Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 8, 1545-1546. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1904.
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The papers calendared in the present volume cover the last two years of the reign and life of Henry VIII, a period hardly equalled in importance by any other of similar length in modern history, since it saw the ranging of the forces for and against the Reformation, and the development of the new divisions created by the religious affinities which had run athwart traditional international alliances. In England the failing health of the old King, and the growth of the Protestant influence in his councils, were already foreshadowing the regime of Seymour and Dudley, and gradually and reluctantly widening the rift between England and the Empéror. The secret clauses of the treaty of Crespy, which bound Francis to aid Charles in the giant task he had set himself to overcome the Protestant Reformation on the continent, drew together temporarily the two interests upon whose antagonism the welfare, even the safety, of England depended; whilst the rallying of the Farnese Pope to the side of his old enemy the Emperor, and the conclusion of a long truce with the Turk, placed the Emperor in a position, for the first time, to plan his crushing blow at the Schmalkaldic League, with the object of grinding the Protestant princes under his heel, and perhaps of securing to his Spanish son Philip the reversion of the Empire with world-wide supremacy. The plan, as was afterwards proved, was too vast a one and affected too many interests, to be carried out in its entirety, but during its inception and early success in the period covered by this volume it served to increase the tendency of the English rulers towards an anti-Catholic policy, whilst it rendered more urgent than ever the subjection of Scottish foreign relations to English influence, and created a new bond of interest between the Protestant German princes in arms against their suzerain in alliance with the Pope, and the great enemy of the papacy across the North Sea.
Throughout the letters in the present volume, however, there is traceable the deep distrust and falsity that characterised the alliances arising out of the new circumstances of religious division. To serve the interests of his family Paul III. with many groans unlocked his treasure chest, and became the servant of the Emperor whom he had always hated; he even consented at last to the meeting of a great Council of the Church at Trent in the Imperial dominions; but his distrust of the Emperor was invincible, and he ever tried to take away with one hand what he gave with the other, wrangling and haggling, as will be seen in the correspondence, over every demand of his ally, until the inevitable split once more for a time threw the papacy on to its ancient lines of policy. The attitude of Charles towards Rome was an exactly similar one. He needed for the purpose of suppressing Lutheranism the money and moral support of Farnese, as well as his influence in keeping France quiet, and was obliged to feign a submission to the pontiff that the violent and insulting expressions used by himself and his agent in their confidential correspondence when speaking of the Pope show to have been but skin-deep. But although Charles was thus driven by religious necessity into unholy alliance with the papacy and France, his traditional enemies, his instinctive desire, as exhibited in the correspondence now before us, was to keep intact his old friendship with Henry of England, who was at open war with France, and embodied the defiance of the papal authority.
Between the Emperor and Francis the new union was just as insincere. The main provisions of the Treaty of Crespy were still unfulfilled on both sides. In principle it had been decided by the Emperor that of the two matrimonial alternatives left to him in the treaty, he chose the marriage of the Duke of Orleans with a daughter of Ferdinand King of the Romans, with the dowry of Milan or Flanders (see Vol. VII. of the Calendar); but there was apparently no intention whatever of carrying the union into effect, and the reclamations on both sides were made in a purely retaliatory spirit. The religious affinities created by the new spirit of the Reformation were indeed on all sides, as yet, not strong enough to over-ride for long the international interests that had been the growth of centuries. Both Charles and Francis were desirous of crushing Protestantism; and their union for the purpose seemed necessary; but to the Emperor and his brother Ferdinand the surrender of Flanders or Milan seemed too large a price to pay for doubtful French neutrality; whilst to Francis—and more especially to the Dauphin Henry—the making of a French prince a vassal of the Emperor would appear a poor return for the claims of the French sovereign to Milan, which if successful might eventually lead to his election to the imperial throne. Henry VIII., on the other hand, who had much reason for anger with the Emperor for his shabby betrayal of him in making peace separately at Crespy, and whose religious leanings would naturally dispose him to sympathise with the German Protestants, was bound by his old diplomatic traditions to the extent of limiting his intervention in their favour to acrimonious verbal protest to the Imperial ambassador, much less effective aid than the ample supplies of money secretly contributed to the Protestant cause by the Emperor's Catholic ally and brother-in-law Francis. The whole of the important and interesting correspondence in the present volume thus exhibits the strange spectacle of a series of imperative new alliances in which none of the parties were sincere, each national interest pursuing its own ends to the detriment of the rest, under cover of mutual agreements with other objects, and yearning still to continue the old international connections which had been deranged by the growth of religious revolt from the papacy.
The last volume of the Calendar ended with Henry VIII. still at war with France, sore and angry at the trick that his ally had played him by making peace alone and leaving him face to face with the enemy. The excuse made by Charles for his desertion was, as is related fully in the introduction of the last volume, that Henry had told the Bishop of Arras (De Granvelle), who had been sent to Boulogne by the Emperor to see him on the subject, that his Imperial master was at liberty to make peace if he pleased, so long as no clauses detrimental to his (Henry's) claims were introduced into the treaty. Henry continued subsequently to disclaim, with great violence and anger, the expression attributed to him by Arras; but there seems to be no doubt that he did hastily say something of the kind, which provided De Granvelle with the pretext he sought. The Emperor, indeed, had already practically agreed to a separate peace before Arras saw Henry at Boulogne; and Henry himself was at the time in close negotiation with the French with a similar object. Each of the two allies was, in fact, endeavouring to get the start of the other in making peace, and Charles succeeded, thanks mainly to Francis' mistress, the Duchess of Étampes, who had more to gain from the Emperor than from Henry.
Finding that his indignant remonstrances by his ambassador, Dr. Wotton, were unavailing, Henry had sent in October his two principal councillors, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, to Brussels, for the purpose of claiming from Charles the fulfilment of a clause of the treaty of alliance which, it was alleged, bound him to declare war anew against France, in consequence of the French “invasion” of Henry's new conquest of Boulogne. An account of their abortive embassy will be found in the last volume of this Calendar, but their obvious discontent at their departure, and the imperious need for Charles to mollify Henry whilst maintaining his recently- concluded alliance with France, prompted him to send back to the English Court the man who, of all others, had learned to manage Henry in every mood. Eustace Chapuys, for nearly sixteen years, during the most critical periods of the Schism of England, and the divorce and death of Queen Katharine, had dexterously contrived to prevent an open rupture between Henry and Charles. It was a great achievement of diplomacy, and the Emperor concluded that the man who had effected it would be able, better than another, to tide over the present difficulty. Chapuys was old and ill, and had frequently implored his master to relieve him. His mission, therefore, was understood to be only a temporary one, and with him as joint ambassador went the diplomatist whom Charles had destined to be his successor, Francois Van der Delft, a Flemish knight, who after he had gained confidence by a few months' experience in his new post, proved himself in subtlety, dexterity and boldness, to be a worthy follower in the footsteps of his predecessor.
Chapuys and Van der Delft arrived in London on Christmas eve, 1544, and on Sunday morning, 28 December, 1544, at Greenwich, they had their first audience of the King. Chapuys noticed that though Henry boasted that he had never been better in his life, he had become much broken since his return from Boulogne. But the ambassadors soon found that, however feeble he might be in body, his spirit was as high as ever. He had “whipped” the French well at sea, he said; had made them “pay scot” to a good tune by captures of their victuallers and wine ships in the Channel. This was touching a sore point, for one of the Emperor's main objects in consenting to the hard terms of the peace of Crespy was to restore to his half-ruined Flemish subjects their lucrative traffic in fish and other provisions with France; whereas the English King insisted upon regarding all victuals for the French as contraband of war, and had embargoed great quantities of herrings and other food destined for France in Flemish bottoms, on the assumed ground that the cargoes belonged to French subjects. Parallel with the great international questions dealt with in the correspondence, there runs incessantly this irritating secondary dispute of the seizures, and later of the open piracy that arose out of them. As will be noticed in due course, retaliatory measures, much special diplomatic negotiation on both sides, and more than one attempt at arbitration, produced but little result in the way of redress, and in most cases the merchants found finally that they could make better terms for themselves by compromise with the captors than by diplomatic action that was hampered by the commercial claims being used to obtain political concessions.
Chapuys was the spokesman when, after attending Mass with the King, saluting the Queen (Catharine Parr) and Princess Mary, and dining with the Privy Councillors, the two Imperial ambassadors were formally received in the presence chamber at Greenwich. With due circumlocution the old ambassador set forth once more the arguments against the re-entry of Charles into the war, which had already been discussed ad nauseam with Hertford and Gardiner at Brussels. Henry listened impatiently, changing colour now and again with anger; but when Chapuys in justification of his master repeated the assertion that had been contradicted so often about Henry's remark to Granvelle, the King fairly flew into a passion, and dared any man to assert that he had unconditionally said any such thing. Chapuys insisted that he himself had heard him with many others; and, with what looks like malicious pertinacity, elaborated this strong point against the King. “The King was intensely annoyed and irritated at this, and told me quite openly that it was a great lie.” (fn. 1) Henry was too angry to be a match in dialectics with the subtle ambassador, who soon involved him in a mesh of inextricable confusion and self-contradiction; and the interview ended with hot passion on the one side and dignified resentment at the King's rough language on the other; the subject being relegated to further discussion between the ambassadors and the Privy Council on the following day. When the demand had first been formulated in Brussels by Hertford and Gardiner, the Emperor had, with the hope of tiding over the difficulty without giving a flat refusal, taken a period of ten weeks in which to give his official reply. Of this period some eight weeks had already passed; and angry though Henry was at being contradicted and his word called into question, he, and especially his councillors, could not afford to offend the Emperor or alienate his ambassadors before the reply due in a fortnight was given. It does not, indeed, seem to have entered the head of the English King and his council that Charles could fail to make some sort of declaration against the French sooner or later, which at least would give moral strength to the English cause and hamper injuriously French commerce.
When, therefore, after a day or two's delay, owing to the feigned diplomatic illness of Chapuys, Hertford, Gardiner and Paget waited upon the ambassadors as a deputation of the Council, for the purpose of discussing the whole business, the English councillors made great efforts to palliate and explain away the King's strong language. Chapuys had already gained a point by assuming the position of an aggrieved party, and made the most of it. There was too much talk, he said, in England, to the effect that the Emperor had failed in his obligations towards the King, and the vindication of his Majesty's reputation should be public, such talk not being allowed, to the injury of a friendly sovereign. The King, continued Chapuys, had become excited when he had addressed him; and it had been impossible for him, Chapuys, to conclude his address. “Certain unpleasant passages had occurred between the King and us . . . and I thanked God it had not happened to any other of your Majesty's Ministers instead of to me; for I was not sure whether any 'other would have put up with it. But I, who knew the King's humour so well, and so ardently desired the continuance of his friendship with my master, would avoid reporting if possible any event which could injure the good feeling.” (fn. 2) Then, after deprecating passion in diplomacy, Chapuys once more set forth the whole of the arguments with which we are familiar with the object of excusing his master from complying with the clauses of the treaty providing for his coming to the aid of the King of England against an invading force. But he carried the argument somewhat further than previously, and threw the English Councillors into a fright by alleging that Henry himself had first broken the treaty by his conduct of the war. Gardiner did his best to defend his master, but Chapuys, according to his own showing, refuted him at every point; and then, carrying the war into the enemy's camp, complained bitterly of the English seizures of Spanish and Flemish property at sea. Gardiner alone attempted to make a stand against the avalanche of accusation, by saying quite truly that the King of England's aid in the war had certainly promoted the Emperor's objects. “I (Chapuys) immediately replied that he was too fond of repeating such things; and he forced me to say what otherwise I should not say; namely, that his constant repetition of this point took the form of a reproach;” and this allowed the ambassador another chance, of which he availed himself to the full, for the exaltation of the Emperor, and the depreciation of all things English. It is quite evident, however, that the Councillors only regarded this scolding as an excuse for minimising the Emperor's inevitable concession. “They seemed convinced that your Majesty would raise no difficulty in making the declaration (against France) after the expiration of the ten weeks; but I extricated myself by saying that I had no knowledge of your Majesty's intention, but was sure your Majesty would not fail on that or any other point to do what was proper and incumbent upon you.“ (fn. 3)
Neither Henry nor his Councillors could convince themselves that Chapuys had been sent to England with his colleague merely for the purpose of repeating the old arguments and statements which had been discussed several times already; and finding that all their attempts to draw from the imperial ambassadors in the formal interviews any declaration of what was believed to be their secret mission, Hertford and Gardiner sought Chapuys privately, in order, as they said, to chat with him without witnesses, evidently for the purpose of obtaining from him, if possible, some inkling of how far Charles was prepared to go in acceding to the English demands. In the long interview that followed the English Councillors were apologetic for their King's rudeness, and they made great efforts to come to close quarters with their cunning interlocutor, but with little effect. Henry, they said, could easily be brought to a yielding and friendly attitude if appearances of humouring him were kept up, “anyone who knew how to manage him might do almost as he liked with him.” If the Emperor would only write a few amiable words himself to the King, the pending questions might be harmoniously settled. What sort of words? asked Chapuys. “They said that your Majesty might assure the King of your perfect, sincere and inviolable amity, and of your absolute intention to observe all engagements and promises.” Chapuys saw plainly that this general declaration was not the real object aimed at, and replied that similar professions had already been made by the Emperor through his ambassadors. “But the King would like it better, replied the Englishmen, “if it were written;” and then, somewhat clumsily, they came to the main point; which, after all, was an absurdly transparent attempt upon such an experienced diplomatist as Chapuys, to deprive the Emperor of the most dreaded and efficacious weapon in his armoury as against the English King. “In addition to the two professions above mentioned the letter should contain a third clause, saying that your Majesty was perfectly satisfied with all the King had done in the enterprise, and that it was your Majesty's intention to fulfil punctually the terms of the Treaty. I laughed when I heard this, and said I was surprised that they did not add a demand that your Majesty (the Emperor) should ask the King's pardon. For my own part, I would never advise the Emperor to concede the last-mentioned clauses; for, to say the plain truth, my own opinion was that the King had “broken the Treaty.” (fn. 4) Chapuys having by this bold stroke reduced the English councillors to a defensive position, again pushed his advantage to the utmost. The declaration by the Emperor against France, he urged, would be worse than useless to England. France would care nothing for it, whilst it would ruin the Emperor's Flemish subjects to have their trade suddenly stopped again. Then he in his turn brought forward, although unofficially, what he knew was the Emperor's object. Why not, he asked, take advantage of the arbitration clause purposely inserted in the Emperor's treaty of peace with France, and ask his Imperial Majesty to arbitrate between France and England ? But as this course would have involved the recognition of the treaty itself by Henry, who would thus lose his claim upon the Emperor for renewed aid in the war by virtue of his alliance, the English Councillors were reticent, though not repellant, in their reception of Chapuys' hint.
The details of the two first interviews of Chapuys and Van der Delft with Henry and his ministers have been set forth here somewhat fully, because the whole of the subsequent discussions proceeded on the same lines of argument. It was of the highest importance to Charles that the English King should be kept in hopeful suspense as long as possible, in order that he might not be driven to a sudden coalition with his enemy Francis to the Emperor's detriment; but it would have been fatal to the great projects that were already maturing in the Emperor's mind to be drawn into a violation of the Treaty of Crespy of which the ink was hardly dry. As we have seen in Chapuys' management of the political controversy, the method adopted was to shift the ground, and turn Henry from a claimant to a defendant. The English King demanded the fulfilment of the clauses of the Treaty of Alliance negotiated by Gonzaga in 1542; he was met with the answer that not only had he put himself out of court by his verbal consent to Granvelle that the Emperor should make peace separately, but that he himself had been the first to violate the Treaty by his conduct of the war; and these points must be investigated before he could claim under the Treaty. He was thus, to his intense indignation, forced to vindicate his own action before calling into question that of the Emperor.
Exactly the same method was followed in the commercial dispute, arising out of the English wholesale seizures of Flemish and Spanish ships, under the pretext that they carried French property liable to seizure, or contraband of war in the form of food for France. Henry had begun by expressing indignation that his late ally, immediately after his separate peace with France was signed, should allow his subjects to carry on an active trade in provisions with the French, whose power of resistance and aggression against the English was thus increased; and, on the pretexts already mentioned, a large number of Flemish ships, with their cargoes, were seized and carried to English ports, to the deterioration or destruction of the perishable food stuffs, and to the utter disorganisation of the recently reopened traffic. We have seen that, in this respect also, Henry was promptly driven to assume a defensive position, by the forcible protests and demands for explanation by the Emperor and his sister, Mary of Hungary, Governess of the Netherlands. But a much stronger move with the same object was made suddenly and unexpectedly in Flanders almost simultaneously with the arrival of Chapuys and Van der Delft in London; the effect being not only to reduce the English to the position of defendants at all points, but also to make Henry a suppliant, rather than a claimant demanding his rights. The step in question was the seizure of all English ships, property and subjects in the Emperor's Netherlands dominions on the 5th January, 1545, (fn. 5) and the despatch to England of a special envoy, M. de Tourcoing, to demand of Henry the fulfilment of the Treaty of Alliance, providing for the right of Flemings to trade without molestation from England. If the embargoed Flemish and other ships were not immediately released in England the Emperor would reluctantly be compelled to deal with Henry's subjects in Flanders as the Emperor's subjects were treated in England, and as a first step an embargo was placed on their property. The excuse that the Flemish ships carried food for France was to be regarded as of no avail. If the Emperor's subjects had done wrong it was for their own sovereign to punish them; not the King of England, whose duty it was to complain to the Emperor.
Before Tourcoing arrived in London the news of the seizures in Flanders had reached Henry at Greenwich, and at day break on the 9th January the King hastily and urgently summoned the Imperial ambassadors to the palace. It is evident that the English were aghast at the blow that had been dealt them, for amongst the property seized in Antwerp was a mass of valuable merchandise, in the hands of Henry's agents, destined to raise funds for the repayment of loans advanced by certain merchants there to the King of England. (fn. 6) When Chapuys and Van der Delft reached Greenwich, having been opportunely joined by Tourcoing on the way, they found the English Council in a state of great indignation. Surely, said they, the King of England might be trusted to do justice if requested, without such violent and scandalous coercion as this; and thereupon the whole of the grievances on both sides were once more set forth at interminable length; but, to the great glee of Chapuys, the strong action taken in Flanders “rendered these people as supple and tractable as possible;” and Tourcoing was hurried back to Flanders the next day bearing with him a note pledging the English Government to the immediate and complete release of all the property seized, simultaneously with a similar release of English property on the other side. Chapuys had accepted the solution thus offered in the interests of peace, and for the furtherance of the more important political objects of his mission; but the Emperor was extremely angry with him and his colleague for doing so; and, with quite unusual warmth, reproved him for exceeding his instructions. (fn. 7) Charles was evidently desirous of holding the English property he had seized as a pledge for Henry's future good behaviour, and with utter bad faith, and on the flimsiest excuses, evaded his part of the bargain made for mutual release.
Finding it impossible to extract from Chapuys and his colleague the slightest hint upon which a compromise might be based, in the matter of the warlike aid demanded by Henry against the French, the English councillors themselves advanced certain requests, two of which they doubtless thought would be readily conceded by the Emperor as a means of avoiding a general declaration of war, which it was clear he could not make. These requests were presented almost simultaneously in London to Chapuys, and in Brussels by Dr. Wotton, the English ambassador to the Emperor. First, as a matter of form, the Emperor was once more asked to declare war upon the French, now that the ten weeks taken for consideration had expired. To this Charles replied with a temporising plea, whilst blaming Henry for the delay. The second demand seemed much more reasonable; namely, that the agreement to release the English property seized in Flanders should be fulfilled; but to this also the Emperor only replied that he would have the request considered; and he advanced a host of new obscuring conditions, evidently intended to justify his intended evasion of the undertaking made by his ambassadors. (fn. 8) The third request, which doubtless was that upon which the English thought a compromise might be effected, was that the Emperor would allow the passage through his territories of German and Italian mercenaries, whom Henry desired to recruit for his coming spring campaign in the north of France; but even to this request Charles was irresponsive. He could not, he said, violate his recent treaty with France by showing special favour to England in the war; the French were asking for similar concessions which he refused; besides, the King of England had previously used his mercenaries so badly, and Flanders had suffered severely in the previous year by the disorderly bands in the English service passing through to France. It was therefore, he said, preferable for the mercenaries to be sent by sea; a course which the Emperor knew perfectly well was impracticable for Henry, to whom this, reply gave great offence. It must have been evident to the latter, indeed, that he had been outwitted at all points by the more unscrupulous diplomacy of the Emperor; for, whilst nearly all the Flemish property detained in England had been released unconditionally, the English goods seized in Flanders were still impounded; and bland professions of affection for him on the part of the Emperor were all the satisfaction that Henry could get from Chapuys and Van der Delft in reply to his demands for restitution and for the fulfilment of the terms of the alliance. That he should be treated with no more consideration than the King of France, with whom he had gone to war on the Emperor's account, galled Henry beyond measure; and there was hardly an interview between him and the Imperial ambassadors in which the King did not fly into a rage, and blurt out undiplomatic expressions which afterwards had to be palliated or smoothed away by his leading councillors; for whilst he was at war with France he dared not quarrel with the Emperor; and at war with France apparently he must remain, unless he gave up his new conquest of Boulogne, which he swore he would never do. On the other hand, there was nothing that suited the Emperor better than that the war between France and England should linger on, with Henry always in hope that, sooner or later, his former ally would help him.
In order to end the deadlock, which grew ever more dangerous to him as the spring approached, Henry, at the end of February, 1545, determined to send Secretary Paget to Flanders to negotiate with the Emperor direct. Sir William Paget was one of the staunchest of the Imperial partisans in the English council, and as a pensioner of the Emperor he was ensured of an amiable reception personally at Brussels; but he found Charles V. and his councillors more than ever inclined to make hard terms, now that the need of Henry was becoming greater, and the embargoed English property in Flanders was still unreleased. It is fair to say that in the long disputes with the Imperial councillors and the subsequent interviews with the Emperor himself, Paget stood his ground manfully, and pressed the English case with the utmost assiduity; sometimes with a show of indignation at the sudden assumption by the Emperor of an almost prudish neutrality in the war which he himself had provoked. A new cause of complaint, moreover, had sprung up since the agreement for the mutual release of the seizures was made in London; and Paget found himself confronted therewith when he urged the immediate raising of the embargo on English merchandise in Flanders. Certain ships conveying to Spain time-expired men in the Emperor's service had put into English ports through stress of weather and lack of provisions. Henry, as we have seen, was greatly in need of mercenaries for the coming campaign in France, and, as the story is told in this correspondence, the soldiers, of whom there were about 1,000, being tired of the sea and desirous of earning the good wages offered by the King of England, were ready to seize upon any excuse for disembarking, and remaining in his service. The Emperor was extremely indignant when the mere hint of such a thing was conveyed to him; and in the settlement which Paget, after much clever fencing, was able to conclude with the Flemish councillors, with regard to the freedom of commerce and navigation, he was obliged to agree to a clause binding his master to abstain absolutely from receiving the Spanish soldiers into his service (fn. 9); which clause Henry succeeded in evading, as, indeed, both he and the Emperor appear to have done in the case of all clauses with which compliance was inconvenient to them.
Although this carefully-worded agreement was settled with Paget for the mutual release of the commercial seizures on both sides, against cautionary security being given for their value, pending the investigation by a joint commission of the complaints and claims alleged by the subjects of both sovereigns, the English Secretary made no progress on the main point of the military aid claimed from the Emperor against France When it became evident to him that if he pressed for a decided answer on this point, the result would be a negative, he told the Flemish Councillors that his instructions on this subject were only to discuss it and not to receive the Emperor's decision. Chapuys and his colleague were probably right in their opinion that the underlying object of Paget's mission was, if he judged that the Emperor could not be drawn into the war again, to endeavour to re-open the negotiations for peace with France (fn. 10) The war, indeed, was pressing very heavily upon England, and now that Francis was free from danger on the Emperor's side, it was evident that Henry would have to make a greater effort than ever in the coming campaign of 1545, if he was to retain his conquest of Boulogne, or even obtain favourable terms of peace from his enemy. During his first conference with the Flemish Councillors Paget deplored the favour that was being shown to the French in Flanders. “It appeared to him that, since the peace, no effort whatever had been exerted here to help the English to obtain a favourable peace, and he begged the imperial Commissioners to bear this in mind.” (fn. 11) To this the Flemish ministers replied that, although the Emperor had never wavered in his desire that peace might be made, he ”did not wish to meddle beyond what was agreeable to the King,” and suggested that perhaps the arrival of a Scottish envoy in Flanders, David Paniter, soon afterwards Bishop of Ross, might afford the Emperor an opportunity of opening negotiations for peace if the King of England desired intervention. Paget referred the question to his master in London; and on 20 March, 1545, Paget and Dr. Wotton conveyed the reply to the Emperor's Council. This is set forth at length in the important State Paper calendared on page 65. As was to be supposed, Henry rejected the idea of making the Scottish envoy the intermediary, and requested the Emperor to act directly; but the terms suggested by the English were at once seen by Charles and his councillors to be impossible of attainment. Henry, indeed, abated nothing of his claim, and requested the Emperor to propose the same conditions that were to be put forward by England before the separate peace had been negotiated. “And if the French would not agree to them all, they might accept some of them. If they (the French) talked about Boulogne, the Emperor should say that having regard to the great expense the King had incurred in conquering, fortifying and holding the lace, he would never surrender it, but with God's help hoped to maintain it against any force.” (fn. 12) The Emperor had some days previously sounded the French ambassadors on the subject, and they had been equally emphatic in their declaration with regard to their sovereign's determination to regain Boulogne. “The Emperor then asked them (i.e. the French ambassadors) how therefore it was possible for him to settle affairs if the King of France insisted upon recovering Boulogne, and the King of England insisted upon keeping it. Even if he were Solomon, he said, he could not ask them to divide Boulogne, as Solomon had decided in the case of the disputed child.” (fn. 13) Although the negotiations dragged on for a time with suggestions of a long truce and other expedients, it is evident that, a modus vivendi with regard to the freedom of maritime traffic having been settled with Paget, the Emperor was not particularly desirous of bringing about peace between France and England, especially as he had contrived to convey clearly to Paget that he had no present intention of being himself drawn again into the war.
As instancing the bad faith prevalent on all sides, it is curious to note that whilst Paget was at Brussels he appears to have sent two Englishmen secretly to Paris in order to sound Francis through Chastillon as to his willingness to make peace with England and form a coalition with Henry against the Emperor. (fn. 14) Almost simultaneously the Duchess d'Etampes, the famous mistress of Francis I., sent two gentlemen to the English commandant at Boulogne with similar tentative overtures (fn. 15); and the Admiral of France, Claude Annebaut, suggested to the Admiral of England, through his secretary, that peace might be made on certain conditions. (fn. 16) But, though the first of these attempts was baited with the attractive offer of marrying Henry's eldest daughter Mary Tudor to the Duke of Orleans, with Boulogne as a dowry, the whole of the overtures fell through owing to the irreconcilable difference as to the possession of the conquered territory. A similar inconclusive result attended the arbitration commission which met at Bourbourg, near Gravelines, to dispose of the claims raised by the subjects of the Emperor and King Henry respectively for seizures and embargoes on property. This almost abortive arbitration commission was the last official duty in which the veteran Chapuys was actively employed; but although the dishonesty on both sides with regard to the seizures prevented the success of the arbitration, the great diplomatist took advantage of his almost daily conversations with Dr. Thirlby and Sir William Petre at Bourbourg to. carry considerably further than before the preliminaries for an agreement between the Emperor and Henry with regard to the aid claimed by the latter against the French. Chapuys' letters on the subject to the Emperor and to Van der Delft contain passages which prove that the latest official acts of his career were inspired by the subtlety that had characterised the whole of his official conduct in England. His advice was that the claim advanced by Henry might be safely conceded in principle, but surrounded by limitations and conditions; since he did not conceive it to be possible that the French could invade English territory in the force, or for the time, necessary for the Emperor's contingent to be demanded and furnished; and that, even if such were the case, at the last moment the aid might be commuted by a cash subsidy. The hard conditions laid down by the Emperor of such acceptance in principle of Henry's claim were that the King of England should recognise unreservedly the peace treaty between the Emperor and France, that he should be satisfied with the amount of aid stipulated in the treaty itself, and not ask for more; that the subvention should take the form of a money payment; that the Emperor's subjects should be free from all molestation from England; that all property seized on both sides should be restored, and that no peace should be concluded between England and France without the Emperor's consent. (fn. 17) Chapuys, whilst approving of these conditions, endeavoured in his letters to soften them somewhat in appearance, in order to prevent Henry from breaking away and joining France. It is evident, indeed, that the principal reason that prompted the Emperor and his councillors to go even so far as they did in their concessions, was their desire that the war between England and France should not be too rapidly ended with the combatants unexhausted. Chapuys, writing to Lois Scors, President of the Flemish Council, on July 4, 1545, puts this point quite plainly, “You know better than I can tell you the importance of keeping this King (i.e. of England) friendly; more especially in view of the distrust and inconstancy of our neighbours, the French . . It would be advisable, therefore, to avoid giving the King of England cause for suspicion of the Emperor, or to drive him to think of other combinations, which he threatens to do—although his threats are of no great consequence, because, even if he comes to terms with France, he will not enter into any plans against the Emperor. . It would be better for his Majesty's interests that the arrangement (between France and England) should not take place too soon.” (fn. 18)
Van der Delft was instructed to bring forward the proposals for an understanding only if he were imperatively obliged to do so by reason of pressure of the English demand; the Emperor's desire being to delay the matter as long as possible. When, therefore, Van der Delft saw Henry on the 29th June, 1545, he opened the interview by complaining bitterly of certain fresh seizures of Flemish and Spanish cargoes by the English. Henry, probably unaware of the real object of this diversion, fell into the trap and was drawn into a long and angry wrangle as to the way in which he and his subjects were treated. He would stand it, he said, no longer. English property had been seized in Spain now, and he knew that a new embargo was pending in Antwerp. He protested that he had been played with long enough; and he hinted very broadly that if the Emperor failed to fulfil the treaty with him to the full he would form a coalition with the French. (fn. 19) Van der Delft, whilst openly most conciliatory, artfully added fuel to the King's rage by once more bringing up the statement, so often contradicted, that the Emperor had made peace by the King's special permission; and in Henry's passion the specific question of the re-entry of Charles into the war was thus forgotten and passed over, to the secret glee of the Fleming.
Henry's hints that his patience was well-nigh exhausted, however, were not without effect. These hints were repeated to the Emperor himself shortly afterwards by the English ambassador in Flanders (Dr. Wotton), and although Charles once more went over all the old arguments and complaints, he was sufficiently impressed to order Van der Delft to seek immediate audience with Henry and to suggest that the Emperor might endeavour to effect a reconciliation between the two combatants, if the latter were willing; but, as to the aid demanded in the war, that must be considered jointly with other pending questions. This was merely procrastination for the purpose of keeping Henry in play; but the circumstances were nevertheless such as to render much further delay difficult. The siege of Boulogne by the French was being pressed vigorously, and the English resources were strained to the utmost; but, what was of much more urgent importance, a powerful French fleet had been mustered in the Channel, including the war galleys usually stationed in the Mediterranean, and a maritime engagement, perhaps an invasion of England itself, was seen to be imminent, in which case there could be no doubt of the Emperor's obligation to help his ally. Henry and Dudley had for weeks previously been busy organising a sea-force to resist the threatened attack; and by the end of June had collected over a hundred sail of fighting ships at Spithead. The weakness of the French position was that, owing to lack of capacious harbour accommodation on the northern coast of France, the items of the fleet were scattered in various ports, and had to be concentrated for the purpose of united action. In order to prevent this, a number of English ships were despatched from Spithead early in July with instructions to burn the main body of the French fleet by means of fire ships. When Chapuys saw Thirlby and Petre at Bourbourg on the 14th July, they told him that, although the English fleet had encountered the French galleys, it had been unable to attack them for want of wind; whilst the galleys had not dared to approach the English great ships for fear of the artillery; and both forces had returned to harbour without serious damage. This was practically a defeat for the English, as whilst their ships returned, considerably damaged by a subsequent storm, to Spithead to refit, Claude Annebaut was able to form a junction between his great ships and the French galleys under Paulin Baron de la Garde, and to complete his preparations for a descent upon the English coast.
Although the object in view seems hardly to have been thoroughly understood at the time, it is evident from the nature and disposition of his force that the French Admiral did not contemplate effecting a serious invasion, and subsequent events proved that the raid upon English soil was merely a bold diversion, for the purpose of enabling the French to finish unmolested the forts they were erecting upon their coast to command the mouth of Boulogne harbour; and thus to prevent the revictualling of the town by sea. In the circumstances it was evident to the Emperor that to avoid being drawn into the war he must promptly come to an understanding with Henry in regard to the aid, or else that peace or a truce must be talked about between the combatants, since it would have been fatal to the great plans which he was maturing for Charles to have offended the English King beyond conciliation. The letter of the 9th of July, 1545, instructing Van der Delft to come to closer quarters with the King upon the main questions at issue, contained also for the first time indications that the Emperor was in earnest in his desire to effect a settlement between England and France. (fn. 20) The letter overtook the ambassador whilst he was on his way to Portsmouth to join the King, who had gone thither to review the fleet; and on Van der Delft's arrival there on the 17th he at once asked for audience. An interesting account is given by him of his entertainment by Dudley at dinner on board the “Great Harry,” and of the naval preparations which he saw. (fn. 21)
When he was conducted to Henry and broached the subject of peace, he found the King in no very gentle mood. He was sore and indignant at the treatment of his subjects and himself, and, in answer to Van der Delft's request that he would furnish him with a hint that might form a basis for peace negotiation, he angrily retorted that the initiative must come from others. He had taken Boulogne and meant to hold it, but if terms were proposed to him he would consider them; beyond this he would not go. On the next day whilst Henry sat at dinner on the flagship, the alarm was given that the French fleet was in sight; and Van der Delft, who was an eye- witness of the stirring events that followed, gives a valuable and graphic account of the landing of the French on the Isle of Wight, the loss of the Mary Rose in harbour, and the subsequent retirement of the invaders. (fn. 22)
On Thursday, 23 July, the ambassador sought audience of the King, but only saw the Council, who gave him the reply to the Emperor's message. Henry, they said, was determined to vindicate his power, and punish the insolence of the French. Out of respect for the Emperor's overtures he was willing informally to say that if the French would accede to all his demands and pay the whole cost of the war—the amount to be left to arbitration—he would enter into negotiation: “with regard to Boulogne, however, he would never surrender the place to force. If they wanted it they must induce him by other means.” Then came the real message that was meant to be conveyed to the Emperor. The invading enemy was now in England, and the King demanded that the contingent to be furnished by the Emperor in such circumstances should be sent forthwith (fn. 23); a demand which the English ambassador in Flanders was to urge upon his Imperial Majesty simultaneously. Soft-spoken temporising would seem to have come to an end of its efficaciousness; and, in accordance with his orders, Van der Delft hinted to Paget the next morning without prejudice that it might in any case be well to commute the aid demanded by a money payment. To his delight he heard a few hours later that the King had no objection to that course being taken; the aim of the English doubtless being to draw Charles into this technical breach of neutrality, if nothing better could be done, with the hope of widening the breach between him and the French later.
But the Emperor had not yet come to the end of the resources of procrastination. After he had listened to Dr. Wotton's demand he wrote to Van der Delft, on the 17th July, (fn. 24) instructing him to obscure the main issue by a cloud of complaints about the seizures, and the breach of Henry's obligations under the Treaty; and then to “offer to come to some elucidation of the difficulties which must necessarily be examined and settled before we can resolve about the assistance requested by him in the event of invasion;” (fn. 25) and the rigid conditions upon which aid could be given, as already recited, were also, if necessary, to be laid before the English King The interview at Portsmouth between Henry and Van der Delft consequent upon these instructions resembled many that had preceded it. All the old contentions on either side were repeated, angrily by the King, and with suave insistence by the ambassador. The Emperor was unquestionably bound to declare war against France at once, urged Henry, now that England itself had been invaded, and there was no need for further talk about it; but at length he consented to waive his extreme claim if a money subvention was promptly sent, the embargoed property of subjects on both sides being simultaneously released, (fn. 26) In the meanwhile the Imperial ambassadors in France were also making overtures to Francis I. with regard to a reconciliation with England. Francis was rapidly hastening to the grave; and extremely curious, not to say repulsive, details of his condition are contained in the letters of St. Mauris to the Emperor. (fn. 27) He was earnestly desirous, at the instance of his mistress, to effect a peace before he died; but, even so, he dared not sacrifice his claim for the surrender of Boulogne, though he was ready to pay a ransom for it. But as on this point of the retention of Boulogne, Henry was inflexible, especially now that the Emperor had been obliged to some extent to make common cause with him again against the French, the negotiations for peace dragged on as ineffectually as before.
To prolong these negotiations, one of the Emperor's principal councillors, Cornelius Scepperus, Sieur D'Eick, was sent to England in August; and whilst he was in the midst of his efforts to persuade Henry to a reconciliation with Francis through the Emperor's mediation, news came that the Duke of Orleans, the second son of Francis, had died of fever. This greatly changed the situation. The Duke's marriage to a nominee of the Emperor, with the dowry of Milan or Flanders, had been the main provision of the peace of Crespy; and although, as we have seen, each of the parties had shown great reluctance to fulfil the provisions of the treaty, the premature death of the Duke brought distinctly nearer the chances of war between the Emperor and Francis, lessened the Emperor's desire to see the combatants at peace, and inspired Henry with fresh hopes of being able to gain effective assistance from his Imperial ally.
As soon as the Emperor received the news he hurriedly wrote to Scepperus and Van der Delft in England, sounding a note of alarm lest the French and English might suddenly join their forces and attack him. (fn. 28) Henry was to be addressed in widely different terms to those previously employed. Now that the Duke of Orleans was dead the Emperor was more than ever inclined “pour faire quelque bonne œuvre:” “and such is the constant and perfect friendship between us, that we confide absolutely in him not to treat, or consent, to anything to the prejudice of ourselves, our states or our subjects which may be proposed to him by the King of France. We hope, on the contrary, that he will have due regard to our amity, and to the faithful observance of the treaties between us. To this you will add all the fair words that you may think appropriate, according as you may perceive the King's tendency and the chances of a treaty of peace (i.e. with France) being negotiated to our prejudice,” (fn. 29) Even on the sore point of the passage of Henry's mercenaries through the Imperial dominions to France, almost conciliatory language was now to be used towards him.
Up to this point every shift and device had been seized upon by Van der Delft to delay a final arrangement with respect to the subsidy to be contributed by the Emperor to the English war expenses, notwithstanding the constant demands of the English for a definite understanding; and the hollow peace negotiations through the Imperial ministers had furnished a new excuse for shelving the inconvenient subject. But the death of the Duke of Orleans revived Henry's hopes of a much more efficient aid from his ally than a mere money subvention, and on the very day that he received the news of the Duke's death he sent Scepperus hastily back to Flanders, ostensibly with a reply to the peace suggestions, but really with a secret mission to propose a meeting between the Emperor and the King of England. No sooner had he gone than another grave source of irritation occurred. Henry had raised a large sum of money on loan from the Fuggers of Augsburg for the payment of German mercenaries, and, on the pretext that it was intended to export the specie, the whole amount was embargoed by the authorities at Antwerp. The indignation of Henry and his councillors knew no bounds, and when his complaints were met with lame excuses he bitterly reproached his ally with his want of straightforwardness. (fn. 30) But far more alarming than his reproaches was the hint that the emissaries of the Protestant German Princes had approached both him and Francis with proposals for peace and a league between France and England, which he, Henry, said he had rejected, preferring to stand by his alliance with the Emperor, unless the latter drove him to act otherwise.
Charles was placed in a difficult quandary by the desire of his English ally to celebrate an ostentatious meeting between them. It was impossible for him to risk offending Henry by refusing point blank; but his plans for dealing a treacherous and fatal blow at the Reformation through his Lutheran subjects were now (September, 1545) practically complete; and he himself was to attend the fateful Diet of the princes at Ratisbon in the opening days of the new year, 1546. To have been drawn into a new and intimate alliance with a Schismatic King to the detriment of the Catholic Monarch of France would inevitably have alienated from him, not only the latter, but also Paul III., the cunning old Farnese, whose ambition for his house, after long enmity, had led him to provide the help without which the Emperor's plans against the Protestants could not have been undertaken. Dissimulation was once more the Emperor's only course, and Scepperus was sent back to England with professions of a warm desire on the part of his Imperial master to meet his dear friend and uncle the King of England. Letters patent, even, were conferred specially upon Scepperus authorising him to settle the preliminaries of the meeting (fn. 31) —but he was instructed to dwell upon the risk that Henry would run in crossing the sea in the late autumn, especially as the English territory in France was crowded with unsanitary soldiers and scourged by the plague. Still, if Henry insisted upon it, the Emperor was willing to halt on his Artois border on his way to Germany in October and meet his ally; but this must be on condition that the King of France would agree to a suspension of hostilities. The whole of the subjects to be referred to at the interview must, moreover, be exhaustively discussed and settled beforehand; so that at the actual meeting “there should be no question between us but of good cheer and kindly greeting.” (fn. 32) Charles had apparently no intention of meeting the King at all; but it was obviously to his advantage to pretend that he had, and to learn if possible the proposals that Henry was so anxious to bring forward.
After some trouble, Francis was prevailed upon by the Emperor's ministers to consent to a truce for six weeks, ostensibly for the purpose of holding a conference between his representatives and those of Henry, in the Emperor's territory, with a view to peace negotiations. Before this truce was conceded by the French King, however, Scepperus delivered his specious message in England. Henry was ready to agree to everything and to run all risks of crossing the sea; only that, as it was then the 8th October, and, so far as he knew, the truce with France had still to be negotiated, the meeting must be deferred for a short time. He set forth, however, for the Emperor's benefit the subjects he desired to settle at the meeting; and if Charles had at any time really entertained the idea of the interview, the knowledge he now gained that Henry's only object was to bind him tighter by treaty, (fn. 33) must have banished all intention of meeting the King of England.
When Van der Delft next saw Henry alone (13 October) after Scepperus had gone back to the Emperor with the answer referred to above, he told the King of the six weeks' truce consented to by Francis. What was the use, exclaimed Henry angrily, of a six weeks' truce ? It was to his disadvantage, and was all a trick of the French to gain their own ends. A six months' truce he would listen to, and, if before that time the meeting with the Emperor could not take place, he did not want a truce at all. With much reluctance, eventually, and only for appearance sake, Henry at last consented to send Bishop Gardiner to Flanders to meet the envoy sent by Francis, Admiral Annebaut; but there was from the first no intention whatever on Henry's part of concluding a cessation of hostilities, unless the interview with the Emperor, was to take place. Henry indeed saw clearly that, unless he could draw Charles into closer union with him against France, the truce would allow his antagonist fresh breathing time, beset as he was with poverty, famine and pestilence; whilst his own mercenaries were standing idle, consuming his substance. When therefore, with much pretended regret, the Emperor finally pleaded the impossibility of delaying his voyage to Germany for the purpose of meeting Henry, the insincere peace negotiations of Gardiner in Flanders, though still long protracted, were foredoomed to failure.
It became evident at length to the English, if not to the French, that the Emperor and his ministers were rather a hindrance than a help in the attempts to effect a reconciliation. So long as the negotiations could be carried on in Flanders under the eye of the Imperial ministers, they could be delayed almost indefinitely by the latter; the question of the English demand for aid being shelved in the meanwhile, and both combatants depleting their resources by keeping their armaments standing. Recognising this, Henry, at the end of November, 1545, sent Paget himself to Calais to negotiate for peace through the envoys of the Protestant German princes, whose advent in London with suggestions of mediation in September had greatly disturbed Van der Delft, and deepened the suspicions of the Emperor. (fn. 34) But neither of the combatants was yet completely exhausted, and the incompatible claims to the possession of Boulogne still stood in the way of a peaceful settlement. The early spring of 1546, therefore, saw vigorous new preparations on both sides for a prosecution of the war.
In the meanwhile Charles' great plot against the Reformation was gradually approaching fruition. The correspondence printed in the last volume of the Calendar and the present one exhibit admirably the patient cunning and tact with which the Emperor and his Flemish ministers had paralysed possible inimical action on the part of England and France. Both countries were now well nigh tired of war. and impoverished by the expenditure and waste of resources entailed by the protracted hostilities. Francis I., and even more so his son the Dauphin Henry, were, it is true, restive and discontented to see that the secret understanding into which they had been drawn to make common cause with their late enemy for the suppression of religious liberty, was intended solely to benefit Charles and his house; but they were powerless at present to act against the Emperor, because apart from the strain of their war with England, they found themselves deprived of their mainstay as against the house of Austria, namely, the Pope, who had for the time been drawn completely to the side of the Emperor.
The curious process by which the Farneses were alternately lectured or cajoled into submission is laid bare in the papers calendared in this volume more clearly and pungently than elsewhere. (fn. 35) In November of the previous year (1544) Paul III had consented in principle, being urged thereto by both the Emperor and Francis, to the holding of a great council of the Church in an imperial city. This of itself was a great concession, for it brought distinctly nearer the time when the vague uncertainty as to the doctrines and practices of the Church, which alone prevented a decisive armed struggle for religious freedom, would be brought to an end, and the sole alternative to submission would be for the Protestant princes of Germany to oppose their suzerain in arms. With many misgivings the Pope had gone thus far, but having done so he doubtless considered that he had a right to make capital out of his concession for the benefit of his family. In the last volume of this Calender (Vol. vii., p. 464) the Emperor's letter to his ambassador in Rome, Juan de Vega, recites that Cardinal Poggio, the Nuncio, whilst congratulating him upon the secret clauses of the Peace of Crespy, had hinted that if the Emperor would befriend the Farnese family the Pope might easily be persuaded to contribute a considerable sum of money towards the expenses of a war against the Turks and the subjugation of the heretics.
Charles had seized the opportunity and instructed Vega to speak plainly to the Pope. There must be no vague generalities. The treasure known to be in the hands of the Church for the conquest of the Turk, might with equal merit and good conscience be applied to a war against the Lutherans. But if the Pope would not provide a large sum, say 500,000 or 600,000 ducats, for the purpose of such war, the Emperor must dissemble with the heretics and make the best of it. If, on the contrary, the Pope would aid him heartily he would befriend the Farneses and secure for ever the supremacy of Rome. In the present volume (page 34) the Emperor puts the matter even more frankly in a letter to his friend and adviser, Francisco de los Cobos, who was acting as financial mentor to the young Regent Philip in Spain. To him there is no obscuring talk about a war with the Turk; it is the Protestants alone who are to be attacked, and not only must the Pope dip his hands into his treasure chest handsomely, but “much money should be obtained from prelates and churches in Spain; and we desire you to take the preliminary steps which shall enable us in due time to realise such contributions easily and promptly. This must be done with the greatest secrecy; for if the prelates learn beforehand that they are to be thus taxed some of them might betray the matter to the Protestants in order to prevent the execution of the measures intended.” From this letter, which is dated 17 February, 1545, to the end of the story, the correspondence between Charles and his son, and Cobos, in the present volume throws a vivid light upon the financial methods of the period. From Castile alone could the Emperor draw funds at his own good will; for the defeat of the Commons at Villalar twenty years before had struck a death blow to the independence of the Castilian Cortes; and Spain was plundered and despoiled to utter exhaustion to satisfy the Emperor's needs. Cobos, over and over again, protested despairingly that no more money could be wrung out of the suffering country. Young Philip, in a letter most remarkable for its wisdom and frankness, pleads for mercy for the Spanish people. (fn. 36) The Emperor was adamant; money he must have to crush the Lutherans, and though he wept, as he says, at being forced thus to afflict his Spanish subjects, his aims were those of God and His Church; and all other considerations must be placed in the background. Cobos and Philip dutifully did their best to obey, and their expedients were as ingenious as they were desperate, such as suddenly pouncing upon all the gold and silver coin in Seville, 200,000 crowns, and shipping it to Genoa for the Emperor; (fn. 37) but their letters in this volume plainly show that they gravely disapproved of a policy which wrought such misery and suffering to the Spanish people over whom they were placed to rule.
With the resources of his lay Castilian subjects Charles could do as he pleased; but when he sought to lay hands upon the property of the clergy he had to deal with the Pope, and a most interesting series of letters in the present volume, passing between the Emperor and his agents in Rome, exhibit the means adopted to persuade or compel Paul III. to accede to the almost insatiable demands of the Emperor for funds, both directly from the Pope and from the ecclesiastical property in Spain and Flanders. Charles attended the Diet at Worms in May, 1545, and he found the princes in deep distrust and suspicion of him. John Frederick of Saxony and others d refused to attend unless the religious questions were to be settled not at a council of bishops at Trent, but at a free Christian assembly uncontrolled by Rome; the Lutherans obstinately refused to vote a subsidy for the war against the Turk unless they were assured of freedom of molestation, no matter what conclusion might be arrived at by the bishops at Trent. Charles' plans had been shrouded in the most profound secrecy, but that something extraordinary was afoot was clear to the German Protestants, and from this period, the spring of 1545, the breach between them and the Emperor widened daily. The person that had been indicated by Charles a fit intermediary to conclude a secret alliance between himself and the Pope was the youthful Cardinal Farnese, the grandson of Paul III. He was inexperienced as well as ambitious; and it was thought might easily be influenced to the Emperor's advantage. To Worms, therefore, Cardinal Farnese travelled to meet the Emperor in May, 1545, ostensibly to bring a Papal subsidy of 100,000 crowns contributed to a war against the Turk; but really to conclude the treaty by which Paul III. pledged himself to finance a campaign against the Protestants. Charles' bold demands somewhat alarmed the young Cardinal, and he dared not concede all that was asked, but he went back to his grandfather the Emperor's eager servant, and, with the aid of the Imperial agents at Rome, finally persuaded the Pope to grant a money subvention of 200,000 ducats, and to provide and pay a contingent of 12,000 foot and 500 horse for the war; and hopes were also held out that, in certain circumstances, 100,000 ducats more might be contributed. A Bull was given, moreover, granting to the Emperor for the war half the ecclesiastical first fruits of Spain, and a sum of 500,000 ducats to be raised by the sale of the Spanish monastic manors. (fn. 38) The details of the latter subsidy and its proposed commutation by a sum to be raised by the sale of the portable property of the monasteries led to a long and acrimonious dispute with the Pope, from whom, after the first flush of confidence in Charles had passed, every concession had to be wrung painfully, with infinite bickering, by the Imperial agents. The letters of Juan de Vega in this volume, especially, show the hollow nature of the exaggerated verbal professions of respect paid by the Emperor and his ministers to the Pontiff. Paul III. is represented throughout by Vega as a crafty, garrulous curmudgeon, whose word was worth nothing, and whose religion itself was a consideration secondary to his greed. The agreement with the Pope took so long to settle that Charles was obliged to defer the opening of hostilities until the following year, 1546, and in an important letter written by him after his return to Flanders, 16 February, 1546, to his son Philip, he sets forth all the considerations that had moved him to adopt the critical resolution to which he was pledged, to commence war against his own subjects in the summer. (fn. 39)
During the early spring and summer of 1546, whilst the interminable wrangling with the Pope was going on, Vega endeavouring to exact to the utmost every promise given, and Paul III. himself haggling over every item, striving to retract and minimise as much as possible, the war between France and England lingered on; and the same system of wearisome hairsplitting and procrastination was continued by Van der Delft and Scepperus in England, to avoid the settlement of the vexed question of the subsidy to be contributed by the Emperor to the war against France. Another diversion to lead Henry to overlook the subsidy was made by the Emperor through Van der Delft and Scepperus in March, namely, the proposal for a marriage between the young Prince of Wales and a daughter of the Emperor's brother Ferdinand. There was, of course, no intention really of effecting such a match; but it served its turn by keeping Henry quiet for a e, whilst the blow against the Protestants was being planned, and was artfully utilised as a means of exacerbating Henry's irritation against the French. Scepperus told Henry (fn. 40) “that the French intended to circumvent and deceive him by means of a marriage treaty between his son and a daughter of Scotland. By this means they would recover Boulogne, with ace or a long truce. They would get the Queen of Scotland (i.e., Mary of Guise) to consent to this marriage treaty with her daughter, letting her know that the undertaking would . . . . not be binding.” Henry had learnt y means of his own ambassador that Ferdinand proposed only o give his daughter a dowry of 100,000 crowns, and he probably understood the insincere nature of the proposals. He consequently received Scepperus' bland assurances very stiffly, and suddenly burst out, “When shall I have the aid?”
It was evident that Henry was by this time undeceived with regard to the Emperor's friendship, and his patience was nearly at an end. He could not, he knew, go to war with his late ally, either to help the German Protestants or for any other object, for his resources were greatly depleted; but he cannot avoid having felt the annoyance which he frequently showed at the way in which he had been outwitted and deceived all along by the soft-spoken generalities of the Imperial ministers. His main object for the time was to retain Boulogne, at almost any cost compatible with peace. Every request he made to the Emperor or his sister the Stadtholderinn, either for the passage of mercenaries, the exportation of foodstuffs for his army, the transit of arms or ammunition through Flemish ports, or permission to raise a loan in Imperial territory, was met by meticulous objections, and either refused altogether or minimised and delayed so as to be of little use.
In these circumstances, aided by the ever-growing distrust both of Francis and himself at the Emperor's proceedings in Germany and Italy, it was inevitable that Henry should at length recognise the wisdom of attempting to come to terms with France. Through Italian intermediaries sent to England by the Duchess d'Etampes, at length a meeting was arranged at the end of April, 1546, between Lord Admiral Dudley (Lord Lisle) and Admiral Annebaut at Ardres, and terms highly favourable to England were conceded by the French. Henry was to retain Boulogne for eight years and surrender it upon payment of the vast sum of 2,000,000 sun crowns in gold. Henry boasted that this was equivalent to the permanent retention of the conquered territory, since France would never be able to raise such an amount as that mentioned, whilst the French ministers affected to be pleased at their bargain, because the fortifications erected by the English at Boulogne were to be given up intact at the end of eight years, and these, they said, represented an expenditure equal to the ransom to be paid. (fn. 41)
To the great delight of the subjects on both sides, half ruined as they were by the war and the consequent interference with trade, peace was finally concluded in July, 1546; and Henry was free to turn his attention to the urgent problems that faced his country and the cause of religious emancipation from Rome which he had embraced. It was high time; for though the war into which he had been cleverly cajoled and deserted had left him, as well as Francis, too much exhausted to oppose the Emperor's dangerous plans abroad, yet Henry's rapidly-failing health, and the profound divisions opened amongst his ministers by the impending change, as well as by the renewed acuteness of the religious question, rendered it necessary that affairs in England itself should be dealt with firmly, unless a heritage of revolution, perhaps disintegration, was to be left to the child who was to succeed to the throne.
The forces for and against the consummation of religious reform were ranging themselves in the English Court, Gardiner and Paget, with the tacit support of Winchester, Wriothesley and the Howards on the one side, contending for mastery with Seymour and Dudley on the other. In the absence from court of the two latter nobles persecution of the “heretics” in England was rampant in the summer of 1546, (fn. 42) to the delight of the Imperial ambassadors, who foresaw but little difficulty in reconciling Henry to the Emperor's religious war in Germany whilst Gardiner and Paget were paramount in his councils. Intrigue and distrust, however, prevailed everywhere. Duke Philip of Bavaria was running backwards and forwards from Germany to England on mysterious missions; Sturmius and Dr. Brun, the Lutheran envoys, obtained audience with Henry himself; (fn. 43) and, although England and France were now ostentatiously friendly, Paget, and even Henry, hinted frequently to Van der Delft that overtures were being made to them by the French for a coalition to strike a treacherous blow at the Emperor; whilst the Imperial ambassadors were full of suggestions to Henry that the French intended to betray him. On the whole it is evident that Henry himself, though naturally distrustful of the Emperor's proceedings towards the German Protestants, as the Emperor was of him, (fn. 44) was firmly resolved to stand by the traditional Imperial alliance, and to regard his friendship with France as a measure of temporary expediency.
By the end of June, 1546, the Emperor's intention to submit to the arbitrament of the sword the right of his German subjects to choose their own faith could no longer be treated as a secret. His alliance with the Pope, and all the details of the papal aid, had been babbled abroad from Rome long ago; the contingent of troops to be commanded by Ottavio Farnese, the Emperor's son-in-law and the Pope's grandson, was already mustering; but even at this late hour the duplicity of the Emperor's methods were as apparent as ever. The proceedings at the Diet at Ratisbon, and the intrigues to secure at least the neutrality of Maurice of Saxony and the Duke of Bavaria, had convinced all the world that the Emperor's objects both in the Council of Trent and in the coming war were the unification of religion, in order to render his house politically supreme; but, whilst he ceaselessly urged upon the penurious and distrustful Pope the exclusively religious character of the crusade, for which ecclesiastical treasures were being so profusely bled, he took care to impress upon other potentates the obviously specious view that he had only to deal with disobedient and rebellious subjects, like John Frederick of Saxony and Frederick of Hesse, who had defied his authority in the matter of the captive Henry of Brunswick.
When Charles instructed his ambassador to congratulate Henry upon the conclusion of peace between England and France (21 June, 1546), (fn. 45) the following passage of his letter contains the first direct intimation that was conveyed to the King of England of the Emperor's intentions. “We presume that rumours will have reached England that we are mustering an army; and perhaps the Protestants, even those who are ignorant of the object we have in view, may use great efforts to persuade the King of England to help them. You will, therefore, be very vigilant to obtain information of what goes on; so that when a fitting opportunity occurs, and in the way you may think best, you may inform the King that it is impossible for us to ignore the proffered support and exhortations of the Catholics and honest folk of Germany, urging us to bring to reason certain princes who wish to pervert the common peace and justice of this country, and who wish to tyrannise over and oppress ecclesiastics and nobles on the pretext of religion. We trust that, in regard of our friendship, the King will refuse to lend ear to such people, or to countenance them. By so doing he will demonstrate the affection he has always so emphatically professed towards us.” More precise still was the letter of Charles' sister, the Stadtholderinn, to Van der Delft, of the same date, ordering him to assure Henry of the purely secular nature of the enterprise. “The Emperor, having made every possible effort to bring the affairs of Germany to concord and tranquillity by conciliation and an avoidance of force, his Majesty recognising that the Duke of Saxony and the Landgrave incessantly oppose his authority by keeping Duke Henry of Brunswick and his son prisoners, and occupying his territories, whilst refusing to attend the Diet. which, as vassals of the empire, they were bound to do, has come to the conclusion that no further hope can be entertained that the two princes will be brought to submission by mildness; and his Majesty has consequently raised his forces . . to bring them to obedience . . . . . As many people are trying to make out that this enterprise is not directed against the Duke and the Landgrave, but is really undertaken on religious grounds, you may assure the King that his Majesty's intention is not to meddle with the religious question at all, but simply to punish the disobedience of the Duke and the Landgrave, in the hope that he may thus bring Germany to unity. You will report what answer the King makes, and what he seems to think of the enterprise, and also the rumours current about it in England.” (fn. 46) Considering that from the first letter from Charles to his son (p. 34) on the subject, the solely religious aim in view had been dwelt upon emphatically, both to the Pope and the Spaniards, and that the Lutherans and Protestants throughout Europe were perfectly aware of it, the euphemistic falseness of the Emperor's professions could hardly have deceived Henry or anyone else at this late period. In effect, when Van der Delft saw the King on the 5th July with the Emperor's message, (fn. 47) Henry made no secret of his annoyance. “The reasons alleged by me, he said, were mere shadows; it was really the Pope's money that had induced the Emperor to do as he had done; and he feared that his Majesty would find himself deceived after all. The real origin of the war was perfectly well understood, and it was quite probable that those who pretended to be on his Majesty's side now would be against him some day.” (fn. 48) In a subsequent interview with the Emperor's tools, Paget and Gardiner, Van der Delft primed them well with the Imperial view; and “as these councillors are those most in favour with the King, I doubt not that they will be good instruments for maintaining the existing friendship, and for preventing the Protestants from gaining footing or favour here. They (Gardiner and Paget) have confidently promised me this.”
Only distant echoes of the Schmalkaldic campaign, so far as regards the Emperor's personal part in it, reach us through the documents calendared in the present volume; but much more detailed and interesting matter will be found in the letters of Juan de Vega and other Spanish ministers with regard to the share of the Pope and his grandsons in the war, and of the straits to which Charles was reduced for money, in consequence of old Farnese's tergiversation. Some extremely curious lights are thrown, moreover, upon the purely political view taken by Charles and his ministers of the Council of Trent, especially in the letters of the famous Spanish writer, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, the Imperial ambassador in Venice, and the Emperor's agent in the Council (fn. 49) : and a letter from Titian to the Emperor, sent from Venice through Mendoza, (fn. 50) is valuable as fixing the date and the circumstances under which the famous portrait of the Empress Elizabeth now in the Musco del Prado at Madrid was painted.
Whilst the interminable discussions between the Imperial ambassadors and Henry's ministers with regard to the restitution of the commercial property seized on both sides still went on, and the almost equally acrid negotiations were in progress as to the inclusion of the Scots in Henry's peace with France, the old King's health daily declined. Van der Delft saw him at Oatlands on the 7th December, 1546, when the Emperor's campaign was on the point of reaching a triumphant conclusion. The King was ailing, but he was as mentally alert as ever. After some of the usual generalities about the falsity of the French, Henry told the ambassador that he desired to have a chat with him. He had, he said, always been a good friend of the Emperor, and was somewhat hurt that he had not sent him more frequent news of his proceedings, since he (Henry) was full of good wishes for his success. “But,” he continued, “I am afraid that he will allow himself to be seduced by the Pope.” The ambassador assured him that no treaty made by the Emperor with the Pope would be to his (Henry's) prejudice. “I know,” replied the King, “that the Pope has not fulfilled the promises he made to the Emperor;” and he then suggested that a peace with the Protestants should be made by his mediation, and that a strong coalition between himself and the Emperor, with the Lutheran princes and Denmark, should be made to humble France and her allies (i.e., the Pope, &c), “who are awaiting an opportunity to play their own game.” (fn. 51) At another interview a few days later, also at Oatlands, Henry again urged a reconciliation of Charles with the Protestants and a new alliance against the French. It is clear to see that this fresh solicitude on the part of the King for the Protestants indicated a rise in the Seymour influence at court; and the arrest of Norfolk and Surrey, (fn. 52) which Van der Delft records in the same letter (14 December, 1546) marks the complete predominance of the party which ruled Henry in the last few weeks of his life.
Van der Delft writes on the 24th December, 1546: “I do not know what to suspect. Although the King recently told me, as an excuse for not receiving me when I sought audience, that he had suffered from a sharp attack of fever, which had lasted in its burning stage for thirty hours, though he was now quite restored, his colour does not bear out the latter statement; and he looks to me greatly fallen away. . . Sire, I do not think in any case that I ought to conceal my opinion of affairs here, which change almost daily. Four or five months ago great enquiries and prosecutions were carried out against the heretics and Sacramentarians, but they have now ceased since the Earl of Hertford and the Lord Admiral have resided at Court. The public opinion, therefore, that these two nobles are in favour of the Sects may be accepted as true; and also that they have obtained such influence over the King as to lead him according to their fancy. In order to avoid this some of the principal councillors, to whom I had pointed out the evils and dangers threatened by these Sects, unless they were vigorously opposed, requested me to address the King to this effect. I find them (i.e., the councillors) now of a different aspect, and much inclined to please and entertain the Earl and the Admiral, neither of whom has ever been favourable towards your Majesty's subjects. This being the case, and since those who were well disposed have changed, it may be assumed that these two (i.e., Seymour and Dudley) have entirely obtained the favour and authority of the King. A proof of this is that nothing is now done at court without their intervention, and the meetings of the Council are mostly held at the Earl of Hertford's house.” The ambassador continues that, though the King during his lifetime will not change his policy, yet that “strange acts and constitutions” would be adopted when he died. Already, indeed, Van der Delft found it more difficult than ever to deal with the Council now that it was dominated by Seymour, and he beseeches his master to consider the best means of protecting his interests when the King shall have passed away.
In reply to this Van der Delft was instructed to set forth his own opinion on the matter; and for the last time the aged Chapuys, now living in invalid retirement at Louvain, was called upon to give to his master the benefit of his unrivalled experience of English politics.
The final State paper penned by the diplomatist whose letters have filled so many volumes of the series of Calendars of which this is the last, is inspired as usual by the cautions moderation, the suave patience that waits upon events rather than attempting to force them. He deprecates value being attached to his opinion, because he has lost touch of the English people: “who are so changeable and inconstant that they vary, I will not say from year to year, but every moment; and no other set of affairs, in my opinion, so urgently needs personal consideration on the spot, or upon which an opinion is so likely to be wrong if given without recent observation.” (fn. 53) But, withal, in compliance with his master's orders, Chapuys' knowledge of Henry's imperious character was once more utilised to give wise but hopeless advice. If the King, he says, gives countenance to the stirrers-up of heresy, the Earl of Hertford and the Lord Admiral, which it may be feared he does, for the reasons stated by Van der Delft, and because the Queen, influenced by the Duchess of Suffolk, the Countess of Hertford and the Admiral's wife “is infected with the sect;” which she would not favour openly if the King was not tending the same way, it would be quite useless to attempt to turn him from his fancy by words and exhortations; even if they were addressed to him in the name of the Emperor. “On the contrary, they would be more likely to give him a pretext for hurrying on the enterprise, and harden him in his obstinacy, in order that he might show his absolute power and independence of anyone. It again might bring about a certain irritation or coolness on his part, which, at the present time, is undesirable in the interests of Christendom.” (fn. 54) If, howev er, the slightest signs of wavering be shown by Henry, Chapuys was of opinion that Van der Delft, in accord with Paget and the Imperial party in the Council, might put before the King unofficially the danger of religious innovations; though it was to be feared, he continued, that even the friendly Councillors would now be disinclined to ”join in the dance, or to undertake anything against the Earl and the Admiral, seeing the violent and injurious words used recently by the former towards the Lord Chancellor (Wriothesley), and by the Admiral towards Winchester” (Gardiner). “In order to hold a candle to the devil,” he continues, Van der Delft might repeat his discourse to Seymour and Dudley. “It is out of the question, of course, that he could convert them, their malady being one of those incurable mental ones into which they have fallen by natural inclination. With Norfolk in prison, the Catholic councillors cowed, and the episcopal property threatened, there was nothing to stand in the way of Seymour's plans. The Emperor, hints Chapuys, having let slip his opportunity for striking a blow to vindicate years before the position of Queen Katharine of Aragon and her daughter the Princess Mary, heresy had become strong and deeply rooted: “and nothing his Majesty says now will have any effect upon them. On the contrary they will turn it to their own profit and advantage.”
As a counsel of despair, Chapuys suggests that in the, not unlikely, event of the King's death being followed by disturbances, Van der Delft on the spot might take advantage of them for the Emperor's ends; and the irritation of the English commercial class against the new Government might be augmented by a fresh seizure of all English property in Flanders and Spain, on the pretext that the injuries done to Imperial subjects had not been redressed. “There is no doubt that the Government would be much perplexed by such seizures, since the King (Henry) himself was so much upset by them the last time, and by the complaints of his people.” Beyond this feeble remedy Chapuys could advise nothing. If Parliament were free as it used to be, something might be done, he said, by remonstrance there; but now “no man present at the sittings dare for his life's sake open his mouth, or say a word without watching the will of the King and Council.” “In conclusion, I beg to say that, in my opinion, it would at present be advisable for his Majesty, the Emperor, to avoid any further action either spiritual or temporal. . . The aphorism of physicians, with regard to certain maladies, should be borne in mind. They say that the best and quickest cure that can be adopted is to leave the evil untouched to avoid irritating it further.” (fn. 55)
These weak and futile words, the last recorded of the ambassador whose period of office had witnessed the vast change in international relations which had arisen from Henry's defiance of the papacy, fittingly mark the utter impotence to which the new religious divisions had condemned the Emperor. For centuries the balance of power in Europe had depended upon the close alliance of the rulers of Flanders and Spain with the ruler of England, as an offset to the secular friendship between France and Scotland. When Henry broke the allegiance of his country to the papacy, and Charles assumed the position of prime champion of the traditional Roman Church, the problems of European politics changed. But with French ambitions in Italy and Flanders perennially alert, with the Turks on one flank and the French another, the Emperor had not dared to drive his Schismatic ally into alliance with his ancient enemies. Injury and indignity to the Spanish Queen of England, disinheritance and insult of her half Spanish daughter, defiance of the papal authority of which Charles had constituted himself the defender, and attacks upon the Catholic Church which was the mainstay of the Spanish power; all these had been condoned and glozed over by Chapuys by his master's orders during along series of years, because the Emperor dared not allow religious considerations to override the political needs which bound him to England at any cost. We see in Chapuys' hopeless words quoted above how it had ended. England strong in the knowledge of the Emperor's straits had gone her King's way, and was drifting every year further from the foreign influences which had for so long swayed her. Once for a brief space after the peace of Crespy it had looked as if the two great Catholic monarchs might forget their secular enmity, and jointly attack England on religious grounds; but in the correspondence in this volume may be traced the process by which this short-lived co-operation for the suppression of heresy gave place to the old jealousy and distrust between France and the Empire, upon which the immunity of England had always depended. Once again, when the Catholic Mary succeeded, and married her cousin Philip, the ancient hold of the house of Spain and Burgundy upon England seemed secure; and well-nigh universal domination under the Emperor's son as probable consequence. It was but a last flicker, to die down completely when the daughter of Anne Boleyn became Queen of England. In the period covered by the eight volumes of the present Calendar the process of England's emancipation from foreign influence was practically completed, and the power of Spain and the Empire doomed to the slow decay of which Chapuys final words are the first distinctive signs.
Martin A. S. Hume.