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902
[ROMAN EMPEROR
CHARLES V.

such as those against Tunis and Algiers which were distinctively in Spanish interests. Spaniards disliked his Netherland and German connexions, but without the vigorous blows which these enabled him to strike at France, it is improbable that Spain could have retained her hold on Italy, or her monopoly of commerce with the Indies. The wars with Francis I. were, in spite of the rival candidature for the Empire, Spanish wars entailed by Ferdinand’s retention of Roussillon, his annexation of Navarre, his summary eviction of the French from Naples. The Netherlands had become convinced on commercial grounds of the wisdom of peace with France, and the German interest in Milan was not sufficiently active to be a standing cause of war. Charles and Francis had inherited the hostility of Ferdinand and Louis XII.

The reign of Charles was in America the age of conquest and organization. Upon his accession the settlements upon the mainland were insignificant; by 1556 conquest was practically complete, and civil and ecclesiastical government firmly established. Actual expansion was the work of great adventurers starting on their own impulse from the older colonies. To Charles fell the task of encouraging such ventures, of controlling the conquerors, of settling the relations between colonists and natives, which involved those between the colonists and the missionary colonial church. He must arrest depopulation, provide for the labour market, regulate oceanic trade, and check military preponderance by civil and ecclesiastical organization. In America Charles took an unceasing interest; he had a boundless belief in its possibilities, and a determination to safeguard the interests of the crown. Cortes, Alvarado and the brothers Pizarro were brought into close personal communication with the emperor. If he bestowed on Cortes the confidence which the loyal conqueror deserved, he showed the sternest determination in crushing the rebellious and autonomous instincts of Almagro and the Pizarros. But for this, Peru and Chile must have become independent almost as soon as they were conquered. Throughout he strove to protect the natives, to prevent actual slavery, and the consequent raids upon the natives. Legislation was not, indeed, always consistent, because the claims of the colonists could not always be resisted, but on the whole he gave earnest support to the missionaries, who upheld the cause of the natives against the military, and sometimes the civil and ecclesiastical elements. His humane care for his native subjects may well be studied in the instructions sent to Philip from Germany in 1548, when Charles was at the summit of his power. If Charles had had his will, he would have opened the colonial trade to the whole of his wide possessions. The Castilians, however, jealously confined it to the city of Seville, artificially fostering the indolence of the colonists to maintain the agricultural and manufacturing monopoly of Castile, and by extreme protective measures forcing them to live on smuggled goods from other countries. Charles did actually attempt to cure the exclusive interest of the colonists in mineral wealth by the establishment of peasant and artisan colonies. If in many respects he failed, yet the organization of Spanish America and the survival of the native races were perhaps the most permanent results of his reign. It is a proof of the complexity of his interests that the march of the Turk upon Vienna and of the French on Naples delayed until the following reign the foundation of Spain’s eastern empire. Charles carefully organized the expedition of Magellan, which sailed for the Moluccas and discovered the Philippines. Unfortunately, his straits for money in 1529 compelled him to mortgage to Portugal his disputed claim to the Moluccas, and the Philippines consequently dropped out of sight.

If in the administration of Spain Charles did little more than mark time, in the Netherlands advance was rapid. Of the seven northern provinces he added five, containing more than half the area of the later United Provinces. In the south he freed Flanders and Artois from French suzerainty, annexed Tournai and Cambrai, and closed the natural line of French advance through the great bishopric of Liége by a line of fortresses across its western frontier. Much was done to convert the aggregate of jarring provinces into a harmonious unity by means of common principles of law and finance, and by the creation of a national army. While every province had its own assembly, there were at Charles’s accession only the rudiments of estates general for the Netherlands at large. At the close of the reign the common parliamentary system was in full swing, and was fast converting the loosely knit provinces into a state. By these means the ruler had wished to facilitate the process of supply, but supply soon entailed redress, and the provinces could recognize their common interests and grievances. Under Philip II. all patriotic spirits passionately turned to this creation of his father as the palladium of Netherland liberty. This process of consolidation was infinitely difficult, and conflicts between local and central authorities were frequent. That they were safely tided over was due to Charles’s moderation and his legal mind, which prompted him to draw back when his case was bad. The harshest act of his life was the punishment of the rebellion of Ghent. Yet the city met with little or no sympathy in other quarters, because she had refused to act in concert with the other members of Flanders and the other provinces. It was no mere local quarrel, but a breach of the growing national unity.

In the Netherlands Charles showed none of the jealousy with which he regarded the Spanish nobles. He encouraged the growth of large estates through primogeniture; he gave the nobles the provincial governorships, the great court offices, the command of the professional cavalry. In the Order of the Golden Fleece and the long established presence of the court at Brussels, he possessed advantages which he lacked in Spain. The nobility were utilized as a link between the court and the provinces. Very different was it with the church. By far the greater part of the Netherlands fell under foreign sees, which were peculiarly liable to papal exactions and to the intrigues of rival powers. Thus the usual conflict between civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction was peculiarly acute. To remedy this dualism of authority and the consequent moral and religious abuses, Charles early designed the creation of a national diocesan system, and this was a darling project throughout his life. He was doing what every German territorial prince, Catholic or Lutheran, attempted, making bishoprics and abbeys dependent on the crown, with nomination and institution in his hands, and with reasonable control over taxation and jurisdiction. The papacy unfortunately thwarted him, and the scheme, which under Charles would have been carried with national assent, and created a national church, took the appearance under Philip of alien domination.

If in Germany Charles was emperor, he was in the Netherlands territorial prince, and thus his interests might easily be at disaccord with those of the Empire. Consequently, just as he had shaken off French suzerainty from Flanders and Artois, so he loosened the tie of the other provinces to Germany. In 1548 they were declared free and sovereign principalities not subject to imperial laws, and all the territories were incorporated in the Burgundian circle. It was, indeed, agreed that they should contribute to imperial taxation, and in return receive imperial protection. But this soon became a dead letter, and the Netherlands were really severed from the Empire, save for the nominal feudal tie in the case of some provinces. Thus some writers have dated their independence from Charles’s convention of 1548 rather than from the peace of Westphalia, a century later. Having converted his heterogeneous territories into a self-sufficient state, Charles often contemplated the formation of a middle kingdom between France and Germany. At the last moment he spoiled his own work by granting the Netherlands to Philip. It was indeed hard to set aside the order of inheritance, and the commercial interests of the provinces were closely bound with Spain, and with England, whose queen Philip had married. Under any other ruler than Philip the breach might not have come so early. Yet it must be regretted that Charles had not the courage of his convictions, and that he lost the opportunity of completing the new nation which he had faithfully laboured to create.

Charles V. is in the eyes of many the very picture of a Catholic zealot. Popular opinion is probably mainly based upon the