feeble and unsuccessful. A small body of troops, sent with Ronquillo, a judge of notorious severity, to punish Segovia, where the outbreak had been specially violent, was easily beaten off. An attempt made by Fonse'ca, one of the royal captains, to seize the artillery which Ximenes had kept in readiness at Medina del Campo, not only failed, but resulted in the destruction by fire of the town, one of the richest in Spain. Adrian was obliged to disband Fonseca's army and disavow his action. A more serious blow to the royal cause followed. Padilla seized Tordesillas, and with it the person of Queen Juana (August 29). The Santa Junta now removed to Tordesillas, and proclaimed that the Queen was sane and approved its actions. Valladolid, the seat of the regency, was captured; some members of the royal Council were imprisoned; others, among them Adrian himself, fled (October 18). The Great Seal of the kingdom and the State papers fell into the hands of the rebels. Led by Adrian, who despaired from the first, the friends of Charles in Spain wrote to him that all was lost, unless he returned at once and came to terms with the Comuneros. But Charles never yielded. His cause was aided more by the incapacity of its opponents than by the energy of the royalists. Instead of setting up a government in the place of that which it had overthrown, the Junta continued to declare its loyalty; unable to conceive any authority other than that of the monarchy, it wasted its time in trying to persuade the imbecile Queen to confirm its acts. Juana had received its members, when they broke into Tordesillas, with some show of favour; but her steady refusal to sign documents was not to be shaken. The main theory of the revolution-that the Queen was sane, and that her faithful commons were to deliver her and shake off the hated yoke of the foreigner-had broken down. Juana's obstinacy acted as a physical obstacle. Disheartened and irresolute, the Junta betook itself to the only other source of legitimate authority, and sent a deputation to Flanders to assure the King of its loyalty and beg confirmation of its acts. At the same time it forwarded a long list of petitions. These included Charles1 return to Spain and marriage; the reform of the Court on the model of Ferdinand and Isabel's; the reduction of taxes to the standard of 1494; the better administration of justice; together with demands that corregidores should not be appointed without a request on the part of the municipality concerned, and then only for two years; that municipalities should elect their proctors without interference; that the commission of the proctors should not be prescribed, and that death should be the penalty for accepting bribes; that the Cortes should meet every three years, and that the three Orders should be represented; that nobles should be excluded from municipal and financial offices, and from the exclusive use of waste and common lands; that such lands as they had seized should be restored within six months; that Isabel's will and Charles' own oath forbidding the alienation of any part of the royal patrimony should be observed, so as to obviate the necessity
Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/409
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