Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/407

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brother Ferdinand to Flanders, and, on the death of Jean le Sauvage, had appointed another foreign Chancellor (Arborio de Gattinara). The Aragonese first disputed Charles' right to call Cortes; they next demanded proof of Juana's incapacity; and when, finally, they consented to acknowledge him as King in conjunction with her, they insisted on declaring that, if she should recover, she alone would be Queen in Aragon. Charles was forced to adopt a submissive attitude; he sought to win over the people by breaking down the usurped privileges of the nobles; but it cost him eight months, and he had to undergo many affronts, before he could obtain a grant of money so small that it was insufficient for paying his expenses. In order to replenish the treasury, the supply voted by the Castilians was farmed; offices were sold; and the Inquisition was urged to ruthless confiscation. The tide of discontent rose higher than ever.

At Barcelona objection was again taken to swearing the oath of allegiance to Charles during his mother's lifetime. Only after ten months were bribery and flattery able to break down opposition and elicit a moderate grant. Charles was preparing to meet the Parliament of Valencia (January, 1520), when news was brought of his election as King of the Romans in succession to his grandfather Maximilian. The report that the King was about to quit Spain roused the indignation against him to the highest pitch. The Castilian cities were jealous of the time he had spent in Aragon and Catalonia, haggling to obtain small supplies, while loyal Castile, which had voted an extra sum, was neglected. There was now reason to fear that Spain would sink to the level of a mere province of the Empire. Already in November, Toledo had sent a circular letter to the cities possessing votes in the Cortes, urging them to combine in order to prevent the departure of the King, the export of gold, and government by foreigners. Some made no reply; others, like Salamanca, joined eagerly in the protest. A commission was appointed to lay before Charles the demands of the kingdom, whereupon he sent to Toledo a new and more energetic corregidor to check the spirit of mutiny. Wishing to obtain money and at the same time to tranquillise the public mind by explanations and promises, he summoned Parliament to meet him at Santiago de Compostela (February, 1520). As he hurried northward, he was overtaken at Valladolid by the commissioners from Toledo and Salamanca, who insisted, in spite of his orders, on fulfilling their charge. He bade them follow the Court until he could find time to attend to them. A report that Queen Juana was to be carried out of the country provoked a riot and a rash attempt to check the King's departure from Valladolid. The cruelty with which these excesses were avenged still further irritated the people. At Villalpando the promised audience was granted to the commissioners of the cities; but Charles was in no mood for yielding. He harshly bade them await the meeting of Parliament to lay their wishes before him. Meanwhile the