Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 20 Part 2, August-December 1545. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1907.
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The loss of the Mary Rose was a serious drawback to the English in a war in which everything depended on the balance of naval power. And it was all the worse because the vessel was not at first considered irrecoverable. (fn. n1) To weigh her up again seemed not impracticable, and men were told off for the work. But some necessary tackle was required, and also two of the greatest hulks that might be got, four of the greatest hoys within the haven and five of the greatest cables that might be had, with thirty Venetian mariners and one Venetian carpenter. (fn. n2) This was a pretty considerable demand, and Lord Lisle, the Admiral, felt it no small weakening of the forces at his disposal. He must empty two of his greatest hulks, and forbear the use of them till the thing was accomplished. (fn. n3) And this at a time when the enemy, after burning places in the Isle of Wight and landing on the Sussex coast, were still in the Channel. Nay, after leaving the neighbourhood of Portsmouth and the Solent, it was reported that they were coming thither again, and Lord Lisle had been summoned back on the 28 July, expressly to protect Portsmouth. (fn. n4) Ships also were sent for from West Country seaports like Dartmouth and Saltash, and merchant vessels in the Thames were taken for the King's use to be sent to Portsmouth. (fn. n5) Before the month was out, moreover, it was actually rumoured that firing had been heard at sea by those stationed at Hurst Castle; and though the report proved to be unfounded, grave anxiety prevailed. The making of earthworks, in fact, had been hastily ordered to defend the town, though it was not so easy all at once to get mattocks and shovels to set men to work upon them. For the implements first had to be made at places like Winchester and Southampton. (fn. n6)
The sails and sailyards of the Mary Rose were taken out and laid on land, and cables were laid to her masts with engines to weigh her up, the two hulks being set, one on either side of her. So much had been done by the 5th August; and next day operations were to begin for setting her upright and pumping the water out of her. (fn. n7) Two days later Lisle told Suffolk at dinner that he had good hope of raising her that afternoon or next day. (fn. n8) By the 9th, however, it was confessed that the attempt had proved a failure. The Italian emgineers employed said that by the method they had pursued they no longer hoped for success, as they had broken the foremast; and they asked for six days' trial whether they could drag her out into shallow water. Once more the Admiral had to consider matters. The two great hulks engaged in the work could not well be spared much longer out of the fleet; but considering the great importance of the sunk vessel and the "goodly ordnance" contained in her, he would allow them still to be used on this service, as it would take somewhat longer time than had been supposed to get them ready as war vessels. (fn. n9)
Of what was further done we have no information. All that we know is that the ill-fated ship was never raised; and presently, much to his own satisfaction, Lisle was ordered out again to sea. For the situation had changed considerably. The French were no longer threatening Portsmouth or the Isle of Wight. But they were threatening Boulogne—a matter almost as serious. If the one single material gain of the war with France were now to be snatched from the victors, the mortification would be extreme. Yet even that was not all; for it was not only Boulogne that was in danger, but the communications with Calais also—a matter of prime importance if England was to retain anything beyond sea. So Lisle received orders on the 11th August to go out and meet the enemy. (fn. n10)
It would have been well if there had been none but an external enemy to fight. The difficulty in procuring from the different ports an adequate number of ships was comparatively slight; the real difficulty was to get men for them who were not already taken up for the King's service. (fn. n11) One ship of 140 tons was building at Saltash when the order came to send vessels to Portsmouth, and there was also a balinger of 50 tons, but the lack of mariners was the chief obstacle. (fn. n12) Yet the fleet manned with so much difficulty had not yet set to sea (except that the Western ships were on their way to Portsmouth) when it was attacked by a severe epidemic. In almost every ship the soldiers and mariners suffered from "swelling in their heads and faces and in their legs, and divers of them with the bloody flux." The infliction was attributed to the heat of the weather and the spoiling of the provisions from being too closely packed. (fn. n13) At Portsmouth the Admiral took steps to replace the disabled men and to lay in good provisions for a fortnight, while his thoughts were still much occupied with the Mary Rose. He quite expected, indeed, that the new men taken for naval service would weaken the garrisons in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. But Portsmouth must depend for the present on its new fortifications, and the lord Chamberlain (Paulet lord St. John) apprehended that it would not be impossible to lay in another fortnight's provisions for the ships, (fn. n14) though there were victuals at Rye and in the Thames which could not be procured till the French had been driven out of the Channel. In the victualling problem, however, as in other matters, the power of the enemy had to be considered; for even on the 3rd August by last reports their galleys lay about Seaford. (fn. n15) News, indeed, presently came that they had "departed homewards" (i.e. towards the Seine), but from the Westerly wind of Saturday night, the 1st, Lisle judged it more probable that they had retired towards Dieppe roads. He nevertheless on the 5th, though he had over ninety vessels and 1,200 men at his command, thought it advisable not at once to leave Portsmouth, but, if the French were really gone, let the victualling ships from London and Dover come and join him there. As for the ships from the West, several were declared to be "clenchers" not fit to grapple with an enemy without danger of sinking. (fn. n16)
On the 7th, however, Lisle, feeling that the time of inaction must not be protracted, wrote that he should be ready to depart with his fleet on Wednesday the 12th; and as it was ascertained that 200 French sail were before Rye, the Council, then at Petworth, sent him orders to do so. (fn. n17) They were received on the evening of the 11th, (fn. n18) the same day that they were despatched, and on the 15th he was within sight of the enemy.
The two fleets at first took note of each other without coming into conflict, each striving to get the advantage of the wind. It had been E.S.E. but was now almost calm. Lisle's fleet was, as he described it, "thwartt of Shorham, too kennys allmoste from the shore," and without a fresher gale there was no way of getting East of Beachy Head. (fn. n19)
The French fleet seemed to be superior in numbers, and about noon their galleys, which went in advance of them, opened fire. This they continued during the rest of the day, firing about 200 shots altogether, but, as Lisle reported, not an English ship was struck; only three oars were broken in the Mistress. At nightfall both fleets came to an anchor. At midnight a slight breeze got up, and, hoping to fight on more advantageous terms, the English were under sail by daybreak; but the enemy had disappeared. (fn. n20) They were descried from Lisle's maintop far away to seaward. (fn. n21)
Lisle was able that day to approach the Isle of Wight and forward a brief account of the engagement to Edward Bellingham, the Governor at Carisbrooke. On the evening of the day following, the 17th, the fleet rode at anchor off Beachy Head, whither they had gone once more to seek the enemy, supposed now to be in the Narrow Seas. But as they were not seen between Beachy Head and the Camber, Lisle could not think they were in advance of him in that direction. (fn. n22) The Privy Council which met at Guildford next day had perhaps already seen his letter to Sir John Gage conveying this opinion when they wrote to him suggesting that in that case he should himself repair to the Narrow Seas to clear the passage, taking in victuals at Rye and seizing some French galleys and ships reported to be between Dover and Calais. (fn. n23) But the continued Easterly wind was now a gale, and unless it abated Lisle reckoned that they could only reach Dover in three tides. (fn. n24) In fact two days later they still lay "a-hulling" in the sea off Beachy Head, from whence he was obliged to send the Mistress back to Portsmouth for repairs. By this time, however, he had learned from a captured French fisher boat that the enemy's fleet had withdrawn into the Seine; and he considered that, retiring thus in fair weather when they had ample supplies, they were not likely to venture out again during the rest of the year. (fn. n25) Towards night the weather became very boisterous, and at midnight Lisle caused his fleet to set sail for the Isle of Wight. Next day (the 21st) they were off St. Helen's Point, where in the evening he got intelligence of the return of the French fleet to different harbours in Normandy. (fn. n26)
The French Admiral, in truth, had made a poor exhibition of himself, and Francis was not pleased with him. (fn. n27)His squadron, or a portion of it, had apparently returned to the coast of Normandy as early as the 28th July. (fn. n28) So at least the Imperial ambassador in France writes from Caudebec at that date. But the main body, certainly, did not return so early. They had left the Isle of Wight by the morning of the 25th, when the Privy Council at Portsmouth had intelligence of their departure Eastwards. (fn. n29) They kept along the coast of Sussex, where a party of them landing that very day at Seaford met with a disaster. (fn. n30) They went on past Beachy Head to Rye and beyond till they came near Dover; after which the Admiral took them across the Straits to strengthen the army before Boulogne. He found he could spare them 4,000 men and 3,000 pioneers (who, his countrymen thought, might have done better service in the Isle of Wight) and re-victualled his own fleet at the same time. Then coming out to sea he encountered Lisle's squadron on the 15 August in the manner already described. But finding that the wind and currents were taking the English back to their own ports, he thought it advisable to withdraw and land at Havre. (fn. n31)
When the fact was ascertained it was a great relief to the English Government; for assuredly the odds had been rather against them in the matter of naval power. Lisle was expected back at Portsmouth, and before his arrival there instructions had been framed for him by the Council, if he found that the French fleet were not coming out again in full force, to select a portion of his own to go to the Straits of Dover to keep open the passage, and with the rest attack the French coast and burn towns and villages. (fn. n32) Lisle's return to Portsmouth must have been urgently required, owing to the condition of his men, "having not a rag to hang upon their backs," as he wrote himself. (fn. n33) Sir Thomas Clere, Vice-Admiral, was appointed to keep the Narrow Seas; (fn. n34) and on the 2nd September Lisle himself with the fleet effected a landing near Tréport and burned the town and abbey with some villages adjoining. (fn. n35) If, however, as Du Bellay's Memoires inform us, the French Admiral had landed forces at Boulogne, he certainly had done something to increase the anxieties of the English in that quarter. It is strange, indeed, that English State Papers say nothing of his having done so; but of anxieties at Boulogne they are full. Early in July the French had encamped opposite the town on the other side of the water. Lord Poynings, governor of the town (Sir Thomas Poynings, who had been created a lord on the 30 January (fn. n36)) had enough to do at that time. The garrison were insufficiently armed and badly fed, partly on provisions which had been injured by a sea passage, and partly on the remains of a superabundant supply of herrings which had served in Lent. No wonder disease had broken out among them, and while over 200 sick had been sent to England he had many dead soldiers to bury. Of course there had been gross mismanagement somewhere, and official recriminations passed between him and the Council; but the plague was a greater danger than the Frenchmen. On the 6 July Poynings knew of the encampment of the enemy. On the 7th he learned that they were making fortifications. On the 9th he had further ascertained that they had drawn the plan of a new fortress to be built on the hill top opposite "the Old Man"—a situation that would command the whole town. A few days later they sunk a ship to block the harbour mouth. Successful sallies were made to disturb them; but on the 24 July the building of the fortress was so far advanced that Poynings thought it well to write home for the aid of 5,000 footmen and 200 or 300 horse, which he thought would enable him to drive them out decisively. On the 30th the Privy Council at Portsmouth determined to send over the Earl of Surrey With the number of footmen desired. (fn. n37)
The Council, however, aware, doubtless, that the French stopped the passage of the Straits of Dover, hesitated to give immediate effect to their resolution; and on the 9 August they wrote to Surrey to await further orders. By the 13th a new plan had been formed, and Surrey was informed that the Duke of Suffolk was appointed to go to Boulogne with an army for its relief. Orders were at the same time given for the delivery of coats and conduct money to 50 or 60 of Surrey's men. (fn. n38) But Lisle had still to clear the seas by his engagement of the 15th, and in the meantime it was to be hoped that the operations of the French would be disturbed by a mercenary force of Germans engaged to march through France. (fn. n39) On the 15th, the day of the seafight, Poynings reported that the enemy were making great progress with the fort, on which pioneers were working day and night; that their camp numbered 20,000 foot, 1,000 horse, and 12,000 pioneers; and that the French King himself was coming shortly to Abbeville or Montreuil with a great power of lanzknechts. He added a piece of information about himself that was scarcely less disquieting. He had been compelled to keep his bed for three days by "the bloody flux," and though he hoped to recover, the King should provide against the opposite contingency. (fn. n40) On the 18th he died, having made provisional orders that day for the keeping of the town after his decease. (fn. n41)
On the 13th, apparently, the plan was to have given Surrey a subordinate command; but a few days made another change necessary. He must have been intended, in any case, to go over in advance of Suffolk; and on the 16th the Council (no doubt on receiving at Guildford Lisle's report of the action at sea) gave him orders to go and cross from Dover. At Boulogne, however, on the 19th, the day after Poynings' death, nothing apparently, had been heard about his landing; and even on the 23rd, when they wrote again and were waiting to hear of the appointment of a new lieutenant, nothing whatever was said about his arrival. (fn. n42) But Surrey would seem to have crossed the Channel just about that time, if not a day or two earlier; for a letter of Paget on the 26th, (fn. n43) written for the information of Hertford in the North, after referring to an event which happened on the 22nd, says that he had already gone over to Calais with his force of 5,000 foot before that event occurred.
The event in question was the death of the Duke of Suffolk, which apparently was rather sudden. For he had attended a Privy Council meeting the day before at Guildford, though he did not attend the meeting held at night on the same day at Woking. (fn. n44) Perhaps Paget's words to Hertford really mean that the most of Surrey's men had gone over to Calais before Suffolk's death, and he himself may have gone later. Anyway there was, of course, a complete change of plans. The great army that was to go with Suffolk was stayed, and whether it was to go over at all remained a question. Some of the noblemen who were to have gone with the Duke were countermanded. Surrey was not to proceed to Boulogne, of which Lord Grey, the captain of Guisnes, was made lieutenant, but was to be general captain in the Marches of Guisnes and Calais in the place of Grey. (fn. n45) Five days later, however, it was felt that this arrangement was unsatisfactory. On the 31st Grey was ordered to keep his old place at Guisnes, and Surrey to go and have charge of Boulogne, (fn. n46) of which he was formally appointed lieutenant by patent of the 3rd September. (fn. n47)
A few words now are necessary about the force of German mercenaries whose march through France was expected to relieve Boulogne. Whether Paget himself fully believed, as he wrote to Hertford, (fn. n48) that they would be at Boulogne before the end of August it is unnecessary to inquire. The King knew well enough that German mercenaries would engage themselves to France quite as readily as to England if they only expected Francis to be as good a paymaster, and he was quite aware that French offers had been made to Lightmaker, whom he commanded to continue his negotiations till he had got the money offered him and knew the names of other captains in the North whom Francis thought he had won over from Henry's service. (fn. n49) But to trace this particular business to its beginning we must go back two or three months.
We have seen already (fn. n50) how the German Protestants, after the Diet of Worms in the spring of this year, began to feel that once more they and the King of England had common interests in opposition to the Pope and the Council of Trent. In June Frederic von Reiffenberg, a vassal of the Landgrave, offered to bring to Henry's service 20 ensigns of foot and 1,000 horse, and on the 14th of the month the Landgrave himself wrote to the King that he had consented to his raising men for him within his principality. (fn. n51) Reiffenberg went to England, and not only was his offer accepted, but the number of horse was increased to l,500. (fn. n52) On reaching Antwerp, however, he was for some time kept waiting for further instructions. (fn. n53) The way his services were to be used only appears from subsequent letters. On the 19 August he had come by appointment to Cologne and wrote to Paget by Matthæus Luchtenmacker—no doubt a relation of that more notorious "Lightmaker" named Thomas in the King's service—awaiting impatiently the arrival of certain commissaries with the necessary supplies of money. On the 27th these commissaries were still at Antwerp, and had received notice from him the day preceding that he and Buckholt, once a captain of Count Buren, who was with him, would be unable to keep their men together beyond the 28th, and that there were Commissaries of the French King come to disturb them. (fn. n54) The English Commissaries at Antwerp, one of whom was Chamberlain, governor of the merchants there, and two others, Fane and Averey, had been doing their very utmost to secure safe conveyance of the money, but believed the warning to be only a pretext for new demands. Francis Hall, another of the Commissaries, was despatched to the Queen Regent for a passport for their passage into Germany to take the musters. She was naturally anxious, and asked which way the men of war were to pass; and when assured they were anxious to respect the neutrality of the Low Countries, said the King's Commissaries required no passport. Being then asked, at least for some letter recommendatory, she said she must learn the Emperor's pleasure; which was afterwards intimated, to the effect that they might go at their pleasure, so long as they brought no soldiers into the Low Countries, but a letter commendatory could not be granted. (fn. n55)
The musters had been appointed for the 20 August, but September had begun before the Commissaries had reached Cologne, and though Reiffenberg said his men had been enticed by the French, he agreed after a long interview to bring his whole number to muster at a place beyond the Rhine that day week (the interview was on the 3rd) and next day begin the march according to the contract. The Commissaries did not see how in that case he could enter the enemy's country in three days after the musters, or be at Boulogne or Calais in a fortnight. At the end of their interview, moreover, he received letters from the Landgrave, to whom he must ride at once; but he promised to post day and night till his return and meanwhile see if the musters could be quickened. On the whole, the Commissaries thought him "a quiet, reasonable and conformable man." (fn. n56)
Next day, having started on his journey, he wrote from Sayn, which he calls "Artes Sonia," that on the previous night 300 horse and almost 1,000 foot had deserted—no doubt by the enticement of enemies, for the Landgrave had written to him that Duke Henry of Brunswick had received 8,000 crowns of French money to seduce Reiffenberg's men from the English service. But he had made such conditions with his men that the French King would undoubtedly lose his money, and with the Landgrave's help he would make good the number who had deserted. (fn. n57)
It would take too much space to tell in detail the story of this unhappy expedition and the more unhappy Commissaries:— how the money Vaughan had got at Antwerp for the forces was arrested at one time; how the Commissaries were compelled to take more horsemen than they bargained for; how they were solicited to allow the troops to be used against the Duke of Brunswick; how they were subjected to new extortions; how the troops were led out of the way and kept in the Emperor's Countries; how they refused to move further without a fourth month's pay; and how they finally arrested the Commissaries for refusing it and threatened them with irons, the unfortunate men after full compliance, being finally released only in the second week of November, while the troops which were to have rescued Boulogne in August had done absolutely nothing for the King's service at all. (fn. n58)
Never had Henry been so thoroughly swindled; and there were other disappointments as well in connection with it. For John Dymock had been at Bremen, Hamburg and Lubeck to get some bands of the Bastard of Gueldres and ship them off to England or to Calais. Unluckily, they had dispersed before his arrival at Bremen; but, worse still, there was no shipping to be had, and some twenty captains and 80 or 100 soldiers clung to him continually with demands for money. He made a hurried escape from Bremen with 40 horse, not to be caught by lanzknechts. But at Hamburg, and at Lubeck also, he was equally denied shipping for men. All three towns were resolved to maintain strict neutrality in accordance with the Emperor's edict; and it was equally out of the question to send men by land to Reiffenberg, who wrote to him for some of the Bastard's levies. For the whole country between was in terror of certain bands of horse and foot raised by no one knew whom—most likely by the Duke of Brunswick, but possibly even by the Emperor himself in behalf of Frederic Count Palatine who had married his niece, the daughter of that deposed King of Denmark whose title might yet give trouble to Christian III. The most satisfactory part of Dymock's mission was his reception by the Duke of Lauenburg near Lubeck, who promised to serve Henry for six years with 2,000 horsemen and 4,000 foot, and to get ships for 2,000 men. But he must have one month's wages in hand for a body of 300 horse then preparing, and Dymock, overawed by "so many grim fellows about him," agreed to lend 1,800 philippus gilderns. (fn. n59)
And now, as to the war with Scotland. We have seen (fn. n60) that in June the Scotch Privy Council resolved to utilise the aid sent by France with Lorges Montgomery in an invasion of England to take place at the end of July; and Cardinal Beton was endeavouring to persuade himself and the Pope that the old dissensions among the Scottish nobility were appeased, while Beton's murder was at that very time being planned by agents who should be rewarded by Henry for the deed. We have also seen how Angus and Sir George Douglas were rewarded by France for their services against England at the very time when Hertford had good hope of engaging them to work on England's behalf. There was an unction of religion about the killing of the Cardinal—a deed which Sadler assured the laird of Brunston would be "acceptable service to God," and though the King would not "meddle" with the matter, Brunston had but to name the sum for which he would do it and Sadler would take care to see him paid. (fn. n61) Even so there were secret pledges given by the Douglases and the earl of Cassillis to promote the King's policy and either come to the field or stay at home as Henry should think best. (fn. n62)
Accordingly, when Hertford learned in July that the Scots were in great hope of making a successful invasion, he for his part, while making full preparations to withstand them, was not anxious about the result. (fn. n63) On the 9th August he learned at Newcastle that they were drawing near the Borders. (fn. n64) On the 11th he had heard from the Wardens of the West and Middle Marches of some things they had done which cannot now be recorded, as the letters are lost. But while he proposed to march nearer to the frontier to chastise them, he rather anticipated that they would not await his coming; and if so, he would proceed according to his "former determination," fortify Kelso and overrun the country with horse, taking full compensation for the little damage they had done, and perhaps make some attempt on Hume Castle. Then with a garrison at Kelso, other Border garrisons might be diminished. (fn. n65) He remained at Newcastle for some days, awaiting levies from Yorkshire — indeed much longer than he intended, for he was still there on the 14th, when he learned that the Scots had retired without doing further damage. (fn. n66) He at once countermanded the Yorkshire levies and deferred his project of fortifying Kelso and wasting the country till September, when the English harvests would be gathered in and the corn in Scotland would be cut. On the 16th Angus and the Earl Marshal of Scotland, George Douglas and Cassillis wrote to him from Melrose claiming credit for having frustrated the threatened invasion, and suggesting how the English should proceed for their part by armies "in this time of harvest," both in the East and West Borders. (fn. n67)
On the 19th he had letters from the Warden of the East Marches stating that the Scots were moving again towards the Borders; but he could not believe that they would effect much now, having so lately retired for lack of victuals. He was glad to learn that the King approved his "device" for Kelso, which also met with the approval of Arcan, the Italian engineer; and on the 5 September he at length left Newcastle for the Borders. On the 9th he arrived before Kelso with an army. Some of his Spanish troops began to assault the Abbey without orders, but he bade them withdraw and called on the house to surrender. There were about a hundred persons without, twelve of whom were monks; but they refused to yield. The cannon soon made a breach by which the Spaniards entered and drove the Scots into the steeple. The assault of the steeple had to be delayed till next morning, and meanwhile in the dark about a dozen Scots escaped out of back windows by ropes. When day came the steeple was soon won and those remaining in it slain. (fn. n68) This was followed up by the burning of Melrose Abbey and town, of Dryburgh Abbey, and of about thirteen or fourteen neighbouring towns and villages, with the destruction of as much corn and the doing of as much hurt as Hertford believed had not been done in one raid for a hundred years with the exception of his own last "journey to Edinburgh." (fn. n69)
On the 15th the army removed towards Jedburgh, within a mile of which they encamped for the night. Of course they continued burning and destroying on either side of them as they went along; and next day Bowes with 1,500 light horse carried the ravages six or seven miles further, while Hertford burned the Abbey, Friars and town of Jedburgh, and all the villages within two miles round. That afternoon, their victuals being spent, the army began to remove towards Wark, still burning the country for miles; and Hertford had the satisfaction of thinking that the Scots had suffered twice as much as they did even on his expedition to Edinburgh. "The country," he wrote, "is very fair, and so good a corn country and such plenty of the same as we have not seen the more plenteous in England; and undoubtedly there is brent a wonderful deal of corn, for by reason that the year hath been so forward, they had done much of their harvest and made up their corn in stacks about their houses, or had it lying in shocks in the fields." (fn. n70)
On the 19th he viewed Hume Castle, which was very strong and could, he believed, hold out for eight or ten days at least; so it was resolved to pass on and burn "the Mershe." On the 22nd they encamped beside Norham, still on Scottish ground. Next day he dissolved the army. He had been desired to report what fortification might be made at Dunse as elsewhere, but finding the situation unsuitable he had simply razed and burnt it, reporting that it "was a very simple and peevish town." (fn. n71) On the 27th he sent a full report of the places which he had "brent, razed and cast down" between the 8th and 23rd September; and he forwarded to the King some suggestions for the diminution of the Border garrisons. (fn. n72) He was quite convinced that the Scots were now powerless to molest England in the coming winter. (fn. n73) Even when he wrote, however, a message was on its way from the Council intimating the King's pleasure to have some "good" raid made upon the West Marches to keep the Scots out of England in that quarter, to which they would very likely repair now that they had been so harried in the Merse and Teviotdale. And he had so far anticipated the King's intentions before the letter came as to send for Wharton from Carlisle to devise a project for the annoyance of the Western Scots and the taking of Carlaverock Castle. Wharton, however, did not see that there was much to be gained by a raid (the country being so wild and wasted) nearer than Dumfries, unless it was to cast down the church of Annan, which was scarcely worth while. As to Carlaverock, the castle was the property of lord Maxwell, who, like the other Solway prisoners in 1542, had been dismissed to his own country on parole, but was taken and sent up to London by Hertford in 1544. In July of this year he had been brought down again to Carlisle in the vain hope that his son Robert, the master of Maxwell, would stand pledge for him, and had been all but sent back to the Tower, but was kept prisoner in Pomfret Castle, and was now once more in Hertford's custody. (fn. n74) As matters fell out, his son might as well have stood pledge for him. For in September he attempted some raid against the West Marches and was taken prisoner by Wharton; (fn. n75) so that both father and son were now in the power of the English. They accordingly both became very solicitous to gain the goodwill of their captors. Robert Maxwell said that if he might send his servant John Kennedy to Lochmaben with a message, that castle might be got and kept to the King's use; and if he might speak with his father before Hertford they might arrange some plan for the keeping of their castles in the West Marches. (fn. n76) To this Hertford readily agreed; the interview of father and son took place and the messenger was sent. But nothing came of the matter; for Lochmaben was in the keeping of Lord Maxwell's second son John, who simply refused to deliver it. Lord Maxwell then offered to put his own castle of Carlaverock into the hands of the English, declaring that it might easily be obtained—it was in the keeping of a priest, his kinsman—and was not only stronger but more convenient for a garrison; after which, if he were sent home, he had no doubt he could put Lochmaben also into the King's hands. But only let him be brought down again to Carlisle, so that he could send for the priest who kept Carlaverock, and that castle, at least, could be surely won. Hertford thought that the priest might just as well come to him at Newcastle; but as his prisoner would be quite as safe in Carlisle as in London, he despatched him thither with Wharton to try him. Robert Maxwell, who had appointed the priest who kept the place, was also got to assist by writing a letter to that priest as his warrant for the surrender. (fn. n77)
An enterprise against Carlaverock accordingly took place, and was very naturally successful. We possess no despatches about it; but the "Diurnal of Occurents" says that lord Maxwell delivered the place on the 24th October. John and Edward Maxwell wrote on the 26th to Wharton, excusing themselves for having gone against the house of Carlaverock contrary to their chief, because the whole country had been summoned by the Governor and refusal would have involved imprisonment for treason and loss of goods. (fn. n78) On the 27th the Council at Windsor wrote to Wharton to ask how far the place would be able to hold out against a Scotch army and whether there was any likelihood of such an army being levied, fearing that in such a case the only plan might be to deliver it to the Maxwells according to a device of the priest. But Wharton was perfectly assured that the Scots could not levy such an army, and if they did could not continue there long. The place was among so many creeks and mosses that it could only be approached in one way, and he would not deliver it to any Scot in Scotland without the Council's authority. (fn. n79) He was certainly rather too sanguine; for, though these papers do not mention the fact, the Governor came again on the 2nd November and easily recovered the castle; "quhilk at thair cuming, was left waist," says the contemporary diarist. (fn. n80) If it was difficult of access to the Scots, it was still more so to the English, and a very useless acquisition besides.
On the 15th November the Privy Council caused letters to be addressed to the Wardens of the East and Middle Marches to send 1,000 men to Carlisle on the 20th for an exploit to be done by order of Lord Wharton (fn. n81) But what came of this we are not informed; and there is no further intelligence on Scotch matters of any moment for this year. Only, as regards the Maxwells it deserves to be noted that the two sons of Lord Maxwell both came very shortly afterwards into the King's power. Both probably, but certainly the elder, were captured by a Borderer of the Graham family who was induced to deliver up Robert Maxwell and two other Scottish prisoners (unnamed) for lands in England to the value of 20 marks a year; in addition to which he was allowed to purchase on easy terms, from the Court of Augmentation, lands worth 20 nobles a year more. Advantage was at once taken of the incident to compel the two sons to sign a bond on their father's behalf. But the consent of the younger was not obtained till the new year. (fn. n82)
There is one subject, indeed, bearing upon this Scotch war which it has been necessary to reserve for separate mention. It would seem that even in the latter part of the year 1544 communications had been opened with Donald MacConell, who claimed to be lord of the Isles, and who, it is stated, had "broken forth" in October, and was expected by the King's friends to keep his Christmas at Inverness. A rumour, indeed, had got to Antwerp by the last day of the year that a new King had risen up in Scotland "out of the Scottish Irish." (fn. n83) It would appear, in fact, that he and his friends raised a considerable turmoil in the North, but were ultimately driven back into their Islands by the Earl of Huntly. (fn. n84) In the following spring it was reported that he was coming to Ireland, and the lord Deputy St. Leger believed that he was to join a detachment of French forces to be landed there with "young Gerald," the exile, whose rights as eleventh earl of Kildare were not recognised till the days of Queen Mary. But this was a mistake, and the Deputy soon afterwards learned from the Earl of Tyrone in Dublin that this "captain of the wild Scots" desired, on the contrary, to give himself to the service of Henry VIII. being the deadly enemy of the Earl of Argyle and the friends of the late King James, since whose death he had become much more powerful. (fn. n85) On the 28 July he and his "barons and Council of the Isles," seventeen in number, gave a commission to Rory Maclane, bishop elect of the Isles, and to Patrick Maclane, brother german to lord Maclane, "baillie of Icolmkill and justice clerk of the South Isles," to negotiate with Henry VIII. as they should be commanded by the earl of Lennox, "second person of the realm of Scotland." It is stated in the document itself that the lord of the Isles and his barons have subscribed it with "hand at the pen" because they cannot write, and the lord gave the Commissioners his signet to be used as Lennox should direct them. (fn. n86) On the 5th August he addressed a letter to Henry VIII. from Carrickfergus, acknowledging a present and letters from the King and saying that he had come to Ireland with 4,000 men to serve the Earl of Lennox, and that he had named the above two persons as his Commissioners, his barons having that day taken oath before substantial witnesses in "the Grey Friars of Knokfergus" to be the King's subjects at the command of Lennox and support the King about the marriage of the young Scottish princess. (fn. n87)
Six days later the Deputy of Ireland wrote to Henry VIII. that this lord and his 4,000 men had been brought by servants of Lennox to Carrickfergus, and that he had left 4,000 others in Scotland to encounter the forces of Argyle and Huntly. In a postscript dated next day, the 13th August, he mentions the arrival in Dublin of the two Commissioners, the bishop elect of the Isles and Patrick Maclane, who were on their way to visit the King. They reached the Court at Woking in ten days, and made certain propositions on which they wished to confer with the earl of Lennox. Lennox was then with the earl of Hertford at Newcastle; but he immediately came up, and a great plan was formed for the invasion of the Scottish Highlands, penetrating, it was hoped, as far as Stirling. Lennox was to go over at once to Ireland, and a band of 2,000 kerne and gallowglasses were to be supplied him by the lord Deputy. As he knew neither the people he was to command, nor their language, the earl of Ormond was to accompany him out of Ireland. The lord of the Isles (earl of Ross as he also called himself) was to join the enterprise with 8,000 men as long as Lennox remained in Argyle's country, and with 6,000 in any other part of Scotland, using the other 2,000 against Argyle. The King gave him a pension of 2,000 crowns and agreed to maintain 3,000 of his men, leaving him to support the rest at his own cost. Lennox and the bishop of the Isles received their despatch from the Privy Council on the 7th September. (fn. n88)
The project, however, had to be suspended for a while, as it required the co-operation of the Deputy and Council of Ireland. The despatches took three weeks to reach Dublin, and there was a good deal to do before the King's instructions could be carried out. The 2,000 Irish kerne and gallowglasses to serve with Ormond and Lennox in Scotland were to be selected from "the most wild and savage sort" of Irishmen, whose absence from Ireland would, in the King's opinion, itself do more good than harm. But those 2,000 Irishmen were not to be so readily levied, and the Deputy and Council had neither commission nor instruction about their wages. They were also compelled to hire ten or twelve ships of Ireland for their transport, as most of the ships expected from Chester and Beaumaris had not yet arrived, and those which had demanded wages for their crews. As to those still expected no one knew whether they were paid or not, or for how long. The Council of Ireland, however, not to put off time, had defrayed all charges, leaving but a slender balance out of the £6,000 they had last received from England. The Deputy, moreover, had perhaps some private views of his own touching the Earl of Ormond, with whom he never was on very good terms; and, while willingly committing to him the responsibilities which the King intended for him, suggested that Ormond's repair to Court, which seems to have been desired mainly for a consultation on next year's policy, might as well be deferred till after the enterprise against Scotland. (fn. n89)
At length, on the 17 November, Lennox and Ormond sailed from Dublin together. The number of 2,000 men had been made up, though only 1,500 were "kerne," 50 being "halfhakes" and 50 archers of the Dublin retinue, the remaining 400 being gallow-glasses. Of the kerne 250 were gunners. They had also 300 mariners to keep the ships. So great an expedition, provisioned for so long a period, had not embarked from Dublin, the authorities stated, for 200 years. And they were bent, first of all, on pursuing five or six big ships, believed to be Frenchmen, which had passed Northwards two days before; then, if possible, they meant to gain Dumbarton Castle, or, failing that, to land in Argyle's country. (fn. n90) The unhappy results of the expedition are not recorded in the papers in this Volume.
We have seen (fn. n91) that in July Buckler and Mont were still at Worms awaiting an answer from the German Protestants about a league for mutual defence against the Pope; and that meanwhile, when the demands of their representatives touching matters of religion were refused by that Diet, James Sturmius had been in consultation with Mont about a possible mediation of the Protestants between France and England, to which he had reason to believe that Francis himself would be inclinable if Henry would accept it also. It was only on the 5 August that Buckler and Mont could obtain any answer from the delegates of the Protestants about the proposed league, and even then they had been unable to refer the matter to all the Estates. But they were able to give a general assurance of their willingness. If the King was attacked they would within two months aid him with 4,000 foot and 500 horse for three months at their own expense and he might keep them longer at his; in return for which the King was expected, within three months after the conclusion of the league, to deposit 200,000 crowns with the senate of Hamburg to be used for the defence of the Protestants if they should be invaded. These terms Mont and Buckler had no commission to agree to, but endeavoured to moderate each article before reporting them to the King. As to the proposed mediation, however, Mont intimated the King's willingness, and ambassadors were at once appointed to proceed both to Henry VIII. and to the King of France. They were, for England, Ludovicus à Baumbach, marshal of the Landgrave (who had been in England already in 1540) and Sleidan, "a licentiate of the law," who was even then thinking of his celebrated History of the Reformation. For France they were Christopher à Fenningen, marshal of Wirtemberg, and Dr. Hans Bruno. (fn. n92)
How far the Emperor suspected these projects we do not know. But he too at this time offered his services to bring about a peace between England and France, causing his sister, Mary of Hungary, to despatch a personage to either Prince to persuade them. To England she sent Cornelius Scepperus, otherwise known as the Sieur d'Eick; to France the Sieur de Noirthoudt. (fn. n93) Scepperus arrived in London on the 18 August, having encountered various obstacles on the voyage occasioned by the war, and not finding either the Imperial ambassador or his wife, or being able to learn exactly where the King himself was. (fn. n94) But next day he found both the ambassador and the Court at Guildford, and he had an audience of the King the day following (the 20th). But the King gave no favourable answer to his exhortation. He was elated with the news of the French fleet having vanished after the engagement of the 15th; and he had no idea of giving up Boulogne, which he called "his daughter," for any compensation. Success had attended him so far, and he entertained great hopes, as Scepperus discovered, of what Reiffenberg would do to relieve Boulogne. But it was the opinion of Scepperus (fully justified, as we have seen, by after events) that Reiffenberg would cheat his employers, just as others like him had done before. (fn. n95)
Unfavourable as Henry had shown himself, Scepperus was detained in England till the answer of Francis I. had arrived; which, when reported, was equally decisive. Francis would hear of no peace unless Henry consented to give up Boulogne, at least for a pecuniary consideration. He was quite willing to pay Henry's expenses thereon at the Emperor's award, and also to continue the old pension with arrears, &c.; but Boulogne he must have back again. Moreover, he could conclude no peace without comprehending the Scots—another thing to which the King was strongly opposed. At a second audience the King gave the two ambassadors a final answer, telling them that unless Francis came to more reasonable terms—seeing that he was the disturber of Christendom, while he himself only sought to enjoy his own—the Emperor ought no longer to defer taking part with him against France as he was bound to do by their treaty of perpetual amity.
Similar persuasions had been already pressed upon the Ambassadors by the Council that forenoon. Had they nothing to tell about the sending of that aid? But this was for Vander Delft to answer, as it was no part of the mission of Scepperus; and how Vander Delft tried to shelve the question will be seen in his separate despatch to the Emperor. Scepperus received his passport on the 15th September, and left with a special message from the King to Charles V. (fn. n96)
Neither Vander Delft nor Scepperus was probably at this time aware of an important event which had just happened in France, and of which the Emperor had written to inform them. The Duke of Orleans had died upon the 9th (fn. n97) September, and what might be the effect on the relations between the Emperor and Francis was certainly a subject of some anxiety, as the Duke's marriage with a daughter or niece of the Emperor had been one of the stipulations of the treaty of Crépy. The French King, as the Emperor was informed by his ambassador, had at once ordered all passages to be closed, and it was reported that next day Cardinal Tournon and the French Admiral d'Annebault were to leave hurriedly for Boulogne to treat with the English there. (fn. n98) As there was some fear now of an arrangement between England and France to the Emperor's detriment, he was very anxious to learn from his representatives in England if they saw any likelihood of such a thing. Vander Delft does not expressly refer to this instruction in his letters; but he very soon had something to say that was significant enough. First, however, he had to notify a remonstrance made to him by Gardiner and Paget about the margrave of Antwerp's arrest of the funds for the pay of Henry's German auxiliaries (fn. n99); then a day or two later, the arrival of certain Germans, whom he soon found out to be, as they indeed were, ambassadors from the Protestants. In fact, he had got secret information that they were no other than Sleidan and Baumbach, with a young man named Philip; that they had come through Metz and Lorraine along with one Sturmius and Philip's father and paid a visit to Francis I., with whom the latter two remained, before going on to England. At Abbeville they had supped in the chamber of the Duke of Orleans the day before he died. They had come through Montreuil to the camp before Boulogne and had been escorted to Calais by a French trumpeter. And on the 21 Sept., the very day that Vander Delft wrote, they had dined with the Council and had a full hour's audience of the King. (fn. n100) The ambassador thought that under these circumstances it would be well for the Emperor to consider the proposal carried back by Scepperus (the nature of which we shall see presently) in order to frustrate these Lutheran intrigues. (fn. n101)
He had sought an audience himself that day, but was put off for two days. On the 23rd, however, he was admitted to the King's presence, and, referring to the rumour of the French Admiral's going to Boulogne to negotiate, while he understood ambassadors had arrived from France who were said to be Germans and confessed themselves to be Protestants, he could not avoid expressing to the King once more the assurance of the Emperor's friendship and of his confidence in the treaties and amity between them. The King's reply was that he wished the amity was as sincere on the Emperor's side as it was on his, but he was very badly treated, and even his money was detained on the plea that he was going to take it out of the country. Then leaning against a window and bidding the ambassador be covered he went on to harp on the old grievance that the Emperor had deserted him when he made his treaty with France on no better ground than the mere word of a minister (viz., the bishop of Arras), who bore neither letter nor credence from him and quite misrepresented his mind in the matter; for he himself had persistently refused to negotiate with France whatever conditions were offered, unless the Emperor was first satisfied. He had been a King for forty years (nearly forty years, he or his reporter should have said), and had never broken his word. He would not deny that those Germans came from certain German princes who had sent a similar mission to France to persuade both parties to peace; but the French would not make peace without Boulogne, and he meant to keep it. However, those ambassadors would stay till they heard from their colleagues in France. He asked if the Sieur d'Eick (Scepperus) had arrived in Flanders and would be back soon; and he urged that this was the time to make sure of the French, who were in extreme necessity. (fn. n102)
On the 28th the Emperor sent Scepperus back again from Brussels with instructions for himself and Vander Delft in reply to the message he had brought from England; which was a proposal on Henry's part to cross the sea for an interview with the Emperor and the Queen of Hungary. The Emperor, of course, could not but express his delight at this token of the King's affection, but much as he desired the interview must point out two obstacles:—first, the great personal risk to the King when epidemics raged among his soldiers on the Continent, and secondly, the Emperor's pledge to be at Regensburg by the 6 January for the meeting of the States of the Empire. He would, however, approach his Flemish-Artois frontier for the interview on condition that the King was there during October, and that the King of France consented meanwhile to suspend hostilities; he had already instructed his ambassador in France to induce Francis to agree to such suspension and allow a peace conference to be held on Imperial territory. This, he remarked, would afford him an excellent pretext for approaching the frontier as proposed; and he had empowered Scepperus and Vander Delft by letters patent to conclude in principle for the meeting. But as the interview must necessarily be brief it was necessary that the principal points to be discussed should be debated and settled beforehand by confidential ministers on both sides. Finally, if the English still pressed the point that the Emperor was bound by treaty to take Henry's part against France, the ambassadors must point out that while he was making such strenuous efforts to arrange a peace the Emperor could not take part with one belligerent against another; but when he saw how things went he would be free to act. (fn. n103)
Diamond cut diamond. The Privy Council sent an account of the whole negotiation to Thirlby, which showed, as they observed, that the Emperor was not very desirous of the meeting, but was only seeking to frustrate the negotiations of the Protestants, fearing lest now that the "knot of his amity" with France was dissolved by the death of Orleans, a peace might be made without him. The King had therefore courteously answered Scepperus by the mouths of Gardiner and Paget, that as the Emperor had prudently considered, the points whereon the meeting should be founded ought certainly to be made clear in the first place; and therefore, as the main question was the declaration of their continued amity before the world, the Emperor ought to declare his mind on those points of the treaty in which he had not fulfilled the King's expectation. This was important, not only for the amity between the two Sovereigns but for the surety of their countries, seeing that they both were mortal. The treaty was in two parts, one part binding them against France, the other, more of a general purport, binding them and their successors. Of matters concerning France the Council "sorted out" two articles, the 19th and 21st, which had not been kept, as the Emperor had made peace without the King's consent, and had failed to keep the required number of men upon the sea. But as the common invasion of France was past, the Council proceeded to matters which the Emperor and his successors were still bound to observe By the 14th article no subsequent treaty (such as that of Crépy, of course) was to prejudice the amity, and by the 6th and 7th articles each prince was to be enemy to the other's enemy when places mentioned therein were invaded, and to give aid against such invasion with 10,000 men. (fn. n104)
These old points and cavils, which Scepperus did his best to answer politely, were fished up again, and the Emperor's Council were to be asked how they understood those articles, and also various others that were specified, forbidding reprisals or letters of marque, and referring all controversies to a diet, the supply of money, men and victuals to the King's forces, and their free passage through the Emperor's countries. The King thought the Emperor himself should make an explicit declaration before the interview of his meaning on seven separate articles and all the rest of the treaty concerning the amity between them which was also to bind their successors. He desired that all the articles which specially concerned the invasion of France, viz., the 18th to the 23rd articles of the treaty of 11 Feb. 1543, (fn. n105) and the supplementary treaty made by the Viceroy of Sicily on 31 Dec. following (fn. n106) should be annulled; while to the 13th article of the former treaty requiring common consent to any agreement with the enemy it should be added that such consent must be in writing, signed and sealed. Further, to meet a doubt suggested to the King by recent information, a new article should be added, that neither prince, nor any successor of either, should use any privilege whatever for the discharge of his oath to observe the treaty—that is to say, that no absolution granted to him by the Pope, on the plea that the King was a heretic, should excuse the fulfilment of it. (fn. n107)
On the Emperor's application to him Francis had consented to a six weeks' truce with England; but Henry declared that such a truce would be entirely against his interests. A truce for six months he would listen to, but not for six weeks, when he had so many Germans engaged in his service for three months. (fn. n108) At this very time the Emperor had been compelled to complain of the doings of those Germans; (fn. n109) but that was another matter; and indeed the remonstrance had not yet reached the hands of Vander Delft, who, unable to obtain Henry's agreement to the truce, urged upon Gardiner and Paget the propriety of at least sending a fit person over to meet the French Admiral when he came to discuss peace with England at the Emperor's Court. Being so moved, they spoke about the matter to the King and then informed him that the mission would be entrusted to Gardiner. (fn. n110)
On the 15 October, accordingly, the King wrote both to Charles V. and to Mary of Hungary to intimate Gardiner's mission. (fn. n111) Gardiner left Windsor for London, where he received his instructions two days later. He was to tell the Emperor that he had come to him as Henry understood it to be his desire that a special envoy should be sent from England to join with the other English ambassadors in treating with the French Admiral; but the King trusted that the Emperor would send back Scepperus to conclude the practice for the continuance of the old amity between them. Gardiner, however, was warned to be on the alert to spy out whether the French Admiral came for any other purpose besides the ostensible object of his mission; and if the Emperor was only seeking to defeat the Protestant mediation without doing anything himself, he was to "insinuate himself" to the Admiral and secretly practice to counteract his purpose by treating for an amity between the King and France. The other point in his instructions referred to the complaints against Reiffenberg's bands, and to demanding the aid due on account of the invasion of the French; which he was to insist was equally due whether the peace went forward or not. (fn. n112)
It is clear that the main service which Henry expected from Gardiner was not to treat for peace with the French Admiral. That object the King intended only as a secondary one, if he failed to bind the Emperor in a firmer alliance with England; and with this view after his departure two commissions were sent on to him, the first enabling him, in conjunction with Thirlby and Carne, to treat for the proposed interview; the second to empower him and Thirlby to treat for three marriages between the Emperor's family and the King's. These were (1) that the Emperor himself should marry the lady Mary, the King's daughter; (2) that Prince Edward should marry the Emperor's daughter Mary; and (3) that Prince Philip, the Emperor's son, should marry the King's daughter, Elizabeth. (fn. n113) Such proposed marriages, of course, were only lures; but if there was any appearance of the Emperor preferring the friendship of France to that of England, Gardiner was to draw closer to the French Admiral and make him feel that the friendship of England was more valuable to his master than that of the Emperor.
Gardiner was detained a day at Dover by stormy weather, but he had reached Nieuport on Saturday the 24th October, where he waited some days to hear of the French Admiral's arrival. On the 26th he was found there by Scepperus, who, having returned from England, had just been despatched thither again by the Emperor from Ghent. (fn. n114) His instructions were to show the King that the Emperor had taken steps to learn whether his coming to the Imperial Diet might be deferred to a later date than the 10th January, but that there were very urgent reasons why it should not be; and as the King could not cross the Channel before the truce, and winter was coming on, and Germany was in a very critical condition, he feared he must relinquish the hope of seeing him. But as to the points in the treaty which required clearing up he would make his answer to the bishop of Winchester. (fn. n115)
Scepperus pointed out to Gardiner at Nieuport the importance of concluding a truce as soon as possible; but Gardiner had no authority to discuss it unless the Emperor first consented to the interview. He had been sent, he said, only to negotiate a peace; and but that he expected to find the French Admiral there he would not have hurried so. Neither had he any power to treat on some secret points that Scepperus had submitted to the Emperor. (fn. n116) But the delay of the Admiral was not at all unnatural. Reiffenberg and his bands had been about Liege, and the object for which they were mustered was to advance through France and prevent any attempt of the French to recover Boulogne. Francis, however, was reassured when he heard that they had been disbanded, and though he had previously refused to send d'Annebault until a truce should be agreed upon, he gave a formal commission on the 31 October to him and two colleagues to negotiate a peace. (fn. n117)
Had the Emperor secretly connived at Reiffenberg's extraordinary conduct? It cleared the ground at least for a negotiation, which while France was threatened by his bands was scarcely to be thought of. As for Gardiner's mission, its object having been so clearly explained by his instructions we shall not pursue the story in detail, which the reader will find abundantly related in his despatches. He himself was not hopeful of very good results. "We are at war," he wrote, "with France and Scotland; we have enmity with the Bishop of Rome; we have no assured friendship here with the Emperor, and we have received from the Landgrave, chief captain of the Protestants, such displeasure that he has cause to think us angry with him." Gardiner, apparently, quite believed that the Landgrave himself was an accomplice in the disloyalty of his subordinate, Reiffenberg; which was not the case. He added that the war was injurious to the realm and there was a lack of necessaries for it at home, while merchants everywhere complained of the effects on commerce through the Narrow Seas. The French offers were miserable after so much expenditure. Hostages were not to be relied on. Bonds might be cancelled at any time by a (so called) general Council It was a world where reason and learning went for nothing and covenants were little regarded. "This," he goes on to say, writing to his old Cambridge friend, many years his junior, Sir William Paget, now Secretary of State, "is another mauner of matter than when I played Periplectomenus, you Miliphippa, and my Lord Chancellor (Wriothesley) Palestrio; and yet our parts be in this tragedy that now is in hand." (fn. n118) We know from some verses by Leland (fn. n119) that Gardiner had once set on the stage the Miles Gloriosus ol Plautus, in which the above persons are characters.
Gardiner himself heartily wished for peace and thought that the King might even give up Boulogne and still retain the prestige of having won it, as the world believed firmly in the valour and resources of the English. (fn. n120) But he did not admire the intervention of the Protestants, which would not increase the respect in which England was held, but would only tend to corrupt the realm with their "detestable opinions." And then during the negotiations the French might come to such a good understanding with the Emperor that there would be small hope of getting him to "eclarsye and accomplishe the treatie as we would have it." (fn. n121) It was quite the King's policy to use an agent with the Emperor who thoroughly detested Protestantism, while he himself was considering what could be made of Protestant mediation. But Gardiner and his fellows received a sort of reprimand for paying too much attention to the French when the real object was to press the Emperor for the elucidation of doubtful points in his treaty with England; for if the Emperor was only a little more fully committed to give England satisfaction on those points, no doubt France would soon come to seek a much-needed peace on reasonable terms. Gardiner and his colleagues ought to have taken advantage of various points to convince the imperialists of "the untruth and willfulness" of the French, and if the Emperor, the Regent and Granvelle did not give satisfactory answers, they should be warned against French practices. Even Granvelle's own doings might in some things be exposed to the Regent as he had private motives for favouring the French, who, whatever bargain they made, would certainly never think of giving up Milan; and so forth. (fn. n122)
Gardiner was perplexed enough at the time, having received a private message that the King left much to his discretion as he had to do with men of subtle wit; "and yet," he said "I stand amazed after which deer to run." (fn. n123) But he and his fellows had attended to the "eclarishment" (as it was called) of the treaty somewhat better than the Council had been informed at the date of their admonition, and the King, when he learned what they had done, liked it upon the whole. (fn. n124) So they went on with the work of the "eclarishment" to the very end of the year and to the beginning of next year, as we shall hereafter see.
But at the time we have just come to—the middle of November—the King despatched Bishop Tunstall, Paget and Dr. Tregonwell to Calais to treat more directly with Commissioners of Francis, whom he was sending to Ardres. And' so the business of mediation was virtually taken out of the hands of Gardiner and committed to those very Protestant envoys of whom he was so suspicious. This, however, was not accomplished without some manœuvring, which certainly should enhance our respect for Henry's diplomatic skill if for nothing else. For these Protestant envoys, Baumbach and Sleidan, had been with the King at Windsor from the middle of September to the first or second week of October, when they left, apparently well satisfied with their success, so far, for a conference which was to take place at Calais. They had got to Calais by the 18th, the day on which their colleagues in France were to be at Ardres. But those colleagues had not prospered in France so well as they had done in England; in fact, they were just then on their return to Germany from a mission which they regarded as a complete failure. But on learning how well inclined Henry had shown himself to their objects they made such representations to Francis I. that he gave them permission to go to Ardres, and said that he would send thither some of his Council after them to negotiate if Henry would do the like. The Protestants were even encouraged to hope that the French Admiral, who was expected at the Emperor's Court, might be sent thither instead if he was to be met by an English envoy of equal dignity; but in this they were disappointed. A commission, however, had been made out as early as the 9th October, just about the time when the Protestant envoys were probably leaving Windsor, to treat with such Commissioners as Francis should send for peace. And this was the commission on which Tunstall, Paget and Tregonwell were sent over more than a month later, in the middle of November. (fn. n125) A basis of agreement seemed to have been found in the suggestion that Boulogne might be for some time sequestrated.
Meanwhile Gardiner and Thirlby at Bruges were disquieted by the reports of the Protestants that the French Admiral was going to Ardres to make peace by their mediation. Granvelle said that these were idle French tales, though it might be that Francis would send Commissioners to Ardres in the belief that the Protestants had smoothed the way for negotiations, as they had, no doubt, offered him a good bargain. Gardiner said that the French Admiral would have but "a cold journey" to the Imperial Court if the matter was to be treated elsewhere; and Granvelle could only assure him of one fact, that the Admiral would positively come to them. But besides this suggestion of a cold journey, it was strange to Gardiner that Granvelle should have shown no dissatisfaction on the Emperor's part at the interference of the Protestants, for whose chastisement he was certainly preparing. (fn. n126) Gardiner was rather at a loss to interpret the situation; but he fully believed that the French Admiral was coming for other objects than to negotiate with him, and that the French were only using the Protestants to drive a better bargain with the Emperor. (fn. n127)
But when Tunstall and Paget were sent to Calais about the 17 November, (fn. n128) their mission was based on the request of the Protestant envoys that as Francis desired to treat and was sending Commissioners to Ardres for the purpose, the King would do the like. They were to use the good offices of the Protestants to arrange the first place of meeting, and then let the adversaries make their proposals. Before the negotiations began, Bruno and Sturmius, the envoys to the French King, solicited an interview with Paget apart, in which Bruno very strongly urged the danger of the war increasing the power of their common enemies by bringing France to the Pope's devotion. Paget replied that the French were alluring the Protestants to work for them on pretence of taking their part against the Pope; but they had actually bound themselves to the Emperor to maintain the Council of Trent. Had they not just sent to the Emperor the greatest embassy ever sent out of France? And Paget could tell Bruno in confidence that Gardiner's mission to the Imperial Court was in consequence of the French King's former offer to send the Admiral thither, the intention being to join all these Princes in amity against the Protestants, who were simple enough to believe all that they were told. It was not their true policy to weaken England, the most valuable friend they had, by urging her to make concessions. (fn. n129)
Thus Paget, who, as the King's Secretary, understood his master's mind far better than other diplomatists, had no difficulty in admitting the Protestants confidentially into a great secret, which was at least very plausible—that his old friend Gardiner's mission to the Emperor was intended to promote not merely a peace between England and France but an alliance between both these Powers and the Emperor, which would enable them to crush the Protestants altogether. The revelation, no doubt, implied great duplicity on the part of his master, who was ready to be friend or enemy of the Protestants as suited his own convenience; but diplomatists knew that great princes were governed in everything by diplomatic reasons, and the apparent sincerity and friendliness of Paget must have impressed them with the importance of keeping Henry their friend as much as possible.
It was consummate statesmanship, no doubt, in a King like Henry VIII. not to let his right hand know what his left hand was doing. Paget was instructed to keep all the overtures for peace that came through the Protestants very carefully from the knowledge of Gardiner. (fn. n130) Even the very fact of Paget's mission to Calais along with Tunstall had been no less carefully kept in the dark from everybody until he was actually sent over. It was not notified even then to Vander Delft, whose suspicions were aroused when he knew it. He had heard, indeed, some talk while Scepperus was in England of Paget's being sent abroad, and was led to believe that it was intended to send him to the Emperor; but when it appeared that he and Tunstall remained at Calais, where the Protestant envoys still were, and that it was at least as easy for them to reach the French as the Imperial Court, he could not help feeling very considerable anxiety. (fn. n131)
But it was not merely that Gardiner and the Imperial agents were mystified. It was equally necessary to the King's policy that the Protestants should be mystified about Gardiner. The French Admiral and his colleagues had, indeed, "a cold journey," as Gardiner anticipated. For at the very time that the King was instructing Paget to keep matters close from Gardiner he was intimating to Gardiner himself and his colleagues (also as a matter for them to keep to themselves) that he wished any propositions made to them about a truce to be passed over for a time lest they should hinder better overtures for a permanent peace at Guisnes, (fn. n132) But in truth such instructions had ceased to be necessary even at the time that they were given; for already, on the 23rd November, it had become apparent that peace negotiations at the Emperor's Court could not be continued, the demands of the opposite parties being quite irreconcilable. (fn. n133) And within a day or two the French Admiral and his colleagues had taken their departure. (fn. n134)
Such was the situation at the end of November. But it very naturally seemed to the French, and also to the Protestants, that when the French Admiral and the others had left there was no good reason for the bishop of Winchester remaining. He had gone to the Imperial Court avowedly to meet the French Admiral to negotiate peace or truce, and when the French embassy had withdrawn why did he continue there still? English agents were not concerned to give any reasons except to Imperial Councillors on the one hand and to the Protestant deputies on the other. Gardiner in fact was continuing his work of the "eclarishment," and had made such good progress that the King was now pretty confident of the Emperor's friendship. But this was not a reason to be communicated to the Protestants on any account whatever; and when Sturmius questioned Paget upon the subject he had an answer ready far better adapted to Protestant hearing. Sturmius, indeed, had come from Ardres to Calais to be reassured upon the subject, saying that Paget had made a half promise that Winchester would be recalled. Oh no, Paget said, he had only told him that when the Admiral was gone Winchester would have no more to do there; but it was a very good thing that he was kept abroad, otherwise he would certainly trouble their negotiations at Calais and Ardres. And there was no fear that his remaining there would induce the French to send some new embassy, for he had been sent only to confer with the Admiral; and it was just as well to let him alone, as the Protestants knew very well he did not favour them. In fact (but they must not tell their French friends) Paget himself had written home to someone to devise pretexts for keeping him abroad, and as the French really did not take him to be their friend, he could do very little harm. With this answer, as Paget wrote to the King, Sturmius seemed well content. (fn. n135) So the Protestant mediation, so nearly broken off at one time, had been revived by Henry's encouragement just that he might get better terms out of the Emperor, who was now, since the death of Orleans, a good deal less regardful of France; and the Protestants were lured into a fool's paradise while Henry was drawing continually closer to the enemy whom they dreaded most—their own Sovereign, who in truth was preparing all the while to put them down by force.
Some further evidence of the success of Henry's policy in these matters may be gained from another source. A Spanish Dominican Friar, named Gabriel Guzman, who last year had been active in promoting the peace between the Emperor and France, for which he had been rewarded by Francis with a valuable abbey, was, or seemed, this year no less zealous in endeavouring to nourish good relations between the newly reconciled enemies, and ultimately to bring about a union against that great adversary of the faith, the King of England. He visited the Emperor in April at Mechlin, who treated him as too officious and dismissed him with orders to avoid accepting too many commissions from the King of France. In May, however, Francis sent him to Rome and to the Council "for the declaration of the King of England"— apparently to ascertain how a heretical sovereign ought to be treated by a Christian prince. In August, again, Francis sent him to the Imperial Court in order to let the Emperor know, by indirect means, that a league was being negotiated between himself, the Lutherans and the King of England. Before he left that court he was also to ascertain whether the Emperor, at the command of the Church, would join Francis against the Englishman, for Francis himself must make peace with him on the best terms he could. But Francis would do so in good confidence that the Church would afterwards command all Christian princes to unite in chastising him, and then Charles would be just as free as himself from all past obligations to the miscreant, against whom they might arrange terms for a joint expedition. Francis himself would be content with Calais, Guisnes and Boulogne, and a renunciation by Henry of his claim to France and to the pension. He was also willing, if necessary, to moderate the article about Milan in the treaty in such wise that on the marriage of the Duke of Orleans the Emperor might still keep the duchy during his life for a pension of 100,000 ducats a year. (fn. n136)
With these instructions Friar Guzman arrived at Brussels and saw the Emperor's confessor, Pedro de Soto, with whom he had confidential relations in his last year's work; but it was only to learn, on a second visit to him, that the Duke of Orleans was dead and the great object of his mission frustrated; on which he returned to Francis at Amiens. (fn. n137) He was sent back, however, and was at Brussels again on the 27 September, when he once more had some communications with the Confessor and left again on the 2nd October after one single audience of the Emperor. (fn. n138) Francis, it would seem, or others for him, had been making new suggestions for a settlement of old questions by marrying his daughter to Prince Philip of Spain on a promise to invest the firstborn son with the Duchy of Milan; and so forth. That Guzman was the mouthpiece of projects such as these is not stated, and indeed is hardly probable; but they were in the air at the time of his visit. Anyway, they found little favour with the Emperor; while as regards England he replied to Guzman that he was at peace both with France and England and intended to remain so. If with their mutual consent he could bring them to agreement he would gladly do so. (fn. n139)
Charles, it was said, called the Friar a simpleton; but on the 7th November, when the French Admiral and his two colleagues arrived at Bruges to meet Bishop Gardiner, Guzman reappeared in their company and conferred upon the situation with the papal emissaries, Verallo and Dandino. The secret report which these two prelates transmitted to the Vatican completely confirms Gardiner's suspicion that the French embassy, though it might desire to make peace with England, had quite a different object in view as an alternative; in short, it was to make some new arrangements both about Milan and Piedmont with the marriage of the French King's daughter Margaret to Prince Philip of Spain, and of the Prince of Piedmont to the Emperor's eldest daughter. The Friar was quite clear that there would be peace or truce between France and England by the Emperor's mediation, as such a peace, once made, would free the Emperor from his obligations to England against France; and then both princes, being absolved by the Holy See from the obligation of their oaths, could join forces to chastise the wicked King Henry. (fn. n140)
But the French Admiral and his colleagues departed, no less unsuccessful in negotiating a new understanding with the Emperor than they had been in obtaining peace with England through his mediation. For Francis the situation was really alarming and he made new offers to the Emperor by his ordinary ambassador. He was willing to give up Bresse as well as Savoy, retaining only Piedmont. But the Emperor said he cared little about Bresse without the territory which Francis occupied in Italy; he would still, however, remain good friends with Francis, and had told the English ambassador so expressly. The French ambassador tried to make the best of this reply, saying that the Emperor could not have spoken to the Englishman more aptly for the interests of his master; for the Emperor had always more power over the English when they believed he stood well with Francis than when they thought the contrary. (fn. n141)
The double game went on, Gardiner, after the departure of the French embassy, still seeking to bind the Emperor in a more definite treaty with England, and Paget at Calais receiving continual suggestions and overtures from the Protestants, Bruno and Sturmius, who were sanguine that they would be able to bring about peace between England and France.
On the 2 December Paget acknowledged a despatch from the King in which he was not only cautioned (as above mentioned) to keep carefully any Protestant overtures from the knowledge of the bishop of Winchester, but was also instructed, in conversation with Sturmius, to point out the necessity of their being quite sure of the French King's mind. For Paget might mention to him in great secrecy the substance of letters written from France sent to the King (no doubt Friar Guzman's to Charles V.) showing how easily the French could get absolution from any compacts whatever by "the Bishop of Rome's" authority; and if they meant to make a defensive league with France they ought to try and induce the French King to forbear treating any marriage with the Emperor and suspend all negotiation about Milan and Piedmont till that league was concluded. This, Paget was to say, would show how the French King was really minded towards them, and encourage Paget himself to write to the King. (fn. n142)
It was in the spirit of these instructions that Paget had already conversed with Sturmius when he explained away the fact of Gardiner's still remaining at the Imperial Court. Sturmius was most anxious for a pacification, and was much more inclined to France than suited the views either of the King or Paget; but he and Bruno were the ablest diplomatists of the company, and without them the negotiations could not have been maintained so long. They had all by this time given up hope of getting the King to relinquish Boulogne, and Paget had suggested that he expected Henry would require the Boulonnois as well. Sturmius, however, having received a message from Madame d'Etampes, now determined to go and learn from Francis himself how far he was prepared to go. (fn. n143) He wrote to Paget announcing his departure on the 4th, and Paget expected his return four days later (fn. n144); but he only arrived on the 14th, having apparently been detained at the French Court in very confidential communications with Francis, the purport of which he would not disclose even to Paget except under the most solemn promise, first, that he would keep it secret from everyone but his master; second, that he would say if he thought his master would like it; and third, if he thought not that he would himself devise some other terms. Paget had no difficulty in giving the promise required; and Sturmius related how he had persuaded Francis to agree that Henry should keep Boulogne in pledge for payment of the arrears of his pension and all other claims (day of payment and the amounts to be referred to the Protestant Princes and States), and he would send honourable persons to the Scots to persuade them to accomplish the marriage; which if they refused to do, he might let them alone. This, he said, was the utmost he could bring Francis to agree to, and he thought, as Henry had gained honour by the war, he would gain still more honour by such a peace. He had previously communicated what Madame d'Etampes thought she could bring about, but this was the French King's own mind. Paget said, first, that to keep his promise he would disclose his overture to no one, not even to his master (though, of course, he did so); secondly, that he did not like it, nor would his master do so; and thirdly, that if Francis would continue his pension with surety for its payment, surrender Ardres and the rest of the county of Guisnes and let Henry quietly have Boulogne-and the Boulonnois, he might make peace and remit the arrears and war expenses. "What about the Scots?" asked Sturmius. Paget said that when it was known that Henry was not paid his money and had no other security for it but Boulogne, which he had already, the world would say that the French King had made a good bargain. As for the Scots, the ''imperious speaking" of Francis was extraordinary, when he had left them twice or thrice already. (fn. n145)
I need not report the whole conversation that followed, the subsequent interview with Bruno, and a good deal of curious gossip contained in it, which the reader will find in the despatch itself. Briefly, Sturmius feared his mission was at an end, the French, meanwhile, who sorely needed peace, being dismayed at the attitude of England. (fn. n146) Paget himself was not a little anxious about the threatened breaking off, and, while professing to be indifferent if it should occur, used not a little art to prevent it before he had answer from the King. He told the Protestants that he was himself French in his sympathies, that he was evangelical, that he would move seas and mountains for peace, and, in short, as he wrote to the King, he promised much more than he would abide by—a saying that he borrowed from Will Somers the jester—leaving the rest to Henry's wisdom. The Privy Council was penning the desired reply even on the day on which he wrote. The King approved of his discourses with Sturmius and Bruno; but, if the terms he had proposed to Bruno were rejected, Paget might further offer that if the French would abandon "the Bishop of Rome" and the Scots, the King, being allowed possession of the places Paget had named, would release Francis from payment of the life pension. This overture, however, was only to be made if Paget could neither save the pension nor the million in lieu thereof. It was meant to gratify the Protestants; but if Paget learned by letters from Gardiner that the "eclarishment" was passed with the Emperor, he must stay the more upon his own overture and yield nothing further without notifying the King beforehand. (fn. n147) In short, if the alliance with the Emperor was safe, Francis must either accept Paget's terms or the war would still go on. If the Emperor would not come to the desired understanding, Francis might be shown that he could get better terms by joining Henry and the German Protestants against the Pope.
Two days later the King himself wrote to Paget a good deal to the same effect, but with some further alternatives and without any reference to possible communications from Gardiner. The Protestants were to be told they might "decipher "by Henry's overture whether the French King could be got to abandon the Pope or not. Henry might also comprehend the Scots if they would keep their covenants for the marriage and peace and deliver their young Queen to Henry to be brought up by some German nobleman of his choice. This was a condition that might be urged strongly upon Sturmius, as it contained little more than was suggested by himself and some messages from the Queen of Navarre and Madame d'Etampes. And as to the Boulonnois, if the French would not part with the whole of it, their Commissioners might be asked to mark upon a map of the country the portions which they were anxious to retain. If none of these conditions could be listened to, Paget was to conclude an eight months' truce—beginning, however, only on the 1st March following, as many of the King's subjects were scattered upon the seas, and could not receive immediate notice— provided that during the truce no fortifications were made or renewed within the Boulonnois. (fn. n148)
I say no more of the fruitless negotiations kept up to the end of the year, by which time they had proved absolutely futile. (fn. n149)
If we turn from diplomacy to action there is nothing very great to record about the war with France by land. The English, as we have seen, were baffled in the attempt to procure an invasion by foreign mercenaries. In the middle of August Francis himself was on the march for Boulogne by Abbeville or Montreuil with a great power of lanceknechts, while French pioneers were working hard at the new fortress (just opposite Boulogne on the other side of the Liane), and ambuscades were laid in the valleys about to entrap the English if they were too unwary. But Poynings, even when mortal illness had got hold of him, was aware of those ambuscades, of their numbers and of their position. (fn. n150) The French, indeed, were persuading themselves that before Hallowmas Boulogne would be theirs again. (fn. n151) On the 2nd September there was a considerable engagement. It was not many days after Surrey had crossed the Channel, and it had already been notified that he was to have command of Boulogne, for letters from the Council to that effect had been issued on the 31st August, though his patent was only dated on the 3rd September. (fn. n152) Lord Grey, who was to retain his old command at Guisnes, went to meet the Earl at the water-side when the alarm was given. It would seem that the beleaguering force about Boulogne had arranged with M. Dampierre, the governor of Ardres, (fn. n153) that the garrison of Ardres should make a show of attacking Guisnes to bring out the garrison and draw them into an ambush laid by the men before Boulogne. The project failed and M. Dampierre was killed; but the English, on their return from pursuing the fugitives back to Ardres, fell in with the troops from Boulogne and met with a reverse. This, however, was compensated by another success; for while the French detachments had withdrawn from Boulogne towards Guisnes, the English within the town made a sortie, entered the trenches of the new fortress which the French were constructing, killed the sappers and very nearly captured the fortress itself. (fn. n154)
At Calais on the 20th Lord Cobham sent out a party "to discover where the Frenchmen lay," which encountered with the enemy, and found that their plan was to revictual Ardres, and a week later to disband their forces for the winter. (fn. n155)
Surrey was certainly zealous in his new position—a good deal too zealous even for his old father and many of the Council. On the 1st October he received at Boulogne a letter from his father, written at Windsor on the 27th September. He had regretted the disclosure of something to the King of which he only informed his father by a confidential messenger. The Duke replied that he had told the King at the messenger's own request. "Have yourself in await," adds the Duke, "that ye animate not the King too much for the keeping of Boulogne; for whoso doth at length shall get small thank. I have so handled the matter that if any adventure be given to win the new fortress at Boleyne ye shall have the charge thereof; and, therefore, look wisely what answer ye make to the letter fro us of the Council concerning the enterprises contained in them." (fn. n156)
But Surrey's military ambition was not satisfied with this; and being apparently conscious that his remonstrances were acceptable, he continued to urge upon the King the importance of the keeping of Boulogne in a way that neither Norfolk nor the King's Council generally by any means relished; for it completely thwarted the policy on which they were intent. On the 6th November, Thomas Hussey, a dependent of the Duke of Norfolk, (fn. n157) writes to him, "I see my lord's Grace somewhat offended in seeing your private letters to the King's Majesty of such vehemency as touching the animating of the King's Majesty for the keeping of Boulogne; and, in especial, considering his divers letters addressed to your lordship, to the which, as he thinketh, ye have given simple credence. For what his Grace and the Council worketh in for the rendry of Boulogne and the concluding of a peace in six days, ye with your letters set back in six hours, such importance be your letters in the King's opinion at this time. Albeit that my lord concludeth ye may by your practices sustain the same Boulogne for two or three months, yet he thinketh it impossible that it may continue six months, forasmuch as he certainly knoweth the realm of England not possible to bear the charges of the same." (fn. n158)
A more significant document than this it could hardly be possible to find—especially when read in connection with what follows. The Duke of Norfolk, it must be remembered, was lord High Treasurer of England, and he was seriously alarmed at the financial prospects of the kingdom. The King, after all his subsidies, benevolences and extortions, was in debt over 400,000 marks—equal in value to nearly four millions of pounds in modern currency. He could not expect to get from Parliament more than £200,000— scarcely two-thirds of the sum required to clear him. The Duke was then hoping to get leave to go himself to the Imperial Court and assist in negotiating a peace with the French Admiral. He had, in fact, left the Court and gone home to Kenninghall to make preparations for his expected embassy. He had been heard to say he would rather have Surrey buried, and the rest of his children also, than give his consent to the ruin of the realm. "As to Boulogne," Hussey went on to write, "every Councillor saith 'Away with it': and the King and your lordship say 'We will keep it'; and at the writing of this letter, as I have perfect intelligence, there is not remaining in the Council that dare move the rendry thereof, my lord being absent, who will bark in it to his dying day." (fn. n159)
The complete subservience of Henry VIII.'s Council to his master-will is a point so difficult to realise in our days that it is well to have it brought home vividly before us in this fashion. Wolsey himself could never affect Henry's policy otherwise than by pointing out natural obstacles and considerations of expediency. And here, in the absence of the highest secular peer, though his view was that of all the Council, not one of them dared to raise his voice in favour of a policy that would seem to have been manifestly the best for an over-burdened country. France would have paid a good sum to recover Boulogne. To England it was a costly thing to keep, and the possession, after all, was very precarious. Indeed, to the Duke of Norfolk's old experience it seemed quite impossible to hold it for half a year longer. And yet, whatever demands it made on his subjects' pockets, the King was resolved to keep it, and Surrey encouraged him in his resolution. The King had doubtless a reason personal to himself which does not appear in State Papers. For ten years past a sentence of deprivation had been prepared for him at Rome, which might quite well have been carried out if the Emperor and Francis I. had combined against him, or even if the one would have let the other act alone unmolested. But now on the meeting of a General Council, which both those princes felt bound to respect, the case seemed far more critical; and Henry was using his best diplomatic skill to tie the hands of the Emperor more firmly. But Francis was already his enemy, whom the Pope was naturally inclined to favour; and the possession of Boulogne was most important to the command of the Channel and to make invasion hopeless.
But we have not exhausted the significance of Thomas Hussey's long and earnest letter. The Council, he tells Surrey, had much ado to prevent the King from sending over 1,500 pioneers and 3,000 men of war for his lately devised fortress. But one thing had been notified to the King about Surrey, of which he could by no means approve. "His Majesty took it in very ill part that ye should adventure your presence in standing upon the bridge of the fortress for the better viewing of the same, with two Italians, the one called Thomaso, who hath much advanced (i.e. reported) your hardiness and not forgotten your negligence in adventuring your person so dangerously, notwithstanding that ye had the same Thomaso his advice to the contrary." (fn. n160)
Such was Surrey's daring. But when he wanted help, the King and Council took care that he should get it, and Lords Cobham and Grey, the deputies of Calais and Guisnes, received orders to send him horsemen and foot for an exploit against the enemy which they had deferred doing until expressly commanded. (fn. n161)
For his further acts this year as lieutenant of Boulogne I must refer the reader to his own account of them in two letters of the 4th and 7th December respectively, (fn. n162) showing that he effectually prevented two different attempts to re victual their fort both by sea and land in very bitter weather; and so, it would appear, put the enemy to very great distress. (fn. n163)
We have not even yet referred to many minor subjects of interest connected with the war and with Henry's operations abroad; but we must leave these to the industrious historian to discover for himself. A special point in connection with Henry's influence showing, as he once told Pole, that "Kings have long arms," is the way in which he compelled the Venetians to condone the outrageous offences of Ludovico del' Armi, after they had not only banished him but set a piece upon his head. If any complaint was made on this subject to the Venetian Ambassador at Rome, he was charged to explain that the Signory could not afford to disoblige the King of England, as the republic had always kept on good terms with that country in which so many Venetians resided. (fn. n164)
The Pope, indeed, might very well have resented the favour shown to this lawless mercenary captain. It was owing to him that Cardinal Pole, one of the three legates appointed by the Pope to open the Council at Trent, had not been able even to leave Rome with safety when his two colleagues had actually arrived at their destination, which he only reached at last by carefully avoiding the confines of Mirandola on his way from Bologna. (fn. n165) The Pope, it is said, had actually asked the warrior for a passport to enable Pole to travel with safety; but Del' Armi refused it and the Pope put his father, who was then at Rome, in prison. Nor was it much for the peace of Italy that Del' Armi himself (as it was reported) ran some risk of being slain by the emissaries of a French captain while doing his best, in Henry's interest, to stop the meeting of the Council of Trent and to kidnap or murder Pole. (fn. n166)
As everyone knows, the Council of Trent was unable from various causes even to declare itself formally opened before the very last month of this year (fn. n167); and, meeting then, it was prorogued till January without proceeding to business. There is, however, in the papers contained in these two Parts, much more about the religious affairs of Germany, the five years' truce with the Turk, (fn. n168) and a good number of other subjects relating to foreign history, than about the meeting of the Council of Trent. But matters like these I leave to individual students, as I fear I must also a number of domestic subjects which I have not space to deal with. I may merely point out among others the order for singing throughout the realm general "processions" or litanies in English for the success of the fleet, (fn. n169) and a well known letter of Cranmer's to the King showing what he has done in translating "processions" to be used on festival days (fn. n170); also the unauthorised order in August to search priests' houses in the West Country (fn. n171); the King's new stamp for signatures the making of which Paget, Petre and Godsalve had special authority to procure that it might be affixed to documents in the King's name (fn. n172); a special coinage for Ireland in September, (fn. n173) and a commission for the Mint at York. (fn. n174) Of the very serious state of the finances of the kingdom we have other notices besides that in Norfolk's letter above referred to, especially in a letter of Wriothesley to Paget in November. (fn. n175)
One subject, however, requires something more than a mere mention. A Parliament seems to have been appointed to meet at Westminster on the 30th January this year, about which our papers are silent and historians know nothing. (fn. n176) This absence of information seems to imply that though it may have been summoned it never actually met—a view of the matter which is strongly confirmed by the language of a draft letter to the Commissioners for the Benevolence at that time, in which the King seems to say that he has forborne to trouble his subjects to repair to Parliament, trusting that they will of themselves "be so loving" as to contribute their utmost to meet the great expense in which he is involved. (fn. n177) The Parliament, indeed, was summoned for the 30th January, and the Knights of the Shire and burgesses were elected in December, (fn. n178) but their presence was not required at Westminster till towards the end of the year. Notwithstanding the Benevolence, however, its meeting became more and more requisite. On the 2nd September Lord Chancellor Wriothesley writes to Paget desiring that he and the Lords of the Council would remind the King upon the subject, for it was necessary to make out the writs in good time, and if it were to be prorogued or adjourned he would require early information. The Parliament to which this refers would seem to be one elected already. "In case of prorogation," he adds, "I see not how we shall live without some present help." (fn. n179) Three days later he writes again that if the King would have it kept at Reading and prorogued till November, the law term should also be prorogued and kept there, or it would be a poor meeting while so many judges, Serjeants and "ministers" were engaged at the term. (fn. n180) After four days more he again presses the subject on the Council. (fn. n181) The business seems still to have been put off, but on a Tuesday, which was no doubt the 22nd September, he writes, "Now I am in hand for our Parliament matters." (fn. n182) That day it was proclaimed that the legislature was to meet at Windsor on the 23rd November and (to release the judges from attendance at Westminster) that Michaelmas term should end on the 18th of that month instead of "the quindene of St. Martin" as usual, i.e. the 25th. But this was revoked, and Parliament was summoned to meet at Westminster and not at Windsor. (fn. n183)
It accordingly met there on the 23rd November, and passed, among other things, a very notable Act for the dissolution of chantries, hospitals, colleges and free chapels, besides Acts for a new subsidy. (fn. n184) This would have endangered even the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, though they were ultimately spared; but a fresh booty was pretty sure to be gathered in from various quarters. On Christmas Eve the Parliament was prorogued to the 4th November following. The King himself dismissed the assembled Peers and Commons with a royal speech, wonderfully commended, of course, by courtiers, in which, after thanking the Commons for their liberality, he rebuked both clergy and laity for their want of charity, some calling others heretics while these retaliated with the names Papist, hypocrite and Pharisee. The speech is so well known from the report of it in Hall's Chronicle (condensed in No. 1031) that a fuller account here is needless. But it was reported also by Petre to Paget, who was no less delighted, it would seem, to receive his glowing account of it than Petre himself was to record and magnify the royal eloquence. (fn. n185)