This is a historical book. In such intervals of leisure as occurred amid their military operations, Ferdinand and Isabella were diligently occupied with the interior government of the kingdom, and especially with the rigid administration of justice, the most difficult of all duties in an imperfectly civilized state of society. The queen found especial demand for this in the northern provinces, whose rude inhabitants were little used to subordination. She compelled the great nobles to lay aside their arms, and refer their disputes to legal arbitration. She caused a number of the fortresses, which were still garrisoned by the baronial banditti, to be razed to the ground; and she enforced the utmost severity of the law against such inferior criminals as violated the public peace.