« ZurückWeiter »
character. By the force of her mind, she controlled all her more active and stronger qualities, and prevented them from running into excess. Her heroism was exempted from all temerily, her frugality from avarice, her friendship from partiality, her enterprise from tur. bulency, and a vaia ainbition ; she guarded not herself, with equal care or equal success, from lesser infirmities the rivalship of beauty, the desire of adıniration, the jealousy of love, and the sallies of anger.
Her singular talents for government were founded equally on her temper and was her capacity. Endowed with a great command over herself, she soon obtained an uncontrolled ascendant over the people ; and, while she inerited all their ostecm b; her real virtue, she also enguged their affection by her pretended ones. Few sovereigns of England succeeded to the throne in more difficult circumstances, and none ever conducted the gove ernment with such uniform success and felicity. Though unacquainted with the practice of toleration, the true secret for managing religious factions, she preserved her people by her superior prudence, from those confusions in which theological controversy hud involved all the neighboring nations ; and though her enemies were the most powerful princes of Europe, the most active, the most enterprising, the least scrupulous, she was able by her vigor, to make deep impressions on their state ; her own greatness, meanwhile, remaining un. touched and unimpaired.
The wise ministers and brave warriors who flourished during her reign, share the praise of her success ; but instead of lessoning the applause due to her, they make great addition to it. They owed, all of them, their advancement to her choice ; they were supported by her constaney ; and, with all their ability, they were never able to acquire an undue ascendant over her. In her family, in her court, in her kingdom, she remained equally mistress. The force of her tender passions was great over her, but the force of her mind was still superior ; and the combat which her victory visibly cost her, serves only to display the firmness of her resolutions, and the loftiness of her ambitious sentiments.
The fame of this princess, though it has surmounted the prejudiccs, both of faction and of bigotry, yet lies still exposed to another prejudice, which is more dura. ble, because more na: ural; and which, according to the different views in which we survey her, is capable either of exalting beyond meashre, or diminishing the lustre of her character. This prejudice is founded on the con. sideration of her sex. When we contemplate her as a woman, we are apt to be struck with the highest admis ration of her qualities, and extensive capacity ; but we are also apt to require some more softness of dispositions. some greater lenity of temper, some of those amiable weaknesses by which her sex is distinguished. Bat the true method of estimating her merit, is to lay aside alt: these considerations, and to consider her merely as a rational being; placed in authority, and trusted with the government of mankind. We may find it difficult to reconcile our fancy to her, as a wife or a mistress ; but her qualities as a sovereign, though with some consider able exceptions, are the cbjects of undisputed applause and approbation.
V-Charles V's Resignation of his Dominions.
ROBERTSON, CHARLES resolved to resign his dominions to his son, with a solemnity suitable to the importance of the transaction ; and to perforin, i his last act of suvereignty with such formal pomp, as might leave an indelible impression on the minds, not only of his subjects, but of his successor, With this view, he called Philip out of En.. gland, where the peevish temper of his queen, which increased with the despair of having issue, rendered him extremely unhappy, and the jealousy of the English left him no hopes of obtaining ihe direction of their affairs.
Having assembled the states of the Low Countries at Brussels, on the twenty-fifth of October, one thousand five hundred and filty.five, 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 grandees of Spain, and princes of the em.. pire, standing behind him. The president of the coun. cil 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 re. signation, by which Charles surrendered to his son Phil. ip 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 loyally and zeal which they had manifesto ed, 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 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 commence. ment of his adıninistration. He observed, that from the sevenieenth year of his age, he had dedicated all his thoughts and attention to public objects, reserving no poriion of his time for the indulgence of his ease, and very little for the enjoyment of private pleasures; that either in a pacific or hostile manner, he hail visited Germany nine times, Spain six times, France four times, italy sev. en 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 duminioas, he had never shunned labor, nor repined under fatigue ; that now, when his health was broken and his vigor cxhausted, by the rage of an incurable distemper, his growing infirmites admonished hiin to retire ; nor was he so fond of reigning, as to retain the sceptre in an impotent hand, which was no longer able to protect his subjects, or to render them hapry ; that, instead of a sovereign worn out with disease, and scarcely hall alive, he gave them one in the prime of life, accustomed already 10 governz und who added to the
vigor of youth, all the attention and sagacity of matur. er years ; that if, during the course of a long administration, he had committed any material error in gove ernment, or if, under the pressure of so many, and great affairs, and amidst the attention . which he had been obliged to give 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 res. treat, as the sweetest consolation, as well as the best re. szard for all his services; and, in his last prayers to Ak mighty God, would pour forth his ardent wishes for.. their welfare.
Then turning towards Philip, who fell upon his knees, and kissed his father's hand, “ If,” said he," I had left. you, by my death, ihis rich inheritance, to which I have made such large additions, some regard would have been justly due to my memory on that account; but 110w, when I voluntarily resign to you-what I might have: still retained, I may well expect the warmest expressions of thanks on your part. With these, however, I dis-. pense ; 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,
my paternal affection, and to demonstrate that you are worthy of the confidence which I rcpose in you.. Preserve an inviolable regard for religion ; maintain the. Catholic faith in its purity ; let the laws of your country bę sacred in your eyes ; encroach not on the rights and privileges of your people ; and, if the time shall ever come, when you shall wish to enjoy the tranquility of a 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 mine to you.'
As soon as Charles had finished this long address to his subjects, and to tlieir new sovereign, he sunk into the chair, exhausted and ready to faint with the fatigue. merca?ynagrdinary. During his discours CEE
the whole audience melted into tears ; some, from ada miration of his magnanimity; others softened by the expressions of tenderness-towards his son, and of love to his people ; and all were affected with the deepest sorrow, at losing a sovereign, who had distinguished the Netherlands, his native country, with particular marke -of his regard and attachment.
A few weeks thereafter, Charles in an assembly noless splendid, and with a ceremonial equally-pompous, resigned to his son the crown of Spain, with all the ter ritories 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 an hundred thousand crowns, to defray the charges of his family, and to afford him a small sum for acts of beneficence: and charity.
The place he had chosen, for his retreat, was the mon... astery of St. Justus, in the province of Estremadura. 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 inost 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 give strict orders, that the style of the building should be such as suited his present. situation, rather than his former dignity. It consisted onLy of six rooms; four of them in the form of friar's cells, with naked walls; the other two;each twenty feet square, were hung with brown cloch, 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 bimself had given the plan,and which he had filled with.. various plants, intending to cultivate them with his own. hands. On the other side, they communicated with the chapel of the monastery,in whieh he was to perform his , devotions. Into this humble retreat, hardly sufficient for the comfortable accommodation of a private gentleman, di! Charles enters.with twelve domestics only.. He bg.. iscre; 1:0, acteure, tusseura