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ter of Alcantara, and three other persons of distinction, stripped the image of all the royal or: naments, and kicked it away from the throne, adding the most abusive and contumelious language. The infant Don Alphonso was then placed on the throne with all possible solemnity; all the prelates and nobles who were present did homage to him; the standards were displayed in his name; the trumpets sounded'; and the plain of Avila resounded with exclamations of « Castile! Castile! Long live the king, Don Alphonso of Castile and Leon!"
». After this extravagant act of rebellion, the archbishop of Toledo proposed marching, at the head of a numerous army, to crush the king at Salamanca: but the marquis de Villena started several objections against that motion, and
gave notice to Don Henry to be upon his guard. The archbishop was much displeased at his nephew's subsequent conduct; but Vil. lena contrived, by a master-stroke of policy, to reinstate himself in his good opinion. The king also recovered the favor of the confederates, by promising to give his sister to Don Pedro de Giron, Villena's brother; but whilst the preparations were making for the nuptials, the intended bridegroom was summoned to a future state, and Isabella rejoiced in her deliverance from such an unequal union.
Notwithstanding the death of Giron, the suspension of arms between the king and the malecontents continued; and he was at length reestablished on the throne by the demise of the young Alphonso, which, though extremely sudden, does not appear to have been occasioned by anfair means:
This accident was no sooner made public than the archbishop of Toledo and the grand master of St. James conducted the infanta, Donna Isą. bella, to Avila, and offered to place the crown upon her head; but she modestly decline their proposal, reminding them that the Castilian diadem was held from God by the laws, and observing that they would render her a more acceptable service by prevailing on the king to declare her presumptive heiress of his dominions. This intimation was received with the utmost applause; Henry was informed of his sister's loyal inclinations, and the succession was, soon afterward, altered in favor of Isabella.
The marriage of the royal heiress was now the chief object of consideration, as upon that must necessarily depend the lustre of the erown and the tranquillity of the nation. Don Juan, king of Arragon, earnestly desired to procure the princess for his son Don Ferdinand, whom he had recently invested with the sovereignty of Sicily; the king of Portugal sent an am. bassador to demand the infanta's hand; and a similar proposal arrived soon after from the duke of Berry. Isabella quickly fixed her choice, and, by the assistance of the archbishop of Toledo, was married to the king of Sicily at the cathedral of Valladolid. Don Henry was highly incensed at this measure, which had been taken without his privity; and expressed his resentment, soon after, by issuing out an edict which annalled the treaty of accommodation with Isabella, and declared the right of succession to be in the infanta Donna Juanna. By the advice of Villená, that princess was be. trothed to the duke de Berry, but he died be.
fore the nuptials could be celebrated : a new scheme was set on foot for marrying her to Don Henry, of Arragon; but this also was rendered abortive, and the marquis de Villena went in person to Portugal with the hope of effecting an union between Bertraneja and the sovereign of that kingdom.
Towards the close of 1473 a témporary reconciliation was effected between the king and his sister, and the king of Sicily was politely invited to Segovia ; but Villena soon inspired his master with fresh prejudices, and exerted his talents so successfully, that both the princess and her husband would have been arrested, if the former had not found an asylum in the citadel of Segovia, and the latter saved himself by a precipitate retreat.
The marquis de Villena exerted all his eloquence to accomplish his design with respect to Donna Joanna, and he, at length, brought the Portuguese monarch to promise that he would accept the proposal, if he could arrange affairs in such a manner as to afford any probability of success. Villena, however, was soon carried off by a disorder in the throat, and his death was quickly followed by that of his royal patron. Don Henry had been, for some time,
A. D. in a languishing state of health; and
1474. the appearance of his approaching dissolution induced his physicians to put him in mind of preparing to leave the world. Upon this intimation, cardinal Mendoza, the count de Benavente, and the young marquis de Villena, were summoned to court; where the king confessed and received the sacrament.
asked whom he had declared heir to his dominions, who were the executors of his will, and where he desired to be buried, he replied, that Donna Joanna was his sole heiress; that the executors whom he had chosen were cardinal Mendoza, the marquis de Villena, and the counts of Placentia and Benavente; and that he wished his remains to be deposited near those of his mother, in the convent of Guadalupe. The exertion which attended these observations threw him into an agony of body, and he expired, after a few hours, in the twentieth year of his reign.
Henry IV. surnamed the Impotent, is said, by the Spanish historians, to have been pious and religious; but his behaviour toward his father, his indolent disposition, and want of application, obscured his good qualities if he really possessed any. Though he does not seem to have been cruel by nature, he caused a dreadful effusion of blood by his indiscretion; and it must certainly be acknowledged, that if he wished to be a good king he made no effort to become so.
Upon the demise of this prince, the crowns of Castile and * Arragon were happily united in the persons of Ferdinand and Isabella, and all the
Arragon,' which was first erected into a kingdom by Don Sancho the Great in the year 1135, and continued under a regular succession of princes for the space of three hundred and thirty-nine years, was perpetually engaged in wars with the infidels, or in disputes with the crown of Castile, as appears in the preceding pages. However, it gradually acquired importance; and, at the time of Ferdinand's accession to the Castilian dominions, it was very considerable in point of territory, commerce, and maritime "Lower,
Christian principalities in Spain found them. selves under one sceptre, as will appear in the following chapter.
From the Union of the Spanish Kingdoms, to the Ab
dication of Charles I. commonly called the Emperor Charles 1.
A.D. was no sooner made public than
1474. Don Ferdinand and Donna Isabella were proclaimed, at Segovia, amidst loud acclamations; and the fidelity of their new subjects enabled them to defeat all the designs of their enemies. The marquis of Villena took every possible precaution for the security of the infanta Joanna ; the king of Portugal entered Castile at the head of an army, and assumed the titles to which he pretended in right of his betrothed wife; and the country began to languish under the horrors of a civil war; but Vila lena's policy was eventually confounded, the malecontents were reduced to obedience, and the Portuguese invaders were repulsed with considerable loss.
In the spring of 1478, Don Ferdinand was obliged, in consequence of his father's death, to make a tourintohis hereditary doni nions; and the weight of the Castilian government was entirely supported, during his absence, by Donna Isabella. That princess, however, acted with the utmost prudence and vigilance; and carried on VOL. XV. Y