Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/412

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three hundred. This proscription in the 'form of an amnesty was mercilessly carried out. The list contained the names of many members of noble families. The supplications of relatives who had fought on the royalist side availed nothing; and the sum brought into the treasury by confiscation amounted to two million ducats. Many executions followed, and even as late as 1528 the Cortes still prayed for mercy on fugitives.

The revolt of the Comuneros originated in indignation against particular acts of misgovernment, and hatred of foreigners, rather than in any meditated scheme for winning popular liberties. It has been represented as an attempt to resist the encroachments of the Crown, but was really an attempt to limit its traditional privileges. Under the weak Kings of the fifteenth century, the Castilian Cortes had neglected to secure the abolition of the antiquated forms which represented the King as everywhere paramount. Under strong Kings the strict letter of the law was enforced. Ferdinand and Isabel were despots with the consent of their subjects; Charles was strong enough to disregard the popular will. The movement never spread beyond Castile. The Andalucians offered to suppress it, but their aid was not required; it was crushed by Castilian troops. So soon as its democratic character became pronounced, it was opposed by the nobles, whose aid, or acquiescence, was essential to its success. It failed through local jealousy, respect for tradition, and lack of a leader, and of a plan. It was not openly directed against the Crown. The Junta denied the accusation of disloyalty, asserting that "never did Spain breed disobedience save in her nobles, nor loyalty save in her commons" (January, 1521). The failure of the movement so depressed the popular cause, that until the beginning of the nineteenth century the Spanish commons but rarely again raised up their heads beneath the sceptre of their absolute Kings.

While the rising of the Comuneros stirred Castile into a ferment, a distinct and much more violent rebellion was in progress in Valencia. This was entirely social in character. The city population was composed of restless and turbulent artisans, descendants of the adventurers who had settled here, when the land was won back from the Saracens. The country population was chiefly made up of Saracen peasants, vassals of the nobles. Between nobles and people stood the rich burgesses, despised by the former and envied by the latter. The industry of the Saracens, stimulated by a heavy burden of taxation, pressed hard on the Christians. In the autumn of 1519, while most of the magistrates were absent on account of the plague, the forty-eight trade-guilds of the city took up arms to resist an expected attack of the Barbary pirates. The contemplation of their own strength gave rise to a feeling of independence among the commons; they began to claim a larger share in the government, and appointed a Junta of thirteen members to rule over them. The nobles sought to interfere, but the guilds formed a