Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 14 Part 1, January-July 1539. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.
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ONE other eminent name had yet to be added to the list of political victims. On the last day of the year 1538 Sir Nicholas Carew, Master of the Horse, was arrested and sent to the Tower. Outside Court circles the fact may not have produced a very profound impression. John Husee does not mention it in his gossipping letters to lord Lisle, though he records the appointment of a new Master of the Horse (Sir Anthony Browne), a new Controller of the Household (Sir Thomas Cheyney), and a new captain of Ruysbank (Sir George Carew). (fn. 1) The previous Controller of the Household was Sir John Russell, for whom new honours were in store; but Sir Nicholas Carew had been lieutenant of Ruysbank (fn. 2) as well as Master of the Horse, and it was now determined (very naturally, as the times were perilous), that the officer in charge of Ruysbank should be resident. (fn. 3)
New promotions were apparently more interesting than the way in which offices were vacated; but why was Sir Nicholas sent to the Tower? Chapuys understood it was on account of a letter he had written to the Marchioness of Exeter, which was found among her correspondence, informing her of conversations held in the King's Chamber. There is no doubt that the private correspondence of the Marchioness was carefully examined at this time, and more than one old story was dragged to light or investigated further. In the last volume it will be seen that the "old accusation" brought against her husband when he was in disgrace in 1531 was gone into again. (fn. 4) But it was also found that she herself had received letters in those days from the ill-used Katharine of Arragon, which, having been written to dictation by her faithful servant, Anthony Roke, and doubtless bearing no signature or name subscribed, may not at first have arrested attention. When the handwriting was identified, Roke was called upon to explain all he knew about the affairs of his old mistress. He confessed that he had helped to close and seal many letters of hers to the Emperor and to Rome, which her physician Dr. Fernando wrote for her and contrived to convey to the Imperial ambassador Mendoza, and afterwards to his successor Chapuys. He had seldom been used as a messenger himself, but acknowledged having delivered one letter to the Marchioness at St. Lawrence Pountney. He had sent letters from Katharine to her daughter Mary from Kimbolton to Hatfield; but Katharine distrusted him at one time because he had been twice subjected to examination, though he gave her the strongest assurance of his fidelity. (fn. 5)
Roke was questioned whether Sir Nicholas Carew had not sent letters or messages to Katharine, and said he did not remember any. Lady Carew, he knew, had sent some to her, but whether she had received any in answer he could not say. But Sir Nicholas had once entrusted him with a letter for the Princess Mary urging her to comply with the King's desire, and he was sure the King would make her heir apparent until he had male issue. Roke feared to convey even this letter, which Sir Nicholas let him read before he took it, until he knew Cromwell's pleasure about the matter; but Sir Nicholas assuring him that Cromwell would give a hundred pounds that Mary would consent, he took it and delivered it to the Princess. (fn. 6)
Carew could hardly have been much compromised by this revelation; but the examination itself shows that his sympathy with Katharine of Arragon and the Exeter family had brought him into suspicion. A man in past times, at least, more of a courtier than anything else, he had been a particular favourite with Henry, who had stayed with him and hunted in his grounds at Beddington. (fn. 7)His handsome face and pleasant manners had also won him the favour of Francis I., and even before he went to France he seems to have been a lover of French fashions. Indeed, he had once been banished the English court for this and for too great levity of demeanour. (fn. 8)He had, however, no doubt grown more serious; and though his fall was sudden it was clearly due to his sympathy with the marquis of Exeter. He had sat, indeed, on the commission before which that nobleman was indicted in Surrey, (fn. 9)but he knew well that the sentence was unjust. After Exeter's arrest he was questioned a good deal as to what he knew about him—not more, it would seem, for the purpose of implicating himself than for the purpose of obtaining a fuller justification of the recent executions. At least, this was the distinct opinion, both of the Imperial and of the French ambassador, who each wrote home almost in the same words with regard to Exeter and Montague that Henry was ordering their trial after execution. (fn. 10) In point of fact he had got a little book printed to explain the reason of the proceedings taken against them.
Sir Nicholas was not tried till the middle of February, and the charges brought against him in the indictment indicated only that he had held conversations with the Marquis in the autumn of 1536 "about the change of the world," and had also correspondence with him, and that both parties had burnt their letters, expecting to be charged with treason; moreover, that he had "traitorously" dared to say "I marvel greatly that the "indictment against the lord Marquis was so secretly "handled, and for what purpose, for the like was never "seen." (fn. 11) To breathe a hint that such proceedings had been "handled" contrary to justice was to incur the full penalty of treason. Yet no one could well have thought otherwise; and Sir Nicholas, who had seen the indictment brought in before him and his fellow commissioners, must have been a very competent judge of the facts. A jury of Englishmen, in such cases, only found what they were expected to find.
Under such a tyranny it must have been hard for some men to control their tongues sufficiently; and when it was accounted treason even to destroy letters that might have implicated alike the writers and receivers, where was safety to be found ? The safety of the King, however, was a pretext which was held to justify much that was inquisitorial and oppressive. Rumors could easily be diffused to colour high-handed acts; and Chapuys learned that there were rumors abroad which affected even himself. Letters of his, it was said, had been found in a coffer of the marchioness of Exeter, though he did not believe it, and was sure that if there were it would not matter even if they were published, for he had never written anything which it was important to keep secret, except to Katharine of Arragon and the Princess Mary, who, he felt confident, would have burned them. But to prevent insinuations hereafter that Mary had burned letters from him, he now wrote her a dozen such as it would do no harm to show. (fn. 12)
Among all the living victims of Henry's cruelty there was but one man who might hope to be instrumental in freeing his country from such intolerable oppression. Cardinal Pole had already set out on his new legation before the close of the year. Taking advantage of the good understanding which now subsisted between the Emperor and Francis, the Pope had sent him on a mission to each of these Sovereigns to induce them to forbid commercial intercourse between England and their dominions until Henry could be brought to acknowledge and atone for past misdeeds. Pole left Rome on the 27th December—secretly, because it was well known that Henry was endeavouring to procure his assassination. After a bitter journey across the Apennines, which lay deep in snow, he reached Bologna on Twelfth Day. Never a strong man, he was unable to endure hurried travel. On the 9th January he reached Piacenza, where he found a day's rest absolutely necessary. Here he received from Rome the autograph letters from the Pope which he was to deliver to the Emperor and Francis, and here also he found his friend the bishop of Verona waiting to condole with him on his deep family afflictions. On the 22nd he reached Avignon, having visited his friend Sadolet the day before at Carpentras. (fn. 13)
Sadolet was deeply moved to see one so severely smitten in his own family bearing his griefs as if they were those of others rather than personal to himself. But with Pole personal grief, great as it was, was subordinated to the sense of a high mission, which if successful would have sealed up the fountain of these iniquities for the future. As Henry had shown himself amenable to no other arguments than a fear of consequences from the exposure of his own evil deeds, Pole was now anxious to see the Pope's bull of excommunication published, and was prepared himself to publish the book he had written three years before in reply to Henry's own demand for an opinion on his conduct. For this purpose, probably a little later in the year, he drew up a long epistle to the Emperor by way of preface to explain his reasons for doing so. (fn. 14) But he now went on to the Emperor's Court at Toledo, which he had reached by the 15th February. In vain did Wyatt remonstrate against his reception. In vain did the King himself write to the Emperor denouncing him as a traitor to whom a friendly sovereign ought to extend no courtesy. The Emperor told Wyatt that even if he were his own traitor he could not refuse audience to one who came as legate from the Holy Father, (fn. 15)
But, though he doubtless felt much satisfaction in administering this rebuff, it was not safe even now for the Emperor to quarrel with England, and though he admitted Pole to an audience, he gave a colder reception to his proposal than the Pope had been led to expect. He gave Pole at first the impression that his coming was not acceptable, which was very probably the fact. He was perplexed with the complicated interests of his own large dominions. He was thinking of an expedition to Constantinople against the Turk, and doubtful of what the Lutherans would do in Germany. He told Pole he thought the Pope had done rashly in issuing censures against the king of England without seeing his way to have them executed. On this the Nuncio, who had been in Spain at the time, appealed to Granvelle, whether it was not with his consent that he had written to Rome of the Emperor's willingness in conjunction with France to forbid commerce with England. Granvelle admitted that he had authorised him so to write, and added that the Emperor had just recently gone so far as to allow proceedings to be taken before the Inquisition against the English ambassador, Sir Thomas Wyatt, for heresy. He had also allowed the preachers in Spain freely to denounce from their pulpits the king of England's wickedness. But for all that it was clear that he did not wish to take the offensive against England, even in the way of cutting off commerce, and Pole, after little more than a week's stay, left Toledo dissatisfied. (fn. 16)
He at first thought of going on to the French Court to execute his commission there. (fn. 17) But on fuller consideration he saw that his doing so at once might be attended by one of two dangers. First, if Francis, following the Emperor's example, likewise declined to prohibit commerce, it would encourage Henry and his evil councillors more than ever; while, on the other hand, if Francis were willing to act independently, it might disturb the cordiality of the two sovereigns, on which the peace of Europe depended. Moreover, another fruitless journey on his part would not tend to exalt the dignity of the Apostolic See, and would only afford Henry's assassins more numerous opportunities for attempting his own life. He accordingly determined to return to his friend Sadolet, at Carpentras—a place within the papal territory of Avignon, at about an equal distance from the Papal, French, and Imperial Courts—and meanwhile despatched from Gerona, in Arragon, his friend Vincenzo Parpaglia, abbot of San Saluto, to ascertain the views of the French Court regarding his mission before proceeding further. (fn. 18)
Pole treated his own personal safety as a matter of minor importance. But it was no secret that projects were on foot for his assassination. And one person who was quite ready to procure it was Sir Thomas Wyatt, the English ambassador in Spain. That a man holding such a position was capable of planning murder may seem strange to nineteenth century readers—still stranger when we reflect that he was one of the pleasant court poets of the time. But the evidence of the fact hardly allows of a doubt. Before Pole left Toledo he was informed by the Emperor's leading Councillor, Granvelle, that Wyatt had even boasted openly of such a design, saying that he hoped shortly to be recalled from his embassy, and then, if the King would give him 10,000l. to procure the Cardinal's death, he would forfeit his whole estate, which was not a small one, if he did not effect it within six months. He only wished, as a preliminary, that Pole should be publicly proclaimed a traitor in his own country. All this Pole himself mentions some months later in a letter to Contarini, (fn. 19) adding that he disregarded the threat at the time as the idle vaunt of a profligate young man. (fn. 20) But what occurred shortly afterwards, he says, caused him to attach more importance to it, for Wyatt was almost immediately recalled, and yet, Pole believed, he did not return to England; the Cardinal was shortly afterwards actually proclaimed a traitor, which he had not been till then, and Wyatt remained hidden for months, so that nobody knew what had become of him.
If all this looked suspicious to Pole himself, how does it look in the light of contemporary State Papers ? Unfortunately it affords a clue to some mysteries in Wyatt's own confidential correspondence, of which there is no other explanation. A long despatch he wrote from Toledo a week or two after Pole's departure is printed in this volume for the first time. (fn. 21) It is entirely in cipher with the exception of an isolated word or two here and there, and begins as follows:—
"The Monday next after I had despatched Rudston, Pole parted from "hence, but not by post as I advertised, for he changed purpose and went "to meet his train towards Barcelona, and so into France; whereby "both that I wrote of Brancetour (fn. 22) and any other purpose to be devised "in France may have the larger time to be surelier wrought."
What were those vague "purposes to be devised in France," for which the delay of Pole's departure into that country afforded better time to think them out ? The words have certainly a sinister look, and agree only too well with Pole's own information some months later as to Wyatt's intentions. But there are other mysterious intimations in two different postscripts to the same letter which show that projects of a very secret nature were not limited to France. The first is as follows:—
"I have promised not to open by writing to the King a practice that "is offered me for Italy, to kindle there a fire, but by mouth only now at "my coming home; and then shall be time enough, for about the same "time the party doth return thither. It is of importance."
Pole was certainly expected to return to Italy after he had been in France; and Wyatt was expecting to return to England. Had some intriguing Italians offered their services to Wyatt to assassinate Pole in Italy in case he got safe out of France ? It looks not unlikely. And yet murder could not have been the sole or ultimate object. We read further, after a passage in which Wyatt has been hinting at some propositions made by the French to the Emperor for the settlement of old difficulties:—
"The practice that is offered me, as I have written afore, is more "particularly declared unto me, and in mine opinion it is excellent, and "will go near without note of the King's Highness, to set these great "friends both in jealousy, and may fortune further. I have given my "faith not to write it; but have me not suspected taht I devise this "because I would come away, for when I am come I am as ready to go "again; but it seemeth me much for the King's service, and I cannot "express the things I have by writing. Send therefore, my successor "hither by the post."
There was even one more petition for his recall in this long despatch, which we cannot read now in the original because the last leaf or two are missing; but it is transcribed, along with the foregoing passages, in a letter from Godsalve to Wriothesley as follows:—
"Send for me, for it is requisite, and think not that I inculke that "so often without cause; for it is necessary I speak with you. I say, "send for me." (fn. 23)
Wyatt was evidently intent on a stroke of policy which would do the King service without disclosing any evidence that the King himself either instigated or connived at it. That was the way that Henry himself desired to be served, and he certainly divined somewhat the character of the portentous secret. There could be no doubt to him what sort of project Wyatt was willing to devise in France. There could be no doubt of "the party" that was returning to Italy. But as to this still more important plan for raising a fire in that country and setting Francis and the Emperor by the ears once more, he could only inform himself by immediately granting to Wyatt his long promised recall from Spain. And this he accordingly did; but so secret were Wyatt's movements, that though it was known he had left Spain, abroad men were not aware that he had actually returned to his own country, and Pole, in his ignorance, wrote to Contarini in September that he had not actually been in England. He seems to have arrived there on or shortly before the 2nd June. (fn. 24)
Pole's mission had undoubtedly terrors for Henry; for though it was not successful it had no small prospect of success. The cordiality which Henry dreaded between Francis and the Emperor was growing daily. Even in January it had gone so far that a treaty was actually made between them to make no new separate alliances with England without mutual consent. (fn. 25) But their views and interests were so far different that any concerted scheme of action against England was found ultimately impossible. Francis, indeed, was quite willing to withdraw his ambassador and prohibit commerce with the country, if the Emperor would agree to do the same. (fn. 26) Nay, the Emperor himself had, as we have seen, given the Pope distinct reason to hope that he would do so. But on fully considering the necessities of his various dominions, he drew back from his promise. Prohibition of commerce between England and the Low Countries was impossible unless he was prepared for war itself. The House of Burgundy had never been able to quarrel with England for this very reason. It would create commercial distress on both sides, which would be even more felt in Flanders than in England—unless, indeed, the King could be speedily turned off the throne, to the relief of his own subjects, and a better rule established. But Charles V. was not the kind of sovereign to set on foot a doubtful enterprise merely for the relief of an oppressed people, or even to avenge the injuries of the church. He had his own matters to attend to, and they were quite sufficient. For half a year he had been talking of another great enterprise, much more important to the tranquillity of his own dominions. He was going to lead an expedition against the Turk in person; (fn. 27) and, in truth, his resources were by no means adequate even for that. But it was important for the quiet of Europe generally, and to prevent the Venetians, who had suffered great losses from the enemy and received but little protection, (fn. 28) from making their own terms with the Infidel, that he should at present seem to be very much in earnest.
Pole, therefore found it impossible to form against Henry the sort of confederacy which he and the Pope desired. It is true that they did not wish to stir either the Emperor or Francis to war, and in all probability war would have been unnecessary. All that was wanted was to treat as outside civilisation, and as having no claim to courtesy, a tyrant who had shown himself utterly regardless alike of all human ties and of all religious sanctions. Had England been effectually isolated in the way that the Pope had intended, Henry's subjects would have been unable to endure the suspension of commerce, and Henry himself would have been compelled to make peace with the church and atone for past transgressions as the only condition of retaining his throne. Moreover, it was not a mere continental combination against him that Henry would have had cause to dread; for if the two leading Princes of Europe could have agreed in this line of action, England would have had a very uncomfortable neighbour North of the Tweed. At the time Pole's mission was determined on at Rome, David Beton, abbot of Arbroath, and bishop of Mirepoix in France, was elected Cardinal, with an express view to his publishing in Scotland the bull of excommunication against the King of England. (fn. 29) To stir up James to allow its publication, an envoy named Latino Juvenale was despatched to him by way of France. And if this envoy could have proceeded at once from the French Court to Scotland with the full assurance that the Emperor and Francis would both forbid commerce between their subjects and those of Henry, the latter might have found himself, like his predecessor King John, compelled by a Papal interdict and a foreign invasion, aided by his own subjects, to rule over the latter more like a Christian sovereign.
Thus, at the beginning of the year 1539, Henry had the most serious cause for alarm. And it was not without anxiety, we may be sure, that even at the end of 1538 he had received from Lord Lisle, the Deputy of Calais, information of the movements of certain Italian horsemen in Normandy and Picardy who might have been intending to take Calais by surprise. (fn. 30) There were rumours also that the duke of Guise was going to Scotland with 20,000 men—a force which could only have been intended against England. (fn. 31) But Henry's spies upon the continent fully informed him of any such dangers as these, if they did not even over magnify them. Lisle made inquiry everywhere, both among his French and among his Flemish neighbours, and sent men as far as Paris for secret information. (fn. 32) In February he made proclamation at Calais for all absentee councillors, officers, and soldiers to return thither, and made books of the number of persons within the town, the quantity of ordnance, and the store of victuals. (fn. 33) In March the earl of Hertford and others were sent thither on a special commission to examine the fortifications. (fn. 34) The King, moreover, had a friend in Flanders in count Bueren, who not only advocated English interests at the Court of the queen of Hungary, but sent over pretty full information of what was doing there in letters to one Michael Mercator in London. (fn. 35) So that, on the whole, he was not likely to be taken by surprise.
Neither was he remiss in his preparations to meet any possible crisis. At the New Year Sir Christopher Mores, Master of the Ordnance, was sent Northwards to see to the defence of Berwick, and special measures were taken for the defence of Calais, which Lisle reported to be well victualled. (fn. 36) Mores visited on his way Fotheringhay, Pomfret, and York, seeing that the artillery was in good order at all the castles, (fn. 37) for evidently the King might have to reckon with his own subjects as well as with foreign enemies. He reached Berwick on the 19th January after a dangerous journey through wintry storms and snow and flood, hiring guides from town to town and wearing out his horses. Next day he, with some others, commissioned to that effect, received the keys of the town from the deputy of Sir Thomas Clifford, captain of Berwick, who had been some months absent from ill health, and anxious to be relieved from his post. (fn. 38) The charge of the town and castle was handed over to Sir William Evers, and Mores took a careful survey of the artillery. It was satisfactory to find, however, that the officers on the Scotch Borders showed the best disposition towards peace and redress of injuries. (fn. 39)
Both the Imperial ambassador, Chapuys, and his French colleague, Castillon, saw clearly that the King was making the most energetic preparations for war, especially for defensive warfare. All officers in command of garrisons were ordered to their posts. Lord Sands, the lieutenant of Guisnes castle, who had been long absent in England, was sent over at once to reside, and Sir John Wallop at the same time went to take command of Calais castle. (fn. 40) Plans were drawn up for the construction of bulwarks on the coast "from the Mount to Dover, and so to Berwick," especially by the Channel and along the Thames. (fn. 41) Commissioners were appointed in each of the maritime counties to keep careful watch wherever an enemy might land. In the Northern Counties both the seaboard and the castles were placed under the special care of the duke of Norfolk. Ordnance was ordered to be despatched to whatever castles in England were insufficiently supplied. The beacons were to be repaired in all the coasts, and experienced persons were sent down to survey and fortify all parts of the seaboard that required defence. Inquiries were made as to the number of ships and mariners in every port, and general musters were determined on throughout the kingdom. (fn. 42)
A special report made on the 26th January gives the names of the King's ships in the Thames, and the time it would require to get each or all of them ready for active service. (fn. 43)
At the same time, the King did not mean to make it easy for his fellow sovereigns to drop diplomatic intercourse. He claimed of each all the rights of friendship, and, of course, would have taken care to note the slightest change of tone towards himself. He complained that he was not spoken of with due respect in foreign countries. Two Cordeliers at Rouen had defamed him in their sermons, and Bonner was instructed to insist on their punishment. Bonner did so and was informed that Francis on his complaint had ordered them to prison. The King and Council were much gratified, and made use of the concession at once, instructing Wyatt soon after to insist on the "barking preachers" in Spain being muzzled in a similar fashion. A Grey Friar at Rouen, Wyatt was to tell the Emperor, had been compelled in open pulpit to acknowledge that he had shamefully traduced the king of England, and had been reserved in prison for further punishment. The Emperor, of course, was expected, in his own interest, to do quite as much for Henry as Francis did. Unfortunately, the French Ambassador informed Chapuys that Francis had done nothing more than make a show of being displeased with the two Friars in order to satisfy Henry. (fn. 44)
Possibly Henry himself may have had some suspicion of this. At all events, the unblushing Bonner told Montmorency that what had been done was not sufficient. It was not enough to punish the two Cordeliers who had calumniated the King; their whole convent ought to suffer. Montmorency said that the case might be safely left to the Archbishop of Rouen, and reminded Bonner that not only had one preacher been compelled to unsay his words (how much he retracted we are not told) but that the Archbishop had quite recently sent up two other Cordeliers to the Chancellor, who had very severely reprimanded them. To punish the whole convent, he said, would only lead to a general scandal and do no good to the King of England. The answer was indisputable; and Bonner fell back on his own and his master's grievance against the chief offender; for it was in his own presence that Friar Peter de Cornibus (that was the preacher's name) on the day devoted to St. Thomas of Canterbury (29th December) had declaimed against the outrage done to the saint in England, and had even looked him, the Ambassador, significantly in the face. (fn. 45)
Bonner, too, had to complain of Langeac, bishop of Limoges, who had been in England for a short time in 1537, for having recently denounced Henry's conduct in the abolition of the mass and the burning of saints' bones. Langeac managed to make a fair answer, saying that he was too well convinced by experience of the King's friendliness towards his own Sovereign to use unseemly language with regard to him. But Bonner said he had witnesses to the words used, and what ultimately came of the complaint we do not know. (fn. 46) The only thing clear about the matter is that the French Government did not venture to defend any freedom of speech in France with regard to Henry's conduct.
In a like spirit Henry made vehement complaints to his nephew James V. of certain scandalous rhymes and ballads published against him in Scotland; and it was not once or twice, but many times, and through various channels that he demanded the punishment of the authors. First, the bishop of Llandaff, President of the Council of the North, wrote to the Scotch king upon the subject. (fn. 47) Then Sir Thomas Wharton, Deputy Warden of the West Marches, forwarded a similar complaint through lord Maxwell, the Scotch Warden opposite him. (fn. 48) Then Sir William Eure at Berwick repeated the complaint. (fn. 49) James in reply declared that he knew nothing of any such defamatory ballads, but issued orders that no such things should be allowed, and caused Maxwell to make a proclamation to that effect at Dumfries. In answer to each successive remonstrance he still promised more strict inquiry; (fn. 50) and it was clear he was anxious to conciliate Henry to the utmost. Henry felt bound to acknowledge such friendliness and sent him by an officer of arms a present of a lion. (fn. 51)
The name of this officer of arms is not revealed by the correspondence before us; but among the King's payments for March 1539, which will be noticed in the Second Part of the volume, is an entry which shows him to have been Fulk Powell, Lancaster herald; and his name is of importance because it enables us to correct material errors, both in this Calendar and elsewhere, which would otherwise have been overlooked. Shortly after his despatch the King had thoughts of following up the good effect that he had produced by a further appeal to James's amicable sentiments,—or rather, by a further message to prevent James conceiving any mistrust of himself from the preparations for defence so generally made throughout England. This delicate mission was to be entrusted to Ralph Sadler, whose instructions, misdated 1541 in the Sadler Papers were quite as erroneously assigned to the year 1537 by the editors of the State Papers and of this Calendar. (fn. 52) Sadler was to explain the King's defensive attitude, and point out that the feeling against him abroad was only due to the Pope and Cardinal Pole, who was wandering about on the Continent to publish a bull against Henry, though the Emperor professed to have repelled him and the King had great hope that Francis also would preserve his amity with England. Sadler was on this to enlarge upon the crafty practices of prelates and urge James to give no ear to their exhortations, telling him that the King was willing to send him some honest and learned man to increase their amity, or even to go in person to hold an interview with him in the North. (fn. 53)
The idea of sending Sadler to Scotland had apparently been conceived even before Lancaster herald went thither; and Foxe has printed an oration which he is supposed to have delivered to the Scotch king on being admitted to an audience, in which he is made to repeat the complaint of libels being circulated against Henry in Scotland, and to express a hope that James would do like the French king who had lately punished slanderous preachers at Rouen. Where Foxe found this document does not appear. It is no doubt an authentic and very interesting State paper; but it is clearly not an address actually delivered by Sadler, who apparently did not really go to Scotland after all. It contains also an allusion to the arrival in Scotland of a nuncio sent to James by the Pope. This could only have been Latino Juvenale. Yet we know positively that he was detained in France and never arrived in Scotland at all. (fn. 54) The paper was therefore drawn up in anticipation of the news.
There were just two parts of the Continent where Henry, by a little judicious meddling, might hope to foment dissensions within Christendom and thereby paralyse the formation of a general league against him. Germany, of course, was one; the other was Northern Italy, where the Pope's attempt, soon after successful, to deprive the young duke of Urbino of the dukedom of Camerino, afforded an opportunity not to be neglected. Edmund Harvell, who had long resided at Venice, was directed to make full inquiry into this matter, especially as to how it was viewed by the Venetians, for Harvell had already reported (fn. 55) that the Pope had recalled the galleys appointed to assist Doria that they might be used against the duke of Urbino. If the dispute were likely to come to anything he was to endeavour to obtain an interview with this young duke, and, without exactly making him an offer of the Garter, express a wish that he were as well acquainted with Henry as his father had been, and just drop a hint that there were now vacancies in the Order. (fn. 56) Further, it might be that other princes of Northern Italy, such as the dukes of Ferrara and Mantua, might be disposed to take part with the duke of Urbino against the Pope; and if so, Harvell was to do his best to explain to them the usurpations of the Holy See. (fn. 57) To keep up the game the King sent him a remittance of 200 marks; of which the French ambassador hearing through Harvell's brother in London, could not help wondering what sinister object was in view when a king, usually so slow to spend money, opened his purse so wide. (fn. 58)
As to Germany, about the middle of January Henry sent thither Christopher Mont with letters of credence to the duke of Saxony and the Landgrave. He was to thank them for the letters they had written to him (fn. 59) about the Anabaptists, though the King had already proceeded against the leaders of that sect and banished the rest by proclamation. He was also to say that the King marvelled at not hearing further about the communications between their ambassadors and the English divines in the preceding year, and wished to know whether they were disposed to be more or less compliant to the Emperor than formerly. Mont was also to find out whether there was any papal leaning in the two dukes of Cleves, father and son. (fn. 60)
Some private instructions from Cromwell supplemented those given him by the King. He was to deliver a message from Cromwell to Francis Burgartus, Vice-Chancellor to the duke of Saxony, who had been one of the ambassadors last year, and remind him of some conversations they had had together about a match between the young duke of Cleves and the King's daughter Mary, (fn. 61) to which, as Burgartus had written, his master was favourable, and which Cromwell had ventured to suggest to the King, "who seemed, by his visage, to approve of it." But another kind of alliance with the dukes of Cleves was also under consideration; and Mont was to make diligent inquiry touching "the beauty and qualities" of the elder of the two unmarried daughters of the old duke, and if he learned that she was a suitable person he should hint to Burgartus that the King might not be disinclined to marry her if the offer came from them, for as yet there was no conclusion taken in any of the overtures made in France or Flanders. (fn. 62)
It is pretty evident from both these sets of instructions, that the real object of Mont's mission was not to promote the attempted agreement between English and German divines, which had been the subject of so many conferences in the preceding year, but to ascertain how far the King might depend upon the German Protestants as political allies, and by what means he could confirm them in their opposition, not only to the Pope but to the Emperor. Henry was probably aware at the time of Mont's despatch, though Mont himself only heard it after reaching Antwerp, that a diet of the Evangelic League was to be held at Frankfort in Lent. (fn. 63) Accompanied by one Thomas Paynell who was appointed as his colleague on this mission, Mont left England in the latter part of January, and no doubt the two did their best to reach the Duke and the Landgrave before the opening of the Diet, though whether they obtained an interview with either does not appear. By the 19th February, apparently, they had only been able to ascertain from Burgartus, the Duke's Vice-Chancellor, that his master would be very glad of such affinities as the King proposed, and would do his best to promote them. (fn. 64) But this itself was not a bad beginning, and Henry at once followed it up by further diplomatic movements.
It was a great advantage to him in this matter, that he had just received news from Spain of the way in which the Emperor had answered Wyatt's remonstrance against the reception of Pole as Legate. Not only had Charles said that he could not refuse audience to such a personage, even if he were a traitor to himself, but on being further pressed he had replied with indignation that he had quite as much a right to receive rebels of the King of England, as the latter had to give audience to ambassadors of the duke of Saxony and the Landgrave, his vassals, who were enemies not only to himself but to the whole Catholic Church, and also to receive letters and envoys from the Duke of Holstein, usurper of the Kingdom of Denmark, by whom his brother-in-law, Christiern II., was tyrannically kept in prison. To report words like these to the members of the Evangelic League was an excellent way of cherishing a steady distrust and hatred of the Emperor and making amends to Christian III. for past errors in depreciating his strength and his claim to the Crown of Denmark. Henry, no doubt, had long since found him useful and had learned to treat him with respect; and it was just a year since, on finding that he had joined the Evangelic League, he had congratulated him on his inclination to "true religion." (fn. 65) But to be able to tell him now that the Emperor was his mortal enemy, and that Henry was most anxious to put him and his fellow Protestants on their guard was clearly a first step to the formation of very valuable alliances.
Henry accordingly despatched on the 5th March one whom in his letters of credence he calls simply his household servant, on a confidential mission to Christian III., to the City of Wismar (a favourable seaport on the Baltic), and to John Frederic of Saxony. (fn. 66) By the official endorsement of the letter to Christian it appears that the bearer was Dr. Antonius, as he was called by the German Protestants—our old friend Dr. Barnes, who had been so strongly in favour of his master recognising Christian as King of Denmark, even at the first. (fn. 67) Barnes proceeded to Hamburg, a place with which he had been familiar in past years, and could have had no difficulty in making arrangements for the transmission of correspondence and messengers by sea to England. (fn. 68) He was just the man to give proper effect to the King's warning, and to represent the advantages of a league with England in defence of Protestantism, or as it was called in his instructions, "for the preservation of the Christian religion," and the reply of Christian showed that he was quite alive to Henry's sympathy. (fn. 69) Mont and Paynell were also commissioned to enforce the like arguments more directly with the Elector of Saxony, while at the same time they were to negociate with Bernard de Mela to supply the King, in case of need, with 200 gunners and 1,000 or 1,500 hackbushes. (fn. 70)
The King, moreover, sent to the young duke of Cleves two skilled negociators, Sir Edward Carne and Dr. Nicholas Wotton, accompanied by Richard Byrd, a gentleman of his Chamber, not exactly to make an offer for the hand of the Duke's sister—for Henry took care never to humble himself in that way—but rather to offer the Duke advice and friendship in relation to the dukedom of Gueldres of which he had taken possession as his right after the old Duke's death in June 1538. (fn. 71) They were to represent Henry's willingness, if satisfactory conditions could be offered, to enter into an offensive and defensive league with him also, as the King "perceived the evil mind of the Emperor towards him "and all the Princes of the Evangelic sort, at the "instigation of the Bishop of Rome," and was aware of his intention to employ force shortly for the obtaining of Gueldres. The King was also willing for old friendship's sake to cement this alliance by offering the young Duke an English bride; and if he seemed to catch at this proposal, the ambassadors were to ask leave to see his sister, suggesting that if the King was pleased with her and a reasonable dowry offered, he might take her for his Queen. But as the real object which underlay these matrimonial projects was simply mutual defence, the ambassadors were to end with a request that the Duke would send to England two expert gunners,—not that the realm, they were to say, was in any serious danger from the rumoured expedition against England, which the Emperor was not likely to undertake merely at the Pope's instigation, but simply for an additional surety, the King being already "reasonably provided" against any sudden invasion, and the Duke being well able to spare them for any need there might be of their services in defence of Gueldres. (fn. 72)
Thus Anne of Cleves first appears as a subject of English diplomacy as a medium for the procurement of artillerymen. But it was not always by such indirect diplomacy that Henry endeavoured to fortify himself against doubtful allies likely soon to be his enemies. With amazing audacity he asked for munitions of war from the doubtful allies themselves. On the 13th February Vaughan at Antwerp received the King's commands to obtain licence from the Queen Regent to convey to England 300 chamber guns belonging to one Joachin Gundelfynger, whose factor had already made suit for such a licence and had been most naturally refused. (fn. 73) Considering that the refusal was given on the express ground that "they were in doubt of the King's friendship," it certainly was a bold thing to press the suit once more. In like manner the King in the preceding month had caused some of his gentlemen to ask the French ambassador in England to write to Francis I. to allow the exportation of certain sail cloths which he had procured in Britanny, and which were detained there; and also to allow 2,000 or 3,000 pieces more to be procured in France. Castillon saw that they were wanted to equip ships of war and said it was a kind of goods that Francis had such a special eye upon that he durst not write for them; on which the messengers said that the King would write himself. (fn. 74) And it is certain that Henry did write, once and again upon the subject, and that Bonner, a month later, was wearying Montmorency with repeated representations which were met with the most polite expressions of regret on his part that the extreme scarcity of the material forbade its exportation. The 2,000 pieces asked for would have been enough for a fleet of 500 ships. (fn. 75)
No wonder that in February we hear that the King's Council was sitting daily. (fn. 76) As to Henry and his Government there was but one feeling over all the Continent. At Vienna King Ferdinand was extremely desirous of seeing him soundly punished, and hoped that his brother Charles V. would give effect to the Papal excommunication. (fn. 77) In Spain, in France, and in the Netherlands, Englishmen were accounted heretics, that is to say, little better than heathens. "The King is daily slandered and villainously spoken of," wrote Wriothesley from Brussels. (fn. 78) There, even at the Court of Queen Mary of Hungary there was some jesting at the expense of Englishmen that Wriothesley did not relish. (fn. 79) He and his colleagues meanwhile were still wasting their time in Flanders, as they had done for months, the Queen Regent, though always using the most gracious language, requiring to consult the Emperor in Spain at every turn of the diplomacy, and taking care to give no final answer, either about the duchess of Milan or about any new alliance. (fn. 80) The situation was the more unpleasant as in February the Bourse at Antwerp was full of rumours of war against England; and at the same time a proclamation was issued on Ash Wednesday in the Emperor's name that no ships should leave the Low Countries till Easter without special licence from the Queen Regent. (fn. 81) Matters looked all the worse because at that very time it appeared that both the French and the Imperial ambassador were on the point of leaving England, almost simultaneously.
This was just before it was known what reception had been given by the Emperor to Pole at Toledo; so it was not wonderful that a rumour spread that both the Emperor and Francis would issue proclamations against intercourse with England. (fn. 82) The crisis, however, was not quite so severe. The simultaneous recall of the two ambassadors was awkward, but it was not the result of united action. Castillon, who had always been most friendly in tone, while regarding Henry VIII. as dangerous and giving his own opinion freely to Francis I. and Montmorency, had long felt his position at the English Court uncomfortable and desired his recall; but when he had obtained it he informed Cromwell that another ambassador was coming in his place. Cromwell, of course, received the intimation in the most friendly spirit, but took care that he should carry back to France the impression that England was armed to the teeth and quite able to resist invasion, by showing him over his armoury and telling him he might regard it as a specimen of those of twenty other lords and gentlemen. (fn. 83) He remained till close upon the end of February. (fn. 84) Meanwhile the Queen of Hungary had intimated to Wriothesley and Carne that the presence of Chapuys in the Netherlands was important to the negotiations in hand with them because he knew more about the matters treated than anyone else, and by the Emperor's desire she was going to send for him. (fn. 85) The pretext was rather dubious, and Wriothesley advised the King to detain the ambassador in England a while out of an equally sincere consideration for his weak state of health until he knew a little more. (fn. 86) The King seems to have acted on the suggestion, and bade Wriothesley inform the Queen of Hungary that, although he would not detain Chapuys if he were revoked, yet, as the King and Emperor had always had ambassadors resident in each other's Courts, the thing would have a bad effect, and the reasons scarcely seemed sufficient; moreover, that the departure of the French ambassador, though another was appointed to succeed him, had already given rise to unpleasant rumours, and that it was even whispered, though of course the King could not believe it, that it was a mere ruse on the Emperor's part to withdraw Chapuys while Wriothesley and the other ambassadors were left in the power of the Imperial Government and might even be used dishonorably without any possibility of redress. Under any circumstances, if the Queen persisted in sending for Chapuys, Wriothesley and Carne were to ask leave to take their departure, informing her that Stephen Vaughan, whom the King had appointed governor of the English merchants in the Low Countries, would be always ready to receive communications from her. (fn. 87)
As for the Flemish embargo, although it was ostensibly a general detention of all ships, and not of English ships only, the King retaliated with a similar proclamation on the 1st March. (fn. 88) Even before the fact was known in the Netherlands, Wriothesley's threat that the King would be driven to such a measure had some effect, and after rather more than three weeks' detention the English ships were released. (fn. 89) Nor did the Government of the Regent dare to insist on the withdrawal of Chapuys without sending some one to replace him; and though Queen Mary wrote him on the 10th March an impatient letter, wondering at not having heard of his departure, she mentioned, at the same time, that she was sending the dean of Cambray as his successor. She also stated that the embargo, which had been removed as regards English vessels at Wriothesley's request, had now been raised altogether, having served its purpose, as the Emperor had got a sufficient number of sailors. And she further mentioned that whereas Wriothesley had, in obedience to his master's orders, asked leave to return to England, she had urged him, especially as his colleagues had gone to Gelderland, to remain till Chapuys's arrival, as otherwise his departure might be open to misinterpretation. Wriothesley, she said, had with reluctance consented. (fn. 90)
Wriothesley had evidently expected that war would break out suddenly and that he would be detained a prisoner. His colleague, Carne, had gone to Gelderland on the mission already mentioned, and he wrote to him and his companions to remain there till they heard further. (fn. 91) On the other hand, the Regent's Council were determined that he should be kept as a hostage for Chapuys, and they actually suggested to him that he should be conducted to the frontier and exchanged for their own ambassador. Wriothesley said this would be dishonourable to the King, and he would rather remain a prisoner at Brussels than be conducted as a prisoner through the country. He offered, however, if allowed to leave next morning, to go no further than Nieuport till Chapuys had written of his arrival at Calais. The Councillors with whom he conversed said they had no doubt the Queen would agree to this, but he was informed that afternoon that the Queen was occupied. (fn. 92) A later message desired him to speak with her next morning. Next morning, as more delays seemed likely to be interposed, he gave notice that if not sent for he would put his foot in the stirrup as soon as it struck one; on which he obtained an audience, and the Queen, as already mentioned, persuaded him to stay, promising to write to the King in his excuse. (fn. 93) At last, on the 19th March, the very day that Chapuys reached Calais (where the dean of Cambray was already awaiting his arrival, to confer with him before crossing to England himself (fn. 94)). Wriothesley, and his colleague Carne, who had by this time returned from Gelderland, obtained leave of the Queen of Hungary to go home. (fn. 95)
Yet even after being thus despatched they had nearly met with further impediments, which, however, it must be said, would have been their own King's fault. On the 22nd, a day or two after their departure, the Queen instructed Wynacourt, provost of Mons, to follow them in haste to Dunkirk, and if they had not already passed further, ascertain that they were pursuing the direct route for Gravelines, for the Queen had just received news that Henry had ordered Chapuys to be detained at Calais until Wriothesley had reached Gravelines; and if Wriothesley attempted to go any other way, or to pass further than Gravelines before the exchange was made, he must be arrested. (fn. 96) Happily Wriothesley had already reached Calais the very day that Wynacourt was despatched in pursuit of him, and no breach of international courtesy occurred to require an apology. (fn. 97)
Thus Chapuys returned to the Netherlands and Wriothesley to England, the former being replaced by Majoris, dean of Cambray, so that no positive rupture of diplomatic intercourse had taken place. But the change was wholly to Henry's disadvantage, for the reign of diplomatic hypocrisy in Flanders was at an end, so that nothing more was to be gained in that quarter; while Chapuys, taking up his abode at Antwerp, soon put a stop to the exportation of arms and gunpowder for the King of England, which had been secretly purchased for some time in Germany, and, till he came, had been carried over sea unchecked. (fn. 98)
There was nothing for it now but to use the internal resources of England to the best advantage, and carry out the measures already set on foot for national defence. There had not been much appearance, it is true, of any actual preparations abroad; (fn. 99) but if Francis and the Emperor once came to an understanding with the Pope about England war might not be far distant. The Earl of Hertford was therefore sent over to Calais to report on the repairs necessary for the fortifications there. (fn. 100) The Earl of Southampton (Fitzwilliam), as lord Admiral, went to Portsmouth, where, after examining the stores within the town, he took a survey of Southampton Water, the Isle of Wight, and the neighbouring coasts, devised new towers to be made at Calshot Point, East and West Cowes, (fn. 101) and Hurst Castle, and, landing in the Island, inspected Carisbrooke Castle. Stirred by a belief in national danger, the people of the Island were unanimous in their resolve to defend their country, stake the coasts, and cast ditches to make an enemy's landing troublesome, and a like spirit prevailed in Hampshire. (fn. 102) Nor was there less of it elsewhere, as shown by the Essex men in fortifying Harwich; where the Earls of Oxford and Essex, sent down to survey the harbour and arrange defences, found that the inhabitants had, before their coming, already made two trenches 80 rods in length, and two bulwarks; even women and children hard at work with shovels, doing their best to fortify the place. (fn. 103)
General musters were ordered throughout the realm, and the returns, of which condensed abstracts fill 55 pages of this Part (pp. 264–319), will be an interesting study in connection with the probable population of the country at the period. Letters missive were despatched to leading noblemen and gentlemen, requiring each to provide a certain specified number of mariners to serve under Southampton as lord Admiral. (fn. 104) These letters notified that "the most pestilent idol and usurpator of Princes, the Bishop of Rome" intended to spoil the realm and overthrow good religion. Reports were officially diffused (fn. 105) of a general league on the Continent against the independence of England, and all were eager to show their loyalty. In Lincolnshire the people were only too eager to recover the King's goodwill and atone for the rising of 1536. They told Suffolk they would spend their lives, lands, and goods to serve him.
The anxieties of the time are shown most vividly in the letters of Sir Thomas Cheyney, Warden of the Cinque Ports. On 2nd April he was at Dover, wasting time and money, as he conceived, without any prospect of doing the King useful service. (fn. 106) He had evidently seen or heard nothing as yet of an enemy in the Channel. But he had sent men into Holland to inquire, and two days later they returned and informed him of 50 great ships, varying from 200 to 800 tons burden, lying at the Texel, off Marsdiep, which intended to make sail that day (it was Good Friday), and might be expected at Dover on Sunday next if the wind were favourable. It was satisfactory that the whole fleet could not contain more than 5,000 men, and that the great ship had not more than 70 mariners, though the lord of Campvere (Vere in Walcheren) awaited their coming with five sails, which might possibly join them. Cheyney, however, was in some doubt what to do; for it would weary and discourage the people if they were summoned to resist a merely imaginary danger. Yet to fire the beacons only when the supposed enemy was close at hand would create an immense disturbance all over the Kingdom, and give people very little warning, besides creating "a great bruit through all Christendom." On the whole, however, he thought it best to forbear, simply warning the neighbouring gentry to be ready, as it was not likely that so small a force could easily make good a landing. But he was very anxious for express orders how to act, for which he wrote again next day, declaring that no clothes should come off his back till he received them. (fn. 107)
The much desired answer came on Easter Sunday morning. The King and Cromwell evidently approved of his caution, and directed him to send two boats to sea to make further inquiries. He did so, and a mariner, named Fletcher, of Rye, offered his boat likewise for the service, declaring she had no fellow in England. All the boats passed the night in mid-channel "in the trade where all great ships must pass" as far as Gravelines, and returned next morning without having seen anything alarming. But better watch could be kept from the donjon of Dover Castle, and though the wind had been, since the men's return, quite favourable to the Holland fleet if they meant to make for those parts, nothing had yet been seen of them when Cheyney wrote on Easter Monday afternoon. (fn. 108) It seems they had only left Holland that day. (fn. 109) On Wednesday following they were descried making for the Downs, where Cheyney was ready to receive them with 1,500 men and eight pieces of ordnance. But the wind had changed to S.S.W., and was so strong that they were compelled to anchor off the North Foreland. They were 68 sail in all. Cheyney sent out two boats to board them if possible, and two others to bring word in case of failure. A few other vessels lay in the Downs, one of which bore the Emperor's arms on the stern, and Cheyney after sending out a boat to her, which seemed to have met with a repulse, prepared to fire upon her; but they set a banner of truce on the poop. Meanwhile a false alarm was brought that some of them had landed in Thanet. The chief difficulty was to prevent indiscretions, for the men of Thanet were intensely warlike. (fn. 110) On Cheyney's report, however, lord Cobham received orders to see the new forts at Tilbury and Gravesend defended by a sufficient number of men. (fn. 111)
On Thursday, the 10th April, Cheyney finally ascertained that all the alarm was groundless. A boat's crew had been received on board the Admiral of the Holland fleet, and had met with a most friendly reception. The Admiral caused a parting salute to be fired on their going aland again, and said he would come aland himself if the wind would suffer him; which the master of one ship did later in the day. The size of the ships and the number of men in them seemed both to have been exaggerated. Forty-five of the vessels were indeed men-of-war, victualled, as they themselves said, for a whole year; but they were bound for Spain and for the Emperor's intended voyage to Constantinople. They looked, however, more like merchantmen than men-of-war, for, as to guns and means of fighting, trading vessels had often been better furnished in going to the Bay of Biscay. (fn. 112)
The measures taken for the defence of the kingdom had been pursued with unremitting diligence; but, of course, such works demanded time. During April the Commissioners who had been appointed to survey the coasts seem generally to have sent in their reports. Lord Russell had inspected the havens and landing places in Dorsetshire, (fn. 113) according to a commission drawn up for him before he was made a peer; (fn. 114) Sir Richard Bulkeley and others had surveyed the sea coasts of North Wales, provided bulwarks, trenches, and beacons, and established a vigilant watch. (fn. 115) Parts nearer the Continent, of course, had been seen to already. When the new French Ambassador came to England in the latter end of March he beheld, in passing Dover, new ramparts and bulwarks made in the rock since his predecessor's return to France, and well furnished both with great and with small artillery, (fn. 116) In spite of unusually boisterous weather these works were pushed on with all possible expedition through the greater part of April; (fn. 117) but their progress was, in some degree, slackened in the beginning of May. (fn. 118) Over 1,400 workmen were engaged at Deal. (fn. 119)
To meet the crisis Parliament, of course, had to be summoned, and the 28th April was appointed as the day of its meeting. But we must not suppose that Parliament was called together to do any work except the King's; and if there was a single county, city, or borough uncontrolled in its election of representatives, the case must have been exceptional. both large and small constituencies received directly or indirectly, an intimation of the King's pleasure as to how they should vote. Cromwell, writing to the King, said that he had "appointed" his Majesty's servant, Mr. Morison to be one of them; as he would be a most serviceable man, with his learning, to answer all objections; adding that he hoped with the aid of other "dedicate councillors" to arrange that his Majesty "had never more tractable Parliament." (fn. 120)
The Earl of Southampton, who, being a Privy Councillor, knew all about it before the writs went out, in going down to his place at Cowdrey in Sussex, stopped at Guildford on his way with an express view to the election. He visited Sir Richard Weston who was ill in bed, and could not persuade him to stand for Surrey. The poor man expected rather to die; but he promised to favour the Earl's brother (that is, his half-brother Sir Anthony Browne), and Sir Matthew Browne. The Earl then spoke to the mayor and some of the townsmen, telling them they would have to send two burgesses, but if they followed his advice it would cost them little, as he would provide able men to fill the place. They thanked his Lordship and only suggested that one of the men should be their townsman, Daniel Mudge; who, the Earl thought, would do very well and he reported him to Cromwell accordingly. In like manner, on reaching Cowdrey he arranged for the election of Sir William Goryng and Sir John Gage for Sussex which he ordered his deputy at Petworth and other friends to promote. He intended John Chadreton to be one of the members for Portsmouth, and would see to get a good man for his colleague, and two others for Midhurst. With Farnham, he told Cromwell that he could not meddle; it was the Bishop of Winchester's town. But for Southampton (meaning Hampshire) (fn. 121) he would have Mr. Kingsmill joined to Wriothesley according to Cromwell's mind. (fn. 122)
A little later he received an admonition which he promised to obey, to see what he could do for Farnham, even though it did belong to the bishop of Winchester, who, he was afraid, had already taken some steps about the matter. And as Cromwell further intimated that he would prefer some one else to Mr. Kingsmill as Wriothesley's colleague for Hampshire, he promised to take counsel on the matter with Paulet, the newly-created lord St. John. He also sent Cromwell a list of the best men of those parts that he might nominate those that he thought most suitable. (fn. 123)
That Wriothesley should be a knight of the shire for Hampshire had been quite determined just after his return from Flanders. Kingsmill was sheriff of the county, and it was only on this account apparently that Cromwell objected to his standing along with him. He was evidently a man quite devoted to the interests of Cromwell and his friend Wriothesley, and the former had distinctly promised him that he should be a burgess for some borough in a county in which he was not sheriff. He himself, in writing to Wriothesley, suggested that Ludgershall in Wiltshire, which was in the rule of Mr. Richard Bridges, already knight of the shire for Berks, might return him. (fn. 124) Meanwhile, the earl of Southampton put off the shireday for Hampshire till he received instructions who should be Wriothesley's colleague. (fn. 125)
In Cornwall, before the writ came down, "there was "great suit made by Sir Piers Edgcumbe, Sir John "Chamond, and John Arundel, son and heir to Sir John "Arundel, knight;" but even in advance of the writ came a letter from Cromwell which settled the matter in favour of a son of Sir William Godolphin. (fn. 126) In Norfolk, Sir Edmund Knyvet, a nephew of the duke of Norfolk, offered his humble services, promising to be at Norwich with his servants and friends on the day of the election "to give their voices to such as Cromwell should indicate"; for which he received a letter of thanks in reply, with an intimation that the King desired the election of Richard Southwell and Edmund Wyndham. (fn. 127) A curious interest attaches itself to the notorious borough of Gatton, which was already an antiquated constitutional anomaly. It was a pocket borough owned by Sir Roger Copley, with only one house in it. Sir Roger had placed the nomination at the disposal of the lord Admiral (Southampton), who declined to use it, and pressed Christopher More to do so instead. More then promised it to a friend; but the friend had to give way to a friend of Cromwell's, and More only begged that, considering the circumstances of the borough, Cromwell's nominee would be content to take no wages. (fn. 128)
Yet it would be wrong to suppose that these nominations by the Court never created dissatisfaction. Knyvet's letter to Cromwell had been subservient enough, and rumour had even then anticipated the selection that Cromwell (or the King) would make; but Knyvet had hoped to have been one of the King's nominees himself; and the decision intimated to him was extremely unpalatable. He did, however, bring a number of people to the election, as he promised, but not with the view of supporting both the King's nominees, and when he saw that his retainers were insufficient in number for his purpose he declared that he had not aspired to be nominated himself, wishing merely to support Wyndham and another, whom he would not name, but that he had the strongest objection to Richard Southwell. He was so angry that many of those present called in his uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, to keep the peace; and the Duke was obliged to bind both parties in 2,000l. apiece to appear in the Star Chamber. (fn. 129) Whether it all arose from disappointed ambition on Knyvet's part, or from jealousy of Southwell's increasing influence, or perhaps, from a knowledge of conduct on the part of Southwell which he believed would justify non-compliance with the order to promote his return, must be a matter of speculation. The incident is unique of its kind; but there were certainly other quarrels and heartburnings over the elections of this year. (fn. 130)
The King had special need for subservient instruments in this particular Parliament. He alone appreciated fully the dangers by which he was surrounded, and no one but Cromwell shared his confidence as to how he proposed to meet them. Nor did even Cromwell, perhaps, know from the first all that was in the King's mind, to which his faithful Commons and no less subservient Peers were ultimately to give effect. But we can tell from one of Cromwell's frequent papers of "remembrances" that some little time before Parliament met some of the work it was to do had been roughly sketched out, and that the following were among the items in the plan:—"A device "in the Parliament for the poor people in this realm. A "device in the Parliament for the unity in religion. "A device in the Parliament for the fortification of the "realm, as well of the frontiers as otherwise. . . . A "bill of attainder to be drawn for the marquis of Exeter "and his complices. A like bill to be drawn for the lady "Marques, and the lady Salisbury. Another to be drawn "for the false traitor Reynold Pole and his fellows." (fn. 131)
"The poor people in this realm" seem to have had the first claim to attention,—and not unnaturally considering the great increase of poverty which the recent violent changes must have caused; but what became of the "device" in their behalf the Statute Book does not show, unless it be the renewal of old acts against vagabonds and beggars, which is found among the enactments of this year (Cap. 7.)
The second object—that of enforcing unity of religion—was much more steadily kept in view. Even at the beginning of the Parliament a proclamation was drawn up—though whether it was actually issued is uncertain—declaring the King's distinct intention "to extinguish diversities of opinion by law," and provisionally ordering that none should call another heretic or papist unless he was prepared to prove it, under a penalty, and that none but beneficed clergy or graduates of Oxford or Cambridge should be allowed to preach or expound the Bible. (fn. 132) But the Act that was to "abolish diversity in opinions" (as its object is curiously described in the title) required a good deal more consideration.
It was known as early as the 4th May that such a measure was in contemplation, (fn. 133) and the expectation does not seem to have aroused any particular misgivings. Next day the Lords appointed a committee of bishops to consider the subject. It consisted of the two archbishops and six other prelates, namely Tunstall and Latimer, Clerk of Bath and Salcot of Bangor, Goodrich of Ely and Aldridge of Carlisle—a mixed company of the old and new learning, presided over by Cromwell as Vicegerent. There could hardly have been a committee more impartially constituted; but if Parliament was to wait for the report of such a body there was no very speedy prospect of the desired enactment. Clearly the matter must be taken out of the hands of mere divines. On the 16th May the duke of Norfolk informed the Lords that there seemed to be no prospect of agreement among the bishops, and he accordingly offered six articles for the consideration of the assembled Peers, proposing that a penal statute should be afterwards passed to give effect to their decision. (fn. 134) Thus subtle questions of theology were transferred from the clergy to the serene atmosphere of the House of Lords, where it was found that the laity were very well content to abide by long established views, and only a small minority of the bishops were opposed to the general sense of the House. But these continued to fight their battle till a theologian appeared upon the scene against whom they were well aware that resistance would be ultimately futile.
"There is great hold among the bishops," writes John Husee on the 21st, (fn. 135) "for the establishment of the "blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The Lords have "sitten daily in Council upon the same, and the King's "Highness hath been with them sundry times in person." No doubt there were many who agreed with lord Sands that the King had done the right thing for the comfort of good Christians generally. (fn. 136) The following account of the situation seems to have been written by one of the lay peers:—
"And also news here. I assure you, never prince showed himself so wise a man, so well learned, and so Catholic as the King hath done in this Parliament. With my pen I cannot express his marvellous goodness, which is come to such effect that we shall have an Act of Parliament so spiritual that I think none shall dare say, in the blessed Sacrament of the Altar doth remain either bread or wine after the consecration; nor that a priest may have a wife; nor that it is necessary to receive our Maker sub utrâque specie; nor that private masses should not be used as they have been; nor that it is not necessary to have auricular confession. And notwithstanding my lord of Canterbury, my lord of Ely, my lord of Salisbury, my lord[s] of Worcester, Rochester, and St. David's, defended the contrary long time, yet finally his Highness confounded them all with God's learning. York, Durham, Winchester, London, Chichester, Norwich, and Carlisle have shown themselves honest and well learned men. We of the temporalty have been all of one opinion, and my lord Chancellor and my lord Privy Seal as good as we can devise. My lord of Canterbury and all these bishops have given their opinion, and came in to us, save Salisbury, who yet continueth a lewd fool. Finally, all England have cause to thank God, and most heartily rejoice, of the King's most godly proceedings." (fn. 137)
The new learning was not yet popular in England—least of all among the laity. But among its clerical votaries some had serious ground for alarm when laymen found it so easy to forbid priests to marry, and to settle by their votes theological questions which they did not care, and were not competent, to discuss on their merits. An address to the King seems to have been moved in Convocation while these questions were pending, urging him to weight eight different arguments against hasty legislation on such matters as Purgatory, the use of images, and the marriage of priests, and whether there were any "unwritten verities"—ordinances not distinctly authorised by Scripture—that should be enforced by statute. (fn. 138) The address was certainly not adopted, though the draft remains in writing. On the 2nd June the six articles were proposed to the Lower House of Convocation, and determined according to the general sense. (fn. 139) On the 7th the penal statute to enforce them was read a first time in the House of Lords, and after going through further stages on the 9th and 10th, with a provision annexed to it, which was read a first and second time on the 14th, was finally despatched on the 16th. One slight modification, however, was afterwards made upon it on the 24th by consent of both Houses, giving the clandestinely married clergy a further extension of time from that day to the 12th July to put away their wives. (fn. 140)
The third object of the calling of Parliament was, as we have seen, the passing of Acts of Attainder against the deceased Marquis of Exeter and his fellow sufferers, against two living ladies, the Marchioness of Exeter and the Countess of Salisbury, and against the object of the King's special alarm and hatred, Cardinal Pole. Cruel and tyrannical as the King's proceedings had been hitherto, this involved a further stretch of despotic power. According to a tradition preserved by Coke, he asked the opinion of his judges beforehand whether any one could be attained of treason in his absence without being called upon to defend himself. He was told it was a very dangerous question, but that Parliament could no doubt do anything, and the attainder would be good in law. (fn. 141) This was enough for the King's purpose; he had the power, for owing to Cromwell he "had never a more tractable Parliament." But three Acts were not necessary. One sweeping Bill of Attainder did the business, in which the dead and the living were alike included—not merely such recent victims as Exeter and Montague, Nevill and Carew, but men like Darcy and Hussey and Bigod, and all those implicated in the great Northern rising, more than two years before—refugees abroad, like Reginald Pole and his trusty Michael Throgmorton, John Helyarde, Thomas Goldwell, and Friar Peto—and prisoners in the Tower, including the two ladies above named. (fn. 142) The long catalogue also contained the names of Sir Adrian Fortescue of Brightwell in Oxfordshire, who was declared to have "refused his duty of allegiance," of Sir Thomas Dingley, a knight of St. John's; of Robert Branceter, a London merchant then in Italy (against whom, as we have seen, Sir Thomas Wyatt had been plotting); Christopher Joy, late of London; Robert Buckenham, a Dominican, and others who had "named and promulged that venomous "serpent, the Bishop of Rome, as supreme head of the "Church of England." Sir Adrian Fortescue and Sir Thomas Dingley were beheaded in the beginning of July. (fn. 143)
A further use that the King made of this very tractable Parliament requires but slight notice here; but the student will not forget the Act for giving proclamations the force of law, (fn. 144) which ran its course through the two Houses, at one time nearly alongside the Act of the Six Articles, but was introduced earlier and passed later into law. Like that Act, it also required to be referred to professional men, that is to say, the lawyers. But it afterwards met with a mishap, for it was actually rejected by the Commons and had to be drawn anew. Parliament, however, was kept sitting till it was passed, and it was carried on the 26th June. (fn. 145)
Cromwell, apparently, had felt so well assured of the tractability of this Parliament before it met that he believed it would not last long. (fn. 146) In fact, it was expected to end at Whitsuntide (25th May), when it would either be dissolved, or perhaps prorogued to September. But after a week's recess at Whitsuntide it was compelled to sit for one month longer, (fn. 147) when it was prorogued to November.
The whole session, however, including the week's recess, was exactly of two months' duration; which was certainly not very long, even for those days. Within those two months Parliament had done all that it was required to do. It had virtually given the King himself power to make penal laws. It had branded with treason all who had opposed his proceedings,—especially Cardinal Pole and his mother, making the former feel, more painfully than ever, that though he himself was comparatively safe, the life of his parent was forfeited to an unjust law, and might be taken whenever it pleased the King. In religion, it had passed a severe statute for uniformity of doctrine, which there is no reason to doubt was generally approved at the time, however hard to put in practice afterwards.
All this, however, really indicated that the King required extraordinary powers to cope with a very serious crisis. That the Pope and Cardinal Pole were his chief dangers was recognised in scores and hundreds of manifestoes. In commissions for musters, in commissions for seamen, in all sorts of letters missive, liege subjects were informed that the "most pestilent idol,"—or, it might be, "the cankered and venomous serpent, Paul, Bishop of Rome," was endeavouring, by the aid of that arch-traitor Reginald Pole, to stir up other princes to invade and lay waste the realm. (fn. 148) And on what pretext ? Why, that the English were heretics, which the action of Parliament showed very distinctly that they were not. Already, probably some time before Parliament met, some skilled sophist had drawn up what we have described in this volume as the "official account of the Reformation," (fn. 149) not only declaring that the doctrine of the Church of England was pure, but vindicating all the King's most tyrannical proceedings as absolutely in accordance with law and justice. Bishop Tunstall, too, had preached before the King on Palm Sunday on the worldliness of the Papacy and the wickedness of Pope Paul in sending "Reginald Pole" to stir up other nations against England. (fn. 150)
These things, no doubt, produced some impression at home. And there were men, like John Worth, who, in a private letter to Lord Lisle, takes note of the King's pious desire to keep up old ceremonies—how he received holy bread and holy water every Sunday, and how on Good Friday he crept to the Cross and served the priest to mass, "his own person kneeling on his Grace's knees." As to the English being heretics, why, there was a man hanged for eating flesh on a Friday, "contrary to the King's commands." (fn. 151) That did not look like encouragement of heresy!
Even with the dullest Englishmen loyalty and religion have always gone hand in hand. The spirit of the country was all that the King could wish. Abroad, too, the clouds had begun to clear. Pole remained at Carpentras without any encouragement to proceed to the French court; (fn. 152) and the arrival of Marillac, the new French ambassador in England, relieved the whole nation from the immediate dread of war. (fn. 153) In two or three weeks the King's distrust of Francis was altogether removed; and even the work of fortifying the coast was somewhat slackened in consequence. (fn. 154) In a week or two more, strange to say, the queen of Hungary was ready to let him buy armour, harquebusses, and ammunition in Flanders, (fn. 155) and Francis allowed him to get his sail-cloths out of Britanny. (fn. 156) But meanwhile one imposing military demonstration had been determined on for some time, and the arrangement was adhered to. A grand muster in the City took place on the 8th May. The names of all able men between the ages of sixteen and sixty had been certified by the lord Mayor under the King's Commission; a selection was made of those who had white harness, and it was intimated that the King himself would review them. Before six in the morning the muster began in the fields between Whitechapel and Mile End, and from Bethnal Green to Ratcliff and Stepney. They entered Aldgate before nine and passed through the City to Westminster, where some artillery and hand-gun practice took place before the King and Court; then passed through the Great Sanctuary round St. James' Park, and by Holborn to Cheap and Leadenhall, where they broke up about five in the afternoon. "I think," wrote John Husee, "the strangers that saw them did little rejoice thereat." (fn. 157)
This is far from an exhaustive account of the contents of the present Part. For besides the dissolution of the monasteries, which was still going on, there are many things referred to in these papers,—even events of high European importance, like the diet at Frankfort and the death of the Empress in Spain, or of special interest in domestic history, like the resignation of bishops Latimer and Shaxton, on which we have no space to treat here. It is enough to point out, on the latter subject, some hitherto unknown particulars, especially the fact of Latimer's escape to Gravesend. (fn. 158) Other matters must be left till they can be treated more adequately in connection with events which followed.
There is but one thing more to add. Mr. Brodie's co-operation in this work is now expressed in the title page. The greater part of the labour has indeed for some time been his, and his responsibility for the work is now not less than my own. I may add, however, that my own release from daily attendance at the Record Office is no disadvantage to its prosecution, but rather the reverse; for much of the work had always to be done at the British Museum, and a great deal can be done at home.