Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Last Voyage of Charles V

Featuring William Robertson

Previously on The Peace of Augsburg and the Abdication of Charles V. And now William Robertson.

Time: 1555
Place: Augsburg, Germany

Charles V by Titian and his
colleague Lambert Sustris.
cc Wikipedia
Nothing now remained to detain Charles from that retreat for which he languished. The preparations for his voyage having been made for some time, he set out for Zuitburg, in Zealand, where the fleet which was to convoy him had orders to assemble. In his way thither he passed through Ghent, and after stopping there a few days, to indulge that tender and pleasing melancholy which arises in the mind of every man in the decline of life on visiting the place of his nativity, and viewing the scenes and objects familiar to him in his early youth, he pursued his journey, accompanied by his son Philip, his daughter the archduchess, his sisters the dowager Queens of France and Hungary, Maximilian his son-in-law, and a numerous retinue of the French nobility. Before he went on board he dismissed them with marks of his attention or regard, and, taking leave of Philip with all the tenderness of a father who embraced his son for the last time, he set sail on September 17th, under the convoy of a large fleet of Spanish, Flemish, and English ships. He declined a pressing invitation from the Queen of England to land in some part of her dominions, in order to refresh himself, and that she might have the comfort of seeing him once more. "It cannot, surely," said he, "be agreeable to a queen to receive a visit from a father-in-law who is now nothing more than a private gentleman."

His voyage was prosperous, and he arrived at Laredo, in Biscay, on the eleventh day after he left Zealand. As soon as he landed he fell prostrate on the ground, and, considering himself now as dead to the world, he kissed the earth and said, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked I now return to thee, thou common mother of mankind." From Laredo he pursued his journey to Burgos, carried sometimes in a chair and sometimes in a horse-litter, suffering exquisite pain at every step, and advancing with the greatest difficulty. Some of the Spanish nobility repaired to Burgos, in order to pay court to him, but they were so few in number, and their attendance was so negligent, that Charles observed it, and felt, for the first time, that he was no longer a monarch. Accustomed from his early youth to the dutiful and officious respect with which those who possess sovereign power are attended, he had received it with the credulity common to princes, and was sensibly mortified when he now discovered that he had been indebted to his rank and power for much of that obsequious regard which he had fondly thought was paid to his personal qualities. But though he might have soon learned to view with unconcern the levity of his subjects, or to have despised their neglect, he was more deeply afflicted with the ingratitude of his son, who, forgetting already how much he owed to his father's bounty, obliged him to remain some weeks at Burgos before he paid him the first moiety of that small pension which was all that he had reserved of so many kingdoms. As, without this sum, Charles could not dismiss his domestics with such rewards as their services merited, or his generosity had destined for them, he could not help expressing both surprise and dissatisfaction. At last the money was paid, and Charles having dismissed a great number of his domestics, whose attendance he thought would be superfluous or cumbersome in his retirement, he proceeded to Valladolid. There he took a last and tender leave of his two sisters, whom he would not permit to accompany him to his solitude, though they requested him with tears, not only that they might have the consolation of contributing by their attendance and care to mitigate or to soothe his sufferings, but that they might reap instruction and benefit by joining with him in those pious exercises to which he had consecrated the remainder of his days.

From Valladolid he continued his journey to Plazentia in Estremadura. He had passed through this place a great many years before, and having been struck at that time with the delightful situation of the monastery of St. Justus, belonging to the order of St. Jerome, not many miles distant from the town, he had then observed to some of his attendants that this was a spot to which Diocletian might have retired with pleasure. The impression had remained so strong in his mind that he pitched upon it as the place of his own retreat. It was seated in a vale of no great extent, watered by a small brook, and surrounded by rising grounds, covered with lofty trees; from the nature of the soil, as well as the temperature of the climate, it was esteemed the most healthful and delicious situation in Spain. Some months before his resignation he had sent an architect thither to add a new apartment to the monastery, for his accommodation; but he gave strict orders that the style of the building should be such as suited his present station, rather than his former dignity. It consisted only of six rooms, four of them in the form of friars' cells, with naked walls; the other two, each twenty feet square, were hung with brown cloth, and furnished in the most simple manner. They were all on a level with the ground, with a door on one side into a garden, of which Charles himself had given the plan, and had filled it with various plants which he intended to cultivate with his own hands. On the other side, they communicated with the chapel of the monastery, in which he was to perform his devotions. Into this humble retreat, hardly sufficient for the comfortable accommodation of a private gentleman, did Charles enter, with twelve domestics only. He buried there, in solitude and silence, his grandeur, his ambition, together with all those vast projects which, during almost half a century, had alarmed and agitated Europe, filling every kingdom in it, by turns, with the terror of his arms, and the dread of being subdued by his power.



The End


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Monday, November 3, 2014

Charles V’s Final Actions

Featuring William Robertson

Previously on The Peace of Augsburg and the Abdication of Charles V. And now William Robertson.

Time: 1555
Place: Augsburg, Germany

Charles V by Titian and his
colleague Lambert Sustris.
cc Wikipedia
Then, turning toward Philip, who fell on his knees and kissed his father's hand--"If," said he, "I had left you by my death this rich inheritance, to which I have made such large additions, some regard would have been justly due to my memory on that account; but now, when I voluntarily resign to you what I might have still retained, I may well expect the warmest expression of thanks on your part. With these, however, I dispense, and shall consider your concern for the welfare of your subjects, and your love of them, as the best and most acceptable testimony of your gratitude to me. It is in your power, by a wise and virtuous administration, to justify the extraordinary proof which I this day give of my paternal affection, and to demonstrate that you are worthy of the confidence which I repose in you. Preserve an inviolable regard for religion; maintain the Catholic faith in its purity; let the laws of your country be sacred in your eyes; encroach not on the rights and privileges of your people; and if the time should ever come when you shall wish to enjoy the tranquillity of private life, may you have a son endowed with such qualities that you can resign your sceptre to him with as much satisfaction as I give up mine to you."

As soon as Charles had finished this long address to his subjects and to their new sovereign, he sank into the chair, exhausted and ready to faint with the fatigue of such an extraordinary effort. During his discourse the whole audience melted into tears, some from admiration of his magnanimity, others softened by the expressions of tenderness toward his son, and of love to his people; and all were affected with the deepest sorrow at losing a sovereign who, during his administration, had distinguished the Netherlands, his native country, with particular marks of his regard and attachment.

Philip then arose from his knees, and after returning thanks to his father, with a low and submissive voice, for the royal gift which his unexampled bounty had bestowed upon him, he addressed the assembly of the states, and, regretting his inability to speak the Flemish language with such facility as to express what he felt on this interesting occasion, as well as what he owed to his good subjects in the Netherlands, he begged that they would permit Granvelle, bishop of Arras, to deliver what he had given him in charge to speak in his name. Granvelle, in a long discourse, expatiated on the zeal with which Philip was animated for the good of his subjects, on his resolution to devote all his time and talents to the promoting of their happiness, and on his intention to imitate his father's example in distinguishing the Netherlands with peculiar marks of his regard. Maes, a lawyer of great eloquence, replied in the name of the states, with large professions of their fidelity and affection to their new sovereign.

Then Mary, Queen dowager of Hungary, resigned the regency with which she had been intrusted by her brother during the space of twenty-five years. Next day Philip, in the presence of the states, took the usual oaths to maintain the rights and privileges of his subjects; and all the members, in their own name and in that of their constituents, swore allegiance to him.

A few weeks after this transaction, Charles, in an assembly no less splendid and with a ceremonial equally pompous, resigned to his son the crowns of Spain, with all the territories depending on them, both in the Old and in the New world. Of all these vast possessions, he reserved nothing for himself but an annual pension of a hundred thousand crowns, to defray the charges of his family, and to afford him a small sum for acts of beneficence and charity.

As he had fixed on a place of retreat in Spain, hoping that the dryness and the warmth of the climate in that country might mitigate the violence of his disease, which had been much increased by the moisture of the air and rigor of the winters in the Netherlands, he was extremely impatient to embark for that kingdom, and to disengage himself entirely from business, which he found to be impossible while he remained in Brussels. But his physicians remonstrated so strongly against his venturing to sea at that cold and boisterous season of the year, that he consented, though with reluctance, to put off his voyage for some months.

He retained the imperial dignity, not from any unwillingness to relinquish it, for, after having resigned the real and extensive authority that he enjoyed in his hereditary dominions, to part with the limited and often ideal jurisdiction which belongs to an elective crown was no great sacrifice. His sole motive for delay was to gain a few months for making one trial more, in order to accomplish his favorite scheme in behalf of his son. At the very time Charles seemed to be most sensible of the vanity of worldly grandeur, and when he appeared to be quitting it not only with indifference but with contempt, the vast schemes of ambition, which had so long occupied and engrossed his mind, still kept possession of it. He could not think of leaving his son in a rank inferior to that which he himself had held among the princes of Europe. As he had, some years before, made a fruitless attempt to secure the imperial crown to Philip, that, by uniting it to the kingdoms of Spain and the dominions of the house of Burgundy, he might put it in his power to prosecute, with a better prospect of success, those great plans which his own infirmities had obliged him to abandon, he was still unwilling to relinquish this flattering project as chimerical or unattainable.

Notwithstanding the repulse which he had formerly met with from his brother Ferdinand, he renewed his solicitations with fresh importunity, and during the summer had tried every art, and employed every argument, which he thought could induce him to quit the imperial throne to Philip, and to accept of the investiture of some province, either in Italy or in the Low Countries, as an equivalent. But Ferdinand, who was so firm and inflexible with regard to this point that he had paid no regard to the solicitations of the Emperor, even when they were enforced with all the weight of authority which accompanies supreme power, received the overture, that now came from him in the situation to which he had descended, with great indifference, and would hardly deign to listen to it. Charles, ashamed of his own credulity in having imagined that he might accomplish now that which he had attempted formerly without success, desisted finally from his scheme. He then resigned the government of the empire, and, having transferred all his claims of obedience and allegiance from the Germanic body to his brother the King of the Romans, he executed a deed to that effect, with all the formalities requisite in such an important transaction. The instrument of resignation he committed to William, Prince of Orange, and empowered him to lay it before the college of electors.



Continued on Wednesday, November 5th.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Charles V Formally Abdicates

Featuring William Robertson

Previously on The Peace of Augsburg and the Abdication of Charles V. And now William Robertson.

Time: 1555
Place: Augsburg, Germany

Charles V by Titian and his
colleague Lambert Sustris.
cc Wikipedia
But though Charles had revolved this scheme in his mind for several years, and had communicated it to his sisters the dowager queens of France and Hungary, who not only approved of his intention, but offered to accompany him to whatever place of retreat he should choose, several things had hitherto prevented his carrying it into execution. He could not think of loading his son with the government of so many kingdoms until he should attain such maturity of age and of abilities as would enable him to sustain that weighty burden. But as Philip had now reached his twenty-eighth year, and had been early accustomed to business, for which he discovered both inclination and capacity, it can hardly be imputed to the partiality of paternal affection that his scruples with regard to this point were entirely removed; and that he thought he might place his son, without further hesitation or delay, on the throne which he himself was about to abandon. His mother's situation had been another obstruction in his way. For although she had continued almost fifty years in confinement, and under the same disorder of mind which concern for her husband's death had brought upon her, yet the government of Spain was still vested in her jointly with the Emperor; her name was inserted, together with his, in all the public instruments issued in that kingdom; and such was the fond attachment of the Spaniards to her, that they would probably have scrupled to recognize Philip as their sovereign, unless she had consented to assume him as her partner on the throne. Her utter incapacity for business rendered it impossible to obtain her consent. But her death, which happened this year, removed this difficulty; and as Charles, upon that event, became sole monarch of Spain, it left the succession open to his son. The war with France had likewise been a reason for retaining the administration of affairs in his own hands, as he was extremely solicitous to have terminated it, that he might have given up his kingdoms to his son at peace with all the world. But as Henry had discovered no disposition to close with any of his overtures, and had even rejected proposals of peace which were equal and moderate, in a tone that seemed to indicate a fixed purpose of continuing hostilities, he saw that it was vain to wait longer in expectation of an event which, however desirable, was altogether uncertain.

As this, then, appeared to be the proper juncture for executing the scheme which he had long meditated, Charles resolved to resign his kingdoms to his son with a solemnity suitable to the importance of the transaction, and to perform this last act of sovereignty with such formal pomp as might leave a lasting impression on the minds not only of his subjects, but of his successor. With this view he called Philip out of England, where the peevish temper of his queen, which increased with her despair of having issue, rendered him extremely unhappy; and the jealousy of the English left him no hopes of obtaining the direction of their affairs. Having assembled the states of the Low Countries at Brussels, on October 25th, Charles seated himself for the last time in the chair of state, on one side of which was placed his son, and on the other his sister the Queen of Hungary, regent of the Netherlands, with a splendid retinue of the princes of the empire and grandees of Spain standing behind him. The president of the council of Flanders, by his command, explained in a few words his intention in calling this extraordinary meeting of the states. He then read the instrument of resignation, by which Charles surrendered to his son Philip all his territories, jurisdiction, and authority in the Low Countries, absolving his subjects there from their oath of allegiance to him, which he required them to transfer to Philip, his lawful heir, and to serve him with the same loyalty and zeal which they had manifested, during so long a course of years, in support of his government.

Charles then rose from his seat, and leaning on the shoulder of the Prince of Orange, because he was unable to stand without support, he addressed himself to the audience, and from a paper which he held in his hand, in order to assist his memory, he recounted with dignity, but without ostentation, all the great things which he had undertaken and performed since the commencement of his administration. He observed that, from the seventeenth year of his age, he had dedicated all his thoughts and attention to public objects, reserving no portion of his time for the indulgence of his ease, and very little for the enjoyment of private pleasure; that, either in a pacific or hostile manner, he had visited Germany nine times, Spain six times, France four times, Italy seven times, the Low Countries ten times, England twice, Africa as often, and had made eleven voyages by sea; that while his health permitted him to discharge his duty, and the vigor of his constitution was equal, in any degree, to the arduous office of governing such extensive dominions, he had never shunned labor, nor repined under fatigue; that now, when his health was broken, and his vigor exhausted by the rage of an incurable distemper, his growing infirmities admonished him to retire; nor was he so fond of reigning as to retain the scepter in an impotent hand, which was no longer able to protect his subjects, or to secure to them the happiness which he wished they should enjoy; that instead of a sovereign worn out with diseases, and scarcely half alive, he gave them one in the prime of life, accustomed already to govern, and who added to the vigor of youth all the attention and sagacity of maturer years; and if, during the course of a long administration, he had committed any material error of government, or if, under the pressure of so many and great affairs, and amid the attention which he had been obliged to give to them, he had either neglected or injured any of his subjects, he now implored their forgiveness; that, for his part, he should ever retain a grateful sense of their fidelity and attachment, and would carry the remembrance of it along with him to the place of his retreat, as his sweetest consolation, as well as the best reward for all his services, and in his last prayers to Almighty God would pour forth his most earnest petitions for their welfare.



Continued on Monday, November 3rd.

More information here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why Charles V Abdicated

Featuring William Robertson

Previously on The Peace of Augsburg and the Abdication of Charles V. And now William Robertson.

Time: 1555
Place: Augsburg, Germany

Charles V by Titian and his
colleague Lambert Sustris.
cc Wikipedia
The Diet of Augsburg was soon followed by the Emperor's resignation of his hereditary dominions to his son Philip; together with his resolution to withdraw entirely from any concern in business or the affairs of this world, in order that he might spend the remainder of his days in retirement and solitude. Though it requires neither deep reflection nor extraordinary discernment to discover that the state of royalty is not exempt from cares and disappointment; though most of those who are exalted to a throne find solicitude, and satiety, and disgust to be their perpetual attendants in that envied preëminence, yet to descend voluntarily from the supreme to a subordinate station, and to relinquish the possession of power in order to attain the enjoyment of happiness, seems to be an effort too great for the human mind. Several instances, indeed, occur in history, of monarchs who have quitted a throne, and have ended their days in retirement. But they were either weak princes, who took this resolution rashly, and repented of it as soon as it was taken, or unfortunate princes, from whose hands some stronger rival had wrested their sceptre, and compelled them to descend with reluctance into a private station. Diocletian is perhaps the only prince capable of holding the reins of government who ever resigned them from deliberate choice, and who continued during many years to enjoy the tranquility of retirement without fetching one penitent sigh, or casting back one look of desire toward the power or dignity which he had abandoned.

No wonder, then, that Charles' resignation should fill all Europe with astonishment, and give rise, both among his contemporaries and among the historians of that period, to various conjectures concerning the motives which determined a prince, whose ruling passion had been uniformly the love of power, at the age of fifty-six, when objects of ambition continue to operate with full force on the mind, and are pursued with the greatest ardor, to take a resolution so singular and unexpected. But, while many authors have imputed it to motives so frivolous and fantastical as can hardly be supposed to influence any reasonable mind; while others have imagined it to be the result of some profound scheme of policy, historians more intelligent and better informed neither ascribe it to caprice, nor search for mysterious secrets of state, where simple and obvious causes will fully account for the Emperor's conduct. Charles had been attacked early in life with the gout; and, notwithstanding all the precautions of the most skilful physicians, the violence of the distemper increased as he advanced in age, and the fits became every year more frequent as well as more severe. Not only was the vigor of his constitution broken, but the faculties of his mind were impaired by the excruciating torments which he endured. During the continuance of the fits, he was altogether incapable of applying to business; and even when they began to abate, as it was only at intervals that he could attend to what was serious, he gave up a great part of his time to trifling and even childish occupations, which served to relieve or amuse his mind, enfeebled and worn out with excess of pain. Under these circumstances, the conduct of such affairs as occurred of course in governing so many kingdoms was a burden more than sufficient; but to push forward and complete the vast schemes which the ambition of his more active years had formed, or to keep in view and carry on the same great system of policy, extending to every nation in Europe, and connected with the operations of every different court, were functions which so far exceeded his strength that they oppressed and overwhelmed his mind. As he had been long accustomed to view the business of every department, whether civil or military or ecclesiastical, with his own eyes, and to decide concerning it according to his own ideas, it gave him the utmost pain, when he felt his infirmities increase so fast upon him, that he was obliged to commit the conduct of all his affairs to his ministers. He imputed every misfortune which befell him, and every miscarriage that happened, even when the former was unavoidable or the latter accidental, to his inability to take the inspection of business himself. He complained of his hard fortune in being opposed, in his declining years, to a rival who was in the full vigor of life; and that, while Henry could take and execute all his resolutions in person, he should now be reduced, both in counsel and in action, to rely on the talents and exertions of other men. Having thus grown old before his time, he wisely judged it more decent to conceal his infirmities in some solitude than to expose them any longer to the public eye, and prudently determined not to forfeit the fame or lose the acquisitions of his better years by struggling, with a vain obstinacy, to retain the reins of government, when he was no longer able to hold them with steadiness, or to guide them with address.

FOOTNOTE:

Don Levesque, in his memoirs of Cardinal Granvelle, gives a reason for the Emperor's resignation, which, as far as I recollect, is not mentioned by any other historian. He says that, the Emperor having ceded the government of the kingdom of Naples and the duchy of Milan to his son upon his marriage with the Queen of England, Philip, notwithstanding the advice and entreaties of his father, removed most of the ministers and officers whom he had employed in those countries, and appointed creatures of his own to fill the places which they held. That he aspired openly, and with little delicacy, to obtain a share in the administration of affairs in the Low Countries. That he endeavored to thwart the Emperor's measures and to limit his authority, behaving toward him sometimes with inattention, and sometimes with haughtiness. That Charles, finding that he must either yield on every occasion to his son, or openly contend with him, in order to avoid either of these, which were both disagreeable and mortifying to a father, he took the resolution of resigning his crowns, and of retiring from the world (vol. i. p. 24, etc.). Don Levesque derived his information concerning these curious facts, which he relates very briefly, from the original papers of Cardinal Granvelle. But as that vast collection of papers, which has been preserved and arranged by M. l'Abbé Boizot of Besançon, though one of the most valuable historical monuments of the sixteenth century, and which cannot fail of throwing much light on the transactions of Charles V, is not published, I cannot determine what degree of credit should be given to this account of Charles' resignation. I have, therefore, taken no notice of it in relating this event.



Continued on Sunday, November 2nd.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

What the Augsburg Diet Decided

Featuring William Robertson

Previously on The Peace of Augsburg and the Abdication of Charles V. And now William Robertson.

Time: 1555
Place: Augsburg, Germany

Charles V by Titian and his
colleague Lambert Sustris.
cc Wikipedia
Conformably to this, a recess was framed, approved of, and published with the usual formalities. The following are the chief articles which it contained: That such princes and cities as have declared their approbation of the Confession of Augsburg shall be permitted to profess the doctrine and exercise the worship which it authorizes, without interruption or molestation from the Emperor, the King of the Romans, or any power or person whatsoever; that the Protestants, on their part, shall give no disquiet to the princes and states who adhere to the tenets and rites of the Church of Rome; that, for the future, no attempt shall be made toward terminating religious differences but by the gentle and pacific methods of persuasion and conference; that the Popish ecclesiastics shall claim no spiritual jurisdiction in such states as receive the Confession of Augsburg; that such as had seized the benefices or revenues of the Church, previous to the Treaty of Passau, shall retain possession of them, and be liable to no persecution in the imperial chamber on that account; that the supreme civil power in every state shall have right to establish what form of doctrine and worship it shall deem proper, and, if any of its subjects refuse to conform to these, shall permit them to remove with all their effects whithersoever they shall please; that if any prelate or ecclesiastic shall hereafter abandon the Romish religion, he shall instantly relinquish his diocese or benefice, and it shall be lawful for those in whom the right of nomination is vested to proceed immediately to an election, as if the office were vacant by death or translation, and to appoint a successor of undoubted attachment to the ancient system.

Such are the capital articles in this famous recess, which is the basis of religious peace in Germany, and the bond of union among its various states, the sentiments of which are so extremely different with respect to points the most interesting as well as important. In our age and nation, to which the idea of toleration is familiar, and its beneficial effects well known, it may seem strange that a method of terminating their dissensions, so suitable to the mild and charitable spirit of the Christian religion, did not sooner occur to the contending parties. But this expedient, however salutary, was so repugnant to the sentiments and practice of Christians during many ages that it did not lie obvious to discovery. Among the ancient heathens, all whose deities were local and tutelary, diversity of sentiments concerning the object or rites of religious worship seems to have been no source of animosity, because the acknowledging veneration to be due to any one god did not imply denial of the existence or the power of any other god; nor were the modes and rites of worship established in one country incompatible with those which other nations approved of and observed. Thus the errors in their system of theology were of such a nature as to be productive of concord; and, notwithstanding the amazing number of their deities, as well as the infinite variety of their ceremonies, a sociable and tolerating spirit subsisted almost universally in the Pagan world.

But when the Christian revelation declared one Supreme Being to be the sole object of religious veneration, and prescribed the form of worship most acceptable to him, whoever admitted the truth of it held, of consequence, every other system of religion, as a deviation from what was established by divine authority, to be false and impious. Hence arose the zeal of the first converts to the Christian faith in propagating its doctrines, and the ardor with which they labored to overturn every other form of worship. They employed, however, for this purpose no methods but such as suited the nature of religion. By the force of powerful arguments, they convinced the understandings of men; by the charms of superior virtue, they allured and captivated their hearts. At length the civil power declared in favor of Christianity; and though numbers, imitating the example of their superiors, crowded into the church, many still adhered to their ancient superstitions. Enraged at their obstinacy, the ministers of religion, whose zeal was still unabated, though their sanctity and virtue were much diminished, forgot so far the nature of their own mission, and of the arguments which they ought to have employed, that they armed the imperial power against these unhappy men, and, as they could not persuade, they tried to compel them to believe.



Continued on Wednesday, October 29th.

More information here.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Why Charles V Convened the Imperial Diet

Featuring William Robertson

Previously on The Peace of Augsburg and the Abdication of Charles V. And now William Robertson.

Time: 1555
Place: Augsburg, Germany

Charles V by Titian and his
colleague Lambert Sustris.
cc Wikipedia
At the same time he stood in need of immediate and extraordinary aid from the Germanic body, as the Turks, after having wrested from him a great part of his Hungarian territories, were ready to attack the provinces still subject to his authority with a formidable army, against which he could bring no equal force into the field. For this aid from Germany he could not hope, if the internal peace of the empire were not established on a foundation solid in itself, and which should appear, even to the Protestants, so secure and so permanent as might not only allow them to engage in a distant war with safety, but might encourage them to act in it with vigor.

A step taken by the Protestants themselves, a short time after the opening of the Diet, rendered him still more cautious of giving them any new cause of offence. As soon as the publication of Ferdinand's speech awakened the fears and suspicions which have been mentioned, the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, together with the Landgrave of Hesse, met at Naumburg, and, confirming the ancient treaty of confraternity which had long united their families, they added to it a new article, by which the contracting parties bound themselves to adhere to the Confession of Augsburg, and to maintain the doctrine which it contained in their respective dominions.

Ferdinand, influenced by all these considerations, employed his utmost address in conducting the deliberations of the Diet, so as not to excite the jealousy of a party on whose friendship he depended, and whose enmity, as they had not only taken the alarm, but had begun to prepare for their defense, he had so much reason to dread. The members of the Diet readily agreed to Ferdinand's proposal of taking the state of religion into consideration previous to any other business. But, soon as they entered upon it, both parties discovered all the zeal and animosity which a subject so interesting naturally engenders, and which the rancor of controversy, together with the violence of civil war, had inflamed to the highest pitch.

The Protestants contended that the security which they claimed in consequence of the Treaty of Passau should extend, without limitation, to all who had hitherto embraced the doctrine of Luther, or who should thereafter embrace it. The Catholics, having first of all asserted the Pope's right, as the supreme and final judge with respect to all articles of faith, declared that though, on account of the present situation of the empire, and for the sake of peace, they were willing to confirm the toleration granted by the Treaty of Passau to such as had already adopted the new opinions, they must insist that this indulgence should not be extended either to those cities which had conformed to the "interim," or to such ecclesiastics as should for the future apostatize from the Church of Rome. It was no easy matter to reconcile such opposite pretensions, which were supported, on each side, by the most elaborate arguments, and the greatest acrimony of expression, that the abilities or zeal of theologians long exercised in disputation could suggest. Ferdinand, however, by his address and perseverance; by softening some things on each side; by putting a favorable meaning upon others; by representing incessantly the necessity as well as the advantages of concord; and by threatening, on some occasions, when all other considerations were disregarded, to dissolve the Diet, brought them at length to a conclusion in which they all agreed.



Continued on Monday, October 27th.

More information here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Charles V’s Brother Ferdinand at the Meeting

Featuring William Robertson

Introduction to our series The Peace of Augsburg and the Abdication of Charles V:
The Peace of Augsburg did not end the wars of the Protestant Reformation but it established a framework for how the Catholic and Protestant powers would co-exist. And now, William Robertson.

Time: 1555
Place: Augsburg, Germany

Charles V by Titian and his
colleague Lambert Sustris.
cc Wikipedia
As a diet was now necessary on many accounts, Ferdinand, about the beginning of the year 1555, had repaired to Augsburg. Though few of the princes were present either in person or by their deputies, he opened the assembly by a speech, in which he proposed a termination of the dissensions to which the new tenets and controversies with regard to religion had given rise, not only as the first and great business of the diet, but as the point which both the Emperor and he had most at heart. He represented the innumerable obstacles which the Emperor had to surmount before he could procure the convocation of a general council, as well as the fatal accidents which had for some time retarded, and had at last suspended, the consultations of that assembly. He observed that experience had already taught them how vain it was to expect any remedy for evils which demanded immediate redress from a general council, the assembling of which would either be prevented, or its deliberations be interrupted, by the dissensions and hostilities of the princes of Christendom; that a national council in Germany, which, as some imagined, might be called with greater ease, and deliberate with more perfect security, was an assembly of an unprecedented nature, the jurisdiction of which was uncertain in its extent, and the form of its proceedings undefined; that in his opinion there remained but one method for composing their unhappy differences, which, though it had been often tried without success, might yet prove effectual if it were attempted with a better and more pacific spirit than had appeared on former occasions, and that was, to choose a few men of learning, abilities, and moderation, who, by discussing the disputed articles in an amicable conference, might explain them in such a manner as to bring the contending parties either to unite in sentiment, or to differ with charity.

This speech being printed in common form, and dispersed over the empire, revived the fears and jealousies of the Protestants; Ferdinand, they observed with much surprise, had not once mentioned, in his address to the Diet, the Treaty of Passau, the stipulations of which they considered as the great security of their religious liberty. The suspicions to which this gave rise were confirmed by the accounts which were daily received of the extreme severity with which Ferdinand treated their Protestant brethren in his hereditary dominions; and as it was natural to consider his actions as the surest indication of his intentions, this diminished their confidence in those pompous professions of moderation, and of zeal for the reëstablishment of concord, to which his practice seemed to be so repugnant.

The arrival of the cardinal, Morone, whom the Pope had appointed to attend the Diet as his nuncio, completed their conviction, and left them no room to doubt that some dangerous machination was forming against the peace or safety of the Protestant Church. Julius, elated with the unexpected return of the English nation from apostasy, began to flatter himself that, the spirit of mutiny and revolt having now spent its force, the happy period was come when the Church might resume its ancient authority, and be obeyed by the people with the same tame submission as formerly. Full of these hopes, he had sent Morone to Augsburg with instructions to employ his eloquence to excite the Germans to imitate the laudable example of the English, and his political address in order to prevent any decree of the Diet to the detriment of the Catholic faith. But Julius died, and as soon as Morone heard of this he set out abruptly from Augsburg, where he had resided only a few days, that he might be present at the election of the new pontiff.

One cause of their suspicions and fears being thus removed, the Protestants soon became sensible that their conjectures concerning Ferdinand's intentions, however specious, were ill-founded, and that he had no thoughts of violating the articles favorable to them in the Treaty of Passau. Charles, from the time that Maurice had defeated all his schemes in the empire, and overturned the great system of religious and civil despotism which he had almost established there, gave little attention to the internal government of Germany, and permitted his brother to pursue whatever measures he judged most salutary and expedient. Ferdinand, less ambitious and enterprising than the Emperor, instead of resuming a plan which he, with power and resources so far superior, had failed of accomplishing, endeavored to attach the princes of the empire to his family by an administration uniformly moderate and equitable. To this he gave, at present, particular attention, because his situation at this juncture rendered it necessary to court their favor and support with more than usual assiduity.

Charles had again resumed his favorite project of acquiring the imperial crown for his son Philip, the prosecution of which, the reception it had met with when first proposed had obliged him to suspend, but had not induced him to relinquish. This led him warmly to renew his request to his brother, that he would accept of some compensation for his prior right of succession, and sacrifice that to the grandeur of the house of Austria. Ferdinand, who was as little disposed as formerly to give such an extraordinary proof of self-denial, being sensible that, in order to defeat this scheme, not only the most inflexible firmness on his part, but a vigorous declaration from the princes of the empire in behalf of his title, were requisite, was willing to purchase their favor by gratifying them in every point that they deemed interesting or essential.



Continued on Sunday, October 26th.

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