Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 9, 1547-1549. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1912.
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The papers calendared in this volume extend over a period of three years: 1547, 1548 and 1549. They are, primarily, the letters of the Imperial ambassadors resident in England and France to the Emperor and his sister, Regent of the Netherlands, and the sovereigns' instructions to these ambassadors. In the second place there are a certain number of letters from Imperial envoys in Italy and elsewhere, which touch on the affairs of England or the Reformation.
The late Major M. A. S. Hume, after whose death I received the honour of the Editorship of this Calendar, left, roughly speaking, half the volume complete and printed off. His work ceases with the letter from Jehan Duboys to Loys Scors, dated October 24th, 1548. While collecting material for carrying on the work from that point, however, I have found a number of papers for the period already covered by Major Hume, and which appear to have escaped his notice. These are printed in this volume as an Appendix. They are, for the most part, letters from the Imperial ambassador in France to the Emperor, which often contain information on Anglo-French relations, and news of events in the English possessions in Picardy and Scotland, that never reached the Imperial ambassador in London.
For Charles V's last years, the Imperial Archives at Vienna contain by far the most important collections. Charles, during this period, kept French-speaking ambassadors in France and England, and Spaniards in Italy. It seems that, sometime in Philip II's reign, the correspondence with the ambassadors in Italy, all of it in Spanish, was taken from Brussels to Simancas, the great Spanish State Archives, where it still remains. On the other hand, the letters from the ambassadors in England and France, which are in French, together with the minutes for the Emperor's instructions, also in French, were eventually taken to Vienna. In the Archives Nationales, Paris, is the section “France” of the Spanish Archives, which was seized by Napoleon and has never been returned to Spain. For the period now in hand, however, this section is of small importance. Almost without exception, the originals of the ambassador in France's letters are in Vienna, and the papers extant in Paris are mostly extracts and summaries of these originals made for the King of the Romans, or translations into Spanish of extracts for the benefit of Prince Philip who was, to say the least, an indifferent French scholar. Indeed, at the time of his marriage to Queen Mary of England, the Imperial ambassador could say no more than that Philip “understood French fairly well”: there seems to have been no attempt at pretending that he could speak it. In any case, the papers in Paris are only valuable when the original letters, from which they were translated, are missing from the Viennese collection, and even then the passages selected as being likely to interest Philip were more often accounts of balls, christenings, tourneys and the like, than of important political occurrences, though at the time referred to that Prince was upwards of twenty years old. However, Philip plays a small part in this volume, and it is not the place to discuss his aptitude for, or share in, public affairs. Vienna, Simancas and Paris hold almost all the documents that appear here, but there are also a few from the Granvelle collections at Madrid and Besançon.
It is worth remark that many of Charles' French-speaking ambassadors were Franc-Comtois, natives of Besançon, and members of, or closely allied to, the family of Granvelle, whilst his envoys in Italy were Mendozas, Manriques, Toledos, Vegas and Figueroas. Nicolas Perrenot de Granvelle, who had long been Charles' minister, died over eighty years of age in 1550, and in our period his son Antoine, Bishop of Arras and afterwards Cardinal, though only thirty in 1547, was already associated with him in the management of affairs. His brother Chantonnay, also, was now and then employed in diplomatic missions. The Emperor himself transacted as much business as he could and, until his health broke down, went into all questions, political and economic. His sister Mary, Queen Dowager of Hungary and Regent of the Netherlands, usually undertook the English department when the Emperor was ill or campaigning, and always had a vast number of cases of piracy or infringement of the commercial agreements between England and the Netherlands referred to her. The ambassadors in England and France consequently had to send almost as many despatches to her as to the Emperor.
During the three years now under our notice, François Van der Delft remained Imperial ambassador in London. He appears to have been a conscientious, fairly hardworking man, but was ailing, and anxious to be relieved of his post. He had little sympathy with England or the English, and had for Protector Somerset a distaste which eventually grew into hatred. When Warwick began preparing his blow at the Protector, he made use of Van der Delft's animosity, and succeeded in hood-winking him into believing that, the Protector once disposed of, religion would be restored to Henry VIII's settlement. The Lady Mary was not deceived, but credulous Van der Delft continually besieged the Emperor with supplications to be allowed to assure Warwick of Imperial good-will and to join his and the Lady Mary's support to Somerset's enemies. The Emperor absolutely refused his consent, and fortunately for himself, for had Van der Delft got his way, he would have gravely compromised the Lady Mary, besides making her ridiculous in the eyes of the country. When the ambassador discovered how he had been abused, he fell into a sulky mood, which lasted until his recall in circumstances to be illustrated in the next volume. Van der Delft's letters are hardly the less interesting because he did not understand the import of events in England. They admirably show what the Council wished him to write to his master, and his own comments are by no means devoid of humour. He believed not at all in the integrity of the English reformers or their supporters; and indeed the material profits realised out of the change by the new nobility and official class were large enough to make his view defensible. His orderly mind was revolted by the plunder and corruption of which he was an unwilling witness, and the tactful Paget seems to have been the one man in England for whom he had any regard.
Jean de St. Mauris, uncle of the Bishop of Arras, was ambassador in France until April, 1549, when he was given an important post in the Netherlands, and replaced at Paris by Simon Renard. St. Mauris had plenty of spies to keep him well informed of everything that went on in the French court and the army, for among them were several Italian officers in the French service. The Italians were always ready to desert to the Emperor, and on one occasion offered to hand over the fortifications of Lyons to him; but the Emperor preferred to keep them where they were as informants. All this secret-service work must have been expensive, and St. Mauris received his pay even less regularly than other ambassadors; at any rate he complains continually of lack of funds, and about two years' salary was owing to him at one time. He was an accomplished diplomatist, quite free from personal prejudice in his judgment of affairs, and clearer-headed than Van der Delft. His successor, Simon Renard, was one of the most brilliant among many able men who served Charles. His despatches make delightful reading in the originals; he was as well informed as St. Mauris, and possessed of a quicker mind. In writing to his master his tone approaches levity at times, though none of the Emperor's French-speaking ambassadors ever ventured to address him with the easy, though respectful familiarity indulged in by the Mendozas and other of his Spanish servants. Sceptical, caustic and witty as few ambassadors before or since were Don Juan and Don Diego de Mendoza; perhaps the more amusing of the two was Don Juan, and I greatly regret that I am quite unable to render his flavour in a faithful translation, or print more of his letters. His thrust at the English ambassador at Venice, whom he reports to have been unwilling to own up to some questionable transaction “but only because he objects to Confession” may be take as typical.
Such were the men whose letters fill the present volume. In the following introductory pages I shall try to give some account of the successive shapes taken on by the English question in the eyes of the Emperor and his ministers, rather than a narrative of events from an English point of view; for the documents themselves are chiefly valuable considered in the light of Imperialist hopes and fears.
The international position at the beginning of 1547 was very briefly as follows. England was at peace with the Empire, and had concluded a treaty with France at Campe on June 7th, 1546, when Francis agreed to continue paying the old pensions due to England, and to leave Boulogne in English hands until eight years should have passed, at the end of which term it was to be surrendered in exchange for a war indemnity of 2,000,000 crowns in gold. Henry VIII, on his side, agreed to the inclusion of the Scots in the peace, on condition that they would observe the treaties of 1543, according to which little Queen Mary was to marry Prince Edward, though she was to be allowed to stay in Scotland until she reached the age of ten. Sixteenth century treaties, however, seldom bound the parties against their immediate interest, and the agreement of Campe would have broken up on the question of Boulogne had it not first been rendered nugatory by a verbal quibble closely resembling that which at one time threatened to wreck the treaty of Crépy. It will be remembered that the Emperor had bound himself not to treat with France without Henry VIII's consent, and the young Bishop of Arras swore that Henry had given this consent verbally at Boulogne in the hearing of Chapuis and others. (fn. 1) Henry afterwards declared in so many words that Arras lied; but he was not strong enough to break with the Emperor, and when an Imperial minister had occasion to speak of the treaty of Crépy, he never omitted to mention that it had been concluded “with the King of England's consent”; an assertion which no one, after Henry VIII's death, ventured to question. As the Emperor was bound not to treat without Henry's consent, so was Henry to obtain the Emperor's. This was freely given as far as France was concerned; but as to the Scots, the English official version, some seven months after the signature of the treaty of Campe, was that the English had agreed to include the Scots in the peace because they believed the Admiral of France's statement that the Emperor had agreed verbally to the inclusion of the Scots in the treaty of Crépy. It subsequently turned out that the Emperor had given his consent subject to complete satisfaction and redress, to be made by the Scots, for all their depredations committed on the Emperor's shipping; and, as redress was never forthcoming, the Emperor asserted that his consent was never given. This point nearly led to a duel between Fernando Gonzaga and the French Admiral; but Francis I and Henry II steadily maintained that England and Scotland were at peace, and that France was quite at liberty, nay bound by treaty, to help the Queen of Scots against her rebellious subjects and, incidentally, against the English who were abetting them, without infringing the treaty of 1546, or in any way altering friendly relations between the Kings of England and France. The same friendly relations also allowed constant fighting near Boulogne, in the shape of attempts on the part of the French to destroy the sea-wall, burn the shipping in Boulogne harbour, or surprise the English forts in the Boulonnais. Both the English and the Emperor, on the other hand, asserted that they were at war with the Scots; though the Emperor allowed Scottish ships to trade in his ports in the Low Countries under safe-conduct. It is to be noted that the English treaty with the Emperor afforded great protection to England itself and what was called the “Older Conquest,” that is to say Calais and the Terre d'Oye. If the French attacked these, Charles was bound by treaty to declare war on France; and though it is by no means certain that he would have done so, the fact that even when, in August, 1549, war was actually proclaimed between England and France, the French limited themselves as before to operations in Scotland and the Boulonnais, shows that they thought there was a good chance of the Emperor meeting his obligations.
The Emperor was wholly absorbed in German affairs at this time. He had made sure of Duke Maurice, and knew that John Frederick of Saxony's and the Landgrave of Hesse's defeat was only a matter of a few weeks. South Germany, whose Protestantism was Zwinglian, was already abandoning the Lutheran North, and the cities were not disposed to make sacrifices to help the Princes to absolutism. The Council of Trent was Charles' next care, and he realised that it would occupy his attention for some time to come. The Pope's fresh attack of the French malady, as the Emperor put it to the Nuncio, resulting in the transference of the Council to Bologna, multiplied Charles' difficulties, but did not cause him to abandon his plans. It is therefore clear that nothing could have suited him better than that France and England should be kept busy sparring in the Boulonnais and Scotland, without becoming heated enough to indulge in such hard-hitting as might force the Emperor to join the fray. He tried his best to preserve friendly relations with both sides, though as England was the weaker party, he showed her the greater favour, in order to make the chances more even.
The most important provision of the treaty of Crépy, the last concluded between the Emperor and France, according to which the Duke of Orleans was to marry Charles' eldest daughter, with the Burgundian lands, or one of the King of the Romans' daughters, with Milan, had become inoperative through the Duke's death. Francis I was anxious to come to some new arrangement, but equally desirous of retaining the part of the Duke of Savoy's dominions then occupied by him. To this the Emperor would not consent, and no proposals for the marriage of Francis' daughter Margaret with Prince Philip would he consider, unless it were to be accompanied by the restitution of Piedmont. Relations were consequently strained between France and the Empire, and everybody knew that the Savoyard question could hardly be settled without more bloodshed. In the meantime, Francis did his utmost to make trouble for the Emperor by supporting Protestant rebels in Germany, inciting the Turk to further raids, and encouraging the Pope in his efforts to balk the Council. The Emperor was an old man at forty-seven, overworked and racked by gout, and the age at which it is possible to adopt new ideas had passed him by. Otherwise Paul III's blindness to all except his family's ambitions might have cost the papacy dear. As it was moments came when the Emperor longed to go to Rome with a Germany united in hatred of the papacy at his back, and tell the Pope what he thought of him, face to face. His Holiness, almost needless to say, feared a Reformation by General Council more than anything else in the world.
January, 1547, finds Van der Delft busied in watching the manœuvres of two foreign missions. Sturmius and Dr. Brun had returned to England after passing through Paris, and were trying to obtain help for the deposed Elector of Saxony, John Frederick, and his Protestant allies, against whom the Emperor and Duke Maurice were already in the field. Van der Delft hears they have had a friendly reception in France, and he is disturbed by confused reports of Fiesco's conspiracy at Genoa, which the French are trying to represent as a disaster to the Imperial cause. “In my opinion,” says Van der Delft, “the English will not be very favourable to them (the German envoys) so far as his Majesty the Emperor is concerned, but with respect to our Holy Father the Pope, they may probably agree together to thwart, as far as they can, the Council of Trent.” (fn. 2) Had Van der Delft been better posted as to the Emperor's relations with the papacy, he would have known that Paul III was already welcoming the news that North Germany was in an uproar against the Emperor, precisely because the more violent feeling became in that quarter, the less imminent was the danger of a General Council under Imperial influence. The ambassador's second source of anxiety was the French envoy, Captain Paulin, who had long audiences of the King, about which Van der Delft was unable to discover anything definite. On January 25th, however, St. Mauris in Paris had heard from his informant Trebatius all about Paulin's errand. (fn. 3) He was to urge the King of England to include the Scots in the peace according to the terms of last year's treaty, and not make isolated acts of piracy a pretext for intervention in their country. If Henry VIII refused to do this, Francis I warned him that he must send help to the Scots. Paulin was also to suggest a meeting of French and English commissioners to discuss boundary questions and other points. It seems that Henry VIII, whose health had quite broken down, was cherishing a project that never was likely to come to fruition. He wished to mediate between the Emperor and his rebellious Lutheran vassals, and prepare the way for a coalition of England and a united Empire against France and the papacy. A few days before Henry's death, Van der Delft, at Paget's request, sent his man to the Queen Dowager of Hungary, Regent of the Netherlands, to ascertain whether the Emperor would be inclined to allow the King of England to arrange some accord with the Protestants. The Queen gave her reply before hearing of Henry's death; and instructed the ambassador to represent to Paget that matters had changed for the better in Germany: the cities were making their submission, and even John Frederick and the Landgrave showed signs of wishing to come to terms; so there was no need of mediation. Henry died on January 28, and his hopes and plans had little influence on the Earl of Hertford, Paget and the men who took up the reins of government when the nine-year-old Edward VI was proclaimed King.
Van der Delft formed opinions on English politics which, in the light of our present knowledge, seem ill-enough founded. Under the old King he had had the benefit of Chapuis' long experience and intimate understanding of England, for Chapuis had resided there as ambassador all through the troubled years of the divorce controversy; but when the change came and Somerset was Protector, Van der Delft found himself faced by a problem which he never succeeded in mastering. He was well aware that things were far from being as they were in the last reign, but never for a moment did he grasp the new position. The fact that he understood no English limited the number of persons from whom he could gather information; indeed he was almost entirely dependent on Paget for such news as he sent to the Emperor. In Paget he placed his trust, taking him to be above all things a devoted servant of the Emperor; and he usually accepted Paget's version of the meaning of current events. When Paget was away poor Van der Delft might have been in his native Antwerp for all the English news he was able to send to his master. Van der Delft firmly believed that Paget had guided the dying King's hand when he appointed the executors of his will, with Hertford at their head. In short, Van der Delft believed everything Paget told him; and many of his letters are chiefly valuable in that they show what Paget wished Van der Delft to believe. Paget's handling of Van der Delft is a masterpiece; the only compensating disadvantage was that, as the ambassador imagined Paget to be well-nigh omnipotent, he held him personally and directly responsible whenever the Protector's conduct of affairs failed to satisfy the Emperor. To the very last, in the face of attempts to coerce the Lady Mary into compliance with the new legislation on religion, Van der Delft was quite satisfied with Paget's explanations to the effect that it was all the fault of the Protector's wife. It is a curious fact that St. Mauris, Imperial ambassador in Paris, often sends important pieces of information concerning England that Van der Delft missed. On February 10th, Van der Delft gives the Queen Dowager a brief sketch of the situation in England as he sees it. (fn. 4) First of all: “It is, in good truth, most desirable that we should keep Paget in hand, for his authority in this country is great.” Then, there are the Protector, the Lord Chancellor (Earl of Southampton), and the Lord Admiral (Earl of Warwick). The Admiral, says Van der Delft, is far more popular, and in higher favour with the nobles, than the Protector, who “is looked down upon by everybody as a dry, sour, opinionated man,” and is “much attached to the sects.” As part of his duty is to maintain friendly relations with the leading men of the kingdom, Van der Delft remarks with complacency that he has just acted as God-father to Warwick's child. The Protector and Warwick will share the honours, whilst Southampton and Paget “will in reality have the entire management of affairs.” Gardiner owes his exclusion from the Council rather to his reactionary attitude towards religion than to his enmity to France, to which some people have attributed it. Paulin, the French envoy, is in London, but Van der Delft knows nothing of his business, except that Paulin himself asserts that his master will not make war on England. In almost every one of his letters, Van der Delft proclaims himself to be “strongly of opinion that the English will never conclude any treaty with France to the Emperor's prejudice.” Neither does he believe that the German Protestants will obtain any assistance. On February 12th he writes that Paget has told him: “have no fear, for no matter what rumour or appearance may be made, you may rest assured that we shall never separate from our friendship to the Emperor.” (fn. 5) So, although the ambassador is obliged to report that the French envoys are spending much time with the Council, and that Paget has been seen hastening thither with a great packet of papers under his arm, he says on March 7th that he believes the English are only temporising in order to divert the French King's attention from Boulogne, for it was “certainly not without some good reason that Paget lately reiterated to me those words I have already reported to your Majesty.” The Queen Dowager, to whom the ambassadors both in England and France addressed their despatches while the Emperor was in the field, is less certain than Van der Delft. On February 28th, she writes that the French will seize the opportunity of Henry VIII's death and make every effort to recover Boulogne. If they can persuade the English to abandon the town by promising to bring about Edward VI's marriage with the young Queen of Scots they will do so, though they really do not mean to let the marriage take place. The direction to be taken by English policy depends upon what they decide to do with Boulogne. If they give it up, they will almost certainly tend towards a French alliance; if they decide to hold it until the stipulated term expires, they will try to maintain a close alliance with the Emperor. The Queen fears that England may fall a victim to faction during the long minority, and that a divided nobility may give the French their chance.
The news of Henry VIII's death were received in France with general rejoicing. St. Mauris tells (fn. 6) how Mme. d'Étampes ran to Queen Eleanor's (the Emperor's sister's) room and battered the door crying out that France's chief enemy was dead, thereby throwing the august lady into a fit of terror for her brother's welfare. Olsacius, St. Mauris' informant, reports that Francis by no means intends to celebrate his old rival's end by falling upon Boulogne, but is thinking of persuading the English to restore it to him in exchange for his proffered offices in getting the Scots to give their young Queen to Edward VI. Perhaps the one man in France who felt a touch of regret for Henry VIII was the old King himself. He foreboded that in death he was not to be divided from him who, now as an ally, more often as an enemy, had played such a part in his life; and Henry's death-bed message, bidding Francis remember that he too was mortal, really seems to have hastened on the closing stages of his illness. During the last few weeks of his reign his ministers were engaged in caressing the English ambassador and envoys, and endeavouring to persuade them that the Emperor would certainly declare war on England for the purpose of putting the Lady Mary on the throne. (fn. 7) All preparations for hostile action in the direction of Boulogne were suspended, and the Imperial ambassador is certain that nothing will be done in that quarter while there is any doubt in French minds as to what course the Emperor is going to pursue. French ingenuity succeeded in keeping distrust of the Emperor stirring in England, while the Pope hit upon a still subtler device for turning Henry's death to good account against Charles. No sooner had the news arrived in Rome, than Paul III began talking about sending a legate to England, and threw out hints of possible action for the extirpation of heresy in that country. On March 11th (fn. 8) the Nuncio tells the Emperor that the Holy Father intends to call on all Christian princes to aid in forcing England back into the fold, and trusts in God that this exploit may win as much honour for the Emperor as his campaign in Germany is doing. The Emperor picked up the Nuncio at this point, and told him that, after the way the Pope had treated him in Germany, drawing him into the enterprise only to leave him in the lurch at the most dangerous moment, he would not take up arms at his Holiness' bidding against the King of England, nor, he added, “against the worst man alive.” Imperial ministers in Rome had the presence of mind to answer in the same spirit; and Don Diego de Mendoza was never deceived as to the real meaning of the Pope's display of zeal for England's spiritual welfare. On March 18th, however, Van der Delft complains that he is unable to dispel from the minds of the English Councillors a suspicion that the Emperor has an understanding with the Pope. The real understanding, needless to say, was that between Rome and France, in accordance with which the French did their best to frighten England with the bugbear of a sort of crusade under Imperial leadership against her young schismatic King, and neglected no means of strengthening opposition to the Emperor in Germany, whilst the Pope's part of the bargain, which he fulfilled in March, was to engineer the removal of the Council out of the Empire to Bologna.
Complete success of these intrigues, as far as England was concerned, would have meant the abandonment of Boulogne and a close alliance with France. How near all this came to realisation may be judged by St. Mauris' letter of March 25th, (fn. 9) which tells of general satisfaction at the results of Paulin's mission. All the outstanding differences with England, say the French, have been settled, and they will have the money for Boulogne ready by next October, when they will be able to decide whether to use it for that purpose or for another—that is to say, against the Emperor. Paulin, it is said, is going to be sent to Germany with 40,000 crowns for John Frederick, in addition to which 60,000 have already been sent to Lübeck. Warlike preparations are being carried on but the French protest that they are only meant for defence; and Olsacius says that the nobility wants to fight, but the King does not. Van der Delft, in the meantime, has been told by the Protector that a new Anglo-French agreement is going to be concluded, but that far from containing anything to the Emperor's detriment, it is more advantageous to him than to the English themselves. As Paget is unsparing of assurances to the same effect, Van der Delft fears nothing worse than that Boulogne may be restored on easier terms than those stipulated at Campe; on April 2nd he writes: “From a trustworthy source I hear that there has been some talk of marrying the King to the daughter of the Dauphin, and the Lady Mary with M. de Vendôme, which for many reasons does not look to me very probable.” Van der Delft's forecast might have proved erring, and this harmless agreement by which the English, had, in their own words, “done more for the Emperor with the French than for themselves” become the thin end of a wedge to sever England completely from the Imperial side. But on March 30th Francis I died, and a clean sweep was at once made of Mme. d'Etampes and her faction. Cardinal de Tournon and Admiral Annebault fell from power, and all who had seen adversity while Mme. d'Etampes' reign lasted now looked for, and received, their guerdon. Diane de Poitiers became the most influential person in the kingdom, and Constable Montmorency and the Guises took over the management of affairs. Paulin, who had for months been negotiating the new agreement with England, had been sent back to London a few days before Francis' death, but shortly afterwards he was recalled and, on his arrival in France, deprived of his command of the galleys in Peter Strozzi's favour. We next hear of him in the Bastille where, as St. Mauris puts it, he had leisure to lament the many crimes he had committed against the Emperor. In the latter part of May M. de Vielleville was sent to England, Van der Delft supposed for the further ratification of what Paulin had negotiated. It soon became clear, however, that though the new King of France professed himself willing to continue treating on the lines pursued in the last weeks of his father's reign, he had in reality decided upon another course. On June 6th St. Mauris writes that Henry has not confirmed the last treaty with England or paid the six months' instalment of the pension that fell due in May (fn. 10); and on the 17th the Protector tells Van der Delft that the French refused to ratify Paulin's arrangement, but would ratify the treaty of Campe if the English would fulfil their part of it, admit the Scots into the peace, and cease fortifying Boulogne. The Protector and the English ambassador in Paris repeated the argument, already set forth, about the impossibility of including the Scots without the Emperor's consent, and affirmed that they knew of no fresh fortifications at Boulogne. St. Mauris and other observers saw that the English were anxious to come to an agreement with France at this juncture; but France was no longer in an accommodating mood. The deaths of Henry VIII and Francis I opened a period of hostility between the two countries that lasted for three years.
The Emperor's great victory over the Protestants at Mühlberg, on April 24th, 1547, served further to recommend to Henry II a departure from his father's policy, to which other considerations also were leading him. Francis had spent his last days in trying to make friends with England, with the immediate end of falling upon the Emperor while entangled in Germany. The advantage he hoped to secure seems to have been to force the Emperor to agree to another solemn treaty after the model of Crépy, vouched for by a royal marriage, by which Savoy should remain French, and Milan, or perhaps part of the Burgundian possessions, become French or come under French influence. Scotland, in this scheme, would have been left to look after herself for the time being. The Emperor's embarrassments seemed to offer far too good an opportunity to be missed for widening France's frontiers in Central Europe. With Henry II, however, the Guise influence soon became most powerful, and as Mary of Guise was Queen-Dowager of Scotland, and her one child Queen, the Guises cared for nothing else while Scotland was threatened with annexation by England. After Mühlberg, moreover, the Emperor's position was no longer as interesting, from a French point of view, as it had been a few weeks before. There was no more open opposition against him in Germany, and for a time, at least, an attack was not to be thought of. Scotland, therefore, and in the second place Boulogne, were now occupying the attention of France. England was to be frightened or driven out of both as soon as peace with the Empire could be assured. Henry liked a forward policy; he always found it paid well to bluster and shout loudest; and his keen desire not to break with the Emperor until Boulogne and Scotland were quietly his, did not prevent him from making as much trouble for Charles as he could without infuriating him to a point where he might drop his Council and all to turn and rend France. Played with coolness and skill this game of setting on North Germans, Switzers, Pope and Turks against Charles—French alliance “with Saracens, Moors, infidels and Protestants” as St. Mauris said—was indeed most profitable; for however angry the Emperor grew, he could ill afford to fight while his hands were full in Germany and Italy.
The battle of Mühlberg pleased the English no better than it did the French. Besides the fact that their sympathies were with the Protestants, the young King's mentors sincerely believed in the danger of Imperial intervention in the Lady Mary's favour, which might bring with it such an event as the restoration to the Orders of the abbey lands, of which they all enjoyed a share. More than ever anxious to treat, therefore, they welcomed M. de Vielleville in May. The Protector and Council hoped for a ratification of Paulin's negotiation, and were sorely disappointed to find Paulin disavowed. M. de Vielleville's errand was to tell them that they must “include the Scots in the peace,” and stop fortifying Boulogne. To have agreed to the first proposal would have been to abandon the project that had been uppermost in Henry VIII's mind during the last years of his life, had been adopted warmly by the Protector, and was popular in the country. Moreover, the terms in which it was made showed that the new French King intended to fight in Scotland. In fact Paniter, Scottish ambassador in France, was already being caressed more than any other ambassador, and told to encourage his mistress and her advisers to hold out and refuse to negotiate with the English. In June, Van der Delft reports the sending of more English ships to Scotland, and while the French were doing their best to prevent the English from treating, they made overtures to the Regent of the Netherlands to induce her to come to terms with the Scots, in order to insure their allies against Imperial help for England. The Regent refused as flatly to treat with the Scots without the English as the English had refused to treat with them without the Emperor, and this attitude was further insisted upon and justified by frequent complaints of depredations committed by Scots pirates, who were afterwards sheltered with their booty in France, where restitution was never made. French policy was now one of mystification and apparently contradictory headstrong action, the object of which was to cajole the Emperor with talk of peace and a better understanding, to keep him quiet while Scotland was being secured, and, at the same time, to stir up difficulties for him in all parts of the world. On July 20th, 1547, St. Mauris reports (fn. 11) that more French galleys have gone to Scotland, and that it is being said openly that they are intended to carry Mary of Guise and her daughter back to France, for fear the English may obtain possession of the young Queen's person. At the same time St. Mauris has a conversation with the Constable, in the course of which Montmorency assures the ambassador that preparations for war in France need not alarm the Emperor, as they are only aimed against the English, who are breaking the last treaty by their course of action in Scotland and the Boulonnais. The King of France, says Montmorency, desires to live on the best of terms with his Imperial Majesty. It was ill-done on the late King's part to send money to aid rebellious German Protestants, and the present King is afraid the Emperor may be angry with him for it, but sons, urges the Constable, ought not to be made to answer for their fathers' sins. On July 27th St. Mauris writes that Brissac is to be sent to make overtures to the Emperor, and on Aug. 15th, that the Emperor's sister Eleanor, Queen Dowager of France, is receiving the kindest and most dutiful treatment from her step-son. Strange as it may seem, at this very time the French ambassador at Venice was doing his utmost to persuade the Seigniory to join a league, with France and the Pope, against the Emperor, into which Pier Luigi Farnese of Piacenza and the Duke of Ferrara would enter. On July 19th, Don Juan de Mendoza writes with great glee that he has dissuaded the Seigniory from doing so. (fn. 12) Much as the French would have liked to try to draw England into anti-Imperial intrigue, they were unable to accomplish this and at the same time strain every nerve to turn them out of Scotland. The taking of St. Andrews castle, which had been in English hands since Cardinal Beaton's murder over a year before, stung the English into hurrying on their great expedition, and the ambassador in Paris voiced bitter complaints, which were met by calm assurances to the effect that the occurrence had nothing to do with England, as the French had only acted against undutiful subjects of their ally, the Queen of Scots. Unable to tempt England themselves, the French got Pier Luigi Farnese to do so. On August 25th, the Protector told Van der Delft that he had received a letter in which Pier Luigi proffered his help against France, and good offices with the Pope, if England would enter into an agreement with him. The object of this can have been none other than to sow discord between England and the Emperor, for in reality Pier Luigi was not in favour with the Pope but hand in glove with the French, to whom he was probably prepared to hand over Piacenza, making greater concessions than could please the Holy Father. (fn. 13) Pier Luigi's murder, however, the arrangements for which had been reported to the Emperor by Fernando Gonzaga on July 23rd, put a stop to his machinations, taking place, by a curious coincidence, on September 10, the day of Pinkie. The news of both events arrived in Paris at about the same time, and greatly depressed the French.
Elation in London was high. Van der Delft writes on September 22nd to say that Paget has come to tell him that the Protector now finds himself in a position to treat with the Scots, though of course he will not do so without the Emperor's consent. Will the ambassador ascertain his Imperial Majesty's wishes and intentions as soon as possible? For the English are anxious to take advantage of their victory before the French have time to send more forces to strengthen further resistance in Scotland. The Regent of the Netherlands was less sanguine than Van der Delft about the Protector's ability to treat at once. She replied (fn. 14) that the Emperor would certainly not object to a favourable arrangement, always provided that the Scots would make ample reparation for all the damage inflicted on the Emperor's shipping. His Majesty had remained at war with Scotland solely for England's sake, and this was the very least he could accept. Van der Delft, who as usual believed Paget's assurance that the Emperor's consent was all the English were waiting for to pass a most advantageous treaty, was much exercised by the question throughout October and November. On November 15th, the Emperor sent his consent to the negotiations on the aforesaid condition; but the Regent of the Netherlands was right in believing the matter to be more difficult than Paget had made it out. St. Mauris informs the Emperor's Council on November 26th (fn. 15) that the French are instructing Paniter to bid Arran and the Queen Mother to be of good cheer, for ships are being fitted out at Brest, and France will not desert them, come what may. At the same time the English ambassador proclaims that his government will make no terms with Scotland that do not provide for the little Queen's marriage with Edward VI. It seems that the crushing defeat of Pinkie was unexpected in France; doubtless the Guises had represented the Scottish enterprise as easier than it really was, and perhaps the Protector's earnestness of purpose had been under-estimated. After the battle, however, there could be no more uncertainty. England meant to hold Scotland, and France would have to fight hard and spend vast sums of money to clear the Lowlands of the invaders. Matters scarcely looked more promising in the Boulonnais, and an international commission had sat in September without achieving anything. Hostile feeling was running high, ships were being arrested, property embargoed on both sides. In October, M. des Cordes was sent to England to negotiate the release of embargoed goods, and to make proposals for peace in Scotland. Naturally enough after their experience with Paulin, the English refused to have anything to do with M. des Cordes unless he would produce his credentials. His mission was successful as far as the embargoes went, and the English Government seems to have consented to send commissioners again to discuss matters of dispute, and try to pave the way for a general understanding. Whenever either side wished to wait on events for a little, a commission was proposed, and it is unlikely that either French or English imagined it could accomplish anything on this occasion.
The autumn of 1547 was a dark season for France. News from Germany told how the Emperor was busy with the Diet at Augsburg, negotiating a new Swabian league in which all Germany should combine to play the Habsburg's dynastic game. The French were seriously alarmed, and Paget displayed the greatest anxiety to get England included in the league. Both countries realised that the Emperor would be a very terrible power if he succeeded in passing it, and France began urging the Venetians to join with herself, the Pope, and four Protestant Swiss cantons, that were as interested as France in preventing the Duke of Savoy from recovering his dominions. France certainly did not want a European war, and her efforts to unite opposition to the Emperor and set loose the Turk against him were aimed quite as much at keeping the Imperial Majesty too busy elsewhere to attack her, as at strengthening her own position against possible attack. The Pope, seeing danger on every side, granted the Emperor a Bull for 400,000 ducats from half-fruits and fabrics of churches in Spain which he had long refused, and sent to France imploring the King not to desert him, swearing that he would keep the Council at Bologna come what might; though not long before he had sworn “with such oaths that it was most painful to hear him” that the Council had removed to Bologna of its own accord, without his knowledge, and that he could do nothing. The Emperor's failure to pass his league dispelled France's gravest fears; but even so her enemy was powerful in Germany, and she could not afford to declare war openly on England until she knew more about the Emperor's plans. At this juncture doubts not unnaturally arose in French minds as to the wisdom of attempting to win both Scotland and Boulogne at once by force of arms. Pinkie had been a rude shock; in Paris it was judged necessary to prevent the extent of the disaster from reaching the ears of any but those who managed affairs. In October the King made a journey to Picardy, and rode to a point whence he could view the defences of Boulogne. When Henry saw how strong and well devised they were, tears fell from his eyes, and he declared that such a place could never be taken, and it would be easier to seize a town of equal importance in England, against which Boulogne might be exchanged. (fn. 16) In this chastened mood the French bethought them of a proposal that had been discussed in the old King's day, but had at first found no favour with his impetuous son. On December 15th, St. Mauris heard from Olsacius that the Constable had sent an unofficial envoy to England to tell Paget and the Protector that there would be no objection on the French side to the marriage of the young Queen of Scots with Edward VI, if the English would hand over Boulogne without more talk of the 2,000,000 crowns. As the man had no credentials, the Protector sent him back with a present. (fn. 17) A few days later he returned to England; but on December 27th, St. Mauris reported that the Protector had refused to discuss the proposal. (fn. 18) Doubtless the French never intended to keep their promise regarding the Scots marriage, and merely hoped to be enabled to face the two great difficulties, Boulogne and Scotland, one by one instead of having to cope with them together. The Protector was right to answer as he did, quite apart from the fact that the temper of the English was high for winning Scotland and keeping Boulogne, and composition with the French would have been very unpopular. At the close of the year Somerset seems still to be sanguine about the success of his persuasive policy in Scotland; he tells Van der Delft (fn. 19) that hundreds of Scotsmen are coming in every day to offer their services to the King of England, and that Arran has been obliged to abandon the siege of Broughty Craig. But M. de la Chapelle was going to Scotland with a brave company of captains and gentlemen, a great expedition was already being fitted out in French ports, and Henry II, though he had failed to cajole the English out of Boulogne, was determined not to leave them in undisturbed possession.
In February, 1548, St. Mauris wrote that Henry II would abandon the Scottish enterprise altogether if the Emperor were to declare war on him. (fn. 20) The great expedition being made ready to sail in the spring was to be sent in the name of the Pope and the Guises, to lessen the risk of England's forcing the pace and carrying hostilities beyond the limits permitted by “friendly relations.” In a large measure Scotland's fate at this moment seemed to be in the Emperor's hands, and the Emperor seized the opportunity of showing he was not to be trifled with, by executing a certain Vogelsberg (or Vogelsberger (fn. 21)) and other Germany mercenary captains who had taken service with France: He knew he was safe enough in doing so; but the news stung the French into a frenzy, and popular feeling went so high in Paris that all classes talked of lynching the Imperial ambassador by way of reprisal. The King, however, could not choose but swallow the affront. The Pope had refused to send his prelates back to Trent, it is true, but had not dared to do so in a manner that shut out all possibility of negotiation; and he was so much alarmed by the outlook in Germany as to instruct his legate to assure the Emperor that no treaty had been passed between him and France. At the same time Henry II was sending to his Holiness to urge him to deny the existence of any understanding between them, (fn. 22) and the danger that the French expedition to Scotland might run, if forced by storms into ports of the Netherlands, made him doubly anxious to propitiate Charles. Early in April, the Queen Dowager of Hungary stopped in Lorraine by the Emperor's orders and held a conference with M. de Guise on the best means of improving relations between France and the Empire. Very little was said beyond a suggestion that envoys should be sent to the Emperor; but it is clear from Charles' letter to his sister that he wanted large concessions or would not treat at all, and that he had no intention of making terms with Scotland except with England's consent. Indeed he suspected Guise of some plan to estrange him from England, and warned the Queen to beware. However anxious Henry may have been to keep the peace between himself and Charles, he had no intention of making sacrifices, and he probably hoped nothing better of Guise's meeting with the Queen, than that it might tide over the critical time when his great expedition was being manned, and piloted through the Channel past fear of Imperial interference. In the meantime French and English commissioners were supposed to be about to meet to settle points of difference in the Boulonnais, in accordance with the decision arrived at when des Cordes went to London in October of the preceding year. St. Mauris observed little alacrity on the part of the English commissioners, and, late in April, succeeded in eliciting from the English ambassador an admission, that one of them was shamming illness, and that the meeting would probably not take place at all because of the course adopted by France in Scotland.
As the Protector and Council became more and more convinced that France meant to fight in grim earnest in Scotland and watch for an opportunity for surprising Boulogne, they began to evince a desire for a closer alliance with the Emperor. They could hardly hope to bring the Scottish campaign to a successful issue, now that a large French force was being sent, unless the Emperor allowed them to raise mercenaries in his dominions; but on August 3rd, Charles told Van der Delft (fn. 23) that he had been obliged to refuse the English ambassador leave to levy 2,000 Germans, to be employed under Courtpennick (Conrad Pennick). On May 25th, Van der Delft reports that the Protector has broached the subject of bringing the French to reason by joint action, and let fall a hint about “marriageable ladies on both sides of the sea.” (fn. 24) Van der Delft replies that he does not see how the already existing friendship could be made closer, and of course his Majesty had treaty obligations with the French, which he would never break. The Protector remarks that, if England cared at any moment to come to an agreement with France about Boulogne, she would be given a free hand in Scotland. Charles was well aware, however, that the Protector could ill afford to give up Boulogne before the end of the eight years stipulated, and he did not care to sell his aid cheap to England; for as long as that country and France could be kept at daggers drawn, he was free to busy himself with forcing his Interim on an unwilling Germany. Throughout the summer he refused the requested leave to raise troops in Cleves and Juliers, until in August the Protector flew into a passion and cried out to Van der Delft that he saw he must settle his affairs and live in peace with everybody; by which he meant handing over Boulogne to the French. Charles would have been greatly embarrassed at this time by having to deal with the new situation resulting from peace between France and England; his hands were quite full with German affairs as it was, and a France free to interfere in the Empire might have meant the ruin of all his schemes, so in September he allowed the 2,000 men to be raised. Henry, having succeeded in landing his great expedition in Scotland (June) and in carrying the little Queen over the seas to France (August), was now much less afraid of the Emperor than he had been in the spring. Far from protesting that no league existed between himself and the Pope, far from using the Guise's name to mask his intervention in Scotland, he was now on the frontiers of Savoy, making no secret of his negotiations with Legate Dandino, and proclaiming himself to be King of Scotland by virtue of an oath of fidelity to his son sworn by the Scots, who had also handed over the crown of the country to his procurator. The French were vigorously besieging Haddington, though quarrels between them and their Scottish confederates did not fail to enliven matters. Henry's position was less insecure in the autumn of 1548 than it had been in the spring, but a new source of anxiety sprang up in the great salt-works rebellion in Guienne, provoked by the heavy taxation of the past year and a half; and St. Mauris observed a good deal of impatience in France over the slow progress of the Scottish campaign. There seems also to have been some anxiety that England might send help to the Guienne rebels, who were proclaiming that they wished to be treated as they had been under English rule. Arras wrote to Van der Delft to try to put this idea into the Protector's head, though without advocating it openly enough to enable the English to make capital out of it with the French. (fn. 25) But Van der Delft was far more occupied with going to Flanders on leave than with matters of State, and left London in September, not to return for three months. Unrest at home and the large stake he had risked in Scotland made Henry anxious to find out exactly how much chance there was of interference on the Emperor's part, and the French embassy that went, under Brissac, Biron and Ménage, to Charles' court in October was somewhat in the nature of a reconnoitering excursion, for Henry must have known that Charles would not treat unless the Duke of Savoy's lands were to be returned to him. The envoys came away with the conviction that the Emperor was not to be cajoled out of his refusal to admit the Scots to enjoyment of the Treaty of Crépy's benefits. Blandishments and proposals for united Catholic action against heresy in Germany were of no avail, and Henry was left in a state of disagreeable uncertainty as to what Charles might or might not do.
As long as there was any hope of obtaining possession of Mary Queen of Scots' person, the Protector had done his best to make England popular across the border, and gave non-observance of the treaty of 1543 as the ground for intervention. With Mary in France and betrothed to the Dauphin, however, this policy could no longer be followed, and in October the English ambassador in Paris was setting forth before Henry England's claim to the suzerainty of Scotland, (fn. 26) demanding therefore that French aid should be withdrawn. Henry, unwilling to venture on a dispute which might have had grave consequences, did not reply with an assertion of his own right to the Scottish crown, but said he would leave the Scots to argue out their allegiance among themselves, though he remained bound by ancient treaties to give them the help they asked for. St. Mauris was of opinion that no compromise between France and England was yet in sight. The English ambassador had told him that the Protector and Council were determined not to stand as much from the French as they had in the past, and daily quarrels over seizures of shipping and skirmishes in the Boulonnais maintained a possibility of open and declared war at any moment. The French were thoroughly dissatisfied with the small success that had so far attended their arms in Scotland, and had made up their minds to make a still greater effort next season, if only they could make sure that the Emperor would remain neutral. The Emperor, however, continued to refuse to show his hand, and Ambassador Marillac could elicit nothing from him but the oft-repeated refutation of the French assertion that the Scots ought to benefit by the Treaty of Crépy. Anxiety in France was not allayed by news that Charles was allowing the English to levy troops in Cleves and Juliers, or by comparative success in imposing the Interim in Germany. The Pope had refused his consent to French proposals because Henry insisted on occupying Parma, in exchange for which he offered compensation in France to Orazio Farnese; the Protestant Switzers were driving a hard bargain, insisting on better treatment for their evangelistic brethren, who, being subjects of Henry, came in for none of the friendly encouragement that prince was always ready to lavish on heretics in other lands than his own. St. Mauris believed, on the authority of the Venetian ambassador in Paris, a great friend of Wotton, that the Protector had put forth the claim of suzerainty over Scotland with the hope of securing a cessation of hostilities in that country, pending the discussion of rival claims, before the French should send another great expedition costly enough to make withdrawal impossible. Though Henry and his ministers were perplexed and disturbed by the change in English policy, (fn. 27) they were yet unwilling to depart from theirs, and in January, 1549, it was decided to send another large force.
Such was the position when Van der Delft set out from Brussels to resume his labours in London. At Calais, where he was detained for days by heavy weather, he heard strange news, and on January 27th he reported to the Emperor that Thomas, Baron Seymour of Sudeley, Lord High Admiral of England, and brother of the Protector, had broken into the King's apartments by night with the intention of killing him. The alarm was given by a watch-dog, which was found dead when the guard arrived, and suspicion fastened upon the Admiral because he had dispersed the guard on various errands. He had been seized and taken to the Tower, and several persons about the court, as well as the Lady Elizabeth, were said to be implicated in his plot. After Van der Delft had been in London several days he still stuck to the same account of this occurrence, dead watch-dog and all, though he makes no further mention of the Lady Elizabeth's complicity. An opening such as that offered by the Admiral's plot was indeed welcome to Henry II. He seems to have known about it at St. Germain sooner than Van der Delft at Calais, for on January 31st St. Mauris says the King “was lately informed by a special messenger from his ambassador in England that the Protector's brother had planned to marry the late King's second daughter and kill the King, the Lady Mary and the Protector, to ensure a more peaceful, or rather more despotic reign.” And at Simancas (E. 506) there is a document purporting to be a translation of Henry's instructions to M. d'Aboys to proceed to England and seek to unite and encourage the Admiral's faction with promise of help from France. According to this document M. de Selves, French ambassador in England, had written to his master on January 19th that not the Admiral only, but “many other great lords,” had been imprisoned. Henry doubtless thought the Admiral had sympathy and numerous supporters in the country of whom he might easily make use; but his hopes on that score were deceived. The Admiral may have given M. de Selves an exaggerated notion of his influence. At any rate, the utter collapse of the Admiral's plans and the general indifference to his fate shown in England sorely disappointed the French; and St. Mauris was inclined to believe that there had been some agreement between the Admiral and Henry, by which, had the plot succeeded, Boulogne would have been given up and a close alliance concluded between France and England. (fn. 28) As France wished the Admiral well, the Emperor could not fail to be hostile to him. Just before Van der Delft's departure from Brussels, however, the English had happened to exercise the right of search, in accordance with their custom, on some sixty ships belonging to the Emperor's subjects, detaining them for a day and a half while they satisfied themselves that no French goods were on board. The Emperor, aware that in the next session of Parliament the First Act of Uniformity was to be passed, and fearing that his cousin, the Lady Mary, might be pressed to abandon the mass and submit to the new regulations, had instructed Van der Delft to inform the Protector and Council that he would tolerate no attempt to disturb her in the discharge of her accustomed religious duties. The arrest of shipping furnished Charles with a convenient grievance, and on January 25th he summoned the English ambassador and gave him a thorough scolding, threatening to come to Edward VI's assistance in such a manner that the Protector might find himself in sore need of help, and at his wit's end where to look for it. With this Charles laid an embargo on the property of English merchants in Flanders. His object in making such a commotion was merely to render the English Council anxious to appease him by refraining from disturbing the Lady Mary on account of religion; but when he heard of the Admiral's plot, his long experience of affairs told him that his enemies would not fail to interpret the embargo as a proof of his complicity in it, and he wrote to Van der Delft on January 30th, warning him to dispel any such rumours. On February 11th, Van der Delft had a long talk with Paget, Southampton, the Privy Seal and Secretary Petre, in which it came out that the Venetian ambassador in Paris had written to the Venetian ambassador in London that the Emperor had abetted the Admiral. Paget and his colleagues did not take the story seriously, and laughingly said that if they believed all they heard about the Emperor they would be kept busy. A few days before, Paget had complained very bitterly about the embargo in Flanders, and so knowingly played upon Van der Delft with his assertions that England would have to make peace all round that Van der Delft wrote to the Emperor advising him to raise the embargoes, both in Flanders and Spain, at once, for the English had been more reasonable in Renegat's and other affairs than could have been expected. Speaking of the Admiral's case, Paget said that as sure as he hoped to reach his house that day, the Admiral had intended to kill the King and the Lady Mary Mary, and marry the Lady Elizabeth, adding that he was “a great rascal,” a partner with pirates, and a man of more cupidity than understanding. The Emperor doubtless thought the occasion inopportune to use further rigour with the English, and raised the embargo, whilst the English, on their side, agreed to pay damages for all harm done to his Majesty's shipping.
Van der Delft found himself, in the spring of 1549, busied with more important work than at any time in the two preceding years, during which merchants' and private individuals' claims, and the maintenance of the wool-staple at Calais, had occupied his activities. His letters for 1547 and 1548 contain scanty information touching the changes that were taking place in religion, for he knew little of England, hated religious controversy, and regarded reformers as seekers after the flesh and riotous living. He could not avoid hearing evidence of the country's hostility to Roman Catholicism, but his meagre conception of its spiritual condition is expressed in such phrases as “the common people are totally infected,” “religious affairs are going from bad to worse.” The ferment that followed the repeal of the Six Articles and Henry's Treason Acts went on under Van der Delft's nose without exciting the slightest interest in him. Moreover, nothing positive had been enacted by Parliament until the First Act of Uniformity became law, and the ambassador was able to ignore complicated disputes that had no attraction for a mind wholly innocent of intellectual curiosity. The Emperor knew, for Chapuys had told him so plainly, (fn. 29) that he was powerless to stay the course of the Reformation in England, and he directed his ambassador to do no more than express a pious wish to see things reduced to the condition in which Henry VIII had left them. He was not strong enough on the continent to be able to make his alliance with England conditional on forbearance from innovation. One thing, however, Charles was determined not to put up with, and that was interference with his cousin, the Lady Mary. She had been allowed to do exactly as she pleased hitherto, but so had everybody; and as the First Act of Uniformity was intended precisely to put an end to the chaos of sects and conflicting observances resulting from this general licence, it was to be apprehended that efforts would be made to induce her to conform. Charles instructed Van der Delft to inform the Council that he would not tolerate pressure in her direction, and sent her letters, Mary's reply to which, dated April 3rd, shows that she was far from tranquil. (fn. 30) She feared that the Council would try to force her, and assured the Emperor that she would rather die than abandon her faith, imploring him to protect her in its observance. Van der Delft also found that matters in Scotland were not wearing the same face as when he left on leave in the autumn. Haddington was holding out, and dissension rife between Scots and French, but the odds were so unfavourable to the English that in London Haddington was already said to be untenable, and Warwick, who was to have gone to take charge of the English forces in Scotland, was unwilling to risk his popularity on so uncertain a venture. The French were redoubling their activity against the English forts in the Boulonnais, attempts to surprise one or another of which took place at short intervals, and more troops were being marched into Picardy from other provinces. It is true that the French were no better pleased with results in Scotland than were the English. The common people said that the barren soil of that country would be fertilised with Frenchmen's bones, (fn. 31) and the soldiers had to be forced to embark. The Scots had refused an extra aid in money demanded by the French, leaders on both sides spent their time in exchanging recriminations, soldiers and townsfolk fought and murdered without cease. This miserable state of things did not prevent great companies of Scots gentlemen from flocking to Paris and demanding pensions, which Henry was obliged to pay for fear of turning the solicitors into pensioners of England. The anti-Guise party was grumbling, the King, alarmed at the huge and unforeseen expenses imposed by the Scottish policy, reduced the state of the little Queen, and is said to have contemplated peace with England, so disgusted was he by the way events had taken. St. Mauris believed that in April he would have been only too glad to accept a truce, each side to keep what it had. If expense in men and money was to go on at the rate of the last year, Henry would soon be in so inferior a position in Europe as to run the risk of attack from the Emperor. The Pope was still afraid or unwilling to come to terms with him about Parma, the Rhinegrave's efforts to stir up trouble in Hamburg and Bremen were not as successful as had been hoped, the Turk's reluctance to invade Hungary was such that Henry was fain to send a special mission under Leone Strozzi to encourage him, and the league with the Switzers, of which Henry hoped great things, was still unsettled. Late in May the French King's tone was very different from what it had been just a year before; Henry nearly apologised to an English envoy for Chåtillon's attack on a fort in the Boulonnais, and Simon Renard, who had succeeded St. Mauris as Imperial ambassador in Paris, reported that the King would very much like a three years' truce, whilst the Constable was warning the English ambassador that no one could gain anything by their protracted hostilities but the Emperor, who would like nothing better than to attack them both when thoroughly exhausted. (fn. 32)
Protector Somerset, however, was not for truces or suspensions of hostilities, and signs of reasonableness on the part of the French served rather to encourage him to push on to a final issue in Scotland. This could only be done if the Emperor allowed levies of troops in his dominions, which, indeed, he was quite prepared to do although he made a great favour of it on each occasion. But far better than leave to employ Germans would be, from the Protector's point of view, a closer alliance with Charles in which England and the Empire should combine to make France hear reason. On March 30th Van der Delft and Somerset met, and the subject was raised. Van der Delft said that the Emperor was full of the warmest feelings of regard for England, but failed to see how the present friendship might be increased. He, Van der Delft, while in Flanders, had mentioned the matter to his Majesty, in accordance with the Protector's wishes, but had felt embarrassed by being unable to make any actual proposals to justify such a step. Somerset replied with much talk about assuring all the Emperor's conquests against France, and compelling France to give up the land she had occupied, but nothing definite was said. A couple of days later he made suggestions for a closer alliance, which seemed important enough to induce Van der Delft to send his secretary with them over to the Emperor. What these suggestions were comes out in Charles' letter of May 10th to Van der Delft, in which the Emperor answers each point in full. The principal defect in the alliance which Somerset desired to remedy was that, though the Emperor was bound to declare war on France if she invaded England or the “Older Conquest” (Calais and the Terre d'Oye), Boulogne had fallen into English hands after the treaty had been concluded, and consequently did not come under its provisions, which also, of course, ignored the English claims to Scotland. The Protector's object, therefore, was to obtain the Emperor's consent to the inclusion of conquests made by both parties since the passing of the last treaty, which would have meant immediate war between Charles and the King of France. The Emperor replied that he could not give his consent without violating his treaty with France, but that he intended strictly to observe the existing agreement, and would be glad to modify it in any way desired by the English were he at liberty to do so, adding that all Christendom was dismayed by religious innovations in England, and that he himself would be freer to meet the English if they were willing to maintain matters as the late King had left them until the conclusion of the General Council. The next heading was a proposal to marry the Lady Mary to Don Luis of Portugal. This match had been discussed twelve years before, and had fallen through because Henry VIII insisted on Don Luis' acceptance of all the statutes relative to Katherine of Aragon, though it is not unlikely that that difficulty might have been solved had the parties been agreed on the amount of marriage settlements. At the present juncture it is quite possible that the Protector expected no more from the proposal than that it might make Charles readier to agree to the proffered closer alliance. The Emperor replied that he was sure Don Luis would not enter into negotiations unless his conscience were set at rest on the religious question, and that, in the meantime, if the English were in earnest, they had better say plainly how much they were prepared to give the Lady Mary. Van der Delft's messenger also reported that Paget was anxious to come over to Flanders to have some obscure points of the treaty cleared up, but the Emperor, suspecting that the English might intend to make use of this mission to frighten the French, instructed the ambassador to try to prevent it unless he felt confident of its bearing good fruit. In conclusion, Van der Delft was to press for a written assurance from the Protector that Mary should never be troubled with the object of making her conform, in the discharge of her religious duties, with any Act of Parliament, past, present or future. Van der Delft himself was to go on having mass said publicly as long as he was able to do so without courting a violent rupture with the English government.
On May 28th Van der Delft informed his master of an interview with the Protector, in which he communicated to Somerset the Emperor's answers to his proposals. Somerset's ardour for a closer alliance was not cooled by them; he told Van der Delft that he would soon talk to him at length on the subject. As for the written assurance for the Lady Mary, he declared himself unable to give it. The Emperor, he said, would surely have another opinion of recent legislation on religion when he was possessed of all the facts. He himself was a devoted servant of the Lady Mary, and would always remain so, and though he could not defy an Act of Parliament by giving her a written exemption, he would not inquire into her actions. He hoped that, as she was a lady of great prudence, she would eventually conform of her own accord. Van der Delft retorted that, even if she were inclined to abandon the old religion, the Emperor would leave nothing undone to prevent her, and once more expressed his astonishment at the refusal to grant her a written assurance. It is quite clear from the correspondence printed in this volume that Somerset never gave the desired writing, and also that Mary had to put up with serious interference on this ground. (fn. 33) Coming to the proposal for a marriage between Mary and Don Luis of Portugal, the Protector said that, if Don Luis would not consent unless a stop were put to innovations in religion, he had nothing more to say, and dismissed the subject with the words: “Our maid must practice patience.” Van der Delft told the Emperor that in his opinion Somerset was indifferent about the match, which would nonetheless be a good thing for the unfortunate lady, who was unhappy at having to remain in England. He ends his letter with the report of news, current in London, of a rising in the West Country, where the peasants were breaking down enclosures, and in Norfolk, where a good 5,000 were said to be under arms, though without committing any outrage.
On June 1st the Protector summoned Van der Delft, and told him that he had thought over what they had said at their last meeting. Both he and the Council were whole-heartedly devoted to the Emperor, and not merely meant to observe the existing treaty, but hoped to revise it in a way most favourable to his Majesty's interest, for which purpose they had decided to send over a person pleasing in his Majesty's sight, Controller Paget, to expose to him their plans for corroborating the existing amity. Van der Delft, knowing that the Emperor did not want to see Paget, said he trusted the envoy would be given such power that a good result might be obtained, for otherwise his mission might do more harm than good; then, seeing that Somerset's mind was made up, he said no more, but hurried off to make sure that the Controller had been informed of the real condition of affairs. As usual, Paget handled the Fleming with consummate skill. He was not as anxious to go to the Emperor on this occasion as he had been on others, because he feared his Majesty might think he was not doing his best in the cause of religion, but he really had done all he could, and for the moment there was no possibility of successful action. However, he would tell Van der Delft what he would not say to anyone else alive: that he believed all might yet go well if only the Emperor would show the Protector a little favour now. Paget left Van der Delft convinced that the English would do anything for his Majesty in return for some slight consideration, and on June 13th he departed for Flanders with letters of recommendation from the King, the Protector and the Lady Mary. Van der Delft himself, when asked for a letter, replied, much to Paget's delight, that no letter of his could make so pleasing a person more welcome to his Majesty. A characteristic incident attended the writing of Mary's letter of recommendation. A day or two before Whitsuntide the Protector sent the Chancellor (Lord Rich) and Dr. Petre to visit Mary, ostensibly to ask whether she would consent to the Portuguese match, and really to attempt to induce her to adopt the new service. They told her that Parliament had enacted certain dispositions respecting religion, which ought to be obeyed in her household. Mary replied that she would not change if her life depended upon it; and the Protector's messengers informed her that they had instructions to warn the members of her household of the danger they were running in defying the law. They also told her that the Protector desired her to give Paget a letter to the Emperor. This last clause they had done better to hold back, for Mary, whose wit was not slow, threatened to write in Paget's letter what treatment she was receiving unless they promised not to meddle with her servants. Outwitted, Rich and Petre departed, full of soft words.
After Paget had gone Van der Delft busied himself in watching the progress of the peasant's revolt, and in helping Mary to baffle the Protector's attempts at robbing her of the mass. He recognised that the peasants could hardly be expected to take the enclosures calmly, and gives some interesting figures to show the enormous rise in prices brought about by the landlords' corner in meat and wool. His sympathies were doubtless influenced by the fact that the Flemish merchants suffered heavily, being no longer able to buy wool at Calais staple at the prices fixed by the commercial convention. (fn. 34) The West Countrymen also demanded the mass and other rites of the Church that had been done away with by the Act of Uniformity, but Van der Delft's pity for their spiritual plight was counter-balanced by the threat, voiced all over the country, to kill every foreigner in England if foreign mercenaries were used against English rebels. It might have been expected that Somerset would refrain from interfering with the Lady Mary while Paget was negotiating with the Emperor, but hardly a fortnight had passed after that envoy's departure, when he caused the controller of her household and one of her chaplains to be summoned before the Council. Mary, in terrified apprehension, sent to Van der Delft for advice, but before his reply reached her a second and sharper summons came from the Council, which she did not command her servants to disobey. On the way, her controller went to see Van der Delft and was schooled as to how he must answer. The Council pressed him to try to persuade his mistress that her duty lay in obedience to the laws of the realm, but met with a refusal on the ground that he, a faithful servant, could not presume to advise, far less dispute with her. He was at length allowed to depart, leaving the chaplain behind to be examined in his turn. Did he hold, asked the Council, that the King's laws and ordinances were good and in accordance with the Holy Scripture? On replying in the affirmative, the chaplain was asked why he had broken them by saying mass? The answer gives in epitome the philosophy of life of many an English churchman of the day. He was, said this priest, a servant of the Lady Mary, and as such obeyed her orders in her own house, but it would not be found that he had committed any infringement of the law in the place where he had his living, and he hoped that his conduct might not give offence. The chaplain was doubtless a more serviceable instrument than the controller, for he consented to return with instructions for persuading his mistress. These comings and going were talked about openly enough for Van der Delft to be able to tell the Protector he had heard about them, without admitting that he was in constant correspondence with Mary. Somerset, paying no attention to Van der Delft's repeated assurances that the Emperor would not allow Mary to change her faith, even if she felt inclined to do so, said again that he hoped she would see how righteous was the Council's request. He then told Van der Delft of the result of her servants' cross-examination. “I see,” said the ambassador, “that you wish to take away the mass from my Lady by removing her priests.” “We have never,” replied Somerset, “forbidden my Lady to have mass said in her private chamber; but for every two masses she formerly had said, she has three since the prohibition, and with greater ostentation.” With this Somerset fell to explaining how all the trouble that had overtaken England in past times had sprung from diversity of opinion between those near the Crown and its wearer, and even now conflicting religious sects were causing discord. He did not wish to blame the Lady Mary in any way, but the fact remained that the Cornish rebels' leader had once been her chaplain. Van der Delft retorted that if no innovations had been attempted this commotion would never have arisen, and to end the conversation Somerset said: “Now you know all that has happened with my Lady. We must see to it that the King and his laws are obeyed, and if my Lady does not wish to conform with them, let her do what she pleases in privacy, without giving cause for scandal.” (fn. 35)
Throughout the latter half of June and most of July Paget remained in Flanders; but no news of his negotiation were sent to Van der Delft, nor did the Protector make any mention of it. On July 26th the Emperor wrote him a full account of all that took place in the series of interviews. Paget, received in audience by Charles, began by stating that the King of England was nominally at peace with France, but, as fighting was constantly going on, commissioners had been deputed to meet and decide whether it should be peace or war. If the English received some favour from his Imperial Majesty, they would be able to hold their own; if not they would have to make such terms as they could. The Emperor made a reply in general phrases, and instructed the Duke of Alba, old M. de Granvelle and his son, the Bishop of Arras, to negotiate with Paget. This second interview was also formal, Paget asking how much Don Luis would have, and refusing to say what Mary's portion would be, though he thought a lump sum of 100,000 crowns, or a revenue such as she was receiving at the time, of about 40,000 crowns a year, would be reasonable. It was then decided that nothing more could be done until the Portuguese settlement should be specified, and Paget repeated that he hoped his Imperial Majesty would make it possible for England to hold her own against France, adding that it would be well to have the existing treaty ratified, and certain dubious clauses explained. Next day Arras and Presidents Viglius and St. Mauris, armed with the text of the treaty, met Paget and Sir Philip Hoby, the English ambassador. Paget then desired to be enlightened on four points, of which the first two concerned the circumstances in which the Emperor was obliged to declare war on France, the third the question of reprisals in the event of failure to obtain restitution of shipping or property unlawfully seized, and the fourth the ratification of the treaty by Edward VI, Prince Philip, who was then in Flanders, and the Estates on both sides. Answers were eventually made on these points, which look as if they had been selected rather to give colour to Paget's mission than because of any need of elucidation. The only interesting feature came out in the reply to the fourth heading, in which Arras explained that in Flanders the Parliaments of the several dominions held their sittings separately, that their consent was quite superfluous, as their rulers were empowered to bind them by treaty without obtaining it, and that the Emperor being still alive, the only ratification needed was the King of England's, or, as he was a minor, the Protector's, who had better be furnished by Parliament with a power to give it. Paget could not let this last insinuation pass, and said it semed strange that Arras should speak as if the King could do nothing during his minority, for “by the laws of England the King's authority was the same whether he was one or forty-five years old.”
The real object of Paget's mission appeared when the session was closed, in which the above-mentioned four points were discussed. Paget drew Arras aside and told him that he would like to have the treaty amplified so as to include Boulogne on the same footing as England and the “Older Conquest,” in exchange for which his Imperial Majesty's ministers might choose a place, of equal importance with Boulogne, to be included on their side. The French had broken the treaty of Crépy, as there was no reason why his Majesty should longer consider himself bound by it, and sooner or later he would have to fight the French, whose principal motive in all they did was jealousy of his greatness. If the King of England and the Emperor attacked France together, they might put an end to the constant menace of French ambition; but unless the Emperor was willing to accede to this proposal, the English would be obliged to give up Boulogne, for they could not burden their young King with further expenses, whilst they were daily receiving very favourable propositions from France. Paget had to wait many days for his reply, and followed the Emperor to Ghent. He was finally told by Arras that the Emperor had made peace with France with the late King of England's approval, and concluded with that country the treaty of Crépy, which was still in force. The inclusion of Boulogne proposed by Paget would be in direct contravention of the treaty of Crépy, and his Imperial Majesty, who always abided by his obligations, could not consider such a step, though he would be glad to do anything in his power for his well-beloved son and brother England. His desire had always been, and still was, to see France and England at peace, sure as he was that the English would never negotiate anything contrary to their treaty with himself. How constant the Emperor had been in friendship might be seen from his behaviour towards the Scots, whose repeated offers to treat without England's consent he had declined. As for abandoning Boulogne, he could not believe the English meant to do it; for the late King had set his heart on keeping it, at least for the stipulated eight years, and the people of England would not like to see it go. Besides, even though the French might promise to interfere no more in Scotland, they would never cease doing their utmost to keep the English out of that country. Paget made no reply beyond expressing a wish that the Emperor had spoken more plainly on the question of the assistance to be given against the French, but said he would make a very favourable report of his negotiation. The Emperor, on dismissing Paget, said he would cause a letter to be written to Portugal to find out the amount of Don Luis' settlement, and added that he had heard of the English Council's efforts to persuade the Lady Mary to conform with the new laws on religion, and could but be greatly surprised by their attitude in the matter. He did not intend to allow the Lady to change her religion, and would like to receive an assurance, in writing or otherwise that she should be exempt from the new laws, for he could not tolerate attempts to prevent her. Here Paget interrupted the Emperor, saying that the Council did not intend to go so far, and the Lady should be pressed no more. Charles then went on, in his most impressive manner, to warn Paget of the dangers and pitfalls of heresy, which turned men into insolent and disobedient subjects. And so Paget took his leave, and returned to England.
From the day on which it first became known that Paget was going to the Emperor to that of his dismissal—from April to July, 1549—all Europe was in suspense. Henry II was frightened into showing England a more conciliatory face than he had worn since he came to the throne: he knew that a war with the Emperor and England would be a desperate venture at a season when there was little trouble to be made in Germany, when the Switzers were growing suspicious of France, (fn. 36) when the Turk refused to fight, (fn. 37) and the Holy Father's aid had to be bought at a higher price than it was worth. For three months the French King talked about arbitration with England, daring neither to advance nor retreat; but about the middle of July he heard from Marillac, his ambassador with the Emperor, that Paget was accomplishing nothing, and at the same time news came of the peasants' revolt in England. Tired of waiting on events, he ordered his commissioners to meet those from England, and set on foot rapid preparations for mustering an army of 15,000 to 18,000 men in Picardy, to be used if, as he knew was most likely, the English failed to agree with his proposals. The shrewd informant Carneseque prophesied that if the English gave way, Henry would declare war at once on the Emperor, trusting that next year the Turk, the North German cities and John Frederick's sons would join the fray. (fn. 38) On July 28th, Simon Renard reported that the English ambassador had made anxious inquiries as to what steps were being taken to arrive at a peace or truce, and had met with blustering answers from the Constable, to the effect that the King knew all about Paget's proposals to hand over Boulogne to the Emperor, which he could and would not abide. Simon Renard added that Henry was quite convinced that Paget had made this offer, and some historians (fn. 39) appear to have accepted the story, though the Emperor's long letter to Van der Delft of July 26th leaves no room for doubt that Paget's object was to enable England to retain Boulogne, and that the Protector, if he ever contemplated giving it up, never went so far as to make overtures of the matter to the Emperor. Charles also, just after Paget's departure, wrote to Simon Renard that, in his opinion, the mission had had no other object than to frighten the French into making peace on favourable terms. As we have just seen, however, the mission was a failure; Henry now might feel safe from the Emperor as long as he left England itself and the Older Conquest alone. The event for which he had long been waiting and hoping, civil war in England, could not have occurred at a more opportune moment, and Henry caused the English ambassador to be arrested (thereby deeply shocking the other ambassadors) on August 5th, the very day on which the Constable and M. d'Aumale set out for Montreuil-sur-Mer, where a general muster was to be held on the 12th. (fn. 40) The King had been dissuaded from leading his army in person, but insisted on following it as near as he could, the court remaining at Compiégne. In England, the French ambassador informed the Protector that his master could no longer put up with the outrages committed by the English, and that he was recalled; but Somerset wisely declined to let him go until he should produce letters from the King, and the English ambassador should be delivered over.
Simon Renard at Compiégne, and later at Amiens, was well-placed to judge French feeling about the war. It seems that the hot-headed young bloods of the court found campaigning a greatly overrated sport; they hated getting their feet wet, and having to sleep on the cold ground. The weather was very bad in the late summer and autumn. Renard reported that the English forts were much stronger than the King had been led to suspect, and his Majesty was not far from regretting that he had followed his gossip's (the Constable's) advice, and rushed into war. Compensations came with the fall of Ambleteuse and Boulemberg, though the latter place was abandoned by treachery which the Count della Mirandola's younger brother engineered, and the captain of Boulogne killed its commander with his own hand. (fn. 41) These triumphs changed the current of opinion in France, and the busy-bodies who had just before criticised their King for his improvidence now hailed him as a hero. The Venetian ambassador went to Simon Renard and told him no one knew what to think of the Emperor's attitude, for his Majesty did absolutely nothing, though he knew he had only to make a sign to stop the French and save his allies. Renard was prudent enough to see that his colleague hoped to draw him, and answered with generalities about the Emperor's scrupulous observance of all treaties. The fall of Boulemberg by no means ended Henry's difficulties, for Ardres tower remained to defy him, and Boulogne itself was so strong that he and his ministers came to the conclusion that it could only be taken if they succeeded in blocking the mouth of the harbour, and starving it into surrender. The Parisians, forgetful of their enthusiasm over Boulemberg, began laughing at the King, saying that he would have to go to Rome for absolution of his oath not to return before Boulogne had fallen. Thus the autumn wore away.
Protector Somerset hid his disappointment at the failure of the real object of Paget's mission, and Paget himself assured Van der Delft that everyone in the Government, especially the King, was overjoyed by the excellent tidings he had brought back from Flanders. (fn. 42) Nevertheless, Paget was anxious to talk over certain points, namely those concerning religion which the Emperor had touched on at his last audience, before Van der Delft saw the Protector. The ambassador replied that he was thoroughly dissatisfied with the Protector because of the treatment he had received while Paget was away, and it was unfortunate that a man who set himself up to govern a kingdom should continually be breaking his word. Moreover, he would not hide it that he held him, Paget, to be personally responsible for all the ills that had befallen the country, because he had created so wretched a Protector. To this Paget made answer: “He has a bad wife"; and Van der Delft rejoined that no greater proof of a man's inferiority could be given than that he allowed himself to be ruled by a woman. The upshot of the matter was that Paget agreed to let the Protector know how bad an opinion Van der Delft held of him, whilst Van der Delft was to show no sign. In this manner, Paget said, Somerset might be induced to try harder to please the Emperor.
A few days later, the Protector sent for Van der Delft, and told him that the Emperor had shown him such favour that all his life long he must be obliged, for his very father could not have expressed greater affection for him, and he begged Van der Delft to thank his Majesty most humbly. Van der Delft replied that he only wished the Protector's government had been more successful, and he had always warned him to beware of these new apostles, enemies to the mass. Somerset asserted that they still had the mass, and the only change was that it was now said in English and no consecration took place except when there were communicants. After long argument he admitted having said that he was sorry things had gone so far, and confessed that he still regretted it, for he saw no harm in the priest consecrating and communicating alone, but the Government had been forced to act as they had done by the perversity of the sects that abounded in England, whose jarring doctrines and practices had done so much evil already. He would like to send the Bishop of Rochester (Ridley) to Van der Delft, to explain all. This ironical suggestion was anything but welcome, but Van der Delft went away convinced that the Protector's object was rather to put a term to chaos than to attack religion. Before taking his leave, he received an assurance that the Lady Mary should no more be troubled, and a promise that Somerset would think over the possibility of granting her letters patent to guarantee her from further interference. Encouraged by this report, the Emperor wrote to Van der Delft on September 2nd to press harder than ever for the letters patent, and study the means of inducing the Government to adhere to his Interim until the consummation of the Council of Trent. By the time this letter had reached its destination, however, affairs had taken so new and surprising a turn that Van der Delft felt obliged to send his man over to the Emperor to ask for instructions.
Jehan Duboys informed his Majesty that the Protector had sent Paget and the Great Master of the Household (William Paulet, Lord St. John) to Van der Delft to assure him verbally that the Lady Mary, her priests and servants, should no more be troubled on account of their religion. Van der Delft reminded Paget that what the Emperor wanted was letters patent, and said his Majesty would certainly not be satisfied with anything else. Paget promised to see what could be done, and went away. The ambassador then thought well to visit the Lady Mary, with the Council's knowledge and approval, to tell her of all his Majesty had done for her sake. She expressed undying gratitude, but asked if it would not be better to accept the proffered verbal assurance that she should no longer be troubled, rather than solicit for letters patent, which, it seemed to her, might imply a sort of recognition on her part of the legality of the recent measures; for she would not admit that ordinances defying the Divine Will and her father's testament could ever be law. The Lady Mary then said she had excellent reasons for believing that there was dissent in the Council, where the Earls of Warwick, Southampton and Arundel, and the Great Master, were preparing to bring a charge of treason against the Protector. Emissaries had already been sent to ascertain whether she would favour the enterprise, and she was most anxious to hear from the Emperor whether she should do so or no, for the weight of her influence would doubtless count against Somerset. Until she received his Majesty's instructions she would reply that she never meddled in questions of government, though she was sad at heart to see the kingdom in such sorry plight, but would accuse no one personally, only praying God to have mercy on them all. Were they to press her further, she would say that she would take no step of importance but by the Emperor's advice. Duboys was also to report the defeat of the rebellious peasants by Warwick, and a visit he paid, at his master's orders, to Southampton, whom he found shamming sickness because the Protector's ill-will kept him from going to court, and who spoke equivocal words about the public misfortunes, saying he saw no remedy but to adhere strictly to the late King's will. The ambassador, considering that these symptoms clearly showed that hostility to the Protector was in the air, desired his Majesty's commands as to what course he should keep.
The Emperor's reply (fn. 43) came as a damper to Van der Delft's ardour. The ambassador was to go on pressing for letters patent; and as for the Lady Mary's scruples about recognising the new measures, they were mere nonsense. A political change seemed far from desirable at that moment: in any case Van der Delft and the Lady Mary had better not meddle in it, for it was not unlikely that the Protector himself had caused her to be approached in order to accuse her of plotting against the government of the kingdom. She was therefore to take the greatest care to avoid expressing any opinion whatsoever on politics, or talking about the Emperor in connexion with them, beyond such lamentations as she had already uttered for the pitiable state of the land, or pious hopes that God might better it. Duboys had brought to the Emperor from the Lady Mary a ring, a former present from his Majesty, which seemed to signify that she would like to leave England. She was not to be encouraged in this wish, for it would be exceedingly difficult to remove her, and also to find means to support her when once in Flanders, for in that event no provision would be made for her by the English government. The English ambassador had recently told the Emperor, imploring him to keep it secret, that his government was in direst need of money to defend Boulogne, which they could hardly hope to hold unless his Majesty gave them some assistance. The Emperor answered that the approaching winter would afford some respite from hostilities, which they would be well advised to improve by reforming justice and undoing the ungodly mischief that had already brought such disaster on their heads.
Regretfully did Van der Delft submit. (fn. 44) No reason less compelling than his Majesty's commands could make him conceal his contempt for so wretched a government as Somerset's. Good Bishop Bonner had been imprisoned like a common thief for refusing to uphold in the pulpit the legality of all measures passed during the King's minority. Pirates came and went at court. The administration of justice was perverted, and everything, at home and abroad, was going to wrack and ruin. In Scotland all was as good as lost, for Haddington had fallen. In short, everyone was disgusted with the Government, and even Paget complained of the Protector's suspicious nature. The King was with Somerset at Hampton Court, where the Council met on Sundays; but it was significant enough that Warwick had retired to Greenwich. On the way he had come to see Van der Delft, and sounded him about his feelings for the Protector; and it had gone sorely against the grain to let Warwick say he knew the ambassador to be a great friend of the very man for whose ruin he was praying. In conclusion, Van der Delft repeated that there was nothing to be hoped from the Protector, who would always be ruled by his wife in the fostering of heresy, and implored the Emperor to allow him to express some sympathy with Warwick's party, if not in his official capacity, at any rate as a private individual. The Emperor seems not to have deigned to reply. On October 8th, Van der Delft sends an account of the development of the plot: Somerset's summons to Warwick, Southampton and other Councillors to attend at Hampton Court disobeyed, Cranmer, Paget and Smith alone remained with the Protector, who saw the danger threatening him and summoned the peasantry. A large number assembled, but suddenly, at five in the afternoon of October 6th, the Protector changed his mind and disbanded them. He then sent his wife home, who left court amidst the revilings of all present, peasants and courtiers, who attributed the disaster to her alone, and straightway departed, with the King and those about him, to Windsor, where great numbers of peasants were coming to his aid. Just before leaving Hampton Court, Paget spoke to one of the ambassador's friends who chanced to be present: “I beg you, when you return to London, tell the Emperor's ambassador in what state you saw me, and that he was a great prophet;” and then, with tears in his eyes, “recommend me to him.” On the 7th, the Council met in London, and sent Sir Thomas Cheyne, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, and Dr. Nicholas Wotton, recently ambassador in Paris, to inform Van der Delft that they had decided to endure no longer the ruinous rule of Somerset, and that now the Protector had called upon the peasants to make him lord and tyrant of all, they saw they must lend a hand to remedy the ills caused by a man who cared for nothing but building houses for himself, while the kingdom was falling a prey to its enemies. Van der Delft replied as duty, not inclination, bade him, saying no more than that he was sorry things had come to such a pass, but was sure the Council had tried every milder measure first, and trusted that all might come right in the end, to God's service and the Emperor's great relief, for his Majesty loved England as dearly as his own dominions. “I clearly perceive” says Van der Delft in his letter to the Emperor, “that the Protector will be so loaded with crimes that he will be unable to acquit himself of all, and it will cost him his life if they catch him.” The Lady Mary had just written to ask Van der Delft to send her one of his men, apparently to instruct her as to what she should reply if, as rumour had it, she were invited to accept the regency. Van der Delft thought that really too good to be true, but was jubilant enough over the Protector's collapse. Ironically, he ends his letter: “The Protector had sent word that he had appointed, as commissioners on the question of the bulwark near Gravelines, the lieutenant of Calais castle, Brian, and the controller of the same, Hall.”
Van der Delft's joy increased day by day. On October 14th he wrote of the Protector's arrest. All was going as smoothly as possible, and Warwick had sent to tell him that the Council intended to send a very agreeable person over to the Emperor—the Bishop of Winchester (Gardiner) or the Earl of Southampton, thought Van der Delft. On the 17th the King “looking astonished” entered London with the Councillors and nobility; he had been persuaded by the Protector that the other members of the Council meant to harm his person. Paget's good offices in removing the Protector's servants from about the King at Windsor had not been forgotten, and he was now in favour; Van der Delft had not omitted to put in a word for him with Warwick. Cranmer still attended the Council, but would probably not be allowed to do so long “unless he mends his ways.” All the men now in power were of the old religion, except perhaps Warwick, who was also beginning to observe its usages; but they would proceed slowly in re-establishing the faith in order not to excite the people. Everyone had forgotten Boulogne and Scotland in the enthusiasm of overthrowing Somerset.
The Emperor remained unmoved by all these happy earnests, and merely repeated his commands that the Lady Mary and Van der Delft were to refrain from expressing any opinion, beyond exhortations to return to Henry VIII.'s religious settlement. The first hint of disappointment from Van der Delft came in his letter of October 22nd, in which he said that Sir Thomas Cheyne was being sent to the Emperor, and had asked him for a letter of recommendation, though without mentioning what his instructions might be. The Venetian ambassador had been to court to congratulate the Council on the issue of their enterprise, and had been most favourably received. It seemed to Van der Delft that they were behaving rather coldly to him because of his aloofness. Might he not at least go and encourage them to take some steps in the matter of religion, and to remain in close alliance with the Emperor? He had recently heard news alarming in that it showed the fickle disposition of the English, for Somerset, who had always passed for an enemy to France, had actually contemplated handing over Boulogne to the French before any of the forts fell in August. (fn. 45) Van der Delft had discovered this from a French gentleman called Bertheville, who was to have gone to France to negotiate the matter, but was delayed by illness, and, as soon as the fall of the forts became known, was thrown into the Tower, presumably because his untimely ailment had prevented the Protector from getting the higher price Boulogne was worth while the forts remained in English hands. In the Tower Bertheville remained, begging that his offence might be specified, for then he should be able to prove his innocence, and bewailing the loss of 10,000 crowns, which he was to have received for the successful accomplishment of his mission. This same Bertheville is mentioned by Simon Renard as having been in command of the English forts in Alderney; he was a refugee, whose brother had lost his head in Paris on some charge of treason. (fn. 46) Van der Delft was shocked by such lack of principle in Somerset, and for a time he was confident that the new government would behave better. His failure to foresee the religious and political results of the change need not surprise us, for English observers, with far more opportunities for forming an opinion than he, believed that a violent catholic reaction was going to take place. Van der Delft, moreover, never understood that the Protector's sympathy with the peasants' revolt had united all the landed proprietors against him, and become the chief cause of his downfall. He was too little conversant with the national temper to realise how many considerations modified even the catholic lords' desire to re-establish the old religion.
November found Van der Delft trying in vain to find out what was actually going on in the Council. (fn. 47) Warwick was ill, or pretending to be, and everlastingly putting off his promised visit. Finally Warwick sent a secretary, who used flattering words, said that his master would never have undertaken to right the country's wrongs had he not been encouraged by Van der Delft when he went to see him in September—though by Van der Delft's own showing he received no encouragement at all—but gave no precise information of the sort Van der Delft wanted. The ambassador then sent his man to visit Southampton, another politic sufferer, whom he believed to be the most powerful man in England, and Warwick's source of inspiration. Southampton begged Van der Delft not to press for audience until Warwick and Arundel (also unwell!) could attend the Council, and assured him that all was going as smoothly as might be desired; there was no difference of opinion among the lords, and all would come right with time. Van der Delft took these words to mean that Southampton would study the best way of coming to a satisfactory settlement, and was reassured enough not to be greatly exercised over information he received in secret, to the effect that a Florentine merchant, called Antonio Guidotti, was being sent to France to negotiate peace. Some said that Boulogne was going to be given up, but Van der Delft believed the English intended to perform some brave exploit there in the course of the winter. So on the whole the outlook was far from bad. The Lady Mary, it was true, boded nothing but evil, and desired more than ever to be out of a country which she could but believe God intended to punish for its stiffneckedness. There was a rumour in London that Ambassador Hoby had taken over an excellent likeness of the King, and that he and Sir Thomas Cheyne were to negotiate a marriage between Edward and a daughter of the King of the Romans. Time passed, and Van der Delft remained as short of news as before. At last Arundel gave him a day on which he should have audience of the Council, but he heard nothing but formal compliments, and not a single one of the important members was present, which made him fear that, in spite of Southampton's cheerful words, there was discord between the gentlemen. Worst of all was the change come over Paget, who, hand in glove with Warwick, now avoided Van der Delft, leaving the unfortunate ambassador without a friend at court. On November 25th Van der Delft went to see Warwick at his house, (fn. 48) where he was still playing the sick man, the Council coming to him there, and all business being despatched by his orders. Conversation turned at once to religion, and Van der Delft, finding the Earl obstinate, spoke sharply, reminding him that he and the other councillors were not kings of the country to meddle lightheartedly with the gravest concerns, and introduce changes that no prince in this world had ventured to attempt but to his ruin. After this Warwick spoke more softly, and said that he personally was not so obdurate as Van der Delft might think, but the present ordering of religion was the work, not of Somerset alone, but of all the members (of Parliament), and had been carefully examined and approved by their bishops and learned men. Warwick then complained that the Emperor had refused them permission to raise troops in his dominions, which obliged them to take their men away from Scotland to reinforce the garrison of Boulogne. To this Van der Delft replied that he hoped they would need no more troops, as Guidotti had been sent to France to negotiate peace, with Boulogne up his sleeve. Warwick laughed loud: “He is a poor devil, deep in debt,” and changed the subject. Van der Delft was beginning to be disillusioned about the character of the new government, and he felt great anxiety lest Southampton, now ill in grim earnest, might die; for he realised that no one else in the Council was strong enough to make a stand in the matter of religion. “If he does not recover, and if the Earl of Warwick remains obstinate in his opinion, we shall see terrible confusion and destruction in this realm.”
The Emperor, as on former occasions, granted the English leave to raise troops (fn. 49) after having, by repeated refusals, made a mighty favour of compliance. At the same time he knew from Simon Renard that French and English commissioners were meeting to discuss terms of peace, and had heard of Guidotti's mission from Van der Delft. The commissioners had come to a standstill late in November, Renard reported, (fn. 50) because the English insisted that the provisions of the treaty of 1546 should be maintained. The Pope's death, promising changes in European politics, and news of the Emperor's permission to levy troops also contributed to cool English ardour for an understanding. The French were having difficulty in holding their own in the Boulonnais, their troops were ill-paid and mutinous. English reinforcements were arriving, and Simon Renard's last letter for 1549 told of the recapture of Blackness by the English. The new government was none the less determined to sell Boulogne, and a desire to obtain the highest possible price prompted the exploits of December. Guidotti came back to London after his first journey, and was sent off again: Simon Renard saw him looking happy, and heard that his instructions were to arrange a marriage between Edward VI and the King of France's elder daughter. The Pope's death had come at an inopportune moment for Henry II: only a couple of weeks before, the league with the Holy Father from which he had hoped so much had seemed to be assured, and Parma within his grasp. Now all was confusion once more, and the election of an Imperialist more than likely; indeed, on December 17th, it was believed at the French court that Pole had been chosen. Simon Renard was in the highest spirits, and the French sorely cast down, for it was known that Pole would not lend himself to French schemes for interference in Italy, and would smooth the way for reformation by General Council. As a matter of fact Pole only obtained twenty-four votes out of the twenty-eight that would have made him Pope, but it was for all that none the more certain that a French partisan would be elected, and the element of danger rendered Henry II doubly anxious to make peace with England, lest some untoward event might enable the Emperor to form a coalition against him. Ever since Paul III left Charles in the lurch in Germany and caused the Council to be removed to Bologna, ever since Henry II mounted the throne, Papal ill-will towards the Empire had been of enormous assistance to French policy, and if the Emperor was now to have the Pope on his side, France must needs make friends elsewhere.
In the circumstances, nothing more fortunate for Henry II could have happened than Warwick's triumph in England; and before the end of the year it was clear even to Van der Delft that Warwick, and not Southampton, Arundel and the Catholics, had won. On December 19th, Van der Delft wrote a gloomy letter, full of bad news. Not a word was being spoken about re-establishing the old religion, and those who desired it had been alarmed by the recent admission to the Council of the Marquis of Dorset and the Bishop of Ely (Goodrich), rank heretics both. Van der Delft supposed that Warwick had done this to strengthen his party, and took it to be an indication of what course he proposed to follow. Warwick was said to be under the Duchess of Somerset's influence: another ill-omen, as the ambassador believed that lady to have been responsible for most of the evils of the last three years. The favour shown to the Lady Elizabeth, who had conformed with the new laws on religion, contrasted with the Council's neglect of Mary, and Van der Delft hoped that the Portuguese match might at length be arranged and enable the unfortunate lady to leave the country. Were this alliance impossible, he told the Emperor frankly that he considered his Majesty ought to take her out of England, and support her at his court, for, as she always repeated, she had no other refuge on earth. News of what was going on in the Council, Van der Delft had none to give, for no official communications were made to him. All he knew was what everyone was aware of: lively negotiations were being carried on with France through Guidotti.
The present volume opens with rumours of a projected alliance, to be strengthened by a marriage, between France and England. Henry II's adoption of the Guise's Scottish policy threw England back into the traditional Burgundian friendship that for centuries had been one of the chief factors in European politics; but only for a time. Somerset, who would have made friends with France just after Henry VIII's death, was no less willing to do so when the failure of Paget's mission told him plainly that the Emperor would not start a European war in order to enable England to keep Boulogne and Scotland. Henry II made a speciality of alliance with heretics, though he was hard enough on his own heterodox subjects, but Charles was of a different temper. He would strike a bargain with Maurice of Saxony for the purpose of confounding German protestantism, but he would not help protestant England while any possibility remained of obtaining a return to catholicism as the price of his assistance. The gossips at the French court therefore spoke truth when they said that Paget had been sent home discomfited on the score of religion, and his unsuccessful mission marked the turning point of English policy under Edward VI. The easiest way out of the difficulty was then to sell Boulogne for as much as Henry II would give, and, as the Queen Dowager of Hungary shrewdly said after Henry VIII's death, the abandonment of Boulogne must lead to an estrangement between England and the Emperor. Van der Delft knew this as well as another, and his anxiety to prevent England from falling into French arms was most cunningly exploited by Warwick. The papers here calendared supply no hint of Warwick's intentions regarding foreign policy before he succeeded in overthrowing Somerset, but, his main object once achieved, he was willing to sacrifice the country's interests to any extent in order to keep himself in power. Having craftily disposed of the Catholics, by whose help he had risen, he courted popularity at home by encouraging the reformers, and purchased immunity for his own malpractices, such as debasing the coinage and ruining the country's credit. Abroad he gave way to the hereditary enemy in every respect, turning the realm into little more than a French province. It is idle to speculate what might have happened if Somerset had remained at the head of affairs; but his conduct during his Protectorate makes it legitimate to doubt that he would have brought England to the wretched condition to be illustrated by the next volume of this Calendar.