Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/151

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and Virginio Orsini, were captured. At Aversa and Poggio Reale embassies from Naples saluted Charles, offering submission. On the 22nd of February Charles entered Naples. Ferrantino, who had destroyed the chief part of his fleet, still held the detached Castel dell1 Uovo with five ships, and retired on the following day to Ischia, leaving garrisons in the fortresses. The last of these surrendered under the French fire on the 22nd of March.

Charles was thus master of the capital, and the more distant provinces showed willingness to accept his rule. He showed a praiseworthy desire to win the goodwill of his new subjects, remitting taxes, as he says, to the amount of more than 200,000 ducats. A general amnesty to those who had served the Aragon kings, restoration of property to the Angevin exiles, even the recognition of slavery as then existing, proved his desire to respect all rights. But impatient of business, given up to pleasure, indolently desirous to satisfy all petitioners, he not only squandered the royal domain, but created almost as many grievances as he bestowed favours. No serious attempt was made to settle the government on a firm basis.

The project of a crusade had received a grave blow in the death of Jem, which took place at Naples. The Archbishop of Durazzo undertook to organise a rising in Albania, but the project was frustrated by his accidental arrest at Venice. Charles' own position was too doubtful to allow any more determined effort. Since his refusal to confer Sarzana and Pietra Santa upon Ludovico, the latter had been intriguing against his ally. Ferdinand of Aragon had sent to Sicily the great captain Gonzalo de Cordova with a fleet, ostensibly for defensive purposes. Venice was arming, as she said, against the Turk. Maximilian was afraid that the successes of Charles in Italy might lead him to claim the Imperial Crown. Negotiations took place at Venice resulting in a league between the Pope, the Roman King, Ferdinand and Isabella, Venice and Milan, for the protection of the confederates against the aggression of other powers then possessing states in Italy. The league purported to be defensive, but was in reality offensive. Florence alone, still friendly to France and relying on her good offices to recover Pisa, was not a party to it. The transaction was communicated to Commines, French ambassador to Venice, on the 1st of April. Charles was soon informed of the danger rising in his rear, but did not leave Naples till the 21st of May.

Fortunately for the invader, Louis of Orleans was still at Asti with a handful of troops. In a few days he had collected 2,000 men. The Duke of Bourbon, the wise vicegerent of the King in France, was pressed to send aid, for the troops of Milan threatened an attack, if the place was not surrendered. But Ludovico, timid as usual, allowed the moment to pass. Reinforcements soon put Asti in a position for defence, and secured for the King his line of retreat. Meanwhile Ludovico was celebrating the investiture of Milan, which he had at length permission to proclaim. In June Louis was in a position to occupy the city of