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Patronages et clientélismes 1550-1750 (France, Angleterre, Espagne, Italie)

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Roger Mettam
, 
Charles Giry-Deloison

II. Villes et provinces

Patricians and Governors in Spanish Milan of the Sixteenth Century: the case of Ferrante Gonzaga

Cesare Mozzarelli

Texte intégral

  • 1 Federico CHABOD, Lo Stato di Milano e l'impero di Carlo V, 1934 and 1955, now in Federico CHABOD, (...)

1In a famous passage in his Lo Stato e la vita religiosa a Milano nell'epoca di Carlo V1, written in the mid-1950s, Federico Chabod described "the strong opposition between offitio and gratia, between the qualifies of the official and the private" - of how there arose between "the two a distinct barrier, so that the latter could not be called upon where official matters were concerned", and how therein lay "the entire antithesis, moral and spiritual, that then separated the two conceptions of public life. Ranged against the governor, of old lineage, tied to his sovereign by the chivalric code of loyalty, convinced that he owed his office, his fortune, his honours, in a word his "recompense" to the "grace" of His Majesty who had rewarded his merits of military or diplomatic skill and of personal devotion by placing him in a certain sense above the common law and beyond the reach of lawyers with special duties but also with special rights, stood the administrators, jurists, financiers, men of good bourgeois stock but without feudal or chivalric traditions and accustomed to employment-and even more so the workers in offices, where brilliance was so much duller, where the "merits" of the individual escaped the notice of the sovereign, because merit was above all collective and anonymous and belonged to the office, and where the law, the judicial formula, the properly drafted document held sway and made all theoretically equal: these men felt that the office was already alien to them as private individuals, that it was a part of their life but not the whole of it. Office and salary not grace and reward; law and constitution not absolute power or personal conscience". This was already "the mentality of the modem bureaucracy", founded on the idea of office duty, "the moral basis on which rests the good functioning of the life of the State, the gears of its technico-administrative mechanisms".

2This, according to Chabod, was the mentality of the Milanese functionaries of the mid-sixteenth century which stood in antithesis to the mentality of the Governor Ferrante Gonzaga and of governors in general: the "personal-chivalric code" of Burgundian heritage or the "old forms of life" on one side of the divide, the impersonality of the nascent modem State on the other.

  • 2 Ibid., p. 179.

3However admirable Ferrante Gonzaga's behaviour might have been from a human point of view, for Chabod history was moving in another direction. Although he shows that in the independent duchy of Milan there had been a princely court where aristocracy and others "risen from below, bourgeoisie and populace" mixed as equals, he does so only to declare that this was "an atmosphere of levelling down... which removed any religious-chivalric feature from both the grace of the prince and the merits of his subject and instituted new relationships of dependence and of government"2.

4Thus the contrast remained between the Middle Ages as represented by chivalric Burgundy (and by the idea of the universal monarchy) and the modem age as represented by the Milanese offices and functionaries. Two non-communicating worlds, grounded in opposing principles, of which Chabod recounts their encounter and conflict in the Milan of Charles V by only alluding-though clearly-to the final outcome of the clash: the decadence of the Italian seicento, from which the Lombards and the Italians would emerge with the Risorgimento of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Two non-communicating worlds, I repeat. But was it really so? And are these categories (medieval and modem age, personal and impersonal relationships, empire and nation States) really explanatory of sixteenth-century Lombardy (and in general of the ancien régime)? Or does not this sharp dichotomy instead render the culture and the social and institutional dynamics of that age impossible to interpret? Finally, does not the implicit assumption of an opposition between new and old, and of a historical progression from an "early" modem age to one of the full affirmation of itself, first cancel out the specificity of the age that we call the ancien régime, and secondly impede us from understanding in anything but terms of corruption and moral decadence the existence-demonstrated by political scientists-of phenomena like clientage and patronage in our own age which, based as they are on medieval values, should progressively have disappeared with the rise of the modem values of the "modem State"?

  • 3 Apart from the essay cited above, see the Works now collected in Federico CHABOD, Storia di Milano (...)
  • 4 See, however note 9 and Maria José RODRIGUEZ SALGADO, The Changing Face of Empire. Charles V, Phil (...)

5Since Chabod3 almost nothing has been written on the political and institutional history of Milan in the sixteenth century, apart from some studies of the relationships between the Spanish government and archbishops - San Carlo Borromeo in particular4 My present contribution is therefore more of an outline of research to be done than a report on work already accomplished. Such research, however, is not just my own personal concern; the Centra Studio Europa delle Corti in conjunction with the Collegio Borromeo of Pavia organized an international conference in September 1991 on "Borromaic Lombardy and Spanish Lombardy" from Philip II to the Peace of the Pyrénées.

  • 5 Franco ARESE LUCINI, "Le supreme cariche del ducato di Milano", Archivio storico lombardo, 1970, t (...)
  • 6 On Ferrante, see Cesare MOZZARELLI, "I Gonzaga a Guastalla dalla cortigiama al principato e alla i (...)

6When in July 1554 Philip II became ruler of Milan and of the Spanish domains in Italy, Ferrante Gonzaga had only recently been removed from his office as governor. Four months previously he had left Milan to present himself at court, whence he had been summoned by the emperor to answer the accusations of misgovernment brought against him and to account for his lacklustre military campaign against the French in Piedmont. Ferrante had been governor for eight years: of the fifty-six men who held the office under various titles (for around three years on average) during the 171 years of the Spanish government of Lombardy, only four stayed in office as long as Ferrante, and only two (Terranova in the 1580s and Fuentes in the early 1600s) stayed longer5. Moreover, after Ferrante - apart from Cardinal Madruzzo (archbishop of Trento and governor of Milan in 1556-1557) and the more apparent than real exceptions (because of the relations between Genoa and Madrid) of Ambrogio Spinola Doria in 1629-1630 and two other interim appointees-no other Italian would achieve the office of governor. Very few men would arrive at that high station after gaining both political (Ferrante was first governor of Sicily) and military honours. And no other would rise from the rank of subject and courtier to that of prince, as Ferrante did by founding the small state and dynasty of the Gonzagas of Guastalla6.

7After Ferrante, therefore, Milan turned the page: not Italian but Spanish governors, not long terms of office but short-term appointments, not Milan as the centre of autonomous political action but the Lombardy duchy as merely one stage in a career through the high offices of the kingdom of Spain-or as a centre of primarily military importance and governed by soldiers like Fuentes. Was this change the outcome of the onset of the modem State and the advance of administrative rationality? No, it was not. It was the result of a change in Spanish political strategy, to which was consequent the defeat of Gonzaga in his clash with the Milanese elites. And this clash was precisely over the extent to which Spain could establish a network of patronage and clientage and define and co-ordinate the interests of various social and territorial groups to suit its purposes. Something that Ferrante was unable to do.

  • 7 Costantino BARONI, "Domenico Giunti architetto di don Ferrante Gonzaga e le sue opere in Milano", (...)
  • 8 The Milanese were against the project.

8Ferrante Gonzaga arrived in Milan after governor Del Vasto, and his government soon made its presence felt in the city with the introduction of a number of innovations. His predecessor had already moved the governor's offices from the castle to the ducal palace in the centre of the city, where they would remain; but Gonzaga set about refurbishing the palace and rebuilding its surroundings. In 1548 he demolished the ancient church of Santa Tecla to "open out a monumental zone of wide vistas in front of the Cathedral and the palace of the court"7. The year before, he had purchased a suburban villa which he planned to couvert into a residence similar to Palazzo Te (the suburban villa of the Gonzaga of Mantua built by Giulio Romano). For the work he summoned Leone Leoni, imperial architect and sculptor, who announced his intention to turn the villa into "a Rome" with the addition of numerous antique statues. Again following the example of his Mantuan forebears, Gonzaga favoured the Franciscans-of whose order he became procurator and protector in 1547 with the rank of apostolic bursar-and began construction work on the church and convent of Sant'Angelo, persuading the commander of Milan Castle, Don Giovanni De Luna, the high chancellor Francesco Taverna and the president of the senate Marco Barbavara (the highest office-holders of the State and, as we shall see, later his fiercest adversaries) to sit on the administrative board as fatriceri. Finally, he encircled the city with walls, a building project of such enormous proportions that it astonished his contemporaries and still puzzles historians as to his motives8 In effect, the undertaking made little military sense (as demonstrated by the fact that when the city was besieged its defenders always immediately abandoned the walls to their attackers and retreated into the castle), but it was politically sound. The civil population was more easily controlled now that their movements were circumscribed and their entry and exit from the city could be checked.

  • 9 On the senate and relations between local magistrates and royal offices, see Ugo PETRONIO, Il Sena (...)
  • 10 On a protest by the senators on this matter in 1551, see Cesare VIANELLO, "Feste, tornei, congiure (...)

9Gonzaga's construction and landscaping work shaped a city that emphasized the princely presence of its governor and clearly showed its imperial allegiance. And it should not be forgotten that the building of the walls and the reconstruction of the villa and the court palace were directly or indirectly paid by the city itself. Gonzaga behaved in similar manner in other areas. Unlike his predecessor, who left the senate and the State officers to their own devices and often affixed his signature to documents that he had not even bothered to read, Gonzaga interfered meticulously in every legislative measure and insisted on exercising all his powers to limit the governmental scope and activities of the Milanese offices, especially the senate-which under the Novae Constitutiones of 1541 had acquired extremely far-reaching powers, and in particular that of "ratification" or the approval or rejection of royal orders9, which he tried to circumvent by arrogating suits before the senate, or already decided by it, to the Secret Council10.

  • 11 Specific research on this census is needed. See, however, Gauro COPPOLA, "L'agricoltura di alcune (...)
  • 12 On Milanese public finance, see Giovanni VIGO, Finanza publica e pressione fiscale nello stato di (...)
  • 13 As Giovan Antonio NOVELLI wrote in his report of 1553, also remarking that Ferrante was net noted (...)

10Gonzaga also began a radical reorganization of the tax and financial System. Rather than continue with the wearisome and constant haggling with Milan and the other towns and provinces of the State over the payment of taxes-which had been allotted to them many decades previously on the basis of economic criteria that were no longer valid, and which therefore gave the Lombards greater scope for bargaining over payment with the governor and therefore with the emperor-he undertook a general census of the State; a project which had the principal purpose of limiting the privileges and tax exemptions of the city of Milan11. In financial matters, he entrusted the management of the public finances to non-Lombards: in particular to Tommaso Marino (whose palace is now the Milan City Hall, proof of the luxury and grandeur of his life-style), to Maona his secretary and to Ottoboni - derogatorily known as the "triumvirate" by the Milanese and accused of lining their pockets with the state's revenues12. We, of course, cannot judge as to the honesty of these men, although it is probably true that they (and Ferrante) followed the customary practice of the Milanese public institutions, which, according to the Venetian ambassador, were all more or less corrupt13. However, we can be reasonably sure of one thing: that the accusations made against them and against the governor were ultimately rooted in the political hostility aroused by Gonzaga and his style of governing against the Milanese instead of with them.

  • 14 As stated by an anonymous manuscript in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (which we shall return to later) (...)
  • 15 On Ferrante's concern to preserve personal control over senatorial nominations, see Federico CHABO (...)

11On the other hand, all the information in our possession shows that Ferrante pursued this policy by using men who depended directly on him, and who were mostly extraneous to the Milanese milieu. Maona, Ferrante's financial manager and his secretary ever since his service as governor of Sicily, was born in Pisa; and none of his other five secretaries was Milanese (three of them came from Gonzagan domains) and they "were all old and very comfortable". The general commissar of the field, Gonzaga's military vice-commander, was Sigismondo Fanzino, also from Mantua; "and he", again wrote the Venetian ambassador in 1553, "is esteemed and revered above all others, because His Excellency discusses everything with him, indeed, to put it better, he refers every matter to Fanzino, and he has so much faith in him that in the end he does neither more nor less than Fanzino proposes to him". Only one Milanese, and by now dead, Giovan Francesco della Somaglia, achieved the rank of commander of one of the five companies of Lombardy, together with two Spaniards, a Novarian (i.e. a provincial) from the ambitious house of Tornielli, and the Mantuan Alessandro Gonzaga. Also from Mantua was Count Camillo Castiglione, son of Baldassare Castiglione, for some time liege to Ferrante and in 1554 head of the Milanese civic administration as vicar of supplies, "against the universal wish of our city"14. Finally, from Brescia and in Ferrante's service, was Niccolò Secco, captain of justice in Milan. Ferrante tried without success to have another Mantuan, Battista Albrizio, appointed senator, to have a "person of great confidence, whom I can rely upon to inform me of all matters" in that tribunal. In the first months of Ferrante's governorship the first Spaniard entered the senate: Giovanni Varahona, also the first Spanish functionary in Lombardy. Moreover, it should be noted that during the eight years of Ferrante's governorship, out of eleven appointments to the senate (drawn from terns submitted to the supreme State council of Madrid) of senatori togati, that is, those in possession of degrees in iure and who therefore effectively took the decisions, five were not Milanese but came from other towns of the State which were constantly at loggerheads with Milan, and especially so in those years of the census. Neither, one notes, were the four ecclesiastical senators appointed in 1552 from Milan, although they counted for very little. More significantly, among the "soldier" senators - who also had limited effective power but who were chosen from the highest families of Milan and Lombardy - figures the name of Gonzaga's Financial manager Tommaso Marino! Ferrante's strategy therefore also emerges quite clearly from his senatorial nominations15.

  • 16 See the instruction of Emanuele Filiberto to his envoy of 1554 to Philip in England, in Arturo SEG (...)
  • 17 Quote from the manuscript published by Cesare VIANELLO, op. cit., p. 398.

12In confirmation of our argument so far, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana contains an allegorical description of a jousting match imagined by its writer as being fought in Milan in 1553. Under a picture of the tournament lists, the writer describes the encounter between Ferrante Gonzaga and his adversaries, arbitrated by two imperial commissars who had come to Milan in that year to investigate the accusations against the governor. Although perhaps not wholly reliable as to names, the allegory shows Ferrante surrounded by his secretaries and by men like Fanzino and Secco, but backed by only a handful of Milanese - the most illustrious of whom, Medici da Marignano, had already quarrelled with the Spaniards (in fact, Giangiacomo Medici, Charles Vs general, had been imprisoned for a year by governor Del Vasto in 1536). Even fewer Spaniards are depicted as giving support to Ferrante in his jousting match, whereas "most of the senate", the high chancellor Francesco Taverna, the heads of the magistracies, the Spanish commander of Milan (the above-mentioned De Luna), and the Spanish functionaries are all listed among his adversaries, and with them at court Granvelle (the son) and Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, then in the service of Spain and hoping to take Ferrante's place in Milan16. Not dissimilar is the assessment of a later account written for the Duke of Terranova, appointed governor of the State in 1582. Here Gonzaga's downfall, apart from the disloyalty of his followers (it seems that Camillo Castiglione joined his adversaries), is attributed to the manifest lack of support ("overt contumacy") for him among the royal ministers in Milan, the hostility of the senate, the "little love for him among men of war principally of the Spanish nation"17 If we add to this the fact that Ferrante established matrimonial ties with the nobility of the kingdom of Naples and of Rome (his daughter married a Colonna, he himself Isabella di Capua; two members of the Colonna family, one his son-in-law, were in 1553 the military commanders of two Neapolitan companies in Milan), and that only in 1560 (after his death) his son Cesare married a Borromeo, that Ferrante acquired feudal property in the kingdom of Naples and purchased seigniorial rights over Guastalla bordering on the duchy of Mantua, thus removing Guastalla itself from its subordination to Milan, and that his relationships were as close with Granvelle father as they were difficult with his son, we have the complete picture of the network of patronage and clientage that Ferrante wove together; a picture confirmed in reverse by the quality and characteristics of his adversaries.

13Scion of a dynasty of modest territorial importance but of considerable cultural prestige and with broad relations in an Italy contested by France and Spain, Ferrante always acted in accord with his brother, Cardinal Ercole, regent of the Mantuan state and erstwhile president of the fïrst session of the Council of Trento, and always with the interest, profit and honour of himself and the house of Gonzaga in mind. Such honour and prestige he furnished in his own person and in his service which he paid to Charles V but bent to his own purposes. Prince by family, courtier by choice and by necessity, he offered himself as both servant and ally to the emperor. Not unlike his adversary Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, he served Charles V with a view to becoming prince and gaining the principate. But while Emanuele Filiberto would recover his possessions and achieve the prevalent status of ally after 1557 and the great victory of San Quintino, Ferrante had to devote the whole of his life to achieving similar social success (as prince and lord of his own independent State) by exploiting his clientary dependence on the emperor and his ability to serve the emperor's interests in any circumstances: as captain and as governor, in Sicily and in Milan, at court and in Flanders-where he died in 1557.

  • 18 Prior to the two well-known biographies by Alfonso ULLOA, Vita del... capitano don Ferrante Gonzag (...)

14Baldassare Castiglione, whom Ferrante had known personally as a young man at the court of Charles V, wrote in the book that would constitute the gospel and the manifesta of the culture of the ancien régime that the regula universalissima of every social relationship was grace and convenience, simulation and dissimulation, and explained carefully that there should consequently be a twoway conscious relationship between honour and profit, between prince and courtier. Guastalla, hardly mentioned in the three biographies of Ferrante written aliter his death on commission by his son, Duke Cesare, to keep him in favour with the Spaniards18, is shown by Ferrante's correspondence with his brother Ercole to have been in fact the centre of his interests, although it was never to be mentioned: emphasizing his role as prince would have made it impossible to maintain the relationship with Charles V as courtier, which was Ferrante's only hope of emulating Emanuele Filiberto (and, after him, his nephew Vespasiano, the founder of the duchy of Sabbioneta) by strengthening and confirming his princely status. For Ferrante's network of clientage and patronage did not countenance alliances with locals or compromises with minor Spanish functionaries. He had to be visible to the emperor in person (to whose rooms he had free access even when under investigation), and his personal network of favourites should not interfere with his relationship with Charles V. Indeed it was designed to promote it: using the Mantuans while supplying them-and indirectly the house of Gonzaga-with honours and advantages demonstrated the Gonzaga's loyalty to the emperor and the wish of Ferrante and his family to be unambiguously in imperial (more than Spanish) service. This was the message behind his avoidance of local relationships and his reliance on the service of his own servants, of his own personal clientele. Of course, such was the impression that the Gonzaga brothers sought to give the emperor; their "real" intentions lay elsewhere, as revealed by their correspondence and Ferrante's pursuit of princely status, which he always dissimulated. However, the outward impression is one of Ferrante surrounded by his numerous Mantuans, his followers of various provenance but with their common allegiance to him, and his scant relations with the elites of the lands he governed, both Sicily and Milan. And thus we have his unswerving dedication to the pursuit of the emperor’s interests; and thus, when the emperor's interests changed, and Spanish and royal ones prevailed, the decline of Ferrante's fortunes and the rise of another network of clientage and patronage were inevitable.

15In the 1550s, when the power struggle shifted to Flanders and Philip II ascended the throne, Italy was relegated to secondary importance, and Spanish dominion was no longer seriously challenged. The old Italian military commanders - who, like Ferrante, the Medici and the Colonnas before them (with whom, as we have seen, Ferrante’s family were now allied by marriage) had had a direct and Personal relationship with the emperor (when in 1555 at his leave-taking audience with Charles V Ferrante bade his farewell by saying they would not see each other in life again, the emperor wept), men who had helped the emperor to conquer Italy - these were replaced by others of different stamp. The new commanders not only established military rule over their regions and proudly imposed imperial power - and in the naine of the emperor, their own, as Ferrante did-they also built relationships with the local élites, drew them into the game of Spanish politics, and persuaded them that their interests and those of the sovereign were not antithetical but largely compatible. These new rulers were Spanish - for whom, therefore, the interests of the Habsburgs of Spain and their own family and non-official interests were essentially the same. Moreover, as Elliott wrote a number of years ago:

  • 19 John H. ELLIOTT, "A Provincial Aristocracy: the Catalan Ruling Class in the Sixteenth and Seventee (...)

In Catalonia, as in other parts of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe, the ruling class tended to assume a double role. On the one hand, it helped the crown to maintain the established order against possible upheaval from below; on the other, it sought to preserve, and, if possible, to extend, its rights and privileges against real or alleged encroachments by the crown - a process which it tended to identify with the preservation of the country at large from arbitrary royal government19.

  • 20 Camillo GIARDINA, "Il Supremo Consiglio d'Italia", Atti della Reale Accademia di scienze lettere e (...)
  • 21 See, however, Gianvittorio SIGNOROTTO, "Milano e la Lombardia sotto gli spagnoli", Storia della so (...)
  • 22 On the rise of the Milanese patriciate and its links with the crisis and demise of the independent (...)
  • 23 Sec Cesare MOZZARELLI, "Strutture sociali e formaziani statuali a Milano e Napoli tra 500 e 700”, (...)

16And this concordia discors between sovereign, Spanish nobility and Milanese inevitably spread through Lombardy and Spain's other Italian domains. As we have seen, Ferrante's enemies were the Spanish and the Milanese, and the joint campaign waged by these two groups in Milan against Ferrante during the early 1550s is first proof of the compatibility between their interests. In the latter years of the decade the creation of the Council of Italy set the seal on their general accord. The Italian dominions were now treated separately and no longer incorporated under the Council of Aragon; and for each of the three (Naples, Sicily and Milan) the council comprised a "Spanish regent" matched by a native from the dominion concerned20. We still lack any detailed study of the family and economic links that, in the late sixteenth century, bound the noble Milanese and Spanish families together (and, in the light of what we have seen of Chabod's dominant interpretation, it is not difficult to understand why the subject has been so little studied). However, the naturalization of the Spanish families in Milan who became part of the local patriciate - like the Ordogno Rosales or the Salazars-is proof of their existence21. For our purposes here-examination of the political form and importance of clientage and patronage in the Milan of the mid-sixteenth century - of greater interest is how the Milanese élites managed to define their relationship with a distant prince, for whom their city was only one of many in his domain. The interests of the prince and those of the city did not coincide even under the "native" dynasty of the Sforzas, although the broad participation of the Milanese in the government of the State and their importance to the duke guaranteed the almost automatic co-ordination of their mutual interests. The presence of the court in Milan rendered the city administration and urban pre-eminence of only relative importance to those who had direct access to the prince. When the court dissolved and with it the order of the independent principality, and when at the same time outsiders came to Milan to govern the city and the State, the local élites found themselves obliged to press their various sovereigns of the first half of the century to reward their loyalty by strengthening the city's institutional framework, by giving redefinition in terms of civic aristocracy - i.e. of the patriciate - to the local élite (of various origins: old nobles and feudal lords, ex-courtiers, merchants, jurists, etc.), and by granting a monopoly to the patriciate over public appointments22. The clash with Ferrante involved a Milanese, Taverna the high chancellor, and the senate allied with him. Yet after Taverna only one other Italian would hold what was the second highest office in the duchy. This ruled out any serious conflict between the governor and high chancellor, that is, between the political government and the financial and fiscal government of the region; but at the same time an effective Lombard majority was achieved in the senate, which was a collegiate rather than an individual body-and the same applied to the other magistracies. Of especial interest is the manner in which this arrangement came about as the result of a compromise with the Spanish. Certain offices were reserved for Spaniards, who were thus assigned a pre-established and limited role in the magistracy, while an instrument was created with which the patriciate that had arisen during the 1500s could control access by the Milanese to the magistracy and prevent the Spanish from choosing men loyal to themselves rather than to the city and to the patriciate itself. This was achieved by making access to the magistracy conditional on belonging to the city1 s college of jurists; a college which, in the second half of the sixteenth century, was open not to those endowed with doctrine or knowledge, but to these who had, besides the traditional requirements of the non-exercise of arte vile (vulgar trade) and of civil birth, the more exclusive qualifications of patrimony and matrimony-that is, those who could prove they had patrician rank, or qualified for it, by virtue of family background, ties and interests23.

  • 24 Felice CALVI, "Il gran Cancelliere Francesco Taverna conte di Landriano e il suo processo secondo (...)
  • 25 As reported in Francesco CAZZAMINI MUSSI, Milano durante la dominazione spagnola (1525-1706), Mila (...)
  • 26 Giorgio POLITI, Aristocrazia e potere politico nella Cremona di Filippo II, Milan, Sugarco, 1976, (...)

17Although banished from Milan, Ferrante was able to take revenge on his enemies by having Taverna imprisoned for three years on a trumped-up charge24 and by forcing the Spanish commander who had opposed him into exile25. This he was able to do thanks to his remaining clientele network in Milan, and especially at court, where the clash between Ferrante and his enemies merged with the dispute between Charles and Philip over the future of the Spanish domains, as illustrated by Rodriguez Salgado. After Ferrante, govemors could no longer take action against individuals. They were blocked by political bodies and the magistracies, who no longer represented the interests and clientele of individuals but those of a monolithic patrician order-which was, in fact, the best the Spanish could have asked for to be certain of the loyalty of the State. Although we cannot follow here the development of institutional relationships in the State of Milan for the whole of the ancien régime, we can generally agree with Giorgio Politi when he writes that the Lombard aristocracy quickly understood that they could not entirely ignore the presence of a royal power, "which they could not challenge overtly or stridently but which, they (the aristocracy) realized, was equally unable to challenge them openly and which really asked for nothing more than acknowledgement of its supremacy; for the rest, the noblemen (I would say more precisely the patriciate through the college of jurists and the magistracies) could act at their own discretion, as long as the taxes were paid and nothing too annoying happened in the dominion"26.

  • 27 Cited in Francesco CAZZAMINIMUSSI, op. cit., p. 23, note 6.

18Thus the clash with Ferrante had important consequences for the Milanese as well. And unlike the kingdom of Naples, where the Spanish were opposed by a feudal élite who saw every exercise of regal power as a diminution of their own-because both sides were, or thought they were, of the same princely quality - in the Milanese territory, neither under the Spanish nor under the Habsburgs of Austria were there, apart from occasional hunger riots, revolts or true conspiracies. The Venetian resident Vendramino Bianchi wrote in 1700, when Spanish power showed signs of its imminent collapse, that "the Milanese seem... preoccupied by the peril of passing under the command that they call tyranny, of a native prince, and of losing the freedom that they enjoy under the present rule"27 In other words, the public institutions were so tightly controlled by the family network of the patriciate and so conditioned by its bonds of clientage and patronage that by now all the nobility had to fear was a breakdown in the System of alliances and leagues between Milan and Madrid, and later between Milan and Vienna, to be deprived of the "freedom" that it enjoyed under the appearance of being subjected and dominated.

19The onset of the age of reform under Maria Teresa brought the situation that the Milanese feared, and it is worth looking at the policies pursued by Prince Pallavicini (apart from Eugenio di Savoia, who was hardly ever resident in Milan, the first Italian governor after Ferrante Gonzaga and like him in the exclusive service of the Empire's interests and his own - in the above sense - and personally extraneous to the traditional power groups of Milan and Vienna).

  • 28 See Mario ROMANI, "Gian Luca Pallavicini e le riforme economiche nello Stato di Milano", now in Ma (...)

20A new census (the one begun by Ferrante was still in force), new financial strategies, (i.e. new financial advisers), curtailment of the authority of the Milanese magistracies - these were the key policies of Pallavicini's rule28; policies, therefore, that were the same as Ferrante's and which led in 1755 to the abolition of the Council of Italy in Vienna-the continuation of the Madrid Council of Italy - and in following years to the crisis and collapse of the institutions of the Milanese patriciate, which now had to redefine its dominant status in terms of an élite based on landed property, competence and individual merit. And this is what the socalled Lombard illuministi like Verri and Beccaria achieved. Thus clientism and patronage did not disappear but lost their political legitimacy and institutional recognition.

21This is another story, however - a story of the new regime opposed in its principles to the old one. Suffice it here to have attempted to discredit the simplistic opposition between the medieval Ferrante and the modem Milanese of the mid-1500s, with all the consequences-which I leave to the reader to draw - that this has for study of the characteristics of the so-called Renaissance State, for interpretation of the early modem age, i.e. the ancien régime, and for analysis of the different features of European politics before and after the French Revolution.

Notes

1 Federico CHABOD, Lo Stato di Milano e l'impero di Carlo V, 1934 and 1955, now in Federico CHABOD, Lo Stato e la vita religiosa a Milano nell'epoca di Carlo V, Turin, Einaudi, 1971, p. 176.

2 Ibid., p. 179.

3 Apart from the essay cited above, see the Works now collected in Federico CHABOD, Storia di Milano nell'epoca di Carlo V, Turin, Einaudi, 1971 and Carlo V e il suo impero, Turin, Einaudi, 1985.

4 See, however note 9 and Maria José RODRIGUEZ SALGADO, The Changing Face of Empire. Charles V, Philip II and Habshurg Authority, 1551-1559, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1988, which provides an excellent overview, from the Habsburgian perspective, of the affairs of the Empire and the Spanish possessions (including Milan). However, it should be stressed that the Habsburgian and provincial perspectives cannot coincide, en account of the different scale used to measure the facts. Thus what is significant from one point of view is not always from the other.

5 Franco ARESE LUCINI, "Le supreme cariche del ducato di Milano", Archivio storico lombardo, 1970, t. XCVII, pp. 59-157.

6 On Ferrante, see Cesare MOZZARELLI, "I Gonzaga a Guastalla dalla cortigiama al principato e alla istituzicne di una città conveniente", in H tempo dei Gonzaga, Guastalla, Commune di Guastalla, 1985, pp. 11-33. See also the Ferrante's collected correspondence from the court of Charles V in the 1520s, edited by Raffaele TAMALIO, Ferrante Gonzaga alla corte spagnola di Carlo V, Mantua, Arcari, 1991.

7 Costantino BARONI, "Domenico Giunti architetto di don Ferrante Gonzaga e le sue opere in Milano", Archivio storico lombardo, 1938, t. LXIV, pp. 327-357, p. 334. The citation that follows is from page 349.

8 The Milanese were against the project.

9 On the senate and relations between local magistrates and royal offices, see Ugo PETRONIO, Il Senato di Milano. Istituzioni giuridiche ed esercizio del potere nel ducato di Milano da Carlo V a Giuseppe II. Milan, Guiffré, 1972.

10 On a protest by the senators on this matter in 1551, see Cesare VIANELLO, "Feste, tornei, congiure nel Cinquecento milanese", Archivio storico lombardo, 1936, t. LXII, pp. 371-426, p. 418, note 51.

11 Specific research on this census is needed. See, however, Gauro COPPOLA, "L'agricoltura di alcune pievi della pianura irrigua milanese nei dati castastali della metà del secolo XVI" in Contribua dell'istituto di storia economica e sociale dell'Università cattolica ed. Mario ROMANI, Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 1973, vol. I, pp. 185-286 (with some mention of the Milanese hostility) and also Sergio ZANINELLI, Il nuovo censo dello Stato di Milano dall'editto del 1718 al 1733, Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 1963.
On the clash between Milan and the other towns of the State see the information provided by the Milanese embassy of 1556 to Philip II, in Angiolo SALOMONI, Memorie storico-diplomatiche degli ambasciatori, incaricati d'affari, corrispondenti e delegati che la città di Milano inviò a diversi suoi principi dal 1500 al 1796 raccolte e pubblicate da A.S., Milan, 1806 (reprinted Milan, CisalpinoGoliordica, 1975), pp. 125-132.

12 On Milanese public finance, see Giovanni VIGO, Finanza publica e pressione fiscale nello stato di Milano durante il secolo XVI, Milan, Guiffié, 1979 and also Maria José RODRIGUEZ SALGADO, op. cit.

13 As Giovan Antonio NOVELLI wrote in his report of 1553, also remarking that Ferrante was net noted for being a liberal prince, "indeed he is tight in spending and extremely greedy in earning" in Relazioni degli ambasciatori veneti al Senato, ed. Amaldo SEGARIZZI, Bari, Laterza, 1913, vol. II, pp. 57-64. From which the following citations are taken.

14 As stated by an anonymous manuscript in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana (which we shall return to later) published in Cesare VIANELLO, op. cit., p. 435.

15 On Ferrante's concern to preserve personal control over senatorial nominations, see Federico CHABOD, Stori a di Milano, op. cit., p. 435.

16 See the instruction of Emanuele Filiberto to his envoy of 1554 to Philip in England, in Arturo SEGRE, "Il richiamo di Don Ferrante Gonzaga dal governo di Milano e sue conseguenze (1553-1555)", in Memorie della Reale Accademia delle scienze di Torino, 1903-1904, t. LTV, pp. 185-257, p. 209. But the whole essay is obviously relevant.

17 Quote from the manuscript published by Cesare VIANELLO, op. cit., p. 398.

18 Prior to the two well-known biographies by Alfonso ULLOA, Vita del... capitano don Ferrante Gonzaga, Nicoló Bevilacquo, Venice, 1563, and Giuliano GOSELLINI, Vita del Principe don Ferrando Gonzaga, Paolo Gottardo da Ponte, Milan, 1574, and s.l., Venice, 1579, there is, in fart, the so-far neglected biography by Giulio GABRIELI, Laudatio Ferdinandi Gonzaga Melfitae Principis et Arriani ducis, Nicolò Bevilacquo, Venice, 1561. This short Work waspublished jointly with Plutarchi Libellus ad Erclanum, quomodo aliquis sese laudare sine invidia possit. A Julio Gabrielo Eugebino latine redditus.

19 John H. ELLIOTT, "A Provincial Aristocracy: the Catalan Ruling Class in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries", now in John H. ELLIOTT, Spain and its World 1500-1700, New Haven-London, Yale University Press, 1989, p. 79.

20 Camillo GIARDINA, "Il Supremo Consiglio d'Italia", Atti della Reale Accademia di scienze lettere e belle arti di Palermo, 1934-1936, vol. XIX, part 3, pp. 1-190, and Camillo GIARDINA, "Sul governo centrale spagpolo e sull'anno di fondaziane del Supremo Consigho d'Italia", Archivio storico per la Sicilia, 1938-1939, t. IV-V, pp. 521-526.

21 See, however, Gianvittorio SIGNOROTTO, "Milano e la Lombardia sotto gli spagnoli", Storia della società italiana, vol. XI, La Controriforma e il Seicento, Milan, Teti, 1989, pp. 189-223.

22 On the rise of the Milanese patriciate and its links with the crisis and demise of the independent duchy, see Franco ARESE, "Intervento", in Patriziati e aristocrazie nobiliari nell'Italia centro-settentrionale, ed. C. MOZZARELLI and P. SCHIERA, Trento, Libera Università degli Studi di Trento, Dipartimento di Teoria e Storia Sociale, 1978, pp. 138-142; and also Leonida BESOZZI, "La "matricola" delle famighe nobili di Milano e Carlo Borromeo", Archivio storico lombardo, 1984, t. CX, pp. 273-309.

23 Sec Cesare MOZZARELLI, "Strutture sociali e formaziani statuali a Milano e Napoli tra 500 e 700”, Società e storia, 1978, t. III, pp. 431-464.

24 Felice CALVI, "Il gran Cancelliere Francesco Taverna conte di Landriano e il suo processo secondo nuovi document!", Archivio storico lombardo, 1882, t. DC, pp. 5-48. Of great interest in this regard is the fact that, in December 1556, the freeing of Taverna was requested by the Tribunale di Provvisione, but that three of its members (3 out of 12) did not sign the request.

25 As reported in Francesco CAZZAMINI MUSSI, Milano durante la dominazione spagnola (1525-1706), Milan, Cerschina, 1947, p. 107, following Cesare CAMPANA, La vita del Catholico et invittisimo don Filippo II, Venice, Carampello, 1605, et seq., t. H, p. 150. Maria José RODRIGUEZ SALGADO, op. cit., p. 107 ff, closely links De Luma's departure from Milan with the clash between Charles and Philip, which also affected Ferrante himself. She does not confirm De Luna's exile, and writes that he later held office again under Philip IL This does not rule out, however, that there may have been a temporary rift between De Lima and the Habsburgs.

26 Giorgio POLITI, Aristocrazia e potere politico nella Cremona di Filippo II, Milan, Sugarco, 1976, p. 452. That this was a structural feature of the relationship between Lombard society and foreign dominators is argued by Cesare MOZZARELLI, "Mito del buon governo e metamorfosi sociale" in L'Europa riconosciuta. Anche Milano acende i suoi lumi (1706-1796), Milan, Cariplo, 1987, pp. 229-259. A particular but very significant case of the ability of the patriciate to condition the institutional will extemal to it is illustrated in Flavio RURALE, "I gesuiti a Milano in età moderna. Amministrazione e finanze", Società e storia, 1989, t. XLV. pp. 567-617.

27 Cited in Francesco CAZZAMINIMUSSI, op. cit., p. 23, note 6.

28 See Mario ROMANI, "Gian Luca Pallavicini e le riforme economiche nello Stato di Milano", now in Mario ROMANI, Aspetti e problemi di storia economica lombarda nei secoli XVIII e XIX, Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 1977, pp. 355-391, and, in general, Carlo CAPRA, «Il settecento» in Il Ducato di Milano dal 1535 al 1796, ed D. SELLA and C. CAPRA, vol. XI of Storia d'Italia UTET, Turin, 1984, p. 277 ff.

Auteur

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan

© Publications de l’Institut de recherches historiques du Septentrion, 1995

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