brotherhood (Germania) to resist them, and petitioned Charles to present the dispersion of their forces. On receipt of a favourable reply the movement spread to such an alarming degree, that the nobles called upon the King to come in person and check the disorder. A commission was sent to examine the situation, and, in accordance with its report, the Germama was ordered to lay down its arms. By this concession Charles thought to persuade the Valencian nobles to take the oath of allegiance, and to vote supply without insisting on his presence at their Cortes. On their refusal he again changed his policy, favouring the Germanfa and sending Adrian of Utrecht to enquire into its grievances (February, 1520). In view of their danger the nobles, when Charles was on the point of quitting Spain, consented to receive his oath by deputy; and, in answer to their appeal, he sent Diego de Mendoza, -a nobleman of haughty temper, to restore order (April, 1520). After an interval of quiet riots broke out again. In June the city was left in the hands of the Germania by the flight of the governor. Shortly afterwards he was driven from Jativa to Denia, while all the cities of the kingdom of Valencia, with the exception of Morella, rose against their magistrates and appointed Juntas like that of the mother city. The movement spread as far as the Balearic Islands, and now began to show itself in its true light. The grievances originally put forward were, that the people were deprived of their rightful share in the government, that taxes were excesssive, and that justice was badly administered. But when the rabble gained the upper hand, instead of attempting political reforms, they plundered the houses of the nobles, and called upon them to produce the titles by which they held their estates. This attack on property alienated the burgesses, who henceforth sided with the nobles; and the action of the Germania became more violent and fanatical than before. Despairing of help from the regency, the nobles armed their vassals. The army of the Germania marched out against them, but was crushingly defeated at Oropesa and Almenara (June and July, 1521). The governor, however, was again routed at Gandia and driven to seek refuge at Peiiiscola. Meanwhile, owing to the frantic excesses of the populace, which now openly avowed its intention of exterminating nobles and infidels, the moderate party was increasing. At its head was the Marquis of Zenete, a nobleman of well-known benevolence and impartiality. Negotiating between the opposing factions he succeeded in obtaining the submission of the city and bringing back the governor. But the more violent members of the Germanfa were still encamped at Jativa. Having imprudently put himself into their power he was treacherously imprisoned, but escaped to Valencia, rallied all the moderate citizens, seized and executed the ringleaders of the mob, and after a fierce fight remained master of the city. Jativa and a few outlying towns were not subdued until after Charles' return. In March, 1523, the Queen Dowager, Germaine, was sent as regent to punish the guilty. The pardons
Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/413
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