Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 12 Part 2, June-December 1537. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1891.
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There was no longer any resistance to the King. Martial law had done its work in the North, and the country had been completely terrified into submission. Trees and gibbets along the highways bore pitiful burdens suspended in ropes or chains, and, however great the sympathy with the victims, it could not be safely expressed. Women, however, had ventured to sally forth at night to cut down their husbands' bodies and bury them decently—where they could, in consecrated ground, for rectors and vicars durst not connive at such defiance of authority. (fn. n1) All other expression of feeling seems to have been most effectually repressed.
But more regular proceedings had also taken place, preserving at least the form of law and justice. On the 6th March the abbot of Kirkstead, Thomas Moigne, and others to the number of 34, were arraigned at Lincoln before a special commission, for the parts they had taken in the Lincolnshire rebellion of October. They were all found guilty and executed the next day, though Thomas Moigne spoke three hours in his own defence "with such subtle allegations," as Sir William Parre reported to the King, "that if Serjeant Hinde and your solicitor had not acquitted themselves like true servants unto your Grace and profound learned men, he had troubled and in manner evict all the rest." (fn. n2) But the principal leaders had been sent up to London, where, on the 26th March, Dr. Mackerell, prior of Barlings, with Kendal, vicar of Lowth, and 10 others, were condemned at the Guildhall, and suffered at Tyburn on the 29th. (fn. n3)
So also as regards Yorkshire and the Northern counties, the King had now all the leaders in his hands at London, and Lords Darcy and Hussey, Aske and Sir Thomas Percy, Bigod and his half-unwilling tool George Lumley, Sir John and Ralph Bulmer, Sir Stephen Hamerton and Margaret Cheyney—who passed as Lady Bulmer, Sir Johns wife, though she seems to have been another man's—had been safely lodged in the Tower. They were brought before special commissions at Westminster on indictments found in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. The two Lords received sentence on the 15th May, and the others two days later, (fn. n4) with the exception of Ralph Bulmer, in whose case the Crown forbore to press for a verdict. Sir John and his lady, Percy and Hamerton, thought it as well to plead guilty, but gained no mercy thereby. They and all the others, except the lady, were sentenced to receive the death of traitors at Tyburn; she was to be dragged to Smithfield and burned. Next day another batch of prisoners consisting of Dr. Cockerell, quondam prior of Guisborough, Adam Sedberg, abbot of Jervaulx, William Thirsk, quondam abbot of Fountains, a Black Friar named Dr. Pickering, of Bridlington, his namesake John Pickering of Lythe, and Nicholas Tempest of Baschehall, had the usual doom pronounced upon. them. (fn. n5)
Most of the sentences were executed at Tyburn on Friday in Whitsun week (25th May); but lords Darcy and Hussey, Percy, Constable, Bigod, and Aske were kept in the Tower for some weeks longer. (fn. n6) The King ultimately determined to have Darcy beheaded on Tower Hill, and the others sent down into Yorkshire and Lincolnshire as a warning to the districts in which they had committed their so-called treasons. On the 27th June (fn. n7) he wrote to Sir William Parre to prepare to take the custody of Hussey, Constable, and Aske from Sir Thomas Wentworth, who would convey them down to Lincolnshire; and then to hand them over to the duke of Suffolk to be sent on to Hull, where the duke of Norfolk's men would take charge of them. He also gave directions that Constable should be hanged in chains at Hull, Aske at York, and that Hussey should be beheaded at Lincoln as soon as possible after his arrival there. (fn. n8) On the 28th the prisoners were delivered out of the Tower to Wentworth, who, after handing over his charge to Parre, was going Northwards to Carlisle, where he had just been made captain. The 30th was appointed as the day for Darcy to suffer on Tower Hill. (fn. n9)
And so it was done. Within nine months after the first outbreak in Lincolnshire the King had more than recovered his authority, shaken just for a moment by the outcry against his revolutionary proceedings, and had taken signal vengeance on everyone seriously implicated in the disturbances, even on those drawn into them against their wills. (fn. n10) The rash and ineffectual attempts of Bigod and Hallam had already strengthened his hands to some extent. The Queen's pregnancy, which was already known in March, though the news does not seem to have been general till the close of April, (fn. n11) must have given him further assurance. On Trinity Sunday, the 27th May, Te Deum was sung in honor of the event at St. Paul's, (fn. n12) and orders were given to do the like at York and at Calais with firing of guns in testimony of the general satisfaction. (fn. n13)
Norfolk wrote to the King from Sheriffhutton on the 26th June to congratulate him on this subject and at the same time to inquire what numbers of men he was to summon to attend the King on his expected visit to the North of England. But the Queen's condition now gave Henry some excuse for going back upon his promises, and he announced to Norfolk in reply that on consultation with his Council he had determined to put off his visit to the North for another year. Of course it was hardly to be expected that the Queen should go with him now to be crowned at York. But the reasons Henry gave for not going himself were four: first that the Emperor was sending "personages of great honor" to him on matters concerning the weal of all Christendom. 2. That the Queen might be in danger "from rumors blown abroad in our absence" if the King went more than sixty miles from her. 3. That as the Emperor and French King had both great armies near Calais the King ought to be near at hand to prevent a breach of neutrality. 4. He had not visited the North since the commencement of his reign, and the year was now so far advanced that he could hardly go beyond York, whereas next year he hoped to visit Hull, Carlisle, Newcastle, Durham, and even Berwick." (fn. n14) Thus the royal visit to the North was put off; and as for the Parliament which the rebels had been assured would be held at the same time to consider their grievances, nothing more was heard of it.
Only in one way did Henry seem at all disposed to make the least concession to popular feeling. On the subject of religion the Northern clergy had shown themselves so reactionary, that it was only natural that he should take counsel with his bishops, even if it led to some reconsideration of things already done. Here however, he conceded nothing that in any way touched himself. The Commons at Doncaster had demanded a complete reversal of the new Church policy, the suppression of Lutheran and Wycliffite heresies, the restoration of the supremacy of the see of Rome, the restoration of suppressed abbeys and of the suppressed Order of the Friars Observants. (fn. n15) To all such demands the King turned a very deaf ear; for as he had been supported by his Parliament and Council in the abolition of papal supremacy and suppression of monasteries he could say that the responsibility for these things did not rest with him. But as to heresies, that again was a question for others than himself, and if the Faith was at all in danger the bishops must consider it. For though the "Articles of Religion" put forth in the summer of 1536, (fn. n16) apart from the authority under which they were issued, seemed unobjectionable even to Reginald Pole, (fn. n17) yet they were criticised by some as to their omissions, for they only took notice of three sacraments instead of seven. There was also a considerable amount of discontent at the spread of new opinions touching Our Lady and Purgatory. (fn. n18)
The bishops were accordingly called together in February, (fn. n19) and had many a long and tedious discussion on points of doctrine. Some other divines were called along with them, among whom was the Scotchman Alesius, a combative Puritan whose contribution to the debate did not tend to general agreement. (fn. n20) A slight glimpse of the subjects of inquiry is given us in a letter of Dr. Coren written on the 24th March; (fn. n21) but the chief matter of difficulty seems to have been the four sacraments omitted in the book of articles of the year preceding. Later, however, the Archbishop of York was able to assure Dr. Dakyn that those four sacraments "be found again now, and the book shall be printed new again." (fn. n22) On the 12th May Husee writes to lord Lisle that the bishops were said to be "at a point;" (fn. n23) but their deliberations seem to have been continued till Tuesday the 17th July, when a new treatise on the fundamental truths of religion was approved and signed by the whole body of divines. (fn. n24) It was entitled the Institution of a Christian Man, and contained an exposition, first of the Apostles' Creed; 2. of the Seven Sacraments; 3. of the Ten Commandments, and 4, of the Lord's Prayer and the Ave Maria, with two articles on Justification and Purgatory reproduced with slight verbal differences from the "Articles" of the year preceding.
To Foxe bishop of Hereford was committed the task of writing a preface; but he desired to know in the first place whether the book was to go forth in the King's name or in that of the Bishops. (fn. n25) A rather important inquiry, for it seemed that though Henry had called the Bishops to deliberate he was desirous to leave to them the full responsibility of everything; and though he was asked in an address signed by the whole body of the divines to let it issue with the sanction of his royal authority, (fn. n26) he found it most convenient to temporise. The work was sent to press and was printed by the end of August, (fn. n27) and the King in reply to the Bishops wrote that he had no time to examine it satisfactorily, but trusting to their wisdoms agreed that it should be published and read to the people on Sundays and holidays for three years to come. (fn. n28) It was ultimately issued in the end of September, Cranmer giving orders about it to his clergy on the 10th in advance of its publication. (fn. n29)
It was not without justice, therefore, that the Institution of a Christian Man was commonly called "the Bishops' Book"—especially when it came to be superseded some years later by a book really authorised by the King himself. The printing of an English Bible, and the sanction given to its use next claims our notice." (fn. n30) But the documents connected with this matter are so well known that it is unnecessary to do more than mention it.
Meanwhile new arrangements had been made for the government of the North of England. Norfolk who had been long ill at ease and troubled with incessant attacks of diarrhœa, had been more and more urgent as time went on for his recall. A winter in that cold bleak country, he said, would kill him; but he was compelled to remain till he saw Aske executed at York, the people pacified or compelled to be content with an offer of pardon, and satisfactory arrangements made for the government of the Borders and of the country North of the Trent. (fn. n31) Even in August after much entreaty he was only spared from his post for a very brief visit to the King at Ampthill and to his own home at Kenninghall, and was back at Sheriffhutton before the end of the month. (fn. n32)
On the 5th September, attacked by new maladies, he wrote urgently desiring that Bishop Tunstall, who was to come and replace him, might be sent at once so that he might return by Michaelmas. Yet he was still to go on to Northumberland, where, he said, if the King of Scots performed his promises, he meant to take his leave of the country in such a fashion that malefactors should not desire his return. (fn. n33) He went to Newcastle and found Tynedale and Reedsdale "far out of order." He endeavoured in vain to persuade the King to remove the new officers there, but only succeeded, after some correspondence in extorting an acknowledgment that his complaints were not without foundation. (fn. n34) He at length turned Southward on the 28th September leaving the rule of Tynedale and Reedsdale in the same hands as before, and disappointed that he had not been able to minister such severities as he had intended; for very few prisoners were brought in to him, and only three were executed. (fn. n35)
The constitution of the new Council of the North had of course been a matter of much deliberation, and various schemes were drawn up both for it and for the rule of the Borders. (fn. n36) The Bishop of Durham was appointed Lord President. He was not popular in the North, and there were other reasons urged against his appointment, (fn. n37) which indeed he himself could neither have wished nor apparently even expected; (fn. n38) but no better man could be found. Nor did he make such haste to enter upon his duties as Norfolk after his long endurance expected; who besides ill health and anxiety had yet a further reason for desiring the Bishop's coming to relieve him. "His purse," he wrote, "does not feel that mine doth, which was empty a month past, and am fain to live of borrowing." (fn. n39) Tunstall, however, at last arrived and wrote his first letters from York on the 15th October. (fn. n40) The names of the Council by whom he was supported will be seen in No. 914.
There could be no more danger of disturbance in England unless it came from abroad; and the failure of Pole's mission, owing to the unwillingness of either of the two belligerent powers on the continent to cause Henry to take part with his adversary, (fn. n41) seemed to give tolerable security in that matter. But circumstances changed from day to day. Francis, doubtful of the issue of his struggle with the Emperor, concluded a three years' truce with the Turk, thereby strengthening the enemy of Christendom against Germany and Italy, and seemed already to have some thoughts of with-drawing his lance-knights from Picardy to Piedmont. (fn. n42) The Emperor in Spain perceived the danger and saw that the chief difficulty of the struggle would be in Italy. Money, too, was failing in the Low Countries. So, although the Burgundians had recovered lost ground in Picardy, had captured Hédin, Montreuil, and St. Pol, and were on the eve of winning Thérouenne, suddenly, to the astonishment of all men, a ten months' truce was agreed to between France and Flanders. (fn. n43)
It was not a peace, and it was only between France and Flanders, leaving the war open in Piedmont and on the borders of Spain. But it could hardly have been agreeable to Henry, and little more than two months later we find him anxious to discover whether a regular peace was not in the wind, and—of course to prevent it—desirous to be himself the arbiter. (fn. n44) A peace between Francis and the Emperor would certainly have meant a European combination against himself which his nephew James in Scotland could have powerfully aided by an invasion of the Northern Counties. And even without support from abroad it was a great question whether he would not have found the business made easy for him by the cruel sense of wrong and tyranny among Henry's own subjects, who only hushed their griefs because no deliverer was at hand. Of this Henry himself, as we shall see, had very significant evidence.
On the 26th May Sir Thomas Clifford, captain of Berwick, wrote that Berwick Pursuivant, whom he had sent into Scotland with letters from the King, had witnessed James's arrival with his French queen at Leith and his entry into Edinburgh, and that he had also spoken with an Englishman named James Crane who had come over with the fleet in the suite of the Vice-Admiral of France; that Crane had given the pursuivant a credence for Ralph Sadler "upon a token that when the said Ralph Sadler was in France he did inquire for the said James at his own house in Rouen;" and the message was to the effect that on their passage Crane had landed near Scarborough to buy victuals for the company; that about twelve Englishmen had come aboard the Scotch king's ship and on their knees before him had thanked God for his safety, saying they had long looked for him as they were oppressed and slain, and promising that if he would make descent upon England "he should have all." At another town also some distance Southward (it should have been Northward) 10 Englishmen had gone on board James's vessel and said much the same thing. Further on in the voyage, moreover, James himself had said that if he lived one year more, he hoped to break a spear on one Englishman's breast. Crane, who was a willing informer, said he was anxious to declare everything to the King himself; but as to the second town from which men came on board he could only tell that it had a church dedicated to St. Andrew, and that the parson was one of the King's chaplains. (fn. n45)
Such weighty information was of course not lost sight of. Crane immediately afterwards returned to France with the Vice-Admiral, and a servant of lord Lisle's waited upon him at Rouen. (fn. n46) No further information, however, could be extracted from him until he was taken to England, where he was committed to the care of another servant of Lisle's, John Husee, whose entertaining letters fill up many details of our knowledge of this period, and who was sent by Cromwell to Calais to bring him over. (fn. n47) Without delay he was sent down to the duke of Norfolk at Sheriffhutton, who at first would not believe his statements, but after sending him with an escort along the whole seacoast from Flamborough to Tynemouth, he identified a village near the latter place (Whitburn) as the locality; and there no doubt the church was dedicated to St. Andrew, and the incumbent, Dr. Marshall, was the King's chaplain, though it was only his priest that was really implicated. Crane was only about 60 miles out of his reckoning—not wonderful in a long voyage; and having brought the charge home to the priest and set Norfolk on the tracks of the other persons implicated, he was allowed to go back to France again with the King's pardon. By the time he had got back the priest and two sailors whom he had accused were hung in chains. (fn. n48)
It was clear that James of Scotland was by no means friendly to his uncle, and that unless restrained by considerations of policy he might easily have been tempted to make some attempt at invasion. But a sudden domestic blow compelled him immediately to consider his own position and alliances before attempting an aggressive policy. After only half a year of married life his young queen Mâdeleine died; and with whatever grief he mourned her loss James, like other sovereigns of the age, at once took the matter into consideration from a political point of view. He despatched a secretary into France, partly, it would seem, to know if the pension he had from that country was to be continued to him now that his wife was dead, partly to see what terms he could make with Francis as to a second French marriage. (fn. n49) Norfolk, who does not seem to have suspected the chief object of the secretary's instructions, weakly supposed that if not satisfied with the reply he got from France about money matters James would make overtures for a cordial understanding with England, and perhaps for a marriage with the princess Mary. Nothing was really less in James's thoughts. Ever since his return from France he had been getting ready ordnance at Dunbar, Tantallon, and elsewhere, and paying stealthy visits by night to the former place where the stores of war were accumulated. The English party in his realm were entirely out of favour, and the Lady Glammis, sister of the earl of Angus, was burnt in Edinburgh for treason. (fn. n50) There was not the smallest rub in the French alliance. Langeac, bishop of Limoges, a very able diplomatist who had gone to Scotland with James, had doubtless done his best to promote it. He returned to his own country through England in August, along with David Beton, abbot of Arbroath, so well known afterwards as Cardinal Archbishop of St. Andrews; and Henry was mortified to find from his intercourse with them that James was entirely devoted to the interests of France. The results of their negociations with Francis very soon became apparent, and before James had been three months a widower it was known even in England that he was engaged to Mary of Guise, widow of the Duke of Longueville. (fn. n51)
To turn, however, to domestic events. The summer in England was very unhealthy. The sweating sickness had reappeared in all its old severity. In July a servant of Cromwell's named Bold fell sick of it, and the Queen being alarmed, it was thought prudent for the time that the Minister should only meet his sovereign out in the fields while hunting. (fn. n52) So also Cranmer durst not visit the King to report the proceedings of the Bishops who themselves were anxious to disperse and be out of the way of danger. (fn. n53) Tunstall also feared even to send a messenger from Laleham to Cromwell. (fn. n54) The assizes in Devonshire and Cornwall had to be put off; (fn. n55) the term in London was adjourned; (fn. n56) and the lord Admiral Fitzwilliam proposed to discharge for two or three months the workmen engaged on the King's new ship at Portsmouth. (fn. n57)
Among prominent men swept off during the month of September were Thomas Bedyll (a sycophant clergyman, whose letters in this and previous volumes remain to his eternal shame), John Whalley, Controller of the Mint, and Mr. Justice Englefield, (fn. n58) whose deaths were probably due to the prevailing scourge. The utmost anxiety prevailed at Hampton Court, where the Queen was expecting her confinement. Ralph Sadler who was in attendance there, had to leave when one of his servants fell ill of a complaint not clearly ascertained at the moment, and, following the King's advice, he repaired to his house at Hackney instead of going to his wife at Lessness in Kent. (fn. n59)
On the 12th October the Queen (Jane Seymour) gave birth to a son "conceived in lawful matrimony" as it was curiously intimated in circulars drawn up in her name to announce the fact. (fn. n60) The christening was arranged for Monday the 15th, but the presence of several noble persons was dispensed with on account of the prevailing plague. Among these were the marchioness dowager of Dorset, who had been appointed to bear the Prince in her arms, and her son-in-law—lord Maltravers, as three or four persons died daily at Croydon, where they were staying; also the young marquis of Dorset and his wife. (fn. n61) Proclamations were sent out to forbid the access of anyone to the Court without special letters from the King or some of his Council. (fn. n62) Bonfires, however, were made in every street and guns shot day and night in honour of the auspicious birth; nor does the christening appear to have been shorn of much of its splendour by the necessary absence of some who had been in the way of contagion. The child, having been born on the eve of St. Edward's day, received the name of Edward. (fn. n63)
A distribution of honours followed on St. Luke's day—the sixth day after the Prince's birth, when lord Beauchamp, the Queen's brother, was made earl of Hertford, and Sir William Fitzwilliam earl of Southampton; six gentlemen being at the same time dubbed knights. (fn. n64) Here, however, there was certainly some diminution of the ordinary pomp; and we read "The earl of Southampton was created after the said earl of Hertford for default of estates present in their robes to accompany them both at once."
Thus, except for the slight shadow cast by the pestilence out of doors, all was rejoicing and merriment for a few days. But within a fortnight of the event occurred a sudden change. On the morning of Wednesday the 24th information was sent to Cromwell by a letter signed by the earl of Rutland, the bishop of Carlisle, and three Court physicians, that the Queen, who was still very weak from her long and painful labor, (fn. n65) had the previous day shown some symptoms of amendment, but had passed a very bad night, and that her confessor was preparing to administer extreme unction. (fn. n66) As the day wore on, however, some slight hopes were entertained of her recovery (fn. n67); but in the evening the duke of Norfolk wrote to Cromwell that his presence was urgently desired at Hampton Court, as there was now little prospect of her living more than a few hours, and it was doubtful whether she would be alive even at the delivery of the letter. (fn. n68) She actually passed away about midnight. (fn. n69)
Immediately after the birth of the Prince, Sir John Dudley was despatched into Spain to inform the Emperor of the event. (fn. n72) This, at least, was the ostensible object of his mission, though it certainly was not the only one. He was directed to take his way through France, but he had no mission to Francis, who was then at Grenoble on the point of departure for Piedmont. (fn. n73) He was to take advantage of the friendly relations between England and France for his safe passage, though he had certainly not earned the good opinion of all Frenchmen by the manner in which he had recently kept the seas in his commission to protect the English neutrality. (fn. n74) His secret instructions, moreover, although we only know their contents by inference, were certainly not friendly to the country he passed through. On his arrival at Boulogne some Bretons, whose ships he had seized as pirates, assailed him with petitions for compensation; but Du Biez, captain of Boulogne, coming out of the castle, beat them with his sword, "that it would have pitied a man to have seen it," and threw them into a dungeon. On the 24th he arrived at Paris, where he heard that Francis was on the point of crossing the mountains. (fn. n75) Early in November he reached the Emperor's Court, and was admitted to an audience along with the resident ambassador, Sir Thomas Wyatt.
To the announcement of the birth of the Prince the Emperor had nothing to say but what might have been expected. He was all courtesy, and was no less glad of the event than of an addition to his own family that had occurred yet more recently. He could have wished, indeed, that the child had been of his own blood by Katharine, but he had the highest regard for the King's last marriage and wished the infant long life. The ambassadors then declared "the stature and goodliness of the child, and who were the godfathers and godmothers;" after which Dudley took the opportunity of regretting that the Emperor had made no better answer to the King's overtures for mediation with France. The insinuation which this remark seemed to convey that the Emperor was not inclined to peace was certainly very ill-timed, for as a matter of fact, as Dudley doubtless was aware, he was even then expecting the return of an ambassador from the French King upon the subject, and arrangements were really going on much faster than Henry had any desire to see them. But Dudley, as a new comer, had perhaps some excuse for pretending ignorance of this; and his colleague Wyatt immediately followed up his observations with some of his own. "Sire," he remarked, "undoubtedly my fellow Mr. Dudley here hath the like commandment as I had to treat in this overture of peace; howbeit, I think the matter is already so far forward between your Majesty and the French King at Velly's last being here, that the King my master shall not need to travail further. But though I am sure the King my master will be glad to hear of a peace (for there is nothing that he desires more) yet I am in doubt how his Majesty will conceive it, seeing the overture of mediation that he made was not otherwise embraced." (fn. n76)
It was easy for the Emperor to meet this with perfect candour. "Mr. Ambassador," he said, "at the last time you were with me for this matter, truth it is I did not so frankly utter my mind to you as I will do now." He then said that one Cornelius (Scepperus) and another envoy had been sent to him by his sister in Flanders through France at the time the war was still going on in Picardy, and that they had brought with them a message from the French King of his willingness to consider terms of peace. He had made answer to Francis in a like spirit by the same envoys, and the French King had sent him De Velly, who would have made terms for the rescue of Therouenne, which the Emperor refused. Negotiations, however, were kept open till De Velly's return, which was to have been on the 5th October, though he had not yet arrived; (fn. n77) but the Emperor had bound himself to keep the matter of their conferences secret till he came. (fn. n78).
Thus Henry's officious mediation was, with the most perfect courtesy, set aside. The English ambassadors could only object that there was no great appearance of peace on the part of France, when the French king was at that moment crossing with a great army into Piedmont, whither his Grand Master had already forced his way and won the passages. The Emperor replied that he did not think the French could do much there as the marquis of Guasto had 30,000 Spaniards and Italians, all well disciplined soldiers. Nothing more could be made of this subject, and Wyatt asked particulars about the General Council, that he might certify the King. The Emperor said the Venetians had offered to allow it to be held at Vicenza at the beginning of next year, and he would see that nothing was done to the King's prejudice. Wyatt answered that he feared the receiving of "the bishop of Rome" might occasion the excluding of the King. "Why," said Charles, "if the King have his purpose, what harm in having a friend rather than an enemy? A sick man cannot be cured at once." This the ambassadors construed as a reflection on their nation. "We do not feel sick," they said, "but of a long sickness healed." Oh, the Emperor, meant nothing of the sort; the King was not the patient but the physician. But the Emperor would do his best to serve him. (fn. n79)
Next day and the day after they had some conferences with Granvelle, both about the peace and the General Council, in which the Imperialist took occasion to point out of how great advantage the Council would be to the King himself and his succession, seeing that he had not divided himself from the Faith and the Emperor had promised to justify his proceedings about Annates and other matters. Meanwhile De Velly arrived on Wednesday 31st October. He was in close conference with Covos and Granvelle on the following day, and the English ambassadors did not learn the result till Saturday 3rd November. They were then informed that a three months' truce had been agreed to, which was to be proclaimed in both camps on the 27th; and that with a view to further arrangements, Covos and Granvelle were to be at Perpignan on the 17th December, while the Grand Master of France and the Cardinal of Lorraine were to be the same day at Narbonne; and further that during the month the Emperor was to be at Barcelona and the French King at Montpellier. (fn. n80) The truce, however was not actually signed till the 16th November. (fn. n81)
In returning homewards Dudley was stayed for some days at Lyons by the French Council, who would give him no further reason for his detention except that it was their master's command, but promised to write to Francis about it. A messenger of bishop Gardiner was also stayed, and Dudley supposed that their object was to delay news. A report reached Lyons at the same time that Wyatt had been arrested in Spain, but it was certainly unfounded. Although Charles understood well enough the true meaning of Henry's officious offers of mediation, (fn. n82) it was not the object either of him or Francis to be uncivil to England's representatives. Henry himself wrote to Wyatt to thank the Emperor for his kind treatment of Sir John Dudley (fn. n83); and Francis wrote to his ambassador in England to explain that Dudley's detention at Lyons was the result of a general order that all couriers should pass by himself, or that he at least should be informed about their transit—a gentle rebuke to Henry for the want of courtesy shown in the way Dudley had passed through France before. (fn. n84)
About the same time that he despatched Sir John Dudley to the Emperor he probably also despatched lord William Howard to Francis for the same purpose—to announce the birth of his son. We know nothing of this mission, however, before the date of a letter of Cromwell to lord William himself and bishop Gardiner containing the news of the Queen's death; (fn. n85) at which time apparently lord William was already in France, though he had been in England at the Prince's christening. (fn. n86) The letter begins, "after most hearty commendations," to prepare them for a sad piece of intelligence, and then goes on to say:—"Our Prince, Our Lord be "thanked, is in good health, and sucketh like a child of his puissance, which you, my lord William, can declare. Our mistress, through the fault of them that were about her, which suffered her to take great cold and to eat things that her fantasy in sickness called for, is departed to God." (fn. n87) This news they were to communicate to the French King, while at the same time they were to make some secret inquiries on Henry's behalf, the motives of which are set forth as follows:—
"And forasmuch as, though his Majesty is not anything disposed to marry again, albeit his Highness, God be thanked, taketh this chance as a man that by reason with force overcometh his affection may take such an extreme adventure, yet, as sundry of his Grace's Council here have thought it meet for us to be most humble suitors to his Majesty to consider the state of his realm, and to enter eftsoons into another matrimony in place for his Highness' satisfaction convenient, so his tender zeal to his subjects hath already so much overcome his Grace's said disposition and framed his mind both to be indifferent to the thing and to the election of any person from any part that with deliberation shall be thought meet for him, that, as we live in hope that his Grace will again couple himself to our comforts, so considering what personages in Christendom be meet for him, amongst the rest there be two in France that may be thought on. The one is the French King's daughter, (fn. n88) which, as it is said, is not the meetest. The other is Madame de Longueville, whom they say the King of Scots doth desire. Of whose conditions and qualities in every point his Majesty desireth you both, with all your dexterity and good means to inquire; and likewise in what point and terms the said King of Scots standeth towards either of them: which his Highness is so desirous to know (his Grace's desire therein to be, nevertheless, in anywise kept secret to yourselves) that his pleasure is that you, my lord William, shall not return till you may learn both how the King of Scots standeth in his suit, and what the condition and qualities of both persons be."
The reader will probably not require much assistance to estimate the sincerity of a State Paper such as this. But the language of diplomacy here has only to be translated according to some very obvious rules, to yield up its real meaning, for there was no intention of disguising anything from the persons actually addressed. The statement that the King was not particularly disposed to marry again was doubtless was also stayed, and Dudley supposed that their object was to delay news. A report reached Lyons at the same time that Wyatt had been arrested in Spain, but it was certainly unfounded. Although Charles understood well enough the true meaning of Henry's officious offers of mediation, (fn. n89) it was not the object either of him or Francis to be uncivil to England's representatives. Henry himself wrote to Wyatt to thank the Emperor for his kind treatment of Sir John Dudley (fn. n90); and Francis wrote to his ambassador in England to explain that Dudley's detention at Lyons was the result of a general order that all couriers should pass by himself, or that he at least should be informed about their transit—a gentle rebuke to Henry for the want of courtesy shown in the way Dudley had passed through France before. (fn. n91)
About the same time that he despatched Sir John Dudley to the Emperor he probably also despatched lord William Howard to Francis for the same purpose—to announce the birth of his son. We know nothing of this mission, however, before the date of a letter of Cromwell to lord William himself and bishop Gardiner containing the news of the Queen's death; (fn. n92) at which time apparently lord William was already in France, though he had been in England at the Prince's christening. (fn. n93) The letter begins, "after most hearty commendations," to prepare them for a sad piece of intelligence, and then goes on to say:—"Our Prince, Our Lord be thanked, is in good health, and sucketh like a child of his puissance, which you, my lord William, can declare. Our mistress, through the fault of them that were about her, which suffered her to take great cold and to eat things that her fantasy in sickness called for, is departed to God." (fn. n94) This news they were to communicate to the French King, while at the same time they were to make some secret inquiries on Henry's behalf, the motives of which are set forth as follows:— "And forasmuch as, though his Majesty is not anything disposed to marry again, albeit his Highness, God be thanked, taketh this chance as a man that by reason with force overcometh his affection may take such an extreme adventure, yet, as sundry of his Grace's Council here have thought it meet for us to be most humble suitors to his Majesty to consider the state of his realm, and to enter eftsoons into another matrimony in place for his Highness' satisfaction convenient, so his tender zeal to his subjects hath already so much overcome his Grace's said disposition and framed his mind both to be indifferent to the thing and to the election of any person from any part that with deliberation shall be thought meet for him, that, as we live in hope that his Grace will again couple himself to our comforts, so considering what personages in Christendom be meet for him, amongst the rest there be two in France that may be thought on. The one is the French King's daughter, (fn. n95) which, as it is said, is not the meetest. The other is Madame de Longueville, whom they say the King of Scots doth desire. Of whose conditions and qualities in every point his Majesty desireth you both, with all your dexterity and good means to inquire; and likewise in what point and terms the said King of Scots standeth towards either of them: which his Highness is so desirous to know (his Grace's desire therein to be, nevertheless, in anywise kept secret to yourselves) that his pleasure is that you, my lord William, shall not return till you may learn both how the King of Scots standeth in his suit, and what the condition and qualities of both persons be."
The reader will probably not require much assistance to estimate the sincerity of a State Paper such as this. But the language of diplomacy here has only to be translated according to some very obvious rules, to yield up its real meaning, for there was no intention of disguising anything from the persons actually addressed. The statement that the King was not particularly disposed to marry again was doubtless not far from the truth. He was not intensely eager for a fourth wife in the earliest days of his bereavement. But as a politician the first thought that occurred to him was that his loss was a real gain. His Council could easily be got to press him to a new marriage for the good of the realm; and he could once more trouble the waters of European diplomacy by hinting to rival courts that he was open to a new engagement. Moreover, he was on a par now with James V., who had also become a widower lately, and if matters had not gone too far in the arrangements for James' second marriage, Francis might perhaps break them off, or alienate James by showing some disposition to break them off, in order that Mary of Guise might be given to a more powerful ally. The ambassadors were simply to pick up any information that might be useful to the King in playing such a game.
What information they supplied to him as the result of their inquiries we do not know. But, whatever it was, it did not restrain him from his attempt to trouble the waters. Indeed, it would almost appear that without waiting for their report, he began to broach the subject to Castillon, the French ambassador in England, and talked of two or three ladies in France among whom one might be found to suit him. An answer was despatched from the French court to Castillon on this subject on the 6th November; and on the 25th, Bochetel, the French secretary of finance, wrote to him further that Henry's matrimonial projects had given Francis no little amusement. The English, he said, wanted to treat women like horses,—trot them out to see which went best; but he certainly could not approve of his own daughter being put in the row with the others. (fn. n96) On the 11th December, however, Francis himself wrote to Castillon, in answer to some new overtures on the subject made to the ambassador by Cromwell, that he should consider himself highly honoured if Henry took a wife in his Kingdom, and no lady would be refused to him except Madame de Longueville, whose marriage with the King of Scots had been already fully agreed upon. (fn. n97) It would seem, however, by a confidential letter from Bochetel written the same day that Francis still resented the fact of his daughter being put in comparison with the others; but it was important to keep the king of England in good humour, as the truce just concluded with the Emperor was no guarantee for a secure peace. (fn. n98)
That truce had been to Henry, of course, a grievous disappointment, and his main object now was to foment the jealousies on either side, which alone stood in the way of a perfect settlement. It was not easy doing this through the medium of ambassadors abroad; but the French ambassador in England had his weak side, and Henry understood him pretty well, having had already some experience of him in his previous embassy four years before. (fn. n99) At the first news of the truce and the peace negociations the King's alarm was probably too great to be concealed—at all events Castillon saw it plainly. After some days, however, he seemed much more comfortable—in fact, both he and his Council had recovered their spirits amazingly. Henry himself explained the cause quite frankly. The Emperor had given him full assurance that whatever meetings took place between his ambassadors and those of Francis, nothing should be concluded without Henry's being informed of it. The English, therefore, were in no fear of being altogether abandoned, as at first they had fully expected to be; at which time, Castillon believed they would have given a good deal of money either to Francis or to the Emperor to prevent an accommodation. But now, it seemed, the Emperor was drawing nearer to England unsolicited, Henry was going to send a gentleman to the Emperor in return, and to all appearance the peace conferences would settle nothing whatever. (fn. n100)
Henry perhaps affected a somewhat higher degree of satisfaction than he really felt. The assurances he had received from the Emperor were probably nothing more than those given to Sir John Dudley in conversation, which he reported on his return home. (fn. n101) No doubt the King was relieved to be assured that the Emperor would include him as principal contrahent in any treaty made with France; but it was not exactly true that the Emperor had given such a pledge unsolicited. Sir John Dudley had procured it, and for all we know it was but breath—mere spoken words, not written ones. The value of the English alliance had fallen in the market, but mutual suspicion forbade either Charles or Francis to drop it entirely until a complete settlement was obtained. And Henry had now got material enough to enable him to fan the flames. Castillon was quite persuaded that the Emperor had been soliciting Henry's friendship, and be was rather puzzled how to act when he received letters from Francis written at Lourmarin on the 11th December, directing him to "entertain" the king of England, as the saying was—that is to say, keep him in play and humour him as much as possible until everything was arranged. Could Francis have realised how matters stood? Henry was not the man to be so easily managed as that. (fn. n102)
On considering the matter Castillon thought it best to inform the King that although Francis was sending the Cardinal of Lorraine and the Grand Master to Narbonne to learn what the Emperor's deputies would say, he did not mean to negociate anything to Henry's disadvantage, but was determined to remain his perpetual ally, and if necessary to renew the treaties offensive and defensive between them. This he hoped would assure Henry that Francis, even if he were in hope of peace with the Emperor and quite unconscious of the Emperor's secret intrigues, had no intention of deserting England. Henry waited four days before making answer to this, and did not do so without much consultation. He said it was reported that the Scotch king was going to make war upon him, and that Castillon was only playing their game that he might be taken unprepared. The ambassador did his best to remove these suspicions, and considered that he had partly succeeded. In fact Henry showed himself so well disposed that he not only acknowledged the good will of Francis but was quite willing at once to have renewed the ancient amity if Castillon had only had powers to negociate. He said he had written to the Bishop of Winchester (Gardiner, who was then in France) to declare his mind to Francis. "And you will greatly please him," writes Castillon to his sovereign, "by intimating that you will conclude nothing about the Council without letting him know, for he has repeated this to me twice." (fn. n103)
Thus Castillon wrote from London on the 30th December; and, curiously enough, on that very day Francis wrote to him a letter from Montpellier, (fn. n104) which showed clearly that even if the Emperor had approached Henry with new proposals it was nothing more than what Francis had been endeavouring to do himself. Influenced by Henry's proposals for a French wife, he had commissioned Castillon to solicit a renewal of the offensive and defensive alliance long before, and had since been balancing carefully in his own mind the comparative advantages of an English or an Imperial alliance; and it was only for want of a distinct reply to his proposals on the part of England that he was now inclined to close with the Emperor, with whom, as he very naturally remarked, he could not remain continually at war if England, under pretence of neutrality, continually favoured his rival. In any case, however, he desired to remain friends with Henry, and the only difficulty was about the General Council, which the Imperialists were so anxious to bring about. On that subject he was keeping matters open as much as possible until he knew Henry's intention. If Henry was willing to aid him against the Emperor on condition of his getting the General Council put off he must let him know secretly as soon as possible. To this point had diplomacy come between England and France at the end of the year 1537.
Castillon, however, could not satisfy Henry with regard to his proposed French match. He was for ever harping upon Madame de Longueville. He would take no assurance that her marriage with the King of Scots had been definitely arranged. He would not believe, even though her father the Duke of Guise had sworn to it and settled the matter with the abbot of Arbroath, that the lady herself had consented to it; and when the Ambassador in amazement said, "Would you marry another man's wife?" he said he knew well that she herself had not spoken. Castillon must make inquiry for him whether the match could not even yet be broken off, and he would do more for Francis than the King of Scots could. (fn. n105)
Yet for all this he was by no means so "amorous of Madame de Longueville" as Castillon reported; for he had just been getting John Hutton to inquire for him in the Netherlands whether there could be found a suitable wife for him at the Court of Mary of Hungary. On the 4th December Hutton had reported the qualities of three or four ladies there, one of whom was the widowed duchess of Milan, daughter of Christiern II. the deposed king of Denmark by the Emperor's sister Isabella. Hutton had not seen her, but she was said to be "a goodly personage and of excellent beauty." A few days later she came to the Court, and Hutton wrote that she was only sixteen, a maiden widow, as it was supposed (and plausibly enough, for if her age was correctly reckoned she had been married at thirteen and left a widow at fourteen), that she was very tall "and competent of beauty, of favor excellent and very gentle in countenance." Her complexion was not so pale as that of Henry's late queen. It was true there had been some talk of marrying her to William duke of Ravenstein, son and heir to the duke of Cleves, but that depended entirely upon the Emperor's pleasure. (fn. n106) Hutton was distinctly of opinion that she would make an excellent match for the King, (fn. n107) and we shall see in the next volume of this Calendar that his advice was not altogether unheeded.
One other important feature of foreign politics it would be wrong to pass over in silence, seeing that it dominated the entire European situation. Throughout the whole of 1537 the dread of the Turk in Italy, Hungary, and elsewhere was particularly acute. Early in the year he had already sent orders to the Basha of Bosnia to move an army against the strong fortress of Clissa in Dalmatia and was also collecting a fleet at La Valona in Albania exactly opposite the heel of Italy. (fn. n108) Francis had opened negotiations with him as a means of harassing the Emperor, and he had compelled the Venetians to declare against him, refusing to allow of their neutrality. (fn. n109) Clissa fell, though it was thought impregnable. (fn. n110) The Turks ravaged Sclavonia and penetrated into Hungary. (fn. n111) It was a slight comfort only that the Sophi was assailing them at the same time in Mesopotamia. (fn. n112)
The alarm at Rome was serious. (fn. n113) News came in June that the Turkish fleet was anchored off Apuglia, (fn. n114) but the intelligence may have been premature. In July reports were daily expected of their landing in Italy, for besides the fleet at La Valona a great army had arrived there by land. (fn. n115) Andrea Doria and his ships were not inactive and took several of their galleys. Some vessels of the Knights of Rhodes gave also efficient assistance. (fn. n116) Nevertheless the enemy made good their landing in Italy, and after fruitlessly besieging Otranto took Castro. (fn. n117) They also took Corfu from the Venetians. (fn. n118) In Hungary, too, on the 2nd October they were able give the troops of Ferdinand a disastrous defeat near Buda. (fn. n119) But on the 1st September a triple league was formed against them by the Pope, the Emperor, and Venice, who were very soon afterwards joined by the Genoese; (fn. n120) and though the Venetians in particular felt the grievous interruption of trade, the end of the year found them busy in their arsenal in the building and equipment of 200 galleys. (fn. n121)
Some other matters still demand our attention. And first of all a word or two more seem to be requisite about Cardinal Pole's abortive mission. Pole himself at Cambray on the 18th May had reported to Rome the completeness of his failure, and the apparant uselessness, besides personal danger to himself, of his remaining in those parts; and he asked instructions whether to leave or stay. (fn. n122) He could not remain at Cambray in safety, but might find a refuge within the diocese of Liege; and though at first his best friends at queen Mary's Court could only suggest his going thither in disguise, he afterwards received intimation that the Regent would send an escort to conduct him from Cambray to Liege in safety. Yet even with this aid the journey seems to have been a troublesome one, and it was only on the 10th June that he was able to report that he had arrived "much tempest-tossed" at his haven of refuge. He remained at Liege during June, July, and the better part of August, when he received letters from Rome instructing him to return thither. He got as far as Trent when he received further letters, which should have been delivered to him at Liege from the papal prothonotary Ambrosius, superseding previous orders and leaving it to his own judgment whether to winter there or come back to Italy. It was too late, of course, now to do anything but push on. He reached Rome in October and was received on his return in a special Consistory by the Cardidals, to whom he gave a full report of his unsuccessful legation on the 19th. (fn. n123)
He himself was thus safe from Henry's power; but his relations were not, and neither were his dependents. How bitterly his mother felt the fact that he had displeased the King was shown in the last preface. (fn. n124) The letters he received from her and from his brother, lord Montague, before he went to Rome in 1536, almost turned him from his purpose, and made him go back to England instead, fearing, doubtless, what actually occurred sometime after, that his family would be made to suffer for his offence. (fn. n125) But the first thoughts of the King and Cromwell were how to inveigle him into their power by means of his own trusty servant, Michael Throgmorton, the man by whom he had sent his book to England. They despatched him back again at once with those insidious letters to his master which invited him to come home and discuss matters in a friendly way with the King; (fn. n126) but they made him promise to return at once to England himself whether his master would come or no. (fn. n127) The master, of course, refused to return, and the man seems to have delayed fulfilment of his promise as long as he conveniently could. At the end of the year, however, he was definitely expected in England; and even the bishop of Faenza in France knew that he was on his way thither. (fn. n128) Well aware that he was on a dangerous mission, he was still resolved to do his duty. But he was taken by the French at Montreuil before he reached Calais, and detained as a prisoner; and Cromwell had to write to the English ambassadors in France to procure his delivery. (fn. n129) He was handed over to the English authorities, and early in January 1537 was conveyed to England. (fn. n130)
Before he left Rome he had besought his master that if he were really created Cardinal the fact might not be published until he, Throgmorton, had returned to Rome, otherwise it might cost him his life. (fn. n131) The delay in his journey was unfortunate. Pole's creation as Cardinal had actually taken place on the 22nd December, and the fact must have been known in England almost, if not quite, as early as he arrived there. (fn. n132) And here was he, Pole's servant, in the hands of Henry VIII. at a time when the King was exasperated by having been obliged to make terms with the Northern rebels. Worse still, his brother, Sir George Throgmorton, was at that time actually in the Tower along with one Sir William Essex, to whom he had unluckily lent a copy of one of Aske's manifestoes. (fn. n133) It behoved him to use the very utmost discretion for more sakes than his own; and luckily for him the King's anxieties at the moment outweighed the desire of vengeance. He was, after all, the bearer of a message from his master, and Henry, on careful consideration, doubtless, thought it best that he should return with his answer. He might possibly be able to divert Pole from his intended mission to encourage rebellion in the North. So Michael Throgmorton once more went his way, pledged, apparently, to dissuade his master from any enterprise that might be obnoxious to the King, and to return once more to England as soon as he had done his best. To the great relief of the Nuncio in France, who was anxious at not hearing from him, he arrived at Paris on the 26th January. (fn. n134) On the 13th February he reached Rome. (fn. n135) On the second day after his arrival he wrote both to Cromwell and to Richard Morison, a member of Cromwell's household and author of a celebrated treatise in defence of Henry VIII.'s severities, to show what he had done to redeem his pledges. He had found his master "in very strange apparel," as the news before he left England had led him to expect. He had remonstrated with him on his acceptance of the Cardinalate without the King's consent. Pole said he had written to justify himself on this point to the King's Council; that he had declined to accept the dignity until he was sure that refusing it would have been resisting the will of God; but that if the King would be reconciled to the Church and renounce his new title of supreme head, he, Pole, would obtain the Pope's leave to renounce his dignity of Cardinal, become a hermit and burn his book, promising to write nothing more against the King's mind and pleasure, but use all his gifts to the promotion of peace in England. His mission as legate, however, had been quite determined on, and Throgmorton was unable to do anything to stop it. He added that he feared his master was too little a man of the world and those who sent him thought of nothing but their own profit. (fn. n136)
Of course, whatever pledges had been extracted from him, he took care not to go back to England; but he accompanied his master to Cambray and Liege. In May the English Ambassador at Brussels had heard that Pole intended to send him to England as soon as he himself was settled at Liege, and even that he had actually gone thither; (fn. n137) but the report was certainly untrue. His long evasion of his promise naturally drew down upon him a message of reproof from Cromwell, which he answered at length on the 20th August from Liege. He had written to Cromwell, it seems, pretty early after leaving Rome, and had expected an answer at Paris; but receiving none he presumed Cromwell was satisfied with his excuses, and Pole, whom he continually speaks of as "this man" without naming him, had declined to despatch him into England. At Cambray he had found himself in danger from the King's procurement, and he thought it best to wait for further letters from Cromwell. Moreover the delay seemed justified by the statements he had been able to elicit from Pole touching his mission as legate, who was anxious to show the forbearance he had exercised all along in not publishing the censures prematurely. But if the King insisted on treating him as a rebel, Pole said that he might be constrained to show the world what sort of a rebel he was, and for what reasons. The Cardinal was now recalled to Italy to take part in the General Council appointed for the 1st November; and it was much to be feared that they would afterwards publish the censures, get him to print his book and then send ambassadors to the different Christian Powers for a general combination against England. Under the circumstances Throgmorton said that he thought he could still do good service by remaining with his master, who, he felt convinced, had no other object in view than Henry's honour and profit. (fn. n138)
This letter to Cromwell he despatched under cover to John Hutton the English Ambassador at Brussels with a credence for the messenger to explain his mind more fully by word of mouth. (fn. n139) The message was to the effect that if the King desired to stay the publication of the censures, the best way would be to send his chaplain Dr. Wilson over to Flanders and he would persuade Pole to go and meet him at Maestricht before his departure to Rome, when terms might possibly be arranged. To this Cromwell drew up a reply that he had laid the suggestion before the King, and although his Highness counted for nothing all that the Bishop of Rome's malice might do, yet, out of regard for Pole, whom he had brought up from his cradle, he had acquiesced in the proposal. Indeed, he rather improved upon it; for a commission was presently drawn up for Dr. Wilson and Nicholas Heath jointly to go over and confer with the Cardinal (whom, however, they were never to address by that title) and to endeavour to induce him to write a submissive letter to the King, give up the draft of his "frantic book," and repair personally to England to make his submission. (fn. n140)
The scheme, however, could hardly have been well formed when it was laid aside; and the reply Cromwell actually sent to Throgmorton was of quite a different tenor. (fn. n141) "I thought," the letter began, "that the singular goodness of the King's Highness showed unto you, and the great and singular clemency showed to that detestable traitor, your master, in promising him not only forgiveness, but also forgetting of his most shameful ingratitude, unnaturalness, conspiracy against his honour, of whom he hath received no more but as much and all that he hath,—I thought, I say, that either this princely goodness might have brought that desperate rebel from his so sturdy malice, blindness, and pervicacie, or else have encouraged you to be his Highness's true and faithful subject." But no (we must condense the rest), I might have judged "that so dishonest a master could have but even such servants as you are." Loyalty and treason dwell seldom together. "You could not, all this season, have been a spy for the King, but at some time your countenance should have declared your heart to be loyal," — in short, Throgmorton was an utterly abandoned scoundrel because he was really serving his master and not acting as a spy upon him for the King. And after some further virulence, significant hints are thrown out that "one brainsick Poole, or to say better, one witless fool," would be "the ruin of so great a family;" that if Pole did publish his work honest men would offer themselves "to revenge this so enorme unkindness," and that even in Italy ways might be found "to rid a traitorous subject."
In short the King, who for a moment had entertained the idea of sending some one to confer with Pole, hoping thereby to defer the censures and prevent the publication of Pole's book, had on second thoughts resolved to cast aside all decency and distinctly threaten the author with assassination, and the judicial murder of the chief members of his family at home. That this was what was signified there could be no manner of doubt, and part of the programme we know was carried out little more than a year later. All that the King did to hide the baseness of his policy was merely to keep his own hand out of it. The threats of murder and of a cruel wrong to a noble family went forth only in the name of a minister who could be disowned if necessary.
It was, perhaps, another instance of the same policy—to make one member of a family at home suffer for the conduct of another who was beyond the King's power — that Sir George Throgmorton, after having been some months at liberty, was again committed to the Tower on the 15th October—certainly not many weeks after Cromwell had written that abusive letter to his brother. On the same day Sir Geoffrey Pole, the Cardinal's brother, went to Court to show his loyalty, but the King refused to see him. As to Sir George, however, it was said that he had been impeached by Sir Thomas Dingley, one of the Knights of St. John, about whom the King was at this time making some very particular inquiries in Spain, the object of which, as we may presume from what is about to be related, was not merely to catch him in the net of an indictment for treason. (fn. n142) For that purpose he had almost enough information at home; for if it was Dingley that accused Sir George Throgmorton Sir George very soon returned the compliment by accusing Dingley. The matter had reference to some conversations between them several years before about the Act abolishing appeals to Rome. Dingley had said he wondered such an Act passed so easily. Sir George replied it was no wonder, as few would dare to displease Cromwell. He said he himself had been sent for by the King for having spoken about it, and he reported to Dingley the interview he had had with Henry—certainly as "dangerous" matter as could very well be conceived. The King had talked to him of the trouble he endured in his conscience about having married his brother's wife. "And I said to him," so Throgmorton reports to the King himself, "that I told your Grace I feared if ye did marry queen Anne your conscience would be more troubled at length, for it is thought ye have meddled both with the mother and the sister." "And his (your) Grace said, 'Never with the mother.' And my lord Privy Seal, standing by, said, 'Nor never with the sister either, and therefore put that out of your mind.' (fn. n143)" It was no wonder certainly that Sir George was questioned closely concerning the matter of this conversation; what his reasons were for believing the scandal and whether he did not think it very imprudent to report such things to Sir Thomas Dingley, "a man sometime travelling in far countries." (fn. n144)
A very few words must now suffice to call attention to other subjects in this volume not as yet touched upon. Of matters relating to the suppression of monasteries—especially suppressions by attainder after the rebellions — the spoliation of shrines and the melting of lead taken from the dismantled buildings, not a little will be found in these pages. (fn. n145) The numerous exemptions from suppression granted to particular houses can also be traced by the index. A special interest attaches to the surrender extorted from the monks of the Charter House and the fate of the brethren imprisoned in Newgate, concerning which some new notices will be found. (fn. n146) An unprinted letter of Copinger, Confessor of Sion, is likewise to be noted. (fn. n147) Of other matters of religion, besides a few more theological papers (fn. n148) and some expressions of popular feeling, occasionally set forth in prophecies, (fn. n149) there is little to note except what has been already given to the world in Cranmer's letters.
It would be wrong, however, to pass over in silence a curious correspondence which will certainly interest Shaksperian students, showing the proceedings of three royal Commissioners who met at Stratford-on-Avon (their names were John Grevill, William Lucy, and John Combes) to ascertain whether Edward Large, priest of Bishop's Hampton, had been rightly convicted of giving utterance to some very irreverent Puritanical sentiments in the course of a two hours' sermon on Easter Monday, the 2nd of April. The Commissioners who were favoured by Latimer, the Bishop of the diocese, found the accusation was due to subornation of false witnesses on the part of William Clopton; but their report does not appear to have been considered decisive. (fn. n150)
Cromwell of course was still on the high road of prosperity. On the 5th August he was elected a Knight of the Garter; (fn. n151) and he was installed at Windsor on Sunday the 26th. (fn. n152) At the end of the year he was appointed Keeper and Chief Justice itinerant of the Royal Forests North of Trent in the room of Lord Darcy. (fn. n153) His son Gregory, though not blessed with very distinguished abilities, was able to marry lady Ughtred, the sister of Queen Jane Seymour. (fn. n154) His nephew Richard, also, had become a man of high importance, receiving, besides some grants from the Crown, (fn. n155) valuable presents from clients to promote their interests with his uncle, (fn. n156) after whose great and notable example he knew how to put pressure on bishops, abbots, and others for the procurement of gifts and offices, and the disposal of conventual leases. (fn. n157)
The affairs of Ireland during this year were not calculated to give the King much anxiety on the score of rebellion. The subjugation of the whole country was proceeding steadily under lord Leonard Grey as deputy. But the King was not satisfied as regards the revenue. He suspected jobbing, and thought a portion of the retinue might be discharged. (fn. n158) In the end Commissioners were sent over to inquire into the whole arrangements of the Council for the government of the country and the conduct of every officer under them; with orders also to reduce the Deputy and Treasurer's retinue to a body of 340 picked men, some of whom were to be told off to garrison fortresses. They carried with them also a number of Acts ready drawn up to be passed in Parliament. (fn. n159) Of the measures they took to carry out their instructions and the reports they elicited from the different officers a pretty full account will be found in this volume; (fn. n160) for which, and for a number of other matters of great interest as regards Irish history, we must refer the reader to the entries themselves.
It only remains for me to repeat—though I feel that a mere repetition is inadequate—the acknowledgments that I have made in previous volumes, of the constant assistance and zealous co-operation of my friend Mr. Brodie in the prosecution of this arduous work. His services have yearly become more valuable to me and have enabled me to proceed more rapidly with the publication than I could possibly have done without such able assistance.