer the Deccan. He thought to back out by sending rich presents to Abul Fazl. Abul Fazl was too loyal to be bribed; he returned the presents and went alone toward Ahmadnagar.

Meanwhile Amurath was retreating from Ahmadnagar. He encamped in Berar; he drank more deeply than ever; he died very suddenly the very day that Abul Fazl came up. The death of Amurath removed one complication, but it led to the question of advance. The imperial officers urged a retreat. Abul Fazl had been bred in a cloister; he was approaching his fiftieth year; he had never before been in active service, but he had the spirit of a soldier; he refused to retreat from an enemy's country; he pushed manfully on for Ahmadnagar. His efforts were rewarded with success. The Queen-regent was assailed by other[Pg 381] enemies, and yielded to her fate. She agreed that if Abul Fazl would punish her enemies, she would surrender the fortress of Ahmadnagar.

Tidings had now reached Akbar that his son Amurath was dead. He resolved to go in person to the Deccan. He left his eldest son, Selim, in charge of the government. He sent an advance force under his other son, Danyal, associated with the Khan Khanan. The advance force reached Burhanpur. There the disloyalty of Bahadur Khan was manifest; he refused to pay respects to Danyal. Akbar was encamped at Ujain when the news reached him. He ordered Abul Fazl to join him; he ordered Danyal to go on to Ahmadnagar; he then prepared for the subjugation of Bahadur Khan.

The story of the operations may be told in a few words. Danyal advanced to Ahmadnagar. Chand Bibi was slaughtered by her own soldiers. Ahmadnagar was occupied by the Moguls. Meanwhile Bahadur Khan abandoned Burhanpur and took refuge in the strong fortress of Asirghur. Akbar was joined by Abul Fazl and laid siege to Asirghur. The siege lasted six months. At last Bahadur Khan surrendered; his life was spared; henceforth he fades away from history.

So far Akbar had prospered; he had conquered the great highway into the Deccan—Malwa, Khandesh, Berar, and Ahmadnagar. He raised Abul Fazl to the command of four thousand. He resolved on conquering the Deccan. He was about to strike when his arm was arrested. His eldest son Selim had broken out in revolt. He had gone to Allahabad and assumed the title of padishah.

Akbar returned alone to Agra; he was falling on evil days. He effected a reconciliation with Selim; he saw that Selim was still rebellious at heart; that his best officers were inclining toward his undutiful son. In his perplexity he sent to the Deccan for Abul Fazl. The trusted servant hastened to join his imperial master. But Selim had always hated Abul Fazl. He instigated a Rajput chief of Bundelkund to waylay Abul Fazl. This chief was Bir Singh of Urchah. Bir Singh fell upon Abul Fazl near Nawar, killed him, and sent his head to Selim. Bir Singh fled from the wrath of the Padishah; he led the life of an outlaw in the jungle until he heard of the death of Akbar.[Pg 382]

Akbar was deeply wounded by the murder of Abul Fazl. He thereby lost his chief support, his best trusted friend. Henceforth he seemed to yield to circumstances rather than to struggle against the world. Other misfortunes befell him: his mother died; his youngest son, Danyal, killed himself with drink in the Deccan; his own life was beginning to draw to a close.

The last events in the reign of Akbar are obscure. Outwardly he became reconciled to Selim. Outwardly he abandoned scepticism and heresy; he professed himself a Mussulman. At heart he was anxious that Selim should be set aside; that Khuzru, the eldest son of Selim, should succeed him to the throne. It is impossible to unravel the intrigues that filled the court at Agra. At last Akbar was smitten with mortal disease. For some days Selim was refused admittance to his father's chamber. In the end there was a compromise. Selim swore to maintain the Mussulman religion. He also swore to pardon his son Khuzru and all who had supported Khuzru. He was then brought into the presence of Akbar. The old Padishah was past all speech. He made a sign with his hand that Selim should take the imperial diadem and gird on the imperial sword. Selim obeyed. He prostrated himself upon the ground before the couch of his dying father; he touched the ground with his head. He then left the chamber. A few hours had passed away and Akbar was dead. He died in October, 1605, aged sixty-three.

The burial of Akbar was performed after a simple fashion. His grave was prepared in a garden at Secundra, about four miles from Agra. The body was placed upon a bier. Selim and his three sons carried it out of the fortress. The young princes, assisted by the officers of the imperial household, carried it to Secundra. Seven days were spent in mourning over the grave. Provisions and sweetmeats were distributed among the poor every morning and evening throughout the mourning. Twenty readers were appointed to recite the Koran every night without ceasing. Finally, the foundations were laid of that splendid mausoleum which is known far and wide as the tomb of Akbar.


[59] Asoka was an illustrious king of the Maurya dynasty in India, who died about b.c. 225. He did much for the advancement of Buddhism, and has been called the "Buddhist Constantine."—Ed.

[Pg 384]


Embracing the Period covered in this Volume

A.D. 1517-1557


Events treated at length are here indicated in large type; the numerals following give volume and page.

Separate chronologies of the various nations, and of the careers of famous persons, will be found in the Index Volume, with volume and page references showing where the several events are fully treated.

* Denotes date uncertain.


1517. Protest of Luther against the sale of indulgences. See "Luther Begins the Reformation in Germany," ix, 1.

Overthrow of the mameluke power in Egypt, by Selim I, who annexes that country to the Ottoman empire.

Balboa beheaded by Pedrarias Davila, the new Governor of Darien, on a charge of contemplated revolt.

Negro slaves first introduced into America. See "Negro Slavery in America," ix, 36.

1518. First preaching of the reformed doctrines by Zwingli, in Switzerland.

Conquest of Arabia by the Ottomans.

1519. Death of Maximilian I; his grandson, Charles I of Spain—jointly with Ferdinand his brother, in his hereditary realm—elected as Emperor Charles V. Union under one crown of the German Empire, Spain, the Netherlands, the Sicilies, Sardinia, and the Spanish Indies.

Cortés first enters Mexico. See "Cortés Captures the City of Mexico," ix, 72.

Mouth of the Mississippi discovered by Francisco de Garay.

Magellan starts on his expedition to circumnavigate the world. See "First Circumnavigation of the Globe," ix, 41.

1520. Papal bull of Leo X against Luther, who publicly burns it. See "Luther Begins the Reformation in Germany," ix, 1.

Execution of nobles at Stockholm, following the successful invasion[Pg 385] of Sweden by King Christian II of Denmark; Sten Sture, the Protector, is mortally wounded at Bogesund; Christian proclaimed king.

Henry VIII of England agrees to meet Francis I of France. See "The Field of the Cloth of Gold," ix, 59.

Solyman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottomans, succeeds Selim I.

1521. Conquest of Belgrade by the Ottoman Turks.

Issue of the first of the Placards, edicts of Emperor Charles V against heresy, in the Netherlands.

First of the wars between Charles V and Francis I; Navarre unsuccessfully invaded by the French; France invaded from the north; Milan lost to the French.

Treaty of Bruges between Henry VIII and Charles V.

Execution of the Duke of Buckingham for high treason; the office of constable of England, his inheritance, abolished.

"Cortés Captures the City of Mexico." See ix, 72.

Magellan reaches the Ladrones and the Philippines; he is slain on an island of the latter group.

1522. Conquest of Rhodes from the Knights of St. John by the Turks, under Solyman the Magnificent.

Battle of La Biococca; the French defeated by the forces of Charles under Colonna.

France invaded by the English under the Earl of Surrey.

A ship belonging to Magellan's fleet completes the circumnavigation of the globe.

Luther publishes his New Testament; he writes his Reply to Henry VIII, who had been dubbed "Defender of the Faith" by Pope Leo X, in acknowledgment of a book, A Defence of the Seven Sacraments, written against Luther.

1523. Invasion of France by Henry VIII and Charles V.

Italy invaded by the French.

Abrogation of the mass and image-worship in Switzerland.

Gustavus Vasa becomes king of Sweden. See "Liberation of Sweden," ix, 79.

Frederick I, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, succeeds to the throne of Christian II of Denmark, who is deposed by his subjects.

1524. Retreat of Bonnivet; death of Bayard, "the knight without fear and without reproach." Italy invaded by Francis I; he occupies Milan and lays siege to Pavia.

"The Peasants' War in Germany." See ix, 93.

Voyage to the North American coast by Verrazano, an Italian navigator, on behalf of France.

1525. Defeat of Francis I at Pavia. See "France Loses Italy," ix, 111.

Bloody conclusion of the Peasants' War.

A hereditary Protestant principality formed in East Prussia by the grand master of the Teutonic Knights; the suzerain being Sigismund, King of Poland.[Pg 386]

1526. Treaty of Madrid; release of Francis I. See "France Loses Italy," ix, 111.

Battle of Mohacs; the Hungarians are overwhelmed by Solyman; Louis II slain. Rival elections of John Zapolya and Ferdinand of Austria to the vacant throne.

Foundation of the Mongol dynasty of India by Baber, who conquers Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi at Paniput.

Tyndale's version of the English Bible printed at Worms.

1527. Storming of Rome; it is pillaged by the troops of the Constable de Bourbon. See "Sack of Rome by the Imperial Troops," ix, 124.

Restoration of the republic in Florence; the Medici expelled.

Winning of the Hungarian crown by Ferdinand of Austria; Zapolya expelled the country.

1528. War declared against Charles V by Henry VIII and Francis I.

Deliverance of Genoa from the French yoke, by Andrea Doria.

After tyrannizing over Scotland for more than two years, the Earl of Angus is driven out of the realm.

1529. Fall of Cardinal Wolsey. See "Great Religious Movement in England," ix, 137.

Presentation of the Protest by the German reformers at the Diet of Spire; from this the reformers take the name of Protestants.[60]

Peace of Cambrai between Francis I and Charles V.

Siege of Florence; united attempt of Charles V and Pope Clement VII to restore the rule of the Medici.

Vienna unsuccessfully besieged by Solyman the Magnificent; he gives to Zapolya the rule in Hungary.

Establishment in Sweden of Lutheranism as the state church.

1530. Coronation of Charles V, Pope Clement VII, at Bologna, performing the ceremony, the last crowning by any pope of a German emperor.

Restoration of the Medici on the submission of Florence to the invaders.

Malta ceded to the Knights of St. John by Charles V, who also hands over the Moluccas to the Portuguese.

Formulation of the reform (Protestant) profession of faith at the Diet of Augsburg; prepared and read before the Diet by Melanchthon.

1531. Breach between Henry VIII and Pope Clement VII.

Battle of Kappel; defeat of the army of Zurich by Swiss Catholics; fall of Zwingli.

Henry VIII of England first addressed as "supreme head of the Church."

Publication of Michel Servetus' treatise on the Errors of the Trinity.

1532. Restoration of religious peace, with freedom of worship, in Germany, secured by the Pacification of Nuremberg.

Conquest of Peru. See "Pizarro Conquers Peru," ix, 156.[Pg 387]

1533. Cranmer annuls the marriage of Henry VIII with Catherine of Aragon; he marries Anne Boleyn; her coronation.

Marriage of the Dauphin Henry with Catherine de' Medici.

Enforced flight of Calvin from Paris. See "Calvin is Driven from Paris," ix, 176.

Queen Margaret of Navarre, sister of Francis I, avows heretical opinions; her mysteries, farces, and novels give a great impulse to literature in France.

A taste for poetry and refinement of the English language follows the writings of Howard, Earl of Surrey, and Sir Thomas Wyatt, in England.

1534. Throwing off of the papal authority in England. See "English Act of Supremacy," ix, 203.

Establishment of their disorderly reign of the Anabaptists, under the lead of John of Leyden, in Muenster.

Unsuccessful attempt of the Bishop of Geneva and the Duke of Savoy to reëstablish their authority over Geneva; it is henceforth free.

First fierce persecution of the reformers in France begins.

Discovery of the St. Lawrence by Jacques Cartier.* See "Cartier Explores Canada," ix, 236.

1535. Suppression of the monasteries in England.

Publication in England by Tyndale and Coverdale of a new translation of the Bible.

Settlement of Paraguay and founding of Buenos Aires. See "Mendoza Settles Buenos Aires," ix, 254.

Downfall of the Anabaptists at Muenster; John of Leyden put to death.

After being created a cardinal, Fisher is beheaded in England; the like befalls Sir Thomas More.

1536. Completion of the union between England and Wales.

Henry VIII, on the charge of infidelity, commits Anne Boleyn to the Tower of London; she is executed. Marriage of Henry to Jane Seymour.

Francis I takes Turin and attempts the surprise of Genoa.

Provence invaded by Charles V.

Discovery of California by Cortés.

1537. Death of Jane Seymour, Queen of England.

Further enslavement of the Indians forbidden by a brief of Pope Paul III.

1538. General suppression of monasteries and destruction of relics in England.

Truce of Nice, for ten years, between France and Spain.

Marriage of Mary de Guise with James V of Scotland.

John Calvin expelled Geneva.

1539. Publication of Cranmer's Bible in England.

Calvin, head of the Reformers, founds the University of Geneva.[Pg 388]

Beginning of the explorations of De Soto, after his landing in Florida.

Emperor Charles V drives the citizens of Ghent into revolt against his exactions.

1540. Marriage of Henry VIII to Anne of Cleves; she is divorced; the King marries Catherine Howard.

Submission of Ghent to Charles V; he destroys its liberties; many of the citizens find refuge in England.

Papal sanction given to the Society of Jesus. See "Founding of The Jesuits," ix, 261.

Cherry-trees, carried from Flanders, first planted in England.

First known printing in America; done in Mexico. See "Origin and Progress of Printing," viii, 1.

1541. Charles V heads an unsuccessful expedition against Algiers.

Hungary overrun by the Turks, under Solyman the Magnificent.

King John III of Portugal requests Francis Xavier and other Jesuits to undertake missions to his colonies.

De Soto reaches the Mississippi River. See "De Soto Discovers the Mississippi," ix, 277.

1542. Discovery of Japan by the Portuguese.*

Execution of Catherine Howard, fifth queen-consort of Henry VIII. He assumes the title of king of Ireland.

Battle of Solway Moss; successful invasion of Scotland by the English.

War renewed between Francis I and Charles V.

Trade with Japan by the Portuguese permitted.

1543. Marriage of Henry VIII with Catherine Parr.

"Revolution of Astronomy by Copernicus." See ix, 285.

Birth and accession of Mary Stuart to the throne of Scotland; Earl of Arran is regent.

1544. Invasion of Scotland by the English under the Earl of Hertford; they burn Edinburgh.

Mary and Elizabeth restored to the right of succession to the English throne.

1545. Attempted invasion of England by the French.

Nineteenth general council. See "Council of Trent and the Counter-reformation," ix, 293.

Spanish discovery of the silver mines of Potosi.

Massacre of the Vaudois in Southern France.

1546. Burning of George Wishart as a heretic, by order of Cardinal Beaton, the Scottish primate; he is assassinated.

Beginning of the War of the Smalkald League. See "Protestant Struggle against Charles V," ix, 313.

1547. Death of Henry VIII; Edward VI succeeds his father on the English throne; the Duke of Somerset protector.

Henry II succeeds to the throne of France, on the death of his father, Francis I.[Pg 389]

Capture of John Knox, the Scottish reformer; he is condemned to the French galleys.

In Russia the Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan IV (the Terrible), assumes the title of czar or tsar.

1548. Publication of the Augsburg Interim. See "Protestant Struggle against Charles V," ix, 313.

1549. In England the Act of Uniformity, regulating public worship, is passed.

Formal uniting of the Netherlands with the Spanish crown by Charles V.

Francis Xavier lands in Japan. See "Introduction of Christianity into Japan," ix, 325.

Book of Common Prayer adopted in England, under Edward VI.

1550. Promulgation against the heretics in the Netherlands by Charles; the hateful Inquisition established there.

Peace between England and France; Boulogne restored to the latter.

Publication of his Lives of the Painters, by Giorgio Vasari.

1551. After a long siege Magdeburg is taken by Maurice of Saxony.

Turkish ravages on the coast of Sicily; an attack on Malta fails; Tripoli surrenders to them.

Palestrina, the first to reconcile musical science with musical art, made maestro di capella by Pope Julius III.

1552. Adoption of the Forty-two Articles of the Church of England; these were afterward reduced to Thirty-nine.

Alliance of Maurice of Saxony with France; they make war on Charles V, on behalf of the Protestants. The Peace of Passau follows. See "Collapse of the Power of Charles V," ix, 337 and 348.

Seizure of the bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun by Henry II of France. See "Collapse of the Power of Charles V," ix, 337.

Subjugation of the Tartars of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible of Russia.

1553. Death of Edward VI; his sister, Mary, succeeds to the English throne.

Unsuccessful attempt of the Duke of Northumberland to place his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, on the throne.

After a stubborn defence by Francis, Duke of Guise, Charles V is compelled to raise the siege of Metz.

Burning of Servetus at Geneva, with Calvin's approval.

1554. Rebellion of Wyatt, in support of Lady Jane Grey's attempt on the crown of England; she is executed.

Queen Mary, of England, marries Philip of Spain.

Regency of Mary de Guise, mother of Mary Stuart, in Scotland.

Astrakhan conquered by Ivan the Terrible.

1555. Peace of Augsburg between the Roman Catholic and Lutheran parties in Germany. See "The Religious Peace of Augsburg," ix, 348.

Persecution of the Protestants begun by Queen Mary in England; burning of Latimer and Ridley.[Pg 390]

The sovereignty of the Netherlands resigned by Charles V to his son, Philip II.

Return to Scotland of John Knox.

Completion of the version of the Psalms, in English metre, by Sternhold and Hopkins.

1556. Burning of Cranmer.

Emperor Charles V resigns the crown of Germany. See "Religious Peace of Augsburg," ix, 348.

"Akbar Establishes the Mogul Empire in India." See ix, 366.

1557. Philip II of Spain arrives in England; he obtains a declaration of war against France and departs. Battle of St. Quentin; the Earl of Pembroke joins the army of Philip II in Flanders, with 10,000 English soldiers; defeat of the French.

Signing of the Solemn League and Covenant, "even to the knife," by Scottish Lords of the Congregation.


[60] Sometimes given as 1530.




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