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A. Et. 41. A. Pont, IV.
After twenty years of warfare and desola. ÇHAP. tion, Italy began at length to experience some respite from her calamities. The contest was A. D. 1516. not indeed wholly terminated; but it was chiefly restricted to the Venetian territories, where the senate were struggling to recover
Proposed from the emperor the important cities of Bres: England, cia and Verona, which, by the aid of their Spain, and successful allies the French, they now ex
against pected speedily to accomplish, The conquest France. of Milan and the progress of the French arms were not, however, regarded with indifference by Ferdinand of Aragon, who was well ap
CHAP. prized of the warlike disposition and ambi
tious designs of Francis I. and fully aware how A. D. 1516. much the possession of the Milanese might A. Pont. Iv. facilitate the success of his hostile attempts
against the kingdom of Naples. These ap-
his associate in the war; and his neu-
applications to the emperor Maximilian and to Henry VIII. to join him in a league against France.
These propositions were willingly acceded to by Maximilian, who earnestly desired the assistance of the Spaniards in divesting the Venetians of their continental possessions; and were also listened to by Henry VIII. who, notwithstanding his late dissatisfaction with the conduct of his father-in-law and his treaty with Francis I. had been induced by Wolsey to look with an hostile eye on the proceedings of the French monarch. The motives of this powerful favourite, in thus in
citing his sovereign to a new contest, are too CHAP. obvious to be mistaken. By the aid of Francis I. he had lately obtained the hat of a cardi- A. D. 1516. nal; and he well knew that the expected com- A. Pont. IV. pensation for this favour was his relinquishing the revenues arising from his bishoprick of Tournay, which, in case of hostilities between the two countries, he could still retain. He was therefore indefatigable in forwarding the negotiations with the emperor.(a) The Spanish ambassador, who had of late experienced great neglect in the English court, was again
A. t. 41.
(a) This treaty, the professed object of which was, to raise Francesco Sforza to the government of Milan, which had been relinquished by his brother Maximilian, occasioned great debates in the English councils, which are fully stated by Lord Herbert. 46 Leo had a hand herein,” says that historian, “ as knowing how much safer it was for Italy, " that a single duke should govern Milan, than such a po" tent prince as Francis I." At this time the emperor amused Henry VIII. with promises of granting to him the duchy of Milan, and resigning to him the empire, hy which means he extracted from him considerable sums of money: v, Lord Herbert's Life of Henry VIII, p. 51, &c. From a document preserved in Rymer's Federa, it also appears, that Francesco Sforza had promised to pay Wolsey a pension of ten thousand ducats from the time of his obtaining possession of his dominions, Rapin's Hist. of Eng. book xv. v. i. p. 732. also, v. Appendix, No. CXXXVII,
CHA P. received into favour ; and the ancient treaties
between Spain and England were revived and 4. D.1516. confirmed; but whilst the proposed alliance A. Pont. IV. between the three sovereigns was thus on the point of being accomplished, its further
proFerdinand gress was prevented by the death of Ferdinand, of Spain. who, after a lingering illness and at an advanced
terminated his mortal career on the twenty-third day of January, 1516.(a)
The reign of Ferdinand may be considered as having laid the foundation of the power of the Spanish monarchy; and he may justly be regarded, if not as one of the greatest, as one of the most fortunate, sovereigns on historical record. His marriage with Isabella eventually united the people of Castile and of Aragon under one sovereign and formed them into one powerful nation. To the encouragement which, however tardy and imperfect, was afforded by Ferdinand and his queen to Columbus, may be attributed the discovery of the
(a) Guicciardini places this event in January. “ mese di Gennajo." Robertson more particularly, on the twenty-third day of January. Life of Cha. V. book iii. p. 21. Muratori, who is in general accurate in his dates, on the fifteenth of January, 1516. Annali x. 122.
A. tt. 4. A. Pont. IV.
of America; undoubtedly one of the most CHA P. important events in the history of mankind. The expulsion of the Moors from his domi- A. D. 1516. nions is another incident which adds lustre to his reign. By the valour and conduct of his great general Gonsalvo he had obtained the peaceful sovereignty of the kingdom of Naples, and thereby restored to the legitimate branch of the house of Aragon their long asserted rights. The acquisition of Navarre and the conquest of several important places on the shores of Africa were also highly honourable to the Spanish arms.
These uncommon successes, together with the reputation which Ferdinand had acquired for moderation, prudence, and piety, gave him an extensive influence among the crowned heads of Europe; but notwithstanding these splendid achievements, Ferdinand was himself no hero. Whilst Louis XII. and Francis I. and even the emperor elect Maximilian, took the field, he was, for the most part, satisfied with acquiring by proxy what they lost in person. Those talents which were dignified by the name of wisdom and prudence would have been better characterized by the appellations of craft, of avarice, and of fraud. His treacherous conduct towards his near relation Fer