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Alfonso de Valdés

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Spanish Humanist and chancellor of the Emperor Charles V, born at Cuenca in Castile about 1500; died at Vienna in October, 1532. His talents gave him early advancement and he accompanied Charles V in 1520 on the journey from Spain to the coronation at Aachen, and in 1521 to the Diet of Worms. From 1522 he was a secretary of the imperial chancellery and as secretary wrote a number of important state papers: in 1525, he drew up the report of the battle of Pavia; in 1526 the energetic, graphic, and at times deliberately sarcastic state paper addressed to Pope Clement VII, in which the faithlessness of the pope is stigmatized, and an appeal is made for the convoking of an Ecumenical Council. After the capture and pillage of Rome in 1527, Valdés wrote the dialogue "Lactantius" in which he violently attacked the pope as a disturber of the public peace, an instigator of war, and a perfidious deceiver, declared the fate of Rome the judgment of God, and called the States of the Church the worst governed dominion in the world. The dialogue was printed in 1529 and was widely read. The papal nuncio at Madrid, Baldassare Castiglione, brought an accusation before the Inquisition, but the trial amounted to nothing because Charles V took his servant under his protection, while the grand inquisitor also declared that it was not heretical to speak against the morals of the pope and the priests. Consequently it was decided that the dialogue was not calumnious. Valdés was full of enthusiasm for the ideas of Erasmus of Rotterdam and sought to gain currency for them in Spain. In 1529 he accompanied the emperor to Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. At the Diet held at Augsburg in 1530 he was an influential negotiator with Melanchthon and the Protestants, and met them in a pacific and conciliatory spirit; yet it cannot be said that he shared their views or showed that he understood Luther's motives; his point of view was solely that of a statesman. In October, 1531, he wrote from Brussels the letter of congratulation to the Catholic of Switzerland after the victory over Zwingli. He was the brother of Juan Valdés, the heretical movement in Naples, many of whose followers became apostates.

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