Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 21 Part 2, September 1546-January 1547. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1910.
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The peace between England and France, as we have seen, (fn. n1) had been proclaimed in both countries on Whitsunday, the 13th June; and ratifications were exchanged on the 17th July. (fn. n2) But the oaths which the two Sovereigns were to take, each before the other's ambassador, were deferred a little longer, the Admiral of either Prince going to the Court of the other on a special mission for the purpose. D'Annebaut, the French Admiral, arrived in England in the middle of August, and came to the King at Hampton Court on the 23rd. Curiously enough, except papers showing the preparations made for it, (fn. n3) our documents are silent about the actual reception given him, which we know from the contemporary Chronicles of Hall and Wriothesley was a very cordial one. Nor do I care to say much about the external aspect of a mission of which we have no official records. But one point connected with it deserves to be rescued, as far as may be, from diplomatic obscurity. Before D' Annebaut had left Fontainebleau he was interviewed by a very remarkable person who preceded him to England. Guron Bertano, (fn. n4) or Bertino, was an old friend of Henry VIII., at whose Court he had resided in early days as an agent of the King in communication with his fellow countrymen in Italy on the question of the divorce from Katharine of Arragon. (fn. n5) Now we find him trying to do his old master a good turn once more, and corresponding with Cardinals at Rome about getting the King of England at least to relent and renew his allegiance to the Holy See. For the Pope, when he saw Francis making peace with England, had earnestly hoped that the French king would bring about Henry's reconciliation to Rome, (fn. n6) and Francis was willing enough to do what he could in the matter. Bertano was in Paris at least as early as the 12th June, (fn. n7) and Francis would apparently have sent him over to England with his own ambassador Selve; but this Henry would not allow, and he had to remain a while at the French Court till a way could be prepared for him. He laid the nature of his mission and the documents connected with it before Francis i. himself. (fn. n8) He had a long conversation with d'Annebaut, who said that he would send a message into England and get leave to bring him thither in his company. But an answer was received from Selve to the message sent to England as early as the 24th July, showing that Henry was willing to give Bertano a hearing; and on that day Francis wrote from Le Coudray, "I now send the gentleman whom you know," giving the letter to Bertano himself to deliver, in whose behalf he sent to his ambassador a message for the King. (fn. n9) Bertano reached London on Friday, (fn. n10) the 30th, but remained at the French ambassador's house till Monday, 2nd August, when Paget called him to a private interview preparatory to his going to the King. Their colloquy was a long one, turning upon disputes which, as Selve wrote to his own King, "you can well imagine." Paget questioned him closely, saying one thing in particular which Bertano reported to the ambassador with a request to keep it secret, viz., "that it was not the Pope's fault that the King of England "was not ruined, as he had tried to incite you (Francis I.) "and likewise the Emperor, with offers of men and money, "to make war upon him." This Bertano would have denied, but Paget told him he knew well what he was saying, "and that the Emperor himself had sent the King "of England the letters which he had of it from the Pope—an "act, Sire," writes Selve to Francis I., "which should hardly "conciliate the Pope towards the Emperor, if reported "to the Holy Father as this gentleman told it to me." (fn. n11) Nevertheless, Bertano was sanguine of the success of his mission, and Paget's own report of the interview to Selve only differed from his in this, that he said "his master "was content to remit his affairs to the Council, provided "that it was assembled in a suitable place to which he could "conveniently send the prelates and doctors of his realm, "and was called by the authority of all the Christian princes; "and if it was held in France he would not refuse to send "thither." Bertano said there had been no talk of removing the. Council to France, but only of sending to France learned men on behalf of all Christian princes, they being in good peace and union, to discuss the business along with deputies of the King of England.
What an amount of diplomacy to bring back an erring sheep to the fold, when the erring sheep was a powerful king! Henry himself was taking note of facts and was evidently thinking that he did not require to burn so many heretics now to show his orthodoxy. (fn. n12) The Pope and the princes of the world were all anxious to be at peace with him. His interview with d'Annebaut, if we may trust Cranmer's secretary Morice, who was present, led to suggestions of a very different character from that of a reconciliation of England with Rome. In fact, after the first day's banquet at Hampton Court, Henry seems actually to have suggested to the French Admiral that Francis might do well to follow his own example, when the Pope's authority would be abolished in both realms, and the mass might be very well abolished besides, or changed into a Communion—an idea that doubtless was in Cranmer's mind even then; and if the two Sovereigns were united in such matters they might next "exhort "the Emperor to do the like in Flanders and other his "countries and seignories, or else they would break off from him." (fn. n13) D'Annebaut, apparently, expressed no objection whatever to such a policy. It was just the contrary of Bertano's, which he had approved before leaving France, but that did not matter. He looked at it, doubtless, merely from a political point of view, and perhaps thought it might be a very good move to checkmate the Emperor, while Henry's more immediate object, we presume, was to put an end to the Council of Trent.
In fact, the German Protestants were even now looking to Henry to strengthen their hands against the Emperor; and a few days later Bruno, who had come over from the Landgrave, received an answer from the King as to the conditions on which he would enter their League. (fn. n14) The cause of the Protestants, so far, had been really hopeful; and if they succeeded against Imperial and Papal forces in Germany, there was not much to fear from the Council. On the 4th Sept. Petre who had been sent across the Channel along with May, dean of St. Paul's, (fn. n15) on a Commission to settle with two French Commissioners the amount of one of Henry's old claims, (fn. n16) wrote from Calais to his colleague Paget to express his delight at the answer given to Bruno, saying he would pray God with all his heart "to send it to that godly agreement which is meant of the King." (fn. n17)
The Protestants, however, were in no condition at that time to continue the negotiation. They were immersed in war, in which they had prospered hitherto; but the tide was just upon the turn. The Landgrave had sent the Emperor a defiance, and had broken all the bridges over the Danube. But he had given up the siege of Ingolstadt, as the Spaniards within fought better than he expected; and apparently he lost estimation by the withdrawal. (fn. n18) I do not propose, however, to enter into the story of that war, in which, albeit there is much interesting intelligence to be found in these papers, England was merely a looker-on. Henry's new friendship with France is a much more curious matter. The reader will not be much interested in the work of the French and English Commissions for the delimitation of the Boulonnais. (fn. n19) But a much more remarkable thing was the order signed by the King on the 5th September and directed to lord Grey of Wilton the governor of Boulogne, bidding him require the Frenchmen working on new fortifications in the neighbourhood to desist till they heard from the King their master, and if they continued the work to overthrow in the night time all that they had done. (fn. n20)
The French, in fact, were building a fortress, which they called Chatillon, opposite to Boulogne at the village of Outreau on the other side of the estuary of the Liane— a place where, as Lisle had noted a year before, they could do it with great security, and the shipping in the harbour would be at their mercy. (fn. n21) The story given in Holinshed from the account of Lord Grey's services drawn up by his son, (fn. n22) is that Lord Grey had in the first place sent the King a message through Sir Thomas Palmer, to warn him of the danger which these fortifications might involve if they were allowed to proceed. The King, it is said, laid the matter before his Council, who were unanimous that any attempt to interrupt the works would be against the new-made peace (Arthur Grey calls it a truce, which, of course, is wrong). Accordingly he made Paget draw up a letter to which he attached the royal signature, forbidding Lord Grey to take any action in the matter. But he gave orders to Palmer who was to take the letter back with him, not to leave without first seeing him; and in a private interview in his privy chamber said to him "Palmer, you have there "a letter from us to the lord Grey that he do in no wise "deal in the matter that he hath by you advertised us of. "Notwithstanding, I will that you deliver him this message "from us. Bid him call to mind how that his brethren "and himself, not a while, but even from childish years, "nor far off, but still near to our person, we have brought "up; the which, tell him, not unjustly if that be in him that "we conceive, doth breed in us a greater trust of his "fervency to serve us than of a common servant or subject. "By that token will him, whatsoever I have written to the "contrary, that presently he impeach the fortification "of Chastillon, and raze it if it be possible. And this my "message shall be his clearing therein, and the service "gratefully accepted."
Palmer, it is said, did not like the responsibility of conveying a verbal message on such a subject contradictory to the written one which he had to deliver. But the King told him simply to do as he was told and leave the execution of the message to Lord Grey's discretion. So he crossed with speed and did as commanded. Lord Grey assembled the Council of Boulogne, snowed them the King's letter and caused Palmer to declare the message before them also. Then, taking their opinions, he found everyone of them in favour of obeying the written letter and neglecting the message. But Grey caused a clerk to take down the message in writing and Palmer to set his hand to it, the whole of the Council also signing as witnesses. He then dismissed the Council, ordered the gates to be shut, gave secret notice to some armed bands and pioneers to attend him that night, and, issuing out with them, "overthrew in three or four hours what in two or three months had been raised." Palmer again crossed the Channel and being asked by the King "Will he do it or no?" replied that the thing was done; and the King reported to the Council "How say ye, my Lords? Chastillon, the new fort, "is laid as flat as this floor." One of the Lords declared that the man who had done so deserved to lose his head. But the King replied "That he had rather lose a dozen such heads as his that so judged"; and not only ordered Lord Grey's pardon to be made out but sent him a letter of thanks with promise of reward. The letter was delivered; but the promised reward did not come as the King died within a few months after.
This story does not at first seem to agree with facts, as we find that a letter signed by the King actually did authorise the overthrowing of the fortress. Moreover, it would appear that this order was conveyed through the Council. Arthur Grey, we might possibly suspect, wished to make the most of what his father had done, and he writes avowedly what he had heard from his father himself; who, as a good deal of political fiction was going about, had some inducement to weave a little web of his own. For the King's conduct in this particular matter might almost be called straightforward, and the fortress was a very real provocation, about which he had already spoken strongly to the French Admiral. But notwithstanding the King's signed letter, a close examination of the documents tends rather to confirm the substantial truth of Arthur Grey's narrative. The facts of the case, taken as a whole, were as follows:—
During the peace negotiations, as we have seen already, (fn. n23) Henry had been at first disposed to have it made a matter of express covenant that no new fortification should be begun on either side after the treaty was proclaimed. But afterwards it occurred to him that he had better not bind himself in that way, otherwise he had no security for the safe keeping of Boulogne; while fortification on the part of the French would be unjustifiable, seeing that they were bound by the treaty itself to leave the King in peaceful possession of his acquisitions till the time agreed upon for giving them up, when all the fortifications in the Boulonnois would become theirs. Nevertheless he empowered Lisle and his two other negotiators to agree to this condition forbidding new fortifications on either side rather than break off; and writing that very day to Hertford at Ambleteuse, he directed him, while avoiding any exploit that might hinder the conclusion of peace, to set about secretly, if not begun already, a new fortification which he had ordered him to make "at the little hill where the Almains were encamped beside the New Haven and at the Black Ness." If begun before the full agreement of the peace, the French could offer no just objection to its continuance. (fn. n24)
In effect, the article was inserted in the treaty (fn. n25); but of course Hertford had begun fortifying as directed before it was concluded. (fn. n26) The French, too, had done the like at St. Etienne. (fn. n27) There was mutual distrust on both sides, from the very first; and when the French Admiral, visiting Hertford at Ambleteuse just after the treaty was concluded, proposed to him the immediate disbanding of both armies, this at once appeared. Hertford said that he required the King's orders before disbanding, and that he could not even withdraw his forces from the hill, where he must leave some men to finish the fortification. The French Admiral said no new fortifications could be begun; but Hertford replied that these had been ordered a month before and had been begun many days since. "Well," said the Admiral, "if ye fortify there, we must fortify at St. Etienne." And Hertford said that he might do as he thought good in that matter. (fn. n28) Hertford then paid a visit to Boulogne to see to the advancement of the fort on the site of "the Master of the Horse's Camp," and reported on the last day of June that it would be finished in ten days. (fn. n29)
Little seems to have been said during July and August; no doubt it was wise to say little, but even when the French Admiral was at Hampton Court to receive the King's oath to the treaty, he could not help telling the Council that it was rumoured the English would never restore Boulogne, seeing that they fortified Boulogneberg and the Blackness (so they called Blanc Nez), one of which was begun since the treaty. This the Council denied, and moreover met it with a counter charge that the French had unlawfully begun fortifications at Portet and the hill over against "the Old Man" at the entrance to the haven. The Commissioners when the treaty was made, as the Council remarked, heard of no French fortifications begun except at St. Etienne (which they offered to leave off if the English would leave off theirs at Boulogneberg), and those at Hardelot, Etaples and Mount Hewly (apparently Mont Hulin near Desvres); the fortifications at Portet and the hill had been abandoned a year ago and ought not to have been begun again. The King, at last, hearing of these recriminations, told the French Admiral roundly that he would not tolerate the raising of such fortifications, especially that upon the hill. The Admiral said that he had no commission to speak upon the subject, and that he knew only that 2,000 pioneers had been appointed for the fortifying of Etaples. (fn. n30)
All this was related in a despatch to Wotton, the English ambassador in France, on the last day of August. It was on the 5th September that the King wrote to Lord Grey authorising him to overthrow the works at Portet by night. And even that very night, between Sunday the 5th and Monday the 6th, the thing was done. (fn. n31) But how could a letter, written on the 5th in the King's name from the Council then with him at Oatland, have reached Boulogne early enough to serve as warrant for the deed? It was not conveyed by Sir Thomas Palmer, who, as the correspondence shows, had received his despatch by the 3rd, and had actually crossed the Channel by the 5th; who, moreover, took part that night in the work of destruction himself. And further, Grey expressly writes on the 7th that he had done the deed before receiving the King's letter, merely on the report conveyed by Palmer that it was his Majesty's pleasure. So it seems that the written warrant for the act was sent after the verbal order, the object being, apparently, merely to secure Grey against any attempt by members of the Council to get him into trouble (as indeed we see the Council in London were expressly written to about it), while the King was able afterwards to inform his good brother Francis I. that the act was a strange indiscretion on the part of his trusty servant Lord Grey, and quite unauthorized! (fn. n32)
To come back to matters of fact. By Monday morning, the 6th, the new fortifications were demolished. A strange state of matters supervened. The new peace seemed to be wrecked, even in its infancy; and there were wagers in England that the war would be renewed in eight months. (fn. n33) Even the Lord Chancellor Wriothesley was perplexed " with this sudden change from peace to war." (fn. n34) Across the Channel at Calais Petre "prayed God for a better conclusion than these preambles signified." (fn. n35) Despatches were sent to Wotton at the French Court by express courier. The French ambassador in England was abashed, and did not dare report to his King the language used by Henry. He said indeed to the Council that d'Annebaut had shown that the fortifications at Portet were begun long ago, but for himself he thought they might be stayed till the matter could be amicably discussed; and so, he said, he would write to his King and to the President. (fn. n36) But the French, without attempting to renew their old design, began to entrench the top of the hill at Portet, intending to make a strong tower; and Grey, seeing the work would soon be in a good state of defence, was obliged to write home for ordnance to dislodge them, while he was carrying on a correspondence with du Bies, full of the most courteous, but at the same time most serious, remonstrances on both sides. (fn. n37)
The reply of Francis to Wotton on this and other matters which were set forth at the same time was as conciliatory as could well be. He intended no fortification at the entry of Boulogne haven, but Portet was begun before the conclusion of the treaty; yet he was content to have the matter tried, and anything found to have been begun on either side before the treaty beaten down. (fn. n38) In England however, it was determined that the garrisons of Boulogne should be strengthened, the discharged soldiers being placed again under their captains, (fn. n39) and that Hertford should once more cross the sea as the King's lieutenant, to give new directions as required; 500 more pioneers were ordered over the Channel; 2,000 men were despatched by Dover to Boulogne on the 13th, and 5,000 more embarked that same night upon the river. (fn. n40) Indeed, it was time; for already just five days after his previous warning, Grey had to report that the French had succeeded in making the top of Paulet Hill defensible and were beginning a mole at Portet underneath it, which might prove dangerous to Boulogne harbour. (fn. n41)
Hertford crossed on the 21st September. But already, two days before his coming, one Monsieur St. Germain, professing to Lord Grey that he acted without authority, had thrown down the whole of the new works at Paulet Hill, and one great object of suspicion was removed. (fn. n42) Selve had done much to smooth matters, and the King was gratified with the French King's reply. He declared to Selve that lord Grey had acted without orders, merely because he saw that the works would be very prejudicial to Boulogne; and Paget carried on the farce by assuring the ambassador that his King, on hearing of it, said that he had thought lord Grey too wise a man to act so rashly. (fn. n43) Baron de la Garde, who arrived on the 27th in special embassy from Francis i., was served with the same dish of diplomatic mendacity; but he made an overture, which the King accepted, for the appointment of Commissioners on either side to determine what was lawful for either to do under the treaty. (fn. n44) And diplomacy was evidently getting into smoother waters in which the fiction answered its purpose; for a month later Francis significantly told Wotton that if his ministers had acted in the way lord Grey did, they would have been at war again. (fn. n45)
During the whole of September that curious emissary Bertano remained in London, his address being a secret to all the Council except Paget, as it was desirable that he should not be known to have any dealings with them. But it had become tolerably clear from experience that the King had no greater need of reconciliation to Rome than in any previous year. The Council of Trent had been suspended since June, and had now lost its terrors. It did meet again in January following; but meantime the Smalcaldic war kept the Emperor fully employed, and Francis I. was not in a condition single-handed to execute a papal sentence against England. Prosecutions of heretics ceased, as the King had no particular incentive to show his orthodoxy. Release from excommunication was no great object; and it was thought to be time that Bertano should take his departure lest his stay in England should give rise to idle conjectures. The Council, accordingly, on the 30th September, desired Paget to send for him and give him his despatch. And he was visited that very day by Lord Chancellor Wriothesley and Lord St. John, the Great Master, who told him that as he had now been two months in the country and no reply had come from Rome to confirm what he had said on the Pope's behalf, a passport would be sent him. He was deeply disappointed and pleaded hard for a further extension of time for an answer, but in vain. (fn. n46)
Henry, therefore, had for the present no great fear, either of the Pope, of the Emperor, or of France. He had reason, indeed, to believe that there was a secret treaty between the Pope, and the Emperor against him, which might in the course of time prove dangerous. But there was nothing in this which threatened immediate peril, and the knowledge of it was an advantage. On the 3rd September Van der Delft, going to dinner with the lord Chancellor, Bishop Gardiner and lord St. John, who were all three attached to the Emperor's interests, was asked by them for news of his affairs in Germany, and said in reply that his Majesty was well and in a fair way of prospering, Buren having crossed the Rhine, though unofficial news had arrived the day before that the enemy had invaded the Tyrol and had also captured Ingolstadt. Of this fact (which was not exactly true) they had taken care to send early intelligence to England; but he was sure the King desired the Emperor's prosperity and would not rejoice as they expected. Still, he knowingly remarked, as the Emperor's enemies, Sturmius and Bruno, had received audience and money in England, he could only reflect that the world was mutable, and regret the advancement in favor of some persons (meaning Hertford and Lisle, whom he did not name) whom he wished "as far away as they were last year." The Councillors made no answer, but expressed themselves, as usual, devoted to the Emperor's interests, only they had heard that in case of his Majesty being victorious, he had made a treaty with the Pope against the King. The ambassador assured them that such a thing was impossible as the Emperor would never do anything against his treaty with the King. But the King himself, when this conversation was reported to him, had a fine specious explanation of Bruno's recent appearance in England; and he further went so far as to say that the Emperor had no cause to blame him for seeking friendship elsewhere; for, whatever the Imperial ambassador might pretend, he had information of the Emperor's treaty with the Pope from Switzerland, Germany, France and Rome itself, and had an authentic copy of it. (fn. n47) Thus did diplomatists politely pierce the skins of each other's insincerity.
But there was one quarter still in which it was important to secure what had been already gained for the King's advantage. Scotland was not very troublesome now except in the way of taking merchant ships at sea. But in order to prevent the possibility of a Scotch invasion by land, nothing was more important than to relieve the besieged garrison of St. Andrews. And to stop captures at sea was a very good pretext for fitting out a small fleet mainly with this object. On the 18th September six vessels were appointed under the command of William Tyrell, first to scour the seas on the way to St. Andrews and make a show of landing in the Firth (whether the Firth of Forth or of Tay is not stated) in order to draw away some of the enemy's force from the besieged city; then to relieve those shut up in the Castle with provisions and powder, telling them that a great force would come shortly to succour them. In return, and in fulfilment of a pledge by Kirkcaldy of Grange, he and the Master of Rothes were to be requested to send the son of Governor Arran, whom they kept prisoner, by sea to the King. (fn. n48)
This pledge seems to have been given in August by William Kirkcaldy, the Master of Grange, in his father's behalf. It was he, apparently, and not his father Sir James, who took part in the murder of Cardinal Beton in May—for though called in one contemporary account "the laird of Grange" (fn. n49) (which was his father's title), another calls him "the young laird of Grange" which clearly means the Master of Grange, son of the old laird. (fn. n50) That both father and son were accessory to the deed, there is no reason to doubt; and the motives of the father are not unintelligible. He had been Treasurer of Scotland till the Coronation of the infant Queen in September 1543, but was soon after removed by Governor Arran, who conferred the office on his own halfbrother John Hamilton, abbot of Paisley. (fn. n51) Thus the reconciliation of Governor Arran with Beton just before the Coronation, while it strengthened the Scottish nation generally at the time against England, bred secret displeasure in some quarters, and Henry VIII. gained one or two friends in Scotland to replace those he had lost. After Beton's murder in this year 1546 the Master of Grange escaped from St. Andrews into England, undoubtedly with a message from his father to the King, and was despatched again to his native country at the end of August, as appears by the following imperfect entry in the Acts of the Privy Council, under date, 29th August:—
"—— Kyrkaldy, Scottishman, presently addressed into Scotlond "about the Kinges Majestes affayres, had placard for post horses "for jd. the myle betwene this and——." (fn. n52)
The posthorses allowed may have been from Hampton Court, where the Council then was, to Gravesend. On the 20th September the Council in London write that a pinnace had been despatched to St. Andrews on Monday the 6th. They were getting ready six other ships to sail by the 4th October with supplies of powder; but meanwhile that pinnace would comfort the ganison. Instructions were signed for the other expedition on the 3rd October, and on the 5th the French ambassador notified to Francis I. that eight ships and a galley were being equipped for Scotland. Even by the 28th, however, they had not got further than the mouth of the Thames, owing to bad weather and contrary wind. It was almost supposed that the expedition had cooled; but the fact was quite otherwise, and after the middle of November, Selve learned that twelve ships with 5,000 men on board had left Yarmouth on the 13th of that month to succour St. Andrews. (fn. n53) Later on, in the end of November, news came that the English ships which went to succour St. Andrews had had an artillery fight with the besiegers, during which Norman Leslie the slayer of Cardinal Beton, with another man, who, it seems, was Henry Balnavis, escaped from the Castle by a postern (fn. n54) —or rather apparently by a window which opened on the sea three or four fathoms above high water, and was conveyed to England. The two are reported as being at Henry VIII.'s Court on the 5 December where they were very cordially received. (fn. n55) In fact, the King took counsel with them how to maintain the defence of St. Andrews against the Regent and the Government of Scotland; and the policy they ventured to suggest to him was indeed extraordinary. But we must speak first of a Scotch embassy which had arrived in London a little time before.
Scotland was painfully weak at this time and was extremely anxious to have peace with England, but the murder of the Cardinal and the support given to his murderers at St. Andrews made the Scots think, as of old, of looking to France for protection against their too powerful neighbour. They desired first, however, to have the benefit of the treaty that had been made between England and France, in which they were comprehended. Some time in July or in the beginning of August letters had been written in the name of Mary Queen of Scots, in reply to which the King of England gave a safe conduct for that old diplomatist Sir Adam Otterburn, of Reidhall, and Alexander Hume, to come to England and repair to the King's presence any time during the following six months, and for one of them to pass through England to France and return. (fn. n56) The Council of Scotland, however, seem not to have been agreed about the persons to be sent, and no embassy was actually despatched till October. On the 2 October they met at St. Andrews where the forces of the Government were besieging the Castle, and resolved (fn. n57) that Commissioners should be sent to England to offer acceptance of the comprehension of Scotland in the treaty with France "after the form of the articles sent thereupon with Monsieur de Mandoise" (fn. n58) and to conclude, if possible, a peace or abstinence of war. But if Henry would not agree to this, one of them was to pass over to France and demand succour of the French King to defend the country against invasion. About three weeks, however, yet elapsed before they were despatched, (fn. n59) apparently because the personnel of the embassy was still unsettled, as no names are mentioned in the resolution of the 2nd. Their nonarrival aroused Henry's suspicions in the beginning of November. (fn. n60) At last they left Scotland, and Sir Adam Otterburn, instead of being the head of the embassy, was subordinate to David Paniter bishop of Ross, his only colleague, no mention now being made of Alexander Hume. There was some meaning in this; for, when they arrived in England, a gentleman who came with them, despatched by the French ambassador in Scotland to his master, informed Selve privately that the bishop was a mere creature of Arran; that he was distrusted by the Queen Dowager, who suspected that he had secret instructions; and that he had been placed in the embassy by the Governor against the will of her and all the Council. (fn. n61)
They reached London on the 10 November after waiting some time at a distance of thirteen or fourteen miles till a lodging could be prepared for them; but they did not immediately get audience, as the King was in the country and his state of health was a very sufficient excuse. At last, however, they were admitted to see him at Oatlands on Sunday the 21st; but they got little satisfaction from their audience. (fn. n62) They came, they said, to present the acceptation by the Scots of their comprehension in the treaty of Camp. But they had no sooner declared this as the object of their mission than the King broke out in a fury, saying that he had granted their comprehension to France only under conditions which the Scots themselves had violated, like the faithless people they were; and he would certainly be revenged on them. He would not hear the ambassadors in reply, but remitted them to his Council, who arranged to give them audience during the week. Their interview with the King, however, surely justified the Bishop of Ross, who reported it afterwards to Selve, in saying that Henry was quite determined on war with his countrymen, and that if Francis would only help them with a little money and gunpowder he could do more damage to England through Scotland with 200,000 crowns than he could do with a million through any other channel. (fn. n63)
The interview with the Council took place on the 27th, and was very stormy. The French and Imperial ambassadors were present—the former at his own request, as his master had been anxious for the comprehension, the latter by request of the Council, on the ground that the Emperor had made himself an enemy of the Scots on account of England. The Council, indeed, called the Imperial ambassador to a private audience first before dinner and asked him if he had full instructions as to the total damage the Emperor's subjects had suffered at the hands of the Scots. He replied that the amount was inestimable; and the Council said the same on the part of their countrymen. The Scots were given audience after dinner, and they felt the presence of the Imperial ambassador distinctly embarrassing. The English Council rested their case simply on this that they had conceded the comprehension to the French Commissioners with some difficulty owing to their treaty with the Emperor, and that the clause was passed with the express words sine prœjudicio tractatuum; moreover that the Scots had lost all ground for what they claimed by new acts of hostility. (fn. n64)
Having received this answer, the Scotch ambassadors naturally desired to communicate with their Government; and on the 5 December a passport was granted to Bute herald, with a commission for posthorses. (fn. n65) Within a week the ambassadors had another audience of the King, either at Esher or Nonsuch, when he told them that he would soon be in London and take order about their business, but that meanwhile he would send a gentleman to the Governor of Scotland to ask him to raise the siege of St. Andrews, and he desired the ambassadors also to write to the same effect. This was certainly rather cool, and the ambassadors very naturally refused. (fn. n66) In fact, it was a policy suggested to the King by Norman Leslie and Henry Balnavis, in a state paper which still remains written partly in the hand of the latter. Their proposal was that the King or his Council should speak to the ambassadors to urge the Governor to raise the siege, on the ground that Henry had promised to aid the Master of Rothes, the laird of Grange, "and other gentlemen, the King's servants," who kept the Castle; for if the siege were raised the ambassadors, perhaps, might obtain a more favourable answer. The King might then, it was suggested, "devise some pleasant writing" to be sent to the Governor by a herald, "with some sharp sayings in the same," requiring that the "said army" should be staid, and intimating that if it was not, the King would compel the siege to be staid in spite of all opposition. Balnavis also suggested that the King should send an army by land to Leith, doing no harm by the way, and granting assurance to every man that would come for it and give satisfactory security for his loyalty to England. This would overawe the south side of the Forth, and the Governor would be compelled to withdraw from St. Andrews, either for fear of losing Edinburgh Castle, or to prevent the army going on to Stirling and besieging the Queen there. Moreover, if ships held the Firth of Forth and reinforced the army, it might cross to Kinghorn and shut up the Governor's forces in Fife. (fn. n67)
But as the ambassadors would not write in the way he desired, the King did so himself. The draft of his letter to the Governor and Council of Scotland, dated from Nonsuch on the 17th, altered afterwards to the 20th December, remains in the Record Office, a specimen of diplomatic effrontery which it is really hard to match. He takes the embassy sent up to him which he had so severely rebuked as evidence of the desire of the Scotch Government to seek reconciliation with himself, and, notwithstanding their broken promises (for which he had declared to the ambassadors that he would be revenged) he protested that his own desire for peace, if it could be had with honor, inclined him to meet their wish for amity if they would only prove it by deeds. In that case, first the King would take it well if they agreed to withdraw from the siege of St. Andrews Castle, till "the matter of displeasure" against those within were further debated; for those gentlemen had always shown themselves glad to advance the marriage between the Prince his son and their infant Queen; for which reason he had promised them assistance. And they needed this assistance now, when they were so undeservedly "put at "by the Governor and his forces. He must therefore take care that they should no longer be oppressed; and he required an answer by Richmond herald, the bearer. (fn. n68)
It was on Saturday the 11th December that the ambassadors had that audience of the King at which they declined to write to the Governor in the way he desired, and they had made a like refusal the same day to the Council, saying they had no commission to that effect. Nevertheless they wrote on the 21st to forward the King's letter, as he desired they would. (fn. n69)
St. Andrews Castle, in truth, had been very closely besieged; for there was no other method of vindicating law and order in Scotland if the rebels and murderers who held it were not reduced. On the 24 August order had been taken by the Scotch Privy Council for "the quartering of the realm for the siege" ; (fn. n70) and by this time matters had been pressed forwards with much energy. The Governor's army had mined almost to the foot of the tower, and though the men within were countermining, all succours by sea seemed effectually cut off. (fn. n71) The besieged were hard pressed. But the besiegers and the Scottish nation were eagerly looking to France for aid, hoping that Francis would insist on the comprehension of Scotland and make himself master of the sea for the security of both countries; and they formulated eight requests to be transmitted to Francis on the 26 November. (fn. n72)
Theoretically, such rebels as held St. Andrews deserved no mercy and should have been offered none. Practically, however, they were masters of the situation, or very nearly so; and it was almost a question, not what terms the Scotch Government would offer them, but what terms they would offer the Scotch Government. For some question of accommodation was in the air; it had been talked about at least from the beginning of August. A personal matter, indeed, had much to do with it; for the besieged kept Arran's eldest son prisoner within the Castle, and how to procure his deliverance without treating with the murderers was not apparent. In the end of July when a summons of treason had been issued by the Scotch Parliament against Norman Lesley and his accomplices for the slaughter of the Cardinal and the holding of St. Andrews Castle against the Government, the Scotch Privy Council decreed that whereas the parties summoned might allege that they durst not make their appearance for fear of the Cardinal's friends, proclamation should be made against molesting them. (fn. n73) This, indeed, was nothing more than justice towards accused persons required. But the crime of those besieged was against spiritual law as well as temporal, and another aspect of the matter had to be considered. The besieged required further that they should have absolution from the Church for the slaughter of the Cardinal; and this the Spiritualty agreed to, provided it was obtained from the Pope himself. (fn. n74) To make sure, however, that the detention of Arran's son should not be used as a means of bargaining to the disadvantage of the kingdom, the Scotch Parliament enacted on the 14 August that so long as he remained in captivity he should be excluded from the succession to all inheritances that might come to him from his father, whether of the Crown or of other things, which should go to his younger brother the second son, or to any other son the Governor might have. (fn. n75)
Strong as the Castle was, the besieged had begun to run short of flesh meat when on Tuesday the 23 November the Governor and Lords offered them full restitution and pardon if they would deliver it up, and with it the Governor's son, taking Blackness Castle in pledge. This was refused, and there was no more parleying for a while. Cannons were brought up to the west trenches on Friday the 26th. A heavy battery began early on the 1 Dec. and continued for two days. The garrison remained without flesh from the 22 November till the 10 December, when, having "provided a postern (fn. n76) in the East wall" they sent out a boat with two men to procure flesh and malt from a friendly quarter. The besiegers, however, set watch on both sides of the Tay; and, worn out with watching, lack of flesh and bad fish, twenty one of the garrison took deadly sickness. But through the "postern," as we have seen already, Norman Leslie and Balnavis had escaped to England as early as the 20th, and the spirits of the besieged were marvellously sustained. It was the besiegers, once more, who were anxious to come to terms. The Governor convened the Queen, Angus and a large number of the lords and bishops, who agreed to make them an offer, allowing them to keep both the Governor's son and the Castle "till all things were performed," but threatening to put to death certain lairds who befriended them if they did not keep faith. This message was delivered by Lyon herald on Thursday, 16 December, but no answer was returned to it. At last, after several conferences, in which the besieged successfully concealed their own great necessity and refused to give up William Kirkcaldy as a pledge, the Governor accepting David and James Kirkcaldy instead, terms were agreed upon, and the siege was raised. (fn. n77)
The terms agreed to may be seen in John Knox's History of the Reformation, (fn. n78) with the Reformer's extraordinary remark that they were "liberal enough, for they (the besiegers) never minded to keep word of them." Briefly, the garrison were allowed to keep the Castle till they got an absolution from the Pope for the slaughter of the Cardinal, but were to deliver pledges for the surrender of the place as soon as that absolution came. They were never to be prosecuted for their crime, and were freely to enjoy all "commodities, spiritual or temporal" that they possessed before the murder. And they might keep the Earl of Arran's son (fn. n79) as long as their pledges were kept.
It was a very distinct triumph of a faction supported by England over the Government of an independent Kingdom; and the triumphant party determined to make the most of it. The Castle was theirs till an absolution came from the Pope for the murder of Beton. But they could remain very well under excommunication; and they sent a message to their fellows, Balnavis and Leslie, who graced by their presence the Court of Henry VIII., suggesting that the King would do well to get the Emperor to write to the Pope to withhold the absolution asked for, so as to cause as much delay as possible. (fn. n80) This is certainly a curious commentary on Knox's insinuation—perhaps not untrue also—that the Scottish Government was insincere. But the Scottish Government had no power, even if it chose, to give effect to its bad faith, while the rebels had full possession of St. Andrews and were supported by all the assistance England could give them by sea. It was to France that the Scottish Government must look for aid, if there was to be any Scottish Government at all.
Matters of high domestic interest, however, soon occupied attention in England. In the spring, as we have seen in the last Part (Pref. p. xv.), the King had a feverish attack arising from his old ailment in the leg. After three weeks he recovered, and tried to make as little of it as possible; but his appearance still showed that it had been more serious than he wished it to appear. (fn. n81) And now again in September he had an illness that those about him found it in vain to disguise. The Imperial ambassador had prepared to go to Court on the 13th to inform him of the raising of the siege of Ingoldstadt, but was desired to put it off, being told confidentially that he was very ill and that there was little hope of his recovery. By the 21st, however, he was reported as convalescent; and nothing more is said about his health till we are told that on the 9th November he took medicine in preparation for certain baths which he usually had at that season. (fn. n82) Again he was better and came up from Windsor, or perhaps from Oatlands, on the following day to London where he had not been for three months, leaving again immediately for Oatlands, where we find him on the 18th, 19th and 21st. (fn. n83) In the beginning of December he was again unwell, but gave audience to the Imperial ambassador at Oatlands on the 5th. (fn. n84)
It is clear enough that for some time those about the Court had been convinced that his days were numbered, and each politician was considering in his own mind who were to have the direction of affairs in the coming minority. The like thoughts occupied the King himself and he made his will (fn. n85) on the 30th December; wherein also some very remarkable things may be read as to the state of mind and feeling in which he was preparing himself to leave the world. (fn. n86) Of this, however, I do not propose to speak, but rather of something which took place a few weeks before. The Earl of Surrey was arrested and detained five or six days in the house of Lord Chancellor Wriothesley. His father, the Duke of Norfolk, was at the same time sent for, and as soon as he came up to town, on the 12 December, was lodged in the Tower, deprived of his Garter and staff. Surrey, also, the same day was led through the streets to the same dismal fortress. (fn. n87) It was given out that they had been forming dangerous projects while the King was ill at Windsor in October or the beginning of November. (fn. n88) And no doubt they were speculating, as other not uninterested persons were, on what was likely to come to pass ere long.
The reasons given for their arrest, as time went on, were scarcely more definite. The Imperial ambassador understood that they were charged with having planned "to obtain control of the Prince or of the country." This, if true, meant simply that they were inconvenient rivals of others who were trying to do the same. (fn. n89) A fuller statement sent to him next day by the Iyord Chancellor was "that they had planned to obtain the government of the King, who was too old to allow himself to be governed, by murdering all the Council and assuming control of the Prince." (fn. n90) But it seems rather as if their judicial murder had been resolved on by some of the Council.
How mischief first began to be hatched is not difficult to imagine. It was easy enough to stir up trouble in the family of the Duke of Norfolk. Never was there less domestic love anywhere. Father and son, brother and sister, disliked each other, and the separation of the Duke and Duchess was a very old story. (fn. n91) The Duke's mistress, Elizabeth Holland, kept house at Kenninghall, and her son, the Earl's wife and children were there also. For his son the Earl, as Herbert surmises, was at this time, "but newly, and, perchance, scarce reconciled to him." The Earl, however, was the first victim of a conspiracy against them both. Sir Richard Southwell, his old associate at Boulogne, informed the Council "that he knew certain things of the Earl that touched his fidelity to the King." Surrey strongly denied the charge and desired to be tried by justice, or fight with Southwell in his shirt. (fn. n92) He and Southwell were both placed in custody till the charge could be investigated; but afterwards when Surrey was sent to the Tower, Southwell was liberated.
We cannot attempt to fathom the depths of the whole conspiracy; but we can divine some things without much misgiving. The Duke of Norfolk clearly had been long apprehensive of what was soon to be verified, that the growing influence of the Seymours would be the ruin of the Howards unless he could make some arrangement with them, and on Tuesday in Whitsun week he desired the King's assistance to promote cross marriages between his family and theirs. The Duchess of Richmond his daughter might marry Sir Thomas Seymour, and his grandchildren, a son and divers daughters of the Earl of Surrey, might marry with children of the Earl of Hertford. (fn. n93) The Duchess of Richmond had no great fancy for the match proposed to her; but her brother the Earl of Surrey (if Sir Gawen Carew's evidence may be trusted) suggested that she should dissemble her feelings and not utterly reject Sir Thomas Seymour's suit. This course he recommended as part of a policy which was perfectly infamous. If she showed herself irresolute he, her brother, "would find the means that the King's Majesty should speak with her himself, and when she required time to make up her mind the King would take occasion to see her again. Thus by degrees she might induce her Sovereign to take such an interest in her as would enable her to exert the same influence over him as Madame d'Etampes did over Francis i., and benefit thereby both herself and all her friends. "Whereupon," adds Sir Gawen, "she defied her brother, and said that all they should perish and she wold cut her own throat rather than she would consent to such a villainy." (fn. n94)
That Surrey should have been capable of suggesting this gross dishonor to his own sister may well be thought too much to believe. Unfortunately, it was not too much to allege against him; and apparently his sister herself had confessed it. Another view of the matter, indeed, is suggested by M. Bapst, who thinks that the advice was sarcastic, as the author of a curious contemporary Spanish Chronicle (fn. n95) says that the Duchess was a flirt, if not rather more than a flirt. This would make Surrey the virtuous man with a frail sister. But the information in the Spanish Chronicle is, in most things, very erroneous and confusing; and if Sir Gawen Carew's evidence may be credited at all, it is difficult to give Surrey's suggestion an ironical interpretation.
We will not undertake to say what was the exact truth. Surrey's previous career does not inspire confidence in him; nor does even his poetry, which on the whole is rather fanciful than sincere. In one poem, indeed, he boasts of his own disorderly conduct in disturbing London streets by night, and intimates in mock sanctimonious language that he had done it as a warning of God's wrath against the dissolute life of the city. (fn. n96) One might almost expect anything of such a character, and we cannot quite believe that he was the man to address a serious moral warning to his sister.
But as to the conspiracy, Herbert supplies a number of particulars with marginal dates, for which apparently he found warrant somewhere. Sir Richard Southwell's information and the defiance with which Surrey met it are thus dated the 2 December; and it was on that day that they were both committed to custody. The Duke of Norfolk his father wrote to different persons on the 3rd and 4th, and particularly to Bishop Gardiner, to know the cause of his son's trouble—letters which, as Herbert suggests, probably fell into the Council's hands. It is remarkable —we may note in passing— that at that very time Bishop Gardiner appears to have been somewhat out of favor about a matter of his own concerning his lands, as appears by two letters that he wrote on the 2nd, the first to the King and the other to Paget. (fn. n97) On the afternoon of Sunday the 12th, the day that Norfolk and Surrey were arrested, three messengers were despatched by the Council post haste down into Norfolk. These were John Gate, Sir Richard Southwell (who had just been liberated) and Wymond Carew. They reached Thetford on Monday night the 13th, and were at the Duke's house, Kenninghall, by daybreak, bringing the first news of the arrests. The steward being absent taking musters, they called the almoner, caused the gates and back doors to be secured, and sent for the Duchess of Richmond and Elizabeth Holland, who were just risen from bed, to come to them without delay. The Duchess, hearing how the matter stood, trembled so that she could hardly keep upright, but said, though compelled by nature to love her father, whom she always believed to be a true man, and her brother, though she knew him to be a rash one, she would conceal nothing. They told her to be candid and she need not despair. They examined her coffers, but found nothing worth sending up, as her jewels had been sold to pay her debts. They then searched Elizabeth Holland, and found some things of value. They sent messengers to the Duke's other houses in Norfolk and Suffolk to prevent "embezzlement," and to Elizabeth Holland's house, newly made in Suffolk, which they believed to be well furnished. (fn. n98)
Such was the report made by the three messengers of their first proceedings, and their letter was followed up next day by another which is unfortunately mutilated. (fn. n99) They also questioned Richard Fulmerston, a confidential agent of Surrey's, (fn. n100) and caused him to make a long report to the King, some parts of which are lost; but he declared that he could not accuse either his master or the Duke of Norfolk of any disloyalty that he knew of. (fn. n101) The information that they extracted from Elizabeth Holland is only known to us from Herbert, but is most important. "The Duke had told "her that none of the Council loved him because they were "no noblemen themselves; as also because he believed too "truly in the Sacrament of the Altar. Moreover, that the "King loved him not, because he was too much loved in his "country but that he would follow his father's lesson, which "was, that the less others set by him the more he would set "by himself. As also that the Duke complained that he was "not of the most secret (or as it is there termed, the Privy) "Council. And that the King was much grown of his body "and that he could not go up and down the stairs, but was "let up and down by a device. And that his Majesty was "sickly and could not long endure; and the realm like "to be in an ill case through diversity of opinions. And "that if he were a young man and the realm in quiet, "he would ask leave to see the Vernacle; which, he said "was the picture of Christ given to women by Himself "as He went to death. As touching his arms, that she "had not heard the Duke speak of his own but of his "son's; that he liked them not, and that he had gathered "them, himself knew not from whence; and that he "placed the Norfolk's arms wrong, and had found fault "with him; and therefore that she should take no pattern "of his son's arms to work them with her needle in his "house, but as he gave them. Furthermore, she confessed "that the Earl of Surrey loved her not, nor the Duchess "of Richmond him; and that she addicted herself much "to the said Duchess." (fn. n102)
This is a weighty statement indeed, bearing upon much more than the cases of Norfolk and Surrey. But apart from what is said of the King's condition, it is quite true that for years Norfolk had been shut out of the Privy Council, and we know from other evidences besides that the King cared little for him except upon emergencies like the great Northern Risings of 1536-7. As to Surrey, the story of his considering himself a prince and bearing arms like the King's is not altogether new to us. (fn. n103) Depositions on that subject had been taken even in the spring of 1543 after he had amused himself with breaking windows at night by stonebows in the London streets; and though the fact was passed over at that time it was not forgotten. Yet just before going to Boulogne in 1545 he seems to have summoned Christopher Barker, Garter King of Arms, to a private consultation with him at Lambeth about his right to bear a scutcheon "of the arms of Brotherton and St. Edward and Anjou and Mowbray quartered." (fn. n104) Garter advised him not to assume them, but he was so much set upon it that Garter sent him a further caution on the subject through Sir Edward Warner; and both Garter and Sir Edward deposed against him on this subject.
Heraldic offences do not strike our own generation as serious, and perhaps even Surrey's presumption might have been overlooked if he had only been sure of the King's favor. So far back as April 1543 the Council had elicited the fact that arms very like the King's adorned Surrey's bed (fn. n105); and it was no secret that he considered himself a prince and hoped that the government of the realm after the King's death would be directed by his father and himself—points which had only to be brought out a little more clearly when it was expedient to strike at him. (fn. n106) He had always hated such upstart noblemen as the Seymours; but all depended on the amount of favor he and his father could secure for themselves, or perhaps we should rather say, that he could secure for himself and his father. In 1545 when deputed to go to Boulogne he believed that he might do anything, notwithstanding Garter's warning; and when he got there, even in the presence of the King's Council at Boulogne he talked about painting into escutcheons which he sent to Norwich the arms of England given, according to the historical views of the time, by Edward the Confessor to his ancestors. Nay, even after that, at Lambeth, he drew other arms for windows for a glazier of Norwich to work in glass for a new house that he was building for himself, and he had "a stamp of the same" to engrave them upon his plate. (fn. n107) Moreover, quite lately, on the 7 October of this year 1546 (if the express statement in his indictment may be trusted), he had caused them to be depicted at Kenninghall in his father's house. (fn. n108)
As a matter of fact, Surrey had a perfect right to bear royal arms, as he was descended from Edward i. through the Mowbrays and "Thomas of Brotherton "that King's son; but he should have borne them in the second quarter only, (fn. n109) and it seems that he had been indiscreet enough somewhere to depict them in the first, though he had withdrawn the scutcheon from view, awaiting a time when he believed that he might use it with impunity. The thought, indeed must have occurred to him at times that some caution was necessary; for he had already been twice imprisoned, and in 1543 he had been in serious danger, from which he only escaped by the friendly intercession of the lord Chancellor Wriothesley, of Russell, the Lord Privy seal, of Gardiner and of Sir Anthony Browne. (fn. n110) And not having been always successful at Boulogne, notwithstanding his rash bravery and unpopular advice to the King, (fn. n111) it behoved him to be on his guard against the influence of that upstart nobility whom he so disliked. Among the papers discovered by the industry of Sir Richard Southwell at the time of his arrest, was a letter written by him (fn. n112) to his servant Hugh Ellys whom he required to deliver a letter to Mrs. Hevingham, formerly named Mary Shelton, in London, with this instruction: "Commawnd the paynter to leve owt the tablet wher my lord of Richmondes picture shuld stand; for I will have nothyng ther, nor yet the tablet, but all dowbet (q. all daubed?)." The Earl adds in a postscript the injunction: "Deliver this letter to none but her own hands." And it is no wonder that Southwell, coming upon such a very confidential communication, should have written underneath it a suggestion that the Council should examine Mrs. Hevingham about Surrey's letter to her, as she probably could reveal many things that had passed between them, both before her marriage and since.
Enough. The blow had now been struck. The upstart nobility were in the ascendant, and Surrey's fate was sealed, if not his father's also. There was no lack of informers.
Surrey's cousin, Sir Edmund Knyvet was twice examined. On the first occasion he said "he knew no "untruth directly by the Earl of Surrey, but suspected him "of dissimulation and vanity; and that a servant of "his had been in Italy with Cardinal Pole, and was received "again at his return. Moreover that he kept one Pasquil, "an Italian, as a jester, but more likely a spy, and so "reputed. He mentioned also one Peregrine, an Italian "entertained by the said Earl; adding that he loved "to converse with strangers, and to conform his behaviour "to them. And that he thought he had therein some "great ill device." (fn. n113)
In his second examination Knyvet mentioned how at one time he had avoided Kenninghall in the belief that both Surrey and the Duke his father bore ill will to him. When he confessed this to Surrey himself, the Earl's answer was "No, no, cousin Knyvet, I malice not so low; my malice climbs higher"; and after Cromwell's death Surrey had said "Now is that foul churl dead, so ambitious of others' blood. Now is he stricken with his own staff." On Knyvet reminding him afterwards that it was a sin to speak ill of dead men, he had replied "These newly erected men would by their wills leave no noble man on life." (fn. n114)
Knyvet appears to have been a hanger-on of Cromwell, (fn. n115) of whom we know little good. The year after his patron's fall, he nearly had his hand cut off by judicial sentence for a brawl at Court. (fn. n116) Then there was one John Torre who had long dwelt in France and was familiar with Marillac when he was French ambassador in England; he had gained knowledge from Marillac's secretary that the Duke of Norfolk, lord William Howard and others, including Dr. Augustine (the same treacherous scoundrel who betrayed Wolsey) (fn. n117) used to visit the ambassador's house by night. And John Torre, professing devotion to the French party, was told by the Secretary that even during war the French King would have friends in England, as he had, for his money, in every other country. (fn. n118)
Then Sir Thomas Pope, afterwards founder of Trinity College, Oxford, "informed the Council that John Freeman "told him that the Duke (at Nottingham, in the "time of the Commotion of the-North) should say, in the "presence of an hundred persons, that the Act of Uses was "the worst Act that ever was made, and that Freeman "affirmed those words before the lord Audeley, late lord "Chancellor." (fn. n119)
The Council drew up a set of questions touching the legal aspect of Surrey's case (fn. n120); and the King himself, ill as he was, took such a deep interest in the matter that he made corrections in the paper in his own hands. (fn. n121) Steps were also taken to get the Duke of Norfolk to commit himself as far and on as many subjects as possible. He was visited in the Tower by the lord Great Master (Paulet lord St. John), and Mr. Secretary Paget, adepts at this sort of work, who pushed inquiries such as whether he had corresponded with any one in cipher—whether he had even heard anyone suggest in conversation that the peace with France would be broken by the Pope's dispensation, and whether he inclined to that opinion himself,—also, whether he was privy to a letter from Gardiner and Sir Henry Knyvet about Granvelle's proposal of mediation between the King and "the Bishop of Rome." On all which points he desired to clear himself and have his accusers brought face to face with him; and he added much in evidence of his own persistent loyalty, how he had been hated on that very account by Wolsey, Cromwell and Buckingham, what malice both his nieces (Anne Boleyn and Katharine Howard) "whom it pleased the King to marry," had borne to himself, and how he had "tried out the falsehood of Darcy, Constable, Sir John Bulmer and many others,—even of his own stepmother, Agnes Duchess Dowager of Norfolk when she was implicated in Katharine Howard's intrigues. (fn. n122) It was a pitiful exculpation.
Surrey was much distressed that his old father was involved in his own calamity; and when he had lain some time in durance, "sore enfeebled," as he said, with loss of blood and pensiveness, he addressed a petition to the Council that four of them who had befriended him in his trouble four years before, might be sent to examine him, and report his case to the King: These four were (as shown already) the lord Chancellor Wriothesley, lord Privy Seal Russell, Bishop Gardiner and Sir Anthony Browne. (fn. n123) Norfolk also wrote humbly to the King, protesting that he had never entertained an untrue thought about the Succession, though some enemy had informed against him, and desiring that he and his accusers might appear together before the King or his Council. He had given no man cause of offence, unless perhaps to those who had thought him too quick with persons accused as sacramentaries. In religion, as he had told the King and many others, knowing his Majesty's virtue and knowledge, he would stick to whatever laws he made. Indeed it was because he took this attitude that he had incurred the ill will of some who cast libels abroad against him. He begged to recover the King's favor and the King might have all his lands and goods. (fn. n124)
There was little hope of a favorable answer to such prayers. Even Norfolk's dislike of Sacramentaries. was against him now. For four or five months, as Van der Delft observed on Christmas eve, the prosecutions of these and other heretics had ceased, Hertford and Lisle having taken up their residence at Court. They seemed now to have the complete control of everything there, and the Council, for the most part, met at Hertford's house. "It is even asserted," writes Van der Delft, "that the custody of the Prince and government of the realm will be entrusted to them; and this misfortune to the house of Norfolk may have come from that quarter." "The majority of the people," he adds, "are of these perverse sects, and in favor of getting rid of the bishops, and they do not conceal their wish to see Winchester and other adherents of the ancient faith in the Tower with the Duke." Parliament was to meet in January and some strange enactments might be expected. (fn. n125)
As to Van der Delft's remark that the majority of the people were "of these perverse sects," it may well be that the ambassador was speaking particularly of those who frequented the Court. For it would seem that not only in England but abroad those who favored evangelical views looked to Court influence as likely to bring about a religious revolution in their favor. And yet even the Court looked to foreign influences as the determining factor. At least, such was the opinion of Hooper, one of the most advanced of the new School. "There will be a change of religion," he wrote to Bullinger, he himself being somewhere in Germany; "and the King will take up the Gospel of Christ in case the Emperor should be defeated in this most destructive war. Should the Gospel sustain a loss, he will then retain his impious mass." (fn. n126) That was Hooper's estimate of the prospects of religion in England. On the last day of the year another English refugee wrote from Strasburg in a similar vein; only there was great fear by this time that the Emperor would be successful everywhere. The comfort was that matters in England were very much improved. The Duke of Norfolk, "a most bitter enemy of the Word of God," whose authority was great in the North of England, with his son and others, had made a secret attempt, John Burcher said, to restore the dominion of the Pope and the monks. But their design was discovered; the Duke and his son had been thrown into prison. "Nor is any one wanting," adds this writer, "but Winchester alone; and unless he also be caught, the evangelical truth cannot be restored." (fn. n127) A month later Burcher's friend Richard Hilles wrote from Strasburg English news of the like character; but he understood then that both Norfolk and his son had been beheaded; and that Gardiner had been sent to the Tower. (fn. n128) In the last item, doubtless, the wish was father to the thought.
The King was now so infirm that, considering his age and unwieldiness of body, any new attack was likely to carry him off. (fn. n129) He had lately had a fever which lasted thirty hours, but though he professed to have quite recovered, his looks belied him. He arrived in London on the 23rd, (fn. n130) but he kept himself, or was kept, in great seclusion, seeing none but his Councillors and three or four gentlemen of his Chamber. The matter of Norfolk and Surrey engrossed him and them, so that he was left alone even by the Queen, who, though she had never left him before at such a solemn season as Christmas, now went and kept Court at Greenwich. (fn. n131) Councillors visited the Tower every day to examine the two prisoners. (fn. n132)
The formality of a trial awaited Surrey, an Act of Attainder awaited Norfolk. On the last day of the year 1546 a Special Commission was issued to inquire of treasons in the County of Norfolk; and on the 1 January 1547 the Commissioners issued a precept to the sheriff of that county to summon a grand jury to meet at Norwich Castle on the 7th. On that day, accordingly, a sessions was held there which found a true bill against Surrey for having infringed the Treasons Act of 28 Henry VIII. and for having, on the 7th October preceding, in his father's house at Kenninghall, used the arms of Edward the Confessor depicted on his own arms with "three labels silver" which belonged to the Prince as heir apparent. The trial was to be at the Guildhall in London on the 13th under a special Commission to the lord mayor, some privy Councillors and justices; and judgment was delivered by lord Chancellor Wriothesley, ordering execution at Tyburn with the usual barbarities. (fn. n133) But the conclusion was not reached without a long and valiant tongue fence on Surrey's part. "Some things he flatly denied, weakening the credit of his accusers by certain circumstances; others he excused with interpretations of his meanings to prove the same to be far otherwise than was alleged against him." (fn. n134) The trial lasted from 9 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon of that winter's day. (fn. n135) But of course the result was certain. The sentence, however, was so far mitigated, that it was changed into simple decapitation; which the Karl underwent on Tower Hill on the 19th.
Imprisoned in the Tower, the Duke of Norfolk had lost all spirit to defend himself, even before his son's trial; and the singular unfairness of the proceedings was aggravated by the fact that a confession implicating his son was obtained from him that day before the trial took place. He was visited in the Tower by the Lord Chancellor, the lord St. John, President of the Council, the Karl of Hertford, lord Great Chamberlain, Lord Lisle the Admiral, Sir Anthony Browne, Master of the Horse, Sir William Paget, the King's Secretary, Sir Richard Riche and Sir John Baker—all of the Privy Council, with Sir Richard Lister and Sir Edward Montague, the two Chief Justices; and in their presence, with their signatures as witnesses attached, be made this confession, signed by himself in the first place:—He acknowledged that he had offended the King "in opening his secret counsels at divers times to sundry persons, to the peril of his Highness and disappointing of his affairs." He had concealed high treason in keeping secret the false acts of his son "in using the arms of St. Edward the Confessor." He had himself borne, since his father's death, in the first and principal quarter of his arms, "the arms of England, with a difference of three labels of silver, which are the proper arms of my lord the Prince." He admitted that his crime was no less than treason and begged for mercy. And he further added that he subscribed this confession "without compulsion, without force, without advice or counsel" (fn. n136) — a statement which we may estimate at its true value when we consider under what circumstances it was made. We may also note that in his case as in his son's, the heraldic offence could not have been very serious since he had (apparently) borne the arms of Kngland, with the three labels of silver, from the time of his father's death in 1524.
Then on Friday, 14 January—the very day after Surrey's trial—Parliament met again, and in the course of a few days passed an Act of Attainder against both Norfolk and Surrey. It was the only enactment of that session, which was cut short by the event so long foreseen; and the passing of it was a simple matter, as Surrey had already been condemned—indeed, executed also, by the time it passed, and Norfolk had made a confession. The Bill was read a third time in the Lords on the 20 January and was then sent down to the Commons; from which House it was brought up again and passed on the 24th. Then on the 27th a solemn scene was enacted in the Upper House, the Commons being called in to hear the royal assent given to the Bill by Commission, as it was desirable to despatch the matter at once with a view to the Coronation of young Edward as Prince. And the accustomed words were subscribed, by which the Bill became an Act of Parliament. (fn. n137)
That night between the 27th and the 28th January the King died. By his death the Duke of Norfolk, though attainted, was saved from the capital penalty.
And so we have come to the close of a reign the most marked of all in English history for permanent effects, not only on the domestic condition of the country but on international relations as well. Whoever would understand the state in which Henry left the kingdom at his death ought to study the account given of it by Chapuys at Louvain just before he heard of the event, (fn. n138) and he will certainly be at no loss to account for what actually happened in the reign of Edward VI.,—especially at its commencement. Hertford and Lisle—the future Dukes of Somerset and Northumberland—now governed everything, both of them being "great stirrers of heresy" — resolutely bent, that is to say, on no account to return to the ancient order of things—while their wives, led on by Queen Katharine Parr and the Duchess of Suffolk, were actually promoting the renewed revolt against Church authority. The conservative Lord Chancellor, Wriothesley had to sustain "violent and injurious words" from Hertford, and Gardiner met with the like treatment from Lisle. Gardiner, indeed, even when Chapuys was last in England would have been sent to the Tower but for the intercession of Norfolk; and the imprisonment of Norfolk and his son was due really to the fact that the Duke's influence (notwithstanding that he upheld the King's supremacy against the Pope) was so much in favor of the old religion, and that he had so much power with the people of the North. The Bishops alone stood in the way of the two aspiring noblemen, and it was to be feared that an Act would be passed to confiscate their endowments and give them pensions out of the King's coffers. Hertford was only treading in the steps of Cromwell, who, when unable to see his way to reconcile the Emperor and the King, promoted heresy to set the whole realm against the Emperor, though the English had previously been so devoted to his Imperial Majesty that he might have done anything in behalf of Katharine of Arragon, almost without effort. But since the Emperor had not interfered when he had such excellent opportunity in behalf of that Queen and the Princess, nothing that he could say now was likely to have much effect on the rulers of England. Such was the opinion of the old experienced statesman.
I must leave it, as usual, to the reader to follow up the study of many other subjects illustrated by the papers here collected, especially matters of foreign history, like the Smalcaldic war. Our space is necessarily limited, and the index will suffice for most purposes. Yet we may just call attention to two documents near the close, which are of lively interest, each in its own way— Feckenham's sermon at Paul's Cross on the 16 January 1547, (fn. n139) and the painful account given by lord Grey of his ill clad garrison at Boulogne. (fn. n140)
We must be allowed to add one word as to a special feature at the end of this Volume—the catalogue of contemporary Maps illustrative of the whole reign. These are undoubtedly documents and state papers, no less than the letters which form the staple of this voluminous work. Till very lately they have unfortunately been neglected; and yet they would have been difficult to chronologise during the progress of the work itself. This has been attempted now; and in some cases, it will be seen that the date is actually given in the map itself. In other cases the evidence of it will hardly be disputed. But in many others the precise year must be a matter more or less speculative.