Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/158

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


materially to reduce the imposts. The French soldiers were quartered on the inhabitants, discipline was seriously relaxed, and there were many grave causes of complaint. The arrogance of Trivulzio gave general offence; his administrative incapacity was conspicuous; his personal greed was notorious. Supported by the knowledge that Ludovico was approaching, the nobles and people of Milan armed, and before the end of January, 1500, Trivulzio's position was clearly untenable. On the 3rd of February he retired with the French army from a city barricaded and in open revolt, leaving a sufficient garrison in the castle under Saint-Quentin.

Meanwhile Ludovico in the Tyrol had succeeded in procuring a truce between Maximilian and the Swiss (September 22). With the aid of Maximilian, more valuable in the Tyrol than elsewhere, and by the expenditure of a part of his hoard, he gradually collected a force. 1,500 men at arms reached him from Burgundy; the mercenary Swiss accepted his pay; finally he beat up a motley army of some 20,000 men. While Ludovico advanced from Bormio, Galeazzo came by Aosta through Savoy with a considerable body of Swiss. Ligny attempted to resist at Como, but his strength was insufficient. Trivulzio ordered him to retreat on Milan. Thence the French retired to Novara, and Mortara, where they were joined (February 13) by Yves d'Allegre with the lances and infantry that Louis had lent to Cesare for the conquest of Imola and Forli. Other scattered forces having come in, the French could now hold their own until the arrival of reinforcements.

On the 5th of February Ludovico re-entered Milan, greeted by enthusiastic shouts of "Moro, Moro." His partisans showed some zeal in subscribing to replenish his partly exhausted treasury; but the most extreme measures were needed to supply the necessary funds. Even the treasures of the churches were not spared. Such resources could suffice for a time, but before the end of March they showed signs of failure. While vain efforts were made to reduce the Castle of Milan, Ludovico advanced with his army by Pavia to Vigevano, which he captured with its castle, and thence after some desultory warfare he moved against Novara (March 5), where was Yves d'Allegre with a sufficient garrison, still further strengthened a day or two later. But the inhabitants were hostile, and provisions scarce, so that the French were obliged to accept a favourable capitulation (March 21).

Here ended Ludovico's successes. On the 23rd of March la Tremouille reached Mortara with 500 men-at-arms and good artillery. Trivulzio was by this time not only hated but distrusted by his companions, and a new and trusted leader was worth as much as the new troops. On the 3rd of April a large body of Swiss joined the French under Antoine de Bessey. The French army was now, though perhaps not equal in numbers, superior in quality to that of Ludovico. In his army discontent caused by want of pay was general, and desertions were frequent.