Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/408

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Court party was doing its utmost to secure submissive deputies. A royal decree directed that an unlimited commission should be given to the proctors according to a prescribed form. Toledo refused to comply; her proctors were instructed merely to hear and report on the proposals of the King. Other cities, while granting a commission in the prescribed form, limited it by secret instructions to resist all demands for money.

It was amid the gloomiest forebodings that the Cortes met at Santiago (March, 1520). The selection of a place so far removed from the centre of Spain was suspicious; even if promises were wrung from the departing King, their fulfilment was unlikely: at such a distance from their electors deputies might easily be bribed or intimidated. The chief cause of complaint, however, was the demand for further supply, while the grant of 1518 had still a year to run. An attempt was made to soothe irritation by the appointment of a Spanish president; and a conciliatory speech from the throne was read by the Bishop of Badajoz in the presence of Charles himself. Toledo was unrepresented, having refused to grant the prescribed commission; the deputies of Salamanca were excluded for refusing to take the oath before petitions had been heard. The nobles, disgusted at their exclusion from the royal favour, had quitted the Court. Charles hurried on to Corunna, in order to be able to embark at a moment's notice and reach England (April). The remaining deputies followed, and were cajoled and threatened until, by a narrow majority, they voted a supply of 300 millions of maravedis. They petitioned for a Spanish regent; for the speedy return of the King; for the better administration of justice; against the nomination of deputies by the Crown, and the exaction of unlimited commissions; that the Cortes should meet every three years; that the summons should contain a list of the matters to be discussed; and that deputies should be compelled to render an account to their electors within a stated time. Most of these petitions were refused, or left unanswered; the Cortes were dismissed; and in May Charles set sail, leaving nobles and people equally discontented. Adrian of Utrecht was appointed by him regent in his absence.

The return of the deputies from Corunna was the signal for rioting in many cities. Some who had voted supply contrary to instructions were murdered by the mob. Led by Toledo, the cities, from Leon to Murcia and from Burgos to Jaen, formed a league under the name of the Santa Comunidad, and expelled their corregidores to the cry of "Long live the King; down with the bad ministers!" Avila was chosen on account of its central position as the meeting-place of their Junta (July, 1520), which included nobles and ecclesiastics as well as commons. It began by declaring itself independent of the Regent and Council, and organising the levies of the cities under the command of Juan de Padilla, a nobleman of Toledo. Adrian's attempts to check the revolt were