Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/411

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known, he was elected captain by popular acclaim. A French army was on the point of invading Navarre, and a powerful noble, the Count of Salvatierra, had revolted in the north. But again the forces of the Comuneros were divided; for Bishop Acuna, hearing that the see of Toledo was vacant, marched southward, hoping for the second time in his life to win a mitre by force of arms. The royalist party was not more united; Adrian wrote "that any one of the grandees would gladly lose an eye, in order that his fellow might suffer the same." The Constable and the Admiral had fallen out as to the proper course of action; the former advocated force, the latter the continuation of negotiations.

In the spring of 1521 Padilla led out his ill-equipped forces and, by a stroke of fortune, captured the strong castle of Torrelobaton. Instead, however, of following up his success, he lingered while the Constable, after defeating the Count of Salvatierra in the north, marched with a fresh army to join his son at Tordesillas. Fear, and a suspicion that their leaders were busy making terms, spread confusion in the Comuneros' ranks. Many of the soldiers deserted, others betook themselves to indiscriminate plunder. Convinced that to risk a battle with the remainder of his disheartened force would be madness, Padilla retired as the Count of Haro advanced. While making his way down the valley of the Douro to the protection of the castle of Toro, he was overtaken at Villalar (April 23, 1521); his troops were easily dispersed, and, though he sought death, he was himself captured alive. On the following day he was put to death, together with his second in command. An enthusiastic but not unselfish supporter of the popular cause, he had devoted his valour to its service; but his jealousy and incompetence unfitted him alike for command and for the rank of hero to which latter-day liberals have raised him. Bishop Acuna, after one or two skirmishes in the neighbourhood of Ocana, wasted his time and popularity in an attempt to compel the Chapter of Toledo to accept him as Archbishop. On receipt of the news of the disaster of Villalar he fled. Padilla's widow, whose family connexions and high spirit gave her great authority, held out at Toledo for a few months. After a useless struggle she escaped to Portugal, and the War of the Comuneros was at an end.

When Charles returned to Spain (July, 1522) he was received, as he states, "with much humility and reverence." But he came accompanied by a foreign guard, and determined to punish ruthlessly. At Palencia the Regents laid before him their proposals for amnesty. Not only were these rejected, but pardons granted in his name were withdrawn. On All Saints' Day at Valladolid he mounted a dais and declared that he would be justified in punishing all who had shared in the late rebellion, -the municipalities by deprivation of their liberties, and individuals by confiscation and death; nevertheless, he promised to pardon all save