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HISTORY OF THE REIGN
CHARLES THE FIFTH,
BY WILLIAM ROBERTSON, D.D.
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF
THE EMPEROR'S LIFE AFTER HIS ABDICATION,
WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT,
CORRESPONDING MEMBER OF THE INSTITUTE OF FRANCE, OF THE ROYAL
ACADEMY OF HISTORY AT MADRID, ETC.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & CO. FARRINGDON STREET.
The life of Charles the Fifth subsequently to his abdication is disposed of by Dr. Robertson in some six or seven pages. It did not, in truth, come strictly within the author's plan, which proposed only a history of the reign of the emperor. But unfortunately these few pages contain many inaccuracies, and, among others, a very erroneous view of the interest which Charles, in his retirement, took in the concerns of the government. Yet it would be unjust to impute these inaccuracies to want of care in the historian, since he had no access to such authentic sources of information as would have enabled him to correct them. Such information was to be derived from documents in the archives of Simancas, consisting, among other things, of the orginial correspondence of the emperor
and his household, and showing conclusively that the monarch, instead of remaining dead to the world in his retreat, took, not merely an interest,
but a decided part, in the management of affairs. But in Robertson's day, Simancas was closed against the native as well as the foreigner; and it is not until within a few years that the scholar has been permitted to enter its dusty recesses, and draw thence materials to illustrate the national history. It is particularly rich in materials for the illustration of Charles the Fifth's life after his abdication. Availing themselves of the opportunities thus afforded, several eminent writers, both in England and on the Continent, have bestowed much pains in investigating a passage of history hitherto so little understood. The results of their labours they have given to the world in a series of elaborate works, which, however varying in details, all exhibit Charles's character and conduct in his retirement in a very different point of view from that in which it has been usual to regard them. It was the knowledge of this fact which led the Publishers of the present edition of Robertson's "Charles the Fifth request me to prepare
such an account of his monastic life as might place before the reader the results of the recent researches in Simancas, and that in a more concise formas better suited to the purpose for which it was designed—than had been adopted by preceding writers. I was the more willing to undertake the task, that my previous studies had made me familiar with the subject, and that I was possessed of a large body
of authentic documents relating to it, copied from the originals in Simancas. These documents, indeed, form the basis of a chapter on the monastic life of Charles at the close of the first Book of the History of Philip the Second,—written, I may add, in the summer of 1851, more than a year previous to the publication of Mr. Stirling's admirable work, which led the way, in the series of brilliant productions relating to the cloister life of Charles.
In complying with the request of the Publishers, I have made the authentic records which I had received from Simancas the foundation of my narrative,-freely availing myself, at the same time, of the labours of my predecessors, especially of those of Mr. Stirling and M. Mignet, wherever they have thrown light on the path from sources not within my reach.
In the performance of the task I have been insensibly led into a much greater length than I had originally intended, or than, I fear, will be altogether palatable to those who have become already familiar with the narrative in the writings of those who have preceded me. To such readers I cannot, indeed, flatter myself that I have given any information of importance beyond what they may have acquired from these more extended and elaborate works. But by far the larger part of