CHARLES THE FIRST
A. D. 1517-1558
 THE successor of Ferdinand and Isabella was their grandson Charles, son of their poor crazy
daughter Juana and her husband, Philip of Burgundy. He was born on February 24th, 1500. By
a strange concurrence of fortunes he was heir to a number of thrones. From his father, who
died when he was a child, he inherited the dukedom of Burgundy, which included Flanders,
the Low Countries, Holland, Burgundy, Dauphiny, and parts of Languedoc, Provence, and
Savoy. At the death of one grandfather, he became Grand-Duke of Austria; at the death of
another, King of Spain. To cap the climax, when the Emperor of Germany died, he was
elected to succeed him. Thus, with the exception of England, France, Portugal, and
Northern Italy, he ruled over all Western Europe.
He was seventeen when he came to Spain to take possession of his throne. He was a dull
boy, expert at manly exercises, but slow at his books. He had been brought up by a priest
named Chievres, who was a cold, calculating ecclesiastic. Charles was cold, too, and
sparing of his words. He spoke little while he was in Spain, as the knew the language
imperfectly. It was observed of him that his only speeches were to ask for
money—Spain being rich, and his own Flanders, where he lived, poor.
He remained three years in his kingdom. They were not altogether pleasant years. The
sturdy Spaniards of Aragon and Valencia did not take kindly to a king who, though born in
Spain, was a foreigner in speech and thought; it gave him some trouble to persuade them to
 acknowledge him as their monarch, and, above all, to give him money to spend in Flanders.
But in the end they sullenly submitted, and he sailed for the Low Countries in May, 1520,
leaving a Flemish priest, Cardinal Adrian, as regent in his place, with two viceroys to
assist him. Castile protested violently against the king going out of his kingdom; but
Charles sailed, none the less, on the day appointed.
CHARLES THE FIFTH AND HIS FRIENDS IN MARBLE.
He had been chosen, as I told you, Emperor of Germany,
 and had serious work before him. Martin Luther was thundering at the Church of Rome, and
all Germany was applauding him for his war upon corrupt and vicious priests. The great
work of the Reformation had begun. In Germany and Switzerland the Papal Church was
tottering; a few more sledge-hammer blows by Luther and it would fall.
The Emperor Charles—in Germany he was fifth emperor of the name, while he was first
of the name among the kings of Spain—summoned Luther to Worms to explain himself.
The intrepid monk obeyed the summons, though he was warned that the priests would make
away with him if they got him in their power. They did indeed propose to burn him as a
heretic, but Charles, though he hated Protestants to the full as much as they did, was
afraid of the vengeance of the people if anything happened to their favorite preacher, and
let him return home safely.
At the very time when Luther was founding the Protestant Church, another Catholic monk,
equally vigorous and just as sincere, was founding a Catholic brotherhood which was
destined to be the most powerful sect in the Papal Church. This was Ignatius Loyola, who
had been a soldier in his youth. Wounded at a siege, he spent his time while his wound was
healing in studying religion, and when he got well he established the order of the
Jesuits—priests who were to lead pure lives, to devote themselves to the spread of
religion, and to have no care or thought for anything but the good of the Church. You will
perceive that Luther and Loyola worked for the same object, though by different means. You
will see by-and-by the mistakes which Loyola made, and the evil consequences which
In the meantime all Spain was in an uproar. The cities of the north, with Toledo at their
head, declared that "the Fleming" should have no more of their money; that they wanted no
Flemings to reign over them; that the King of Spain must live in Spain, and respect the
rights of the
 fueros. A mob arose in Segovia, and hanged a king's officer with his head downward. Burgos
flew to arms. The people of Valladolid, which was then the capital, rose in the same
manner, and burned the house of the general of the king's troops. Charles's mother, poor
crazy Juana, was found by the mob at Tortesillas, and was proclaimed queen. In a moment of
sanity she promised to rule the kingdom justly; but in a few hours her mind deserted her
again, and she would not speak or recognize any one.
The end of it was that the king's troops, who had been joined by the principal nobles,
came up with the insurgents at Villalar, and being better led, better armed, and better
disciplined than the levies of the cities, won a complete victory. The rebellion came to a
sudden end, Charles, returning from Germany, refused to punish the rebels, and even
granted some of their demands, which reconciled them to his authority.
There is a story which I like to believe of a courtier who went to the king to tell him
where a certain leading rebel was bid.
"I am not afraid of him," said Charles, "but he has some reason to be afraid of me; you
would be in better business if you told him I am here, than in telling me where he is."
Charles restored peace to Spain; but I am sorry to say that in the pacification the
chartered cities lost their liberties, and did not regain them for many a long year.
In the wars which at that time were incessantly raging in Italy, there was a battle at
Pavia between the French under their king, Francis the First, and the Germans under
skilful generals serving the Emperor Charles. The latter won, and Francis the First was
taken prisoner, having lost, as he said, all but honor. He was shut up in a castle at
Madrid, and was there so harshly treated by Charles's jailers that his health gave way,
and he nearly died. Fearful lest he should die on his hands, Charles released him after a
captivity of a year. He was escorted
 by horsemen to the river Andaye, which separates France from Spain. When the river was
reached, eight Spanish gentlemen with the king entered a boat on the Spanish side, and
eight French gentlemen came out in a boat on the French side; the boats met in the middle
of the river, Francis jumped into the French boat, landed, and mounted a horse, shouting,
"I am yet a king."
As he had just stated in writing that he intended to break the promises he had made in
order to induce Charles to release him, I hardly think that his statement of his losses at
Pavia was quite correct. The pope, however, said he was quite right, and absolved him from
Charles the First reigned thirty years after the release of his prisoner Francis. But the
story of these years is one endless succession of intrigues, wars, treaties made and
treaties broken, in which I do not think you could take much interest, and I will leave
you to find them in larger books than this. Charles reigned over so vast a realm that
trouble was always breaking out somewhere or other, and the emperor-king had to go
journeying to set matters to rights. He was never still for a month at a time. He lived on
the high-roads and the seas. He married in 1526 a beautiful girl of the reigning house of
Portugal; the wedding was celebrated with pomp and splendor in the lovely town of Seville.
But the bride saw little of her husband.
In these thirty years he visited Spain many times, but never succeeded in making the
Spaniards like him. He never saw Spain except when he wanted money, and the Spaniards
raged when they saw their hard-earned wages taken from them to pay troops in Germany or
Italy or Flanders. If the nobles had stood by the cities when the latter rebelled in 1518
they might have held their own against the king; but they had taken his side, and he
requited them by forbidding them to send deputies to the Cortes of the fueros. By setting
nobles against people he was enabled to tax both classes unmercifully.
 His endless labors broke him down at last, and in 1556, when he was fifty-six years old,
he gave up his throne to his son Philip, and retired to a monastery at Yuste, in
Estramadura. It was a lovely spot, high up in the mountains; the air was pure, and the
days and nights cool; groves of lemon and myrtle and walnuts surrounded the monastery;
from seats under their shades the ex-king could look over a wide stretch of rich plain,
dotted with gardens and gaudy flowers.
Though he was in retirement, the retirement was splendid. Handsome tapestries hung on the
walls, and against these fine paintings were suspended. He was served on silver plate. He
had sixteen different robes of silk and velvet, many of them trimmed with ermine. Fifty
gentlemen, chiefly Flemings, waited upon him. His time he spent in wood-carving, and in
making watches and clocks and ingenious toys.
CHARLES THE FIRST
He was a voracious eater, and he loved rich food. Before he got up he ate part of a potted
capon, with a sauce of sugar, milk, and spice. At noon he had a regular dinner, and a
supper at six, at which a variety of dishes were served. In the evening, before going to
bed, he ate a plate of anchovies, or some other savory food. His orders to his cook were
to vary his diet; the servant once complained that he did not know what new dish to serve,
unless he prepared a fricassee of watches. In the morning he drank iced-beer. At his meals
he preferred Rhine wine, of which he consumed a quart at a sitting. You will not be
surprised to hear that he was troubled with gout and indigestion.
He was a careful observer of the forms of religion, and was indeed a fanatical bigot, who
believed that all mankind should go to the same church under penalty of death. As his end
approached, his intolerance increased with his superstition. He drew a will bidding his
successors east out heresy. He said he was sorry he had spared Luther.
 The Archbishop of Toledo, Carranza, better known as the Black Friar, came to hear him
confess, and to give him absolution. At the last, the archbishop held a silver crucifix
before the dying king, who cried "Now it is time," and closed his eyes forever with a
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