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Medina Coli resigned his post, in order to free himself from the increasing clamour of the peos ple: but this resignation had no visible effect upon public affairs. The French monarch, under pretence of obtaining an equivalent for the county of Alost, took possession of Courtray and Dixmude; and the Spaniards were consequently driven to the necessity of declaring war: but, as none of their allies chose to provoke the ven-> geance of the powerful aggressor, their exertions, proved entirely fruitless, and they were soon obliged to conclude a truce for twenty years, upon very disadvantageous terms.
The dishonourable termination of this A.D.
war induced his catholic majesty to be1684,
gin a thorough reformation in the affairs, of his kingdom. Accordingly, many foreign commodities were prohibited, in order to correct luxury ; some unpopular taxes were repealed; many supernumerary offices were suppressed; and some vigorous exertions were made for the formation of a confederacy which might curb the overgrown power of France. Still, however, the nation resounded with murmurs and loud complaints ; and the court was harassed by the intrigues of the queen dowager, who rendered the life of her daughter-in-law, completely misetable, and acted towards her, upon various occasions, with savage brutality; interdicting her from attending upon her husband when his ill. health required her assiduities, and depriving her as much as possible of the king's company. and affection. The young queen died on the 12th of February, not without suspicion of poi.. son ; and on the 15th of June following, his majesty espoused the princess Mary Ann, daughter
of the elector Palatine, and sister to the reigning empress. In consequence of a violation of the
A.D. late truce on the part of Louis XIV. all
1689. commerce was prohibited both in Spain and the Low Countries; and all French effects were seized by an express order from Madrid. The duke de Noailles took the field early on the side of Rousillon, and made himself master of Campredon: but he was so warmly attacked by the duke de Vilhahermosa, that he was compelled to evacuate his new conquest. The Spaniards continued to press the enemy during the remainder of the campaign, and levied some heavy contributions in Rousillon; and in Flanders the French troops were repulsed in some attempts which they made upon four places belonging to his catholic majesty. In Barbary, however, the Spanish arms were attended with less suca. cess ; for the emperor of Morocco made him. self master of Laroche, obliged the garrison to surrender at discretion, and threw most of them into a dungeon.
A message from the new pope, Alexander VIII, exhorting the king to peace, occasioned one of the best written answers that ever issued from the court of Madrid. All the insults which Spain had received from the French monarch were strongly set forth; his holiness was reminded that it was become absolutely necessary, for the safety of Christendom, to circumscribe an exorbitant power which had, upon various occasions, injured and oppressed all the states of Europe ; and that the present war was perfectly consistent with the duties of Christian princes, bound to protect their subjects against a potèn
tate who, in open defiance of justice, had so fre. quently violated the most solemn treaties.
Shortly after the publication of this A.D.
manifesto, the duke of Vilahermosa com1691.
pelled the enemy to retire from Catalonia; the Spanish fleet ravaged the maritime parts of the country near Perpignan; and France perceived, with sensible chagrin, that she was no longer able to make those impressions which had formerly rendered her so formidable to her nieiglibours. About the same time a plate fleet arrived safely at Cadiz, with thirty millions on board, which enabled his majesty to make some . necessary remittances into Italy and the Low Countries. In the month of September, Charles was seized with so violent an indisposition, that his death was generally expected, and the grandees began freely to canvass the succession; some proposing to send for the young archduke, and others insinuating the propriety of adopting the second son of the dauphin. But the king's recovery put an end, for the present, to these intrigues, and the public attention was chiefly turned to the
of the war. The coasts of Spain seemed to have suffered materially, during this campaign, from the exertions of the French admiral, marshal d'Etrees; marshal Noailles made an irruption into the kingdom of Arragon; and the reduction of Mons in Flanders, overwhelmed the Spanish ministry with terror and amazement. The loss of Mons, however, produced a very good effect; for his catholic majesty resolved immediately to detach, in some nieasure, these distant domitions from his crown. Accordingly, letters patent were dispatched to his serene highness the
elector of Bavaria, declaring him hereditary governor of the Low Countries, with much greater powers than had been granted to the archduke Leopold, or to Don Juan of Austria.
Whilst the war was carried on with pretty equal success, the Spaniards were universally elated by a rumour of the queen's pregnancy: but this was discovered to be fallacious, and the intrigues for the settlement of the succession were renewed with greater vigor than ever. The queen and the count de Oropesa urged his majesty to decide in favour of the electoral prince of Bavaria ; but the cardinals Cordova and Portocarrero, with several great politicians, declared in behalf of the emperor's second son. This contention was extremely unpleasant to the reigning prince, as seeming to anticipate the hour of his dissolution; and, except the imperial minister, none of the ambassadors could be persuaded to interfere upon such an occasion.
Marshal de Tourville, after hovering for a considerable time about the Spanish coast, appeared before Roses, in Catalonia, and commenced a bombardment, which soon obliged the governor to capitulate. In the course of the same month, he surprised the Smyrna fleet, between Lagos and Cadiz, destroyed four men of war, and either captured or burnt eighty Dutch and Eng. lish ships richly laden. About this time, also, his catholic majesty received intelligence of the - loss of Charleroi, which had been defended by the marquis of Castile, with a garrison of four thousand five hundred men.
Notwithstanding these heavy misfortunes, Charles steadily rejected all the overtures of the French monarch, and resolved to prosecute the
war with unabated vigor ; but, on the duke of Savoy's making a separate peace, and in conse quence of the reduction of Barcelona, Ath; and Carthagena, he was compelled to accept of suchd terms as his allies deemed reasonable, Accord-4 ingly, a treaty was signed at the castle of Rys- 1 wick, by which most of the recent conquests; were mutually restored.
As Charles had the double mortificazmi A.D. 1698.
tion of seeing himself without offspring,
and hearing his courtiers perpetually clamouring respecting thesuccession, he, atlength, resolved to make a will in favor of the electoral * prince of Bavaria, which was strictly consonant: 4 with the disposition of his father, Philip IV. and with the renunciations upon which that disposition was founded : but the young prince, whom a he had destined for his successor, died soon"> after this arrangement; and the court of Madrid was again involved in intrigue and perplexity,
In the spring of 1699, his catholic majesty » went to visit the tombs of his ancestors at the Escurial, and ordered the coffins of his mother) and first. queen to be opened. Of the former, noe in thing was perfect but one hand, which the kingd kissed and bathed with tears : but the latter re- 10 mained entire, and even the colour of the face was unchanged; a circumstance which surprised -the royal visitor so much, that he immediately retired. This incident occasioned various speculations: but it seems that Philip IV. had done the same in the year 1655; and it was then ob-ki served, that the body of Charles V. appeared more fresh than that of his otvn queen Elizabeth, ?-? who died but nine years before,