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tained by Philip on the Continent. his first wife, when he was only eigh
Light and frivolous, questionably moral, indeed, as some of her proceedings were, she was certainly not the brazen Theodora, hated and loathed by her own people as she was represented by the Catholic scribes of her time; nor was Orange the impious voluptuary which Philip's ban of 1580 made him out to be. But if Philip could maintain his Father Parsons, Elizabeth could entertain her Antonio Perez, and the attacks on Philip's personal character, were as cruel, and probably less warrantable, than those upon Elizabeth. Nothing is further from my thoughts at present than to attempt an apology for the methods or objects of the Spanish king, but it may render us somewhat less arrogant and dogmatic in our judgment of him, if we find that in his domestic relations he was not altogether the unnatural and repulsive fiend which it has been the fashion to regard him, if we can prove by the evidence now forthcoming that instead of being the murderer of his wife and his first-born, he was a good husband, a tender father, an affectionate brother, and a patient, kindly master. It would doubtless be too much to claim that he was beyond reproach in respect of his marital fidelity; but at least it is the fact that he carefully avoided open scandal in the matter, such as that given by his great father and the contemporary kings of France. William the Silent, in his "Apology" or answer to Philip's ban, carefully raked up every scandalous story that was told about him, and alleges that before he married the Princess of Portugal, mother of Don Carlos, "he had been wedded to Doña Isabel Osorio, by whom he had two or three children." Now Philip was married to his first wife when he was only sixteen and a half years old; he had been kept in close tutelage by the emperor, and certainly no churchman would have dared to perform the ceremony of marriage between the heirapparent and a private lady at any such age as that. It is extremely probable that after the untimely death of
teen, and during his nine years' widowhood, the connection with Doña Isabel Osorio was commenced and continued, but none but the most censorious would venture to blame him on that account. Orange's second charge was that he had lived with, and had a daughter by, Doña Eufrasia de Guzman, whom he had married to the Prince of Ascoli to hide his fault, and this is doubtless true. It is probable, indeed, as Sorzano, the Venetian ambassador in Madrid, says, that Philip gave the Prince of Ascoli an office in the palace, in order to retain the lady near him, after his marriage with Elizabeth de Valois in 1560; but the arrangement could not have lasted long, as in 1564 Saint Sulpice, the French ambassador, writes home, saying that Ruy Gomez had assured him that the relations had then ceased, and that the lady had gone away from the palace; so that everything was now going on as well as could possibly be wished."
The romantic story of the king's relations with the Princess of Eboli, Ruy Gomez's wife, invented by the false scoundrel Antonio Perez in exile, to make his own contemptible personality more interesting, has been conclusively disproved by Señor Gaspar Muro, and' may henceforward be regarded as a discredited fiction. These being the worst charges in this respect that the malice of his deadly enemies could bring against Philip, it will be conceded that not much need be said in his defence, considering the morals of the time and the example of contemporary princes against whom no word is raised.
Let us now consider him in his legitimate relations. There must, for all his coldness, have been something very lovable in the man whose three purely diplomatic marriages after his matur ity resulted in the fervent affection for him of his respective wives. Each of these unions was effected under cir cumstances which would seem to forebode repulsion rather than attachment; the first having been a duty-marriage, undertaken at the orders of his father
with an ill-favored bride many years older than himself, whom he had never seen, and whose subjects were bitterly opposed to the match; the second being in fulfilment of a treaty of peace in which his new wife had first been affianced to his son; and his third bride being his own niece, a mere girl, who had for years been regarded as the future wife of his son Carlos. When Philip was apprised by his father that he had arranged for him to marry Mary Tudor, he replied in a letter truly filial in its tone. If, he said, his Majesty was determined not to marry the queen himself, which would be best; and wished him, Philip, to do so, "Your Majesty knows that I being so obedient a son have no other will than yours, especially in a matter of such importance as this. I therefore leave it to your Majesty to act as you may deem best." He not only without a murmur did as his father wished, but as gaily and pleasantly as might be, sought to gain the affection of his elderly bride and his new subjects. Froude, following French and Venetian authorities, both bitterly opposed to the match, has presented Philip during his stay in England as gloomy, sulky and repellent. The very opposite was really the case. His position was an extremely difficult one. Marks of jealousy and hatred met him on every side; the proud Spanish nobles who attended him were openly insulted and maltreated whenever they appeared in public, the queen's government from the first gave him to understand that he would not be allowed to interfere in English affairs; it must have been evident to him, as it certainly was to his Spanish courtiers, that he had sacrificed himself in vain. and that the stubborn Anglo-Saxon was no more likely to be ruled from Spain after the queen's marriage, than he was before it. And yet with all this, Philip's gentle courtesy and graciousness not only completely enamoured the queen of him, but before he left England actually won the hearts of the jealous English courtiers. It is true that Renard had impressed
upon him the necessity for the Spaniards to adopt the English manners and comport themselves with becoming modesty; "and I am confident," he says, "that your Highness will caress them (i.e., the English) with your accustomed kindness." Philip certainly bettered his instruction, for he was graciousness itself, from the first moment he set foot on English land at Southampton. Cabrera says of him, "Some of the English were inclined to be sulky, but the king won them over with his prudence and affability, and with gifts and favors accompanied by his family courtesy." An Italian eyewitness specially speaks of the prince's "gentilezza di parlare;" and Sorzano, the Venetian ambassador in Madrid, afterwards assured the doge, "That the gentle courtesy he adopted in England was continued after his return to Spain, and that while maintaining his natural gravity and dignity, his kindness and graciousness to all persons were remarkable."
Michaeli, the Venetian ambassador in England, who had sided so strongly with Noailles in his opposition to the match, is also very emphatic in his testimony to Philip's graciousness whilst in England, and says that his conduct towards his wife was enoug] to make any woman love him; in good truth, no one else in the world could have been a better or a more loving husband." This, be it remembered, is the testimony of one of Philip's opponents. When the first bloom of the honeymoon was fading, and the royal couple were at Richmond (19th August, 1554), one of Philip's courtiers writes, "Their Majesties are the happiest couple in the world, and are more in love with each other than I can say here. He never leaves her, and on the road is always by her side, lifting her into the saddle and helping her to dismount. He dines with her in public, and they go to mass together on feast days." London was in a perfect frenzy of panic, and the few Spanish courtiers still remaining with the king were undisguised in their disappointment at the match; but Philip never lost his
patient graciousness, and in despite of the public fears of the Spaniards, became personally not unpopular during his stay. When at length it became evident that no issue would result from the marriage, and that Renard's plan had failed, Philip was forced to leave his queen and attend to the interests of his own world-wide empire, but he did so with all kindness and gentleness; and her fervent love for him whilst her life lasted, proves at least that he was a good husband to her.
Philip's next marriage would seem to have promised even less felicity than his former one. His bride was not much over fourteen years of age whilst he was thirty-three; she was being handed over like a chattel to the man who had been at mortal feud with her family and country for years. The gay and brilliant court of her brother and mother was very dear to the beautiul young French girl; and she knew full well that the splendid squalor and rigid etiquette of her husband's life boded but ill for her future happiness. So great was the distrust and dislike between France and Spain at the time, that the most elaborate precautions had to be taken to prevent surprise or treachery on the part of the courtiers of the respective countries who met on the frontier, and the young queen was kept waiting for days at Roncesvalles in the snow whilst Anthony de Bourbon was bickering with the Spaniards as to who should cross the frontier first.
Philip himself seems to have anticipated no happiness from the marriage and advanced no further than Guadalajara to meet his bride. All that national distrust, glacial etiquette, and gloomy pomp could do to damp the spirits of bride and bridegroom was done, and the poor child Elizabeth was frightened nearly to death as the meeting with her future husband approached. The story of the romancers, that she had already seen and fallen in love with her husband's son, Don Carlos, for whom she was first destined, may be dismissed. He was a lame, sickly, big-headed boy of four
teen, yellow with constant fever and ague; and although it is true that he subsequently became deeply attached to his step-mother, and her influence over him, even in his maddest moments, was supreme, it is almost certain that her feelings towards him were always those which were warranted by their position towards each other. However that may be, Elizabeth's first interview with Philip was anything but propitious. As she approached the king she was so frightened that she could only stare dumbly at his grave face without making a sign. He looked older than his years, and being conscious of the fact, doubtless read her thoughts aright. "What are you looking at?" was his first greeting to his bride. "Are you looking to see whether my hair is white?" But Philip's habitual gentleness soon came back, and he and Elizabeth de Valois made an excellent couple. This perhaps may have been to some extent owing to the tact, ability, and beauty that made this daughter of Catharine de Medici the most popular queen-consort that Spain ever had, but it must have been greatly aided by Philip's constant solicitude and kindness. In the midst of the marriage festivities the bride fell ill of small-pox, and the husband's tender care for her was redoubled. "The king," we are told, "prolonged his visits and multiplied his attentions to the young queen. His persuasions and his tenderness prevailed upon her to be bled, for which she had an extreme repugnance." Through her convalescence and afterwards Philip was ceaseless in his attentions. "He never left her during his hours of leisure, except when absolutely necessary, and in every way showed his tenderness for her;" and one of her ladies, writing some time afterwards to Catharine de Medici, assures the queen-mother, who was apparently most anxious about her daughter's health and conduct, that "Elle dort toutes les nuits avec le roi son mari, qui n'y faut jamais sans grande occasion." Her cousin, the Countess of Clermont, also writes to
the queen-mother in a similar strain during the course of the queen's illness. "The king," she says, "comes to see her every day, and stays longer with her than usual. I can assure you that when she is well his countenance shows his pleasure, and his sadness when she is ill proves the love he bears her." The same lady writes later: "The king is so unceasing in his attentions that he sends at all hours to learn how she is, and though he has been advised not to come himself, he continues to do so every day. This agrees with what an old woman here called the 'Beata,' told him; that he was the happiest man in the world to have such a wife, and that he must love her and never be angry with her, or God would punish him sorely." The queen herself, in her constant private letters to her mother, written during the whole course of her married life, never fails to praise the devotion and attachment of her husband to her. It is unnecessary to multiply instances of this; one of many will suffice: "I can assure you, madam," she says, "that if it were not for the good company I am in here, and the happiness I experience in seeing my husband every day, I should find this place the most tiresome in the world; but I have so good a husband, and I am so happy, that even if the place were a hundred times as tiresome as it is, I should not be vexed' at it." Through all the intrigue and jealousy that surrounded them, through the political and family dissensions that kept Catharine de Medici and her son-in-law at armed truce, through Philip's private sorrow and public disasters, his loving devotion to his young wife never failed; and when, after a too short married life, she was sacrificed to medical unskilfulness, the grief of her husband was an echo of that which reigned all over Spain.
M. Fourquevault, the French ambassador in Spain who sent the queen's last sad words to her mother, relates the details of the deathbed scene, and describes Philip's farewell of his wife; "enough," he says, "to break the heart
of so good a husband as the king was to her." When all was over "Philip retired," says Fourquevault, "in great anguish and sorrow and shut himself up in the monastery of St. Geronimo." Madrid, a very hot-bed of romantic gossip, had known all about the attachment of the unhappy Carlos for his young step-mother; and when the madness and death of the prince had set the tongues of Liars-walk wagging, Elizabeth's name and that of her stepson were coupled, as usual. Brantome hints that both Carlos and Elizabeth were done to death by Philip's orders, and Antonio Perez in his "Memorias," written expressly to injure the king and please his enemies, formulates the charge nearly thirty years afterwards. Brantome's thoughtless tattle, and Perez's venomous lies have been disproved without doubt in times. The letters of the French ambassador, Fourquevault, show clearly that Elizabeth's death was a natural one. Philip, moreover, had every reason for wishing his wife to live. They were deeply attached to each other; his son Carlos had just died and he had no male heir to succeed him, although Elizabeth had borne him two daughters. She would certainly have had more children if she had lived, and there was no reason whatever for him to desire her disappearance. Llorente himself, an avowed enemy of Philip, in his "History of the Inquisition," confidently asserts that "the queen died a natural death, and not by poison, and that she never gave the king any cause for jealousy." M. Gachard, in his "Don Carlos et Philippe II.," has similarly destroyed the fabric of infamy raised by enemies and romancers, with regard to Philip's treatment of his wretched son. The fact is now understood that the latter was a dangerous homicidal maniac, ready for any mischief, and that it was simply a measure of necessary precaution to isolate him; and at the same time get him out of the way of the political intriguers who were taking advantage of his insanity. His death was the result of maniacal eccentrici
ties of diet and hygiene. His lunacy and death, followed so soon by the death of the queen, was a terrible blow to Philip. His two little daughters by Elizabeth, Isabella Clara Eugenia and Catharine Michaela, growing up as beautiful as their mother, and, the elder especially, inexpressibly dear to him for the rest of his life, were nevertheless unfit successors to the extended empire which could only be held by the sword. Philip at the age of forty-two was therefore again obliged to seek a bride for reasons of State. His niece, Ana of Austria, daughter of his sister Maria, and his cousin the Emperor Maximilian, had been intended for Carlos, but once more the father stepped into the dead son's shoes and married his niece. She was a gentle, comfortable, prolific creature, possessing all the homely virtues, and bore him many children, all of whom died but one, but she must have loved her husband very dearly, for the chroniclers of her time relate, and no doubt she herself thought, that she sacrificed her own life for his. Philip was proceeding slowly on his way to conquer Portugal, in the autumn of 1580, when at Badajoz on the frontier the mysterious disease we now call "influenza" suddenly appeared. The king was stricken down and was like to die, when the queen, in prayer for him night and day, besought heaven to take her life instead of that of her husband. She at once sickened with the disease and died, whilst Philip rapidly recovered. He had never been a gay personage, but from the hour his fourth wife died he grew more and more moody. He had started on his trip to Portugal with his yellow beard hardly touched with grey; Cardinal de Granvelle wrote to Margaret of Parma on his return that it had in the interval turned snow-white; and in the remarkable series of letters to his daughters to which I shall presently refer, Philip more than once bitterly alludes to his grief.
Nearly a year after his wife's death at Badajoz he mentions in one of his chatty letters to his children, how
oppressive the heat was in Lisbon at the time (14th August, 1581), but, he says, not nearly as hot as at Badajoz. And then, as if overwhelmed with the recollection of his loss there, he adds, "But I do not want to recall to my mind that unhappy place." On the second anniversary of the queen's death he again writes to his children (25th October, 1582) a long letter full of kindly playfulness, sending them plenty of toys and curious trifles, and discussing little home topics interesting to them; and after closing the letter by saying that he is very weary and the hour is late, he dashed off a postscript, evidently wrung from the heart: "I shall never forget this night, if I live for a thousand years." No more than that, but it is enough to show how poignant was still the sense of his loss. When Queen Ana died only three of her children were surviving-Don Diego, Prince of Asturias, heir to the crown, aged five years; Philip, who subsequently succeeded, aged two and a half; and an infant daughter named Maria. The eldest daughter of Elizabeth de Valois, Isabella Clara Eugenia, aged fifteen, and her younger sister Catharine, aged about thirteen, completed Philip's family. were left behind at Madrid under the governorship of Count de Barajas and Countess de Paredes; and however busy and anxious the king might be, he never failed to send by every courier pleasant, fatherly, kindly letters to his two eldest daughters. These letters, which show Philip in an entirely new light, were religiously preserved by the younger princess, who took them with her to her new home when she married the Duke of Savoy a few years afterwards. They were found in the State archives of Turin by M. Gachard and published in Spanish with a French translation in Paris in 1884. It is not too much to say that the perusal of these tender, affectionate letters, side by side with the king's numerous State despatches on all subjects, of concurrent dates, inspires a feeling of absolute wonder at the patient laboriousness which enabled him to attend