A History of Milan under the Sforza

By Cecilia M. Ady; Edward Armstrong | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
FRANCESCO II. -- LAST OF THE SFORZA (1515-1535)

ON 11th October, 1515, Francis I. entered Milan by the Porta Ticinese, clad in a suit of sky-blue velvet embroidered with golden lilies. The usual ceremonies were performed in the Duomo and all possible preparations were made to do honour to the new ruler of Milan. Nevertheless, the citizens must needs have welcomed the French King with heavy hearts. All the sacrifices which they had made to preserve the native dynasty had proved unavailing, and Milan was once more in the position which she had held three years earlier, save for a new tax of some hundred thousand ducats which Francis I. imposed to pay for the expenses of his campaign. Long experience made the citizens place small faith in the promises that there should be no such taxation in the future, and their scepticism was speedily justified. In the following year, forced loans to the extent of 200,000 ducats were raised to pay for the Peace of Fribourg. There seemed no limit to the burdens which Milan might be called upon to bear, and Prato gives expression to the general sense of despair when he exclaims: "Our rulers go from bad to worse, hence we must pray God to give Francis I. a long life".

In spite of the gloomy outlook, the inhabitants of Milan, with characteristic long-suffering and courage, prepared to make the best of the situation. Petitions were at once addressed to Francis I. which aimed at limiting the authority of the Lieutenant-General, at remedying some of the most flagrant abuses in civil and criminal jurisdiction and at preserving the liberties which the city had recently obtained from Massimi-

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