페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

proved complicated and troublesome, and I was obliged to place my interests in the hands of a lawyer who had been recommended to me as extremely skilful. The business at last settled, I found myself entitled to about forty thousand florins, which I proposed to embark in trade. I was happily married, and Ellen was seven years old. Our little fortune had been greatly impaired by a succession of losses, for which this inheritance would compensate. One day I went to my lawyer's to receive the money. He had disappeared, taking it with him. Despair took possession of me; I dared not impart the fatal news to my wife, and, I confess it with shame, I determined on suicide. All that day I rambled about the country, and at nightfall I approached the banks of the Spree. Climbing upon the parapet of a high bridge, I gazed with gloomy delight into the dark waters that rolled beneath. On my knees upon the stone, I offered up a short but fervent prayer to Him who wounds and heals; I commended my wife and daughter to His mercy, and precipitated myself from the bridge. I was struggling instinctively against death, when I felt myself seized by a vigorous arm. A man swam near me, and drew me towards the shore, which we both reached.

"It was so dark that I could not distinguish the features of my preserver, but the tones of his voice made an impression upon me which has not yet been effaced, and I have met but one man whose voice has reminded me of that of the generous unknown. He compelled me to go home with him, questioned me as to my motives for so desperate an act, and, to my extreme astonishment, handed me a portfolio containing forty thousand florins, on the express condition that I should take no steps to find him out. I entreated him to accept my marriage-ring, at sight of which I promised to repay the

loan, as soon as it should to do so. He took the my heart brimful of gra

"I will not attempt to joy with which I once wife and daughter. God benefactor all the good ranged my affairs, and w where I formed this esta I can not consider myse temporary possessor. men, that Ellen has no d that we may at any mom very precarious position."

Ellen's face was hid When Mr. Müller cease listened. Presently the

"I have little," he sa narration; the man who to render you a service, for the rest of his days. into the Spree, he stru and since then he limps,

We were all motion Then Malthus drew a r and handed it to Mr. M nance of the latter, gene expression, was suddenly tated: tears started to his himself into his preserver

"All that I possess cried, "and I have the h you that your capital has

"Of all that you pos thus, "I ask but one thi no right."

The worthy German to daughter, who trembled surprise, and, placing Jew

"Sir," he said, address "you who have seen the disinterested in this que that I could do better?"

CHARLES THE FIFTH.

381

From the Edinburgh Review.

CHARLES

THE FIFTH.*

e of individuals on the desrld is generally small. The ven of the rulers of mankind ate in a movement which sued its pre-appointed track - completely if they had never work may be well done; but, there, it would be done just e one else. A few eminent ents and energy have been , have been able perceptibly - perceptibly to retard, the ts. Hannibal was amongst esmen, and was perhaps the that the world has seen. All and his energy wielding the Carthage could do was to a few years. If Rome had 1 for an opponent she would Carthage a little sooner; if Cæsar for a leader she would aul a little later. If he had upport her republican instiight have lasted until his of Carthage, of Gaul, and ublic, were questions merely circumstances from time to the balance between two between two great systems equally poised that the imsingle hand may be decius had died in infancy, the f Greece might have been change in the fortunes of ve been a change in the forld.

The beginning of the sixteenth century was one of these critical periods. Great forces, material and mental, were then opposed. The events which were to be the result of their conflict have not yet exhausted their influence they may affect the human race for many centuries to come. And these forces were so nicely balanced that the preponderance of religion or of superstition, of free inquiry or of unreasoning conformity, of France or of Germany, depended on the conduct of Charles V. and of Luther.

There seem to us to be no grounds for supposing that, if Luther had died in 1506, a novice in the Augustinian convent of Erfurth, the Reformation, such as it now is, would have taken place. At first sight, indeed, it may appear that the corruptions which he attacked were too gross and palpable to endure the improved intelligence of modern Europe. But we must recollect that on his death Protestantism ceased to extend itself. Its limits are now nearly such as he left them. What was Popish in 1546 remains Popish now. Nor is this to be asascribed to inferiority of political institutions or of cultivation. The democratic cantons of Switzerland, and the well-governed, industrious Flemings, are as strenuous in their adherence to Roman Catholicism as the despotically-ruled Danes have been in their rejection of it.

The most highly-civilized portions of the Continent are France, Italy, the Low Countries, and Germany. Not one-fourth of their The Athenian domina-inhabitants are Protestants. If the inherent extended over Sicily and vices of Popery have not destroyed it in Rome might have been sti- France; if it has withstood there the learnadolescence, and who can ing and wisdom of the seventeenth century, now be the state of Europe the wit and license of the eighteenth, and undergone the Roman domi- the boldness and philosophy of the nineteenth, d the Roman law? If the what right have we to assume that those on had found her a Greek vices would have been fatal to it in Great empire? Britain.

fe of the Emperor Charles the STERLING. 3d edition. Lon

Nor can the permanence of Roman Catholicism be accounted for by its self-reformation. Without doubt, with the improved decorousness of modern times, some of its

grossest practical abuses have been removed | less momentous than those which would

or palliated. Indulgencies are no longer on public sale. The morals in monasteries and convents, and those of the secular clergy, are decent there is less of violent active persecution. But a church which claims to be infallible can not really reform her doctrines. Every error that she has once adopted becomes stereotyped, every step by which she has diverged from truth is irretrievable. All the worst superstitions of the Romish church are maintained by her at this instant as stoutly as they were when Luther first renounced her communion. The prohibition of inquiry, the reliance on legendary traditions, the idolatry of relics, the invocation of saints, the adoration of the Virgin Mary, the merit ascribed to voluntary suffering, and to premeditated uselessness, "the conversion of the sacraments into charms, of public worship into a magic incantation muttered in a dead language, and of the duty of Christian Holiness into fantastic penances, pilgrimages, scapularies, and a whole train of superstitious observances worthy of paganism in its worst forms,"* are all in full vigor among many of the Teutonic races and among all the nations whose languages are derived from the Latin. The clergy of France, once the most intelligent defenders of the liberties of the Gallican church, are now more ultramontane than the Italians.

We repeat our belief that if Luther had not been born, or if he had wanted any one of that wonderful assemblage of moral and intellectual excellences that enabled him to triumph in the most difficult contest that ever was waged by man, if he had had less courage, less self-devotion, less diligence, less sagacity, less eloquence, less prudence, or less sincerity, the Pope would still be the spiritual ruler of all Western Europe and America, and the peculiar doctrines of Romanism would prevail there, doubted, indeed, or disbelieved, or unthought of, by the educated classes, and little understood by the uneducated, but conformed to by all.

On the other hand, if Charles V. had been able, like the Elector of Saxony and the Landgrave of Hesse, to shake off the prejudices of his early education,-if, like them, he had listened to Luther with candor, and, like them, had been convinced, and, instead of striving to crush the Reformation, had put himself at its head, a train of consequences would have been set in motion not

[blocks in formation]

have followed the submission or the premature death of Luther.

The Reformation would have spread over the whole of Germany and of the Netherlands. The inhabitants of those vast countries were all eager to throw off the dominion of Rome, and were kept under her yoke only by the tyranny and persecution of Charles. Germany would have remained an empire. It required the enthusiasm of a religious cause to rouse her feudatories to rise against their sovereign, and to force on him a treaty which in fact admitted their independence. It was to the treaty of Passau, to the shock then given to the Imperial sovereignty, that the Elector of Brandenburg, a hundred and fifty years after, owed his crown, and the Emperor, who had recognized one of his vassals as a king, lost all real authority over the others.

If the whole of Germany and the Low Countries had remained one united body, if the former had not been laid waste by the thirty years' war, and the latter by the war which produced the independence of the United Provinces, such an empire would have been the arbiter of the Continent. Flanders, Alsace, Lorraine, and Franche Compté would have remained German; France would not have been able twice to threaten the independence of Europe; a Bourbon would not now be reigning in Spain.

No country would have gained so much by such a change in the course of events as Spain. In the first place, she would have become Protestant. Few of the phenomena of that remarkable period are more striking than the weakness of the hold which peculiar religious opinions then possessed over the bulk of the people of Europe. Henry VIII, Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, turned the English backwards and forwards, from Romanism to Protestantism, and from Protestantism to Romanism, at the will, we had almost said at the caprice, of the monarch for the time being. The pride of the Roman Catholics had not been roused by the rivalry of a new Church, with bishops, and revenues, and patronage, and power, and rank of its own. The Reformation appeared to them not the introduction of a hostile faith, but a purification of the old one, and wherever it was not persecuted it was adopted.

Ireland may appear to be an exception; but the real sovereigns of the greater part of Ireland were then its native chieftains. Henry VIII. and his immediate successors

were

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

that the Reformation was not preached to the Celtic Irish. They could not read Latin, and no reformer wrote or preached in Irish. But if Spain had been Protestant, she would have escaped the Inquisition--the brutalizing instrument which more than any other means of misgovernment, more than despotism, or insecurity, or lawlessness, or oppression, has degraded the Spanish mind. She would have escaped the religious wars which wasted her strength for more than sixty years. She would not have been governed by Jesuits and bigots. She would not have been deprived, by the expulsion of the Moors, of the most industrious part of her population. Naples and Sicily, like Spain, would have adopted the faith of their master; and it is probable that Romanism, after lingering for a short time in a portion of France, of Italy, and of Poland, would have gradually died out, and have been remembered, with magic, astrology, and alchemy, as one of the strange delusions of the dark unreasoning ages.

We can not but be eager to know more of the men on whose conduct such vast consequences depended. To know how far that conduct was the result of the dispositions implanted in them by nature, and how far of the circumstances in which they were placed. How far it is to be imputed to their advisers, and how far to the solitary working of their own faculties and passions.

We have ample materials to form an estimate of Luther. The business of his life was to write and to talk, and his friends preserved his letters and his conversation with the care, we may say the veneration, which all that came from such a man deserved. In his correspondence and his tisch-reden, we have a fuller and a more detailed revelation of his innermost man than we possess of any other person, with the single exception of Dr. Johnson.

We see his strong conscientiousness, his religious fervor, his impulsive sense of duty, his unwearied diligence, his heroic courage never rushing into rashness; his vivid imagination, checked, though not sufficiently controlled, by his strong reason; and as the result of these passions and faculties, an aggressive force, a power of destruction, which no spiritual reformer, except perhaps Mahomet, ever directed against deeply-rooted abuses. We see also a fearful amount of credulity, superstition, intolerence, and violence, to be imputed partly to the ignorance and rough energy of the 16th century, and

at first in privation, in want, and in beggary and afterwards among the ascetic observances and dull degrading duties of a monastery.

We see, too, what perhaps was also the result of this education, his deep melancholy, his early and constantly increasing disgust at life, his regrets at not having died in infancy, his despair of improvement; indeed, his expectation that human affairs would go on from bad to worse till the last day, a day which he hoped and believed to be at hand, should close the reign of evil.

Before the publication, the title of which is prefixed to this article, Charles V. was known to English readers chiefly in the judicious but somewhat pompous pages of Robertson. Robertson remarks that the circumstances transmitted to us with respect to his private deportment and character, are fewer and less interesting than might have been expected from the great number of the authors who have undertaken to write an account of his life. And the little that he himself has related of them is so full of error, that we need not regret that he has not given

us more.

[ocr errors]

Within the last twenty years, however, a flood of light has been shed on the details of the great figure, of which, till then, we had seen only the outlines. The " "Correspondenz des Kaisers Carl V.," by Dr. Carl, published in 1845-46, the "Colecion de Documentos ineditos para la Historia de España," and the 'Relazioni degli Ambasciatori Veneti," both works still in course of publication, and the "Papiers d'Etat du Cardinal de Granvelle," have revealed so much that was unknown, and rectified so much that was mistaken, in his history as an emperor and a king, that it might almost be rewritten; and it now appears that his life, from the time of his abdication, on which little had been published, and that little turns out to have been often erroneous, had been recorded with as much minuteness, and far more fidelity, than even that of Napoleon.

The new sources of information are, A Narrative of the Re-idence of Charles V. in the Monastery of Yuste, written by one of the monks, and A Correspondence between Charles and his Family, and between his Confidential Attendants and the Spanish. Court, embracing rather more than two years, beginning with his arrival in Spain after his abdication, and terminating some months after his death.

These records, however, have, as yet, been

The Narrative is now among the Archives of the Court of Appeal of Brussels. M. Bakhuisen Van der Brine has published an abridgment of it, and M. Gachard promises to print the whole text in a second volume, still unpublished, of his "Retraite et Mort de Charles-Quint."

But neither of these writers saw the original documents: they quoted the Narrative from Backhuisen, and the Correspondence from Gonzalez. M. Gachard, however, the Archiviste General of Belgium, found the guardians of the treasures of Simancas more complaisant than they had been to any previous traveller. He appears to have had an unlimited permission to have papers copied. He used it to obtain copies of the 237 letters which are contained in the first volume of his work. Of these letters, 201 were written by Quijada, the Emperor's chamberlain, or mayordomo.

Luis Mender Quijada, Lord of Villagarcia, had been thirty-four years in the service of the Emperor at the time of his abdication.

"Unconsciously portrayed," says Mr. Stirling, "in his own graphic letters, the best of the Yuste correspondence, he stands forth, the type of the cavalier and old rusty Christian,"* of Castillespare and sinewy of frame, and somewhat formal and severe in the cut of his beard and the fashion of his manners; in character reserved and punctilious, but true as steel to the cause espoused or the duty undertaken; keen and clear in his insight into men and things around him, yet deVoutedly believing his master the greatest prince that ever had been or was to be; proud of himself, his family, and his services, and inclined, in a grave, decorous way, to exaggerate their importance; a true son of the Church, with an instinctive distrust of its ministers; a hater of Jews, Turks, heretics, friars, and Flemings; somewhat testy, somewhat obstinate, full of strong sense and strong prejudice; a warm-hearted, energetic, and honest man."

The Correspondence was buried in the Royal Archives of Simancas, which, as might have been expected from the puerile Government of Spain, were carefully kept excluded from foreign, and indeed from native eyes. In 1809, however, the castle of Simancas was occupied by General Kellerman and his dragoons, acting in the name, and professing to be under the command of King Joseph. They treated its contents as they usually treated every thing that was Spanish. The documents which related to the history of France they sent to Paris, the rest they used as fuel; and when no more was wanted for that purpose, they cut open whole bundles for the sake of the string with which they were tied up. When the Duke of Wellington's surprise of Oporto and advance from Portugal occasioned their retreat, they set fire to the Castle and destroyed a large portion of it, with all that it contained. Ferdinand VII. employed Don Tomas Gonzalez to rearrange and classify the remnant that had not perished during General Kellerman's occupation. While thus employed, he discovered the correspondence relating to Charles V.'s residence at Yuste. The use to which he turned it was to make it the base of a work on the last two years of Charles's life, consisting of the letters which he thought deserving of publication, connected by a brief explanatory notice. At the time of his death, in 1825, the work was "He," says Mr. Stirling, "comes next to the transcribed for the press, but unprinted. mayordomo in order of precedence, and in the Don Manuel Gonzalez, his brother, succeeded importance of his functions. His place was one him in his office at Simancas, and inherited of great trust. The whole correspondence of the his papers. He was displaced and ruined Emperor passed through his hands. Even the most private and confidential communications addressed by the revolution of 1836; and, after some to the Princess-regent by her father, were generally ineffectual efforts to get a higher price, sold written, at his dictation, by Gaztelu; for the imthe manuscript to the French Government perial fingers were seldom sufficiently free from in 1844. A mention of it in the "Hand-gout to be able to do more than add a brief postbook of Spain" attracted Mr. Stirling's attention. With some difficulty, he ascertained its fate, and with still more difficulty, with the united assistance of the President of the Republic, Lord Normanby, and M. Drouyn de L'huys, gained access to it. It is the foundation of what M. Mignet has well described as "le charmant volume de M. Stirling," and of that portion of the work of M. Pichot which is subsequent to Charles V.'s

abdication.

Fifty-seven of the letters were written by Martin Gaztelu, the Emperor's secretary.

script, in which Doña Juana was assured of the affection of her buen padre Carlos. The secretary had probably spent his life in the service of the Emperor; but I have been unable to learn more of his history than his letters have preserved. His epistolary style was clear, simple, and businesslike, but inferior to that of Quixada in humor, and in careless graphic touch, and more sparing in glimpses of the rural life of Estremadura three hundred years ago."

*

[ocr errors]

Cristis no viejo rancioso," Don Quixote, p. 1,

so translated by Shelton

« 이전계속 »