By MARTIN HUME, of the Royal Spanish Academy.

Spanish self-delusion . 623

Designs against Spain . 624

Alliance between France and Spain . 625

Spain and Savoy at war . 626

Philip- III and Lerma . 627

Spanish finance. Court intrigues . 628

The fall of Lerma . 629

The Franco-Spanish marriages .630

The Spaniards in Italy . 631

Proceedings of Osuna . 632

The Conspiracy against Venice .633

Philip III learns the truth as to the condition of Spain .634

Death of Philip III . 635

Rise of Olivares . 636

Philip IV and his mentor . 637

The supremacy of Olivares . 638

The condition of Spain . 639-40

The English match. Charles in Spain . 641

Funds for foreign wars . 642-3

The Mantuan and the German War . 644

French attempts upon Spain .645

Naval efforts and misfortunes of Spain . 646

Waning faith and deepening misery . 647

The revolt of Catalonia . 648-9

Combination against Olivares .650

Braganza and Olivares . 651

Braganza proclaimed King of Portugal . 652

Philip in Aragon . 653

Fall of Olivares . 654

His policy .655

Neapolitan discontent . 656

The revolt of Naples. Masaniello . 657

The revolt suppressed .,. 658

Philip's and Spain's troubles .659

The Peace of the Pyrenees . 660

The struggle for Portugal . 661

The decadence of Spain . 662

Brilliancy of the period in literature and art . 662

Death of Philip IV . 665



AFTER forty-five years of wasting warfare against the Dutch Protestants Spain had been forced by sheer exhaustion to accept the humiliating truce of 1609, by which for twelve years the principles upon which she had staked her position as a great Power were to remain in abeyance. To all men unblinded by the spiritual pride that had dazzled Spaniards to their undoing, it was a confession that the nation was unequal to the mighty mission bequeathed to it by the Emperor : that of imposing religious unity upon Christendom under the hegemony of the House of Habsburg. Misery and famine stalked unhindered through the land, whilst the luxurious and the idle squandered lavishly the national resources wrung by corruption from a ruined people. All classes but the poorest evaded their national obligations, and sought to justify the hollow boast of boundless public wealth by endeavouring to live without work upon the private plunder of the State. The high hopes fostered in the first years of the reign by the golden showers of Lerma's prodigality had been succeeded by a cynical desire to enjoy the passing hour whilst it lasted, and to prolong it as much as possible by insisting more loudly than ever upon the invincible power of Spain and the inexhaustible wealth of her King. But for this determination of the Court and the people as a whole to shut their eyes obstinately to facts, and to treat the great task in which they had failed as being still incumbent upon them, a policy of retrenchment and close concentration of national effort upon domestic amelioration might yet have been adopted and have saved Spain from the slough of ruin into which she was sinking. But the spirit of pompous exaggeration and arrogance had entered into the heart of the nation, and, exhausted though the country was, not a jot of the proud claims of old was abated. The King, who was really a foolish trifler, spending all his time in alternate prayer and pastime, was " the greatest prince that the world ever saw " ; and Lerma, whose abilities hardly reached mediocrity, was adulated like a demigod. Each Castilian Cortes as it met after the usual three years1 interval was told in the speech from the throne that supplies must be voted

bountifully, in order that the King might "defend our holy Catholic faith and secure obedience to the Roman Church"; and the deputies, bribed to a man with pensions, places, and grants, broke their self-denying oath, and in return for their personal aggrandisement voted whatever they were asked, while their formal petitions for the relief of the suffering people were ignominiously rejected or contemptuously disregarded by the King. The expulsion of the Moriscos, though economically disastrous, raised to a higher pitch than ever the self-satisfied vanity of the majority of Spaniards ; and a chorus of praise convinced Lerma and the King that they were heaven-sent statesmen in thus utilising the first year of relief from foreign war afforded by the truce by pursuing Spain's sacred mission of Christian unification within the borders of the realm itself.

While Spaniards were living in this fool's paradise and accepting the semblance for the reality of things, their rivals with clearer vision were preparing to challenge claims that appeared incapable of enforcement. Archduke Leopold of Austria, on behalf of the Emperor, had in August, 1609, obtained possession by strategy of the fortress of Jülich. Henry IV had warned Archduke Albert in Flanders that any such aggression would be resented by him, but depending, as usual, upon ultimate support from Spain, the Emperor Rudolf disregarded the warning. The heroics of Lerma and the patent weakness of Spain, combined with this and other public and private sources of irritation, convinced Henry IV and Sully that the time had come for dealing a heavy blow for the liberation of religion in Europe from Habs-burg dictation. The Hollanders were as ready as Henry to resent the Catholic occupation of Jlilich-Cleves, and Protestant England sympathised with them. Charles Emmanuel, Duke of Savoy, that unquiet son-in-law of Philip II, chafed under the yoke of his Spanish kinsman, who had used him for the ends of Spain alone, and had cheated him out of the guerdon for which he had hoped in Italy. But for the puling Philip III, Charles Emmanuel's own son would have been heir to the Spanish Crown, and bitter resentment filled the Savoyard's heart against those who had made him a mere catspaw of Spanish ambition. Probably the only confederate who was really in earnest about fighting besides Henry himself was Charles Emmanuel, who hoped to grasp Lombardy with the title of King : but when the French forces stood ready to cross respectively the Rhine and the Pyrenees, and to help Savoy to sweep the Spaniards from Lombardy, the knife of Ravaillac changed the whole current of European history (May 15, 1610).

There is no proof whatever that the mad fanatic who stabbed the King of France was paid or inspired by Spain; but his crime prevented what might have been the inevitable triumph of the cause of religious independence in Europe, and gave to the Spanish nation, whose corrupt and decadent condition we have reviewed, another half-century of fallacious importance in the councils of Europe. The

second marriage of Henry IV with a daughter of the Tuscan House of Medici had been a triumph for the Catholic cause ; and during the last weeks of the King's life he and his wife had pursued opposite courses in their foreign policy. Inigo de Cardenas, the Spanish ambassador in France, who had arrogantly quarrelled with Henry, and had dared to commit a severe assault on the Venetian ambassador before the King's eyes in Notre Dame itself, was in close relationship with Mary de1 Medici, and was planning with her the marriage of the Dauphin Louis with the daughter of Philip III. Whether Henry's permission for such an alliance would ever have been obtained is doubtful, though he is said to have smiled upon the idea once; but Ravaillac's deed solved all difficulties. The new Queen Regent, Mary de' Medici, had no sympathy with Protestants, and shared none of her husband's great ambitions. Spain in her eyes was still the overwhelming Power in Christendom, and she was about to gather around her tricky Italians in Spanish pay instead of the sagacious Sully and the experienced Jeannin. To her, an alliance with Spain, secured by a double marriage, seemed to offer safe by for her son's throne-which was naturally all she cared for-while to Philip it promised relief from French opposition in Italy. In the circumstances, therefore, there was no difficulty in arranging a marriage between Louis XIII and Philip's elder daughter Dona Anna, a backward delicate girl of eleven, and another between the heir of Spain, Philip Prince of Asturias, whose age was seven, and Elizabeth of Bourbon, the daughter of Henry IV. Many members of Philip's Council, with traditional arrogance, thought a union with children of the ex-Huguenot King beneath the dignity of Spain ; but Savoy was still in arms to attack Lombardy, and when the marriage treaties were baited with a pledge that neither France nor Spain should ever again ally with the House of the turbulent Duke, Philip's and Lerma's hesitation was overcome ; and, with a prodigality of splendour matching the reputed, rather than the real, wealth of Spain, the marriage treaty was ratified by the Duke of Mayenne in Madrid in August, 1612.

A close friendship between France and Spain always brought uneasiness to England, and directly after Henry IV's death, when the Franco-Spanish marriages were known to be in contemplation, James I instructed Digby to offer Henry, Prince of Wales, as a husband for the Infanta Anna. The suggestion was coldly declined by Lerma. A little later James tried his hand again, and begged Philip's second daughter Maria for his son, with a similar result, since the Prince of Wales would not openly accept the Catholic faith. Lerma and Philip thus once again found themselves courted and desired by both England and France ; and the old dreams of universal Spanish predominance were revived. The truce with Holland brought to the Spaniards freedom from the depredations of their enemies upon the ocean, and the trade of Spain began somewhat tt> revive. The Barbary and Turkish corsairs that thronged

the Mediterranean were checked by the Spanish galleys from Sicily : and the coasts of Spain, now freed from the Morisco abettors of the pirates, gained in security and prosperity. For the first time for many years the suffering country seemed able to enjoy some degree of material comfort, though still burdened with a war in Italy provoked by the seizure of Montferrat by Savoy (1613).

Charles Emmanuel was at that period the firebrand that threatened to consume the whole edifice of Spain's new-born condition of relief Now with feigned submission, now with insolent defiance, he kept his kinsman Philip disturbed and suspicious both with Spanish officers and with foreign Powers. On the occasion of the death of his son-in-law Francis IV, Duke of Mantua and Montferrat, he had taken possession of the latter duchy, having been promised aid by Spain's persistent enemy, the Republic of Venice. He was soon forced to evacuate Montferrat ; but he now, calling himself the liberator of Italy, invaded Lombardy, and was, in 1615, thoroughly beaten by the Spanish Viceroy, the Marquis de Hinojosa. But though overpowered, Charles Emmanuel was more than a match for Hinojosa, and cajoled the latter into a treaty of peace, guaranteed by France at the instigation of Venice. In Madrid this peace, which in effect left Charles Emmanuel in possession of Asti and other conquered places, was at once repudiated by Philip's Government ; and Hinojosa was replaced as Viceroy of Milan by Don Pedro de Toledo, with orders to crush the Duke at any cost. Protected and aided on the French side by the Huguenot Marshal Lesdiguières even against the orders of Mary de' Medici, Savoy managed to hold out month after month ; but at length Don Pedro struck him a crippling blow at Vercelli, and in 1617 a peace was hastily patched up at Pavia, by which the conquests on each side were to be given up, and Montferrat restored to Francis' brother, Ferdinand, Duke of Mantua. This lingering little war, of scant importance in itself, is mentioned here in some detail, not for its own sake, but because it resulted in an extraordinary intrigue which moved Spain profoundly, and to which reference will be made later.

Thanks to the policy of Mary de' Medici and the timorous character of James I, now dominated by Diego Sarmiento de Acuna, afterwards Count Gondomar, Spain during these few years bulked in the eyes of foreign nations almost as imposingly as in the days of her real power ; though the canker of corruption was eating ever deeper into the heart of the nation. The King was content with the bare shadow of sovereignty. " Lerma and the woods are King" was a common saying of the time : for when Philip was not hunting or dancing he was in ecstasies of self-abasing devotion; and Lerma, with his almost equally powerful lieutenant, Rodrigo Calderon, Marquis de Siete Iglesias, governed the country with none to say them nay. The Queen, Margaret of Austria, died in childbirth in 1611 ; and, though Philip was said to be heartbroken at his loss, he was kept so busy hunting on Lerma's estate that he could not afford

time even to attend his wife's funeral. He was ßtill a young man, but his health was already failing, and his bouts of gaiety were more frequently than before interrupted by spells of gloomy religious apprehension. His father and grandfather had insistently wrung from one Pope after another independent royal control over the temporalities of the Spanish Church : Philip's demands from the Pontiffs were of a different description ; the beatification of saintly Spaniards, the enforcement of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the gift of holy relics, and for himself-at the age of thirty-four-a pledge that in the year of his death every altar throughout the world at which mass was said for his soul should be specially privileged ; he promising, on his part, that for the rest of his life, with God's help, he would never again commit mortal sin.

Such a king Lerma well might rule by dexterous flattery and fear, for Philip had no idea of the value of money or the merest elements of the science of government, and Lerma made things comfortable for him. But there were others who were not so easily managed. The whole tendency of society was to partake, with as little labour as possible, of the golden shower which was supposed to fall from the inexhaustible reservoirs of the State. How the money was obtained or who worked for it those who enjoyed it neither knew nor cared. The King was the richest monarch in the world, and those who so constantly reiterated this statement proved it, not by the figures of his actual receipts, but by the amount of money which he was reputed to spend. The vast amounts supposed to be received were indeed, to a large extent, intercepted by corrupt officials ; the revenues from nearly all sources were pledged two or three years deep to Genoese or German usurers at extortionate interest; and for years Lerma had to depend for ready money mainly upon the sales of grants from the Crown lands. While the noble class remained exempt from regular taxation, the revenue was thus progressively depleted, and owing to the constant enrichment of monastic institutions by grants and legacies of land tied up thenceforth in perpetual mortmain and exempt from national burdens, vast tracts of land all over Spain, besides being deprived of the incentive of private ownership, were condemned to unproductiveness or careless cultivation. The direct tax, or rather tribute, voted triennially by the Cortes of Castile remained at the moderate figure of 400,000 ducats a year ; but the constant new needs were met by progressive increase of the alcabalas and " millions," or excise upon food. The former impost, which had been originally a 10 per cent, tax upon every sale effected, was gradually forced up during the next reign to an equivalent of 14 per cent.; end the "millions" excise grew from 2,000,000 ducats a year to nearly 3,000,000. No possible system of taxation could be devised more destructive to industry of all sorts than this. The cost of living was increased by the "millions," while the alcabala, together with the

local and provincial octrois and tolls, practically confined the sale of commodities to the place of production. Ten years before the period now under review (1614-20), the Venetian ambassador in Spain had reported that, "seeing the state at which affairs have arrived, the increasing discontent of subjects caused by bad government, the servitude in which the King lives, the intolerable burden of taxes, and other reasons indicate that if this system continues it will produce the effects usual in such cases, with greater detriment to the King than either France or Italy could inflict upon him." The national resources had somewhat increased since Contarini thus wrote ; but the locusts that battened upon them had grown to a far greater extent. Every functionary, from Lerma downward, was surrounded by a swarm of parasites and hangers-on of parasites, down to the ragged mendicants who lived in loathsome plenty upon the perquisites of a procurer's scullions.

Intrigue and envy were inevitable in such a Court as this. When Lerma had centred in himself and his relatives and dependents patronage, honours, and plunder almost beyond compute, and had even obtained formal grants of money for himself from the Cortes of Catalonia and Valencia, it is not surprising that those who were outside the circle of his bounty should have cast jealous eyes upon the wealth they could not reach. Lerma's old friend, Rodrigo Calderon, was the first to be attacked, for he was an upstart and had no great family behind him. The friars surrounding the Queen had made the first move some years before, and this was soon seconded by the King's confessor; but Calderon, insolent and obnoxious as he was, was not the quarry they really aimed it. He held his own for a long time, by the aid of Lerma, but at last was accused of having killed a man. It was a small thing indeed for which to bring a proud favourite low, but the churchmen made the most of it to Philip in his morbid moods ; and Calderon was first dismissed, and afterwards imprisoned. The stories of his tremendous booty ran from mouth to mouth, ever increasing ; and, as the conspirators intended, people began to ask : if the servant had plundered all this treasure from the King, what had the master stolen ? Lerma had kept his son, the Duke of Uceda, near him at Court, believing that he, at all events, would be faithful to his father. Uceda was young, good-looking, and plausible, without either scruples or ability ; but he was served by a young noble of far greater talent and boundless ambition, who had his private grudge against Philip's present advisers. This was Gaspar de Guzman, Count of Olivares, whose father had been the trusted ambassador and councillor of Philip II. Guzman's claim to a grandeeship had been rejected, and he had carefully laid his plans to capture for himself the supreme position in the State, whoever might have to fall. Uceda's greed and vanity had been worked upon, and, when the blow fell on Rodrigo Calderon, Lerma recognised that his own son and heir was foremost amongst those who were whispering to the King

distrust of Calderon's patron. Lerma's sway had been so absolute and so enduring that he hardly took the cabal against him seriously at first. But he found the King colder and more distant day by day, though he feigned not to notice it. When it was too late he took his ungrateful son to task, and warned him that ruin for them all lay in the course he was pursuing. The Count de Lemos, his clever son-in-law, was brought in to counteract the treachery of Uceda; but when he, in his turn, indignant at the coolness of Philip towards Lerma and himself, remonstrated with the King for his treatment of his old minister, Philip drily told him he might retire when he pleased. Lerma dreamed for a time of gaining the goodwill of the young Prince of Asturias ; but Olivares had taken care to besiege and capture the heart of the boy, and the heir of Spain pouted and sulked when his father's falling favourite came before him. Father Aliaga, the King's confessor, a former creature of Lerma, threw the weight of his influence on the side of Uceda, and all the friars and nuns who moulded Philip's thoughts followed his example. When Calderon had been finally imprisoned and ruined, Lerma understood that the forces, clerical and lay, against him were too strong to be withstood, and his last throw was to obtain for himself from the Pope (Paul V) a Cardinal's hat, which might place him in a superior ecclesiastical position to his opponents. The clever move at least enabled him to keep intact his vast fortune-44-,000,000 ducats in grants alone, it was said-but in the summer of 1618, while the Court was at the Escorial, a message was taken to him by the Prior, to the effect that he might go to Lerma or Valladolid, or whithersoever he pleased, but was to see the King no more. His rule over Spain, which had been absolute for twenty years, had, from sheer ineptitude and pride, led the nation down the rapidly increasing slope, upon the brink of which it had stood at the death of Philip II ; and when Lerma fell from power it was not to give place to a successor of sounder views and clearer judgment, but to enable a fresh crew of spoilers led by his own undutiful son to complete the ruin which he had begun.

Lerma's disastrous errors of policy had been mainly fiscal and economical ; but the fallacious pretence of wealth and power maintained by him had enabled Spain to secure the French marriage treaties and alliance, and to command the subservience of James I of England. The great triumph of Lerma's administration was the pompous exchange on the frontier of the two young brides who were to cement the national union. The immaturity of the Infanta Anna had delayed the ceremony from 1618, when it had been due, until late in 1615, and the poverty of the country was forgotten when the splendid train of Philip III, with all his children and Court, slowly travelled over the rough roads of Castile to Burgos, where the marriages were performed by proxy on October 18. Lerma's own expenditure on the journey was stated to have reached 400,000 ducats, though he fell ill and remained at Bribiesca,

not far beyond Burgos, Uceda representing him for the rest of the ceremonial. The exchange of brides took place on the river between Fuenterrabia and Irun on November 9. Impressed as the spectators were by the solemn stateliness of the occasion, none could foresee the momentous effects upon both countries, and upon civilisation at large, of these two marriages. Anne of Austria had, it is true, renounced by deed on the day before her wedding all future claims for herself and her French descendants to the Spanish succession ; but the accession of her grandson to her ancestors' throne 85 years later plunged all Europe into prolonged war, revolutionised the political divisions of the Continent, and gave to Spain its long-lived Bourbon dynasty.

While Anna made her way to the capital of her husband's realm, where her agitated life was to be passed, the beautiful young Elizabeth of Bourbon was carried through the wet valleys of Guipuzcoa, and the bleak plains beyond, to Burgos, where her ten year old betrothed awaited her coming. On December 19, 1615, she made her state entrance into Madrid. Riding from the Convent of San Geronimo, past Lerma's palace and gardens at the corner of the Prado, through the Carrera de San Geronimo, the Puerta del Sol, and the Calle Mayor, the black-eyed Princess in her crimson satin and diamonds, and her great fluted ruff, charmed the Madrilènes with her ready smiles and perfect self-control ; but the sight of the streets through which she passed must have presented to her a sad contrast with those of Paris that she had left. Lerma had erected a splendid triumphal arch at the corner of his domain, and the municipality had done the same at the Town Hall; the streets for a mile were hung with rich tapestries, there were fountains and statues, pyramids of flowers and allegorical devices at every corner, and the palaces of the nobles vied with the churches in their adornments. Yet most of the houses behind this finery were squalid and gloomy ; the roadways were rough and broken and in their usual condition, indescribably filthy ; the few windows that looked upon the streets were strongly barred like those of prisons, and the frowning fronts of the houses unhidden by the hangings were neglected and ruinous. Since the conclusion of the truce Lerma had made some attempt to improve the appearance of the capital, and to reform its government; but the municipality, notwithstanding its exemptions and privileges, was itself bankrupt, with all its revenues deeply pledged to usurers ; and crime, vagrancy, and mendicancy defied all efforts to diminish them. The misery and scarcity were so great in the very year when all this costly ceremonial was enacted, that, in despair of earthly aid, the Virgin of Atocha was carried with regal state through the streets and her intercession implored to save the city from utter destruction by famine ; whilst the money that might have fed the starving citizens was being squandered by Philip in profitless festivities, and in the building of one more huge convent, that of the Encarnadon, to swell the already ruinous number of such foundations in Madrid.

With a central government so weak and corrupt as this, with responsibility thus evaded by all authority, it was natural that the great personages who, either by expenditure of vast sums of money, or by favour, obtained one of the twenty viceroyalties in the gift of the Crown, should during the period of their office, usually three years, follow their own courses with but little control from Madrid. It had always been an axiom of the House of Habsburg that a great Spanish noble might not safely be employed in important central administrative offices at home, and that as far as possible they should either hold ceremonial posts about the person of the King, or else be employed abroad. Philip III had been the first conspicuously to break through this rule, by the favour he extended to Lerma, with the unhappy results we have seen ; but the minister himself had preserved the tradition, as much as he could, and had taken care that the more powerful and active of the members of the old aristocracy were kept as far from the centre as possible, governing and plundering the King's possessions abroad. The lame peace effected with the Duke of Savoy at Pavia in 1617, leaving, as it did, the ambitious Duke unpunished for his insolence, had caused the deepest indignation in the proud, impatient, Spanish satraps who lorded it over Italy. Pedro Giron, Duke of Osuna, the most arrogant of them all, had during his viceroyalty of Sicily, which, thanks to the enormous bribes sent by him to Lerma and Uceda he had exchanged for that of Naples in 1616, shown extraordinary activity with his galleys from Messina in harrying the Moslem pirates, and raiding their African strongholds. When the merchant Republic of Venice, always the covert enemy of Spain and frequently the friend of the Turk, sided with Savoy, he swore to cripple the Seigniory so as to make it harmless in the future. He had sent from Naples a strong force to aid that employed from Milan against Savoy ; and during the war he had not only covered the Adriatic with his galleys, but had obliged the Venetians to abandon Istria, and to recall their land forces from aiding Charles Emmanuel. Venice and Spain were not nominally at war, but that mattered little. Philip III himself encouraged Osuna to damage Venice all he could, "without letting anyone know that you are doing it with my knowledge, and making believe that you are acting without orders." (December, 1616.)

When the peace was signed early in 1617, Osuna, who aspired to play the part of a dictator in Italy, was openly scornful of such a conclusion to a war in which Spain had been to some extent successful. Nor was the Viceroy of Milan, Pedro de Toledo, Marquis of Francavila, who had been obliged to sign the peace for want of resources from Spain, better pleased than his colleague; and from the first day he practically repudiated the conditions to which he had been one of the contracting parties. With two such magnates, both possessing great armed forces, and both swayed by the proud traditions of universal Spanish predominance, continued tranquillity in Italy was not to be

expected. No sooner had the peace with Savoy been arranged than Osuna approached the Pope, by means of his inseparable factotum, Quevedo, and attempted to gain the aid of Rome, ostensibly against the Turk, but really against the Venetian Seigniory. Paul V was not an admirer of Osuna, with whom he had had many disputes in the past, and he refused to be drawn into what he feared looked like a piratical adventure. But, fortified by the secret knowledge and approval of his King, Osuna raised his own flag on a fine fleet of galleys, and in pretended defiance of his sovereign's orders, attacked the Venetians off Gravosa, and inflicted tremendous damages upon them. The fact that Osuna's personal flag was that under which the battle was fought was afterwards adduced as evidence of his desire to attain an independent sovereignty. Whatever may have been the case later, it is certain that both Philip and Lerma knew and approved of this action of the Viceroy.

The Seigniory were indignant at the outrage, and loudly protested at Madrid that Osuna must be disavowed : whilst in Italy itself all the native enemies of Spanish pride were burning with rage. The outcry was so great, swelled by the enemies of Lerma at home and the foes of Spain abroad, that even Osuna began to fear the consequences, and sent Quevedo to plead his cause in Madrid, by showing how necessary it was at any cost to frustrate the secret intrigues of Venice against Spain. Uceda was bribed enormously, and every officer through whom the matter passed was paid, including the King's confessor Aliaga and even Philip himself; with the result that the action of the Viceroy, illegal as it seemed, was approved. This was in October, 1617 ; and thenceforward both Osuna and Toledo, cooperating by land and sea, grew in boldness, harrying the Venetians, plundering their traffic, raiding their islands, and demonstrating to the world that the boasted power of the Republic was illusory. The Spanish ambassador in Venice was a man of their own class, Alonso de la Cueva, Marquis of Bedmar, who from inside the city of St Mark cooperated with the Viceroys, and reported the effects of their action. The Seigniory could get no redress from Madrid, though Philip and Uceda now openly repudiated their Viceroy's proceedings ; the Venetians had proved unable to punish Osuna themselves, and some course had to be taken by which the Viceroy might be suppressed, or the Republic would suffer irreparably.

Whether the conspiracy denounced by the Seigniory as having for its object the treacherous seizure of Venice by Osuna, with the connivance of Toledo and Bedmar, was true or an invention has always been a subject for dispute among historians. What actually happened was, that in June, 1618. Quevedo was sent by Osuna in disguise to Venice, for some mysterious purpose. Suddenly the Council of Ten decreed the wholesale execution, by hanging and drowning, of many foreigners in its service, on the accusation of complicity in a Spanish plot to destroy the Republic; and Quevedo with difficulty escaped in the garb of a beggar,

from the assassins in wait for him. All the world was told by indignant Venice that Osuna, Toledo, and Bedmar had engaged the French corsairs and other foreign mercenaries in Venice to sack the city and overturn the government, and the punishment of Osuna for treason was violently demanded of Philip's government. Spanish writers usually contend that the entire conspiracy was an invention of the Venetians, and Quevedo's great literary skill aids them in their contention. Ranke and Daru have imagined an explanation that still finds supporters : to the effect that Osuna had really been in league with Venice to proclaim himself independent sovereign of Naples, and that, finding the Viceroy's plot frustrated, the Seigniory, with the double object of effacing its own complicity, and finally ruining Osuna, denounced the supposed conspiracy. The theory seems untenable, for if any such plot against his own sovereign had been hatched by Osuna with the knowledge of the Seigniory, he might have been effectually destroyed at any time, by the mere denunciation of it, \\ithout the elaborate pretence of a conspiracy against Venice. Weighing the whole of the circumstances, with much additional evidence that has of late become available, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that a conspiracy did exist to surprise and pillage Venice, and that Osuna was a leading spirit in the plot; but the elaborate trial of the Viceroy in Spain, -when his protectors had fallen, furnished no convincing evidence that he had any intention at this time of making himself an independent sovereign.

Bedmar was withdrawn from Venice ; but the complaints of the Seigniory had for the time no other effect in Madrid. The palace intrigues by which Lerma was disgraced, however, led those courtiers who had not been bribed from Naples to keep alive the irritation against Osuna. Deputations of the nobles and clergy of Naples came to complain of his harshness, his pride, and his immorality, and to whisper doubts of his loyalty. Osuna himself saw that the coming men in Spain would oust him from his place, perhaps ruin him ; and there is no doubt that in 1619 he did suggest both to the Venetian agent in Naples, and to Marshal Lesdiguières in Provence, a plan by which he might rule Naples independently of the weak and wasteful overlordship of Spain. Such a secret could not long be kept ; and suddenly, in 1620, the blow fell, and the great Viceroy was summoned to Madrid, soon to answer to a new sovereign and a new favourite whom he had not bribed the accusations of treason brought against him, and subsequently to die miserably in prison, with his crime unproved.

The loss of his second self, Lerma, deprived Philip of his one stay. Uceda was weak and useless in council, and the true state of affairs in the country which the fallen minister had so scrupulously hidden from the King for so many years, was now brought home to him with double poignancy by the ineptitude of his present advisers. The knowledge overwhelmed him, for he was nerveless and incapable; and his long spells

of gloomy despair were but rarely now relieved by the frivolities in which he formerly delighted. Ill and failing as he felt himself to be, he prayed the Council of Castile to tell him promptly the whole truth about the miseries of his people, and to suggest remedies for them. The report, which reached him in February, 1619, finally opened his eyes, now that it was too late, to the appalling results of his rule. " Your realm," he was told, " is being totally ruined and destroyed, owing to the excessive burdens, taxes and imposts, which compel your subjects to abandon their families and their homes to escape death from starvation." The cause alleged was but a partial one ; it was, as the more clear-sighted observers were even then beginning to see, not so much the amount of the imposts as the oppression, corruption, and unjust incidence of them that had ruined Spain ; and the remedies proposed by Philip's Council were hardly more thoroughgoing than the reasons alleged for the evil. " Fewer grants and honours should be given," said the Council ; " and those already granted should be revoked ; make the nobles, now squandering their lives and money at Court, go and farm their lands ; and let the Church dignitaries reside in their own preferments ; compel people to dress and live modestly and plainly; and let the King and his Court set the example; stop the foundation of fresh religious houses, and the tying up of land in perpetual mortmain"; and finally, the only suggestion that really touched the root of the evil, "since agriculturists are the sinew and support of the State, let them not be hampered, vexed, and obstructed in the sale and circulation of their produce, but let them have every privilege possible to encourage and help them." The wretched King knew the truth now, for the first time ; but he knew also that his life was ebbing, and for the future he could only hope and pray that his son might do better than he had done for his suffering people. Against the advice of most of his councillors he was persuaded by those few who sought only to distract him, to make a royal progress to Portugal with all the old lavish splendour to witness the oath of the Portuguese Cortes to young Philip as heir to the thrones. The journey lasted for many months, and in the feasting and ceremonies all the good intentions were forgotten. On the King's return he found himself again involved in wars in Germany, in Bohemia, in the Valtelline ; all of them were wars in which Spain had no direct interest, except to aid everywhere the suppression of religious dissent. As Philip III had begun, so he ended, upholding still the arrogant, impossible claim of desolated, ruined Castile to dictate to all the world the faith it should obey. In the first months of 1621 he fell gravely ill in Madrid. His life, according to his scanty lights, had been a good one: his devotion since his childhood had been blighting in its intensity, his charities had been extravagant, his submission and meekness to ecclesiastics had at times bordered upon the ridiculous, and his chastitv had reached fanaticism ; but, withal, now that he felt death approaching him, his fear and remorse were terrible to behold. From the
depth of despair he passed to ecstasies of trust in the efficacy of the Church to save him. All around his bed were relics of dead saints, and images to which he addressed his frantic appeals. Solemn religious offices went on unceasingly before his eyes, and for many days he anticipated his momentary death, notwithstanding the assurance of his physicians that it was not so near as he thought. He bade farewell to his children more than once, and distributed amongst them relics and sacred images, warning his heir to keep the rough crucifix which his father's dead hand would grasp, to serve a similar sad office when the new King's dread hour should come. In an agony of remorse he prayed continually for mercy and deplored the unhappy results of his two-and-twenty years' rule ; but when he died at last, on March 31, 1621, a cry of grief went up from all his people at the loss of the saintly sovereign, who, they said, had served his faith so well, had battled against heresy throughout the world, had founded convents without number, had expelled all the Spaniards in whose veins ran Mohammadan blood, and had caused the canonisation of more Spanish saints than any King before him. The people knew that the land was desolate, that the workshops were empty, the looms idle, and a whole nation sunk into pretentious sloth ; but they did not know that the qualities which they most revered in their monarch had been the main cause of their ruin. That knowledge, like the King's repentance, came too late to work a remedy. Four-fifths of his will are occupied by pious exhortations to his successor and legacies for religious purposes ; but, with all this saintly parade, he followed the example of his ancestress Isabel the Catholic, and ordered that his grants from the royal domains-mostly made in return for hard payment-should be held void.

Lerma's warning to his undutiful son was fulfilled in a shorter time than even he could have expected it. Uceda's friend, Gaspar de Guzman, when once he had made his position secure in the young Prince's household, left no room for doubt as to his ambitious projects for himself. One after the other, the servile courtiers were given to understand that they must serve him if they hoped for future advancement, and the Prince, who at first found his new governor too masterly to please him, was initiated into licentious pleasures before his time in order that he might be made plastic in the hands of his initiator. When it was already too late, Uceda endeavoured to get rid of Guzman, now Count of Olivares, by offering him the great post of ambassador in Rome ; but Olivares aimed at a higher mark and refused to leave young Philip's side. Uceda was with Philip III at the last, and had bethought him of summoning to his aid the Cardinal Duke of Lerma, to influence with his experience and authority the last dispositions of the King. But Philip III was dying, and Olivares held in his hand the will of the real King of Spain-the pale, tow-haired boy with the great hanging underlip, who was waiting with unconcealed impatience for his father's last breath ;

and Olivares, in the Prince's name, peremptorily forbade Lerma's approach.

It was the first of many blows which fell in rapid succession upon all those who had enjoyed power and office in the last reign. Even as Philip III had done when his father had died, so did Philip IV as soon as the corpse of his father, clad in the garb of a Franciscan monk, was borne out of the Alcazar on the cliff and over the dreary plains to the Escorial. Olivares had on several occasions during the last days of Philip III feigned a desire to abandon his office and retire to Andalusia; but he knew his young master well. The Prince implored him to stay, and promised to place himself entirely in his hands. "How goes it in the Prince's apartment ? " asked Uceda of Olivares, as the King lay dying. " All is mine," replied the Count. " All ? " exclaimed Uceda. " Yes, everything without exception," retorted Olivares, " for the Prince overrates me in all things but my desire to serve him." It was Uccda's notice to quit, and before the expiration of the new King's nine days' retirement to San Geronimo for mourning, a clean sweep was made of the men who, under Philip III, had brought Spain to the dire pass in which she found herself. Orders were given that every minister of Spain since 1603 was to give a strict account of all his property, and how he came by it. Lerma himself was not spared; though he fought stoutly but unsuccessfully for his vast possessions. Calderon in his prison, when he heard the passing-bell for the dead King, cried, " The King is dead, and so am I " ; and soon his head fell under the axe in the great square of Madrid. The Duke of Osuna, the Viceroy who had ruled Naples with so high a hand, was lodged in prison and persecuted till his stout heart broke. Uceda met with a similar fate ; and all the clan of Sandoval and Rojas were trampled under the heels of Guzmans and Zunigas.

The state of things with which the new sovereign had to deal was pitiable in the extreme ; and there is no doubt that, so far as their lights extended, both the boy-King and his strong-willed minister sincerely wished to reform the abuses, the results of which were patent to every one. Young Philip himself was good-hearted, as his father had been, but far more sensual in his tastes, and less devout in his habits. As years went on and he gained experience he deliberately assumed in public the stolid gravity and marble impassivity which he thought befitted the monarchy of Spain ; but in his youth, and in the society of his favourites, he was gay and witty. His ability was far greater than that of his father had been, and his delight in books, music, poetry, the drama, and, above all, pictures, made him the greatest patron of the authors and artists of Spain's golden age. But idleness marred all his talents, and the mad lust of pleasure which he was powerless to resist, kept him, as his father had been kept, nearly all his life, in the leading-strings of favourites. The man to whom on the first day of his reign he

handed his conscience, G-aspar de Guzman, Count of Olivares, and first Duke of San Lucar, was twenty years his senior. An indefatigable worker with an ambition as voracious as his industry, Olivares was the exact opposite to the idle, courtly, and conciliatory Lerma. His greed was not personal, as Lerma's had been, though his love of power led him to absorb as many great offices as his predecessor had appropriated. He was arrogant and impatient, violent in his rage if opposed, and careless of all considerations but those which served his ends. Able as he undoubtedly was, he appraised his ability too highly and contemned all opinions but his own; and his attitude towards foreign Powers would only have been warrantable at the time when the Spanish power was irresistible. From an economic point of view Olivares was not much wiser than his Spanish predecessors ; but his conception of the political unity of Spain as the thing primarily needful, was sage and statesmanlike, though premature ; and upon this rock he was wrecked. The portraits of him by Velasquez enable us to see the man as he lived. As he stands, dark, stern, and masterful, with his heavy shoulders bowed, seemingly by the weight of his ponderous head, with its fierce, black, sunken eyes, we know that this man would dominate or die. He was the finest horseman in Spain ; and he treated men as he treated his fiery, big-boned chargers, taming them to obedience by force of will and tireless persistence. Such was the man who led Spain during the crucial struggle which decided, not only whether France or Spain should prevail politically on the Continent, but whether Spanish or French influence should in future predominate in the artistic, literary, and social development of Europe. In that great contest Spain lost not so much because Olivares was inferior to Richelieu, as by reason of the inflexible traditions that hampered Spanish action at home and abroad, and pitted a decentralised country, where productive industry had been killed and the sources of revenue destroyed, against a homogeneous nation in which active work was being fostered, and whose resources were being placed at the command of the central authority.

Olivares was clever enough to place in the nominal post of chief adviser of the Crown his uncle Don Baltasar de Zuniga, an experienced and able diplomatist, who until his death, a year after the accession, attended to political affairs, while Olivares was fastening his hold upon all those who surrounded the King. Before Philip was out of bed, his minister was always the first to enter his room ; he drew the curtains, opened the window, and then, on his knees by the bedside, rehearsed the business of the coming day. Every garment that the King put on passed first through the hands of Olivares, who stood by whilst Philip dressed ; after the monarch's midday meal, Olivares entertained him with chat ; and late in the evening, before the King retired his minister attended to give him an account of the despatches received, and to consult him as to the answers. Philip's natural idleness led him to

shirk as much of the work as possible ; and jealous observers, who called the minister "the King's scarecrow," sneered that Olivares purposely appeared before the King with his hatband stuck full of State documents, and with great bundles of papers under his arm and hung from his waistband. After a short time bhe King merely glanced at the papers presented to him, and affixed the signature " Yo el Rey~" with a hand-stamp, to save himself trouble. The imputation of Olivares' enemies, that the minister's activity was the cause of the monarch's indolence, appears unjust in view of the original papers still extant, in which Philip is implored by Olivares to attend to business and decide matters for himself. In 1626 a most emphatic appeal was made to this effect. Since the beginning of the reign, Olivares says he had never ceased to urge that patriotism, duty, the happiness of the country, and the future of Spain, all demand that the King should not evade the labours of his position. "But lately," he continues, "affairs are growing worse than ever, and his conscience will not allow him to remain silent. And, if the King will not put his shoulder to the wheel, the writer will bear the responsibility no longer, but will leave Madrid, whatever the consequences." Nothing can exceed the force, not to say the violence, of this appeal to the young King to do his duty to his subjects; and if Philip eventually disregarded it, he, and not Olivares, should be blamed. The King was well-meaning, however, and desired to do right, though his will was weak. His answer to the exhortation of his minister (here printed for the first time) may be transcribed in full. " Count. I have resolved to do as you ask me, for God's sake, my own, and yours. No action of yours towards me can be presumptuous; and knowing, as I do, your zeal and love, I will do it, Count, and I return to you the paper with this answer on it, that you may make it an heirloom, and that your descendants may know how their monarchs ought to be addressed, and what an ancestor they had. I should like to leave such a paper in my archives that my children, if God send me any, may learn, and other monarchs too, how to prevail in matters of right and justice.-I the King."

It is evident, in any case, that Philip began his reign by casting upon Olivares the whole weight of government, and that, especially after Zuniga's death, the policy adopted was the minister's alone. The position of the country was one that might have appalled the boldest, and the best summary of it is that addressed by the King himself five years later to his Council. This striking manuscript, to which reference will again be made, and which has not hitherto been printed, sets forth in the King's own words how Spain stood in 1621. "The finances were so utterly exhausted-in addition to the terrible debts incurred by Philip II-that every resource was anticipated for several years to come. My patrimony was so distressed that in my father's time alone grants and voluntary gifts had swallowed up 96,000,000 ducats,

without calculating what had been given in four or five of the principal Spanish kingdoms, from which returns have not yet been made. The currency had been raised to three times its face value : a thing never seen in any nation before, which threatened us with utter isolation and ruin but for God's help. Ecclesiastical affairs were in such disorder that we were told from Rome that innumerable dispensations for simony had been obtained for bishoprics and archbishoprics, besides an enormous number for prebends. As for affairs of justice, they were in such a state that on the very first day of my reign I was obliged to make the demonstration you will recall....The State itself was so degraded that the King, my father, had been forced to negotiate with the Hollanders as if they had been an independent sovereign State, over which he had no claims ; which confession was made, although not a single minister was in favour of it ; although the King rejected it in his answers to the Consultas sent to him on the subject, and my uncle the Archduke also repudiated it, and likewise all authorities both here and in Flanders. I found myself with only seven ocean ships, and a maritime war on my hands ; India lost to me, and America on the point of being lost. The truce in Flanders was within three months of its expiration, and in the twelve years1 truce my subjects had lost their knowledge of war, and what is worse their prestige. I found German affairs in such a condition that nothing less than a miracle seemed capable of avoiding utter ruin in that direction. The marriage of the Prince of Wales with my sister was so far advanced that it looked impossible to evade it without a great war. Portugal was discontented with the Viceroy, and the rest of the monarchy was ill-ruled or not ruled at all. Roman affairs were totally ruined : we were in a state of war with Venice ; and the realm of Naples was bordering upon a popular revolt, with the coinage completely debased. This was the sad condition in which I found my country on my accession, from no fault of the King my father, or of his predecessors, as all the world knows, but because God Almighty decreed that it should be so ; and I myself experience this every day : for no matter how adequate may be the remedies I adopt, our sins suffice to condemn all our affairs to the most miserable state imaginable."

The sad condition thus disclosed might have been ameliorated, as some unofficial observers urged, by setting the idle people to work upon the land again and by the encouragement of lost industries ; but no measure would have permanently arrested the decadence short of an entire reform of the fiscal incidence and administration, and a rigid concentration of national resources on the purposes of Spain itself. As we have seen from the King's words, however, there was no inclination to abate the old claims or to limit the old arrogance ; and the measures adopted by Olivares were mainly palliative rather than remedial. The expenditure of the palace was cut down to a minimum, the corrupt officials of the past reign were forced to disgorge their plunder, and

nothing but titles and other empty honours given to those whose services called for reward. Philip afterwards boasted that in the first five years of his reign he had made fewer grants than any of his predecessors had in six months, and that he had spent hardly anything upon himself. But there was apparently no thought of economy where it was most needed : namely, by the avoidance of war abroad. In the Cortes of Castile, met by Philip a few months after his father's death, he set forth to the deputies that the very first of his obligations as Spanish sovereign was "with holy zeal befitting so Catholic a prince to attend to the defence and exaltation of our holy Catholic faith." He states, as if no doubt about it were possible, that it had been the duty of his father, and now was his, to aid the Emperor to suppress rebellion, to expel the Prince Palatine from Bohemia, to fight the Hollanders again-now that the truce was ended, as well as to defend everywhere " our sacred Catholic faith and the authority of the Holy See." With such views as these, repeated again and again to succeeding Cortes, it was inevitable that the national expenditure should continue ruinously out of proportion to the revenues of the country, at this time admitted to be not more than eight million ducats available from all sources, of which, the Cortes was told, no less than three millions had to be sent yearly to Flanders.

The folly of this persistence in traditional aims which had long ago been proved unattainable, and of which, indeed, the importance, so far as Spain's national interests were concerned, had disappeared, is the more evident when the entirely changed position of foreign politics is considered. The Queen-Mother of France, with her strong Spanish Catholic sympathies and her Italian methods, had been swept from power by a coalition of French parties ; and a civil war was raging in France which might end in a Huguenot domination. The relations between Spain and the governing authority of France were still further embittered by the struggle in the Valtelline ; and Philip III, seeing France drifting away from him, had for two years before his death been in close negotiation with James I of England for the marriage of his daughter with the Prince of Wales ; James abasing himself to the utmost in order to weaken the already strained alliance between France and Spain. The more arrogant Philip, Gondomar, and Lerma were, the humbler grew the King of England ; and though it is evident now that the Spaniards were never for a moment in earnest, their diplomacy disarmed James at a time when his active interference in favour of his son-in-law might have been disastrous to the House of Austria. From Philip IV's reference to the English match (quoted on the previous page) it is evident that he had no more intention of effecting it than his father had. But when Richelieu in 1622 sought to heal civil discord in France by urging, at the first meeting of the Council after the death of Luynes, that the primary duty of all Frenchmen was to check the renewed pretensions of the House of Austria, and when even Mary de' Medici herself joined in

the crusade against Spain, it became necessary for Philip and Olivares to smile, however falsely, upon the proffered English friendship.

But when, late in 1622, James, growing impatient, asked for definite help to be sent to his son-in-law from Spain, Olivares haughtily scoffed at the very idea, and coolly put the marriage question aside as of no present importance. Buckingham in England had been heavily bribed by Gondomar, and was all impatience to carry through the Prince's marriage. Blind to the insincerity of Spain in the negotiation, he started with young Charles on their harebrained journey to Spain. Their almost unheralded appearance in Madrid, in March, 1623, threw Bristol into a panic, which subsequent events fully justified, and placed Philip and his minister in a most difficult position. The Spanish populace and clergy were furious at the idea of such a marriage. It is clear now, and was to many observers even then, that, while still advancing her old arrogant claims, Spain could never enter into a family alliance with a Protestant House ; while, even if he had wished, the Prince of Wales would not have dared to change his faith at the bidding of Spain ; and the idea of Buckingham outwitting in diplomacy Olivares and the Spanish Council was ridiculous. Philip and his minister cleverly disarmed the visitors by a show of extreme cordiality. Madrid was made to look its best ; the vast sums squandered in vain show ruined the town for many years ; and all the sumptuary decrees enjoining sobriety in garb and living were suspended. The Infanta, who well knew that she was destined for the Emperor, and would never be the wife of Charles, was almost unapproachable, and played her part with reluctance. Buckingham's debonair manner shocked Olivares, and the English favourite was almost openly insulted by the stately Spaniard. So long as festivities, cane-tourneys, bull-fights, and balls were to the fore all went merrily ; but as soon as either Buckingham or Bristol tried to come to close quarters with Olivares, he made it clear that Spain would finally consent to the marriage only on quite impossible terms. To keep up appearances a provisional treaty of betrothal was drawn up, and a pretence made that the alliance was effected ; but when Charles took leave of his host in September, not all the extravagant presents and fine words on both sides could hide the fact that his voyage had been in vain, and that England had suffered the affront which her King's servility and Buckingham's foolishness had deserved.

The ambitious project of Olivares to revive the old dreams incited the Spanish people and their young King to renewed outbursts of pride, and aroused the distrust of the French. Philip, as yet but a mere lad, was given the title of Philip the Great, and flattered with the idea that in him the vast dominion of Charles V might be revived. The Valtelline was still occupied by Spanish troops in spite of treaties ; Spinola held in his grip the Lower Palatinate; and Bohemia had been crushed into obedience to the Emperor. It was clearly time for France to check the

swelling power, and Richelieu prepared to do it. England was attracted to his side, while yet the irritation caused by Charles' rebuff at Madrid was fresh, and Henrietta Maria became Queen of England ; the Duke of Savoy, ever ready to strike for Lombardy, joined, and the Hollanders, now at war with Spain again, hailed with delight so powerful a coalition against their enemy. The war began with the invasion of the Valtelline by Richelieu; and together with Savoy the French overran Montferrat and the Genoese territory. Italy in this war for the most part stood on the side of Spain, for the Papacy was strong and the faith was threatened. The fever of glory seized again upon the deluded Spaniards; and all thoughts of economy were thrown to the winds. Money in amounts previously unheard of was raised. Nobles, churchmen, and citizens were made to give freely of their substance, sometimes to their ruin ; ladies sold their jewels, and every device was used in order to obtain funds for the war.

The result was on the whole favourable to Spanish arms, and a peace was arranged with France in January, 1626, leaving England still at war with Spain, and the German and Flemish contests still going on. England, indeed, had been again outwitted ; for the Palatinate, for which she had fought, was not restored, and the only effect of Lord Wimbledon's abortive attack upon Cadiz in 1625 was to deal a further blow to her prestige. Spain was also fortunate in the Low Countries, where Spinola captured Breda ; in Germany, thanks to the genius of Tilly ; and in South America, where the Hollanders were handsomely defeated at Guayaquil; while the Moorish pirates were humbled in the Mediterranean. Money, and ever more money, was needed for all this military activity. The economies effected by Olivares enabled him to do much, and they, with other measures adopted, had aided Philip to rehabilitate his forces. But by 1626 these resources proved still insufficient, and Philip addressed a curious statement to his Council of Finance, of which the unpublished manuscript is still extant, giving an account of his pecuniary straits. When he comes to consider, he says, not only the amounts that his subjects have to pay, but the persecution and trouble they have to undergo from those who collect the revenue, he would rather beg from door to door, if he could, to make up the fresh funds he needs, than ask his subjects for them. The Council are harshly taken to task for their lack of invention in not finding some way for providing the means required for the wars. "Grief is in my soul to see these good subjects who suffer so bitterly through the acts of my officers. If my own life-blood would remedy it I would give it freely: and yet you can propose ho remedy.'" In the previous year he had had in his pay no less than 300,000 men ; he had raised his fleet from 7 vessels to 108 ; with Europe against him, he had held his own everywhere, and had forced foreigners to respect him ; and yet, when he asks his Council of Finance to propose measures of relief, they only obstruct him. This outburst appears to

have been caused by the report of the Council having been unfavourable to Olivares' proposal to debase the copper coinage. The measure had subsequently been adopted, but it had been found that prices had risen in proportion.

An attempt was made in 1626 to extort more money than usual from the free Parliaments of Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. Philip, in great state, with Olivares at his side, met his Valencian Cortes at Monzon, but was made to understand roughly that not an iota of the ancient privileges would be bated, however much he wanted money. Olivares stormed ; but according to the constitution a unanimous vote was necessary for supply, and one member bravely held out until he was menaced with the garrotte and reluctantly yielded. Even then fresh difficulties were made, and for days Philip chafed and his minister hectored, until at last Olivares threatened to abolish by force the right of rejecting the King's demands, and the Cortes of Valencia in a panic were conquered. It was a triumph for Olivares and a first step towards his policy of unifying Spain, but it cost him dear. The Catalan Cortes were even bolder than the Valencians, and refused to vote anything until their previous loan to the King was repaid. After three days of haggling, Olivares, fearing a tumult, fled with the King to Castile, and though the Catalans in a fright then passed the vote, their breach with the King and his minister was never fully healed, and the bitterest struggle of the reign was that in which the ancient county of Catalonia fought to free herself from centralising Castile. That the contest with the Catalan Cortes was provoked by Olivares is seen in a paper he wrote to the King late in 1625, only a few months before the meeting. In it he set forth a plan for the unification of the realms for mutual action in war. This plan remained the kernel of Olivares' home policy until his fall, and it will be seen that the intrigues against him which finally triumphed were largely fomented by provincial interests.

The death of the Duke of Mantua, and the claim of Spain to interfere in the succession, led early in 1628 to an attack by her upon Casale in Montferrat, and brought her again face to face with Richelieu later in the year ; and thus the great struggle which was finally to ruin Spain was commenced by Olivares. His first step, when he found himself thus pledged to a great national war, was to make peace with England, who was then aiding the Huguenots at La Rochelle. Charles I, like his father before him, was ready to make any sacrifice to win back the Palatinate for Frederick, and the breach caused by the quarrel about Charles' marriage with the Infanta was healed by a treaty of peace in January, 1629, though, as before, England failed in her main object. The ensuing campaign in northern Italy ranged the French, the Pope, Venice, and the new French Duke of Mantua (Nevers) against the House of Austria, with the assistance this time of the unhappy Charles Emmanuel. Richelieu was victorious everywhere. Savoy was occupied, and the heart of the Duke broken

(July, 1630). Spinola died during the campaign before Casale, and his successor, Santa Cruz, lacked his experience and genius. Casale, which from the first had been the Spanish objective, stood out stoutly during a long siege, until at length Olivares was obliged to consent to an agreement, followed by ignominious peace, in which all the sacrifice was on the side of Spain (April, 1631).

It was a hard lesson for Philip ; but unfortunately he did not profit by it. Richelieu was as much superior to Olivares as a statesman as France was to Spain in material resources and homogeneity ; but the old tradition that Spain must fight for the faith and the Imperial House throughout the world refused to die; and Spanish blood and treasure were poured out like water in a quarrel which concerned Spain hardly at all. In the meanwhile, in 1633, the old Infanta Isabel, the beloved daughter of Philip II, and independent sovereign of Flanders, died, and Spain was once again burdened with the fatal inheritance of Burgundy, that had dragged her down. Philip's representative in Flanders was his brother, the Cardinal Infante Ferdinand, whom Olivares' jealousy had sent from Spain. He was able and ambitious ; and his popularity with the Catholic Flemings was great ; but he too must needs follow the tradition of his House and imperil the dominions he ruled to fight for the faith wherever it was assailed. In 1634 the Emperor summoned his cousin and brother-in-law from Flanders to his aid. The Infante led his army of 18,000 Spaniards to join the Imperial forces before Nördlingen, and arrived soon after the Suedo-German force sent to relieve the town. The Imperial army with the Infante's contingent outnumbered the Swedes, and the battle, which lasted two days, was a complete victory for the Catholics. In May, 1635, Richelieu met this heavy blow by declaring war against Spain itself in order that his foe might be weakened by a direct attack upon Spanish Flanders.

Thenceforward Spain was not only fighting for Catholicism and the Imperial House, but was engaged in a death-struggle with Richelieu for the preservation of Flanders and for the maintenance of her own prestige in Europe. Flemish dominion was draining what was left of her life-blood, and Germany made ceaseless demands upon desolate Castile. In France, in the Valtelline-wherever religious liberty dared to raise its head -Spain, or rather Olivares, considered it necessary to fight. The silver fleets and cargo galleons fell a prey to the Dutch rovers ; the armies and fleets of Spain struggled, sometimes successfully, sometimes disastrously, upon many fields, but never for the material profit of their own country. Private property in Spain was seized now without scruple by the Government ; the " millions " excise was increased until famine was rife everywhere in the realms of Castile, the Church temporalities were drained, the revenues of bishoprics confiscated, and salaries, pensions, and debts unpaid. In Madrid the penury was so great that Philip, who always lived frugally himself, begged his brother in Flanders to

save to the utmost : to compel his household to wear plain cloth, and to live sparingly, so that not a ducat might be needlessly spent.

While the Spanish forces were distributed over Europe, Richelieu made two bold attempts to gain a footing upon the soil of the Peninsula. The earlier was in the summer of 1638, when every nerve was being strained to maintain the Cardinal Infante in Flanders. A powerful French force crossed the Bidassoa, captured the frontier town of Irun, and the harbour of Pasages, and then laid siege to the picturesque stronghold of Fuenterrabia at the mouth of the river. A French fleet cooperated with the land forces under Cardinal de La Valette, and an attempt was made to storm the precipitous hill upon which the fortress stands ; but an army of Basque militia gallantly put the beleaguerers to flight, La Valette escaping from the wrath of Richelieu to join the banished Queen-Mother in England. In the following year, 1639, an attempt was made by the French at the other end of the Pyrenees to enter Spanish territory. The resistance of the Catalans, much more Provençal than Spanish, and always jealous of Castile, was thought likely to be slight. Olivares, moreover, being on bad terms with them, left the province to a great extent to defend itself. This it did with unexpected vigour and success. A provincial army of 10,000 men was rapidly formed ; but was practically annihilated by plague as it lay besieging Salces, in Spanish Roussillon, which the French had captured. Another army of Catalans, however, flocked to the standards ; and when Condé arrived with a fresh force of 20,000 Frenchmen, regiment after regiment of them broke against the Catalan trenches and earthworks, and finally fled. Salces was surrendered to its rightful owners in January, 1640, and the second French attempt to conquer Spanish soil had failed.

The maritime attacks of the French on the Mediterranean coast of the Peninsula were almost equally barren of result ; and, had Philip been content, even now, to abandon the vain pretensions which a century of struggle had proved it impossible to enforce, he might not only have with ease held his own country against the world, but have made his people prosperous and happy. Flanders was, as ever, the bane. So long as it was necessary to send constant reinforcements thither, not only had Spain to be drained of men and money ; but the naval force so necessary for the protection of Spanish commerce with Spain's productive and distant colonies had to be employed, and imperilled, in the narrow seas, in order that reinforcements might reach Flanders. Prodigious, and successful, efforts had been made, as has been seen, to raise the maritime strength of the country. Certain nobles and ports, and some of the Spanish Bishops, were under feudal obligations to find and maintain ships for the King's service ; and these obligations had been either habitually evaded, or only partially fulfilled. By dint of pressure upon the contributories, and by great national sacrifices, a respectable fleet had been formed in 1639; when 70 ships, with a force of 10,000 men, on

the voyage from Spain to Flanders took refuge in the Downs to escape from a Dutch fleet under van Tromp. Both the Dutch and the Spaniards at once appealed to Charles I. Charles endeavoured to bargain with Spain about the restoration of the Palatinate, in return for his protection of the fleet ; but van Tromp was in no mood for trifling, and regardless of England's neutrality, attacked, and practically destroyed, the Spanish fleet, the result of so much effort and sacrifice, while it lay in the Downs. The Spaniards cried that the English had rather aided than hindered the attack, though Pennington was imprisoned for not vindicating the security of English waters ; but, in any case, the blow was a fatal one to Spain's naval power, and for a hundred years she remained hopelessly paralysed at sea. It was the first patent sign to the world of the material and moral decadence which was creeping through all the organs of the nation. On land Spanish troops still for a while fought bravely as of old, though no longer with the conviction of Divine favour and unconquerable right. Loyalty to the person of the monarch was engrained in their nature ; and they suffered and died, if necessary, uncomplainingly at his behest, because they thought that he and they, for some inscrutable and irremediable reason, had been selected by the Almighty for special chastening, and their oriental fatalism hardly cared to search for other explanations for their ills.

The King himself constantly gives evidence in his manv rescripts of the same conviction. His own and his country's misfortunes are always ascribed to an adverse providence frustrating well-meant efforts, "in punishment of our sins." This feeling was itself a sign of moral deterioration in the national fibre. In the greater times of the sixteenth century Spaniards were convinced that Heaven was on their side, and it gave them strength ; now they felt as certain that it was against them ; and, though it still fed their pride to know that they were selected at all, they lacked incentive to bold action and dogged persistence when assured beforehand that a supernatural power stronger than their own had doomed them to misfortune. Their waning faith had the curious effect-so strongly seen in Philip's secret correspondence-of redoubling their dependence upon inspired Spiritual guides for the regulation of their conduct. Formerly, their firm conviction that God was on their side was strong enough to justify their acts, however cruel and oppressive, and they needed not to be certified at every point by nuns, hermits and anchorites, friars and confessors, that all was well with them and their actions. The religion which timorously needed constant reassurance from inspiration was not of the robust kind that had led to Spain's ephemeral greatness, but rather a superstition constantly trembling on the verge of infidelity. This was the feeling that saturated Spain during the years of her glittering decadence, which began with Philip III, progressed under his son, and ended with their race.

Spain was thus a prey to fatalistic despair, sunk into misery by unwise

taxation which crushed industry and deepened the national disinclination to labour; her coinage debased, her sons fighting abroad whilst the fields at home were left fallow, or were partially cultivated by foreigners, who took abroad after each harvest the money that Spain so direly needed. Everyone, from the King downward, deplored the evils, but agreed that they arose from nobody's fault ; and though some wits added the word "taxer" to the title of "Philip the Great," impressed on the new-fashioned stamped paper, which Olivares' confessor had invented by way of adding to the national revenue, the monarch and the people in general sympathised with each other in the national suffering. Such a feeling of mutual sympathy, if wisely fostered, might have been used to bring about, temporarily at least, the solidarity which Spain always lacked. But unfortunately the exhaustion of Castile, and the need for ever-growing sums of money for foreign wars, led Olivares, in pursuance of his fixed idea of centralisation, not only to destroy the chance of a sympathetic union of the various realms, but to precipitate a civil conflict which proved the country's crowning disaster. The Count-Duke (as Olivares was called) was rash and hasty of speech, and, as the Venetian ambassador wrote in 1641, " hated the constitutions, breaking out into violent abuse whenever he spoke of the Catalans." He could not forgive them or the Valencians for their sturdiness during the Cortes of 1626, and when he accompanied the King to Barcelona in 1632.

During the abortive French invasion of Spanish Roussillon already mentioned, the Viceroy was a creature of Olivares-one Santa Coloma, who chose the time when the Catalans were fighting for their province to urge a policy of severity against them. " Do not," he wrote, " allow a single man in the province able to work to absent himself from the field, or a woman capable of carrying a bundle of fodder on her back. This is no time to beseech, but to command. The Catalans are naturally fickle, sometimes they will, and sometimes they will not. Make them understand that the welfare of the nation and the army must go before all laws and privileges....Seize their beds for the troops, even from the highest in the province, if necessary, and let them sleep on the ground. ...If pioneers be wanted and peasants refuse to go, force them to do so, and if necessary carry them bound. Do not spare force, no matter how loudly they cry out against you. I will bear all the blame." The sullen resentment aroused in the Catalans by the treatment thus enjoined came to a head when the Castilian troops sent to help Catalonia against the French were quartered in the principality, in violation of the constitution, instead of being sent home after defeating the French. The Castilians, as usual, were unpaid : to them the Catalans were almost as foreign as Frenchmen, and they plundered and ravaged as in an enemy's country. Violence was opposed by violence, and Olivares ordered that every village in Catalonia should billet a certain number of Castilian troops. The result was that

all Catalonia flamed into opposition against the King's soldiers, and Santa Coloma fanned the flame by his severity. Street riots disturbed the large towns ; the Catalan nobles and clergy declaimed against the savagery of Philip's troops, and advised resistance. " Send me an army strong enough to crush this people," wrote Santa Coloma. But the King's armies were scattered over Europe, and Olivares had no troops to send and no money to raise fresh levies.

On May 12,1640, the people of Barcelona broke open Santa Coloma's prisons, and rescued from these their leaders ; and four weeks later the fire of insurrection blazed out. " Vengeance and Liberty " was the cry of the maddened populace as they rushed through Barcelona murdering every Castilian soldier they could catch. Santa Coloma tried to escape, but he was old and obese, and sank fainting by the way, only to be cut into pieces by his fierce countrymen. From Barcelona the train of resistance was fired through the province. Rebellion of Christian Spaniards against their King had been unheard of for a hundred and twenty years ; and, when Philip heard the news, it must have been plain to him that the sacredness of his sovereignty was impugned and he was no longer master of his finest province. An attempt was made at conciliation. The new Viceroy, the Duke of Cardona, restrained the revengeful violence of the Castilian troops, and endeavoured to soothe the Barcelonese; but Olivares saw in the revolt a chance of crushing the free constitution which he hated, and Cardona was disgraced, to die of a broken heart. " This revolt," said Cardinal Borgia in the Council, " can only be drowned in rivers of blood "-and these Olivares was ready to let loose if he could destroy the charter of Catalonian autonomy. With great effort a new army was raised in Castile, under the Marquis de Los Vêlez, who was to operate from Saragossa as a base. The great object was to prevent the autonomous kingdom of Aragon from joining its allied principality of Catalonia ; for Philip had always been popular with the Aragonese, and their defection would have been fatal.

In September, 1640, while Los Velez was still in Aragon, the Spanish troops in Perpignan were ordered to attack a Catalan village whose inhabitants were negotiating with the French ; and the Castilians were badly beaten. This gave heart to Barcelona. The Catalan Cortes met and denounced the violation of their rights ; a demand for help against Philip was sent to his enemy Richelieu ; Barcelona was placed in a condition for defence ; and defiance went forth from Catalonia to Castile. But the promised French contingent to aid the Catalans was delayed, and when Los Velez entered the southern end of Catalonia he met with but little resistance, and the ruthless cruelty of the Castilians wrought terrible vengeance upon the few who dared to oppose them. Tarragona was garrisoned by a French force hastily summoned for its defence, but although Los Velez' army was already weakened by Aragonese desertions, owing to Catalan raids into Aragon, and his stores

and artillery were lacking, the French commander Epernon surrendered at demand; and as Los Velez marched triumphantly northward the Catalan cause seemed to be crumbling. But Barcelona was a more difficult affair. There the citizens had formally renounced allegiance to Philip, and had acknowledged Louis XIII as their King, surrendering the dominating stronghold of Monjuich to a French commander, who, with 300 men, was in the city. Los Velez assaulted the walls on January 26, 1641, and a most sanguinary struggle ensued. The Catalan volunteers fought splendidly, as did the Castillan assailants, and especially the Irish regiment under the Earl of Tyrone, who fell in the fight. The attack upon Monjuich was led by the Neapolitan Marquis of Torrecusa, and just as victory seemed within his grasp a body of Catalan fishermen attacked the stormers from the rear, and panic seized the Castillans. The slaughter was appalling, and Los Velez, defeated and broken, was cast back to Tarragona, leaving Barcelona triumphant in its defiance. Soon French troops arrived in large numbers, and in April, 1641, the Castillans at Tarragona, reduced to 14,000 men under the Prince of Butera (Fadrique Colonna), were closely beleaguered by land and sea by French and Catalans.

Through the summer and autumn of 1641 the state of war continued ; but Catalonia could with difficulty pay and support the French armies sent by Richelieu to the aid of the insurgents, and the provincials through their chief Tamarit made a personal appeal to Louis XIII to come to his faithful city of Barcelona and receive the oath of allegiance. He sent Marshal de Brézé as his proxy, and thenceforward French national resources to a great extent maintained the civil war. By the spring of 1642 the Castilian armies had been reorganised after their repeated defeats, and the struggle continued, though the great French forces that were pouring into the province, with the aid of the Catalans, seemed to make the position hopeless for Philip. One Castilian army after the other was captured or routed, and Philip in despair could only pray the minister who had dragged him into this trouble by his rashness to find him a way out.

This was the opportunity for the Count-Duke's enemies. The Queen, Isabel of Bourbon, had from the first resented his absolute dominion over her husband. She blamed Olivares for inciting the King to légitimasse Don Juan of Austria, his natural son by Maria Calderon, an actress, of whom she was bitterly jealous ; and she chafed under the yoke of the favourite's wife, who was her Mistress of the Robes, and was as arrogant as he. Olivares always spoke slightingly of women, and when the Queen had made some remark on State affairs had dared to say openly, that " monks must be kept for praying, and women for child-bearing." Isabel made no secret of her hate, and instilled a similar sentiment into her popular and promising only son, Prince Baltasar Carlos. Gradually all those, and there were many, who suffered from

the terrible oppression induced by Olivares' financial methods and the continuance of wasteful wars, looked towards the Queen and her son for rescue. " My goodwill and the Prince's innocence," she said, " must for once serve the King for eyes. If he continues to look through those of the Count-Duke much longer my son will be reduced to a poor King of Castile." When affairs in Catalonia were at their worst, when Roussillon was lost for ever to Spain, and French troops were successfully upholding the rebel Catalans against their King, the Queen and nearly all of the nobility, most of whom were in her favour, urged the King himself to take command of his armies in the field, and win back the province that his minister's policy had lost. Olivares opposed the plan to the utmost, for he knew that during a campaign his influence would be less powerful over Philip than in the palace of Madrid, or in the beautiful suburban pleasance of the Buen Retiro, which he had built, not at his own expense, as a toy for his master. But Philip himself was anxious now to take part in winning back his heritage. So he insisted, almost for the first time, against Olivares' opinion, and, in spite of the groans of his minister at the expense of the royal journey, set out for Aragon.

There was, indeed, good reason, beyond the disaster which Olivares' centralising idea had brought about in Catalonia, why Philip's trust in him should have declined. In another of the autonomous dominions an even worse catastrophe had been simultaneously caused by the same hasty policy. The Portuguese had never been reconciled to their union with Castile, though Philip II had carefully respected their constitution, so far as regarded their exemption from taxation for Spanish objects or by Spanish methods. Under Lerma, and later, the blight of favouritism had fallen upon the relations between the two kingdoms, and the Portuguese viceroyalties, bishoprics, and offices had been largely bestowed on Spanish adherents of the favourite in Madrid. The Portuguese had already suffered much from the connexion with Spain : Cadiz had taken away much of the commerce of Lisbon, and Portuguese shipping was not safe from Spain's enemies. The national discontent had grown gradually deeper as the evil increased; but when, in 1636, Olivares burdened Portugal with the five per cent. Castillan tax upon all property, movable and immovable, rebellion against Spain became inevitable. The first rising, premature as it was, was suppressed ; but from that time all the patriotic elements drew together to plan the liberation of the country. The Regent of Portugal at the time was the widowed Duchess of Mantua, a daughter of Charles Emmanuel of Savoy and the Infanta Catharine, and consequently Philip's first cousin ; and she, knowing the danger, did her best to withstand the unwise action of the favourite. The real ruler of Portugal, however, was Olivares' low-born henchman Miguel Vasconcellos, who, Portuguese by origin, was ruthless in the insolent oppression of his countrymen.

The easy suppression of the first attempt at revolt encouraged Olivares to fasten the yoke of Castile more firmly than ever on Portugal ; and he imprudently chose the time when Catalonia was seething in discontent. A fresh special tax was decreed upon Portugal, in violation of its constitution, and Vasconcellos announced the minister's intention of abolishing the Portuguese Cortes altogether, and of making the country a province of Castile, with representatives in the Castilian Cortes. At once there gathered around the Duke of Braganza, the principal Portuguese candidate for the throne, a party determined to win the independence of their country. The Duke, a timid, lethargic man, had married an able, ambitious Spanish wife of the great House of Guzman, Dukes of Medina Sidonia, and a relative of Olivares, who, being aware of her character, looked upon her with distrust and suspicion. Tempting offers of foreign viceroyalties were made to the Portuguese Duke, but, safe among his own people, he was not to be caught, and even refused all invitations to proceed to Madrid. Hereupon an attempt was made to kidnap him, but also without success ; and Vasconcellos, becoming seriously alarmed at the growth of the conspiracy, and the importance of the conspirators, warned Olivares that he must either crush discontent by force, or disarm Braganza.

This was in 1640, when the preparations for the war in Catalonia were draining the strength of Spain, and Olivares was forced to parley with the foe at the Portuguese gate, while he tried to crush the Catalans. To gain the confidence of Braganza he gave him the control of the Portuguese ports, and sent him 40,000 ducats to raise troops to defend them. It must have been a counsel of despair, for the result which ensued seemed almost inevitable. Portuguese troops were raised, it is true, but they were all for the defence of Braganza, and soon there was no power in Portugal that could withstand him. The Duke himself remained quietly on his estate at Villa Viçosa, making no sign ; but his friends were busy and bold under the Archbishop of Lisbon and Pinto Ribeiro. When the plot was nearly ripe, Braganza visited the Regent Duchess of Mantua in Lisbon with a train strong enough to protect him, and the frantic cheers of the populace announced that this was not a subject Dukt but a potential King coming in state to the capital of his nation. Olivares then perceived his mistake, and peremptorily summoned Braganza to Madrid. A thousand excuses for delay were made ; but still Braganza clung to Villa Viçosa. Money was sent to pay for his journey, and appeal made to his loyalty, his cupidity, his honour ; but, though he feigned acquiescence and sent his household ahead on the road to Spain, he knew that if once he fell into the hands of Olivares he would never be King, and prudently kept in his own stronghold. At length, in November, 1640, the conspirators and his wife together prevailed upon Braganza to pluck up courage, throw aside the mask, and proclaim himself King ; and a small body of nobles and soldiers in four divisions

surprised the palace on December 1, overpowering the few Spanish and German troops on guard. The populace were only awaiting the first blow, and hailed the conspirators and Braganza as the saviours of Portugal. The hated Vasconcellos, dumb with fright, was hacked to death with knives ; and, though the Regent offered a dignified verbal protest, she had herself bitterly hated Vasconcellos and rejoiced at the vengeance that had fallen upon him. Braganza, still lingering timidly in the country, was acclaimed John IV of Portugal ; but there was practically no resistance, and in three hours of revolt Portugal had shaken off the yoke of Castile, never again to bear it.

The news came to Madrid within a week, at a time when Olivares, by festivities and gaieties, was trying to divert the thoughts of the King from the disaster of Barcelona. None dared to carry the dire news to Philip for fear of Olivares1 vengeance, though all the capital was astir with the tidings, and it was the favourite himself who performed the task in a characteristic way. "Àlbricias! Albricms! your Majesty, good news! good news ! You have won a fresh duchy and a great estate." "How so ? " asked the King. " The Duke of Braganza, sire, has gone mad and proclaimed himself King of Portugal, so that your Majesty may seize the twelve million ducats worth of property which he owns." The King said little, but he was not deceived by Olivares' mellifluence, for he knew that a kingdom lost was not easily regained, and thenceforward was the more ready to listen to those who besought him to take matters into his own hands, and avert the dismemberment of his inheritance. High and low were urging him on. The Queen missed no opportunity of enforcing the lessons of Catalonia and Portugal ; and even the people in the streets cried to Philip that he must act the King now or be for ever fallen. " Everybody deceives the King," cried one working man, placing himself in the sovereign's way as he walked in the procession of the Holy Sacrament through his capital. " Sire, this realm is perishing, and he who mends it not will burn in hell."

Before the King started for Aragon another blow threatened, which further served the turn of the enemies of Olivares. The brother of the new Queen of Portugal, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, Viceroy and Admiral of Andalusia, was the greatest territorial magnate of Spain, and head of the House of Guzman, of which Olivares was a cadet. The Duke was weakly ambitious, and listened to the suggestion of his kinsman the Marquis of Ayamonce, that he should follow the example of his brother-in-law and take advantage of the weakness of the central power to proclaim himself King of Andalusia. The plot was arranged with the new King of Portugal, and all promised well, when a treacherous intermediary divulged it to Olivares. Fortunately Medina Sidonia was feeble and foolish, and was easily terrified into complete submission, though much of his vast wealth was confiscated ; but Ayamonte, a

kinsman of Olivares, lost his head, though his life had been promised to him if he confessed, and he had done so. So low had the armed power of Philip fallen at this time (1641) by the drain upon it for foreign wars and the Catalan revolt, that, had Medina Sidonia been a strong, instead of a weak conspirator, Andalusia might have successfully resisted any force that Castile could have sent against it

In these unhappy circumstances Philip left in April, 164$, to lead his armies against the Catalans, the Queen remaining as Regent in Madrid. Having failed to prevent the journey, Olivares did his best to make it useless by turning it into a slow progress of pleasure. Hunting parties and long sojourns on the way delayed the King to July 27, when he entered Saragossa, not with the simplicity of a soldier going to a campaign, but with the splendour of a triumphant sovereign. The greater nobles usually avoided contact with Olivares, but the presence of Philip in the Aragonese capital prompted the grandees to visit their King there. They were not allowed even to see him, and were treated by Olivares with bare civility. The King himself was kept closely secluded in two rooms, and not allowed to join the army or leave Saragossa, on the pretext of fear for his safety if he approached Monzon; and he had to content himself with passing his time watching tennis matches from his window. In the meanwhile the Queen was making the most of her chances in Madrid, visiting the barracks and flattering the soldiers, smiling upon the populace, and with her grace and sweetness winning all hearts. So dire was the want of money at Saragossa that the Queen sold all her jewels, and sent the money to Olivares for military purposes. Before Philip had arrived in Aragon the French had entered it ; and Monzon, the ancient capital, was soon in their hands. Around the King all was defeat and humiliation. Roussillon, to the north of the Pyrenees, was lost ; Catalonia was governed by a foreign viceroy for a foreign King ; the Castilian armies were unpaid, starving, and in rags ; and Olivares himself, now that the truth could no longer be hidden from Philip, knew that his fall was approaching. Philip, almost for the first time in his reign, acted without consulting him and appointed the Marquis of Leganes as the new commander-in-chief ; but he, too, was defeated by Marshal de La Motte before Lerida almost immediately, and his army melted away, as others had done before. Heart-sick at his helplessness, the King in Saragossa heard with dismay of the entry of de La Motte into Barcelona as Viceroy for Louis XIII ; and, unable to strike any fresh blow for his province, he returned to Madrid after an absence of nine months, at the very time of the death of Richelieu, whose statesmanship had so successfully met the rash pretentiousness of his would-be Spanish rival.

When the King and his favourite returned to the Court at the end of December, 1642, the Queen and her friends had everything in readiness for the blow. Count de Castrillo, Count de Paredes, the Haros, the

Carpios-all those, indeed, whom the favourite's insolence had wounded or injured-had plucked up courage in his absence and feared him no longer. The ex-Regent of Portugal, the Duchess of Mantua, had been interned at Ocana and forbidden by Olivares to see the King. On January 14, 1643, the Queen made her appeal to her husband. In the presence of her son Baltasar Carlos, now approaching adolescence, she solemnly exhorted the King, for the sake of his child, to dismiss before it was too late the man who was dismembering his inheritance. As the King traversed the passage leading from the Queen's apartment he was intercepted by his foster-mother, Dona Anna de Guevara, who also had been dismissed by Olivares. Casting herself at Philip's feet, she implored him in impassioned words, to listen to the voice of his best friends. Her impeachment of the favourite was bold and scathing. " You have spoken truly," replied the King to her, as he turned, dazed and perturbed, and re-entered his wife's room. That night, too, in defiance of the favourite's orders, the Duchess of Mantua fled from Ocana, and through a winter tempest travelled rapidly to Madrid. Olivares treated her insultingly when she suddenly appeared ; but she was of royal birth, and the Queen secured her an audience of the King, who heard in dismay, for the first time, how Portugal had been lost through the obstinate insolence of Olivares and his tool Vasconcellos.

The Count-Duke saw that the tide against him was too strong to be withstood, and begged the King to allow him to retire; but no decided answer was vouchsafed at the time. On January 16, 1643, he had a short public audience of the King; but watchful observers noticed that Philip's eyes never once rested upon him, and that evening Olivares found awaiting him a polite note from his master granting him the requested permission to retire. Soon the news ran through the city, and when the next day, Sunday-the day of St Anthony-the King and his wife and children, and the Duchess of Mantua, drove in one coach to worship at the royal Convent of the Barefooted Carmelites, all Madrid was there to shout " Long live the King ; death to the evil favourite." "Now wilt thou be Philip the Great indeed," cried the people, "for there will be no Count-Duke to make thee little." Olivares had not quite lost hope even yet. On the Tuesday a deputation of the grandees met the King while he was hunting, and offered their loyal duty to him, now that the Count-Duke could no longer slight and insult them ; and Philip on his return to the palace asked impatiently if Olivares had gone yet. On being told that he had not, the King cried in a rage, " Is he waiting for us to use force ? " In vain the favourite, and especially his wife, prayed for another chance, for one more audience : Philip was obdurate, and Olivares with a sinking heart left Madrid the next day, to see the King no more. " I must reign, and my son must be crowned in Aragon ; and this will not be easy, unless I deliver your head to my subjects, who all demand it," Philip wrote ; and, although

his life was left him, the fallen favourite was stripped of his wealth, and died mad two years and a half after his disgrace.

There were few who had a good word for Olivares ; for, with the exception of the Count de La Roca, those who wrote his history were his bitter foes, and his haughty irascibility made him detested personally by high and low. But he was able and laborious, and if he failed, as he did, it was not so much because his ideal in home politics was a bad one, as because it was an impracticable one at the time. His real fault was one that he shared with his countrymen at large ; namely, the obstinate clinging to the old boastful tradition of Spain's right and power to interfere in the religious affairs of other countries, and to play a predominant part in European politics. The ruin which mistaken political economy had wrought in Spanish industry and national resources rendered it impossible for Castile to pay for such a policy as was favoured, not by Olivares alone, but by most Spaniards ; and the desire of Olivares to obtain as free a hand over the other autonomous parliaments as had been obtained over that of Castile, was a statesmanlike consequence of this unstatesmanlike policy.

To obtain funds for this disastrous system of widely-diffused activity in foreign affairs on the part of a nation economically and socially decadent, not only was Spain itself exposed to the danger of disintegration, but the vast American colonies were driven to desperation. The exactions of the greedy courtiers, who alone were eligible for posts in the Spanish possessions, the exclusion of foreigners from trade with the colonies, and the stoppage of all commercial relations between the mother-country and the countries at war with it, which provided most of the goods for American consumption that Spaniards had ceased to produce, resulted in a systematic evasion by the colonists of their obligations towards Spain. Contraband, on a scale so extensive as in some directions to exceed legitimate trade, deprived the mother-country of the revenue to be derived from its possessions. The mines, it is true, continued to send the precious metals to Spain, and the King's fifth share of the value added on paper to the revenue accruing to him. But even this wealth, diminished as it was by plunder and capture, hardly gained any currency in the Peninsula, since it was forestalled in most cases by loans contracted abroad for the payment and supply of troops, and added nothing to the national riches ; whereas the supply of commodities to the colonies from Spanish industry would have provided a means of productive wealth to the people and taxable resources to the government. The policy of bombastic inflation favoured by all Spaniards at the time thus worked in a vicious circle. The pressing need for money to carry it out caused provincial discontent and the increase of expenditure for provincial wars, and at the same time the stoppage of provincial revenue; the exactions and restrictions burdening colonial trade drove the colonies to wholesale contraband, whereby the national revenue from trade with

them was lost ; and in Castile itself the need for quickly realisable taxation led, as we have seen, to the burdening of transactions in food and manufactures, which strangled both rural and urban industries.

Holland, Catalonia, and Portugal had all been alienated by the attempts to weaken or destroy their autonomous liberties and fiscal independence; and the Italian possessions of Spain were as tenacious of their rights as the rest. Again and again, under one pretext or another, the Neapolitans had rebelled against their masters ; usually with the countenance of the French, whose old claims to the country had never been forgotten. Sometimes the cause of discontent had been the Spanish Inquisition, sometimes the unpopularity of Viceroys, sometimes the oppression of the poorer classes by the native nobles; but a more frequent excitant than any had been the exactions of the Spanish officers, and the tampering with the value of the coinage, a favourite device both of Lerma and Olivares. The Neapolitan Parliament of nobles and burgesses had, like the Cortes of Castile, lost its vigour under the corruption of the Spanish Viceroys, and the classes had been systematically alienated from each other. The poorer part of the population were helpless against injustice and extortion, since the Parliament and aristocracy were either powerless or antagonistic, and the only possible remedy for intolerable oppression was violence. The constant exactions both of men and money from Naples for the Spanish wars, and for the enrichment of Spanish officials, had kept the Neapolitans in simmering discontent for years ; and the sight of Catalonia and Portugal in open revolt could not but act as a stimulus.

In the course of the war between France and Spain, which had never ceased, Mazarin, who had succeeded Richelieu, sent a squadron to seize some of the Spanish fortresses on the Tuscan coast, with the aid of Prince Tommaso of Savoy in May, 1646. The Duke of Arcos, the Spanish Viceroy of Naples, knowing the disaffection of the people, and recognising the danger of the vicinity of a French force, applied to the city of Naples for a forced loan to enable him to resist invasion, which the French now threatened from Elba, where they had captured a position. The only thing remaining to be taxed in Naples was fruit, the principal food of the poorest ; and the new impost upon it caused widespread distress. The people were well-nigh starving ; Arcos was appealed to in vain. When, however, on the other side of the Straits the Sicilians broke into revolt against a similar tax in the spring of 164/7 the Neapolitan Viceroy in a panic abolished the objectionable excise. Arcos was short of troops in the city, and the weakness of his action following upon his tyranny gave heart to the Neapolitans. The populace, unaided by the better classes, broke into insurrection on July 7, 1647. The cry was suddenly raised in the market-place that the tax upon the fruit was after all to be levied ; and led by a young fisherman of Amalfi,

Tommaso Aniello, popularly known as Masaniello, the rabble swept through the streets, burning the excise stands, and swarmed into the palace of the Viceroy in uncontrollable numbers. Arcos lost courage and promised all he was asked, but incontinently fled, first to the monastery of San Francesco, and afterwards to the Castel Nuovo, leaving the mob the rulers of Naples. There was no general massacre at first ; and, although the gaols were broken open, the armouries sacked, and a few specially oppressive Spaniards hanged, there was no anger expressed against the King of Spain's rule, but only against the abuses of his officers.

Arcos was weak as well as powerless, and for his personal safety fraternised with the leaders of the revolt. The lack of restraining influences and the collapse of the Spaniards soon had their effect, and the people got out of hand. First petty robbery, then pillage, arson, rapine, and murder, became rife. The thirst for blood seized the excited people, and massacre for cruelty's sake alone wrought them to increasing fury. Masaniello's head was turned, and mad with vanity and drink he gave himself the airs of a sovereign. His excesses turned many of his adherents against him, and the Viceroy contrived by bribery to divide the populace ; the result being that, in order to escape a faction opposed to him-Neapolitan plebeians in Spanish pay-Masaniello took refuge in a church, throwing himself upon the protection of the authorities. While the leader of the revolt rested in a cell of the adjoining monastery, a band of his persecutors called him by name. Stepping forth from the cell to the cloisters, Masaniello, believing that those who called were friends, answered, " You seek me ? Here am I, my people." In a moment four bullets pierced his breast, and, with a cry of "Ingrates," the insurgent chief sank dead. From the cloister his dead body was dragged through the streets with contumely, only to be almost worshipped the next day : and the leader of one week became the martyr and the saint of the next. At length a patrician, Prince Massa, won the adherence of the mob, and some sort of revolutionary order was established. On October 1, 1647, the watchers on Santelmo saw a fine Spanish fleet sail into the Bay. Philip had chosen his brilliant and beloved legitimised son Don Juan of Austria for the suppression of the revolt, and his advent gave new hopes to the Spaniards.

While Don Juan, in cooperation with the garrison and a party of the Neapolitan nobles, was endeavouring to win back the populace, another faction invited to Naples Henry Duke of Guise, whose House, through their Anjou ancestors, had ancient claims upon the Neapoliban monarchy. The Duke of Guise suddenly appeared in the city at the end of November, and at first took the hearts of the populace by storm. All the power of the French nation, thought the leaders, would now be on their side, and the belief was confirmed when a strong French fleet appeared in the offing. Guise was offered, and accepted, the position of Doge of an independent Naples, and for a few weeks all looked hopeful.

But the Duke was unwise, and offended his supporters by his hauteur ; and the French fleet did nothing effective to help him. It was evident that Guise alone could never maintain his independence. Mazarin, indeed, had no wish to employ national resources in aggrandising a subject House, and the French fleet had other work to do. The revolt had been dwindling by division since the death of Masaniello, and after drawing away Guise and his followers by a feint to Posilipo, Don Juan captured the city by a coup de main in February, 1648, the popular government of Naples being thus brought to an end, amidst cheers of " Viva il Ré " from the mob, who yearned again for a real master.

Personal and national troubles fell thick and fast upon Philip. The loss of Olivares, upon whom he had leaned so long, was terrible to him. Conquering his desire for idleness, he resolved for once to act the King, " without human means," as he wrote, " but depending solely upon the Divine help, resolved to fulfil my duty as King, regardless of weariness " : and in pursuit of this resolve he travelled again, in 1643, to Aragon to animate a new attack against Catalonia. On his way he was induced to visit, in her convent at Agreda, the famous saintly nun Maria, upon whose wise and patient counsel he was thenceforward to depend in all things, and to whom alone in the world he bared his seared and suffering heart. While Philip was with his army in 1643, his new-born activity and assumption of responsibility had resulted in his gaining considerable advantages over the French and Catalans ; and his forces had, under his personal command, recaptured Lerida from La Motte.

In 1644, when still in Saragossa, he was suddenly recalled to Madrid by the fatal illness of his wife, who died, to his great grief, before his arrival, September 28. She had been beloved by his people, and perhaps by himself, for, notwithstanding his unfaithfulness, she had borne him many children, of whom only two lived, Baltasar and Maria Teresa ; and nearly two months after her death he wrote : " I am in the greatest state of trouble that can be, for I have lost in one person all I can lose in this life : and if I did not feel that God disposes for the best I know not what would become of me.1" His principal solace now was Prince Baltasar, the sturdy youngster with whose appearance Velasquez' brush has made us so familiar. Anxious to indoctrinate him early in the science of government Philip carried the lad with him to Saragossa to receive the oath of allegiance from the Aragonese and Valencian Cortes in the autumn of 1645. Once again the independent Cortes were stiff in their demands, but this time Philip had no obstinate Olivares by his side, and, though with grief and hesitation, he was obliged to give way with regard to the power of the Inquisition in Aragon. Whilst the King was at Saragossa in October, 1646, his son fell ill. The grief-stricken father almost rebelled against Heaven at the prospect of losing him,

but prayer consoled him, and when the boy died (October 9) Philip wrote : " I have lost my only son, whose presence alone comforted me in my sorrows. My consolation is that I feel God wishes to save me through these tribulations....... All I could do was to offer up this last blow as a sacrifice to Him, though it has broken my heart, and I know not yet whether it is not a dream."

Spain, like her King, was drinking the cup of sorrow to the dregs. The war in Germany went on without intermission, while Catalonia still drained the national resources to the utmost. The war with France on the Flemish frontier never ceased, and Spain had now really reached the end of her resources. At length, to the relief of the world, the Treaty was signed at Münster in January, 1648, which secured the recognition of Dutch independence by Spain, after an eighty years' struggle against the inevitable. The bitter truth was now confessed, but too late to save Spain ; the dream of dominating Holland for the sake of the Catholic faith was dead. Spain thenceforward would not be needed to fight for the Emperor against his Protestant subjects, and, now that she was useless to him, she found herself without allies face to face with France.

With a little further sacrifice of pride on the part of Spain peace might, perhaps, have been made after the deaths of Louis XIII and Richelieu had placed Anne of Austria in power as Regent for her son Louis XIV ; but the lesson was hard to learn, and Melo, who had succeeded as Viceroy of Flanders, on the death of the Infante Ferdinand, had won some successes against the French. In May, 1643, however, young Condé gained over him the victory of Rocroi, which broke the spell surrounding that indomitable Spanish infantry whose valour and skill had made the Spanish empire. Thenceforward Spain was as decadent in land warfare as at sea. But still the war with France dragged on. Some attempts to patch up a peace were made in 1649 ; but the Spanish claims that France should surrender all her conquests doomed them to failure. Mazarin's political troubles at home, however, were paralysing him also, and the bewildering changes of side of the great French generals, Turenne and Condé in particular, caused them temporarily to take the Spanish side against their own countrymen. The divisions in France were busily fomented by Spain, the aid of Condé brought some success to the Spanish arms in Flanders ; and in the battle of Valenciennes he and Don Juan of Austria defeated Turenne (July, 1656). Moreover, friendly relations had sprung up between the English Commonwealth and Philip. The French, notwithstanding the relationship of the royal family with the Stewarts, had bid high for Cromwell's friendship ; but for several years after the execution of Charles the Spanish connexion had been preferred by the English Protector. Cromwell's demands upon Spain in return for an alliance had included the right to trade in the Spanish American colonies, the limitation of

the power of the Inquisition over English subjects, and the equalisation of customs dues in Spain upon English and Spanish merchandise. Philip needed the alliance, but the old pride still stood in the way, and the demands of Cromwell were rejected. The sudden and treacherous attack upon Santo Domingo (April, 1655), the seizure of Jamaica (May), and the capture and destruction of the Spanish silver fleet by Admiral Stayner (September, 1656), opened the eyes of the overburdened King of Spain to the danger that, while fighting the French on land he would have to face the English at sea; and in November, 1656, Cromwell actually concluded an alliance with France. In April, 1657, Blake destroyed a large Spanish fleet off Vera Cruz. Whatever terms the French might impose upon him, it was at last clear to Philip that peace would have to be made ; but the negotiations, which had begun before the battle of Valenciennes and had been broken off in consequence of that victory, were resumed. While they were slowly dragging on the war in Flanders proceeded vigorously. The battle of Dunkirk or the Dunes (1658) in which Condé, Don Juan, and James Duke of York stood on the side of Spain, proved finally the terrible deterioration of the Spanish infantry, first demonstrated at Rocroi ; rapidly Oudenarde, Gravelines, Bergues, Dixmuyden, and other Spanish-Flemish towns fell into the hands of the French, and at last exhausted Spain had to humble herself, and make peace on terms dictated by her foe. The terms of the Peace of the Pyrenees (November, 1659) were hard ; yet they might have been still harder but for the anxiety of Anne of Austria to marry her son Louis XIV to her niece, Philip's only daughter, Maria Teresa. Roussillon was to remain French, while Catalonia was, so far as the French were concerned, to be abandoned to Philip. Artois was surrendered to Louis XIV. The battle had been fought to the bitter end, and Spain's impotence was patent to the world.

Philip's natural indolence had soon overcome his resolve to be his own minister. Don Luis de Haro, his new favourite, was less corrupt and greedy than his predecessors, for there was now little or nothing left to seize, and he was not without ability as a diplomatist ; but he had proved himself no match for Mazarin in negotiation, as at Elvas he had been no match for Meneses in the field. The principal honours of the peace were Haro's, however, and the joy of Spaniards at the treaty passed all bounds. Sacrifices were forgotten, for now for the first time for over forty years Spain was free from foreign war. Haro was made Duke of Carpio and Prince of the Peace ; the betrothal of the Infanta in Madrid to Marshal de Grammont as his King's proxy in the presence of sixty peers of France, surpassed all previous records of stateliness, and when in the following spring of 1660 the King and all his family and Court slowly travelled through desolated Castile to the French frontier, to give his daughter to the young King whose sun rose as that of Philip sank, the stiff magnificence of the ceremonial was the last great

manifestation of a defeated and dying system. Two thousand mules were needed to carry the baggage, with seventy caparisoned horses and nine hundred saddle mules ; seventy state coaches carried the nobles, and eighteen horse litters were devoted to the ladies who followed the Infanta. Velvets, brocades, cloth of bullion, and cunning goldsmiths' work, gloves, perfumes and laces, such as only Spain could produce, burdened seventy-five sumpter mules, for the use of the future Queen of France ; but when the Infanta had been surrendered on the historic islet of Pheasants, in the Bidassoa, and Philip and his host of courtiers wended their way homeward, their dark doublets and stiff golillas had grown old-fashioned in their eyes, and the lank hair clear of their projecting collars seemed antiquated and uncouth, by the side of the frizzled curls and piled periwigs of the French nobles and the elegance of their wide-skirted coats of embroidered brocade and their dainty lace cravats.

The war in Catalonia had continued; but, with the capture of Tortosa by Philip's troops in 1650, and the capitulation of Barcelona, after a terrible siege of fifteen months, in October, 1652, the revolt so far as the Catalans themselves were concerned was practically at an end. The French, however, had fought on in the north of the province against Don Juan and Mortara, Philip's best general ; but with the Peace of the Pyrenees this war also ended, to the content even of the Catalans, who were heartily tired of war and of their French masters. In the attempts to recover Portugal Philip had been more unfortunate. In 1658 the Spanish frontier stronghold of Badajoz was closely beleaguered by the Portuguese, and a desperate effort was made to relieve it by the favourite, Haro. His approach caused the Portuguese to abandon the siege and recross the frontier, whither Haro followed them, only to be routed ignominiously at Elvas in January, 1659, and himself to join in the panic-stricken sauve qui peut which ensued. But with the pacification of Catalonia and the Peace of the Pyrenees Philip was able to make a serious attempt to reconquer his lost kingdom. Early in 1661 Don Juan, with 20,000 men, crossed the border from Estremadura, while another Spanish force somewhat smaller invaded Portugal from the north. The Portuguese troops, with an English auxiliary force under Schomberg, though fewer than the Spanish, succeeded in holding Don Juan at bay ; and in Madrid Haro, as Don Juan said through jealousy, refused or neglected to send the reinforcements which the Prince demanded. The civil dissensions in Portugal enabled Don Juan in 1662-3 to overrun the Alemtejo ; but in June, 1663, Schomberg met the Spaniards near Evora, which they had captured, and utterly routed them with terrible loss, in spite of Don Juan's gallantry. But still the surrender of Portugal was too bitter a humiliation for Philip to accept, and the war dragged on. Don Juan was recalled, for there were new currents against him in Madrid now, though Haro was dead ; and Count Caracena with a fresh

army attacked Villa Viçosa. Marialva and Schomberg, with superior strength, came to the rescue, and were met by Caracena in June, 1665. After eight hours of hand-to-hand struggle the Spaniards suffered a crushing disaster, losing all their guns and two-thirds of their men. It was the last effort. Philip could do no more ; and, though he never formally recognised the independence of Portugal, even this humiliation was inevitable for his successor.

Spain had in Philip's reign not lost so much in actual territory-for with the exception of Portugal, Roussillon, and Artois, her possessions had remained practically intact after forty years of war-as in prestige, in initiative, and, above all, in her belief in herself. The disillusionment that had crept over the King had equally paralysed his people, and from similar causes. Pride alone was now the sustaining power, not, as it had been, a fervent faith in personal and national selection. This pride, which upheld inflated pretensions without the power to enforce them, fostered the love of sulky magnificence which was the note of the reign, together with the scorn of labour. Of this tendency idle display without gaiety, which in Philip's time had become a perfect craze, was a natural consequence ; and the social decadence and decline of morality, side by side with abject devotion, which characterised both the monarch and his people, were the inevitable outcome of a conviction that Spain was now selected for special suffering. Religion had little to do with the conduct of daily life. Sins constantly repeated were constantly repented in sackcloth and ashes. The agonising remorse of the King for the frivolities and immoralities into which his weakness betrayed him, did not deter him from again falling at the next temptation ; and there is ample reason for believing that the majority of his people viewed their moral and social transgressions as he viewed his own.

Like some other stages of the history of Spain, this period of rapid declension in sincerity and endeavour coincided with one of great brilliancy in literature and art. Philip's new pleasure palace of Buen Retiro in Madrid, built for him by Olivares as a place where royal state might be somewhat relaxed from the grim austerity of the Alcazar, was a centre of culture, wit, and poesy, where, in a dilettante society round a dilettante King, every courtier who could spin a verse or coin an epigram was sure of a hearing. The Spanish stage was never so brilliant or so fashionable as it was when Philip reigned. It was a time when Lope de Vega, Calderon, Tirso de Molina, Montalban, and Moreto, were bewitching Spain and providing plots which were later, in French garb, to pervade the theatres of the world. Philip and his first wife were constant patrons of the two theatres of the capital-the inner courtyards of houses, in which the rooms looking upon the enclosed space served as private boxes, whilst the ground accommodated the mass of spectators. Philip's love for comedies extended to comedians. His infidelities with

actresses were public, and set the fashion for his courtiers, with the consequence that brawls and assassinations in and after stage performances were common. In the Buen Retiro itself play-acting and literary contests constantly went on, in which the royal family took part ; and it was said the King himself wrote plays under the pseudonym of Un ingénia de esta Corte for representation upon his own stage. Nor was the drama the only form of literature fashionable. Quevedo was a privileged genius who could, and did, write scathing and witty satires, but was for many years in high favour with Philip. Vêlez de Guevara and a dozen smaller men were penning stories filled with malicious humour reflecting the foibles of the decadent society, portrayed for us to the life in El Gran Tacano, and El Diablo Cojuelo ; and, at second hand, in Gil Blas de Santillana and The Bachelor of Salamanca. With such a King and such a Court, alike saturated with literary preciosity, it is not surprising that idlers and adventurers of all sorts should have aimed at advancement by the writing of eccentric satires in prose and verse; and that failing of success in their efforts, many lived by their wits as best they might, cheating, swindling, and cozening.

That such was the case in Madrid is recorded by every visitor at the time. The main amusement of the people was the dull, aimless parading in carriages up and down the Calle Mayor in the winter and the riverbed in summer. Where the rich crowded the birds of prey gathered. In vain laws were passed forbidding the ostentatious riding in coaches, except with strict limitations ; in vain decrees were published prohibiting women from dressing outrageously, and covering their faces in the streets ; the parade, where nobles and thieves jostled with masked women, continued unchecked to the scandal of all. Spanish women, from being retiring and modest, as in a semi-oriental country, became shamefully free ; and at the end of the reign of Philip IV, in spite of all regulations and penalties, there were said to be 30,000 professional prostitutes in Madrid ; and no woman took offence at being accosted by strangers in the street. The two playhouses were constantly crowded in the daytime with artisans ; and even working people wore swords and imitated the dress and demeanour of gentlemen. Snuff-taking and the wearing of large black-rimmed goggles were the fashion, as savouring of literature ; and everywhere was pretence, affectation, sloth, and debauchery. The streets of the capitals were filthy beyond belief. There was no attempt at drainage of any sort, the garbage and refuse being simply cast into the roadways to rot and fester.

Amidst this unpromising environment wit, fancy, and art flourished with an over-florid luxuriance which portended decay. Not only was Philip the great patron of poetry and the drama, but also a discriminating lover of pictorial art. Madrid in his day was the acknowledged emporium of rare and beautiful objects in all the arts. Philip's nobles vied with himself in the collections of art treasures from Italy, Germany,

France, and Flanders ; and, thanks to the patronage of the King, Spain developed in his day two schools of painting which have retained the despairing admiration of art-lovers to the present day. When the Prince of Wales visited Madrid, "he collected with remarkable zeal all the paintings that could be had, valuing and paying for them at excessive prices," and he and Philip in their presents to each other included some precious gems of art. When the Commonwealth sold King Charles1 pictures, Philip, through his agents in London, hastened to buy some of the best of them, which may still be seen at Madrid. But it was not only as a collector of paintings that Philip shone. His friendship and patronage throughout his life to one of the great artists of the world, Velasquez, encouraged the development of the master's genius from the severe early paintings inspired by Pacheco and Greco, through the opulent freedom of Rubens' influence and that of the great Italians, to the full perfection of the School of Madrid, of which Velasquez was the supreme exponent. A sovereign who fostered the art of Velasquez and Zurbaran, of Murillo and Ribera, and who by his liberal patronage and admiration led to the creation of the finest works of the Schools of Madrid and Seville, has some claim to the gratitude of mankind.

So long as his son Baltasar had lived Philip had resisted all suggestions that he should marry a second wife, but the death of his heir left no Spanish male successor to the throne ; and, at the suggestion of the Emperor, Philip in 1649 married his niece Mariana of Austria. She was a girl hardly over fifteen, eager for pleasure and overflowing with life, but scheming and self-seeking from the first. To the heavy, lethargic, disillusioned man whom she married she could bring neither solace nor counsel ; but she bore a son to him seven years after the marriage, who promised at least to secure the succession. The child, however, died at the age of four in 1661, and again the bereaved father was plunged in despair, convinced, " that it is because I have grievously offended God that He sends me these punishments for my sins." But soon another son, Charles, came to console him. The astrologers and saintly seers predicted for the child a happy, glorious life ; for the omens combined in his favour. Alas ! they were all wrong ; for he was well-nigh a monstrosity in his degeneracy, and consummated the ruin of his country before he died of senile decay at the age of forty. With this poor weakling as his heir Philip's prospects in his last days were darkened. His stolid pride of place forbade, as it had done all his life, an open demonstration of his grief. But the dull earthy face grew ever more despairing, and his melancholy more profound. The rumour ran that the King was bewitched, and the Inquisition was busy persecuting the poor wretches who were supposed to have cast the spell upon him. The witchery that was killing him was bodily decay and spiritual depression. " I want no more health, or anything else, than shall be for God's service," he wrote in the last year of his life, " only

that His holy will be executed upon me." In September, 1665, six months after this was written, he fell gravely ill. The first step taken to aid him was a curious one. The Inquisitor-General and the King's confessor approached his bed and asked to be shown a small bag of sacred relics he wore. After the contents had been inspected the bag was restored, and the ecclesiastics then went to the church of Atocha and burnt "an old black-letter book of witchcraft, some printed portraits of his Majesty stuck through with pins, and other things.11 This having been done, medical remedies were resorted to, but with as little effect. Already the Court was divided into two jarring factions, that of the Queen and that of Don Juan of Austria ; and of Philip " the Great " on his death-bed small heed was taken ; for each faction was looking for its rising sun. So little decency, indeed, was observed that the rival ecclesiastics wrangled noisily over the death-bed, until they were expelled from the chamber. On September 17, 1665, just before dawn, Philip breathed his last ; and for the man who had been flattered as a demi-god all his life few tears were shed by the courtiers whom he had loaded with honours. The corpse of Philip, theatrical to the last, with painted hands and face, and in the rich garments he wore in life, lay under a canopy of state, " in the great room in his palace at Madrid where they used to act plays (tm) ; whilst Mariana, mistress of Spain in right of the semi-imbecile now called King, triumphed over Don Juan, whom his father had angrily refused to see on his death-bed. The evils that had ruined Spain had originated long before Philip IV was born, and only a hero and a genius could have averted the catastrophe of the country. Philip was neither. He was only an overburdened, indolent man, with vicious tastes, a weak will, and a tender conscience. To this combination was due the descent of Spain like an avalanche, bearing with it to despairing extinction the last degenerate scion of the Spanish Habsburgs and the splendid inheritance of the Emperor Charles V.