His cruelty and barbarity in punishing the rebels did not meet with the approval of Charles II., who is said to have remarked that "the old fool has put to death more people in that naked country than I did here for the murder of my father."
A criminal code, scarcely equalled for barbarity, though twice mitigated by royal edict since 1785, remained in force in its main provisions till 1895.
Under the command of the lord of Lumbres, the lord of Treslong, and William de la Marck (lord of Lumey) they spread terror and alarm along the coast, seized much plunder, and in revenge for Alva's cruelty committed acts of terrible barbarity upon the priests and monks and catholic officials, as well as upon the crews of the vessels that fell into their hands.
They treated the people with horrible barbarity, so that the conscience of Europe was aroused, and England under Cromwell called on the Protestant powers to join in remonstrance to the duke of Savoy and the French king.
On the 18th of July, however, Gaeta surrendered to Massna, and that marshal, now moving rapidly southwards, extricated Rynier, crushed the Bourbon rising in Calabria with great barbarity, and compelled the British force to re-embark for Sicily.