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tensive as his; yet he may be said to do quite as much as his weak body can endure. Petitions and reports, as they come in, he reads himself, receives them often into his own hand, and listens with great attention to everything which is said to him. While doing so he commonly avoids looking the speaker in the face, but casts his eyes to the ground, or turns them towards some other quarter. He answers quickly and shortly, point by point, but nevertheless does not decide for himself. . . . . He makes a point of having always skilful and experienced men in office; but he is more suspicious of their fidelity than is seemly. He has no aptitude for warlike affairs, and has given himself no trouble to acquire any skill in them. In bodily exercises, tilts and tourneys, he has practised himself, more because the world and his subjects demanded it of him than out of any inclination of his own. With respect to finance, the means of procuring money, and spending it judiciously towards a purpose, he is wanting in necessary knowledge. He loves the sciences, reads history, understands geography pretty well, and something of painting and sculpture, in which arts he makes at times attempts of his own. He speaks Latin well, understands Italian and some French. In usual practice he speaks Spanish, but speaks not much at any time. Altogether he is a prince in whom one finds much to be praised!'-vol. i. pp. 94-97.
We do not quite perceive in this account the premises on which its conclusion is founded.
On the mysterious history of the Infante Don Carlos, the despatches cited in these volumes, especially those of Badoero, afford details of the highest interest. In conformity with that general principle of curiosity, which makes personal scandal a far more attractive subject of discussion than the most important events of a public nature-the same which makes delicate investigations and adjustments of private quarrels, according to the code of political honour, run away with half the time of a session of parliamentthis episode in the life of Philip, unimportant in its effects and probably no less so in its causes, fixes the attention of more readers than all the varied fortunes of his long and eventful reign. And the various interpretations which have been put upon it form a curious illustration of the spirit of the successive periods of historical credulity and historical scepticism. It is scarcely worth while to allude to the fanciful theories first originated by French writers, out of which Saint Real, Dumesnil, Schiller, and Lord John Russell travestied the unfortunate prince into a hero of liberalism, while Otway and Alfieri as gratuitously turned him into a chivalrous lover. But it is singular that the German literati of our time should have so completely taken the opposite direction, as not only to reject the impossible story of the loves of Carlos and Isabella, but to throw entire discredit on the main event of the tragedy-the death of the son by the order of the father.
Ranke,' says von Raumer, has, in his treatise on the affair of Don Carlos, as acute as it is circumstantial, struck into the only right path to the elucidation of that mysterious passage of history.' And, in corroboration of the views of this distinguished historian, he lays down the following assumptions, as proved or highly probable :
1. Carlos had, from the beginning, a weak bodily and an illconditioned intellectual constitution. The last failing was exalted by a temperament passionate to phrenzy, though lucid intervals and moments of compunction undoubtedly occurred. 2. In the times of his greatest excitement, the hate which he unquestionably bore his father may have originated thoughts and expressions which had reference to the death of the latter. We can scarcely, however, here pronounce how far rational design, sense, and moral responsibility existed in this part of the transaction. 3. In every case Carlos was incapable of governing; and there was good ground for strict supervision of him. 4. He and the queen both died natural deaths, and not the slightest love-affair ever took place between them.'
The treatise of Ranke, to which reference is here made, is contained in the Jahrbuch der Litteratur' (Vienna) for 1829; and is, it must be confessed, a model of temperate and sagacious investigation. To hazard any reasoning against the conclusions of two authors, no less distinguished for truly German industry than for a judgment and discrimination by no means so common among their countrymen, may seem, in the absence of all direct evidence, an unprofitable waste of labour. Most undoubtedly they have succeeded so far as to show on how very slight, or rather absolutely worthless, grounds the positive charges against Philip rest. And yet, we cannot quite acquiesce in their further position, that the natural death of the prince admits of no doubt. It is not because suspicions of foul play were, in those days, indiscriminately raised on the death of every distinguished personage, that we are, therefore, to discard at once all such surmises as unfounded. Not only does their constant recurrence afford strong cause for supposing that there were occasionally good grounds for them; it also, in accordance with a law very generally impressed on human nature, predisposed the minds of those who were thus continually haunted with the idea, to the perpetration of the act. These very jealousies engendered a recklessness of human life; and when every person of rank knew or imagined that his own life was exposed to such unseen dangers, it was with less reluctance that he contemplated the use of similar means to serve his own purposes of fear or revenge.
There are,' says Ranke, 'two opinions respecting the death of Don Carlos; the one which may be called orthodox, resting on the decla
rations of Philip himself, and supported by the Spanish writers, (with the exception of Llorente, who had a particular object in view,) according to which the confinement of the prince was a necessary restraint, justified by the deranged state of his mind—and his death was produced by natural causes-by the action of his perturbed imagination on a diseased body, by his own irregularities in diet, &c., possibly aided by the effects of that restraint on his chafed and excitable temper. The other was taken up, wholly without direct evidence, by foreign writers, possessed by the general European jealousy against Spain and her monarch, and may be designated as heterodox or apocryphal. This opinion attributed the arrest of the prince to religious or political animosities, his death to the secret orders of his father. To this theory, in later times, (and chiefly on Brantôme's worthless authority,) was added the romance of his amour with Isabella.'
In examining the probabilities of this mysterious case, the most obvious question which suggests itself is, was the prince actually either mad or foolish? For, notwithstanding the delicate gradations by which we pass from reason to unreason, there is, for practical purposes, a point at which soundness of mind ends, and insanity or idiotcy begins. This is a very important consideration; for were the prince actually insane or imbecile to that degree that his state must have been obvious or capable of easy proof, (as Raumer inclines to believe,) no danger could then arise to Philip from him; there could be no reason against his treatment as a person under restraint, with all due tenderness for so distressing a malady; and the unreasonableness, as well as in that case atrocious cruelty of the imputed act, would appear in so strong a light, that even were there direct evidence against Philip, as there is none, it would be scarcely possible to believe him guilty.
But if, on the other hand, Carlos, although weak, wild, and distempered in mind and body, yet possessed sense and power of action enough to conduct himself under ordinary circumstances; if he nourished a malignant but not wholly ungrounded hatred against his father; if all restraint, moral and religious, as well as positive, irritated his susceptible temper, and provoked him to fierce extremes; if, in short, standing in the position of heir to the throne, he had just those qualities and dispositions which would render him the rallying point of all discontented spirits; the instrument of all the conspirators of Spain, the Netherlands, and Italy; if he had shown evidence of a disposition to go to any extremities in order to escape from paternal control, and this in a manner, although not sagacious or cautious, yet by no means irrational; then not only is the unreasonableness of the act removed, but strong temptation to commit it may clearly be supposed. In this case he was not harmless, but highly dangerous;
and very few steps-those which divide incapacity from the lowest degree of reason-are sufficient to make this weighty difference. And we cannot but think, (as Ranke also supposes, although maintaining the innocence of Philip,) that this is the right solution of the prince's peculiarities. Amidst all his impatience of interference and government-all the extravagancies which he committed -and all the excesses, truly or falsely reported by Spanish writers concerning him-in all his unnatural hatred against his father and his father's councillors- -we cannot find any distinct trace of mental hallucination, still less of idiotcy. In the documents now first brought to light by Raumer, therefore, we have searched with attention for the solution of two questions; first, what was the impression as to his sanity produced on eye-witnesses, before the tragic part of his history began ?-secondly, was the conduct of his father towards him that which would be adopted towards a relative afflicted with the loss of reason, or towards a dangerous, and in some degree a hostile prisoner? Lastly, we have looked in them for circumstances which might more directly throw light on the manner of his decease. And with these views we shall hope for the patience of our readers in discussing them a little more at length.
The earliest accounts of the prince are from the pen of the Venetian envoy, Badoero, in the first years of the reign of Philip. They represent him as wayward and irritable in temper, as well as feeble in intellect; but there is nothing which seems to indicate constitutional incapacity. In 1557 he writes:
The prince is twelve years old, and of a weak complexion. He has a head of a disproportioned bigness, black hair, and a fierce disposition. It is said of him, that when, in the chace, hares or other animals are brought to him, he takes delight in seeing them roasted alive.'
A peninsular prince of our own days is said, when young, to have taken great delight in shutting up a number of cats in a barrel full of holes, and cutting off every tail which was unlucky enough to present itself through any of these apertures. Nevertheless the same personage displayed, in the very difficult circumstances of his after life, no want either of intellect or resolution. Carlos's warlike propensities were very decided; and an anecdote, resembling those which are recounted of the boy Charles XII., represents him as chiding his grandfather, the great emperor, for flying from the elector Maurice. This anecdote, by the way, does not appear for the first time in Raumer's pages; it was quoted by Daru (Hist. de Venise, vol. vii.) from the original of Badoero's despatches.
In 1562 the prince met with that fall down the staircase at Alcala, which, after his death, was represented as having materially
affected his reason. This accident, which occurred in the pursuit of a very humble nymph about the palace, seems, unquestionably, to have given a shock to his bodily constitution; frequently-recurring illnesses, and slow recoveries, are mentioned in the letters of subsequent years. But with respect to his intellect, very different estimates are given by different observers.
'Many (says Granvelle in 1564-when Carlos was about nineteen) are pleased with him, others not. I think him modest, and inclined to employ himself, which, for the heir of such large dominions, is in the highest degree necessary and important.'
On the other hand, in the following February, a different writer expresses himself in these strong terms :
There is nothing to be made of Don Carlos. He believes everything that is said to him; if one were to tell him he was dead he would believe it.'
His melancholy and inactivity became more and more predominant as his youth advanced; and his temperament, headstrong and averse from all restraint whatever, was peculiarly unsuited to the solemn, pedantic, jealous etiquette of Madrid.
In 1566, when Carlos had attained the age of twenty-one, his enmity towards his father seems first to have become matter of notoriety. It is hopeless to penetrate the mystery of Philip's domestic policy; but it is certainly no improbable supposition, that one cause of the prince's anger was to be found in the proposal for his marriage with the queen's sister, instead of his cousin, the Austrian princess, who had previously been made the subject of negociation. He seems, from whatever motive, (not surely from that alleged by some biographers, the desire of becoming head of the Lutheran party in Germany,) to have set his heart on the latter arrangement, and to have been much chafed by the intrigues which impeded its fulfilment. He even professed a degree of romantic gallantry which certainly was little in keeping with his general character.
'As he was once driving in the park, with the queen and other ladies, in a carriage drawn by oxen, he was silent for a long time. The queen asked him where were his thoughts?-He answered, "More than two hundred miles away." "And where is the place so far off?" asked the queen.-"I am thinking of my cousin," he replied.
About the time when they were in doubt whether Philip or Aiva should go to the Netherlands, Carlos learned that the Cortes were about to propose that, during the king's absence, he, Carlos, should remain in Spain. He betook himself thereupon to their assembly, and told them, that whoever should vote for that proposal would be held by him as his deadly enemy;-equally so, whoever should be mad enough to propose, as they had done three years back, that he should