Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 4, 1524-1530. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1875.
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Introduction, Section 8
It was during the time of this sickness, and whilst the arrival of Campeggio was expected, that Anne Boleyn, forgetting her former petulance, showed more than usual civility to the Cardinal, inquiring anxiously for his health, and professing eternal gratitude. Though the Cardinal, on his part, clearly foresaw the danger, from which escape was impossible, he failed not, by every means in his power, to conciliate her favor. She writes to him on one occasion: "In my most humblest wise that my poor heart can think, I do thank your Grace for your rich and goodly present, the which I shall never be able to deserve without your great help; of the which I have hitherto had so great plenty, that all the days of my life I am most bound, of all creatures, next the King's grace, to love and serve your Grace; of the which, I beseech you never to doubt that ever I shall vary from this thought, as long as any breath is in my body. And as touching your Grace's trouble with the sweat, I thank our Lord that them that I desired and prayed for are scaped; and that is the King and you; not doubting but that God has preserved you both for great causes known all-only of His high wisdom." (fn. 1)
At another time she writes, "My lord, after my most humble recommendations, this shall be to give unto your Grace, as I am most bound, my humble thanks for the great pain and travail that your Grace doth take in studying by your wisdom and great diligence how to bring to pass honorably the greatest wealth that is possible to come to any creature living; and in especial remembering how wretched and unworthy I am in comparing to his Highness. And for you I do know myself never to have deserved by my deserts that you should take this great pain for me. Yet daily of your goodness I do perceive, by all my friends; and though that I had not knowledge by them, the daily proof of your deeds doth declare your words and writing toward me to be true. Now, good my Lord, your discretion may consider as yet how little it is in my power to recompense you, but all-only with my good will; the which, I assure you, that after this matter is brought to pass, you shall find me, as I am bound, in the meantime to owe you my service; and then look what thing in this world I can imagine to do you pleasure in, you shall find me the gladdest woman in the world to do it. And, next unto the King's grace, of one thing I make you full promise to be assured to have it, and that is my bearty love unfeignedly during my life ... being fully determined by God's grace never to change this purpose." (fn. 2)
That she was sincere in these protestations, at the time, can scarcely be doubted. For she was capable of very warm, if not of deep and lasting affection, and was too fickle and weak-minded for a hypocrite. Whatever her faults might be, she can hardly be called artful or designing, for these epithets imply qualities of mind she did not possess. Vain and frivolous, she was not only deficient in that real prudence and self-control which could alone have preserved her from danger, but also in the tact and calculating shrewdness of thoughtful selfishness, miscalled prudence by the world. Too weak for goodness, she wanted strength of will to avoid temptation. Too weak for greatness, she had not the skill to support its weight when it was thrust upon her.
Never before had Wolsey stood so high in the favor of his master. He had triumphed over every obstacle. He had propitiated the Pope, and won over his consent to the divorce. Nothing now remained but the official declaration by Campeggio of the sentence, which Henry expected with impatience, and, equally with Wolsey, was fully persuaded would leave him free to marry again. How could he be otherwise than grateful to a minister who had extricated him so ably from the greatest difficulty of his life, and transferred from him to the Spiritual Head of Christendom all responsibility in so arduous an affair? It was on a point of law that his conscience was troubled, and the law had decided in his favor. It was a Pope who had dispensed with the objections to his marriage with Katharine, and a Pope now declared that such dispensation was informal. What greater respect could any man show for the supreme authority he had hitherto so efficiently maintained by his actions and his writings, and of which he was anxious to appear as the champion in the face of the world? But in this timely submission to the arbitrament of the Church he had been exclusively governed by Wolsey. His own impatience, and the advice of evil counsellors, had at first suggested a more direct and violent course, as we have seen. And though no king ever loved more to have his own way than Henry, no king was ever more reluctant than he to transgress the letter of the law, more resolute in punishing those who did, or more inexorable than he in exacting the forfeiture. By the advice and good management of his minister he had been enabled to reconcile the law with his own inclinations. By the same advice he had been saved from the scandal that must have ensued had he treated Katharine with violence, and, regardless of public censure, enthroned Anne Boleyn in her place. More than half the world was persuaded even then that the King's cause was the cause of justice and of Scripture; and almost half the world is persuaded that it was so now. Could ability less than Wolsey's have brought about such a result? Could invention less than his have persuaded mankind to believe that, of the two, the King was the injured and the suffering party?—that he was moved exclusively by patriotic motives, by regard for his people, by conscientious convictions; and Katharine, by bigotry and selfishness, in not abdicating her claims, and retiring at his bidding to a nunnery?
Yet the good understanding between the King and his minister was rudely shaken by an unexpected event, that must have reminded Wolsey of the instability of greatness. On the death of the abbess of Wilton, in the time of the sweating sickness, John Carey, the brother of Mary Boleyn's husband, was anxious to secure the vacant appointment for his sister, Elinor, one of the nuns. Her promotion was warmly espoused by Anne,—by the King, as might be expected; and Wolsey, to whom the nuns had committed the election, had promised to befriend her. (fn. 3) But it was found upon examination that Elinor Carey had been guilty of gross incontinence. When the fact was made known to Wolsey by his commissary, Dr. Bell, it was reported to the King; and in a letter written by the latter to Anne Boleyn, showing how clear and unclouded was his judgment wherever his own passions were not immediately concerned, he tells her, "I would not for all the world clog your conscience nor mine to make her ruler of a house which is of so ungodly demeanor; nor, I trust, you would not that, neither for brother (Carey) nor sister, I should so distain mine honor or conscience. And, as touching the prioress (Isabella Jordan), or dame Elinor's eldest sister, though there is not any evident case proved against them, and that the Prioress is so old, that of many years she could not be as she was named; (fn. 4) yet, notwithstanding, to do you pleasure, I have done that neither of them shall have it; but ... some other good and well disposed woman." (fn. 5) It appears that the King's wish in this respect had been communicated to Wolsey; but, either discrediting the scandal affecting the Prioress, probably set on foot by Elinor's party, or some misapprehension of the King's intentions, the Cardinal conferred the appointment on Isabella Jordan, and sent his nomination to the King for confirmation. (fn. 6) So flagrant a disregard of his master's wishes, especially after his promise to Anne Boleyn, roused the King's indignation. "I have signified to the King's highness," writes Dr. Bell, "concerning the election of the new abbess of Wilton, wherewith his said Highness was somewhat moved, remembering his advertisement by my former letters to your Grace, that in no wise he would the Prioress should have it ... especially that upon this expectation his said Highness hath both reported and promised to divers friends of dame Elinor Carey that the Prioress should not have it." He adds, that although the King, upon the report of her misconduct, had relinquished his request for her promotion, and referred all to Wolsey's disposition, "so that some other able, virtuous, and religious woman were there provided, yet his full mind was, and expectation, that in no wise the Prioress should have had it, whereby divers (fn. 7) will find themself aggrieved. And surely for my duty and true heart toward your Grace, I would rather than part of my small substance you had elected some other." (fn. 8)
Justly alarmed by these indications of the King's displeasure, Wolsey had recourse to various excuses. This drew from the King a remonstrance not less honorable to himself than the Cardinal. It is of so much importance towards forming a just estimate of the King's character, it explains so clearly the secret of that influence which in his better moments he exercised over those around him, that I shall make no excuse for submitting the main portions of it without abridgment to the reader.
"The great affection and love I bear you causeth me, using the doctrine of my Master, saying, Quem diligo castigo, thus plainly as now ensueth, to break to you my mind, ensuring you that neither sinister report, affection to my own pleasure, interesse parts, nor mediation of any other body, beareth place in this case. Wherefore, whatsoever I do say, I pray think it spoken of no displeasure, but of him that would you as much good, both of body and soul, as you would yourself.
"Methink it is not the right train of a trusty loving friend and servant, when the matter is put by the master's consent into his arbitre and judgment, (fn. 9) (specially in a matter wherein his master hath both royalty and interest,) to elect and choose a person which was by him defended (forbidden). And yet another thing, which much displeaseth me more,—that is, to cloak your offence made by ignorance of my pleasure, saying that you expressly knew not my determinate mind in that behalf. Alas! my Lord, what can be more evident or plainer than these words, specially to a wise man, his Grace careth not who, but referreth it all to you, so that none of those who either be or have been at any time noted or spotted with incontinence (like as by report the Prioress hath been in her youth) have it. And also in another place of the letter, (fn. 10) which saith, and therefore, his Highness thinketh her not meet for that purpose. Thirdly, in another place of the said letter, by these words: and though his Grace speaketh it not so openly, yet meseemeth his plea- sure is, that in no wise the Prioress have it, nor yet dame Elinor's eldest sister, for many considerations, the which your Grace both can and will best consider.
"These things being thus committed, either I must have reserved them in pectore, whereby more displeasure might happen to breed; or else thus roundly and plainly to declare them to you; because that I do think that cum amico et familiari sincere semper est agendum, and especially the master to his best beloved servant and friend; for in so doing the one shall be more circumspect in his doing, the other shall declare and show the lothness that is in him to have any occasion to be displeased with him.
"And as touching the redress of religion (i.e. of the nuns), if it be observed and continued, undoubtedly it is a gracious act; notwithstanding, if all reports be true, ab imbecillis imbecilla expectantur. Howbeit, Mr. Bell hath informed me that her (fn. 11) age, personage, and manner prœ se fert gravitatem. I pray God it be so indeed, seeing that she is preferred to that room. I understand, furthermore, (which is greatly to my comfort,) that you have ordered yourself to God-ward, as religiously and virtuously as any prelate or father of Christ's church can do; where, in so doing and persevering, there can nothing more be acceptable to God, more honor to yourself, nor more desired of your friends, amongst the which I reckon not myself the least."
He then proceeds with singular delicacy to inform Wolsey of the sinister reports circulated respecting the building of his college at Oxford; "because I dare be bolder with you than a great many that mumble it abroad." He remarks that the sums of money contributed by various religious houses had been given to the college only with a corrupt view of obtaining by Wolsey's legatine authority immunities that ought not to have been allowed. Who put these notions into the King's head, it is impossible to say. There appears to have been no just grounds for such a suspicion; but repeated complaints against the officers employed by Wolsey in the suppression of the smaller religious houses, and the erection of his great college at Oxford, were industriously circulated by his enemies, not without effect. The King's displeasure was increased by the fact, that on the late occasion of the Amicable Grant the monastic communities had been among the number of its most formidable and successful opponents. Their conduct on that occasion was never forgotten. "These same religious houses," he remarks with some bitterness, "would not grant to their sovereign, in his necessity, not by a great deal, so much as they have to you for building of your college. (fn. 12) These things bear shrewd appearance; for, except they were accustomed to have some benefit for it, they and no other that ever I heard of have used to show that kindness; tam enim est aliena ab eis ipsa humanitas." He then urges Wolsey to make effectual scrutiny into the conduct of those to whom he had intrusted this "meddling with religious houses." (fn. 13) Impressions so unfavourable to the monastic orders, connected with a sense in Henry's mind of personal ingratitude towards himself, augured no good for their future welfare. But the hour of vengeance was not yet come. So long as Wolsey lived, it was not even anticipated. He concludes, "I pray you, my Lord, think not that it is upon any displeasure that I write this unto you. For surely it is for my discharge afore God, being in the room that I am in; and, secondly, for the great zeal I bear unto you, not undeserved of (on) your behalf. Wherefore, I pray you, take it so; and I assure you, your fault acknowledged, there shall remain in me no spark of displeasure; trusting hereafter you shall recompense that with a thing much more acceptable to me. (fn. 14) And thus fare you well, advertising you that (thanked be God) both I and all my folk be, and have been ever since we came to Ampthill, which was on Saturday last (11th July), in marvellous good health and cleanness of air. Written with the hand of him that is and shall be your loving sovereign, lord, and friend, Henry R." (fn. 15)
It is strange that sentiments so generous, manly, and noble should have emanated from the same pen as the letters to Anne Boleyn. Stranger still is it, that, side by side with convictions so admirable and so king-like, of what was just, candid, and sincere, there should be found the most ignoble deceit, oppression, and falsehood, wherever Katharine was concerned. Must we then think that the fountain sends forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? That, in mockery of our small notions of heroes and hero-worship, such is the frailty and inconsistency of human nature; such its defiance of all human rules and calculations?
To none certainly were the poet's words more applicable than to Henry VIII. He was no saint, no hero; yet not without a manly sense of what was saintly and heroic, as his letter shows; and utterly free from the sickly religious sentiment and introspective Puritanism of later times!
Anticipating the effects of his letter the King read it in the first instance to Hennege and to Russell, telling them that "he had dealt" with Wolsey "as an entire friend and master should do to another." Hennege, aware how heavily the blow would fall, notwithstanding all attempts to soften its severity, kindly advised the Cardinal to take "great comfort," and not weigh this matter too heavily, but consider "the kind intent of his Highness." The whole correspondence has not been preserved; but the consternation betrayed by all Wolsey's friends is a clear indication of the peril into which he had fallen, and the profoundest distress into which they felt he would be plunged by this manifestation of the King's displeasure. They were not mistaken. It descended with crushing effect upon him, already more than usually disheartened by the sweating sickness, and overburthened by public business, of which he bore the accummulated and increasing load alone, in the absence of his officers. (fn. 16) The first letter which Wolsey wrote in his own exculpation is, unfortunately, missing. The purport of it may be gathered from the King's reply. He excused his appointment of Isabella Jordan on the plea of illness and pressure of business. He urged further, that as the appointment was not valid without the King's confirmation—and that was still withheld—it was only conditional, and might be revoked. The King accepted the apology; he professed his satisfaction at finding that his warnings had been so lovingly taken. To avoid all complaints for the future, he begged Wolsey to receive no more contributions from the religious houses for the building of his college, and in so doing they might sing together, "Te laudant angeli atque archangeli; Te laudat omnis spiritus. Thus I end this rude yet loving letter, assuring you that at this hour there remains no spark of displeasure towards you in my heart." (fn. 17)
"Sire,—Your gracious loving letters, whereby I do perceive that no spark of displeasure remaineth in your noble heart towards me, hath, on my truth, so letificate and recomforted me, being so replenished with heaviness and sorrow, ut videar ex morte ad vitam restitutus; for the which your gracious goodness I do not only accompt myself most bounden to serve, pray, render and give most humble thanks to the same, but also for the great zeal that your Majesty hath to the purity and cleanness of my poor conscience, coveting and desiring that nothing should be by me committed or done, by the color of mine intended college or otherwise, that should not stand with God's pleasure and good conscience, or that thereby any just occasion might be given to any person to speak or judge ill of my doings. And albeit, as is contained in mine other letters, I have knowledged to have received of divers mine old lovers and friends, and other exempt religious persons, right loving and favorable aids towards the edifying of my said college; yet your Majesty may be well assured that the same extendeth not to such a sum as some men doth untruly bruit and report; or that any part thereof, to my knowledge, thought, or judgment, bath been corruptly or contrary to the law taken or given, as I shall more particularly declare to your Highness at my next access and repair to the same. ... Nevertheless, ensuing your Grace's wholesome counsel and most charitable admonition, to the intent that none occasion of ill speech, untrue report or judgment, should hereafter arise or insurge, I promise to your Majesty that from henceforth, though I should be compelled to sell that I have, and to live very straitly and barely, I, ne none other by my consent or knowledge, though the same be never so clearly, frankly, or friendly offered towards the building of the said college, or to any other mine use, shall take anything of any religious person or persons, being exempt or not exempt; so that thereby I trust, nor by any other thing hereafter unlawfully taken, your poor Cardinal's conscience shall not be spotted, encumbered, or entangled; purposing, with God's help and your gracious favor, so to order the rest of my poor life that it shall appear to your Highness that I love and dread God, and also your Majesty, for whose long continuance and health, both in body and soul, according to my most bounden duty, I shall daily pray, as your Grace's most humble chaplain,
"T. CARDINALIS EBOR." (fn. 18)
Such profound despondency and abasement at the King's displeasure for so small a fault, is as inexplicable to us of the present day, as the Cardinal's unbounded gratitude for the King's forgiveness. No parallel to it can be found, except in the unconditional religious obedience of other climes and other ages: "My lord the King is as an angel of God; do, therefore, what is good in thine eyes." (fn. 19) We afford something better than a smile for political idealists who prostrate themselves before a political abstraction—fascinating in proportion to its unreality;—but for a statesman like Wolsey thus bowing down in utter abasement before the personal incarnation of royalty, we have nothing better than contempt; that is an act wholly incomprehensible to our generation, except upon the theory that he was a hypocrite or a time-server. He had but one idol in the world,—for the supposition that he was actuated by no other motive than his own aggrandisement, is too shallow and untenable to be maintained any longer,—and that idol was the King. To that idol and its aggrandisement he consecrated all his devotion; upon it he concentrated all his thoughts. It was no poetic dream as in the age that followed; no political theory evolved for political purposes. It is the more remarkable because ecclesiastics of a former age were not generally governed by such sentiments. By some process not sufficiently explained, by causes over which he had little control apparently, the King had been enthroned in the consciences of his subjects as kings had never been before. Disobedience or opposition to his will seemed scarcely less profane than it was disloyal. No transgression was more heinous, none was less excusable, in the eyes of Englishmen. The royal supremacy in the times of the first Tudors had already risen to a pitch that Papal supremacy never had attained. For Englishmen no alternative remained except unhesitating obedience or open rebellion.
But though the King had freely forgiven Wolsey's offence, the smart of his displeasure still rankled in Wolsey's breast. He could not fail to be reminded how easily the King might take offence, notwithstanding his long and arduous services. He must have pondered in the struggle that was now before him how hard it would be, with his increasing cares, and the entanglements of the divorce, to escape all chances of displeasing the King or his mistress. In a letter written to him some time after by Sir John Russell, (fn. 20) we find that he still continued sad and pensive. "You must comfort yourself," says this honest-hearted correspondent, "and be of good cheer, assuring your Grace that the King is well appeased and satisfied, as I well perceive when he speaks of you; and doubt you not but you shall have him as good to your Grace as ever he was in his life. He is a prince of so many good qualities, that he will remember the good service and pains you have taken for him, and the great familiarity between you. Sometimes the father and the son be in displeasure, and brother and brother, by ill reports, as may fortune has been now between your Grace and the King." He advises Wolsey to take an opportunity of seeking a personal interview with his Majesty, "which should be to the comfort of you both." But, unfortunately, the King's absence at Ampthill, and the prevalence of the sweating sickness, prevented Wolsey for a time from following this judicious advice.
Meanwhile, from his conversation with Du Bellay, we learn what was passing in the Cardinal's mind. We learn also how this act, trifling as it may seem, had shaken that sense of his security, which never, apparently, had been shaken until then. It seemed, like a sudden flash, to have revealed to Wolsey the extent of the animosity he had incurred, when he least imagined he had provoked it. The readiness with which the King lent his ear to the misrepresentations of Wolsey's enemies augured ill for his future peace and safety. Neither did he well know who those enemies were that had thus gained the King's hearing, or how their malice might be anticipated in time to come. "Mademoiselle Boulan," says Du Bellay, "has returned to Court. The intercepted letters that you (Montmorenci) sent me about this matter have disquieted them (the King and Wolsey) ... I fancy that the King is so far committed to it (the divorce) that none but God can get him out of it. As to Wolsey, I do not believe he knows the state of matters, however much he pretends to do so. I have been told on good authority, though I do not give it as certain, that a little before this sweat, the King used most terrible language to him, because he seemed desirous to cool him, and showed him that the Pope would never consent to it. Sometimes in walking with me, while speaking of his affairs, and the course of his life up to that time, he has said to me, that if God permitted him to see the hatred of these two nations (France and England) extinguished, and firm amity established, as he hopes it will shortly be, with a reform of the laws and customs of the country, such as he would effect if peace were made, and the succession of the kingdom assured, especially if this marriage took place, and an heir male were born of it, he would at once retire, and serve God for the rest of his life; and that, without any doubt, on the first honorable occasion he could find, he would give up politics.
I think, Monsieur, that he foresees that if this marriage take place he will have much to do to maintain his credit; and when he sees himself in despair of it, he will give out he retires voluntarily, having fortified himself with this excuse beforehand. In fact, for the last three months he has been building and managing his bishoprics, and completing with all diligence the foundation of his college. My belief is that in promoting this divorce, he had hoped for an opportunity of falling back upon Madame Renée. However, I see that this divorce must take place, if circumstances do not prevent it." He proceeds to add, that he is persuaded Wolsey would do all he could for Francis; but "that which ruins all is that he knows his master to be the most avaricious man in the world, and the true way of being in credit with him is to tell him, qu'il le remettait en laye. He must, he says, persuade the King that whatever he does is for the King's profit, or he would lose his influence, and have no chance against the majority of the Council, who side with the Emperor." (fn. 21)
Campeggio's arrival was anxiously expected. It had been most inexplicably delayed by real or diplomatic fits of the gout, perhaps by both. (fn. 22) He had been plundered, in the sack of Rome, of all he possessed, and compelled to redeem his life with a large sum of money. (fn. 23) For this and for other reasons he entertained no great kindness for the Imperialists. Besides his sufferings, his obligations to England, as bishop of Salisbury, seemed to point him out as the fittest instrument for the King's present purpose; and Casale, Henry's agent with the Pope, was commanded to ask his Holiness that Campeggio might be sent to England with sufficient commission to determine the cause. (fn. 24) Apparently the Pope made no difficulty in giving his consent: whether Campeggio, who was then ill at Rome, (fn. 25) was as ready to accept it, is not quite so certain. At all events, though the commission was granted as early as April, it was not until June that the Legate thought of starting from Italy. This delay, and the uncertainty of his coming, was taken so displeasantly by the King and the Cardinal, as Foxe wrote to Gardiner in May, that the hope they had once entertained of the speedy termination of the cause was converted into despair. (fn. 26) The old plea of the gout, the obligation of his duties at Rome, the difficulty of procuring horses and servants, seemed to their impatience "imagined excuses," devised by the Pope to procure delay. To remove all these, Wolsey requested the Cardinal to start at once with few attendants, as horses, mules, money, and all that he required would be amply provided for him in France; and he even offered to cross the sea in order to conduct Campeggio to England. (fn. 27) He left Rome for Naples in June, intending to embark for Marseilles; was disappointed of his purpose; embarked at Corneto on the 25th July, (fn. 28) arrived at Nice, and reached Lyons on Saturday the 22nd of August. "The Cardinal," says Clerk, the English ambassador at Paris, "leaves Lyons today (31st August) or tomorrow. I have borrowed for him of the Pope's Legate a fair well-trimmed and furnished mule, and four carriage mules; the which, with twenty horses of mine own, and ten horses of the Master of the Rolls (Taylor), I shall send forwards tomorrow towards Orleans." (fn. 29)
A fortnight elapsed before the Legate, incessantly tormented with the gout, arrived at Paris. A week before, Sir Francis Bryan had waited for him at Orleans, having been dispatched from England on the 24th of August, to bring him on his way with spears and horsemen to Calais. (fn. 30) He was to have been received at his entry into the capital by fifteen or sixteen bishops and archbishops, and "a right good company;" but, desirous of avoiding the crowd, and scarcely able to sit on horseback, he anticipated the preparations made in his honor. Francis received him at his entry into Paris with profound respect, standing bareheaded before him. He then led the Legate by the right hand "to a window, and held communication with him for two long hours." They discussed the King's matrimonial cause, now apparently for the first time divulged to the French king in all its "details. His Majesty inquired," writes Campeggio to Sanga, "how this matrimonial cause was progressing. I replied that I was one of the judges deputed, and that the sentence depended on the evidence; but it was impossible as yet to say what determination would be taken, except that there would be no lack of justice. I added, But what is your Majesty's opinion? He answered, that he was not learned, and in such cases he would adopt the opinion of any one who understood more about it than himself; though he regarded the King his brother as a wise and good man, and believed that when he knows that the Queen is his lawful wife, he will not attempt any such thing (as a divorce); but if she were not, it would be a great matter to persist in a sin which involved the salvation of his soul." (fn. 31) Notwithstanding this show of courtesy, it is clear that Francis suspected the Legate of favouring the Emperor; still more when he announced his intention of returning by Spain. The Pope, distrusting the aid of France, and seeing the dilatoriness, not to say mismanagement, of the French forces in Italy, now learned more than ever to Imperial protection; and Campeggio, as his representative, was supposed to share in the sentiments of his master. So Francis could not help communicating to Clerk the unwelcome intelligence that Campeggio had allowed it to transpire that the main purpose of his mission to England was to induce the King to change his intentions, and prevent, if possible, a separation from the Queen. (fn. 32) Such was undoubtedly the fact, as is clear from Sanga's letter to the Cardinal, conveying to him the Pope's instruction to use his utmost endeavor to reconcile the King and the Queen, and not proceed to sentence until he had received a new and express commission from Rome. Yet it is scarcely probable that so cautious a diplomatist would have so imprudently betrayed himself. The intelligence, however obtained, was conveyed to Wolsey. It was prelude to the troubles that awaited him, and must have warned him that he would not find in Campeggio so docile or compliant a coadjutor in pronouncing the King's divorce as he had expected. In fact, Campeggio assumed already an authority superior to his own, and, without consulting his colleague, had determined on the course that should be adopted. As he had taken his own time in pursuing his journey, regardless of the reiterated entreaties of Wolsey to hasten his arrival, it was equally clear that he would take his own way in managing the cause; and for this his superior knowledge of the practice of the Roman courts gave him considerable advantage. Thus Wolsey fell, from the first, into the position of an inferior judge or assessor; as the associate of Campeggio, rather than his superior; and by no energy or abilities of his own could he entirely retrieve his ground. Further, when Clerk, in obedience to his instructions, offered the Legate a sum of money to defray his expences, Campeggio declined to accept any portion of his bounty, beyond the expences of horses and mules necessary for the journey; and when it was urged that by such an absolute refusal the King would consider that Clerk had failed in his duty, and the acceptance of five or six hundred crowns was pressed upon him, on the strength of a previous acquaintance, Campeggio persisted in his refusal, stating that he had sufficient to take him to England. (fn. 33) A spirit of independence so unusual, so contrary to what the King and his minister had expected, should have led them to anticipate difficulties, and suspect the apparent concessions of the Pope. But the King, at least, in the ardour of his passion, was blind to all such consequences. Already he had installed Anne Boleyn in royal state in her apartments at Greenwich; he had visited her, and treated her, as if she had been his wife. Already courtiers and nobles paid their respects to her as their mistress, and the apartments of Katharine were deserted. "The King goes and comes," says Du Bellay, "between this and Greenwich. I think he may make a journey to Hampton Court or Richmond, and the Queen likewise, and it is possible she may not return here (London) for a long time. Mademoiselle Boleyn has come here at last, and the King has lodged her in a very fine lodging, which he has furnished very near his own. Greater court is paid to her every day than has been for a long time paid to the Queen. I believe that they wish to accustom the people by degrees to endure her, in order that when the grand coup comes, it may not appear strange. Notwithstanding, the people always remain hardened against her, and I think they would do more than "they do if they had more power; but strict order is everywhere kept daily, and a proclamation has been put out, among others, that only ten shop-masters shall remain in London of every nation; and this will remove at least more than fifteen thousand Flemings. A search has also been made for hack-buts and cross-bows, and wherever they have been found in the town they have been taken, and no other weapon now remains except the tongue. In the country also, a great and continual watch is kept up, in such a sort as there is no appearance that any great trouble would ensue, such as the enemy would desire; for the King has made his intentions [fantasie] known to the nobles, so clearly, that they speak more soberly than they have done, and you may understand he is much more irritated against the Emperor than his Council pretends, because he has threatened to turn him out of his kingdom by his own subjects." (fn. 34)
Hitherto the divorce had been driven on with comparative secrecy. At least it was confined to England, and was probably little known beyond the metropolis. By the coming of Campeggio across the Continent, with all the pomp and ceremonial attending on the movements of a Papal Nuncio, it was blazoned forth to all the world, and blown into every eye. Curiosity, dormant before, was stimulated by the Legate's deliberate progress through the great cities of France. The purport of his journey, and all its particulars, had become the general topic of conversation and inquiry. It was hardly possible to conceive of a graver scandal. For although the King and his immediate advisers might persuade themselves that they were exclusively employed in settling a disputed point of law which had troubled the King's conscience, ordinary lookers-on saw the case only in its broad and popular aspect. No amount of ingenious pleading could get rid of the fact, that Henry had lived with his Queen for twenty years, and had never expressed any scruple until she was past the meridian of her life, and Ann Boleyn had appeared upon the scene. She was the mother of his only daughter and successor; and, even had there been any irregularity in their union at the first, it was supposed to be removed by lapse of time. At all events, any irregularity deserved less to be regarded than the wrong inflicted by the husband on an innocent wife, and by the father on his child, by the present proceedings. How it was regarded in England, is clear from Du Bellay's letter. It is admitted reluctantly by writers like Hall, who eagerly adopted without discrimination the official and permitted report. "On the coming of the Legate," says this Chronicler, "the common people, being ignorant of the truth, and in especial women, and other that favoured the Queen, talked largely, and said that the King would, for his own pleasure, have another wife, and had sent for this Legate, to be divorced from his Queen; with many foolish words. Insomuch that whosoever spoke against the marriage was of the common people abhorred and reproved." (fn. 35) Abroad, where speech was more free, the comments on the Legate's journey assumed a more sharp and decisive form. It is said here that the cardinal Campeggio comes now into England for some particular business," writes Hacket, retailing to Wolsey the rumours in Flanders: "which business, if it come to the extent that it is thought, it were cause sufficient to cause the stones come out of the streets to cry vengeance upon us." (fn. 36) Influenced by the feelings of those around him, and desirous on his own account, as well as of the Pope who had sent him, to find some reasonable way out of the present dilemma, Campeggio prepared to cross over to England.
Still suffering severely from the gout, he left Paris on Friday the 18th of September, intending by easy stages to reach Calais in the course of a week. He had been "marvellously tormented" since his arrival in the French capital, and had uttered "many a bitter Kyrie eleyson" during the paroxysms of his importunate disease. He reached Montreuil on the 24th, still carried in a litter," says Clerk, by whom he was attended, "his feet being not able to abide the sqwasse (pressure) of the stirrup, or his hands to hold the bridle." In consequence of the tempestuous weather he was detained at Calais until Tuesday the 29th; and arrived at Canterbury on the 1st of October. Here he was magnificently received by the clergy and civic authorities. The street, from the gate where he entered as far as the gates of the priory, was lined with the various orders of friars and other religious communities. At the cathedral door he was received under a canopy. "My lord of Canterbury, with the prior of Christ Church, the abbot of St. Augustine's, and a suffragan in pontificalibus, censed him, and so wan to the high altar." (fn. 37) Here he sung mass, and blessed the people. Four days more elapsed before he reached Dartford. On the 8th of October he made his entry into London. The sight-seers, who expected to be gratified by a magnificent ceremonial, were grievously disappointed; for a fresh attack of the gout, more severe than the former, wholly disabled him, and he could not endure the fatigue of a litter. "On Wednesday the 7th," he writes," I reached the suburbs of London, and lodged at the house of the duke of Suffolk. (fn. 38) It was arranged that my entry should be publicly made the next day, and the cardinal of York was to take part in it. But I was so prostrated by the gout that I could not travel any further, either in a litter or on horseback. So I remained in the Duke's house all the next day; and in the morning the Cardinal conveyed me to the river, and I proceeded in a barge to the lodging assigned to me, namely, Bath House, without any noise or pomp. I have remained there all this present time (i.e. until the 17th of October), and am confined to my bed, my agony being greater than usual, owing to the journey. I do not know when I shall be sufficiently free from pain to be able to visit the King." (fn. 39)
The unhappy prelate, who had pursued his journey with great deliberation, tormented with bodily pain and mentally ill at ease, naturally promised himself some little respite from his troubles and fatigues. But any such respite ill suited the restless impatience of the Cardinal, not a little irritated by the dilatory movements of the Legate, and half incredulous as to the reality of his complaint. "The day following," continues Campeggio, "Wolsey came to see me. I had believed and hoped that he would not discuss any business with me; but he entered immediately into the cause of my coming. He showed me that, in order to maintain an increasing authority of the Holy See, he had done his utmost to persuade the King to apply for a Legate, in order to remove the scruple which he had on his conscience, although many of the prelates in this kingdom had declared that such a course was unnecessary ... As the Cardinal and the King were both resolved to proceed with the dissolution of the marriage, I have presented the Pope's letter of credence, telling Wolsey that on my departure from Rome the Pope believed that the King was not so resolved on this matter, but that Wolsey would be able to labour with me in persuading the King to take another course; and probably I should be able to persuade his Majesty to persevere in his marriage, without having recourse to a judicial sentence of separation. I detailed all the reasons which moved his Holiness to desire this result; but, though I urged the matter to the utmost of my power, I could not move him in the least. He alleged that if the King's desire was not complied with, fortified and justified as it was by the reasons, writings, and counsels of many learned men who feared God, total ruin would speedily ensue of the kingdom, of himself, and of the Church's influence. As I am still confined to my bed his Lordship came three or four times to visit me. We have debated the question three or four hours together; but though in the Pope's name I have endeavoured to bring over the mind of his Majesty, and reconcile him to the Queen, I have had no more success in persuading the Cardinal than if I had spoken to a rock. His objections are founded on the invalidity of the marriage, the instability of the realm and the succession; and they are so wedded to this opinion that they not only solicit my compliance with them, but the expediting of this business with all possible despatch. Thus I find myself in great straits, with a heavy burden on my shoulders; nor do I see how judgment can be deferred, even for a brief space. They will endure no procrastination, alleging that the affairs of the kingdom are at a standstill, and that if the cause remains undetermined it will give rise to infinite and imminent perils." (fn. 40) In another letter on the same subject he adds:—"As soon as I am able to stand, we shall go to the King. At the first interview I shall do no more than hear what he has to say, and see how far his mind coincides with the information I have received. On presenting the Pope's letter I will exhort him according to my instructions. This has been arranged by Wolsey and myself. Subsequently I will do my utmost to persuade the King to abandon all thoughts of the divorce, though I feel sure it will be in vain. I will do the same with the Queen, who, I doubt not, will show less repugnance ... The matter has come to such a pass that it can no longer be borne, and it is unnecessary to leave all the burthen upon me, because the cardinal of York and all the kingdom take so much interest in it that they will wait no longer. I beg you will obtain for me a determinate answer, either one way or the other, and let it be sent with diligence." (fn. 41) He continues:
The King, being desirous to give an audience, removed to his palace here in London on the river (Blackfriars), not far distant from my lodging. Although I could neither ride nor walk, and could not sit without discomfort, I was compelled on the 22nd (Tuesday) to go for my first audience. I was warmly received and welcomed by his Majesty. The ambassadors and all the prelates and princes of the kingdom "were assembled in a large hall ... My friend Florian made an appropriate speech, and was attentively heard. When he alluded to the calamities of Italy and Rome all were moved to tears. (fn. 42) Dr. Foxe made an eloquent reply. After this public ceremony the King drew us two Legates into another chamber, when I explained to him the Pope's good will, and presented his letter, which the King read ... Next day after dinner he visited me privately, and we remained together alone about four hours, discussing two things only. First, I exhorted him against attempting this matter; and to avoid scandals and satisfy his scruples, told him he might have a new dispensation. He heard all I had to say patiently, and made evidently a premeditated reply, instructed, I believe, by the cardinal of York, who had used the very same arguments. We discussed, in the second place, whether the dispensation of the Pope was contra jus divinum; if not, whether it was valid. His Majesty has so diligently studied the matter, that I believe in this case he knows more than any great theologian and jurist. He told me plainly he wanted nothing more than a declaration whether this marriage was valid or not,—he himself always assuming its invalidity; and I believe if an angel descended from Heaven, he would not be able to persuade his Majesty to the contrary.
We then discussed a proposal for persuading the Queen to enter some religious house; at which he was highly pleased; and indeed, there are strong reasons for it, as he has ceased for two years from cohabiting with her, and will not return to her, whatever the result may be. In all other matters the King will concede whatever she demands, and will settle the succession on her daughter in the event of failure of male issue by another marriage. York and I were appointed to speak to her about this on the following day." (fn. 43)
They had already agreed to this course before their audience, when Campeggio, still firm to his engagement, endeavored to shake the Cardinal's resolution, and represented the danger that would ensue from the anger of the Emperor. To this Wolsey demurred, observing that the affair would be conducted to the Queen's benefit and honor; nor was it likely that the Emperor would burthen himself with a great war in Katharine's behalf, as he had so quietly permitted two of his sisters to be expelled from their kingdoms. (fn. 44) Finding this argument unavailing, "I represented," says Campeggio, "that, according to the Pope's instructions, I was bound to make his Holiness acquainted with my opinion on this matter, and wait for his further instructions before I proceeded to judgment." At this remark Wolsey's suspicions were at once aroused. It confirmed all his misgivings. Turning with a scowl on his unhappy colleague, he exclaimed, Si sic est, nolo negociari vobiscum sine potestate, neque sic agitur cum rege. It was all Campeggio could do to pacify him by explaining away his unlucky admission. He tells his correspondent, Sanga, that he does not see how it is possible to persevere in this course, as the Pope had desired him. They are so determined and engrossed by their own opinion that it is impossible to shake them ... In my last conversation with his Lordship he said, and repeated it many times in Latin, 'Most reverend Lord, beware 'lest, in like manner as the greater part of Germany, owing to the harshness and severity of a certain Cardinal, has become estranged from the Apostolic See and the Faith, it should be said that another Cardinal has given the same occasion to England "'with the same result. 'He often impresses upon me that, if this divorce be not granted, the authority of the See Apostolic in this kingdom will be at an end; and he certainly proves himself very zealous for its preservation, for he has done and is still doing for it very great services, because all his grandeur is connected with it." (fn. 45) In this state of feeling the Legates proceeded to visit the Queen.
Up to this time, although Anne Boleyn had a separate establishment in the palace, to save her the unpleasantness of meeting the Queen, (fn. 46) Henry had diminished none of that outward respect which he exhibited to Katharine in public. "The Queen," says a keen observer, "makes such cheer (maintains her cheerfulness) as she has always done in her greatest triumphs; nor, to see them together, could any one have told "there was anything the matter. To this hour they have the same bed and the same table." (fn. 47) The persecution to which Katharine was exposed was of a silent and mysterious kind. Counsel was allowed her, but they were in private browbeaten or tampered with. It was suggested to them what they should advise her, if she would not "incur the hatred of his Holiness, and of all Christian people;"—what she should or should not insist on if she would avoid the censure of "setting forth her own sensual affection, and desiring what "the law had justly condemned." (fn. 48) It is needless to say that these suggestions simply regarded what was convenient to the King's cause; that the most ingenious precautions were taken to convince Charles and other continental sovereigns that no wrong was intended her; that she acquiesced in these proceedings, and desired the judgment of the Legate. Effectual means were adopted for preventing her communications with Rome and the Emperor. More arbitrary still, the King had exacted an oath from her that she would write nothing except according to his dictation.
"Taking leave of his Majesty," continues Campeggio, (fn. 49) "the Cardinal and I repaired to the Queen, with whom we conversed alone, about two hours. After our greetings, I gave her the Pope's letter, which she received and read with good cheer. She then inquired what I had to say to her. I began by telling her that as the Pope could not refuse justice to any one who demanded it, he had sent the cardinal of York and myself to examine the state of the question between her Highness and the King; but as the matter was very important and full of difficulty, his Holiness, in consideration of his paternal office, and of the love which he bore her, counselled her, confiding much in her prudence, that, rather than press it to trial, she should of herself take some other course, which would give general satisfaction, and greatly benefit herself. I said no more, in order to discover what she would demand. The cardinal of York fol- lowed to the same effect, as far as I could understand, for he spoke chiefly in English."
Her Majesty replied, "that she knew the sincerity of her own conscience, and was resolved to die in the Faith, and in obedience to God and His Holy Church; "that she wished to unburthen her conscience to our lord (the Pope); and for the present she would give no other reply, as she intended to demand counsellors of the King, her lord and consort, and then she would hear and answer us. She added, that she had heard we were to induce her to enter some religion. I did not deny it, and strove to persuade her that it rested with her, by doing this, to satisfy God, her own conscience, and the glory and honor of her name. I said that by doing this she would preserve her dignities and temporal goods, and secure the succession of her daughter; that she would lose nothing, for she had lost persona del re already, and would not recover it. She should therefore rather yield to his displeasure than submit her cause to the hazard of a sentence,—considering, if judgment went against her, how great would be her grief and trouble, and how much the ruin of her reputation. Her dowry would be forfeited, and great would be the scandal and enmity that would ensue. On the other hand, if she complied, she would retain her dower, the guardianship of the Princess, her rank, and whatever else she chose to demand; and would neither offend God nor her conscience. I enforced these arguments by the example of a queen of France who did the same, and is still honored by God and that kingdom. The same arguments were enforced by the cardinal of York, who begged her to ponder them well, and "hoped she would resolve for the best. So we left her, assuring us that she would make known to our lord (the Pope) the sincerity of her conscience. To this I replied, that I had been sent by the Pope to hear whatever she chose to explain to me, and I would faithfully report to him my opinion; and by his reply she would learn that I had done my duty sincerely. She concluded the conference by saying she was a lone woman and a stranger, without friend or adviser, and intended to ask the King for counsellors, when she would give us audience." (fn. 50)
A few days after he wrote to Salviati, in whom the Pope placed implicit confidence, his impressions of this interview, and of the Queen's intentions. "I do not despair," he says, "of success in persuading the Queen to enter some religion, though I see it is difficult, and more than doubtful. I wish it were possible to gain over the Emperor to this course, and induce him to write, or, better still, send some personage to persuade her. Imagine my condition, when, besides indisposition of body, I suffer from such infinite agitation of mind. As she is nearly fifty, and would lose nothing whatever, and as so much good would ensue, I cannot see why it should be impossible to persuade her to adopt this course. As the bishop of Rochester (Fisher) is in her favor, and I believe she will choose him as one of her counsellors, with the King's consent, I had a long interview with him on the 25th (Sunday), and exhorted him to adopt this course, for many reasons. When he left me he seemed to be satisfied with what I had urged. God grant that the best counsels may prevail!" (fn. 51)
At the time of writing these lines, the unfortunate Legate had for the last twenty days been suffering from an acute attack of gout in the knee, and was unable to use it without great agony. Buried in books of canon law, interrupted by swarm of divines and doctors who crowded into his presence with their proofs and authorities, pestered with ceaseless importunities from all sides, receiving impossible instructions from Rome,—for the Pope still craved for delay, and would by no means allow him to go beyond his commission,—he was allowed no repose of body or mind. Every one was too much engrossed with his own affairs to give even a minute's consideration to the sufferings and necessities of the unfortunate Legate, and drove on their plans and their purposes, as if life and death depended on the result. "I had written thus far yesterday," says Campeggio, ruefully, "when this morning at break of day the cardinal of York came to visit me, whilst I was still in bed not a little tormented by the gout. He gave me to understand that the King had spoken with the Queen, who had demanded of him foreign coun-sellors, and the King had granted her the archbishop of Canterbury, the bishops of Rochester, Bath, and London, the Queen's confessor, and others. As he will not consent to her having a Spaniard, he is contented that she shall have a proctor, and another advocate from Flanders, and a Spaniard named Vives. He then told me that the Queen had asked per-mission of the King to confess to me. Accordingly at nine o'clock she came privately, and was with me for a long space. Though she told me all under the seal of confession, she gave me liberty, indeed she besought me, to write to the Pope certain resolutions, taking an oath of secrecy from my secretaries, adding that she would make known her intentions in proper time and place.
Her discourse ranged from her first arrival in England to the present time. First, she affirmed on her conscience that from her marriage with prince Arthur, on the 14th November, until his death on the 2nd of April, she had not slept in the same bed with him more than seven nights, et che da lui resto intacta et incorrupta come vene dal ventro di sua madre. Secondly, after I had exhorted her at great length to remove all these difficulties, and to content herself with making a profession of chastity, setting before her all the reasons which could be urged on that head, she assured me she would never comply; that she intended to live and die in the estate of matrimony, to which God had called her; that she should always remain of that opinion, and would never change it. She repeated this many times so determinately and deliberately that I am convinced she will act as she says. She insists that everything shall be decided judicially, and if sentence should go against her she will then be as free as the King's highness; saying that neither the whole kingdom on the one hand, nor any great punishment on the other, though she should be torn limb from limb, should induce her to alter this resolution; and if, after death, she could return to life, she would prefer to die over again, rather than change it. She prayed me, in the third place, to prevail upon his Majesty to remove this fantasy from his Holiness, and to regard her as his consort, and assure the King she would use her influence with the Emperor to conclude a universal peace. As I had not failed to say all I could to per-suade her, and she remained firm, nothing more occurred, and she left me. I assure you that from all her conversation I have always thought her to be a prudent lady, and now more than ever. But as she can, without much prejudice to herself, avoid such great perils and difficulties, her obstinacy in refusing this sound advice does not much please me." (fn. 52)
On Tuesday the 27th October, the two Cardinals, according to arrangement, had another interview with Katharine, whom they found surrounded by her councilors, the chief of whom was the celebrated friar, Dr. Standish, the bishop of St. Asaph. She received the Legates with her usual dignity, complaining, but without the slightest manifestation of anger, that they had come to question her on a matter of such high concernment, without due notice, or allowing her time enough to take counsel. Campeggio then reiterated the arguments he had used before; spoke at great length, and was followed by Wolsey, who knelt before her, supplicating her long and earnestly to follow this advice, to her honor and benefit. She replied, she would do nothing to the condemnation of her soul or the violation of God's laws, and when she had taken counsel with her advisers, would let them have her final answer. "We shall see," says Campeggio, "what they will advise her, and what counsel she will adopt, though as yet it does not seem likely she will bend one way or the other." (fn. 53)
This dilatoriness and apparent want of resolution on the part of his colleague was by no means agreeable to Wolsey. Campeggio seemed far more bent on knitting together again the disrupted tie by which the King was still held than in proceeding with the divorce. He was ignorant of the fact that Campeggio's instructions extended no further. "I am ashamed," writes Sanga to Campeggio, "of repeating the same thing so many times, especially as you were well informed of the Pope's mind at your departure; but every day stronger reasons are discovered which compel the Pope to remind you that you are to act cautiously, and use your utmost skill and address in diverting the King from his present intention, and restoring to him his former love to the Queen. Should you find this impossible, you are not to pronounce any sentence whatever without a new and express commission from this place (Rome) ... You will not be surprised at my repeating that you are not to proceed to sen-tence under any pretext without an express commis-sion; but you are to protract the matter as long as you can, if, haply, God shall put into the King's heart some holy thought, so that he may not desire from his Holiness a thing which cannot be granted without injustice, peril, and scandal." (fn. 54) It is due to the Legate to say that he adhered to these instructions implicitly, taking every opportunity allowed by the law's delay, and the interminable processes of the ecclesiastical courts, to stave off the inevitable hour. The growing rumour of the Emperor's descent into Italy, the success of the Imperial arms, the incapacity displayed by the French generals, or their unwillingness at least to push the war with energy, showed plainly enough that the Emperor was the real monarch of Italy. To offend him by conceding the King's demand would kindle "an inextinguishable conflagration in Christendom," and the Church would perish in the ruins. The sack of Rome, with its lasting memories of pillage, terror, and bloodshed, could not endure repetition. This, Campeggio, who had himself been a sufferer, knew. But his obvious reluctance to proceed to trial did not escape the vigilant eye of Wolsey, now more alert and pressing than ever from anticipation of the failure of his schemes, and the certainty of impending ruin. He desired Casale, then at Rome, to tell the Pope that, notwithstanding all professions of candor and kindness shown to Campeggio, the Legate had taken a course entirely at variance with his instructions; was attempting to dissuade the King from his purpose, and would take no step in the cause he was sent to determine, until he had reported his own impressions to the Pope. "What is more," said Wolsey, "although I am his colleague he will not entrust me with his commission, so that the King, who had here-tofore assured his Privy Council that the Pope would not fail to do what he could in his cause, now finds himself deceived, and can get no information about the commission; whilst those who asserted that no-thing but pretexts for delay would be invented, are found to be correct in their judgment. The King feels his honor touched by this, especially considering what a benefactor he has been to the Church. I cannot reflect upon it, and close my eyes, for I see ruin, infamy, and subversion of the whole dignity and honor of the See Apostolic, if this course be persisted in. You see in what dangerous times we live. If the Pope will consider the gravity of this cause, and how much the safety of this nation de-pends upon it, he will perceive that the course he now pursues will drive the King to adopt those remedies which will be injurious to the Pope, and are frequently instilled into the King's mind. Without the Pope's compliance I cannot bear up against the storm; and as often as I reflect on the conduct of his Holiness, I cannot but fear lest the common enemy of souls, seeing the King's determination, inspire the Pope with his present fears and reluc-tance, which will alienate all faith and devotion from the See Apostolic. The sparks of that opposition here which have been extinguished with such care and assiduity, will blaze forth again, to the utmost danger of all in this nation and out of it. It is useless for Campeggio to think of restoring the marriage. If he did, it would lead to worse con-sequences. Let him, therefore, proceed to sentence. Prostrate at the feet of his Holiness, I must urgently "beg of him to set aside all delays." (fn. 55)
Then he instructs the ambassador to obtain for Wolsey and Campeggio jointly a suitable commission, containing an express command to proceed at once to sentence. In conclusion, he says he will spare no labor to induce the Queen to enter a nunnery, although he is by no means sanguine of the result. If she can be induced to comply, he desires authority for the King to marry again, without prejudice to the offspring of both marriages. She is very charitable, he adds, and could do more good in this way than the other. Strange to say, either the whole, or more probably a part of this letter was submitted to Campeggio, who, at Wolsey's desire, seconded this request.
If Wolsey ever entertained the thought that Katharine would relent, his anticipations were not doomed to be realized. She remained firm to her resolution. In this course she was apparently supported by her advisers, especially by Fisher, bishop of Rochester. The King had so far acceded to her request as to permit her to select such advocates from the episcopal members of the Council as she preferred. Of these Warham, Clerk, Fisher, West, and Standish were the most eminent. To these were added an advocate from Flanders, and one Spaniard, the eminent scholar Ludovico Vives. Disappointed in his hopes, the Cardinal did not relax his energies. He talked over the subject with Du Bellay, whom he professed to regard as a great theologian; begged of him to write to the Queen Regent of France, and take an opportunity himself of impressing upon Campeggio the advisableness and justice of the divorce, as the Legate set a high value upon Du Bellay's opinions. Nor was the King less energetic on his part. To remove the unpopular impressions which prevailed among the commonalty, on Sunday, the 8th of November, he summoned to his palace at Bridewell the Lord Mayor and Corporation of London. He enlarged on the bad turns done him by the Emperor, both in the present and in the past; and, on the other hand, upon the great friendship shown him by the king of France. He told them that the scruple of his conscience, which he had felt a long time, had been terribly augmented ever since a bishop of France, a great personage and learned man," meaning De Tarbes, "then being ambassador here, had spoken of it to his Council in terribly expressive terms. Wherefore he was desirous, the better to assure the succession of his kingdom, the peace and tranquillity of his subjects, to understand what was right and reasonable, and whatever was reasonable he would implicitly adopt. But if, not-withstanding, he found any one, whoever he was, who spoke in other terms than he ought to do of his Prince, he would let him know that he was his master." "I think," says Du Bellay, "he used these terms, 'that there was never a head so dignified but that he would make it fly.'" (fn. 56)
Meantime a fresh device for cancelling the marriage occupied the fertile brain of the Cardinal. The legality of the marriage did not depend merely on the bull for a dispensation granted by Julius II. As if in anticipation that its validity might be called in question, Ferdinand the Catholic had contrived to obtain a brief fully confirming all the clauses of the said bull. By some means an intimation of the existence of a document so important to her cause had been conveyed to the ears of Katharine by the Spanish ambassador; and she proposed to produce it in evidence. It was a fatal blow to the King's proceedings. But where was it to be found? Were there any presumptions that, after all, it was a forgery? If the Pope could be induced to pronounce it invalid, or regard it as suspicious,— if there were primâ facie evidence of a forgery,—might he not be induced to pronounce it a forgery? Whether there was an authentic copy of the brief in England cannot be decided. It was for the interest of the King that it should not be found, if there was. But whether there was or was not, unfortunately for the designs of the King and of Wolsey, the instrument itself was deposited in the archives of Spain. Ingenuity was now busy in finding means for obtaining the original. The improbability of success in such an attempt—for Charles was kept well informed of all that was passing—would have baffled less sanguine and less fertile inventions; but Wolsey was not accustomed to suffer disappointment, much less to despond. Katharine herself was to be made the instrument for accomplishing his wishes. To command her to send for the original would alarm her suspicions, and ensure defeat. Therefore her advocates were to be tampered with, and, under pretence of consulting her interests, they were to urge upon her the necessity of procuring it. It might have been hoped that a proposition so infamous to all concerned would never have been carried into effect, or, if submitted to the Queen's counsellors, would have been, for the honor of all Englishmen, unceremoniously rejected. Unfortunately such was not the case. Worse than all, if the King himself was not the author of the deceit, he became the willing instrument in deceiving his consort. But before I proceed further I will submit the substance of it to my readers. (fn. 57) It is entitled—
Forasmuch as your Grace now late did show unto us of your counsel the copy of a bull and a brief concerning your marriage ... which, after his Grace and his counsel had seen and considered, forasmuch as after due search made in his treasury no like brief can be founden, but the bull only, they do think the said brief to be but forged and counterfeited; which would appear on the production of the original. When the process shall begin, the copy will not help you. As the King, therefore, cannot and ought not to be satisfied with the said copy, you must endeavour, for his satisfaction, the advancement of your cause, and as ye tender the continuance of love between you, to obtain the original, now in the Emperor's custody. This may be easily done, if you write to the Emperor that the King your husband has conceived a great scruple concerning your marriage; and though he consulted many great learned men, he could not be satisfied, and therefore referred the matter to the Pope, who has sent a commission to two legates for that purpose;—that your counsel has shown you that the original of the brief must be produced; therefore, you desire his Majesty, as he tenders your wealth, and continuance of the marriage, for the love of God and the advancement of justice, and as he will be loth to see you divorced, and your child injured, to condescend to your request. You shall ask him to send it hither to England, by forwarding it to Bayonne. The lacking thereof might be the extreme ruin of your affairs, and no little danger to the inheritance of your child. The better to induce him to condescend to this request, and to send the original, you can tell him that he may take a transumpt, which would equally serve his purpose, but not yours, as it is a common instrument belonging to the King and yourself. You shall further say you have promised to exhibit the original here within three months, failing which, sentence will probably be given against you. If you do not succeed in this it will be much to your hindrance; "for if we ourself were judges in this matter, and should lawfully find that where ye might ye did not do your diligence for the attaining of the said original, surely we would proceed further in that matter as the law would require, tarrying nothing therefore, as if never any such brief had been spoken of."
It is desirable also that you should write to the Emperor's ambassador, from whom you had the copy, to support your application. If the Emperor utterly refuses, then the Queen must protest that as it is her own, she will sue unto the Pope for compulsories, and adopt other remedies, as shall be thought convenient; but she hopes she will not be driven to use such extremities. And to the intent that the King and his Council shall not think that she intends any frivole delay, it will be expedient that she declare in the presence of a notary that she intends not to use any delay, but will recover it with all diligence bonâ fide, and when it is sent it shall be exhibited.
That she acted, or rather was intimidated into acting, on this deceitful advice, is well known. "When I was about to close these letters," says Du Bellay, writing to Montmorenci, on the 20th December, "I was sent for by the King, and told that the Queen had produced a copy of some brief ampliative of the bull for the dispensation of the marriage (i.e. with Henry), of the same date as the bull; but as it had not been considered authentic by the Cardinals, she intends sending to the Emperor to demand the original, and the King had granted her leave to despatch a Spaniard in post, and he begged of me to obtain for the messenger a safe-conduct through France, and prompt transit. ... The said King expects (espere) that this brief will be found to be a forgery, on many presumptions which he entertains; but, however it may be, it must be seen before he proceeds any further in the cause, and therefore great diligence must be used. He has spoken to me at great length of the said matter, and I can assure you he needs no advocate, he understands it so well." (fn. 58)
Although Katharine was well aware how much her cause depended on the safe custody of the brief, and that if it were once given up to her husband, who in this cause was also her opponent, she could never hope to regain possession of it, she wrote to Charles, asking for its delivery, almost in the very terms of the document suggested by her counsellors. She sent her chaplain, Thomas Abel, to receive it, begging her nephew by all means to deliver the original, and to rest satisfied with retaining a copy. (fn. 59) But Abel, in transmitting this request, wrote by the same post to the Emperor, that the Queen desired he should in no wise part with the brief, notwithstanding the earnest request contained in her letter, "as she had been compelled under oath to write in that manner." She begged the Emperor to use every effort to have her cause remitted to Rome, as she could expect no justice in England. If the Pope should reply that the Queen herself had made no such demand, the ambassador was to explain that "she neither says, nor writes, nor signs anything but what the King com-mands her; and to this she is compelled by solemn "oath." She begs also that some good canonist may be appointed as ambassador to England, for the advocates sent by Margaret from Flanders in her behalf had been denied a hearing, and had been ordered to return.
This painful statement is confirmed by Inigo de Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador. "The King and the Council attach so much importance to the brief in the Emperor's possession, that they are trying by every means to get it into their hands. The King has made the Queen swear that she will do all she can to procure it, for which purpose she has been made to write a letter and protestation quite against her will. However, she has sent a messenger, named Juan de Montoya, instructed by word of mouth to inform the Emperor of the whole matter. It was dangerous to give him a cipher, lest it should have awakened suspicion in France." He suggests that an authentic copy of the brief should be made in the presence of the English ambassadors, "for the con-fusion of those who take Henry's part." (fn. 60)
To this point the King and the Cardinal now directed their efforts. In the latter end of November, Sir Francis Bryan and Vannes were sent to Rome to withdraw the Pope, in the first place, from his amity with the Emperor; and, in the second place, to discover, if possible, the real grounds for Campeggio's inertness. The mode adopted for effecting the former of these objects is not calculated to convey any high idea of the genius of those by whom it was contrived, or of the judgment of him who was to be influenced by it. A prophecy was circulated at the time that a Pope should rise up, "named Angelo, who should go barefoot, and do many things superfluous to rehearse." The Emperor's prime representative in Italy was a cordelier, of this name. Henry's agents were, therefore, to impress upon the Pope that the Emperor, under pretext of being friendly with his Holiness, had sent this Angelo, "who goes barefoot, as other Observants do," with great power into Italy, intending to take advantage of this prophecy, advance him under some false pretext to the Papacy, take possession of the Church, and establish his "See Imperial" at Rome. (fn. 61) Unduly as these prophecies were regarded, even by men of sober judgment, in the 16th century, and often made subservient to political purposes, it is hardly to be imagined that in this case more was intended than a design to amuse the Pope, and give the ambassadors an opportunity of discovering his real sentiments. It served the purpose of showing him how much the King tendered his welfare; how devoted he was to the Pope's interests; for, in conjunction with Francis, he now offered Clement a body guard for his protection. Such delicate attentions could scarcely fail of eliciting from his Holiness some expression of gratitude, and give the ambassadors an opportunity of contrasting the unselfish devotion of Henry to his person, with the unscrupulous ambition and greed of the Emperor. But whilst they were openly pursuing this policy at Rome, they were secretly instructed, "by great and high policy, secresy, and circumspection, to investigate the truth of the great and apparent craft and delusion that seems to have been used in disappointing the direct and true course of truth in the decision of the matter of divorce by process and judgment in England." Further, they are informed that the Queen had exhibited an authentic copy of a brief, of which she affirmed the original was in the Emperor's possession, obtained from pope Julius, and removing all the disabilities found in the dispensation granted by the same Pope, now in the King's hands; "the like of which had not been heard of or seen, at any time, either in king Henry VIIth's days, in the court of Rome, in England, in Spain, or elsewhere, till now of late." The improbability that such a brief should ever have been granted out of the Apostolic Chancery, and never heard of until now, created, they were told, manifest suspicion of forgery. They were, therefore, to search the registers, securing the services of some trusty agent for this purpose, "either by ready money, or continual entertainment," to study the handwritings and seals, note every discrepancy, and send whatever information they could obtain in an authenticated form to England.
"Meanwhile," continues the despatch, which is carefully signed by the King at the beginning and the end, "the ambassadors must secretly retain the best advocates they can find in Rome, by secret rewards and convention, and must learn from them, whether, if "the Queen can be induced to enter into lax religion (retire into a nunnery without taking the vows), the Pope may, by his plenary power, dispense with the King, and allow him to proceed to a second marriage, with legitimation of the children. And although it is a thing that the Pope perhaps cannot do, in accor-dance with the divine and human laws already written, (fn. 62) using his ordinary power, whether he may do it of his mere and absolute power, as a thing in which he may dispense above the law. ... Similarly as the Queen will probably make great difficulty in entering religion, or taking the vow of chastity, means of high policy must be used to induce her thereunto. And as perhaps she will resolve not to do so unless the King will do the like, the ambassadors must find out from their counsel if, to ensure so great a benefit to the King's succession and realm, and to the quiet of his conscience, he takes such a vow, whether the Pope will dispense with him for the said promise or vow, discharging him clearly of the same, and there-upon allow him to proceed to a second marriage with legitimation of the children."
"Furthermore, to provide for everything, as well propter conceptum odium, as for the danger that may ensue by continuing in the Queen's chamber, whose body his Grace, for marvellous great and secret respects, is utterly resolved and determined never to use, if they find that the Pope will not dispense with the King's proceeding to a second marriage while the Queen is alive in religion, but that she must Still be reputed as his wife, they shall inquire whether the Pope will dispense with the King to have two wives, making the children of the second marriage legitimate, as well as those of the first; whereof some great reasons and precedents appear, especially in the Old Testament. The ambassadors, being thus secretly informed of what the Pope may do, will be more ready at the coming of the secretary (Knight) and Bennet to carry out their instructions." (fn. 63)
So intense was the King's impatience, that, within a few days after, he despatched Knight and Benet to the aid of their colleagues in Rome, thus augmenting their number to five. Knight, Benet, and Taylor were first to visit Francis, exhibit a copy of the brief, and make it appear they had no other business at Rome, except to procure the original, not allowing it to transpire that the King would be sorry if his suspicions of forgery should prove unfounded. On reaching Rome they were to inquire what their fellows had done in discovering its falsity. If this was clear they were to repair to the Pope, and deliver him the King's and the Legate's letters. But as it was not fit for the King to appear as a party in this matter, after informing the Pope that the Queen had sent a copy of the brief to Campeggio, they were instructed to tell him "that the King having his mind fixed on the cer-tainty of eternal life, hath in this cause put before his eyes the light and shining brightness of truth, as the best foundation for the tranquillity of his con- science, knowing, as the Apostle says, that there is no good foundation except that which Christ has laid; and that the King, finding his conscience touched by plain suspicion of falsity in the brief, has recourse to the only fountain of remedy on earth—the Pope himself." They are then to urge, that, considering how many persons are implicated in this forgery, it would be well for his Holiness to put an end to the scandal; for it rests with him alone to decide on its truth or its falsehood. Technical objections are detailed as to its style and its date, from all of which it would be reasonable to conclude that the brief was surreptitious. These grounds, they are to urge, are sufficient for the Pope "to write peremptorily to the Emperor to send him the brief within three months," with a view of transmitting it to England. They are further instructed to obtain from his Holiness a commission for the Legates for pronouncing the brief to be a forgery. But if the Pope declines to take either course, they are to present letters from the two Legates, desiring the avocation of the cause to Rome, first obtaining a written promise from the Pope that he will give sentence in the King's favour. If none of these demands prove successful, they are to fall back upon the former proposal for enabling the King to contract a second marriage, if the Queen will enter "lax religion." As a further inducement to the Pope to grant a commission for that purpose, they are to assure him that in any event the King is resolved to proceed to a second marriage, and will not be disappointed in his hopes. (fn. 64)
It might have been supposed that the King would have been contented to rest here, and as he had done all that he could to prejudice the course of justice against his unhappy Queen, he would have been satisfied with these advantages. He had employed his authority with her as a husband, and his power as a sovereign, to prevent her from asserting her rights, or appealing to any other tribunal,—a privilege allowed, in all cases of this kind, to the meanest of his subjects. He had dismissed her Flemish and Spanish advocates, as they were less influenced by threats or rewards than her English advisers. Dissimulation and violence had been employed unscrupulously to bring her into compliance with his wishes. Not satisfied with using his influence with the Queen's advisers in order to weaken her defence and prejudice her cause, he now had recourse to her judges, and employed the Legates to cajole or frighten her into submission. Considering how weak, how lonely, how friendless she was; how closely and narrowly watched; what efforts were made on all sides to prejudice her cause, language is not strong enough to stigmatise such ungenerosity and duplicity as they deserve. If the Reformation had produced no other benefit than that of removing bishops from the baneful influence of courts, the Church would have had great reason to be thankful. The King's supremacy was established already. Its greatest abetter was not Cranmer or Cromwell, but the Cardinal himself.
In the draft of an address intended for the use of her advocates, or the Legates themselves, the speakers are instructed to apologize to Katharine for their unusual intrusion. They are directed to tell her that since they last waited upon her they have heard that the King and his Council have been advertised that certain ill-disposed persons intended to conspire against the King and the Legate (Wolsey), "which is thought to be done for her sake, or by her occasion, by such as be favourers of the Emperor." (fn. 65) They think it their duty, therefore, to call her attention to these acts; for if any such attempt should be made it would be imputed to her, even if she were innocent, and would lead to her utter ruin. "The King," they said, "takes this very earnestly, and doubts the more because she does not show such love to him, neither in nor yet out of bed, as a woman ought to show to her husband; ... in public she does not behave suitably; for though the King is in great pensiveness (fn. 66) on this account, she is not so, but shows many signs and tokens to the contrary. She exhorts the ladies and gentlemen of his court to dance and to pastime, though it would be better for her to exhort them to pray that God would set some good end in this matter. She manifests no pensiveness in her countenance, nor in her apparel nor behaviour. She shows herself too much to the people, rejoicing greatly in their exclamations and ill obloquy, and by beckoning with her head and smiling, which she had not been accustomed to do in times past, rather encouraging them in their so doing, than rebuking them, as she ought to have done. Further, she ought to have informed the King of the brief, which she pretends to have had for a long time, and not to have kept it close, for the exhibition thereof might have given much ease."