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kingdoms. Awkward in his person, and ungainly in bis manners, he was ill qualified to coinmand respect: partial and undiscerning in his affections. he was little fitted to acquire general love. Of a feeble teinper, more than of a frugal judgroent; exposed to our ridi. cule from bis vanity, but exempt from our hatred by his freedom from pride and arrogance. And, upon the whole, it may be pronounced of his character, that all tiis qualities were sullied with weakness, and em. bellished by 'jumanity, Political courage he was cer, taioly devoid of; and from thence chiefly is derived the storog prejudice, which prevails against his per. sonal bravery ; an inference, however, which must be owned, from general experience, to be extremely tal, lacious.
Charles V. emperor of Germany, resigns his
dominions, and retires from the world.
This great emperor, in the plenitude of his power, and in possession of all the honours which can flatter the heart of man, took the extraordinary resolution, to resign his kingdoms; and to withdraw entirely from any concern in business or the affairs of this world, in order that he might spend the remainder of his days in retirement and solitude. Though it requires neither deep reflection, nor extraordinary discernment, to dis. cover that the state of royalty is not exempt from cares and disappointments ; though most of those who are exalted to a throne, find solicitude, and satiety, and disgust, to be their perpetual attendants, in that envi. ed pre-eminence; yet, to descend voluntarily from the supreme to a subordinate station, and to relinquish the possession of power in order to attain the enjoye meat of happiness, seems to be an effort too great for the human mind. Several instances, indeed, occur in history, ot monarchs who have quitted a tbrone, and have ended their days in retirement, But they were either weak prioc08, who took this resolution rashlys
and repented ot it as soon as it was taken ; or unfor. tunate priaces, from whose hands some strong rival had wrested their dreptre, and coin pelled thean to de. scend with reluctan e into a private station. Dio. clesian is perhaps, the only prince i apable of holding the reins of governinest, who ever resigned them from deliberate choice; and who continued, during wany years, to enjoy the tranquillity of retirement, without fetebing one penitent sigh, or casting back one look of desire, towards the power or dignity which he har abandoned.
No wonder, then, that Charles's resignation should fill all Europe with astonishment; and give rise, both ai ony his contemporaries, and among the historians of that period, to various conjectures concerning the motive which deterininod a prince, whose ruling passion had been uniforms the love of power, at the age of fifty-six, when objects of ambition operate with full force on the mind, and are pursued wito the greatest ardour, to take a resolution 80 singular and unexpected.
The emperor, in pursuance of his determination, having assembled the states of the Low Countries at Brussels, seated himself, for the last tiine, in the chair of state ; on one side of which was placed his son, and on the other, his sister the queen of Hungary, regent of ihe Netherlands, with a splendid retinue of ine grandees of Spain and prioces of the enpire standiog behind him. The president of the council of Flanders, by his command, explained, in a few words, his intention in calling this extraordinary meeting of ihe states. He then read the iostrument of resignation, by which Charles surrendered to his won Philip all his territories, jurisdiction, and authority in the Low Countries ; absolving his subjects there froin their oath of allegiance to him, which he required thein to transfer to Philip his lawtol 'heir; and to serve him with the same loyalty and zeal that they had mani. fested, during so long a course of years, in support of his governmeut.
Charles then rose from his seat, and leading on the phoulder of the Prince of Orange, because he was un
able to stand withoot support, he addressed himself to the audience; and, from a paper which he beld in his hand, in order to assist his memory, he recounted, with dignity, but without ostentation, all the great things which he had vadertaken ard perfors;ed, sicce the commencement of his ad omnistration. He observed, that from the seventeenth year of his age, he bad dedicated all his thoughts and attention to pub. lie objects,' reserviog oo portion of his time for the indulgence of his ease, and very little for the enjoy. ment of private pleasure ; that either in a pacific or hostile mapper, he had visited Germany nige times, Spain six times, France four times, Italy seven times, the Low Countries ten times, England twice, Africa as often, and had made eleven voyages by sea ; that while his health permitted him to discharge his duty, and the vigour of his constitution was equal, in any degree, to the arduous offire of governing dominions so extensive, he had never shunned labour, oor iepined under fatigue; that now, when his health was broken, and his vigour exhausted by the rage of an incurable distemper, his growing cofirmities admonished him to retire ; nor was he so fond of reigning, as to retain the sceptre in an impotent hand, which was no longer able to protect his subjects, or to render them happy; that instead of a sovereign, wora out with disease, and scarcely half alive, he gave them one in the prime of life, accustomed already to govern, aod who added to the vigour of youth, all the attention and sagacity of maturer years ; that is, during the course of a long administration, he had committed any material error in government, or if, under the pressure of so inany and great affairs, and amidst the attention which he had been obliged to give to them, he had either nege le: ted or injured any of his subjets, he pow implered their forgiveness ; that, for his part, he should ever retain a greattul sense of their fidelity and attachment, and would carry the remembrance of it along with bion to the place of his retreat, as his sweetest runsolation, as well as the best reward for all his services; and in his fast prayers to Almighty God, would pour forth bis ardent wishes for their welfare.
Then turning towards Paillip, who fell on his knees and kissed his father's band, “It," says he, “ I had let you, by my death, this rich inheritance, to which I have made such large additions, some regard would have been justly due to my memory on that account ; but now when I voluntarily resigo to you what I might have still retained, I maywell expect the warmest es. pressions of thanks on your part. With these, however, I dispense ; and shall consider your concern for the welfare of your subjects, and your love of them, as the best and most acceptable testimony of your gra. titude to one.
It is in your power, by a wise and vir. tuvus ad.nipistration, to justify the extraordinary proof which I give this day of my paternal affection, and to demonstrate that you are worthy of the confidence which I repose in you. Preserve an inviolable regard for religion ; maintain the Catholic faith in its purity; let the laws of your country he sacred in your eyes ; encroach not op the rights and privileges of your peo. ple ; and if the time shall ever come, when you shall wish to enjoy the tranquility of private life, ipay you have a son endowed with such qualities, that you can resigo your sceptre to niin, with as auch satisfaction as I give up ipine to you."
As soon as Charles had finished this long address to his subjects, and to their new sover-ign, he surik is to the chair, exhausted and ready to faint with fatigue of 80 extraordinary an effort. During bis discourse, the whole audience welted into tears ; some from ad mira. tion of his magnanimity ; othor's softened by the espressions of tenderness towards his son, and of love to his people ; and all were affected with the deepest sorrow, at loosing a sovereigy, who had distinguished the Netherlands, his native country, with particular marks of his regard and attachment,
The same subject continued. A FEW weeks after the resignation of the Nether laods, Charles, in an assembly no less splendid, and
with a ceremonial equally pompons, resigned to his son the crowns of Spaio, with all the territories depending ou thew, both in the old and in the new world." Of all these vast possessions, he reserved nothing for him. self, but an annual pension of a hundred thousand crowns, to defray the charges of his family, and to af. ford himn a small suo for acts of beneficence and charia ity:
Nothing now remained to detain him from that retreat for which he languished. Every thing having been prepared some time for his voyage, he set out for Zuitburgh in Zeland, where the feet had orders to rendezvous. In his way thither, he passed through Ghent : and after stopping there a few days, to indulge that tender and pleasing melancholy, which arises in the mind of eyery man in the decline of life, on visiting the place of his nativity, and viewing the scenes of objects familiar to bim io his early youth, he pur. sued his journey, accompanied by his son Philip, his daughter the arch-duchess, his sister the dowager queens of France and Hungary, Maximilian his son-ine law, and a numerous retinue of the Flemish pobility. Before he went on board, he dismissed them, with marks of attention and regard; and taking leave of Philip with all the tenderness of a father who embra. ced his son for the last time, he set sail under convoy of a large fleet of Spanish, Flemish, and English ships.
His voyage was prosperous and agreeable ; and he arrived at Laredo in Biscay, on the eleventh day after he left Zealand. As soon as he landed, he fell pros.' trate on the ground; and considering himself now as dead to the world, he kissed the earth, and said, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked I now return to thee, thou common mother of woan. kind.” From Laredo he proceeded to Valladolid. There he took a last and teoder leave of his two sisters; whom he would not permit to accompany hin to his solitude, though they entreated it with tears : Lot only that they might have the consolation of con. tributing, by their attendance and care, mitigate or to sooth his sufferings, but that they might reap instruction and benefit, by, joiniog with him in those