Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 19 Part 2, August-December 1544. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1905.
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By the treaty which Ferdinand de Gonzaga, Viceroy of Sicily, had made with Henry VIII.'s ministers in England in December 1543 it was arranged that the Emperor and the King should each invade France in person, or, in case of illness, by a lieutenant, before the 20th June 1544. The Emperor was to enter the country by Champagne, the King by Picardy, and the two armies were to converge on Paris. Each was to consist of 35,000 foot and 7,000 horse, provided the King on his side could furnish such a number by including German mercenaries, of whom the Emperor promised to supply him with 2,000 horse and 2,000 foot; and each prince was to equip ships furnished with 2,000 men, who were to keep the Narrow Seas together at the time the forces were moved across, both going and returning. (fn. n1)
The arrangement for the personal invasion was not kept to the day on either side. As the time approached, indeed, each Sovereign became particularly anxious not only to release the other from his obligation, but even to dissuade him from going in person. Paget had been sent over to the Emperor in May to arrange about their mutual obligations. (fn. n2) The Emperor begged Henry very earnestly to consider his state of health and the great importance of such a life, not only to his own subjects but to the whole of Christendom. In his own case he did not feel that he had the same excuse, merely on the score of gout, when all the world knew that he had come from Spain expressly to succour his dominions. Besides, he was pledged to the Estates of the Empire to go in person. But Henry replied that he was sure the Estates of the Empire would release him from his pledge, not only for certain reasons laid before him by the English ambassadors, but considering how much more dangerous the expedition was than had been previously supposed. For the French King was marvellously reinforced and had begun to lay waste the victuals. And what the Emperor had urged about Henry's illness, Henry considered was far more relevant to his own; for the King's malady was only of an accidental character, and was not sure to return like the Emperor's gout, the regular season for which was the autumn. Moreover to venture into France in person before he had already gained ground there to secure his flanks and the free passage of victuals would not be prudent; it would be far more advantageous to take two or three frontier places that even to burn Paris. And the Emperor need not expect that the French people would rebel or assist the invading army; for Frenchmen were never known to be so disloyal. (fn. n3)
Another reason put forward by the Emperor as imperatively requiring his presence with the invading army was that it was composed of different nations, and discipline could not be kept up except under his direct supervision. But the King endeavoured to show that this was rather an argument the contrary way. He insinuated that the Emperor would be illadvised to place himself among such a diversity of chiefs; and, striving even to exaggerate the danger, told Chapuys rather ungraciously that many of the men raised by the Emperor had deserted—that in Lorraine the French had occupied Nanci and in Italy nearly the whole marquisate of Montferrat—and that the men of Mirandola had joined those of Piedmont. (fn. n4)
Such were the remonstrances on either side early in June, just before the date agreed upon for the invasion. It was clearly a war which for the objects of either Prince required to be personally conducted. On the Emperor's side it was certainly for the safeguard of his dominions, attacked originally by France and still harassed continually. But as regards England this could not be said. The war into which Henry entered was a war in his own behalf, not even for the interests of his country, which he pretty well drained of its resources in carrying it on. He had, no doubt, a personal grievance against Francis, who had for years withheld his stipulated pension; but this reason alone could scarcely have induced him to enter on such a costly war. As for the people, they simply took it generally as a matter of course. There was always enough national prejudice against France and against the Scots; and the King was only proceeding on old lines of policy to cripple the power of the latter first and the former afterwards. But how hard the work would be, even if there were no misgivings as to its justice, none but experienced soldiers knew; and experienced soldiers did not feel it their business to remonstrate. It was all the King's affair. The Emperor was his ally for the present, even against the Pope, and it was from France and Scotland alone that he had anything to dread as to the enforcement of the papal excommunication.
Early in June the Emperor was still at Spires. He only reached Metz in Lorraine on the 16th, (fn. n5) four days before the date fixed by the treaty for invading France. Yet there he remained till the 6th July, when he left for Toul on his way to the camp which lay before S. Dizier. (fn. n6) Already Commercy and Ligny had surrendered to his advancing army, with some minor places as well; (fn. n7) and some time after his arrival they also captured Vitry, thereby not only defeating an attempt to relieve S. Dizier but obtaining the command of the Marne as far as Chalons. (fn. n8) But the siege of S. Dizier continued for weeks, and was attended with the loss of the Prince of Orange, who was killed just after the Emperor's arrival. (fn. n9) It was going on when the King crossed to Calais, and the town held out bravely till the 9th August, when it agreed to surrender unless relieved by Sunday the 17th, and so fell into the Emperor's hands. (fn. n10)
Henry had crossed to Calais on the 14 July, and it must have been within three days of his arrival at the utmost that the Sieur de St. Martin was brought to his presence, who informed him of the very great concessions, Francis was willing to make for peace with England. (fn. n11) On the 20th Francis despatched Framozelles to Henry from St. Maur with assurances very much in accordance with those intimated by St. Martin. (fn. n12) An excellent excuse for approaching the King was that he could say with truth that he had a wife shut up in Boulogne who was in the family way, and he was urgent for a passport to get her out. (fn. n13) This did not blind the vigilance of De Courrières, who made careful inquiries about him. The King gave Framozelles an audience on Friday the 1 August. (fn. n14) But he dismissed him with an answer than which, as he reported it to De Courrières, nothing could be more straightforward. He had bidden him tell the French King that even if he were to offer him half his kingdom Henry would never think of treating unless the Emperor were first satisfied. Framozelles, according to Henry, replied that his master would sooner die than speak of peace to the Emperor. But when Framozelles asked what else could be done, the King offered to write to the Emperor to inform him what terms he would require for his part, and he could communicate them to Francis. (fn. n15) He wrote in fact on the 5th to his Ambassador Wotton to lay the case before the Emperor, proposing that each of the two Sovereigns should formulate the demands he was disposed to ask from the French King, that they might act in concert. (fn. n16) Next day, Chapuys came to him in the camp before Boulogne, from St. Omer, on a special message from the Queen of Hungary, and he repeated to him all that he had already said to De Courrières about his dismissal of Framozelles. (fn. n17)
Meanwhile the Emperor himself was very much inclined to give an ear to French proposals; and no doubt he was all the more so from the language used by the English Council about Landenberg, when they said they cared not if he joined the French. Chapuys had written to the Emperor that he considered Henry was feeling severely the expenses of the war, and would have no mind to carry it on for a longer period than he was already bound to do. When pressed to fulfil his engagements by leading on his army to Paris he answered nothing; and the Emperor said it was evident that he had no intention to do anything of the kind. The King, indeed, found plausible reasons for laying the blame at the Emperor's door. His own army had entered France within the time prescribed, while the Emperor's had not; but his men could not march forward when at the very entrance into the country they were left to die of hunger and thirst; for they had not been able to get necessary supplies out of the Low Countries, and for three or four days they had had nothing to drink but water. Chapuys pointed out in reply that this was greatly owing to defective arrangements on the part of the English themselves, and still more to the debased coinage which the men expected to be taken at even a higher rate than the old. Chapuys's information quite convinced the Emperor that his ally would give him no very material assistance in the campaign. (fn. n18) As for Henry he had his plans, no doubt, and pursued them with his wonted energy. In June, on learning that the Emperor had gained a great advantage in Italy by the defeat of Pietro Strozzi, he seemed all the more bent on leading his army in person. (fn. n19) On the 7 July while still in London, and while complaining to Chapuys in the way we have shown of the difficulty his army had in getting supplies from the Low Countries, he also informed him in confidence that he intended to essay the capture of Montreuil; (fn. n20) but this Chapuys had already discovered more than a week before from the language of the Duke of Suffolk. (fn. n21) Of course, such a project, if it involved a siege, made an advance on Paris all the more unlikely; and Chapuys pointed out, that unless the thing could be effected suddenly, it would be distinctly opposed to the agreed plan of operations against the enemy. Two years before, when the relations between England and France were ostensibly friendly, Chapuys had been himself the medium of submitting to Henry VIII. a project which De Roeulx had formed for surprising Montreuil with the aid of 4,000 English soldiers in addition to a force to be raised in Artois, and the King liked it amazingly. (fn. n22) But presently the Duke of Vendôme came down into Artois and captured Tournehem;so that the move did not then seem quite so feasible. Now the idea was again revived by De Roeulx, who sent a message to Norfolk on the 10 June suggesting that unless the French could put 7,000 or 8,000 men into the town Montreuil might be won by a siege more easily than Ardres or Boulogne. (fn. n23) He himself promised with a good body of horse and foot to protect the supply of victuals from Flanders. Norfolk got de Roeulx to dine with him on the 14th and discuss alternative plans for the English army; and De Roeulx was clear that unless the French could put into the town more than 2,000 men, it might be captured in four or five days. This advice Norfolk communicated to the Council, who on the 20 June gave him express authority to besiege Montreuil. (fn. n24) The Duke, though by no means sure of winning it, obeyed; but it was not long before the difficulty of the task became apparent. Montreuil could not be surrounded—the enemy were in too great force for that; and in spite of the opposition of Lord Russell, it was determined to lay the siege on one side only. (fn. n25) Lord Russell declared that he had never heard of a town being won that was not fully invested; and when de Roeulx himself perfectly admitted that the French King could at anytime make it impregnable, the wisdom of so besieging it was not apparent. It would seem, Lord Russell observed, that the Imperialists cared not whether the English won the town or not, so long as they lay "as a defence and buckler" to protect the Low Countries. De Roeulx, moreover, and the Lady Regent had not kept their promises as to the supply of victuals. Norfolk's ward was suffering from the great scarcity of provisions, and were drinking nothing but water. Russell's advice—exactly the opposite of that given by De Roeulx—was that Boulogne and Ardres would be far more easily won than the place that they were going to besiege. Writing privately to Sir Anthony Browne, Russell shrewdly added that this was his fourth "voyage" he had seen the King make into France and yet he had not a foot more ground in that kingdom than he held forty years before. (fn. n26)
Even the way to Montreuil was not made as easy for them as it should have been. On the 4 July Norfolk wrote from his moving camp that they might have been there three or four days before but that their guides took them up and down hills and through hedges, woods and marshes, all to lodge them on French ground and save their own friends. De Roeulx and Buren and the Count de Wymes arranged to bring them that day to within two miles of Montreuil; but Surrey, Cheyney and Poynings being sent to view the place of the proposed encampment found it destitute of grass and forage and the way to it impracticable. The Duke wrote sharp letters to the Queen Regent, for the army was suffering severe privations; yet he durst not speak his mind too openly to his Flemish companions lest they should cut off his supplies altogether. But neither would the Regent order nor the Lords about her recommend that the English groat should go for three stivers as it used to do. (fn. n27)
The access to the town was made more difficult by "strange and horrible weather," and the town itself, when Norfolk went to view it with Russell, de Buren and others, was reported by general agreement to be "the worst town to approach that ever they saw." There was no sure camping place within a mile of it; and inside were Du Biez, La Guiche, and other veterans with 4,000 soldiers. Norfolk, however, did his best, and was told not to make too much of hardships. The siege was laid, if siege it could be called when the place was not surrounded, and efforts were made at mining. But I need not detail the progress of this long and ineffectual attempt, of which particulars will be found in the despatches. (fn. n28)
Much as the King would have desired to capture Montreuil, he was far more set upon the winning of Boulogne, which, as he afterwards frankly told the Imperial Ambassadors, would be much more important to him than the possession of Paris. (fn. n29) He had determined on laying siege to it before he left England; but he kept the project a secret till it was ripe for execution. He placed the Duke of Suffolk in command of the expedition and suggested that he should proceed by mining. About this Suffolk had his doubts, as the town, he said, stood upon a rock; but the King gave him express orders to mine. The operation, no doubt, would be laborious, but it would be just as easy for him to mine as for those within to countermine, which, it seems, they were doing. Yet the King, he was informed, did not expect to win the town by mining, but rather by a bombardment which would terrify the inhabitants into surrender. (fn. n30)
The Duke of Suffolk, who bore the name of the King's Lieutenant, had pitched his camp at Marguyson (now Marquise) a few miles North of Boulogne about the time the King crossed to Calais. On the 15 July, being informed that the King had landed the day before, he with the master of the horse (Sir Anthony Browne) and other noblemen, left the camp to visit his Majesty, with whom he remained three days, discussing these matters no doubt, and arranging the plan of operations generally. On Friday the 18th, having returned to Marquise, he went on with my lord Marshal (the Earl of Arundel) taking with him a company of horse and foot and a few pieces of artillery to view Boulogne. (fn. n31) They met with a little skirmishing; but drove the enemy into the town, cleared the wood of robbers and returned to their camp, which they removed next day, Saturday the 19th, to form the siege. Suffolk gave the King a good report of the ground, which he found very satisfactory. He had set pioneers to work to make trenches opposite the castle and rejoiced to find that there was some nine feet depth of good earth, through which large trenches could be made for the passage of artillery down to Basse Boulogne. (fn. n32)
At their conference Suffolk seems to have suggested that it would be well to summon the town to capitulate, acknowledging their allegiance to the King, and that a like proclamation should be devised for the whole of France, on the old theory that that kingdom also belonged to the Kings of England. On this subject, evidently, Henry had not made up his mind when they parted; but Paget wrote to the Duke about it immediately afterwards. The King, it appears, liked his device for the summons of the town, but did not approve of such a proclamation being addressed to "all within the realm of France." He would limit it to the inhabitants of Picardy and the county of Boulogne and Guisnes, promising to all who would tender their allegiance to himself undisturbed possession of their lands. (fn. n33) This was scarcely logical if he was going to claim the whole of France by right; but undoubtedly it was more politic than the plan devised by Suffolk.
The approach to the town, however, was hot work. Skirmishers came near the walls the very first day, and several were slain on both sides. Suffolk was bold and venturesome, and caring little himself about cannon balls, enforced others to be hardy, as Lisle said, whether they would or not. He was anxious to get things ready for the King, who longed to be at the siege himself and proposed to leave next Monday, the 21st, desiring to know if it were possible to come through in a day. Suffolk urged him to delay till the camp was in proper order, and said that with certain arrangements before hand, one day might be sufficient for the transit. The King, thereupon, put off first till Wednesday the 23rd, and ultimately till Friday. He was anxious to leave as soon as possible, for "the sickness" was beginning to carry off its victims at Calais. Suffolk had proposed to assign "the Advocate's house" for his lodging, and he was directed to secure first the capture or demolition of the ancient "Tour d'Ordre" built by Caligula on the cliff above the sea, at the mouth of the harbour; for it was believed to contain guns that would command "the Advocate's house." Suffolk was also to take careful note of the range of the guns of the town before the King's coming. (fn. n34)
The old town of Boulogne stood high upon a hill, surrounded by high walls and ramparts, with a castle at the Eastern corner. To the West between the old town and the harbour lay Basse Boulogne, a separate town lying beneath the walls of the other with walls of its own towards the sea. So it appears from an old map and from a contemporary painting engraved by the Society of Antiquaries. On that Monday, the 21st, when the King had proposed to come, the Tour d'Ordre was attacked and some damage done to it, though a man named Huberdyn was killed by a shot from the defenders. That same morning Basse Boulogne was taken and occupied, though the French had endeavoured to burn it before escaping into the high town. (fn. n35) They left behind them "much salt, pitch, tar and other merchandise"; but to the regret of the English, they succeeded in carrying off much more by boats and ships, as there were no English vessels at the haven's mouth. Suffolk set about closing in Basse Boulogne with trenches, placed in it a sufficient company for its sure keeping, and declared it as safe as any place in the camp; then, having surveyed the ground, he set apart a space which the King and his company could occupy in safety with good air, water and fuel. (fn. n36) On Tuesday, the 22nd, a cannon was taken up to fire on the Tour d'Ordre, which thereupon surrendered. There were in it fourteen men and a boy, who were afterwards exchanged for English prisoners.
On Thursday morning, the 24th, a message came to Suffolk by a trumpet of the Duke of Vendôme, who was despatched again in the evening after communication with the King at Calais. (fn. n37) Next day the King began to remove, but was obliged to encamp at night at Marquise in a tempest of rain and thunder. The day following (the 26th) he encamped on the North side of Boulogne near the sea. He now directed Suffolk to raise a mound between the Castle and Montreuil Gate ("as one is already," says the letter), make a breach, see what could be done with mining and give the assault; while the master of the ordnance was to carry on like operations in the quarter between the Castle and "the Green Bulwark," and my Lord Admiral (Lisle) between "the Green Bulwark" and Boulogne Gate. Lord Cobham, meanwhile, was to occupy Basse Boulogne, and the King would be on the top of the hill on the South side, "well furnished for the relief of all and prevention of rescues." These points the Council with the King had to explain to the Duke of Norfolk and his fellows at Montreuil, who, urged by Count Buren, had asked for reinforcements. They could not be furnished, as the King was making very special efforts at Boulogne and had not a man to spare unless there was any danger of the Dauphin attempting to raise the other siege. (fn. n38)
My lord Admiral arrived in the haven on the 28th, with Lord Clinton and other captains and men who had been in Scotland. Next day Sir Thomas Poynings went to the King from Montreuil and returned. On his return he summoned Hardelot Castle, about ten miles South of Boulogne, which surrendered with 50 soldiers and 100 peasants. The Captain was brought to Suffolk that day and sent back at night a prisoner to the very castle he had defended, which Peter Carew was put in to keep with a garrison of 50 English. On Wednesday, the 30th, came Richmond herald despatched by my lord of Norfolk from Montreuil to conduct Framozelles, who lay in Suffolk's camp till Friday the 1 August, when he had his interview with the King. (fn. n39)
The bombardment of the town began on Sunday the 3rd, (fn. n40) and on the 5th the King caused the Queen in England to be informed that he hoped to win it in 20 days. The walls began already, he said, to tumble apace; but he wrote for some more artillery from the Tower, and 40 tons of cannon balls were presently despatched. Other castles besides Hardelot between Boulogne and Monstreuil had been taken; and the mission of Framozelles the King took as evidence that Francis himself anticipated the fall of the former place. (fn. n41) But after a fortnight's severe cannonading, the prospect of taking it appeared more remote than he had anticipated. Preparations were made for a third battery with new guns and men out of England. The King blamed himself for not having followed the advice of the Duke of Alburquerque, by which he believed he could have made greater progress; and taking further council with the Duke he caused some responsible officers to receive instructions from him how to act. (fn. n42) What kind of tactics was set forth is not on record; but just about this time (14 August) a Spanish captain with 100 gunners came in aid of the besiegers; and it is recorded that they were very successful, with the aid of French boys, in the discovery of booty hidden in the ground. Their search, in fact, was so very profitable that, when the fame of it reached Montreuil, two Spaniards there forsook their captain to serve under this other captain at Boulogne; for which they were very deservedly hanged. (fn. n43)
It was in the beginning of August, while encamped before Boulogne, that the King first heard of the capture of the Scottish ship referred to in the last Preface (Part i., pp. xlvi., xlvii.) as having been taken off Scarborough. The casket of letters which the crew had thrown overboard, being fished up, was found to contain certain despatches sent into France by the Queen Dowager of Scotland and the French ambassador La Brossé, of which the Sieur de Bauldreul had charge. Among them were letters of Arran and Beton and other Scotch noblemen to the French King, showing, as Shrewsbury put it, which of them were good Frenchmen, and giving distinct evidences of the double dealing (among others) of Lord Fleming, the King's prisoner. Robert Maxwell was also touched, who, to assure good treatment to his father (another prisoner of the King's) had been quite lately writing to Wharton that he would bring all the West Marches to the King's devotion. (fn. n44) Then there was a letter in the Queen Dowager's own hand addressed to Francis I., which showed why she required an abstinence for a month. (fn. n45) The King was greatly pleased at the capture, and not less so when it was found from the intercepted letters that the Queen and Governor were at discord, each making great complaints of the other, and that the Cardinal meddled with nothing. (fn. n46)
Another great cause of satisfaction which had occurred just before was that those troublesome Borderers, Andrew Kerr of Fernyhirst and his son, who, as Shrewsbury remarked, had always been enemies to England, had been captured by Sir Ralph Evers in a very successful raid. (fn. n47)
Altogether, the prospects in Scotland were in these letters considered very favorable; and there was much to be hoped for from Lennox, who was going North to win castles and fortresses for the King and make him Protector of that kingdom during Mary's minority. Unfortunately, though Lennox's fidelity was assured, Henry was soon to hear news of a very different character. But we must defer the story of Scotch intrigues and perfidy for the present.
It was on the 9 August, as we have seen, that the town of S. Dizier capitulated to the Viceroy of Sicily, the Emperor's lieutenant, agreeing to surrender if not relieved within eight days. On the 11th the Emperor, dating from the camp before S. Dizier, wrote to Henry VIII. a letter of credence for the Sieur de Tourcoin, whom he despatched to inform him of the event; (fn. n48) and the Queen of Hungary, forwarding the messenger, suggested to De Courrières and Chapuys that it might be well, in connection with this news, to remind the King of England that the Emperor had got so far into France that the French had withdrawn their forces from Picardy towards Champaigne, feeling less concern about the English, who were still on the very edge of the kingdom. Thus they might fairly urge that there was a great opportunity for striking an effective blow if the King, following up the Emperor's success, would send even a part of his army further into the country. On the 18th, Tourcoin reached Henry's camp before Boulogne, and next day, when he delivered his letters, he was accompanied by Chapuys and De Courrières to the King's presence. (fn. n49) Henry expressed pleasure at the capitulation of S. Dizier and talked of the great hope he himself entertained of shortly winning both Boulogne and Montreuil. This gave the ambassadors a good opening for the Queen of Hungary's suggestion about the importance of marching into France that the whole burden of the war might not fall upon the Emperor; but the King's answer did not encourage them to pursue the subject. Meanwhile the Emperor had received Henry's suggestions, arising out of the mission of Framozelles, that they should each commit to writing the demands which he would require Francis to satisfy in case of a common treaty. The Emperor accordingly drew up a statement of his own requirements, which he forwarded to his ambassadors, intimating that he expected himself to receive new overtures from France, as the Duke of Lorraine had applied for a passport for his uncle the Cardinal, (which, however, he excused himself from granting as the Cardinal was too high a personage to come unannounced), and a friar had come with a similar message in behalf of Admiral d'Annebault, who, notwithstanding the Emperor's refusal of previous overtures based on a marriage of his daughter to the Duke of Orleans, was prepared to bring four new overtures for him to choose from. The Emperor said he intended to hear d'Annebault's proposals and to inform Henry of their purport.
Chapuys and De Courrières reported all this to the King and delivered the Emperor's articles. The King disguised his feelings, but they were quite convinced that he resented the French sending personages to the Emperor of much higher consequence than they had sent to himself. He tried to comfort himself by remarking that the Admiral was not a man of great capacity in such matters and the Cardinal of Lorraine had had no influence with the King of France. A few days later he derived much more satisfaction from the receipt of letters in Francis I.'s own hand, desiring a safe conduct for the Cardinal of Paris, the Chief President of Rouen and two other high officials who would soon be at Abbeville, to proceed to Calais or where the King thought best for a conference. Meanwhile Chapuys and De Courrières solicited in vain an answer to the Emperor's articles, and Tourcoin was detained till the 1 Sept., when, after repeated reminders, the King at length despatched him with a brief letter, in which he merely thanked the Emperor for his letters and hoped he should soon be able to inform him of some good work done against the enemy. (fn. n50) As to the Emperor's claims against France, Paget had at first informed the ambassadors that the King liked them very well, only they were not made, as he had proposed, "in degrees," that is to say with alternatives for negotiation. The ambassadors, however, were pressed to sign them, and other little delays were invented. Finally the King himself told them that the articles were excessive and that there was very little chance of their being conceded, but that in conformity he had drawn up demands of his own to submit to the Emperor, and though they were avowedly no less exorbitant yet, as he said, they were really more consonant with the treaty. The ambassadors asked him to point out where the Emperor's articles disagreed with the treaty; but he evaded the point, merely saying that on comparing them with the treaty the Emperor would see that they did not agree. (fn. n51)
Of course, when the King himself described his own conditions as exorbitant, they were so in point of fact. He intended them as a counterpoise to those of the Emperor, which, as he wrote to Wotton, went "so far beyond the limits of the treaty as to indicate that he would not fall to any reasonable composition, or at least did not mean the King to have the handling of it." The treaty only recognised the Emperor's right to the Duchy of Burgundy and certain towns in Picardy; but the Emperor's articles required recompense for damages done by the war to the Emperor, the Empire, the King of the Romans, the States of Italy and the republic of Sienna, restitution to the Duke of Savoy of all that Francis held of his on this side and beyond the Mountains, observance of the treaties of Cambray and Madrid, and restitution to the Emperor of the Duchy of Burgundy and the Vicomté of Auxonne, with Estenay and all places taken since the beginning of the war. These demands, if insisted on, Henry said that Francis could not perform; but Wotton was to say nothing of this unless Henry's own demands were objected to as extreme; in which case he was to show that Henry's were within the treaty, which many of the Emperor's were not. His own, in fact, were very simple:—if Francis would not restore to him the whole realm of France and the duchies of Normandy, Aquitaine and Guienne, he must renew his old pension to the King of England in lieu of these things—a pension of about 100,000 crowns, which had been withheld for nearly eleven years—and pay up all the arrears out of hand with such sums as the King had been compelled to disburse for the recovery of his right, and also for the Scotch wars procured for him by Francis. (fn. n52) Pretty well, as a counterpoise to the Emperor's terms!
But, before the Emperor had been ascertained of the King's proposals, he had already, on the 7 September, despatched Anthoine Perrenot, bishop of Arras, the son of his confidential minister Granvelle, with speed, to show Henry how he had already pressed the French so hard by continuing the war (he was now before Châlons which he feigned a wish to besiege in order to provoke them to battle) that they were renewing propositions of peace, offering him aid against the Turk and a good part of the "excessive" demands he had actually set forth to Henry. They were willing to restore to the Emperor and the Duke of Savoy all they had occupied on either side the Mountains since the war recommenced, to do as the Emperor pleased about Estenay, which they took from the late duke of Lorraine and fortified, and, in consideration of a marriage between Orleans and the Emperor's daughter, to restore to the Duke of Savoy all the rest—that is, what they had occupied since the previous war, and conform to the treaties of Madrid and Cambray, giving assurance for perpetual peace. Moreover, they offered to pay all the arrears of Henry's pension at reasonable terms. But the Emperor would not accept these proposals without reference to Henry and had told the Frenchmen they must give him satisfaction also. He was, however, perplexed by having so little news of what Henry was doing, while the French boasted that his efforts before Boulogne and Montreuil were doomed to failure, and that, the season being so advanced, nothing more was to be expected from that side. He accordingly sent Arras for the purpose of learning Henry's final wish touching peace, especially in view of the facts that he himself had made such a great advance that the French were burning Epernay and other places to stop his supplies, and that his army stood in some danger if the King did not begin his march at once into the interior. If Henry was not prepared to do this, he must be shown that the Emperor could not afford to maintain the great expense of the war any longer single-handed, and he must permit him to make terms with the French for his own part. (fn. n53)
Already, in fact, negotiations for peace had taken place at Bar-lc-Duc on the 25th August between Granvelle and four French officials, the chief of whom was the Admiral d' Annebault, (fn. n54) and though hostilities still continued, it was by a French passport through French territory that the Bishop of Arras was to reach Henry at Boulogne. Two days after the date of the instructions given to Arras by the Emperor, a formal commission was given by Francis I. to d'Annebault, Secretary Bayard and Master Charles de Nully to treat with Imperial deputies for peace and to conclude alliances of marriage between the children of Francis and the Emperor. (fn. n55) So the matter of peace was already pretty well taken out of Henry's hands, and the peace which shortly followed might have been seriously to his disadvantage if success had not speedily crowned the more important of his two sieges.
The Bishop of Arras arrived at the camp before Boulogne on the 11 Sept. Cardinal du Bellay and other French ambassadors were then a few miles off at Hardelot, where they had been discussing the subject of peace for three days with the Lord Chamberlain (Hertford), Bishop Gardiner, Sir Richard Riche and Secretary Paget. (fn. n56) The besiegers meanwhile were preparing for a great effort. The day that Arras arrived they assailed the castle, but met with a rather hot reception. (fn. n57) The Earl of Surrey and Lord William Howard had come from Montreuil and accompanied the King to witness the fall of the castle, to which a train of powder had been laid. The castle, however, did not fall and the King was seriously disappointed, though no doubt considerable damage was done. Many of the besiegers themselves were injured by flying stones, and there was fighting and much slaughter at other parts of the walls. (fn. n58) Next day the Sieur de Vervins who commanded in the town thought it was time to capitulate; and the King granted a safe conduct, at his request, to Messire Nicolas St. Blymont and Messire François de Renty, Sieur de Aix, to come to him and return. On the 13th a treaty was made for the delivery of the town, and on Sunday the 14th the surrender was formally accomplished. (fn. n59)
Meanwhile, on Tuesday the 9th the French ambassadors, Cardinal Du Bellay and his colleagues, had arrived at Hardelot, where they were met that day by the Earl of Hertford, Bishop Gardiner, Sir William Paget and Sir Richard Riche, with two companies of horsemen, Lord Fitz Walter and other gentlemen. That night they and the English deputies supped together. Next day, to do them further honor, the Duke of Suffolk and Sir Anthony Browne rode thither from Boulogne "with a great company in gorgeous apparel," dined and held council with them and returned to Boulogne for the night. (fn. n60) The offers of the French were thus signified to Henry much about the same time that the Bishop of Arras came from the Emperor, and, before despatching him again to his master, the King had the double advantage of having been approached personally by the French, and on having won Boulogne. Arras left the King apparently on the 15 Sept. and reached the Emperor's camp, then at Crespy, on the 18th, where the Duke of Orleans also arrived the same day.
The return of Arras had been anxiously expected; his detention, Wotton was told, was a serious hindrance to the Emperor's affairs, as the French were urgent that he should swear to the new treaty at once. Even the very morning of the day he came the Emperor told Wotton he had been pressed to swear it that day, but he would neither swear nor promise till Arras brought him word of Henry's pleasure. When the Bishop did arrive apparently no time was lost; for it was on that very 18th of September (if the document itself may be trusted) that the treaty of Crespy was concluded. (fn. n61) The Bishop had brought word that Henry had expressed his willingness that the Emperor should make terms for himself with the French, reserving his treaty with England, as Henry proposed to do for his part, reserving his treaty with the Emperor. (fn. n62)
The fact that it had been done (if so it was) seems to have been kept that day from Wotton's knowledge; but next morning when he went to tell the Emperor the effect of the King's letters to him transmitted by Arras, everyone spoke of the peace as made. (fn. n63) The Emperor said he thanked Henry for his advice, and told Wotton that he had agreed with the French for the sake of Christendom, but he had reserved his league with Henry and was glad to believe that he would be satisfied. He spoke, however, in a low tone and the room being full of people going in and out and talking, Wotton could not well hear him. He was accordingly referred by the Emperor for a further answer to Granvelle, with whom he had a conference in the afternoon, and he felt bound to tell him that the Emperor seemed to have left his king in the lurch. Granvelle replied that the Emperor had earnestly spoken to the French Admiral about his treaty with England, and would within two days send Arras to the French King on the subject; that Wotton might be assured he "would not forsake his old approved friend for a new reconciled friend," and that, at the worst, the peace of England stood at his Majesty's arbitrament and he would withhold his decision upon the alternative marriages till Francis agreed with Henry. In further discussion Granvelle mentioned the message .that his son Arras had brought, which was confirmed by Arras himself, that the King agreed to each prince making terms for himself, reserving his treaty with the other; to which Wotton did not know what to reply except that the King had not written so to him. (fn. n64)
The peace was really justified as a matter of policy, if not even of necessity to the Emperor, and Henry had no very good ground to complain, having done nothing to help his ally by carrying the war into the heart of France. (fn. n65) Even now, having secured Boulogne, he was secretly preparing to return to England. (fn. n66) But it did not follow that he would not complain because he had little right to do so; and it was evidently not without anxiety that the Queen of Hungary instructed De Courrières and Chapuys to watch the King's countenance while they told him, first of the peace, and secondly of intelligence (to be reported if they thought fit) that the Dauphin was now marching towards Montreuil with a part of the French army. (fn. n67) The Emperor also was extremely desirous that they should use the utmost delicacy in delivering what he felt would be an unwelcome message, advising them to declare it to the King when his Council were not present, and to take care on the one hand not to say too much about the necessity by which the Emperor was driven to treat, nor on the other hand to censure the King of England's failure to observe his promises, or to call the French "new reconciled friends," but simply to let Henry see that the Emperor had done his best to keep the treaty and had acted on the King's own message sent by the Bishop of Arras. (fn. n68) The King was quite prepared for the intimation of the peace, which he received calmly without showing either joy or dissatisfaction; but he changed countenance when told of the French coming to raise the siege of Montreuil. Surely, he said, that was not owing to the Emperor having already disbanded his army? And when they said he was no doubt provided against this move, he said he had been better provided, for he had just sent back the Englishmen who had recently come. However, he would do his best. (fn. n69)
The negotiations at Hardelot, meanwhile made little progress. Conditions were laid down by the English to which the French ambassadors could not agree without reference to their master, and they despatched Secretary L'Aubespine, one of their colleagues, to learn the will of Francis. They desired to have the articles signed by Henry before transmitting them, but this was refused. They wished also, as Henry had just then been informed by Arras of the overtures made by Francis to the Emperor, that he would write to the Emperor that he considered those offers reasonable, but they were answered that the King did not feel it is duty to persuade the Emperor to condescend to any conditions, as his Majesty doubtless understood best what concerned his own reputation. They next ventured to ask what the Council themselves imagined the Emperor's inclination towards the overtures was likely to be, and they were answered, as indeed they expected, that at the departure of Arras the Emperor could come to no resolution, not knowing the King's pleasure. They then said that the King might at least write to his ambassador with the Emperor that he was at liberty to treat with the French under the conditions stated to Arras, viz., that nothing should be concluded to the prejudice of their amity. This was agreed to, and on the 17th L'Aubespine was despatched to the King of France accompanied by an English courier. (fn. n70)
Two days later, however, the ambassadors came to the Duke of Suffolk to request him to procure their congé. They had received a letter from Francis, dated on the 17th (of course before L'Aubespine had returned to him), stating that the conditions offered them seemed too hard, and they should endeavour to get them abated, as he could not believe Henry would insist upon them; but in a postscript he added that, on reflection, he could come to no determination till he had spoken with them, for he had no one about him well informed about transactions with England. Chabot was dead, whom they called the very register of affairs with that country, and so was Francois Errault, who had lately filled the place of Chancellor; Marillac was away ill and Montmorency was put aside. Suffolk put them off till next day (the 20th) when he would speak about it to the Council; and that day the Council sent them a message telling them that as they had given a promise, at least tacitly, to await the return of L'Aubespine and the courier, it would be open mockery to leave without waiting two or three days, according to the term that had been prefixed. (fn. n71)
Hitherto the Council had kept Chapuys and Courrières uninformed of the nature of their communications with the French ambassadors, but now they felt it advisable to tell them what had been going on. Next day they desired the advice, not only of Chapuys and De Courrières but also of the Duke of Alburquerque, on the delicate question whether they would be justified in actually detaining the French ambassadors. This they asked of them in the King's name, who was anxious, in a matter of so great importance, to do nothing that could be called dishonorable or unwarranted. The Imperial envoys did not like to give any advice on such a point. Protesting their insufficiency, however, they gave several reasons in addition to those suggested by the Council, why they thought the departure of the French ambassadors might be delayed till the return of L'Aubespine and the courier and the news of Arras's arrival with the Emperor. On the other hand, as a matter of policy they were against it. For they pointed out that such a step would be fruitless if it was only for three or four days; and if they made it longer, the personages were not such that for their sake Francis would grant much in the conditions of peace; while, however just the occasion, the French would be sure to raise a rumour throughout the world of such disregard for a safe conduct. Moreover Francis might infer from the procedure that the King was in great need of peace; and it would be more magnanimous to show the ambassadors what just occasion he had to detain them, while, having more regard to his own honor than to the lack of them (que à la faulte diceulx), he let them depart. The Council, however, asked the Duke of Alburquerque for his opinion, and he considered that the ambassadors ought to remain till L'Aubespine's return; on which they pressed for further advice of the Imperial ambassadors. But the Imperial ambassadors considered that it was no business of theirs, and said that the King was so wise and had so notable a Council that they begged to be excused. The Council must decide as they thought best on the arguments they had already put before them; it was their part only to keep the Emperor, the King of the Romans and the Queen of Hungary fully informed. At last, when urged once more for their advice, they said, if the Council would tell them their own opinion and that of the King, they would conform thereto. This seemed to give the Englishmen great satisfaction, for they had hitherto been sulky; and the Imperialists had made several of them wince by remarking that if they were so anxious for counsel it would have been far better to have informed them fully about matters before the despatch of L'Aubespine. (fn. n72)
The Council had been anxiously preparing for a scene which at their request the Imperialists remained to witness. The French ambassadors were called in, and Bishop Gardiner declared to them the decision that had been come to with the concurrence of the Imperialists, that, as they themselves had consented to remain as hostages till others were sent in their places, it was unreasonable that they should leave, and it was to be presumed that if Francis had known he would have agreed to their remaining. There were, moreover, other and weighty reasons why they should not depart, especially this— in which the Imperialists concurred—that Francis might possibly on the message despatched by Henry to the Emperor, which L'Aubespine carried, have intimated to the Emperor that he agreed to Henry's proposals, on which the Emperor would have withdrawn his army, while at Hardelot he had not accepted Henry's proposals but refused them. Thus having disarmed one enemy, Francis would have the less trouble with the other. The French protested that their master would use all sincerity, and if he had treated with the Emperor the date of the treaty would show that it had not been the result of the articles carried by L'Aubespine. (fn. n73)
It is clear, however, that the French negotiators had been cunningly caught in a diplomatic net, and that they were embarrassed by the presence of the Imperialists, to whom they could not reveal what had passed between them and the English Council. The proposal to detain them was an outrage on the face of matters; but they had, it seems, spoken of themselves as hostages till they should be replaced by others if Francis agreed to the articles sent by L'Aubespine, never expecting that they would be recalled in the meantime. They chafed at the situation, and protested that if the King of England would not allow them to obey their own King's summons but insisted that they were hostages, they could only say that having come on safe conduct they remained against their wills. But Cardinal du Bellay confessed that he was to blame, for had he yielded to the advice of his colleagues, he told the Council, they would all have taken their departure with L'Aubespine and the courier, and so the discussion would have been avoided. As for what had been said in conference with the Council his memory, he said, was slippery, but if it was only a matter of personal inclination he himself would be glad to remain the King's guest, where he was so kindly treated. Only it was their duty to obey their master without discussing his reasons. In the end he got angry and seems to have committed himself in various ways, especially when, turning to the question of the proposed conditions, he spoke of the unreasonableness of expecting his master to renounce his ancient amity with the Scots, and was shown that the overtures containing this suggestion came from his own side. Gardiner was too much for him, and at last he began to be abusive; but he was soon made to feel that he had gone too far. (fn. n74)
That Henry fully expected the Emperor to make peace with France was no reason why he should be satisfied with the accomplished fact. He showed himself sullen towards the Imperial Ambassadors, wanted to deny the message he had sent through the Bishop of Arras, and said he thought the Emperor should at least have procured an abstinence of war between him and Francis before concluding. There was no such pressing danger from the Turk, surely, that he should have been in such a haste to make peace. (fn. n75) But all this only meant that Henry felt himself now at a disadvantage, having to maintain the war without an ally. He gave orders to raise the siege of Montreuil, from which Norfolk and the other commanders, accordingly, prepared speedily to withdraw. They intended to go by St. Omer to Calais. But unpleasant news came that the advanced guard of the Dauphin's army were already within half a league of Hesdin, making bridges and repairing those which they had broken down before, with an evident design to recover Boulogne. All thought of going to St. Omer had to be at once given up and the line of retreat must be by the coast to Boulogne, crossing at Etaples at low water—the only way in which the artillery could be transported. This was safely accomplished, and on the 30th September the King, feeling assured of the safety of Boulogne, took his passage to England. (fn. n76) Scarcely had he got back, however, when he learned that Norfolk and the other generals, against his orders, had withdrawn with the army from Boulogne to Calais, and he was exceedingly displeased. The safe keeping of his new acquisition was the thought nearest to his heart, and he told his generals that they were inexcusable. Their reason was that as they believed the town, having at the time three months' provisions for 4,000 men, could easily be kept through the winter, they thought it well to relieve it of a host which consumed in one day what would otherwise have sufficed for seven. They felt, moreover, that it was not feasible to carry out another of the King's instructions, which was to erect a "bastilion" for the protection of the town; for the Dauphin seemed now to be meditating an attack on Guisnes, and their own troops had suffered such hardships from cold and wet on the march from Montreuil, having to wade through the water at Etaples, that many had fallen sick and were at the same time destitute of shelter, having burned many tents for fuel and for want of carriage. These excuses the King would not accept, and he told them that they had exposed the town to very serious danger. They had no right to disobey orders on an uncertain report about the Dauphin. They had command of the haven, and he himself, though they did not know it, had taken orders for their victualling. Soldiers ought to have faced hardships without burning their tents; and the attempts to make a "bastilion" should not have been relinquished till Lee and Rogers had delivered a message from the King. The rebuke was severely felt. (fn. n77)
The King's complaint against the Emperor for making peace with France without procuring an abstinence of war between him and Francis was answered by letters from the Emperor himself to the Imperial ambassadors at Calais, who declared their contents to the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk and the other Councillors left there after the King had returned to England. The reply was that the King had declared to the Bishop of Arras that negotiations with the French were then in good train, while at the same time Montreuil was likely very soon to be taken. To propose an abstinence under such circumstances would of course not have been for the King's interest. (fn. n78) At night, however, the Bishop of Arras arrived at Calais from the French Court, whither he had been sent by the Emperor to promote a peace between France and England by persuading Francis, either to accept the terms offered to Du Bellay and his colleagues, or else to send new ambassadors to Calais. Francis had declared the articles proposed by Henry to be intolerable, but had consented to send ambassadors who were to leave the French Court on the 4 October, the very day after Arras left, so the Council might shortly expect their arrival. The Council, after a consultation by themselves, thanked Arras for the trouble he had taken, but said they did not know how their master could listen to peace now, for it seemed the French did not go the right way about it. The King would not yield to threats, and while their armies were so near the Council would be occupied day and night with military matters. The Emperor's gentleness would only render the French more insolent; he should use a tone of authority with them, rather than of exhortation. And as he had expressly reserved his treaty of closer amity with England, he ought to hold them enemies in case of invasion and let them know of his obligation to do so in terms becoming such a prince and friend, telling them especially that it was at his request that the King withdrew from Montreuil. Arras and the Imperial ambassadors avoided making any direct answer to this appeal, saying they were only there to discuss the subject of Arras's charge; but the Bishop told them, in passing, that they ought to consider that Francis had made peace with the Emperor by their master's consent, and that they believed that the coming of the French ambassadors would be agreeable to him from what he had said to De Courrières and Chapuys when he left for England. (fn. n79)
On being informed of the Emperor's answer to his complaints, the King instructed his Councillors at Calais to put the matter to the Imperial ambassadors in these terms:— First, that the Emperor ought not, by the treaty, to have concluded peace without their common assent; and though the King bore with him somewhat on account of the temporary necessity he was under, as reported by the Bishop of Arras, now that he was relieved of that necessity he should "declare himself ready in all things to the observation of the treaty." Secondly, he was surprised that the Emperor, when Cardinal Tournon declared Henry's conditions to be unendurable, did not fully answer him, seeing that Francis had already offered higher conditions, which were declared to the Emperor, and which Henry might have accepted but for his determination to observe the treaty; and the Emperor must feel that these offers were much more reasonable now after Henry had been at such a great expense. Thirdly, in answer to a statement made by Tournon and his fellows to the Emperor that owing to Cardinal du Bellay's complaints of his detention, the French ambassadors would not go into England, that was a feigned excuse. The French ambassadors were detained justly and by their own consents given before the Council and the Duke of Alburquerque, and the King could not but believe that Francis would send his ambassadors to England, where they might have quicker expedition. Nevertheless he was sending over by the Great Chamberlain (the carl of Hertford) and Paget a commission to them in conjunction with Bishop Gardiner, the Controller (Gage) and Riche to negotiate at Calais. (fn. n80)
The same despatch took notice of a proposal made by the Emperor for an abstinence, which the Cardinal of Lorraine approved of. The King said he would agree to it if it were for six weeks or two months and on that side of the sea only; but he must keep his army there till a conclusion was come to, else he would be in danger of losing all he had won. He would agree, however, to both armies being withdrawn, the one to Montreuil, Hesdin or further, the other to Boulogne, the Boulormois or Calais. (fn. n81)
Hertford and Paget were apparently despatched on the 9 October. Their instructions to treat with the French ambassadors (fn. n82) are not dated, and no formal commission to them for the purpose appears to be extant. But they had a commission of that date (fn. n83) to treat with commissioners of Charles V. for a perpetual confederacy .and amity between the Princes and their successors and for certain leagues and truces offensive and defensive, and also for the confirmation, reformation, correction, &c, of certain treaties, as well of peace as of intercourse and commerce, heretofore made between them. This commission can hardly have been wanted except as a means of putting pressure upon the Emperor in reference to the negotiations with France; which, indeed, the English Councillors at Calais had begun to do already, to the best of their powers. But they could not hope to commit such a diplomatist as Arras, the future Cardinal Granvelle, to any indiscretion. (fn. n84)
The prospect of peace between England and France was not much more brilliant than it had been at Hardelot. France of course felt deeply the mortification of the loss of Boulogne. The Dauphin had been keeping the English on the alert, both there and at Calais; at one time making an incursion into the territory of Guisnes at Anderne and Campe, where they destroyed churches and houses; (fn. n85) but there was not much appearance of his being able to retake the captured town, which Henry was resolved to keep at any expense. Chapuys did not see how the negotiations could come to anything, even with the help of such an able mediator as Arras. (fn. n86) The French had laid their case very fairly before the Emperor, and had even offered to make him arbiter between them and England. Henry clearly, they said, could not retain Boulogne and still demand the old pensions granted to him on account of his claim to the Kingdom of France; but if he would restore it, Francis was quite willing to make peace, submitting all other matters to the Emperor's arbitration. Otherwise, he said, he expected to recover it by force and then to be quit of pensions and of all other English claims whatever. (fn. n87)
In England the latest accounts had led the Council to believe that the Dauphin had withdrawn his forces; and though the rumor was rather premature, and French ships soon after kept the sea before Calais interrupting the communication with England, (fn. n88) the Council were encouraged to instruct Hertford and Paget not to agree to any truce or abstinence with the French ambassadors, but hold out for a complete settlement of peace. (fn. n89) Two days later, in sending Norfolk and the Councillors at Calais their commission to treat, the Council at home warned them not to let it be known that they had any such commission until the coming of the Frenchmen, and directed them, when their conferences began, to let the Frenchmen see that their peace with the Emperor was invalid without the King's assent by reading out the very words of the treaty to them in the presence of Arras. (fn. n90). That able diplomatist had certainly enough to do to allay suspicions on the other side; for after he had procured from the Council at Calais (fn. n91) a safe conduct for Cardinal du Bellay and President Raimond, they wrote to him from Ardres declining to enter the English Pale till they heard from him again. They were directed to him in the first place, and they thought that some neutral place like Gravelines or St. Omer should be appointed for the Conference rather than Calais; but they would come to Calais if Arras thought it best. Arras wrote in reply that after consultation with Chapuys and De Courrières they all advised the ambassadors to come to Calais. They had not mentioned their suggestion to the English Commissioners lest it should create irritation; besides, reference to the King in England would involve serious delay, especially from the uncertainty of the winds and of navigation. (fn. n92) The Frenchmen, however, still hesitated for a day or two and their delay made a bad impression, especially as the reason for it could not be concealed. In fact, Arras had to write to them again; (fn. n93) but at last they came. (fn. n94) Du Bellay professed to be ill and to require rest; and though he was visited by Lord Cobham, the Deputy of Calais, the English Commissioners abstained from calling on him. They understood that he and his colleagues were not prepared to treat with them directly, but with the Imperialists as mediators; and Arras had much trouble in dealing with punctilios on both sides. At last on the 18 October the two parties were brought face to face and met in the Council Chamber of Calais—Hertford, Gardiner, Gage, Paget, and Riche representing England. Arras apparently presided and set forth the business. The Cardinal declared that though Henry began the war, apparently believing that he had a just cause, Francis was willing, for the quiet of Christendom, to listen to reasonable conditions of peace. A long discussion followed in which Gardiner insisted that the French pensions to England should be paid with arrears and damages, while England should still retain Boulogne. But this was what the Cardinal had no commission to concede, and he and his colleague took their departure. (fn. n95)
Arras regretted the failure of the negotiations, but could do no more, except indeed, that he backed up a proposal of the English that each party should write to their respective Sovereigns a report of the conference, in case any further basis of negotiation could be obtained. The English themselves, however, would have urged on him a matter which he said was not in his commission, and which accordingly they proposed immediately to De Courrières and Chapuys—to desire the Emperor that in virtue of his treaty with England he would press Francis at once to satisfy their master, or else declare him enemy. (fn. n96) Three days later there was another Conference at the request of the Cardinal, who said that on the previous occasion he had declared his master's final resolutions unless any new mean of peace could be devised; and as the English had reported their first Conference to their Sovereign he and his colleagues would await the reply. This led to some very unsatisfactory conversation, and the Cardinal and President in the end left for Gravelines. (fn. n97) But meanwhile the King had despatched the answer in question to Norfolk and the other Councillors at Calais; and it was such an answer as might have been expected. Give up Boulogne, forsooth! Even if he were so foolish as to think of doing so, his subjects would not take it well. But he was disgusted, not only with "the haulte proceedings of the French ambassadors" but also with "the cold and unfriendly doings of the Bishop of Arras and his colleagues"; and he approved of a suggestion made by the Councillors at Calais themselves, to send to the Emperor. Concealing the fact that they had got an answer from the King, Hertford and the bishop of Winchester might tell the Imperial ambassadors that doubting greatly when they should hear from their master owing to the uncertainty and danger of the passage, they were authorised, in case the Frenchmen continued in the same terms, to repair to the Emperor; and they were to do so at once, leaving Norfolk, Suffolk and the others to entertain both the Imperial and the French ambassadors till the King's answer arrived. Letters of credence for the two were enclosed, to be presented to the Emperor, and no doubt his Majesty would be ready to press the French King to agree to Henry's terms, and on his refusal to declare himself enemy and join with Henry against him as the treaty required. (fn. n98)
The King's letters arrived at Calais on the evening of the 23rd October, and next morning Hertford and Winchester left at once for the Emperor's Court, (fn. n99) further communications having made no change in the attitude of the French Commissioners. (fn. n100) They reached Brussels, where the Emperor then was, on the 26th, and had an audience given them next day, in which they were received with marked courtesy and friendliness, the Emperor "being diligent, whenever they put off their caps, to cause them to put them on again." They related how untoward the French ambassadors had shown themselves—how the French army bragged they would have the Emperor's help to recover Boulogne, and that he had offered Orleans the aid of 3,000 Spaniards—how their ships had taken an English hoy with soldiers, whom they spoiled and set on land, saying "Thus shall we handle you now the Emperor hath left you," and so forth. Considering these things the King, who had entered a costly war trusting in the Emperor's amity, now asked the Emperor to show his friendship in conformity with the treaty and declare himself against France. The Emperor answered gently, showing how careful he had been of his engagements when he made peace with France and contradicting the injurious rumours. But he declared himself in amity alike with France and with England and bound to satisfy both to the utmost of his power. In the end he remarked very truly that he perceived the great difficulty to be about Boulogne, which both parties insisted on having, and he thought Henry might abate some part of his pension in order to be allowed to keep it "by way of gage." Here he felt himself on delicate ground. He spoke in a thick voice and wished to give the subject the go by, saying that he spoke without knowing the French King's mind. The ambassadors did not reply, and the Emperor said he would appoint Granvelle and some of his Council to examine the treaty along with them, saying he would do as he was bound. (fn. n101)
Of their subsequent conferences with the Imperial Councillors we have the reports of both sides. The interviews were long and tedious, and somewhat of a trial, at times, to the diplomatic temper; for there was an insinuation on the one side that the Emperor by making a separate peace with France had done Henry an injury, and on the other a justification of the Emperor's conduct by the failure of England to support him in the war. But the English insisted that even since the peace, the French had invaded Guisnes "with thousands and thousands," by which the Emperor was bound to regard his new treaty with France as void and to declare himself the French King's enemy. On the other hand the Imperialists represented that the Emperor had used great efforts with the French to induce them to satisfy Henry's claims, and that the French had made objections which they were willing in the most reasonable spirit to refer to the Emperor's arbitration. (fn. n102) The diplomatic battle went on for weeks, till Hertford and Gardiner received plain instructions, in case they could get no further satisfaction, to come away. And doubtless their departure was no small relief to the Emperor and his Councillors, who had been so extremely anxious to conciliate them that at last they would not refuse point blank the required declaration against France, but only begged that they would not press him for it for ten weeks. The Emperor was sending a new envoy to the French King on the subject of Henry's demands; and Granvelle was anxious to assure the English that the Emperor would fulfil everything that the treaty required of him. He was also going to send a new ambassador to Henry who would satisfy him on that subject. (fn. n103)
The new ambassador to England received his despatch from the Emperor on the 25th November. He was a knight named Francis Van der Delft, and his instructions were, in conjunction with Chapuys, whom the Emperor wished, if possible, notwithstanding his broken down health, to accompany him into England, to try and satisfy the King that it was even for his own interest not to press the Emperor for a declaration against France for the space of ten weeks; assuring him still of the Emperor's intention to fulfil all obligations. They might, as of themselves, tell the King's ministers that the Emperor might very well resent being asked to declare war against France when he had just got out of it, even with the King of England's consent, and he might altogether put himself out of the treaty with England and make a claim upon the King for the loss he had sustained by the nonfulfilment of what had been expressly stipulated. For by this Henry had left the whole burden of the war upon the Emperor's back in order to make his own profit of Boulogne and Montreuil, of the reduction of both which towns he had felt assured. But they must do their very best to satisfy the King with the Emperor's answer and to convince him that the delay was for the best, without committing themselves to anything that would enable the English to say he had given up the point of the non-observance of the treaty by England, though he did not mean to lay stress upon it except in case of extremity. (fn. n104)
Charles doubtless expected, while he was thus temporising, to be urged very strongly to an opposite course of action. During the war he had been severely rebuked by the Pope for his league with a schismatic king and his toleration of heretics within the Empire. (fn. n105) But now that peace had been made, the language of rebuke was exchanged for exhortation. There were hopes of a General Council at last and a bull had been actually issued on the 19 November that it should meet at Trent in the fourth week of the following Lent. (fn. n106) By the beginning of December, accordingly, if not earlier, a new papal nuncio, Francesco Sfondrato, archbishop of Amalfi (afterwards Cardinal), a senator of Milan, learned in the laws, had arrived at the Emperor's Court at Brussels; and he told the Emperor that Francis, being at war with England, would assuredly seek aid of the Pope against a heretical King. This in itself would prevent his Holiness assisting the Emperor against the Turk as freely as he could wish; and the Emperor ought to give up his amity with England and join the Pope and Francis against Henry. (fn. n107) The Emperor's reply was that the quarrel between France and England was not on account of the Faith, but rather bore upon the matter of protecting Germany from the Turk, and as the Emperor was now in alliance with both princes there was no occasion to consider the Nuncio's proposal. Charles certainly never contemplated turning his arms against England with the aid of his late enemy. Such a war would have been injurious to the commercial interests of his richest provinces. But even if he had disregarded the welfare of the Netherlands, there was trouble in wait for him within Germany itself which would soon require attention. For the prospect of a General Council alarmed the Protestants, who, deprived of an old ally in the French King by his peace with the Emperor, could be much more easily crushed by the union of these two Powers against them. Some of them were accordingly inclined to forget their old distrust of Henry VIII., and the Landgrave of Hesse had already begun to think of an alliance with him and the King of Denmark, whom it was most important to bring together in a close amity. The English King's ever watchful agent, Christopher Mont, was diligently seeking information on this subject at the end of the year. (fn. n108)
We may now resume the story of Scotch affairs, on which we have but incidentally touched in this Preface; for the Scotch correspondence, which at this time is remarkably full and important, requires treatment by itself. Nor can we find space for more than a brief indication of the most important subjects and the general course of events.
Lennox could have had but little honeymoon when he departed for Chester, where his own ship (apparently that which had conveyed him thither in May), (fn. n109) was ready to take him back to Scotland. A fleet under John Winter had been prepared to conduct him thither. Sir Rice Maunsel and Richard Broke were to go with him and, under his direction, take possession of Bute and fortify Rothesay castle; after which he was to sail up the Clyde and hand over his own castle of Dumbarton to Sir Peter Mewtys and Thomas Audeley as captain and lieutenant, who would fortify it by the advice of a surveyor named Burgate. They were, of course, to hold it for the King, but to allow Lennox, Glencairn and Kilmaurs, each to enter it at any time with ten men or under. All this had been beautifully planned beforehand. (fn. n110) Lennox, however, did not sail from Chester. He preferred to go by land to Beaumaris to await the fleet, which had collected at Bristol, and was expected to leave that port on the 5th August. In the middle of the month he sailed from Beaumaris, just four or five hours before the arrival there of important despatches from the Council with the Queen, which were taken back by the courier and forwarded again to him on the 23rd. These were to inform him about the return mission to Scotland of the laird of Fyvie, who had been with the King in France to offer him the service of one or more important allies or confederates in the North. (fn. n111) It was evidently anticipated that the expedition of Lennox, and his union with Glencairn and Kilmaurs, and probably some others besides, would at last make English rule in Scotland a reality.
Who were the allies whose services the laird of Fyvie had just offered to the King, and what was the nature of the compact? There can be no doubt about either question. He came from the Master of Rothes and John Charteris, (fn. n112) and his mission must have been to arrange secretly with Henry VIII. how to give effect to that project of kidnapping or killing Cardinal Beton which they had proposed to the King in April. (fn. n113) It was clearly important as a matter of policy that they should not strike prematurely; but perhaps when Lennox, Glencairn and Kilmaurs had made themselves masters of Bute, Dumbarton and a few strongholds besides, the deportation or murder of the Cardinal would complete the business by paralysing the government of Scotland, and so place the rule in the King of England's hands. There seem to have been some official anxieties and changing of plans at this time. Wharton was to leave his post at Carlisle to go and confer with Lennox; but Wharton's absence from Carlisle would have been too dangerous, and the Council with Queen Katharine bade him stay, saying that they had communicated all that was necessary to Lennox by written despatches. (fn. n114) Then the Queen and the Council with her were uncomfortable because they had not seen the lairds of Brimstone and Fyvie on their return from the King in France. If they had passed towards Scotland without visiting her, Shrewsbury must detain them, with all courtesy, till Lennox was fairly in Scotland, and he must not suffer any Scotchman to pass that way without her safe conduct. (fn. n115)
Scotland was weak, and for a whole year past its borders had been ravaged, plundered and burnt by the English to a degree which, to judge by the details, (fn. n116) could have been seldom surpassed even in Border war. Yet "honest roads," as officials called them, were still carried out and an enterprise against the laird of Buccleuch seems to have been wonderfully satisfactory. (fn. n117) The great thing, of course, was to keep up the game and harass the Scots in the time of harvest. (fn. n118) In July, the Queen Dowager had sent the Scotch herald, Rothesay, to England; but the Earl of Shrewsbury and his colleagues at Darlington, bishop Tunstall and Sir Ralph Sadler, acting on instructions, detained him there, opened his despatches and sent them up. (fn. n119) There was no desire to give peace to Scotland till the King had got his way there; which apparently he hoped soon to have by the aid of Lennox, Glencairn and Kilmaurs.
After leaving Beaumaris, Lennox sailed through the Irish Channel and up the Clyde. But the governor of Dumbarton Castle refused to give it up, even to its rightful owner, to be transferred to English rule, and the whole grand project was frustrated. (fn. n120) This in itself, however, was not the worst blight on the English prospects. Could it be a fact, as Shrewsbury was informed on the 2 September, that Lennox's ally, the Earl of Glencairn, like so many other Scotchmen who had bound themselves to Henry VIII., had now deserted his cause? (fn. n121) The King himself, notwithstanding "the light nature of that nation," would not suddenly, when he heard it, "remove his good opinion" of one who had hitherto been constant to his promises. (fn. n122) But Glencairn's own letters and those of his son Kilmaurs showed but too clearly how Lennox and the English had been "prettily deceived," as Lord Chancellor Wriothesley put it, "by the old fox and his Part i., Nos. 945, 963, 1001. It would seem that their letter No. cub." (fn. n123) In fact, it is tolerably clear that Lennox's repulse at Dumbarton was largely owing to his old ally, to whose keeping he had given up the place before he left for England. (fn. n124) From Dumbarton on the last day of June he had written a letter to Wharton (fn. n125) which rather suggests how he proposed to excuse himself for a contemplated desertion of his friends. His excuses now deceived no one. Henry thought of inducing Lennox to take vengeance on Glencairn; (fn. n126) but nothing seems to have come of the idea. Lennox landed again at Bristol, and the naval officers who conducted him thither had discharged most of their companies before orders arrived to the contrary.
Inquiries meanwhile were made of the Wardens of the East and Middle Marches as to the feasibility of an expedition against Kelso and Melrose. (fn. n127) The report was that the enterprise of Melrose was not possible without a greater force than they had in garrison; but that of Kelso was possible, and they were ordered to execute it. (fn. n128) The expedition against Melrose, however, was only postponed, and we shall have to relate how it was executed in the early part of the following year. Meanwhile Scotch vessels were taking even Dutch ships (a consequence of the Emperor's concessions to Henry), and, in conjunction with the French, were continually molesting the English coasts. In September they were in strong force before Bridlington, where they captured a hulk in sight of all the town. (fn. n129) In the same month they were disturbing the herring fishery at Yarmouth. (fn. n130) In October they were off Scarborough, where no merchant ship could escape them. (fn. n131) On the last day of that month a ship of Grimsby chased by a French or Scotch vessel was run ashore at Hartlepool and scuttled by the crew to save her from the enemy; who, nevertheless, sent a boat to her under cover of a heavy fire, stopped the leak and brought her off. (fn. n132) That same day or the day before, though the fact is only reported on the 1 November, they made similar captures at Whitby. (fn. n133) They were desperate merchants of Leith and Edinburgh, as Shrewsbury understood, trying to recompense themselves for having lost their whole substance when Hertford laid those towns in ashes. Worst of all, the King himself could offer the ports no protection, and while regretting the losses his loving subjects had sustained, wondered that they could do nothing for themselves. He could not afford to divide his fleet, which had enough to do to protect the Narrow Seas against the French. (fn. n134) In fact, Sir Thomas Seymour, who had the command in the Channel and wished to attack Britanny, could not convince the King that less than fourteen sail would be sufficient to guard those waters. (fn. n135) But the replies received by Shrewsbury to inquiries addressed to Newcastle, York, Scarborough, Whitby and Hull, all showed the utter inability of those towns to set forth armed vessels for defence of the coasts without adequate assistance. Hull, indeed, had already been at great cost manning three ships of war, which, however, had been unable to cope with the enemy. (fn. n136)
In the beginning of October, Thomas Gower, the surveyor of the works at Berwick, came to Shrewsbury at Darlington with letters and a credence from the Wardens of the East and Middle Marches. It appeared that the Scots intended to burn Holy Island, and Gower had already taken steps to repair the bulwark there, which was much decayed. But a part of his credence was to inform my lord Lieutenant (Shrewsbury) that the inhabitants of Coldingham had offered to be sworn subjects of King Henry, and the question arose whether a captain and garrison should be laid there. Shrewsbury and his colleagues hardly thought it worth while. The men of Coldingham, he wrote, were "mean persons and few." The place was not secure for a garrison and the King could take it when he pleased; but no doubt, if it were well fortified, it could do much annoyance to the enemies. The King, however, was by no means disposed to slight the offer, and Sir George Bowes, who had a great mind for the enterprise, was appointed to do the work. A fortnight later the abbey of Coldingham was captured and a garrison put into it The King then sent down Archan, an Italian engineer, to view the place and devise how it might be fortified. It was then besieged by the Scots; but the besiegers were soon driven off by the Wardens of the Marches. (fn. n137) All the neighbouring country then became English. (fn. n138)
But the Scots were more united than before. In October the Queen Dowager and the Governor were still at feud, each intending to hold a separate parliament in November, the one at Edinburgh and the other at Stirling; as in point of fact they did. (fn. n139) These differences, however, were adjusted by Cardinal Beton. (fn. n140) A united Parliament continued on into December, and Angus, Sir George Douglas, Bothwell and even Glencairn, at last, received pardons for past offences. (fn. n141) Henry VIII. had the Scottish nation more completely against him than ever. But, of course, there was still some hope of raising jealousies and factions among the Scotch nobles, and a recent message from Angus to Lennox gave the King a pretext for sending the latter down to Carlisle. Could not Angus some way be induced to depose the Governor and set his son-in-law in his place? (fn. n142)
We have now set before the reader the leading subjects in this Part. The Irish Papers, during the whole of this year, are not very numerous and are almost exclusively concerned with the internal state of the country, except a reference to "young Gerald" at Nantes, (fn. n143) and a few papers about the levying of kerne for the French war. (fn. n144) Of matters bearing upon general policy it may be noted that the King who, as shown in the last Preface (Part i. p. xlix), had been driven to borrow money at 12 per cent, in June, was obliged in August to give 14 per cent., (fn. n145) and was warned that in the following month 16 per cent, would be demanded. (fn. n146) Another method of procuring the needful had been suggested— by exporting lead for sale upon the Continent. (fn. n147) But though the King had doubtless great store of that metal from the spoliation of the monasteries, he was advised by Vaughan that its sale in Flanders would be very unprofitable, and he ordered it to be stayed at the seaside. It would be far more advantageous to keep it in England, and if sold to foreign merchants there, it would bring the King customs' duties as well as the price of the lead itself. (fn. n148)
The policy of obtaining money from foreigners by forcing them to become denizens was abandoned in September, when a proclamation was made that Frenchmen who had not taken out letters of denization might still abide in England. (fn. n149)