Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

pretext for

a

intelligence of the motions and destination of these ambas- BOOK

VII. sadors. As he knew how much his master wished to discover the intentions of the French King, and of what conse

1541. quence it was to retard the execution of his measures, he employed some soldiers belonging to the garrison of Pavia to lie in wait for Rincon and Fregoso as they sailed down The mur

der of his the Po, who murdered them and most of their attendants, ambassaand seized their papers. Upon receiving an account of this dors his barbarous outrage, committed during the subsistence of

this. truce, against persons held sacred by the most uncivilized nations, Francis's grief for the unhappy fate of two servants whom he loved and trusted, his uneasiness at the interruption of his schemes by their death, and every other passion, were swallowed up and lost in the indignation which this insult on the honour of his crown excited. He exclaimed loudly against Guasto, who, having drawn upon himself all the infamy of assassination without making any discovery of importance, as the ambassadors had left their instructions and other papers of consequence behind them, now boldly denied his being accessary in any wise to the crime. He sent an ambassador to the Emperor, to demand suitable reparation for an indignity, which no · Prince, how inconsiderable or pusillanimous soever, could tamely endure: and when Charles, impatient at that time to set out on his African expedition, endeavoured to put him off with an evasive answer, he appealed to all the courts in Europe, setting forth the heinousness of the injury, the spirit of moderation with which he had applied for redress, and the iniquity of the Emperor in disregarding this just request.

NOTWITHSTANDING the confidence with which Guasto asserted his own innocence, the accusations of the French gained greater credit than all his protestations; and Bellay, the French commander in Piedmont, procured, at length, by his industry and address, such a minute detail of the transaction, with the testimony of so many of the parties concerned, as amounted almost to a legal proof of the marquis's guilt. In consequence of this opinion of the public, confirmed by such strong evidence, Francis's complaints were universally allowed to be well founded, and the steps which

BOOK he' took towards renewing hostilities, were ascribed not VII.

merely to ambition or resentment, but to the unavoidable 1541.

necessity of vindicating the honour of his crown.

HOWEVER just Francis might esteem his own cause, he did not trust so much to that, as to neglect the proper precautions for gaining other allies besides the Sultan, by whose aid he might counterbalance the Emperor's superior power. But his negociations to this effect were attended with very little success. Henry VIII. eagerly bent at that time upon schemes against Scotland, which he knew would at once dissolve his union with France, was inclinable rather to take part with the Emperor, than to contribute in any degree towards favouring the operations against him. The Pope adhered inviolably to his ancient system of neutrality. The Venetians, notwithstanding Solyman's solicitations, imitated the Pope's example. The Germans, satisfied with the religious liberty which they enjoyed, found it more their interest to gratify than to irritate the Emperor; so that the Kings of Denmark and Sweden, who on this occasion were first drawn in to interest themselves in the quarrels of the more potent Monarchs of the south, and the Duke of Cleves, who had a dispute with the Emperor 'about the possession of Guelders, were the only confederates whom Francis secured. But the dominions of the two former lay at such a distance, and the power of the latter was so inconsiderable, that he gained little by their alliance.

Francis's

But Francis by vigorous efforts of his own activity supindustry in plied every defect. Being afflicted at this time with a dispreparing

temper, which was the effect of his irregular pleasures, and which prevented his pursuing them with the same licentious, indulgence, he applied to business with more than his usual industry. The same cause which occasioned this extraordinary attention to his affairs, rendered him morose and dissatisfied with the ministers whom he had hitherto employed. This accidental peevishness being sharpened by reflecting on the false steps into which he had lately been betrayed, as

for war.

c Bellay, 367, &c. Jovii Hist. lib. xl. 268.

well as the insults to which he had been exposed, some of B O OK

VII. those in whom he had usually placed the greatest confidence felt the effects of this change in his temper, and were de

1541. prived of their offices. At last he disgraced Montmorency himself, who had long directed affairs, as well civil as military, with all the authority of a minister no less beloved than trusted by his master; and Francis being fond of showing that the fall of such a powerful favourite did not affect the vigour or prudence of his administration, this was a new motive to redouble his diligence in preparing to open the war by some splendid and extraordinary effort.

field.

war.

He accordingly brought into the field five armies. One 1542.

He brings to act in Luxembourg under the Duke of Orleans, accompa- five armies nied by the Duke of Lorraine as his instructor in the art of into the

Another commanded by the Dauphin marched towards the frontiers of Spain. A third, led by Van Rossem the Marshal of Guelders, and composed chiefly of the troops of Cleves, had Brabant allotted for the theatre of its operations. A fourth, of which the Duke of Vendome was general, hovered on the borders of Flanders. The last, consisting of the forces cantoned in Piedmont, was destined for the Admiral Annebaut. The Dauphin and his brother were appointed to command where the chief exertions were intended, and the greatest honour to be reaped ; the army of the former amounted to forty thousand, that of the latter to thirty thousand men. Nothing appears more surprising than that Francis did not pour with these numerous and irresistible armies into the Milanese, which had so long been the object of his wishes as well as enterprises; and that he should choose rather to turn almost his whole strength into another direction, and towards new conquests. But the remembrance of the disasters which he had met with in his former expeditions into Italy, together with the difficulty of supporting a war carried on at such a distance from his own dominions, had gradually abated his violent inclination to obtain footing in that country, and made him willing to try the fortune of his arms in another quarter. At the same time he expected to make such a powerful impression on the frontier of Spain, where there were few towns of any

1542.

BOOK strength, and no army assembled to oppose him, as might VII.

enable him to recover possession of the country of Rousillon, lately dismembered from the French crown, before Charles could bring into the field any force able to obstruct his progress. The necessity of supporting his ally the Duke of Cleves, and the hope of drawing a considerable body of soldiers out of Germany by his means, determined him to act with vigour in the Low-Countries.

June. The Dauphin and Duke of Orleans opened the camTheir ope- paign much about the same time; the former laying siege

to Perpignan the capital of Rousillon, and the latter entering Luxembourg. The Duke of Orleans pushed his opera. tions with the greatest rapidity and success, one town falling after another, until no place in that large dutchy remained in the Emperor's hands but Thionville. Nor could he have failed of over-running the adjacent provinces with the same ease, if he had not voluntarily stopt short in his career of victory. But a report prevailing that the Emperor had determined to hazard a battle in order to save Perpignan, sudden the Duke, prompted by youthful ardour, or moved, perhaps, by jealousy of his brother, whom he both envied and hated, abandoned his own conquest, and hastened to wards Rousillon, in order to divide with him the glory of the victory.

con a

On his departure some of his troops were disbanded, others deserted their colours, and the rest, cantoned in the towns which he had taken, remained inactive. By this conduct, which leaves a dishonourable imputation either on his understanding or his heart, or on both, he not only renounced whatever he could have hoped from such a promising commencement of the campaign, but

gave

the

enemy an opportunity of recovering, before the end of summer, all the conquests which he had gained. On the Spanish frontier, the Emperor was not so inconsiderate as to venture on a battle, the loss of which might have endangered his kingdom. Perpignan, though poorly fortified, and briskly attacked, having been largely supplied with ammunition and provisions by the vigilance of Doria d, was defended so long and d Sigonii Vita A. Doriæ,

p.

1191.

1542.

so vigorously by the Duke of Alva, the persevering obstina- B O O K cy of whose temper fitted him admirably for such a service,

VII. that at last the French, after a siege of three months, wasted by diseases, repulsed in several assaults, and despairing of success, relinquished the undertaking and retired into their own country. Thus all Francis's mighty preparations, ei. ther from some defect in his own conduct, or from the superior power and prudence of his rival, produced no effects which bore any proportion to his expense and efforts, or such as gratified, in any degree, his own hopes, or answered the expectation of Europe. The only solid advantage of the campaign was the acquisition of a few towns in Piedmont, which Bellay gained rather by stratagem and address, than by force of arms f.

The Emperor and Francis, though both considerably ex- 1543. hausted by such great but indecisive efforts, discovering no

Prepara

tions for abatement of their mutual animosity, employed all their at- another tention, tried every expedient, and turned themselves to- campaign. wards every quarter, in order to acquire new allies, together with such a reinforcement of strength as would give them the superiority in the ensuing campaign. Charles, taking advantage of the terror and resentment of the Spaniards, upon the sudden invasion of their country, prevailed on the Cortes of the several kingdoms to grant him subsidies with a more liberal hand than usual. At the same time he borrowed a large sum from John King of Portugal, and, by way of security for his repayment, put him in possession of the Molucca Isles in the East Indies, with the gainful commerce of precious spices, which that sequestered corner of the globe yields. Not satisfied with this, he negociated a marriage between Philip his only son, now in his sixteenth year, and Mary daughter of that Monarch, with whom her father, the most opulent prince in Europe, gave a large dower; and having likewise persuaded the Cortes of Aragon and Valencia to recognise Philip as the heir of these crowns, he obtained from them the donative usual on such

e Sandov. Hist. tom. ii. 315. f Ibid. ii. 318. Bellay, 387, &c. Ferrer. ix. 237.

« VorigeDoorgaan »