Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/491

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death at Burgos (September £5, 1506). Evil rumours accompanied the tidings; for the young King's light and profuse ways were odious to the Castilians, agreeing better with the preferences of the Low Countries, and the traditional habits of the Burgundian House. Philip the Fail-had something of his mother's docility in council and of his father's high spirit in the field, and was not wholly without the popular fibre which commended each of them to the respective lands of their birth; but, so far as can be judged from his short career, he gave no proof of the profound conscientiousness and high aspirings that make it difficult to deny the epithet of great to his eldest son, notwithstanding all his failures.

Five months after Philip's death the unhappy Juana gave birth to a third daughter, and then sank into hopeless insanity. Maximilian showed himself from the first perfectly prepared to enter on a second course of regency, this time on behalf of his elder grandson, now a boy of six years of age. Personally he was as unpopular as ever in the Netherlands, where it was perceived that neither his authority in the Empire nor his influence in European affairs corresponded to his still expanding ambition; and where a strong feeling survived in favour of maintaining friendly relations with France. It was therefore a judicious as well as a necessary step on his part, when, after accepting the offer made to him by the States-General on the motion of the States of Holland and Brabant (October, 1506), he empowered his daughter Margaret to receive in his stead the oaths due to him as Guardian of his grandchildren and Regent; and on her being proclaimed as such by the States-General at Leuven (April, 1507), he appointed her his sole governor-general in the Netherlands.

The office which Margaret had originally been intended by her father to hold only temporarily she filled with honour and credit during eight eventful years (1507-15). After her troubled experiences in France she had in 1501 bravely gone forth to serve the imperial interest by becoming the bride of Duke Philibert (called the Fair) of Savoy, and, once more a widow, had escaped the doom of being united to Henry VII of England. She was now, though saddened by her sufferings, prepared to devote her remarkable talents and even higher gifts of character to the service of her House. Her correspondence with her father, occasionally grotesque in form, since neither had really mastered the language of the other, proves her candour and courage, her moderation more especially in the earlier years of her government, and her spirit of self-sacrifice throughout its course. She began by promptly declaring the so-called Mcdus Intercursits invalid, thus putting pressure on Henry VII, who had no mind for the stoppage of commercial relations, besides being desirous of influencing the political action of Margaret's government and at this moment himself posing as a candidate for her hand. A commercial treaty, drafted on the lines of the Intercursus of 1496, but