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did not blind him to his qualities, nor dull his appreciation of the obstacles with which the latter had to contend. In the Opus Epistolarum he seeks, not always with entire success, to do justice to the great regent. Through his laborious efforts to be fair to the statesman, there pierces his personal dislike of the man. Trivial jibes and small criticisms at the Cardinal's expense are not wanting. The writer shared the feeling of the Spanish Grandees, that it was “odious to be governed by a friar.” He also derided the Cardinal's military spirit. One of the regent's earliest measures suppressed all pensions, but though he excepted Martyr by name, pending the King's decision, no answer came from the Netherlands; the Italian fared as did other pensioners, and he never forgave the Cardinal. Many of his letters of this period were addressed to his compatriot, Marliano, who was the young King's doctor, and were evidently intended for the monarch's eye. In these epistles, adverse judgments and censures of Cardinal Ximenes frequently recur, and the writer used the greatest frankness in describing men and events in Spain, and even in offering suggestions as to the King's policy upon his arrival. Yielding to the repeated instances of the regent, Charles finally set out to take possession of his unknown kingdom. He landed, after a tempestuous voyage, near Gijon, bringing with him a numerous train of Flemish courtiers and officials, whose primary interest lay in preventing a meeting between himself and the regent, and whose presence was destined to cause a serious estrangement between the monarch and his Castilian subjects. Their first purpose was easily accomplished. While the Cardinal awaited him near Roa, the King avoided him by proceeding directly to Tordesillas to visit his mother. This ungracious and unmerited snub was applauded by Martyr, who dismissed the incident with almost flippant mention; nor did he afterwards touch upon the aged Cardinal's death
which occurred simultaneously with the reception of the unfeeling message sent by Charles to the greatest, the most faithful and the most disinterested of his servants."
During the opening years of his reign, the boy-king proved a docile pupil under the control of his ministers.” Peter Martyr wrote of him: “He directs nothing but is himself directed. He has a happy disposition, is magnanimous, liberal, generous—but what of it, since these qualities contribute to his country's ruin?” So reserved was the royal youth in his manner, so slow of speech, that his mental capacity began to be suspected. People remembered his mother. The story of the troubled beginnings of what proved to be one of the most remarkable reigns in modern history, is related in the Opus Epistolarum. The writer watched from vantage-ground the conflict of interests, the strife of parties; zealous for the welfare of his adopted country, he was still a foreigner, identified with no party. Gifted with rare perspicacity, moderation, and keen judgment, he maintained his attitude of impartial observation. By temperament and habit he was an aristrocrat—placet Hispana mobilitas– he confessed, admitting also that de populo nil mihi curae, yet he sided with the comuneros against the Crown. While deploring their excesses, he sympathised with the cause they defended, and he lashed the insolence and the rapacity of the Flemish favourites with all the resources of invective and sarcasm of which he was master. In one of his letters (Ep. 709), he describes the disorders everywhere prevalent throughout the country. “The safest roads are no longer secure from brigands and you enrich bandits and criminals, and oppress honest folks. The ruling power is now in the hands of assassins.” Despite his undisguised hostility to the Flemings and his outspoken criticisms on the abuses they fomented, Charles V. bestowed new honours and emoluments upon the favoured counsellor of his grandparents. In September, I518, the Royal Council proposed his name to the King as ambassador to Constantinople, there to treat with the victorious Sultan, whose sanguinary triumphs in Persia and Egypt were feared to foreshadow an Ottoman invasion of Europe. Alleging his advanced age and infirmities, the cautious nominee declined the honour, preferring doubtless to abide by his facile diplomatic laurels won in Cairo. There was reason to anticipate that the formidable Selim would be found less pliant than Cansu Alguri. The event proved his wisdom, as Garcia Loaysa who went in his stead, learned to his cost. In 1520, Peter Martyr was appointed historiographer, an office yielding a revenue of eighty thousand maravedis. The conscientious discharge of the duties of this congenial post, for which he was conspicuously fitted, won the approval of Mercurino Gattinara, the Italian chancellor of Charles V. Lucio Marineo Siculo speaks of Martyr as far back as December, 1510, as Consiliarius regius, though this title could, at that time, be given him only in his quality of chronicler of the India Council, his effective membership really dating from the year 1518. He was later appointed secretary to that important body, which had control over all questions relating to colonial expansion in the new world. In 1521 he renewed his efforts to obtain the abbacy of St. Gratian in Arona, which had been refused him ten years earlier. To his friend, Giovanni di Forli, Archbishop of Cosenza, he wrote, protesting his disinterestedness, adding: “Don’t be astonished that I covet this abbey: you know I am drawn to it by love of my native soil.” It was not to be, and his failure to obtain this benefice was one of the severest disappointments of his life. The ambitions of Peter Martyr were never excessive, for he was in all things a man of moderation; the honours he obtained, though many, were sufficiently modest to protect him from the competition and jealousy of aspiring rivals, yet he would certainly not have refused a bishopric. After seeing four royal confessors raised to episcopal rank, he slyly remarked that, “amongst so many confessors, it would have been well to have one Martyr.” Arriving in Spain a foreign scholar of modest repute, and dependent on the protection of his patron, the Count of Tendilla, Peter Martyr had risen in royal favour, until he came to occupy honourable positions in the State and numerous benefices in the Church. His services to his protectors were valued and valuable. His house, whereever he happened for the time to be, was the hospitable meeting-place where statesmen, noblemen, foreign envoys, great ecclesiastics, and papal legates came together with navigators and conquerors, cosmographers, colonial officials, and returning explorers from antipodal regions— Spain's empire builders. It was in such society he collected the mass of first-hand information he sifted and chronicled in the Decades and the Opus Epistolarum, which have proven such an inexhaustible mine for students of Spanish and Spanish-American history. Truly of him may it be said that nothing human was alien to his spirit. Intercourse with him was prized as a privilege by the great men of his time, while he converted his association with them to his own and posterity's profit. Amongst the Flemish counsellors of Charles V., Adrian of Utrecht, preceptor of the young prince prior to his accession, had arrived in Spain in the year 1515 as representative of his interests at King Ferdinand's court. Upon that monarch's death, Adrian, who had meantime been made Bishop of Tortosa and created Cardinal, shared the regency with Cardinal Ximenes. A man of gentle manners and scholastic training, his participation in the regency was hardly more than nominal. Ignorant alike of the Spanish tongue and the intricacies of political life, he willingly effaced himself in the shadow of his imperious and masterful colleague. Peter Martyr placed his services entirely at the disposition of Adrian, piloting him amongst the shoals and reefs that rendered perilous the mysterious sea of Spanish politics. When Adrian was elected Pope in 1522, his former mentor wrote felicitating him upon his elevation and reminding him of the services he had formerly rendered him: Fuistis a me de rebus quae gerebantur moniti; mec parum commodi ad emergentia tunc negotia significationes meas Caesaris rebus attulisse vestra Beatitudo fatetur. Although the newly elected Pontiff expressed an amiable wish to see his old friend in Rome, he offered him no definite position in Curia. The correspondence that ensued between them was inconclusive; Martyr, always declaring that he sought no favour, still persisted in soliciting a meeting which the Pope discouraged. Adrian accepted his protests of disinterestedness literally, and their last meeting at Logroño was unproductive of aught from the Pope, save expressions of personal esteem and regard. Peter Martyr excused himself from following His Holiness to Rome, on the plea of his advanced years and failing health. If disappointed at receiving no definite appointment, he concealed his chagrin, and, though evidently not desiring his services in Curia, one of Adrian's first acts upon arriving in Rome was to invest him with the archpriest's benefice of Ocaña in Spain. The ever generous King was less
*Consult Héfélé, Vie de Ximenez; Cartas de los Secretarios del Cardinal; Ferrer del Rio, Comunidades de Castilla; Ranke, Spanien unter Karl V.
* Guillaume de Croy, Sieur de Chièvres, who had been the young prince's governor during his minority, became all powerful in Spain, where he and his Flemish associates pillaged the treasury, trafficked in benefices and offices, and provoked the universal hatred of the Spaniards. Peter Martyr shared the indignation of his adopted countrymen against the King's Flemish parasites. His sympathies for the Comuneros were frankly avowed in numerous of his letters. Consult Hoefler, Der Aufstand der Castillianischen Städte; Robertson, Charles V.