Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 16, 1540-1541. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1898.
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The last Volume of this Calendar embraced the period of Henry VIII.'s marriage with Anne of Cleves; the present embraces that of his union with Katharine Howard. As the reader is aware, a close connection commonly existed between Henry's matrimonial alliances and his general policy, both domestic and foreign. The fall of Cromwell and the repudiation of Anne of Cleves marked an abrupt change in both, the meaning of which has already been sufficiently indicated.
But however abruptly a policy may be set aside, even by the power of a despot, its results still remain, and the influences which favoured its ascendancy, to some extent maintain their hold. Though Cromwell had fallen, the monasteries also had fallen and were not to be restored. Those who rejoiced too much at Cromwell's overthrow were branded by his admirers in terms no less unseemly as Papists and upholders of monastic scandals. During the latter part of the year 1540 a war of ballads went on between the two parties, which in December attracted the notice of the Privy Council, and at the beginning of January, Richard Grafton, the printer, was committed to prison for having printed some of them. His offence, no doubt, was considerably aggravated by the fact that he had in his keeping a letter of Melancthon denouncing the Act of the Six Articles. (fn. 1)
On the whole, German theology did not find favour in England, and the terrors of the Act just mentioned were generally sufficient to restrain those who favoured innovations in religion. Only a very few victims are mentioned,—one of them a madman who had shot an arrow at a crucifix and called on the image to defend itself or punish him if it could. But apparently it was not for this act that he suffered, as he had been kept in prison two or three years after doing it. (fn. 2) Sane men, it would seem, did not covet martyrdom, and those who could not approve of private masses or see the truth of Transubstantiation kept a discreet silence. Only in one direction was it found necessary to mitigate (fn. 3) to some extent the severity of the Statute, and that was in the punishment of incontinent priests, to whom the extreme penalty of death had been awarded. As to doctrine there was a general acquiescence, and another statute was passed for the enforcement of the Act by more effective commissions. (fn. 4) Moreover, in the Act for a general pardon passed during the same session, cases not only of treason and murder, but also of heretical opinion touching the Sacrament were expressly excepted. (fn. 5)
In a letter to Bullinger, written in the early part of the year 1541, Richard Hilles laments the completeness of the religious reaction which had followed on the death of Cromwell. He and his friends, he found, had placed too much confidence in one person (meaning Anne Boleyn), and afterwards in another (meaning Cromwell),—“until at last,” he writes, “God has taken them all away from us, and has inflicted on us such a want of sincere ministers of the Word, that a man may now travel from the East of England to the West, and from the North to the South, without being able to discover a single preacher, who out of a pure heart and faith unfeigned is seeking the glory of our God.” (fn. 6) Puritanism, it is clear, had shrunk into its shell and did not dare any longer to put out its head. Men were, no doubt, much more concerned about the heavy taxation which has been already referred to in the Preface to the last Volume.
“This business was so artfully managed that the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other lords spiritual (as these carnal persons are called) offered the King, of their own accord, the payment of this money, in the name of all the clergy, because the King had delivered them from the yoke and bondage of the Roman pontiff. As though they had ever been, when subject to the Pope, under such a yoke as they now are, when all their property, and life itself, are at the King's disposal! In like manner, too, the laity made the King a voluntary grant of this money which they are bound to pay under a heavy penalty. But everything is given freely and voluntarily in this country!”
We have heard it said in times past, and sometimes even in our own day, that whatever may have been the general character of Henry VIII.'s government, he at all events released his subjects from a spiritual bondage to Rome that had come to be intolerable. Those who are of this opinion ought to weigh what a Puritan of those days said of the great deliverance. Englishmen were at this time living under a mere mockery of free institutions, taxed inordinately by a Parliament composed of men who were nominees of the Court in order to supply the King with the means to meet those dangers he had brought upon himself. They might, however, possibly be comforted by the thought that foreigners were taxed more severely still.
The statute “concerning Strangers” (fn. 7) passed in the same Parliament, declared in its preamble that the number of foreigners in England was increasing to the detriment of the realm. An Act of Richard III. had forbidden alien artificers to occupy houses or chambers without being made denizens; they must either take service of native artificers or depart the realm. Again, by the 14th and 15th Hen. VIII. c. 2, aliens were prohibited from taking alien apprentices under a penalty of 10l. for each apprentice taken. Further, by the statute 21 Hen. VIII. c. 16, no stranger was allowed to keep more than two servants strangers at a time, and all denizens dwelling in London were bound to contribute with the King's subjects and to make oath of fealty to the King at the common hall of their respective crafts. These “wholesome” laws, however, had been evaded and virtually infringed by patents artfully procured by persons lately made denizens; and it was now enacted that all denizens after the 1st September should be bound to obey the Acts, and that a special proviso should be made to that effect in future grants of denization, unless the King was pleased to grant special liberties to any particular alien. Such were the provisions of the Act “concerning strangers.” In addition to which, as we have already noticed, (fn. 8) by the provisions of the Act of Subsidy passed in the same session, even denizens (that is to say, naturalised aliens) were compelled to pay, for two years to come, a shilling for every sixpence paid by natives in the shape of a property and income tax.
For some months, it would seem, the foreigners resident in London were not well aware how seriously their interests were affected by this legislation. Marillac, who reports to Montmorency in May the passing of the Act of Subsidy was inaccurately informed about the rate and its duration, and says nothing of a double rate being exacted from foreigners. (fn. 9) But even if he knew this (as he possibly may have done) it was so much in accordance with precedent that he had no ground to remonstrate.
As regards the “Act concerning Strangers,” however, he was evidently quite in the dark, until some months after it was passed; and when it was published for the first time on the 14th August, he was alarmed to find its provisions so unjust and oppressive that they would compel foreign artisans generally to leave the country by Michaelmas, that is to say, with little more than six weeks' notice. He at once consulted the principal French merchants in London, and sent one of them to Court to obtain from the Council distinct explanations of certain doubts regarding the operation of the Act; then went to Court himself for the same object, desiring to be assured that the new law was not in contravention of treaties. (fn. 10) The result of his inquiries, however, made it appear that, harsh as the measure was, no treaties had been violated; and though much was said, even at Paris, when the news arrived there, of this sudden expulsion of foreigners. Wallop was able to satisfy both the Court and people of France that the King and his Council had acted within their rights. (fn. 11)
Nevertheless, the inexpediency of such highhanded dealings, and, doubtless, the impracticability of really carrying out the Act within so brief a period, had caused the Council, even the day before Marillac wrote, to determine on suspending its operation till Easter following. (fn. 12) The suspension was most agreeable to Marillac, who unfortunately had some time before left in Cromwell's hands his copy of the treaty, and had no means of fully satisfying himself that international obligations had not really been infringed. (fn. 13) For indeed, when he was supplied with a second copy, he found that not only the Act concerning Strangers but the Act of Subsidy also was quite against the treaty. Indeed he was furnished with distinct instructions, signed by Francis, to remonstrate to that effect, and to set forth some minor grievances at the same time. (fn. 14) But he was told in reply, by the King himself, that the French King's council had shown themselves very ignorant to raise such objections, or else that they purposely sought occasion of quarrel by alleging violation of treaties when there was no such thing. As to the Act for expelling strangers, however, he obtained an assurance from the King which the Council had not vouchsafed to him that it did not apply to merchants having business in England. (fn. 15) This was so far satisfactory, and, as Marillac seems to have cared little about mere artizans, of whom he reckoned there were only 400 or 500 Frenchmen in and about London—mere banished vagabonds for the most part (fn. 16)—he let that part of the subject drop. But a few days later, hearing that Frenchmen were summoned before the magistrates to be assessed for the subsidy, he again visited the Council to know if they had quite determined on subjecting French subjects to a taxation which he maintained was against certain articles of the treaty. He was answered by Gardiner with a rudeness beyond even that of his master on the same subject. The Council, he said, knew what they were doing, and to say that they were bound to consider Marillac's reasons was to accuse them of imprudence and indecision. They were not called on to give an account of their acts to him, and could only say that they would not contravene the treaties. It would be time enough for Marillac to remonstrate when he heard that French subjects were actually compelled to pay. (fn. 17)
Francis was certainly not anxious to pick a quarrel with England at any time—least of all at a time when he was so greatly dissatisfied with the Emperor. It was Henry rather who seemed disposed to try the friendship of Francis to the utmost. In August he had instructed Wallop to demand of him the delivery of a young man named Dick Hosier, who in France had called himself Blanche Rose, presumably to insinuate that he came somehow of the Royal House of York. From the little we know of his history it certainly does not appear that this young man could have been of any real importance. In fact, Henry himself declared that he was a tailor's son, a vile person whose delivery was of no consequence whatever, except that it was unfriendly in Francis to refuse it. He had escaped from England, it appears, about 1531, and had spent eight years in a Parisian prison, having been arrested at the instance of Sir Francis Brian, Henry's ambassador at the time (fn. 18) But he had lately been set free, and Henry now claimed his surrender as a traitor, maintaining that he was born in England or in Wales—a a statement for which he considered his own affirmation should be accepted in preference to that of the poor wretch himself. Wallop also asserted that he had once asked for the King's pardon, confessing his Welsh birth, and that he spoke bad French and good English, which showed his English origin. Cardinal Tournon admitted that his mother was English, and that he was brought up in England, but said that he was a native of Orleans, where his mother still dwelt; for so the young man himself had told him. Wallop took note of the admission, but knew it was more to the King's purpose to prove the father, if not both parents, English. So letting that question sleep for a while, and trusting to the Cardinal's defective memory, he sent him afterwards a brief note by a messenger, to know as to the young man who had confessed before his reverence that his father was English whether his mother was not so likewise. The artifice succeeded, the Cardinal returning for answer that as to the mother he could not remember, but he was sure the man had said his father was an Englishman. With equal facility Francis was got to acquiesce in this version of the story, and Wallop promptly told him that made the claim for his surrender irresistible. But Francis very properly declined to give him up until he had clearly ascertained that he was not his own born subject. (fn. 19)
Another matter of dispute occurred in this way. When, in April, Francis I. admitted to Wallop that he was fortifying (and indeed rebuilding) the ruined fortress of Ardres, (fn. 20) burned in past wars, although he spoke with the greatest possible good humour, and said that he was fortifying towns on the Emperor's borders as well, he did not fail to remind the ambassador that he had the same right to strengthen Ardres that Henry had to strengthen Calais. (fn. 21) Of course the meaning of that reply was not lost upon the King of England, and it certainly went far, even by itself, to make Cromwell's downfall inevitable. Whatever inward distrust Francis had of the Emperor, it was clear that he distrusted England no less; and the combination of the two great Continental sovereigns against him was still a possibility that haunted Henry's mind till he had delivered himself alike from Cromwell and from Anne of Cleves. After that he could easily rely on the Emperor's friendship, and having thus secured peace with the stronger of the two Princes, he was not afraid of the weaker. But the fortification of Ardres required some measures to be taken on the English side of the Pale. Immediately opposite the fortress now in the course of erection lay a large extent of marshy ground, which had been drained and rendered fit for pasture. A portion of this, which adjoined the French territory, was called the Cowswade by the English, by Frenchmen the Cauchoire. A sluggish river divided it from the French Pale, but the French said it was their own ground, and having for some time had the freest access to it over a hurdle bridge, called the Cowbridge, of comparatively recent construction, they had established a regular thoroughfare all the way to Calais—a distance of four or five miles. On this thoroughfare was the “house of one Boyt Hack” built on one of the many canals or watergangs which intersected the district, where the boat of passage was kept before the bridge was constructed; and here the Cowswade ended. Beyond this, on the left hand side going to Calais was the Main Brook, otherwise called Wingfield's Marsh, which was flooded in 1534 for the security of the town. Orders seem to have been issued in May of this year that it should be flooded again, and in the beginning of June Sussex and Gage wrote to Cromwell that they would have it done next week. (fn. 22)
But the flooding of the Cowswade could not be so easily effected as that of the Main Brook, for it could only be “drowned” from the “Hollede” (or “Hewlett”) river, and the operation, it was at first thought, would be at the cost of the water supply of Calais; for which reason Sussex and Gage recommended that it would be enough to cut in two or three places the thoroughfare above referred to (which had been made by Frenchmen, and was not more than three years old) (fn. 23) between the Cowbridge and Boythack's house. But if, as the King's Council suggested, the “Hollede” river was “new cast,” the water could be saved for the town by being turned into an old river running by the Cowswade to Boyt Hack's House, while a dam at the East end of “Michaelmas Dike” would cause it to flood the trenches cut in the thoroughfare. (fn. 24)
It was certainly important not to neglect the Cowswade, for the French, regarding it as their own, had now a watchhouse at one end, which would be protected by the new fortress. (fn. 25) Long before this, in the days of Henry VII., those of Ardres had once ventured to build houses upon it, which Thomas Prowde, at that time bailly of Marke, (fn. 26) quietly allowed them to complete, and then got the country people to pull down, the stone and timber being confiscated. Two years later the French had mowed the Cowswade and got a hundred load of hay ready to be carried to their barns, when Prowde quietly told them he meant to carry it off himself; and though they replied that they would bring pitchforks enough for the purpose, Sir Richard Nanfan, then Deputy, sent a force of 100 archers with a standard and a drum, who carried off all the hay and brought it to Marke. (fn. 27) These, indeed, were old stories. But only in August 1539 proclamation had been made at Ardres that the French King would license any of his subjects to pasture cattle on the Cowswade on payment for the agistment. (fn. 28) This, of course, amounted to a distinct claim by the French that the ground was theirs, and yet we do not see what was done on the English side to answer it. More attention seems to have been paid to the fact that the men of Ardres had, in the preceding spring, cut a dam or passage into the English Pale. (fn. 29) Lord Lisle, indeed, was uncomfortable, even then, about the road which they had made through the Cowswade, which, he said, they had fortified so that they could easily pass through in winter and enter the English Pale with cars and horses. That we do not hear more said about these things at the time is probably due to the fact that the English Government was then particularly anxious not to provoke offence which might draw down upon them the hostility both of Francis and the Emperor. No distinct agreement seems to have been come to about mutual rights, and even in June 1540, while strict orders were given by Du Bies at Ardres, and by Lord Sandes at Guisnes against Frenchmen or Englishmen doing anything to offend their opposite neighbours, Sandes reported that some Frenchmen occupied portions of the Cowswade as well as the King's tenants, without interference on either side. (fn. 30)
In July the Deputy and Council of Calais represented to the King that the new thoroughfare from the Cowbridge to Calais, while it saved those who came from Ardres a long circuit by Newnham Bridge, would enable the French in one night to carry their heaviest ordnance into any part of the Marches unless they, the Council, had distinct authority to cut trenches across it, as already suggested. And no sooner had they closed their letter than the Deputy (lord Maltravers) was informed that a good deal of cattle was conveyed out of the Pale through the bridge and passage. (fn. 31) The case was therefore urgent; and the King's Council at home at length saw the necessity of giving the required authority to cut trenches. On the 28th August lord Maltravers and the Council of Calais drew up a plan for digging three great ditches across the way, which were to be begun and finished in a single day, and immediately flooded from the Hollehed, without awaking suspicion beforehand of what was going to be done. All passages within the Pale were to be stopped on the night of Monday, 6th September, and the labourers were to assemble at Boyte Haike's house at three o'clock on the following morning and begin at once. (fn. 32)
The plan was carried out, and apparently a slight addition was made to it: not only were the trenches cut, but the Cowbridge itself was broken down. The French were naturally taken by surprise, and some rather sharp correspondence ensued between the Captain of Ardres and the Deputy of Calais; (fn. 33) but as the latter justified what had been done, the former felt that all he could do, without open warfare, was simply to repair the mischief and leave the matter to his superiors. And this, indeed, was the course that he received instructions to pursue. On the 29th September, accordingly, he came down with a body of labourers, repaired the bridge, and re-made the interrupted thoroughfare. On the 13th October, however, lord Maltravers, under distinct orders from the King, gave instructions that it should be again destroyed by a body of 200 labourers protected by 300 soldiers. (fn. 34)
Of course the matter could not be left to commanders of border garrisons. But Francis carefully avoided making any complaint of the first outrage until the bridge and passage had been repaired, and even then he was particularly anxious not to make too much of it. He commissioned Marillac to show Henry—if he saw it expedient to moot the subject—how gently he had acted in avoiding a breach which the conduct of Henry's officers had been calculated to create. After receipt of this instruction Marillac repaired to the Court at the Moor, in Hertfordshire, and had an interview with the King, whom he found full of complaints about Blanche Rose and apparently quite determined to be captious. When the ambassador got leave to speak about the Cowbridge and proceeded to say how conciliatory Francis had shown himself by merely repairing the damage done without complaining of it, Henry answered that it was he, and not Francis, who had just cause to complain. He denied that he had caused the bridge to be broken, though he might fairly have done so, for it stood half upon his ground. What he had done was merely to cut trenches on his own ground, and, far from seeking a quarrel, he had allowed Frenchmen, who had no right there, to occupy the Cowswade. And he gave Marillac very serious warning that if the French made any further attempts in that quarter they would find cause to repent them. (fn. 35) He wrote, however, in a rather different vein to the Deputy of Calais, enjoining him, while continuing to frustrate any further attempts to restore the thoroughfare, to avoid any hostile action which would endanger the town and fortresses. (fn. 36) And the letter arrived just in time to prevent Maltravers resisting by force a renewed attempt of the French to repair the passage. (fn. 37)
Apart from the tone and manner of the King and his officers, which nothing could justify towards a friendly power, they seem to have had some evidences of ancient right on their side on the mere question of title. They had only allowed their neighbours to encroach on an undefended piece of territory at a time when it would have been very dangerous to make an enemy of France. But now that the King deemed himself stronger he was disposed to reassert his rights with very little consideration for the feelings of his neighbours, or even for the provisions of treaties against cases of dispute. Prudence, however, forbade even him to continue undue violence at a point where Frenchmen were already mustered in far greater numbers than any forces Maltravers could bring thither to oppose them; and, as we have seen, his private instructions to his Deputy were not in accordance with his threats to Marillac. Happily, the anxiety of Francis to avert a collision was even greater than that of Henry himself; and while ordering the passage again to be restored, he gave instructions to have it done in a manner to which little objection could be taken, pending a reference of the question in dispute to commissioners on both sides, whose appointment he proposed to Henry. He himself ordered the remains of the old bridge to be completely demolished, and a mere foot-bridge put in its place, a tree being thrown over the stream merely to assert his right; and when this was done all planks and other timber were to be removed. (fn. 38)
In England it was considered that a great point had been gained, and the Council wrote to Maltravers to follow his last instructions — meaning by this, as Secretary Wriothesely explained in a private letter, to forbear from meddling any further with the passage, seeing that things now were in so good a train, till he should receive new orders. (fn. 39) A German engineer, named Stephen von Haschenberg, commonly called Stephen the Almain, who had devised the building of Sandgate Castle in the preceding year, (fn. 40) was sent over to make a map of the Marches, and particularly of the situation of the Cowbridge, but the Deputy was enjoined not to let him view “the secrets of the town” of Calais. (fn. 41) His commission would thus appear to have been limited in its scope; but Marillac not unnaturally believed that he had charge of all the fortifications, and was sent to devise new bulwarks. And perhaps he was not altogether wrong that this too was a part of his charge. Marillac was now, however, much better received at Court; and Henry at once acquiesced in the proposal of Francis that the claims of either side should be laid before commissioners on the spot. (fn. 42)
This being agreed, the last two months of the year 1540 were occupied in arranging preliminaries for the meeting, which was fixed for the 2nd February following. But Marillac was not satisfied as to the sincerity of Henry VIII., especially as he not only put off quite unduly the naming of the English Commissioners (who in fact, were not named till January, though Francis had named those on his side in November), but also despatched across the Channel a body of pioneers. This undoubtedly looked very much as if he had been trying to throw the French off their guard while preparing some hostile movement. But in truth the work for which the men were sent over was rather defensive than offensive—to erect new bulwarks to protect the water supply of Calais, which could now be seriously menaced in any future war by the fortifications at Ardres. The French Council, however, fully responded to the suspicions of Marillac, and caused Ardres to be put in a state of perfect readiness for defence. (fn. 43)
But we have been treating the diplomacy between England and France too much as a thing by itself; for of course it was influenced all along by the security of England's relations with the Emperor after the divorce of Anne of Cleves. In July of this year, just before the commencement of the present volume, Majoris had returned to the Emperor, and our old friend Chapuys, much to his own discomfort (for he was now in very bad health) was sent again to England to fill his former post. Notwithstanding the exceptional courtesy which he showed to Marillac as a colleague, whom he visited, without waiting to be called upon, immediately after his first audience with the King, telling him that he was commanded by the Emperor to communicate to him all he did, Marillac was prejudiced against him from the first; and Norfolk and other members of the English Council took care to feed his prejudices. His estimate of Chapuys was, indeed, strangely contemptuous. In the first place, he regarded him as a man so broken down with long illness as hardly to be able to do more than make his testament. He was also informed that he had met with a very cool reception and would by no means find it easy to play his old tricks now that Cromwell was got rid of. (fn. 44) What those old tricks were the duke of Norfolk was fond of explaining, and Marillac had no difficulty in believing. He felt assured, however, that the new ambassador excelled much more in malice than in cunning. In fact he himself had found out, as he believed, a good deal more about his intrigues than even Norfolk had told him. He was lodged in the very house which Chapuys had occupied before, and by some incredible carelessness the latter had apparently left behind him a bundle of papers which had fallen into Marillac's hands. They contained the clearest evidences of his ill-will towards France and his constant desire to make mischief. (fn. 45) A suspicion may, perhaps, cross the reader's mind that these were stolen despatches artfully placed in the house that Marillac might find them. But clearly no such idea occurred to Marillac himself; and his confidence that he had taken the true measure of his colleague, wears a rather comical aspect in the light of some secret transactions a little further on.
Not many of Chapuys's despatches at this time seem to have been preserved; and though it is clear that he too remonstrated with the English Council as to the undue taxation and threatened expulsion of foreigners, we have no reports of his first remonstrances. But aliens, and particularly the subjects of the Emperor, had another grievance arising out of recent legislation, about which he wrote to Granvelle on the 3rd September, in the first of his despatches after his return to England which seems to be extant. Early in the preceding year, the King being then in dread of a European combination against him, had shown himself particularly gracious towards foreigners, issuing a proclamation that for seven years to come they should pay no higher customs than natives on goods imported. (fn. 46) That, of course, was calculated to make the mercantile classes abroad, and particularly in the Low Countries, earnestly deprecate a war with England. But the Kingdom being now safe from invasion, Parliament in the summer of this year passed an Act “for the maintenance of the Navy,” nominally to confirm, but more strictly speaking to revive, a number of old Acts passed at different dates from the days of Richard II., which seem never to have been enforced, for the shipping of goods in English vessels only. (fn. 47) Thus the privilege recently granted to aliens of paying no more customs than natives was virtually again withdrawn; for now if they did not export and import their goods in English vessels they were told that they would have to pay aliens' customs. The breach of faith was so manifest that there was some danger of retaliatory measures being adopted in the Low Countries; but through Cromwell's influence just before his imprisonment the Flemings in London forbore to press their remonstrances at that time. The Act, indeed, was not put in force till the 2nd September; and Chapuys's letter written on the following day asked for instructions what to do about it. (fn. 48)
In reply, he received a statement of grievances of the Antwerp and other Flemish merchants which he was instructed to lay before the English Council. They gave him a conciliatory answer, suggesting hope of redress, and talked much of their firm friendship now established with the Emperor, trying hard to get Chapuys to acknowledge that they were much more to be depended on than the French, whose intrigues with the Turk, the Pope, the Venetians and the Duke of Cleves were so utterly unjustifiable. (fn. 49) But the formal reply he received, a few days later, to a note that he had sent in, not only on this point but on the oppressive measures against foreigners in England was that the King considered all the Acts quite in accordance with treaties. The measures tending to the expulsion of other than worthy foreigners were intended, they said, to stop the continual ingress of heretics; but the King was anxious that merchants and worthy foreigners should remain. He would take care that as to the subsidy the Emperor's subjects should have no cause to complain; but the Act about lading goods in English bottoms was no injustice, as the Emperor might pass a like ordinance for his countries. This was at the end of October, and the French ambassador received a similar answer at the very same time. (fn. 50)
The King and his Council apparently never thought that the Emperor and his advisers in the Low Countries would take the hint he had given them. But on the 1st December the Imperial Council at Brussels authorised proclamation to be made at Antwerp that no one should lade goods in English ships, as in England it was forbidden to lade goods in any other. (fn. 51) A staggering blow this to Henry and his Ministers! They had been trying to make the French believe that they had never been on better terms with the Emperor, to whom they had just despatched an imposing embassy, the exact object of which was a great matter of speculation and gossip. Bishop Gardiner and Sir Henry Knyvet were the ambassadors, and the former had over a hundred horses in his train. (fn. 52) Yet the very day they arrived at Antwerp the retaliatory edict was proclaimed! Moreover, the English Council at home had just then been making very earnest representations to Chapuys about the treatment of Englishmen in Spain by the Inquisition; and there did not seem much hope of their being more leniently dealt with if, in commercial matters, the Emperor could afford to treat England in this style. (fn. 53)
The Imperial Ambassador was invited to visit the King at Hampton Court. In the presence of all his Council Henry complained to him of the edict in the Low Countries, and wondered that the Emperor, if his subjects were aggrieved by the late Acts of Parliament in England, had not written to him earlier. Chapuys said the Emperor had done his duty in the matter, as he called the lords Privy Seal and Admiral (Southampton and Russell) to bear witness; and they were just about to do so, but the King declined to listen to them. Chapuys, moreover, justified the edict, as the English had been the first to break the treaties under which the Emperor's subjects were entitled to reside and trade freely, and when he himself had complained, the bishop of Winchester had told him the Emperor was at liberty to do the like on his side. Further, the Ambassador maintained that the treaty of commerce was now no longer binding, and the King found so much difficulty in answering his arguments that he at length changed the subject, saying that his Council could explain matters; but he begged Chapuys to endeavour at once to procure the revocation of the edict. He then dismissed his Councillors, and took the Ambassador to a window, where he said to him in private he was sorry that the Emperor so much neglected his own interests; for he evidently did not see how the French had won over most of the Christian princes, and the Turk as well, through whom they had secured the Venetians and the King of Poland, who had taken upon him the guardianship of the late Waywode's son. They were intriguing in Germany and Switzerland, and even if they got Milan they would still claim Naples and Florence, and so forth; ending his harangue with the remark that, though he must point out these things in friendship, he would do no more, as he did not wish to be charged with sowing dissensions. Those who needed help should ask for it, and he (Henry) might have made many good bargains with the French if he had listened to their proposals, for Francis had once excused to him his alliance with the Turk, on the ground that no other sovereign tendered him help at need. (fn. 54)
It was characteristic of Henry to throw over his own Councillors and enter into very confidential communications with an ambassador. No doubt the remonstrances that his new policy had provoked, and the difficulties of putting the new Acts in force were partly the cause of the Council sitting from morning to night in the middle of October. (fn. 55) Henry was by no means free from misgivings that after having caused so much irritation in foreigners of different nationalities, Francis and the Emperor might not even yet combine against him, and he was certainly taking measures for defence. (fn. 56) The Cowswade was a point of danger as regards France from the new fortification of Ardres; and as against the Emperor he had now lost all power of doing anything with the Protestants, whom Charles was endeavouring to conciliate, if he could, through a succession of diets and conferences. If Henry wished to watch what was done at these diets he could no longer assume the character of a sympathiser with Lutherans. “Squire Harry means to be God and to do as pleases himself” (fn. 57) was Luther's sarcastic comment on the Head of the Church of England, uttered more freely after the burning of Robert Barnes. There never had been much hope of any but an alliance of policy with the German Protestants; and now there was no longer that. Henry's efforts were henceforth to be directed to prevent their too easy reconciliation with the Emperor by insisting strongly on those principles—celibate priesthood, transubstantiation, and the like—to which they took particular exception.
No doubt it was mainly with this view that Gardiner—the consistent advocate of a Catholic theology—was sent to the Emperor in November along with Sir Henry Knyvet. The latter, it was generally understood, was to remain as resident ambassador with the Emperor, but Gardiner's mission was only for a short time and it was said he would be back in two months. (fn. 58) Indeed, it was manifest that such an important member of the Council, whose influence now was believed to be quite as great as Cromwell's had been, could not well be spared at home. He must be sent, men said, to promote some marriage, perhaps of the Emperor and the Princess Mary; and he could not be meant to follow the Emperor in his journey from the Low Countries into Germany with such a very large train. (fn. 59) Marillac did not believe in such a match, but thought more reasonably that Gardiner, as the promoter of the King's marriage with Katharine Howard, was sent to justify the repudiation of Anne of Cleves, both to the Emperor and to the German princes. (fn. 60) But Granvelle saw more clearly into Gardiner's object, who really wished to follow the Emperor to the Diet at Ratisbon, and even to avoid coming to his presence if possible till then. And, impatient as the Emperor was to lay his claim to Gueldres before that diet, he purposely prolonged his stay in Flanders, partly to hear the end of the conference at Worms, the failure of which might have forced him to make terms with France, partly to give Gardiner audience and if possible, prevent his following him into Germany. (fn. 61) He gave him and Knyvet audience at Namur on Christmas Day. (fn. 62)
The Emperor's difficulties at this time were such as to make him anxious not only to mitigate his severities in Ghent, (fn. 63) but to conciliate the Protestants in Germany, and win their support against the Turk, The death of his brother Ferdinand's old rival, King John of Hungary,—the Waywode as he had once been called,—had given matters a new turn in the East. His infant son was not a formidable competitor, even with the support of the Hungarian nobility; and Ferdinand at once got possession of a considerable part of his dominions, so that his mother the Queen would have carried him off to her father Sigismund King of Poland, if the nobles would have suffered it. (fn. 64) The danger was seen at once of the Turk taking up the cause of the infant Prince; and, in truth, the Venetians, who were content ultimately to give up fortresses in the Morea for the sake of freedom of commerce in Greek waters, made peace with the Turk on more favourable terms than he would have been disposed to grant them, but that he desired to be free for operations in Hungary, which it was quite clear that he meant to attack in the beginning of the year. (fn. 65)
As Knyvet, who accompanied Gardiner, was to be resident ambassador with the Emperor, it was clear that Richard Pate, archdeacon of Lincoln, who had hitherto filled that office, was to be recalled. The Emperor, in his letter to the King on the 27th December, reporting that the new ambassadors had delivered their charge, took occasion to commend the manner in which Pate had acquitted himself as resident. (fn. 66) But Pate himself could have felt little comfort from such commendation, well merited as it no doubt was. He knew that he had recently incurred the King's suspicions in connection with real or so-called traitors, and although his explanations were declared to be quite satisfactory, and he was assured that he stood as high as ever in the King's favour, (fn. 67) he knew the King better than to believe it. Instead of taking his way to England, Pate absconded in the night time, and journeying by Cologne and Spires ultimately reached Rome. (fn. 68) He had renounced for ever the distasteful service of a tyrannical and irreligious King. At Rome he was cordially received, and when the bishopric of Worcester was supposed to be vacant by the death of Ghinucci (whose deprivation by the King in 1534 was not acknowledged there), it was conferred upon him by the Pope, (fn. 69) though of course the gift was an empty one until Queen Mary in 1555 gave him full possession of the See.
Pate's escape was ominous. What if other ambassadors or agents were to follow his example? Men attached to old-fashioned religion could hardly be depended on, and it was feared that Wallop, the resident at the French court, might do like Pate. Lord William Howard accordingly was sent to replace him. The King at the same time became suspicious of other persons also—of some for their honesty, of others for their sheer ability. Longland, bishop of Lincoln, being Pate's uncle, was put under arrest. (fn. 70) There were strange rumours, too, that the King's Latin Secretary, Peter Vannes, an Italian pluralist, who had once been the Pope's collector, had fled the country. (fn. 71) The past conduct even of such an unscrupulous agent of the King as Sir Thomas Wyatt was brought into question, Bishop Bonner and Haynes suggesting that he had not been true to his Sovereign in 1538 at the interview of Villa Franca, and that he had held converse at other times with traitors. Wyatt was at once arrested, and his friend Mason, who had been with him at Genoa and was involved in the charge, although he had lately been despatched to Spain, was sent for and brought back. Wyatt was committed to the Tower, bound and fettered in a way quite unusual with State prisoners; and apparently Sir Ralph Sadler, one of the two Secretaries of State, was also lodged there for a few days on some suspicion. Mason, too, was committed to the same stronghold. (fn. 72)
No man was safe from dark suspicions, which were always carefully concealed till the victim was within the grasp of officers appointed ostensibly to convey him honourably to the King, but really to prison. So it was with Sir John Wallop. Sir Richard Long was sent to Sittingbourne with instructions to wait till Wallop arrived there on his way back from France, then to address him as if they had met by chance, but finally to inform him that the King had been on the point of promoting him, when some matters had been laid to his charge that would require “purgation at law” before he had access to his Majesty's presence. The King, however, to avoid scandal, would not commit him to prison, but Long, as a letter which he delivered from his Majesty himself declared, was to convey him to a royal residence in Southwark where he was to be examined by the Privy Council. But this was not all. Long was also to ask him for his casket of letters and forward them to the King; and further, to get him to write two letters there, one to Hertford at Calais, pretending that he had forgotten something, and requesting him to search for any papers he had left behind him, and the other to his own wife to show Hertford where all his papers were. Finally, if Wallop had his secretary with him the two were to be separated, and both looked carefully after, so that neither should know of the restraint put upon the other. (fn. 73)
Such were the underhand methods by which Henry ruled—utterly needless, as it proved, in this case, for, owing to some carelessness which the King severely censured, Wallop had got a hint of what awaited him even before he left France. But, instead of following the example of Pate, he told the Deputy of Calais that he would rather come home and put himself in Henry's hands than live abroad and be called a traitor. And on reaching Canterbury he sent on a servant to Sittingbourne to inform Long that he was quite aware he was in wait to arrest him, as the fact had come to his ears even before he crossed the sea. Long, with true official mendacity, sent back word by his servant that he had no such commission, and repeated the denial even when they met. But Wallop was not to be imposed on. He said, weeping, that nothing grieved him so much as that the King considered him a false man; for if he had been conscious of a fault he could easily have conveyed himself away. He reached London on the 9th March, and, contrary to the original plan, was at once lodged in the Tower. (fn. 74)
Sir Thomas Palmer, porter of Calais, was certainly a man far less worthy of compassion than Wallop; but he, too, who had been ready only four years before to assassinate cardinal Pole to please the King (fn. 75), had become an object of the King's suspicion. And he, too, was lured over from Calais, much in the same way as it had been intended to lure Wallop from France—two of the King's council not hesitating to write to him that they had backed up his suit for extra remuneration for his services, but thought his own presence necessary to make good his claims. And though both Hertford and Maltravers, the lord Deputy, tried their best to avoid awaking his suspicions, he too, like Wallop, left Calais with serious forebodings that he was being led into a trap. (fn. 76)
The King was in a fretful condition. During the year 1540, he had become much more corpulent, (fn. 77) to cure which, apparently, he had instituted a new rule of living; and even when the days were getting near the shortest, he being then at Woking, began to rise between 5 and 6, hear mass at 7, and ride till 10 o'clock, which was his dinner hour. (fn. 78) But he was excessive in eating and drinking, and the old ailment in his leg again began to look dangerous. Prompt remedies were applied, and the danger passed away; when the indisposition under which he had laboured was only talked of as a passing fever. (fn. 79) His illness did not improve his temper, and his moods were variable. He would sometimes reproach his ministers with Cromwell's death, telling them that upon light pretences, and even by false accusations, they had caused him to put to death the most faithful servant he ever had. (fn. 80) And hearing that his subjects murmured at oppressive taxation, and invasion of these ancient liberties as well as persecution for religion, he said he had an unhappy people to govern, whom he would shortly make so poor that they would not dare oppose him. He also said that several of his own Privy Council, who professed to be devoted to him, were only temporising and studying their own profit; but he would thwart their projects. (fn. 81)
His illness compelled him to put off for a time a visit, which he intended to pay to Dover to view the new fortifications and works about the projected harbour, which it was found necessary to rebuild entirely, as they had proved quite unable to resist the strong currents of the Channel. Even elsewhere the works of defence hastily made two years before had to be made anew, as at Southampton and Portsmouth, where the new ramparts had fallen away. (fn. 82) But the King's chief anxiety was about the Northern frontier.
Already in January it had been arranged that the duke of Norfolk should go down to the Borders to see to the completion of those bulwarks and fortresses which he himself had caused to be begun two years before, and to have all of them furnished with artillery from Nottingham and gunners from the Tower. He bore the name of the King's lieutenant, and having a commission to take musters the Northern lords had notice to be ready when wanted, to join him at an hour's warning. He had also a commission to demand the surrender of English rebels lurking in Scotland, even though they should be churchmen. It is not clear what he did about this last matter; but as to the rest the work did not take him long. He left in the beginning of February and returned in the middle of March, having ordered some important changes, especially at Berwick, where the fortifications were to be reduced in extent that fewer men might guard them. These changes were probably suggested by the German engineer, Stephen von Haschenberg, lately employed at Calais, who was left to carry them out. (fn. 83)
This strengthening of the Scotch Borders was doubtless the more necessary as the issue of the negociations with France about the Cowswade could not be regarded as certain. The arrangement that Commissioners of both sides were to meet on the 2nd February was adhered to in fact, but it led to no result, and perhaps was not intended, on Henry's part, to lead to any. The earl of Hertford and Sir Edward Carne were appointed Commissioners on the English side as early as the 18th January, while Francis, on the 30th of the same month, commissioned Du Biez, the governor of Boulogne, and Ymbert de Saveuses, one of his masters of requests, to meet them. But the instructions given to Hertford, while containing an offensive remark, that the King had not appointed “borderers”—that is to say, local men like Du Biez — who might be prejudiced in the matters in dispute, had at least as much to do with examining the state of Calais and setting forward the fortifications as with terminating matters of controversy. And after the Commissioners had gone over, they were instructed to push the treaty rights of England even further than before, showing that the English had a claim to Ardres itself, which could only be met by a reference to the treaty of 1527, and that if the French stood upon that they must fulfil all its engagements, including the payment of Henry's pension which was greatly in arrear. Briefly, the English Commissioners returned in little more than a month without concluding anything. (fn. 84)
Francis was certainly afraid of a rupture, in which England might be joined by the Emperor. He conveniently thought of Henry's illness, and despatched the Sieur de Taix, a gentleman of his Chamber, to England to express his sympathy. Such kindness could not but be graciously acknowledged, and Marillac was persuaded that De Taix's brief visit had been admirably timed, not only to express the kind feelings of Francis, but also to remove an injurious impression among the English that the Scots, who were said to be making formidable musters for an invasion, had been stirred up by France. (fn. 85) Outside Marillac's correspondence there is no great evidence that any such apprehension was at this time entertained, and not only the King himself, but the duke of Norfolk, just returned from the Borders, admitted shortly afterwards that it was a false alarm. (fn. 86) We may safely say that it was an invention, having two distinct objects in view,—partly to elicit such assurances as would show how far Francis would go to avoid a quarrel,—partly to excuse the sending over of more pioneers to Calais and Guisnes. (fn. 87) De Taix was treated with the highest courtesy and shown the Tower and Hampton Court, (fn. 88) while Henry endeavoured to extract information from him touching the plans of Francis and to impart a good deal in return, tending to show that the Emperor had acted honourably towards the duke of Cleves, that King Ferdinand was succeeding in Hungary and would soon reduce Buda, and that the Turk would be called away by an alliance of the Sophi of Persia with the Khan of Tartary;—all, of course, most unacceptable news to the French, whose alliances with Cleves and with the Turk were intended to keep the Emperor as much as possible in check. (fn. 89)
It seems tolerably evident that the King's only object in assenting to the Commissions about the Cowswade had been to gain time to strengthen himself, not only at Guisnes but elsewhere as against France, while friendly intercourse was still maintained. And this policy he continued to pursue. He was very gracious to Marillac, at whose representation, apparently, he forbore to press at this time for payment of the alien subsidy; (fn. 90) but more pioneers were continually sent over to Calais, and the greatest diligence was used to finish the bulwarks. (fn. 91) In the end of March he was able to fulfil his purpose of visiting Dover to see to the fortifications there. But shortly before going he took the Queen with him publicly through London by the river to Greenwich, for the first time since their marriage; (fn. 92) and this triumphal progress was used as the occasion of an act of grace which was certainly an act of wisdom. The three State prisoners, Wyatt, Wallop, and Mason, were pardoned at the Queen's intercession. (fn. 93) Wyatt, indeed, notwithstanding an able vindication of himself, which he had prepared in prison, (fn. 94) was only released on a confession of his guilt (perhaps domestic, not political) and a promise that he would take back his wife, from whom he had been separated for 15 years, on pain of death if he were ever untrue to her again. (fn. 95) But Wallop's services were at this time too valuable to be lost; and not only was he pardoned, but he was immediately after appointed Captain of Guisnes. (fn. 96)
The new works at Dover apparently assisted those at Guisnes. Churches were pulled down at the former place, and their materials used for fortifications across the Channel. Pioneers at the same time continued to cross daily, and miners from Cornwall. (fn. 97) The French believed that things were tending to war, and Francis sent the duke of Vendôme into Picardy to watch occurrences; (fn. 98) while, on the other hand, about 150 horsemen were sent for from the North of England, to be employed at Calais. (fn. 99) In the midst of all this, however, Marillac was asked to a conference with the Privy Council, in which the duke of Norfolk, as spokesman of the rest, endeavoured to allay apprehensions by the most pacific assurances, giving the French ambassador to understand that there was much more fear in England of the amity being broken by Francis than there was any desire to break it on their part. His tone was so surprising, that Marillac could only account for it by the fact that the King had recently received news of a conspiracy in the North, which showed that he required all his strength to cope with domestic dangers, without provoking enmity abroad. (fn. 100)
This conspiracy is spoken of by Hall the Chronicler as a rebellion; but widespread as it was, it was quashed so soon that it scarcely seems to have deserved that name. A company, whose numbers were at first reported as about 50, but afterwards, apparently with greater truth, from 80 to 100 persons, of whom five (fn. 101) were priests, had planned to kill the bishop of Llandaff, President of the North, and take possession of Pomfret castle, on the occasion of a great fair that was held there on the eve of Palm Sunday (9th April). At such a gathering there was no doubt that the bitter feeling entertained all over the North of England at the savage measures of repression used in 1537 could easily have been fanned into a flame; and the attempt might have been attended with the most serious consequences. The conspirators, indeed, seem even to have hoped for aid from the Scots, who, it was said, would not meet with much resistance if war was declared against England. But the plot was revealed in time, and the ringleaders were punished with the usual severities. (fn. 102)
Councils had been held almost daily by the King for five or six months past,—a fact which Marillac had noted as meaning secret preparations for war. (fn. 103) But now there was domestic anxiety, which was not diminished by the news of a Scotch raid. (fn. 104) The King became most anxious to prevent irritation between the garrisons of Guisnes and Ardres, and sent over lords Southampton and Russell to Calais, mainly for the purpose of preventing broils, (fn. 105) although undoubtedly also for the making of fortifications, (fn. 106) and to watch what the duke of Vendôme was about in Picardy. (fn. 107) But as regards the North, Henry felt that he must go thither himself, with an imposing force of 4,000 or 5,000 horse, to make things secure. (fn. 108) Meanwhile, the earls of Westmoreland and Cumberland received orders secretly to get men ready for any emergency. (fn. 109)
Another thing was to be done before the King went Northwards, in order to strike dismay into the hearts of all who repined at his government, and that was to clear the Tower of prisoners of State. And first, the old countess of Salisbury, who had been attainted in 1539 without having been brought to trial—a woman universally esteemed for her goodness, and whom Henry himself had once venerated as his own mother (fn. 110) —was beheaded within the fortress on the 28th May, in presence of the lord mayor and a select body of witnesses, (fn. 111) so privately that the act, which was done at 7 in the morning, was not believed by everyone in the evening of the same day. (fn. 112) Well might people doubt such a flagrant atrocity! When told that she was to die, she said it was very strange, as she herself knew not what crime she had committed, but she walked quietly to the block (there was no scaffold), commended her soul to God, and desired the bystanders to pray for the King, Queen, Prince, and Princess. Then her head was hacked off by a clumsy inexperienced executioner. At the same time some gentleman was executed, whom Marillac erroneously suspected to be lord Leonard Grey. Lord Leonard's time was to come, but it was just one month later, on the 28th June. As he had not been attainted by Parliament, he had a regular trial by his peers three days previously—a resumption of old usages, as it seemed to Marillac. (fn. 113) On the day before his death lord Dacre of the South—a wealthy and popular nobleman, was put upon his trial on a charge of murder arising out of a case of illegal hunting, which had led to a fray. His case excited the strongest sympathy, and we know from a private letter that the lords appointed to try him (who, it appears, discussed the case before going into court, to arrange about their finding!) had loud altercations about it, several declaring that they would never agree to a verdict of wilful murder, till at last, by some magic, objections ceased, and they became unanimous. On the trial Dacre pleaded Not guilty, but on being confronted with the admissions of his associates, who had been already condemned for the same matter, he, apparently in hope of mercy, withdrew his plea and confessed the indictment. He received judgment to be hanged, and was executed at Tyburn like a common felon. (fn. 114)
As this was not a political case, and yet the severity exercised both as to lord Dacre himself and also to three of his companions, who were hanged at St. Thomas of Waterings, (fn. 115) excited great compassion, these executions may, perhaps, be considered simply as evidence of a desire on the King's part to break the spirit of the nobility by a rigorous enforcement of law, regardless of persons, or even of extenuating pleas. If so, it was perhaps politic, terror having done its work, to spare some of the remaining political prisoners. The same day that lord Dacre was arraigned lord Lisle was likewise expected to appear before the Star Chamber. His case had been regarded as no less serious than that of lord Leonard; and it was doubted whether pardon could be procured even for young Henry Pole, the son of lord Montague. (fn. 116) As early as the 28th May the heads had been taken down from London Bridge, perhaps, as Marillac supposed, that people might forget the sufferers, but that it seemed likely they were to make way for new heads. (fn. 117) But lord Lisle's life was spared for the present. (fn. 118) He was only kept in the Tower till the following year, when it is said he died for joy at an unexpected pardon. Young Henry Pole, too, was probably spared, and young Edward Courtenay, son of the marquis of Exeter, lived on, as is well known, to the reign of queen Mary.
On the last day of June the King commenced his progress Northwards. The weather proved most unseasonably cold and stormy, with heavy rains, which flooded the roads and made transport extremely difficult. By the middle of July he had only reached Grafton Regis, in Northamptonshire, where apparently he was compelled to stay from the 15th to the 21st. (fn. 119) The Queen, too, it was said, was a little unwell, and it was thought in London that the progress was on the point of being given up but for the great preparations made for it in the country by the dukes of Suffolk and Norfolk. On the 22nd the royal party had reached Northampton, (fn. 120) and on the 24th Pipwell, (fn. 121) where the King made answer next day to the Scotch ambassador, Thomas Bellenden, sent by James with some complaints about safe conducts and about delivery of rebels. (fn. 122) Even in the beginning of August the King had not got out of Northamptonshire, but staid at Colly Weston from the 2nd to the 5th. (fn. 123) On the 9th he made a stately entry into Lincoln with the Queen, and left for Gainsborough on the 12th. (fn. 124) Of his battues of deer upon this progress a brief description is given by Marillac, not much calculated to win admiration; but no doubt he gained some popularity by sharing the carcases with the neighbouring gentry. (fn. 125)
On entering Yorkshire the country gentlemen flocked to meet him; and while those who had remained loyal during the rebellion had a gracious welcome, the others, including the Archbishop of York, made their submission before him on their knees. One of them (Sir Robert Bowes, as we learn from Hall) made a long address to him in behalf of them all, confessing their treason in marching against their sovereign, thanking him for having pardoned so great an offence, and hoping that he would now dismiss from his mind any remains of his just indignation. Henry returned a gracious answer, (fn. 126) and they accompanied him to his lodging. (fn. 127)
On the 27th August the King wrote from Pomfret an important letter to James V. which demands some words of comment. Bellenden had no doubt speedily returned to Scotland with the answer made to him at Pipwell on the 25th July. But James replied only on the 21st August from Falkland, and his answer had evidently been carefully considered beforehand. He not only acknowledged receipt of the “writings” brought by Bellenden, but said that he had heard his credence—that is to say, his unwritten message—which was to his “singular comfort.” Some points in it, however, required consultation, and he proposed sending to Henry some of his councillors to remove difficulties which might endanger the conservation of peace. (fn. 128) This letter was conveyed by Ross herald, who appears to have been charged with a credence in return, the nature of which we learn from Henry's answer dated on the 27th, and from another letter written the same day by two of his councillors. James, it would seem, had intimated, with what sort of reservations we know not, in this verbal message, that he would be glad to have a personal meeting with Henry. But this was certainly not his own suggestion; it must have been mooted first by Henry himself, and no doubt formed part of the credence which Bellenden carried back with him to Scotland in July. The reply, however, was all that Henry could have expected; it was civil, and might be construed as favourable. And Henry did not mean to let the subject drop. In his letter of the 27th he expressed great satisfaction that James intended to send some of his Council to England, and hoped that he would hasten their despatch; for he was awaiting James's answer in the North, far away from his ordinary haunts, and the time of year would soon be inconvenient for “the ladies” to travel. But the meaning of this is more clearly seen in the letter of his two councillors written on the same day to Bellenden; in which they state that the King had informed them of James's desire to meet with him, (fn. 129) and regret that such a meeting should be put off till ambassadors were sent in the first place. Surely James could come to England with far less danger than he incurred in going to France. He would have no sea to cross; he would go, not to a stranger, but to his own uncle; and if the matter were put off it might make men think the message was not sincere, and create unkindness. (fn. 130)
Could Henry really have expected James to come? We know what Cardinal Beton said about the matter in France, and though it is not safe to say that Beton left Scotland after Bellenden's return, (fn. 131) it was certainly near about the time. Henry, he said, was making great instance with the King of Scotland for an interview, and no doubt he would even go into Scotland to meet him; if James refused, it was only too probable that he would make war upon him. (fn. 132) This Beton told the nuncio in France on the 1st September, but it was not that he himself had received the news in France, for it appears that before he crossed the sea he had obtained a promise from James not to go into England until he had an answer from France to a message conveyed thither by the Cardinal himself. (fn. 133) It is quite clear, therefore, that James was suspicious of the object of this interview proposed by Henry, and was looking out for French aid (which Beton was sedulously endeavouring to procure for him) (fn. 134) in case the proposal led to war. Indeed, Henry's pretence of cordiality and affection was a little too transparent, following, as it did, close upon the heels of Scottish complaints by no means fully redressed and differences not apparently quite in the way of settlement. Nor did it seem a likely thing in itself, as Marillac observed, that such an interview would take place, considering the strong mistrust of the English entertained North of Tweed. Indeed, Norfolk himself confessed to Marillac that if James did go it would be against the advice of his bishops; but that, he insinuated, was because they feared James would imitate Henry's example in appropriating Church property, which he was so much inclined to do that Cardinal Beton in alarm had withdrawn himself to France! (fn. 135)
Henry, in fact, caused Sir Thomas Wharton to send spies into Scotland to ascertain if James were really likely to come, and all the intelligence obtained showed that there was no likelihood of his coming at all. (fn. 136) This answer the King must have anticipated; yet he informed the Council in London that James by one of his most secret councillors had made “an overture” to him for a meeting, and that he was going to make a longer abode in the North than he had at first intended in order to receive him at York. (fn. 137) Great supplies of wine, also, came daily from London down to Yorkshire as if to provide good cheer at the royal meeting; (fn. 138) the fame of which was soon spread abroad, especially in France, as it was no doubt the King's intention that it should be. But Beton was able perfectly to reassure Francis on the subject, (fn. 139) and James was very careful not to commit himself. On the 2nd September he politely answered Henry's letter from Pomfret, saying that he would take care to expedite the sending of his councillors, but Henry need not alter his travelling arrangements on that account, for they would not fail to find him in any part of his realm. (fn. 140) At the end of the same month Wharton had learned that their despatch was delayed until the arrival of news from Cardinal Beton in France, (fn. 141) and it was not till the 8th October that James wrote to Henry to grant them a passport, the persons he had appointed being bishop Stewart of Aberdeen, Robert Reid bishop elect of Orkney, Sir John Campbell of Lundy, and Thomas Bellenden. (fn. 142)
Henry, however, did alter the programme of his journey on the pretence that he expected a visit from James at York, and he only arrived there in the middle of September, (fn. 143) when, according to the original plan, he should have been halfway back to London. He had set 1,200 or 1,500 workmen busy night and day to furnish an old abbey (perhaps St. Leonard's Priory outside York is meant), adding tents and pavilions for some great expected occasion. It might be a royal interview; it might be the coronation of the Queen, which it was rumoured would, perhaps, take place at York, and if she had a son he would be duke of York—intimations which naturally interested the good citizens not a little. (fn. 144) He made a proclamation on the 20th that any one who had failed to receive justice from the Council of the North should have free access to himself and his Council during their abode in those parts. On the 27th he left and returned Southwards, not caring, apparently, to wait for King James any longer. (fn. 145)
In the beginning of October he was at Hull, where he granted certain privileges to the town and had plans drawn up for its fortification. (fn. 146) He returned through Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire again and was by the end of the month at Cheneys, Windsor, and Hampton Court. (fn. 147) A startling revelation awaited him almost immediately after his return. While he was away one John Lassels had gone to the Archbishop of Canterbury and informed him that he had recommended a married sister of his in Sussex to seek for service with the Queen, as she had been servant to the old Duchess of Norfolk by whom Katharine Howard was brought up. She said she would not, but was very sorry for the Queen. Her brother asked why, and she told him that she was light in her behaviour; for one Francis Dereham had lain in bed with her in his doublet and hose a hundred nights, and one Mannock, a musician in the service of the Duchess, knew a privy mark on her body. This was fearful intelligence, almost as dangerous to reveal as to conceal, and the Archbishop consulted the Lord Chancellor and the Earl of Hertford what to do about it. Revealed the dreadful secret must be, and by joint advice the Archbishop put the matter before the King in writing after mass on All Souls day (2 Nov.). The King would not believe it at first and apparently pondered the matter for three days before determining what to do; but on the 5th (according to Chapuys) he ordered his barge after dinner and rowed down the river to London, leaving Cranmer and others of the Council at Hampton Court to pursue investigations, the result of which was only too convincing. (fn. 148) Apparently he disguised his feelings, for till Saturday the 6th, Marillac says, he was as gay as ever with the ladies at Hampton Court; and by Marillac's account (which seems to be more accurate) it was not that day but the following day, Sunday the 6th, that he removed very secretly to London, after going out to dine in the fields, on a pretext of hunting, but really to have a private conference with Norfolk and the Chancellor who had come that morning on a summons sent out to them at midnight. Even on Saturday following Marillac had not clearly made out what was the matter, but suspected a new divorce was intended and hoped that Henry might be got to take back Anne of Cleves and ally himself with France against the Emperor. (fn. 149)
Meanwhile on the 5th Mary Lassels had been examined by the earl of Southampton, lord Privy Seal, and Manox by Cranmer and Wriothesley the same day at Lambeth. Mary Lassels deposed from her own knowledge as to Katharine's misconduct with Manox, which she herself had witnessed when in the old duchess of Norfolk's service, but as to Dereham her evidence was second-hand. She gave, however, the names of other witnesses in both cases, In examining Manox Cranmer seemed rightly anxious to ascertain that he did not accuse Dereham from malice. But Manox's confession was tolerably frank. He had fallen in love with Katharine about five years previously when engaged by the old Duchess of Norfolk to teach her to play the virginals. Once the Duchess found them alone together and gave Katharine two or three blows, forbidding them ever to be alone together again. Then Dereham, who was the Duchess's kinsman, and Edward Walgrave, who was in love with another maid, used to haunt Katharine's chamber nightly and banquet there till 2 or 3 in the morning. This was naturally too much for Manox, and he sent an anonymous letter to the Duchess to enable her to detect what was going on. The Duchess, however, merely stormed, and Katharine stole the letter and showed it to Dereham, who suspected the author and called him knave. (fn. 150)
Cranmer then put the matter to the Queen herself, who went nearly frantic at the exposure of her guilt. The Archbishop, however, was authorised, when he had sufficiently impressed her with a sense of her demerits and the justice of the laws, to communicate a promise of mercy from the King, and, finding it needless to terrify her further, began with that. Her emotion seemed even to increase; “this sudden mercy,” she said, made her offences seem still more heinous. (fn. 151) There was good reason why she should feel this.
Order was given that she should be removed from Hampton Court to Syon on Monday the 14th. (fn. 152) Meanwhile, on the 13th came new disclosures which really might almost have justified the revocation of any promise of mercy the King had hitherto given. For Katharine Tylney, a relation, no doubt, of the old duchess of Norfolk, who had accompanied the Court in the Royal progress as a chamber attendant, deposed that at Lincoln the Queen had resorted two nights to lady Rochford's chamber, and that she herself had been sent on very mysterious messages to lady Rochford when the Court was at Grimsthorpe, the duke of Suffolk's place, on the journey to York, and afterwards at Hampton Court since its return. (fn. 153) And presently it appeared by other testimony, including that of lady Rochford herself, that the Queen had arranged meetings at night with one Thomas Culpeper in lady Rochford's chamber. So here was a third paramour; and this gave quite a new aspect to the case, for what had taken place before her marriage with the King would no doubt have justified a divorce, but adultery after her marriage was a much more serious matter. (fn. 154) We need not continue the story of these miserable intrigues. Culpeper and Dereham were tried for treason at the Guildhall on the 1st December, (fn. 155) and were executed at Tyburn, as chroniclers show, on the 10th. (fn. 156) Their places in the Tower were immediately filled by the duchess of Norfolk, lord William Howard and his wife, and his sister lady Bridgewater, the Duchess having been closely questioned beforehand as to her knowledge of her unhappy granddaughter's misconduct. (fn. 157) Lord William and his wife and a number of others were before Christmas found guilty of misprision. (fn. 158) The old Duchess and lady Bridgewater were reserved for attainder after the New Year in Parliament, and the Queen and lady Rochford likewise.
So the year 1541 closed for Henry VIII. with shame and humiliation that he had never known before, and which almost drove him mad. (fn. 159) But we must very briefly notice one or two further subjects, old and new, which the necessity of a continuous narrative has obliged us to pass over. The Cowswade question was still purposely kept unsettled, the Frenchmen, as Wallop clearly saw, being careful to avoid offence, while the English were as busy as ever fortifying Calais. (fn. 160) The commercial difficulties with the Low Countries arising out of the retaliatory edict were the subject of very long negotiations by Carne and Vaughan at the Court of Mary of Hungary, and of numerous conferences in England between Chapuys and the King or his councillors, which the student may examine for himself in detail. (fn. 161) The Regent of the Netherlands maintained her ground; the edict was quite as justifiable as the English Act of Parliament; if Henry would revoke the one she would revoke the other. But she suggested that a new commercial treaty might be made—a project to which Henry would not for a moment listen, the existing treaty being already unduly favourable to England—and Chapuys recommended a revival of old ordinances against foreign vessels and foreign manufactures in Spain, to bring the English to their senses. By the end of the year no concession had been made on either side. Yet Henry had proposed a treaty of closer amity with the Emperor, which Chapuys believed that he fully desired, though he was in doubt how far he could trust the Emperor's friendship now that he was separated from the Holy See. (fn. 162)
Henry was equally liberal in proposals of closer amity with France; but he took care that they did not come direct from himself. A curious chapter in diplomacy was opened in the spring by the conversations of Norfolk with Marillac on this subject. The pretences on both sides were ludicrous. Norfolk would come to Marillac as in the strictest secrecy, declaring he was quite unpopular with the Council for his French leanings and afraid of being noted as having converse with the French ambassador. Marillac was not deceived about this; but he got authority from Francis (though he was enjoined to be very careful to conceal it) to suggest a marriage between the duke of Orleans and that daughter of Henry who was held to be legitimate,—which apparently he supposed that Elizabeth was. Marillac sounded Norfolk on the subject, and the duke told him that Anne Boleyn's daughter was not to be thought of, her mother having left such a bad name behind her, but that he would gladly advance a marriage with Mary, for, though she was illegitimate, he might tell the ambassador as a great secret, the King and Council had arranged that she should succeed in default of heirs male. In September Francis seemed really rather taken with the project, and desired Marillac to take an opportunity of seeing Mary, and report upon her personal qualities; of which he accordingly gives an interesting description in one despatch. (fn. 163) But when matters seemed to be coming near the point, Norfolk became more cautious and wished others taken into counsel; and though the project continued to be talked of into the following year, nothing really came of it, except (what was, of course, the great object from the first) that the King was able to make use of it to the Imperial ambassador to show how highly Francis would value his alliance. (fn. 164)
Some features of the story are rather amusing. Francis had notified to Marillac that he could send no powers to conclude the matter till it was more advanced, as he had a secret treaty with the Emperor that neither should treat with England without the other's knowledge, and nothing would serve Henry's purpose better to sever the two princes than to show that Francis had actually given such a power. (fn. 165) Yet Norfolk complained to Marillac that the match was spoken about in France just after the King had communicated information of these French overtures to Chapuys. (fn. 166) Of course this was only a ruse to cover the breach of confidence on the King's part. The overtures, however, were no secrets to Chapuys. He had been fully informed of every step in the negotiation, having been furnished by a treacherous secretary of Marillac with copies of all the ciphered despatches of Francis I. to his master and of some which Marillac had written in reply. The very letters in which Francis instructed his ambassador how to avert any suspicions of the English that the proposal for the match came from him,—nay, the still more confidential cipher in which he said he could give no powers to negotiate till the affair was more mature in consequence of his secret treaty with the Emperor—were all copied for the Imperial ambassador, and he had read every word of them. (fn. 167) Strange that the worn-out invalid, whom Marillac considered so utterly ineffective in diplomacy, should have made himself master of all his secrets! But so it was. Chapuys, no doubt, was too ill to follow the King in his progress, and Marillac might congratulate himself that he was the only ambassador privileged to accompany the Court, (fn. 168) but Chapuys knew much more of Marillac's correspondence than Marillac could have discovered in Bridewell palace of Chapuys's.
Ill-will was growing up in secret between Francis and the Emperor, and things were taking place abroad destined to bring forth evil fruit next year. Even in October Marillac's “man” informed Chapuys that he had seen letters to his master from a French Secretary of State, showing that Francis intended invading the Netherlands next spring, now that he was secure of the help of the duke of Cleves. (fn. 169)
As to occurrences abroad referred in this Volume, where they are not immediately connected with English history, we must here content ourselves with the briefest possible mention of them. And events in Scotland must likewise be so treated, though the death of James V.'s two infant children, (fn. 170) followed not long afterwards by that of his mother, queen Margaret, (fn. 171) may be said to have a domestic interest. Of the diets of Worms and of Ratisbon we have notices so abundant that we must refer our readers on these subjects to the Index. Nor is there any lack of references to the Turk in Hungary, the siege of Buda which he compelled Ferdinand to raise, the capture of Pesth, and the truce taken till St. George's day. (fn. 172) Frequent mention will also be found of that great outrage, the capture of Fregoso and Rincon, on which Francis solicited an opinion from Henry VIII. (fn. 173) And, finally, the Emperor's visit to Italy, (fn. 174) his conference with the Pope at Lucca, (fn. 175) and his disastrous expedition to Africa (fn. 176) are all referred to in these papers.
First, the erection of new bishoprics and remodelling of old ones by virtue of powers given to the Crown in 1539, (fn. 177) were at length being carried out, though by no means on the scale suggested in any of the schemes first drawn up. (fn. 178) Westminster was made a bishopric on the 17th December 1540. (fn. 179) Winchester Cathedral, which from being a priory had already been converted into a deanery and chapter, (fn. 180) received on the 1st May 1541, a considerable reëndowment of its own monastic lands and some others with them. (fn. 181) Bristol was made a bishopric on the 6th of the same month, (fn. 182) and Carlisle on the same day had a reëndowment like that of Winchester on being converted from a monastic into a capitular body. (fn. 183) The priory of Holy Trinity, Dublin (now generally known as Christ-church Cathedral), received similar treatment on the 10th. (fn. 184) Rochester was in like manner reconstituted on the 18th June. (fn. 185) Chester was made a bishopric on the 4th August, (fn. 186) Gloucester and Peterborough each on the 4th September. (fn. 187) Canterbury, which had already been reconstituted with a dean and chapter, (fn. 188) was reëndowed on the 23rd May. (fn. 189) Another new bishopric, that of Oxford, was not founded till the following year.
Other matters affecting religion at this time, such as the proclamation about Bibles (No. 803) and that about Saints' days (No. 1022) are sufficiently well-known; as is also the circular to the Bishops for the destruction of shrines and removal of relics (Nos. 1233, 1262). Apparently there were precious things still to be got from the tombs of Saints, and courtiers talked of enclosing the bones in stone monuments out of sight, which they said would preserve them in a more becoming manner. (fn. 190) Not altogether unknown, either, is the case of the two Spanish enthusiasts arrested at Salisbury and sent before the Council in London, one of whom considered that he had a divine mission to remonstrate with the English on their errors. But three more documents relating to them will be found in this volume, besides the letter printed in the State Papers. (fn. 191)
But the King, with all the autocratic power with which he was now invested, would not have been left free to work out ecclesiastical and other changes unless he had been relieved at this time, more than might have been expected, of anxiety with regard to Ireland. Happily for him it would have suited neither the Emperor nor Francis to tamper with the allegiance of his Irish subjects, and the Pope could not have done so without the aid of temporal Princes. Moreover, Henry was fortunate in the man whom he had sent thither to replace lord Leonard Grey. The reader has seen in the last Volume (fn. 192) that the immediate effect of lord Leonard's recall had been to stimulate to renewed disturbances the Tooles, the Kavenaghs, O'Connor and O'Neil. Sir Anthony St. Leger, his successor, knew both how to compel submissions, when necessary, and to win them by compromise when expedient. On his arrival in August 1540 he found that the Council had succeeded in restoring comparative quiet, except in the case of the Kavenaghs and McMorogh. A ten days' expedition south of Dublin brought about (for some time, at least) a most complete submission, in which they agreed to renounce the name of McMorogh and hold their lands of the King. (fn. 193) A “new hosting” was then found necessary against O'Connor and his adherents in Leix, now Queen's County. It, too, was successful, and the Council determined to proceed to the extirpation of the “savage Tooles” (or O'Tooles rather), who occupied those almost inaccessible ravines in the northern part of Wicklow, which now form such delightful half-day's excursions from Dublin. (fn. 194) They were dangerous neighbours to the Pale; but St. Leger knew how to procure their submission by compromise, and the King agreed to grant Tirlogh O'Toole lands to hold of the Crown that he might not molest the English. The chief himself went over to the King in England, and was despatched back again “in such sort as to induce others to do their duty.” (fn. 195)
A good beginning was thus made towards a settlement of the province of Leinster; and plans for its future government were laid before the King. The task had been smoothed already by the confiscation of the revenues of the Knights of St. John, and the easy surrender made by the head of the Order, Sir John Rawson, prior of Kilmainham, whose services in Parliament being too valuable to be lost, the King not only pensioned him but created him Viscount Clontarf. (fn. 196) It was thought in Ireland that he would make an admirable great master to rule the province; but the King did not approve the plan. St. Leger, however, was allowed to go on making compositions with Irish chieftains; and he no less wisely than honourably, and, moreover, successfully, remonstrated against instructions which would have amounted to a breach of faith with O'Connor, after he had shown himself submissive. (fn. 197) James FitzJohn who also made his submission was now admitted to be earl of Desmond, (fn. 198) for his cousin James FitzMaurice, whom the King had recognised as the true earl in 1539 had been murdered in March 1540. (fn. 199) McWilliam de Burgh, too, wrote to the King submissively on the 12th March, having been put in hopes of an earldom; (fn. 200) and the work went on in later months pretty smoothly. Even in the North O'Donnel made his submission like de Burgh in hope of an earldom; (fn. 201) but a fruitless invasion of O'Neil's country had to be made in the autumn. (fn. 202) On the whole, however, the work was really well done, and the King, though warned at the outset that it would be expensive, did not spare expense to do it thoroughly. (fn. 203)
But one thing more was thought advisable. The King's title must be changed from “lord of Ireland” into “King.” The lordship of Ireland had been granted to Henry II. and his successors by the Pope, who was consequently regarded by the Irish as the real King of the Island. For this reason, in December 1540 the Deputy and Council had already advised the change, (fn. 204) which, after the usual reference to the King's Council in England, was enacted in the Irish Parliament in June 1541. The Royal Assent was given to it by the Deputy on Saturday, the 18th June, and the new title was proclaimed in Dublin on the following day. It was necessary, therefore, to make a similar change of style in England; but the King himself was not wholly satisfied. Was he King of Ireland already by his own right, or was the title conferred upon him by election merely? He had evidently no desire to be dependent on his own subjects for anything. Moreover, the new title might be expensive, and St. Leger ought to have taken care before passing it that there were sufficient revenues to support it. No fundamental objections, however, could be raised after the title had been proclaimed in Dublin; the question was merely in what form it should be proclaimed in England. Henry caused the Irish Act to be amended and made more explicit before returning it to Ireland with the Great Seal of England attached, to be passed in its improved form. Meanwhile, the business of the Chancery and the Exchequer in England was for some little time suspended, pending the publication of the new title; which, however, was not proclaimed in England till January of the following year. Instructions were sent to Ireland that the style should henceforth be “King of England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and in Earth, immediately under Christ, Supreme Head of the Churches of England and Ireland.” (fn. 205)
There is much in a name, sometimes; and the Irish Council certainly felt that there was much in this case. In reply to the King, St. Leger said that the assertion of his full sovereignty was, in the opinion of the Council, one of the best ways of enhancing the revenue. He doubtless felt that it was all the more important at a time when Irish chieftains were beginning to submit to Henry VIII., every one of whom, on his submission, renounced the authority of “the Bishop of Rome” as completely as any English subject. (fn. 206)