Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 7, 1534. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1883.
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The severance of England from the See of Rome was now all but complete. Kings, no doubt, had been excommunicated before now, and, after an equally daring defiance of all laws, divine and human, had been absolved by the spiritual head of Christendom on returning to their allegiance. Nor could it be said that Rome was at any time eager to shut the gate on a returning penitent,—least of all upon a potentate whose revolt would imperil the souls of all his subjects, and whose example might influence other nations also. But Henry, by his determination to recognise the Pope henceforth merely as bishop of Rome, had practically declared his resolution no longer to pay any deference to papal authority at all; and it only required that he should impose his own view upon his subjects to extinguish the jurisdiction of the Holy See in England.
Still, he affected to have taken no step in the matter which was not strictly legitimate. He had been pursuing a claim of right. The Pope had interposed delays. Persuaded of the justice of his cause, he had acted on his conviction that his first marriage was invalid, and had made Anne Boleyn his wife. The Pope had excommunicated him for doing this while the cause was pending; but he had made his appeal to a General Council, and until that appeal was heard papal censures did not affect him. Not even the Papal Court, moreover, had yet pronounced the first marriage valid, and it was conceivable, of course, that its decision might be in Henry's favor, in which case the previous excommunication would eventually be taken off. That the King, even at the very last moment, would have greatly preferred to obtain a justification from the Pope of all he had done hitherto rather than be compelled to execute his long-continued threat of repudiating papal authority altogether will, I think, be the opinion of all who study these State Papers carefully. But the crisis was now drawing near, and the less the King hoped for a decision in his favor the more he affected to despise papal judgments and to disown their validity.
Hence the printing press now teemed with publications in justification of the King's appeal and against the Pope's authority. (fn. 1) Other effusions of the same kind remain in MS. (fn. 2) Parliament was summoned to meet in January, and the Church of England, already bound by the submission of the clergy, was to be still further fettered by public enactment. The King also looked naturally for support from the German Protestants, and Nicholas Heath, afterwards archbishop of York, was sent to them on an embassy, accompanied by a native German, who called himself Montaborinus, but is commonly spoken of in these Papers by the abbreviated name of Christopher Mont. (fn. 3) They were to visit the three dukes of Bavaria, the duke of Saxony, the landgrave of Hesse, and the archbishops of Cologne, Treves. and Mayence, declaring the King's sympathy with their zeal for the extirpation of religious errors, in which the people had too long been kept in bondage by successive “bishops of Rome.” In this matter the King was desirous to make common cause with them, as one who had suffered intolerable delays in a just and reasonable suit, until, taking the matter into his own hands, he had obtained a sentence of divorce from the archbishop of Canterbury, and married the lady Anne, marchioness of Pembroke, “whose approved and excellent virtues, purity of life, constant virginity, and maidenly and womanly pudicity” he seems to have thought it safe again to parade before princes who perhaps really knew no better.
What could the German princes think of a great sovereign sending express agents to solicit their sympathy in a matter such as this? It was a high compliment to their political importance; but the King himself was by no means well assured as to the reception his overture was likely to meet with. It was just possible some of the princes might reply that he had created a scandal in Christendom by not observing the ordinary formalities of justice. But the ambassadors were to meet this objection by the words of Scripture, and the Pope's own law, Quol jesto lex non est posita, sed ubi Spiritus Dei ibi libertas est.. In a question of Divine law conscience was to be obeyed in preference to all other tribunals, and the King having fully examined his own conscience, enlightened, as he boldly declared it to be, by the Spirit of God. felt himself quite exonerated from the burden of that first marriage, and at liberty, as he elegantly expressed it. “to exercise the benefit of God for procreation of children, and the lawful use of matrimony necessary for the relief of man's infirmity.” Moreover a complete history of the case, as the envoys were instructed to explain, would show that the King could not be justly taxed with paying too little regard to the world's opinion.
About the same time it seems to have been. determined to send some one also to the city of Lubeck and the king of Poland; (fn. 4) and William Paget was ultimately sent to them with instructions very similar to those of Heath and Mont. (fn. 5) Dr. Thomas Legh, who, like Paget himself, (fn. 6) had already had some experience of Northern Germany, was appointed to go with him. (fn. 7) Legh's mission in fact was determined even before that of Paget, and he had been actually on the point of sailing when the tempestuous weather induced him to modify his original plan, and instead of embarking for Hamburg direct, simply to cross the Straits and make the rest of his journey by land. Some money, it seems, was committed to his charge, of which it is not difficult to imagine the destination; and if the sea had been a little less tempestuous it would have afforded the safest means of transit. (fn. 8) But his departure being thus delayed, it was determined that Paget should accompany him; and possibly the original scheme was a little enlarged, for it was determined that one of them should visit not only Lubeck and the king of Poland, but also the duke of Prussia. (fn. 9) Ultimately Legh seems to have gone into Denmark, and Paget to the king of Poland and the duke of Prussia. (fn. 10)
It was not merely that Henry was naturally glad to obtain as much support as possible, either in Germany or anywhere else, in this struggle with the Pope; he was also anxious to fortify himself against any possible action that might be taken by the Emperor in defence of the just rights of his aunt and cousin. The unpopularity of the King's proceedings, even among his own subjects at home, would have given a very dangerous handle to a foreign prince, who, besides claiming the temporal allegiance of the greater part of Europe, might also appeal to the traditions of the Holy Roman Empire, and be invested with authority from the Pope to suppress heresy and schism by the sword throughout the whole of Christendom. As a matter of fact the task was not so easy, even in Germany alone; but so far as then appeared it was not altogether hopeless, and it was of great importance to the King to make it as troublesome as possible to the Emperor, while he himself took vigorous measures to suppress the disaffection which existed among his own subjects.
For there could be no mistake as to the temper of the country. Sir John Gage, the King's vicechamberlain, a wise and experienced soldier, rather than continue in a court so greatly altered, thought it best to resign his office, and. with the consent of his wife, to enter a Carthusian convent. Longland, bishop of Lincoln, the King's confessor, who had been one of the first agents in promoting the divorce, now expressed his open regret that he had ever been appointed to fill such a responsible position. (fn. 11) Many members of Parliament informed Chapuys in private that they only wanted to be assured of support from the Emperor to stand firm in opposition to the King. Yet Henry had done his best to pack both Houses with his supporters, countermanding the attendance of several bishops and peers whom he expected to be unfavorable to his proposed measures; among whom were Lee, archbishop of York, bishop Tunstall, and of course bishop Fisher, and lord Darcy. (fn. 12) There was no one, in fact, in either House, and no man of any mark in all England besides, who stood forward at this juncture as the uncompromising advocate of the King's proceedings. If there had been such a one it might have been expected that the duke of Norfolk would be that man. But even Norfolk was not pleased at the state to which matters had come, and he declared to the French ambassador that neither he nor his friends would consent to the King's repudiation of the authority of the Church of Rome. (fn. 13)
But whatever might be said by those about him,—whatever misgivings might be felt, even by his most subservient instruments,—there was no pause in Henry's proceedings. Parliament met again in January, and it is needless to say that before it sat the chief work that it was to do was already determined on. Some of the subjects that were to come before it are touched upon in those memoranda papers of Cromwell which he was accustomed to call “Remembrances.” In these we find such entries as the following:—“To cause indictments to be drawn for the offences in treason and misprision concerning the Nun of Canterbury.” “To make a Bill for the Parliament touching the augmentation of the Annates.” “To remember devices for the bishops to set forth and preach the King's great cause, and also against the censures, and that the Pope be no “more prayed for at Paul's Cross or elsewhere.” (fn. 14) “A Bill to be made for the taking of the bishoprics of Salisbury and Worcester into the King's hands.” (fn. 15) “To know what the King will have done with the Nun and her accomplices.” (fn. 16)
The main business, however, was to strike a blow at the Pope's authority, for which careful preparation had been made for some years past. I have already pointed out in the last Preface (fn. 17) that the Act of 1532 restraining the payment of firstfruits to Rome (fn. 18) was at first to have no further efficacy than the King chose to permit. But when the King at length, seeing that nothing was to be expected from the Pope, had got divorced and married again without his Holiness's leave, his next step was to issue letters patent (fn. 19) to give full validity to the Act about firstfruits. Thus no newly appointed bishop was to pay anything to Rome henceforth. He was to procure no bulls from the Pope; he was not to be presented to the Holy See as heretofore, or to acknowledge any responsibility to it whatever. Deans and chapters were to elect by virtue of the King's congé délire. and if they delayed twelve days to fill up a vacancy the King might present at once by letters patent. Bishops were to be presented to the archbishop of the province; archbishops were to be consecrated by virtue of a royal commission. To arrange all this required a special enactment, (fn. 20) the details of which had been carefully considered by the Council sometime before Parliament met. (fn. 21)
Ecclesiastical jurisdiction was of necessity placed under new conditions. The basis of a new system had already been laid by the submission of the clergy (fn. 22) and the Statute of Appeals; (fn. 23) and it was only necessary to confirm the former by Act of Parliament, and define more explicitly the mode in which ecclesiastical appeals were henceforth to be heard within the realm, especially the manner in which appeals from the court of an archbishop were to be tried hereafter. By the Act of the preceding year the judgment of an archbishop's court was to be final in all cases, except such as concerned the King, and then the appeal was to be to the Upper House of Convocation. But a further step was now taken in the direction of royal supremacy by allowing an appeal, even in ordinary cases, from the archbishop's court to the King's Court of Chancery, the final decision being pronounced by commissioners appointed under the Great Seal. (fn. 24)
These enactments, although they had been undoubtedly devised by the King's Council before being submitted to Parliament, only passed by slow stages through the two Houses in succession. They were introduced first into the House of Commons, apparently in the hope that they might even yet create some alarm at Rome and avert the coming sentence. (fn. 25) That the French agents did their best to make use of them in this fashion might be believed without positive evidence. Their own corre spondence shows what strenuous efforts they made to avert the impending breach. (fn. 26) But their sanguine hopes of success were doomed to disappointment. The papal sentence declaring the marriage with Katharine to be valid was ultimately pronounced on the 23rd March. (fn. 27) The news of the actual fact could not yet have reached England, when two days later the Acts against the papal authority were confirmed by the House of Lords. (fn. 28)
The letters of Chapuys afford some glimpses of the King's domestic life at this period, which are exceedingly curious. In the earlier part of January he paid a visit to Hatfield to see his infant daughter. The princess Mary, as we have seen, was there also, having been compelled by the King's orders to give attendance on the babe, more as a waiting woman than a sister. (fn. 29) She was now a girl of eighteen, beautiful and accomplished to a degree of which her father himself was not unnaturally proud; but she had dared to disobey his orders so far as to refuse to pass a stigma upon her own birth by giving up the title of Princess. To make her do so of course was a most important point for the credit of the King's second marriage and of Elizabeth's legitimacy. Henry conceived he could effect it by means of a personal interview when he went to Hatfield. But Anne Boleyn was by no means satisfied that his affection for Mary would not make him change his intention, and that the interview would not end in a resolution to treat her better. She therefore caused Cromwell to go and overtake the King, and afterwards sent other messengers to desire that he would neither see nor speak with his elder daughter. Henry obeyed, and sent orders in advance of him that Mary was not to come into his presence. When he arrived at Hatfield he sent Cromwell, Fitzwilliam, and Sir W. Kingston to urge her to renounce her title, but she said she had already given a decided answer on this point, and that neither ill-treatment nor the fear of death would make her change her resolution. In the meantime, notwithstanding the message she had received, she had sent to ask leave to come and kiss the King's hand, and was refused. But in spite of all this, when the King was going to mount his horse she went to the top of the house to catch sight of him, and the King, either being informed of it, or by chance turning round, saw her kneeling with her hands joined. Nature for a moment got the better of him; he bowed to her and put his hand to his hat. The act delighted all who were present to witness it. Till then they had not dared to raise their heads and look at her; now there was a general burst of enthusiasm, and she received salutations and tokens of sympathy all round. (fn. 30)
The report of the occurrence could hardly have been agreeable to Anne Boleyn, who was all the more baffled in her object by the remarkable prudence and discretion with which Mary had answered those who had been sent to her before. She fretted over her defeat, and complained to the King that Mary was not kept sufficiently close and away from evil councillors. He had promised that no one should speak to her without his knowledge, but it was clear she could never have made such answers as she had done except at the suggestion of others. The King, for his part, was at a loss how to meet complaints like these, and was driven to use big words. Of course, he said, Mary trusted to the Emperor for support, else she would not have been so obstinate; but he would bring her to the point. He feared neither the Emperor nor anyone else so long as his nobility were loyal to him, and he would take good care they did not falter in their allegiance as they valued their own heads. Not a letter should be received from beyond sea without his knowing it. But whatever the King might say, he was probably not without grave anxiety as to what the Emperor might do. Some disquieting information had already been received from Ireland, and 30,000 bows had been ordered to be made and stored in the Tower. (fn. 31) Anne Boleyn resorted to measures of her own for correcting Mary's obstinacy. A sister of her father's—apparently Alice, widow of Sir Robert Clere, of Ormesby in Norfolk—had the Princess in her keeping, and Anne sent her instructions to force the latter to renounce her title, or, on her refusal, to box her ears “as a cursed bastard.” She was also to take care that she was not too well treated; for she had been allowed to breakfast in her own room hitherto—an indulgence by no means to be permitted henceforth. (fn. 32)
It was, indeed, reported by men of high standing that she had determined to poison the Princess; for Anne was so well aware of the King's affection for her that she saw no way of meeting it, except by intrigue. So at least Chapuys was informed by a gentleman who said that he had been told it by the earl of Northumberland as a thing which he knew for certain; and the Earl, who, it will be remembered, was Anne Boleyn's old admirer, was still so familiar with her that he is not likely to have been mistaken. (fn. 33) Poison was a weapon only too easy to wield when other means were not available, and we are not surprised to learn that Katharine also stood in dread of it. The King had been spreading reports that she was dropsical, and as she had never shown such a tendency before, there was considerable ground for suspicion that “something had been done to bring it on.” Chapuys was quite convinced that the King trusted to her death to relieve him from the embarrassment that might arise out of the coming papal sentence. But Katharine was sufficiently upon her guard. Ever since Suffolk's visit she had taken care not to leave her room. except for the purpose of hearing mass in a gallery adjoining, and she persistently refused to eat or drink anything that her new servants brought her. The little food which she allowed herself was actually cooked in her own apartment by the women of her chamber. (fn. 34)
“The Princess has been warned to be on her guard; but if God do not help her it will be difficult for her to protect herself long. I do not know any other remedy except to persuade the Scotch ambassador to make the King and his Council believe that his master will not make peace unless the right of succession on the death of the Princess is reserved to him. This he has promised to do, and said he would come and see me yesterday about it, without caring for the suspicions which these people might have. I thought also that the Princess, after making solemn protestations of compulsion and danger, might offer to the King to be content not to be called Princess if she was allowed to reside with the Queen: but Anne might be encouraged to execute her wicked will from fear of a reconciliation between the Princess and her father, and would be able to do it with less suspicion under color of friendship than now that her hatred and enmity is open. Perhaps also those who now favor the Princess would become cool towards her, not knowing the cause of her actions nor the protestations.” (fn. 35)
If it was difficult at this juncture to protect the lives even of Katharine and Mary, it need occasion no surprise that others who had disapproved of the divorce stood in considerable danger. Every endeavour had been made in the examination of the Nun of Kent and her adherents to implicate two men in particular whose known sentiments on that subject carried more than ordinary weight—bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More. The former had undoubtedly had some communications with the Nun in previous years, and though they were of the most inoffensive character, they were treated as evidence either of great disloyalty or of a very gross forgetfulness of his duty to his sovereign. The Bishop was obliged to own that he had once sent his chaplain to her, his object being, he said, to ascertain whether her revelations really came from God, as they were supposed to do. Moreover the Nun had been three times with him, and yet he had not revealed to the King her disloyal prognostications. She had actually told him that if the King persevered in his purpose of marrying Anne Boleyn, he should not be King seven months after; yet Fisher had not thought fit to report such a treasonable utterance. His excuse was a tolerably reasonable one:—the Nun had already said the same thing to the King herself. Moreover the King had used such threatening language to him once for expressing his own opinion to him about the divorce that he had no reason to expect it would be well taken if he reported what the Nun had said on the same subject. (fn. 36)
The poor old man was at his own city of Rochester, oppressed with a severe cough and fever, which compelled him to ask leave of absence from the Parliament, as he could not possibly travel; and he was obliged to make answer at tedious length to repeated letters of Cromwell, taxing him in the severest manner with his supposed disloyalty. Finding his excuses were not accepted by the minister, he next made a written appeal to the King himself; after which he was further driven to state his case to the lords in Parliament, while a bill of attainder, in which he was included, was passing through the Upper House against the Nun's adherents. (fn. 37) Leave of absence from Parliament was readily granted to him, but it was the only indulgence that he was allowed. The bill of attainder passed through both Houses, and though the Bishop's life was at present spared, he was included in the condemnation as guilty of misprision of treason in concealing the Nun's communications. (fn. 38)
Sir Thomas More, too, was accused of complicity with the Nun, and his name was likewise included in the bill of attainder when it was first introduced into the House of Lords. (fn. 39) The information took him considerably by surprise for he had already explained himself fully on the subject in correspondence with Cromwell, and believed that he had left no real ground for the smallest suspicion of his loyalty. His very enemies, indeed, were in all probability conscious of this, and had tried at first to ruin him by a totally different imputation. He had been guilty they said, of writing an answer to the “book of articles” issued by the King at Christmas, and had actually handed over the manuscript to Rastell to print. This was a charge More had no difficulty in refuting. He had sent no book whatever to press since the Council's “book of articles” was issued. The last book of his that Rastell printed was in answer to an unknown heretic who had written against “the Sacrament of the Altar.” It had unfortunately been postdated by the printer “1534,” but it was really both written and printed before Christmas 1533, and several copies had been actually issued previous to that date; so that it could not possibly have been intended as an answer to the book of the Council, and More entirely disclaimed the imputation that he had ever harbored so presumptuous an intention. (fn. 40)
On this point his exculpation was complete; and as to his communications with the Nun the grounds for an impeachment were most slender. It was not likely, indeed that the most clear-headed, witty, and cultivated taken in England could have allowed his judgment to be led astray or his loyalty for a moment shaken by the fanatical outpourings of a weak dissembling woman. But so great had been her repute for sanctity, and so much was said of her visions and her prophecies, that it was impossible to escape the subject in conversation, or to avoid sometimes coming in contact with herself. Even about eight or nine years before this at a period, that is to say, before the divorce was spoken of—she had been noted for having trances, and archbishop Warham had sent the King an account of her utterances on some of those occasions. Henry at that time handed the writing to More, and asked him what he thought of it. More thought it of no consequence, and believed the King was much of his opinion. Afterwards there was still much talk of her holiness, but no further mention was made of any revelation or miracle until about Christmas 1532, after the King had been at Calais. At that time father Risby had a conversation with More about her, in which he was about to speak of her warnings to Cardinal Wolsey on the subject of the King's divorce, when More desired him to forbear, saying he had no doubt God would so direct the King that the matter should end to his honor and the surety of the realm. He was afterwards questioned about father Risby's conversations with him by father Riche of Richmond, who wished to know if the former had told him anything of her revelation touching the King; but he again refused to hear anything on the subject. He happened, however, on another occasion to be at Sion when the Nun was there, and had an interview with herself, when she spoke about herself with great humility, and said nothing indiscreet. But he had afterwards written to her to beware of being seduced into conversation upon political subjects by those who came to see her. (fn. 41)
In short, More had done nothing whatever to encourage her, either in fanaticism or disloyalty. But the mere fact that he had written her one letter brought him under suspicion. His opinion touching the King's marriage was well known; and he found it necessary to write a long letter to Cromwell to vindicate the honesty of his intentions. He explained very particularly how the King himself first broached that subject to him while walking in the gallery at Hampton Court; how he afterwards laid the Bible before him and elicited More's frank opinion, which the King insidiously endeavoured to alter, referring him at one time to Mr. Foxe, and to a book that was being drawn up upon the subject; how he was again urged to consider the question after the King made him Chancellor; and how he finally gave his Highness “his poor opinion in the matter,” in which he “would have been more glad than of any worldly commodities to have served him.” Nevertheless he had no intention to call in question accomplished facts or dispute the validity of the new Queen's title. (fn. 42)
Still more remarkable was his explanation as touching the primacy of the Pope. His own original opinion had been that papal supremacy was not directly ordained by God, and he had even urged the King to qualify what he had said upon the subject in his book against Luther. But Henry in those days was such a zealous champion of the papacy that he declined to alter a word; and he even told More a secret reason, which was altogether new to him, why it would be unadvisable to modify what he had written. Further reflection and study at length convinced More that what the King had written was right, and that his conscience would be in great peril if he denied the Pope's primacy. At the same time the Pope was not above the General Council, and as the King had appealed from the one to the other, he prayed God to send him “comfortable speed,” and thought it would be no furtherance to the King's cause if the authority of either were called in question, either by books or statutes. (fn. 43) Such was the position quietly taken up by this honest and independent mind.
More was examined about his communications with the Nun before the Chancellor and Cromwell, but nothing was elicited on which criminal proceedings of any kind could be founded. There is a tantalising document in this volume, so badly mutilated that it is impossible to form anything like a clear conception of its tenor. but it seems to be the deposition of a woman in the service of More's son-in-law, Giles Heron, that she had heard More “mumble” once in her master's parlour at Shacklewell something about the private life of the King, which though far from creditable could hardly have been much of a secret; moreover that she had, with her master's approval, promised a priest a certain sum of money for some service or other in connection with Sir Thomas. which he was on the point of undertaking, but afterwards declined. (fn. 44) Enough of the document remains to suggest that there was a pretty close questioning of persons who it was thought could give any kind of evidence against the late Chancellor. and that the evidence when obtained did not amount to much. The King, as Chapuys was informed. found he had no excuse for doing more than depriving him of a salary which it seems he still retained notwithstanding his resignation of the Chancellorship, and apparently of all court service, two years before. (fn. 45) On the 28th March John Graynfyld, who held some kind of office under the lord Chancellor, writes to lord Lisle: “My old master Sir Thomas More is clearly discharged of his trouble.” (fn. 46) But the release, we need hardly say, was only for a time.
The final decision of the Papal Court on the validity of Henry's marriage with Katharine was pronounced on the 23rd March. (fn. 47) It. is needless to say that it was in Katharine's favor; and though its justice cannot be impugned, its effect, after all that had taken place, was naturally to put an end. once and for ever, to the smallest hope of a reconciliation between the King and the Court of Rome. Politicians could not fail to realise the significance of the crisis, and their remarks upon the subject, each writing from his several point of view, are not a little instructive. The cardinal of Jaen, writing to Charles V., said the Queen was fortunate to have had the sentence passed in her lifetime, and hoped. that what the Pope had done would now remove the distrust occasioned by past delays. (fn. 48) The Imperial ambassador at Rome thought it was not of much use after all, except for the Emperor's honor and the Queen's justification. It was well that the Pope had been persuaded to pass it without binding the Emperor to do anything to give effect to it. (fn. 49) The French agents. on the other hand, said the world must confess that Francis had done his very utmost to avert one of the greatest troubles which had for a long time threatened the peace of Christendom. Their mission at Rome was now at an end, as all their efforts had been unavailing, and they had only been able to obtain a promise from his Holiness that the sentence should not be signified till after Easter. (fn. 50) They were indignant with Pope and Cardinals alike, and were sure the majority were abashed at what they themselves had done. In fact several of their number admitted they had made a serious blunder, and the. French agents had no doubt that, if the thing were to be done again, the result would be very different. (fn. 51) Diplomacy had to apologise, it seems, for having followed for once the lead of common honesty.
The effect of the sentence upon the King himself was of course only to increase his determination, and to make him prepare for the worst. While the Emperor was hesitating whether to take further measures, and how much warning, in that case, he ought to give the King, (fn. 52) Henry had fully made up his mind what to do. The beacons were to be repaired all over the kingdom in case of an invasion. The master of the Ordnance was to see all warlike stores put in order and ready for use. The veteran seamen Gonston and Spert were to see the King's ships thoroughly overhauled. The Act of Succession was to be everywhere proclaimed; preachers were to be appointed throughout the realm to preach “the true Gospel,” and “substantial persons” were to be commissioned in every town to inform against all who maintained the Pope's authority. A new deputy was to be sent to Ireland, where trouble had already begun, and it was considered whether general musters throughout the realm would not be advisable. (fn. 53)
Besides these measures, Parliament was prorogued on the 30th March till November; and it was known to the initiated that it would then be called upon to complete the legislation already passed against the Church. Before its prorogation the signatures of all the members (doubtless of both Houses) were obtained to the Act of Succession. The news of the sentence does not even then appear to have reached England, and a provisional character was still given to the latest Acts against the Pope which would have enabled the King to annul or modify them by Midsummer Day if Clement had done what was desired of him. (fn. 54) But as soon as the news of the sentence came he caused those Acts to be immediately published throughout the realm, and ordered that the preachers for Easter should say the very worst they could in their sermons against the Pope. (fn. 55) A commission had already been issued to take the oaths of the King's subjects generally to the new Act of Succession, and the most dreadful penalties were threatened against all who murmured against it. (fn. 56)
Henry, at the same time, professed a contempt for the sentence which he did not really feel. (fn. 57) Even the moral effect of such a just decision, after all the pains that he had taken to make it appear that the judgment of the Christian world was the other way, was too great to be overlooked. But the fear lest the Emperor should attempt an invasion of England in order to put the sentence into execution was still less capable of being lightly dismissed. That such a design was really entertained was eagerly murmured in some quarters; but the rumor proceeded chiefly from the exiled English friars in Flanders, (fn. 58) with whom the wish was in all likelihood father to the belief. Still the thing was quite within the bounds of a reasonable probability, and when we find that at this time letters addressed to the Imperial ambassador in England were intercepted by lord Lisle in passing through Calais, (fn. 59) and afterwards forwarded with a lame apology for the outrage, the suspicion naturally occurs to us, as it did to Chapuys, that the act was simply owing to Henry's great anxiety to find out the Emperor's intentions.
These apprehensions made it more important than ever that there should be no mistake about the cordiality of the King's relations with France. Francis had, as we have seen, at the time of the Marseilles interview in the preceding year, no small ground of complaint against England for the breach of diplomatic courtesy committed by Henry's ambassadors in intimating his appeal to the Pope. That he at heart resented Henry's conduct deeply there cannot be a question. Butthere were reasons that made him anxious not to dwell too much on this offence. He was never more bitterly incensed against the Emperor. The execution of his agent. Merveilles, at Milan still rankled in his breast; and he could only hope to make Charles feel his resentment by cultivating a good understanding with Henry and with the Lutherans in Germany. His agents had accordingly been most zealous in their endeavours to prevent the issue of the final sentence at Rome and the news that it was actually given must have been conveyed to England by two French ambassadors, Morette and La Pommeraye. who were at that time sent over in great haste, the latter returning in a few days with Chatillon, who had been in England for some months. (fn. 60) What communications on this or other subjects. passed between these envoys and the king of England we have no means of knowing, but almost as soon as Chatillon and La Pommeraye had taken leave lord Rochford and Sir William Fuzwilliam were despatched in equal haste to France; and it was not long before one great object of these comings and goings oozed out in conversation. A new interview had been proposed between the King and Francis beyond sea, and it was added that the Scotch king would be invited to take part in it to make the more imposing demonstration. (fn. 61) Arrangements were then in progress for a definite peace with Scotland, which was in fact concluded very soon after; but it was scarcely probable in the nature of things that James would be induced to cross the sea to give additional emphasis to a peace which he himself regarded as a hollow one, and to which he was only driven by the attitude of France. (fn. 62) The project was not, however, very earnestly pressed upon the Scotch king. The matter, in truth, was not one that concerned him, or even Francis, half so much as it did Henry himself, who seems to have pressed it forward with particular urgency, being anxious that the meeting should take place early in the summer, before Anne Boleyn was too far advanced in pregnancy to be present. Nevertheless the difficulties that arose in connection with the matter, oven in England itself, were such as Henry does not seem at first to have fully weighed. He did not dare leave Anne Boleyn behind him; yet even if he took her with him there was some danger that the adherents of Katharine might rise in his absence, and might even be assisted by a force sent across the sea from Flanders. Against any such possibilities great precautions had to be taken. (fn. 63) The interview was put off from July till August, and from August till September, to be deferred again till the following spring, when it was still hoped that it might be ultimately accomplished. (fn. 64)
Meanwhile commissions were sent out to take the oaths of the King's subjects generally to the Act of Succession, and during the month of April the inhabitants of London generally were sworn to its observance. (fn. 65) The execution of the Nun and her adherents took place on the very day the commissions were issued, and doubtless had a considerable effect in securing ready obedience. Yet the mere exaction of such an oath, extorted as it was by terror from the people at large, served more than anything to show how little the King could rely on the unbiassed judgment of his subjects to support his peculiar views of lawful and unlawful matrimony. “The King” wrote Chapuys, “thinks he has got his subjects more under his command by making them individually swear to maintain the laws made against the Queen and Princess in favor of this second marriage, but it only irritates them the more; while they are at present in such fear that there is neither small nor great who dare speak or grumble in any way. But when the time comes everyone will declare himself.” (fn. 66)
Such was the opinion of a very observant witness. who had good opportunities of judging. The new oath of loyalty was exceedingly unpopular. It is possible that among the multitudes who were obliged to take it not a few may have been allowed to do so like Margaret Roper, with a slight qualification. (fn. 67) Such things might be very well winked at by the commissioners, even to save themselves trouble. But in the case of leading men no such evasion could very well be permitted. Sir Thomas More and bishop Fisher were each willing to accept the parliamentary settlement of the Succession, and they both expressed their readiness to swear to the Act itself, but not to the preamble. Cranmer, to his credit, urged that the compromise should be accepted, insinuating that it would tend to convince Katharine and Mary of the uselessness of contending any longer for rights in which no one would now support them. But his reasons did not convince the King, who foresaw that if two such persons were allowed to swear to the Act without the preamble “it might be taken as a confirmation of the bishop of Rome's authority, and a reprobation of the King's second marriage.” (fn. 68) More and Fisher were accordingly, after examination at Lambeth, committed to the Tower, as was also about the same time Dr. Nicholas Wilson, parson of St. Thomas Apostle in the city of London, (fn. 69) a royal chaplain who had been at one time the King's confessor. (fn. 70) Wilson had always stood high in Henry's favor, and probably did so still; but he did not at first see how he could conscientiously comply with the Act. After a month or two of imprisonment, however, he was inclined to reconsider the matter, and appealed to his fellow prisoner More for counsel, who, declining to be responsible for any man's scruples but his own, simply referred him to the guidance of his own conscience, and hoped God would set his heart at rest. (fn. 71) Ultimately Wilson agreed to take the oath and was liberated; but More and Fisher never quitted the Tower again. (fn. 72)
It was certainly a time of deep searching of hearts. (fn. 73) How many even of the bishops might be depended on the King was not quite sure. Gardiner, Tunstall, and even archbishop Lee, it was thought would be committed to the Tower. (fn. 74) The office of King's secretary, which Henry had conferred upon Gardiner five years before for his zeal in the matter of the divorce, and which he had continued to hold even after he was made bishop, was taken from him and given to Cromwell. (fn. 75) The whole secular government of the kingdom was now in Cromwell's hands, and the spiritual Grovernment was soon to be lodged in his hands also. But for the present the latter was committed to Cranmer. who was the King's most effective instrument in the regulation of preaching, to prevent political matters being handled in the pulpit—especially in reference to the Succession—in a way that might create “talking and rumour.” Not that his efforts were altogether successful, for the task was not an easy one. Cranmer, however, did his best by recalling all previous licences to preach and granting new ones—doubtless with special care as to the character of the new grantees. But with the best intentions to stop indiscreet utterances, he appears to have renewed the licences of not a few who could not quite refrain from touching on forbidden subjects or saying the very contrary of what was expected of them. For the favored preachers were enjoined to declare the justice of the King's second marriage, and “to preach once in the presence of their greatest audience against the power of the bishop of Rome.” The King, however, was by and by obliged to admonish the Archbishop that he had authorised a host of persons who possessed neither learning nor judgment “to preach and blow abroad their folly.” Cranmer undoubtedly felt the rebuke, and did his best to repair the error. (fn. 76)
Cranmer was regarded by Chapuys as a sort of anti pope set up in England by the King's authority. (fn. 77) In fact it was evidently the design at first to transfer to him some of the functions of the papacy, such as the power of passing bulls and dispensations, which at the beginning of the year was conferred upon him by Act of Parliament, (fn. 78) and which he actually exercised for a time. (fn. 79) It was only natural that he should make his functions subservient to the authority from which they were derived; and, fortified by royal letters, he commenced a visitation of his province of Canterbury, one great object of which was to procure subscriptions everywhere to a repudiaation of the Pope's jurisdiction. (fn. 80) Two volumes still remaining in the Record Office are filled with the signatures of the clergy obtained during the visitation of a declaration that the bishop of Rome has no more jurisdiction in England than any other foreign bishop. (fn. 81) Mean while both the Universities had considered the subject and arrived at the same conclusion; (fn. 82) and month after month, for more than half a year, acknowledgments to the same effect were extorted in succession from each of the different monasteries. (fn. 83)
The different orders of friars, however, were more difficult to deal with, for it was in their ranks that the most popular preachers were found, and as they had no personal property of which they could be deprived, they could not be controlled by the fear of confiscation. It was clear from the first that threats of any kind would not bring them into complete subjection, and other methods of doing so had been carefully considered. It was proposed to assemble the friars in their several chapter-houses, question each man separately as to his principles of allegiance, and bind him by an oath in accordance with the Succession Act. (fn. 84) Dr. Browne, prior of the Augustinian Hermits, and Dr. Hilsey, provincial of the Friars Preachers, who was next year, for his zeal in the matter, made bishop of Rochester, received a commission from the King to visit all the houses of friars of every order and lay down rules for their future conduct. (fn. 85)
Of the manner in which they exercised this authority we have a remarkable example about two months later. Roland Lee, the new bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and Thomas Bedyll, clerk of the Council, acting upon Cromwell's instructions, proposed to the Franciscan convent at Richmond a set of articles received from Dr. Browne. A confirmation of those articles was first desired under the convent seal, but as this was declined, the convent was requested to commit the matter to the judgment of four of the seniors who were to wait upon the Bishop and Bedyll a day or two later at Greenwich. This was agreed to, and a similar application was made to the convent at Greenwich. But the friars there were more obdurate, and even when each was separately examined, they all agreed in dissenting from the articles, and especially in refusing one which was aimed against the Pope's authority. (fn. 86) Within a very few days two carts full of friars were seen passing through the city to the Tower. (fn. 87)
These houses were of the Order of Observants, a reformed branch of the Franciscans or Grey Friars, bound to a more strict observance of the rule of their founder than that which prevailed in the older convents. It was clear that nothing could be done with such men under the new régime, except to expel them from their houses, and this accordingly was the next step taken. “Of seven houses of Observants,” writes Chapuys on the 11th August, “five have been already emptied of friars because they have refused to swear to the statutes made against the Pope. Those in the two others expect also to be expelled.” (fn. 88) Eighteen days later he states that all had been driven out. Some memorial or petition to the King seems to have been drawn up by the persecuted brethren; but of course it was without effeet. (fn. 89) They were removed from their monasteries and delivered to the keeping of the older branch of the Franciscans known as the Conventuals, in whose houses they were locked up and kept in chains, as men found guilty of serious offences by their visitor. (fn. 90) Thus one particularly obnoxious Order was altogether suppressed.
But even while this was going on opposition of a no less decided character became manifest elsewhere. The oath to the Succession had been forced upon the monks of the Charter House in May; (fn. 91) but in the end of August Bedyll, the clerk of the Council, could not help lamenting the obstinacy shown by some of that community. and also by certain of the friars of Sion who were ready to sacrifice themselves for “the great idol of Rome” rather than acknowledge the royal supremacy. The confessor of Sion had done what was expected of him in preaching the King's title. So also did one Master David Curson, except that he once brought in the words mea culpa out of frame—perhaps by inadvertence. But of the rest one had simply disregarded the King's commandment, and another had formally obeyed it, adding “that he who so commanded him should discharge his conscience.” Worst of all, nine of the brethren altogether refused to listen to such doctrine, and withdrew at once in a body when the preacher entered on the subject. The letters relating to this matter are of very great interest, and three of them have been hitherto unknown. (fn. 92)
Still, the King's subjects generally were sworn to the Act of Succession, and men everywhere accepted a new state of things which they nowhere cordially welcomed. The princess Mary was now excluded from all prospect of the throne if oaths and legislation could effect her exclusion. But the matter did not rest entirely with the King and Parliament, and with the King's subjects at home. So far as it was a question of legitimacy and of the Church's law, the public opinion of Europe had a voice in it, and neither the King nor Anne Boleyn could be unconscious of a fact which at first they had attempted to disguise. In vain did Henry expect to settle the matter by the mere exercise of power. The duke of Norfolk might take away Mary's jewels; (fn. 93) Fitzwilliam might go down and search her coffers; (fn. 94) they might force her into a litter and make her travel in her infant sister's retinue; (fn. 95) they might do all they possibly could to degrade her, and even make the people swear not to call her princess; but the fact that she was a princess by birth and by right appeared all the more strongly from these efforts to suppress it; and her own steady refusal to renounce her title occasioned more perplexity to the King and Anne Boleyn than either of them was willing to confess. At last Anne Boleyn's aunt, who had the charge of her, made bold to tell her that the King, her father, did not care in the least whether she renounced her title or not, for the matter was already settled by Parliament; but if she (the aunt) were in her father's place, she would kick her out of the house for disobedience. Moreover her father himself had let fall a threat that she should lose her head for violating the laws of the realm. (fn. 96)
This fearful intimation might well have broken the spirit of a young woman so utterly cut off as Mary was from all friendly aid and counsel; but she was no less of a Tudor than her father, and had much of her father's sagacity as well as his resolution. She asked leave to speak privately to a physician in attendance who had formerly been her schoolmaster. Her request was refused, but she contrived to convey to him what she had to say notwithstanding. Taking an opportunity when he was present, she said to him that it was so long since she had spoken Latin that she feared she had lost command of the language. The physician on this naturally desired her to say a few words in Latin, and knowing that no one else could understand what she said in that tongue, she informed him of the Kings dreadful menace. The physician was astounded, but. to divert suspicion, exclaimed aloud that that was not good Latin, and took an early opportunity of conveying the news to Chapuys. (fn. 97)
About a month afterwards Katharine too was warned that by refusing to swear to the statute passed against her and her daughter she incurred the penalty of death. This was the intimation ultimately given to her by a deputation sent from the King to exhort, entreat, or frighten her into acquiescence. It consisted of Lee, archbishop of York. Tunstall, bishop of Durham, and Dr. Foxe, the King's almoner—men who could hardly feel themselves at case in the discharge of such a mission. But Katharine was not to be so intimidated. Having answered all their previous arguments and entreaties (fn. 98) she remained only the more firm in consequence of the menace, declaring that if anyone had come to perform the office of executioner she was prepared to die at once. (fn. 99) It is hardly conceivable, however, that the threat was seriously intended to be carried into effect against either Katharine or Mary. There were things that even Henry did not dare to do, however he might be empowered by law to do them. He did not dare offend both the Emperor and his own subjects by an act which would have horrified the whole of Europe. On the contrary, he instructed his ambassador with the Emperor to deny explicitly that either Katharine or Mary was illtreated: (fn. 100) and when Mary fell ill in the autumn—mainly, as it appears, in consequence of the treatment to which she had been subjected (fn. 101) —the King sent his own physician, Dr. Buttes, to visit her. (fn. 102)
In fact, besides reasons of mere policy, and some slight remains of natural affection in Henry, another cause tended to procure at this time some mitigation of her treatment. Anne Boleyn's influence over the King had already suffered diminution. Henry was in love with another lady, (fn. 103) whom he refused to send away at Anne's request, telling her that she ought to be very well satisfied with what he had done for her already, and that he would not do the same thing again if the matter were to begin anew. (fn. 104) It was clear nothing was to be gained by remonstrance which was met in a tone like this. Anne's sister-in-law, lady Rochford, who had conspired with her to procure the new favorite's withdrawal, was banished the Court, and Anne herself was visibly humbled. The new mistress enjoyed her victory, and presumed so far upon her influence that she sent to the princess Mary and bade her be of good cheer, for her troubles were likely to end much sooner than she supposed. (fn. 105)
What could have been the meaning of such an intimation? Was the fate of Anne Boleyn already resolved on—that fate which overtook her within two years later? Not exactly, perhaps. Indeed we have no good reason to suppose so. But that it was even yet conceived that the King might retrace his steps to some extent, or find some excuse for again undoing the knot of a detested matrimony, appears not altogether improbable. The expectation that Anne would this year give birth to another child had already been disappointed; (fn. 106) and the universal disrespect in which she was held (fn. 107) did not tend to mitigate the King's growing disgust. It seemed moreover to many that a favorable opportunity was about to present itself for the King to make his peace with the See of Rome. Clement VII. died on the 25th September, and it was quite conceivable that Henry without loss of dignity might come to some arrangement with his successor, which would place him once more on good terms with the Christian world. This course, indeed, was actually suggested to him by the duke of Norfolk and the marquis of Dorset. But the King's temper was not exactly favorable to such a consummation. “No one,” he replied, “should mock him by advising any such thing, for he would have no greater regard for any Pope in the world that might be chosen than for the meanest priest in his kingdom.” (fn. 108)
There were other influences, however, that could not but affect the position of the princess Mary even in the eyes of her father. There was an ominous appearance that the Emperor was drawing closer to France, and it was doubtful whether Francis could be relied on much further to support Henry's daring defiance of social morality. The count of Nassau was sent over to the French Court on a very special mission, which Cromwell in vain pretended to regard with total unconcern. (fn. 109) Its object in fact, was strictly concealed from the English, though it may have been the subject of unpleasant conjecture. Gossip said that he came to propose some marriages of high political importance; but no one seems to have known who the parties were, or whether there was any foundation for the rumor at all. One thing only was certain, that he had been received in France with marked respect and munificent, hospitality; and it was said that from various causes Francis had begun to cool very considerably towards Henry. (fn. 110)
The exact truth was not known for some weeks after Nassau had discharged his commission and quitted France for Flanders. He had been instructed to make some propositions for a general settlement of differences, among which he was to suggest to Francis that he should make an offer to the king of England for a marriage between the duke of Angoulême and the princess Mary. Such a proposal, if Francis could only be induced to make it, would, of course, show Henry distinctly that in the opinion even of his most trusted ally his efforts to bastardise his own daughter had been all in vain. It would show that Mary's life had a value in the eyes of all Europe greater than Henry himself was disposed to acknowledge; and it would thereby tend to secure her against the malice of Anne Boleyn and the reckless selfwill and obstinacy of her father. And why should not Francis rise to such a bait? By the declaration of the Pope and Cardinals, Mary was lawful heir to the throne of England, and the match would not only be a splendid provision for his son, but release him and his children from the pensions hitherto paid to England. (fn. 111) Nassau, however, was not sure of his ground, and seems to have felt some delicacy about this part of his commission. He just touched upon the subject with Montmorency, but forbore to press it, though the suggestion was rather well received than otherwise; and Charles expressed his disappointment to Hannaert, the resident ambassador, whom he instructed to pursue the matter further. (fn. 112) Nevertheless it was a proposal that required cautious and delicate handling, and was not to be laid before Francis himself unless there was reason to believe that he would receive it in the strictest confidence. (fn. 113)
A proposition so carefully kept in the dark, and so entirely unlike any ordinary diplomatic overture—seeing that the Princess to whom it related was not in any way within the power of the Sovereign from whom the proposition came—could hardly even have been suspected by Henry or his Council. But it was clear that the mission of Nassau to France was designed to promote objects little in accordance with the king of England's interest; and it was the more necessary to counteract the impression made upon ordinary observers—even if the secret project itself could not be defeated—by another ostentatious display of cordiality between Henry and his French ally. The proposed interview between the kings had now been unavoidably put off to the following year; but Francis was prevailed upon to send over a very special embassy, perhaps to arrange again about holding it in spring,—more probably to make overtures for some new marriage alliance, so as to knit together the royal houses of England and France by more than diplomatic bonds. At the head of this embassy was the sieur de Brion, admiral of France, and his coming was awaited in England with more than ordinary interest; not, indeed, by the people at large, for a proclamation issued beforehand to forbid any discourtesy being shown to him or his suite (fn. 114) seems rather to imply that they were looked upon as unwelcome visitors, but every possible effort was made by the Court to secure them a cordial reception. Anne Boleyn's brother, lord Rochford, was sent to Dover to receive them at their landing and conduct them on their journey from the coast. The duke of Norfolk was deputed to meet them at Blackheath. On their arrival in London they were lodged in the King's own palace of Bridewell, and special pains were taken to fill the Court with beautiful ladies for the occasion. (fn. 115)
Little, however, appears to have been gained by all this studious display of attention. The embassy did not remain a month on English soil, and was little more than a fortnight at Court. What business it transacted, or attempted to transact, was at first very carefully concealed; but it was suspected that Brion, at least, was not very well satisfied with the results of his mission. By degrees Chapuys was able to make out the reason why. The Emperor's suggestion through Nassau had not been lost sight of, and Brion had been instructed to demand the hand of the princess Mary for the duke of Angoulême. Henry was doubtless taken by surprise. He twice refused to enter upon the subject. He told the ambassador he must be jesting,—at all events the suggestion could only have come from himself. At last the Admiral showed his instructions under the great seal of France, in which he was expressly charged to propose the marriage, and moreover to demand from the King the recognition of his daughter's legitimacy, and to urge him to resume his obedience to the Church of Rome. (fn. 116)
We can imagine Henry's confusion and discomfiture on being pressed with such an overture. He was actually asked—and that, too, by the ally whose friendship he had so constantly paraded before the eyes of the world—to stultify all the Acts of the last two or three years, and annul at a breath all the oaths and declarations he had extorted from his Lords, his Commons, and his subjects generally. Yet he dared not give too rude an answer. The reputation of Brion's embassy and of the French alliance must be kept up; moreover, there was an unpleasant suggestion which it seems Brion let fall, that if the hand of Mary was denied the Emperor was quite willing to offer that of the Infanta of Portugal in her place. (fn. 117) In short Francis was now seriously considering, it would seem, whether it might not really be worth his while at last to abandon the English alliance for an Imperial one,—an idea from which he must be diverted at all hazards,—at least if it could be done without too great sacrifice of selfwill. Henry therefore replied to Brion that he was willing to give his daughter Mary to the duke of Angoulême, provided that she and her husband renounced all right to the English crown. But if Francis would only obtain from the new Pope, Paul III., a declaration of the nullity of the late Pope's sentence. Angoulême might marry his other daughter Elizabeth, and Henry would be willing to renounce his title of king of France out of regard for his ally. (fn. 118) These answers could not be considered satisfactory, and Brion marked his sense of the result before leaving by an exhibition of special friendliness and cordiality towards the Imperial ambassador. (fn. 119) The great French embassy returned without having done anything whatever to advance the common interests of England and France. It had done something. however, to promote the Emperor's great object with regard to the princess Mary.
In this brief review of the course of affairs as revealed in the State Papers of the year 1534. We have been obliged to limit ourselves to a few subjects of great interest, forbearing to speak of what was passing in Scotland or in Ireland, and have even passed over in silence one of the most striking events in the domestic history of the time—the trial and acquitted of lord Dacre. A very few words, perhaps, may now be devoted to these subjects, and the remaining contents of the volume may be left to speak for themselves.
The measures taken by Henry in opposition to the Pope had a tendency to create trouble for him both in Scotland and in Ireland. Nothing was easier than to stir up the chieftains in the latter country, and as early as the year 1529 the Emperor had sent a chaplain to the earl of Desmond (fn. 120) to induce him to rebel against England. This, no doubt, was of the nature of an intrigue, easily disowned in diplomacy, but calculated to serve as a warning of the trouble it might be in the Emperor's power to inflict without any declaration of war. What then would be the danger if, now that the Pope had given sentence against Henry, Charles had a still better pretext for appealing to the animosity of Irish chieftains? Scotland, too, lay very convenient for any foreign potentate who desired to humiliate Henry; and in the event of a general crusade against a heretical King, it was doubtful whether a Scotch invasion, contrary to the usual course in such cases, might not even be welcomed by the king of England's disaffected subjects. The peril was sufficiently manifest, and Henry was particularly anxious to avert it. By his alliance with Francis he was to some extent freed from the fear that the Scots would be supported by their old allies. But how long this security might last was uncertain. James was young, and open to offers of marriage from various quarters; and if the friendship of Francis cooled, he had a very flattering proposal made to him on behalf of the Emperor. (fn. 121) which would have increased his estimation among the powers of Europe.
Henry was therefore anxious to convert into a lasting peace the truce concluded in the preceding year by the commissioners upon the Borders. Security against Scotland, he could not but feel, was security against any foreign enemy; and when James agreed to send ambassadors to conclude the peace he waited for their arrival with marked impatience. (fn. 122) The Scots, on the other hand, showed nothing of the same eagerness. Their ambassadors 'not only made the journey up to London with unusual deliberation, but seemed once or twice on the point of returning home again, leaving their mission unaccomplished. (fn. 123) Some anticipation, it may be, of the papal sentence against Henry made them hesitate about proceeding; for the resident Scotch ambassador afterwards told Chapuys he would have given a great sum of money to have known of it before. (fn. 124) But in the end the peace was formally concluded' on the 11th May, to last during the joint lives of the two Kings and one year longer; and the treaty was ratified by James on the 30th June, and by Henry at Guildford on the 2nd August. (fn. 125) It was proclaimed in London on the 29th August. (fn. 126)
This foundation being laid for future amity. Henry was anxious still further to secure the cordiality of the alliance by treating the Scotch king with more than usual honor. Sometime in the course of the ensuing autumn Lord William Howard was despatched to Scotland on a very special mission, in which he was to express the King's great desire to see his nephew at a personal interview, and say that he proposed to admit him into the Order of the Garter. Henry was aware, the envoy was further to state, that his nephew was now come of age, and the reports he heard of his “activity and nobleness” made him all the more desirous to see and confer with him. This message was to be accompanied by the delivery of a valuable present of horses, and also of a suit of clothes for James's person, to be made by a tailor sent to Scotland with lord William for the purpose. What Henry desired in return was that James would recall his subjects who had gone into Ireland to aid the rebellion of lord Thomas Fitzgerald, and also that he would receive again into favor the earl of Angus and his brother, who had so long been treated as outlaws in their own country on account of their subservience to the designs of England. (fn. 127)
As to the details of the proposed interview, lord William was instructed to confer first with the bishop of Aberdeen, lord Treasurer of Scotland, and urge him to use his influence to promote a joint meeting of Henry, James, and Francis I. near Calais. If James would agree to this, Henry would be glad to see him in England first, and that he should pass through his kingdom on the way. (fn. 128) The answer made to the proposal is not recorded; but it would seem that, while maintaining all due civility, the Scotch king avoided the trap. He was too wise to put himself in any way in Henry's power, and for this reason, if for no other, he about the same time declined a suggestion of the Emperor to ask the princess Mary in marriage, assuring his Majesty, however, that he had made no peace with England that could possibly be to the prejudice either of that lady or her mother. (fn. 129) At the same time there can be little doubt that Henry's offer of the Garter was felt as a flattering compliment, and not many months passed before lord William was again sent to Scotland to convey it to him. This, however, belongs to the history of the following year. (fn. 130)
It was just at the time when the peace was arranged with Scotland that the King suddenly revoked the commission (fn. 131) of lord Dacre as warden of the West Marches, and sent Sir Thomas Clifford down into the North with instructions to the earls of Westmoreland and Cumberland to attach his goods and those of his uncle. Sir Christopher Dacre, and search their letters. Lord Dacre himself seems at the time to have been still in London. where he had been attending Parliament during the previous month of March; (fn. 132) and the two earls, not to alarm the country, rode secretly by different routes to his house at Naworth. (fn. 133) Their stealthy movements rendered it necessary to go with smaller companies than would have been expedient for safety in such a country; but lady Dacre offered no resistance, and they accomplished their object. Complete inventories were taken of all the property of Dacre and his uncle, both at Naworth and at Carlisle; but no letters were found in any way incriminating either, and the two earls could not help suspecting that, in spite of all their secrecy, Sir Christopher must have had warning, as he was a man, they said, “most occupied in the doings and business of this country.” (fn. 134) Meantime lord Dacre himself, his uncle, and his bastard son, Thomas Dacre, were committed to the Tower of London. (fn. 135)
In what way had he given offence? We have the record of his indictment, (fn. 136) charging him with having made treasonable alliances with the Scots and against some of the King's liege subjects on the Borders during the last year and a half of his wardenship. Such charges, it is evident, might have grown out of the jealousy of rivals or subordinates holding other commands upon the Borders; and, in point of fact, the indictment seems to have been entirely the work of Sir William Musgrave, constable of Bowcastle, who, being at feud with Dacre, believed that Dacre had conspired against him. (fn. 137) Of its truth or falsehood we have not the means of forming an independent judgment, but the charges seem at least to have been plausible. They were set forth in detail with the precise date of each alleged compact with the enemy; and they certainly were supported by the earl of Northumberland, against whom also Dacre was said to have conspired, as well as by the two other northern earls who were commissioned to seize his property. (fn. 138) Nevertheless, when the day of trial came, he spoke seven hours in his own defence, and argued the case with such ability that—contrary to what might be called the universal usage in State trials—a verdict of Not guilty was recorded by his peers, and Westminster Hall rang with the cheers of a delighted multitude, unable to control their joy at so very exceptional an event. (fn. 139)
The truth is, other considerations than mere justice influenced not only the prosecution, but in all probability the verdict also. Dacre was known to be no friend of Anne Boleyn, who was anxious to secure his conviction because he favored the cause of Katharine. The lords, on the other hand, trembled for their own personal safety if, after the precedent of Buckingham, they were expected from time to time to sacrifice one of their own order to appease the jealousy and suspicion of a Court now ruled by a far more dangerous influence than it had been in the days of Wolsey. The acquittal of Dacre was, in this way, a distinct blow to the power and credit of Anne Boleyn. (fn. 140)
In Ireland matters had long been in a very unsatisfactory condition. The earl of Kildare, who had procured the recall of Skeffington and taken his place as Deputy in 1532, was giving cause for much uneasiness. Dublin was like an English settlement in a hostile country almost cut off from supplies. A humorous letter written from that city in September 1533 speaks of the inhabitants as exhibiting a marked increase of religious devotion, for they not only abstained from flesh on Wednesdays as they had always been used to do, but every day from Monday to Thursday. But the reason was there was no flesh to be had. All the butchers in Dublin, the writer averred, had not meat enough in their shops to make one mess of brose. The only animal food to be got was white meat, except in the archbishop of Dublin's household, where they had their own stock kept for the supply of the Archbishop's table. In the suburbs of St. Thomas's one butcher had been plundered of 220 kine, (fn. 141) and no purveyor durst ride a mile into the country to buy provisions. When complaint was made to the Deputy about these things he was deaf; but whoever expected him to hear? Letters had come from the King himself, desiring his presence in England; but they only caused him to remove the King's ordnance out of Dublin Castle into his own country, where he employed it in fortifying his own strongholds, while he sent his wife to make his excuses to the King, feigning sickness and other impediments which were evidently mere pretences. (fn. 142)
He had been twice in prison already, and must have known pretty well what awaited him if he should comply with the King's command. Skeffington, the late lord Deputy, was ordered to intercept him on his passage through England; (fn. 143) but weeks and months passed away, and the year 1533 came to its close, and still there was no sign of Kildare obeying: the summons. There was some talk of sending the duke of Richmond with an army into Wales ready to cross to Ireland if it was found necessary. (fn. 44) At the beginning of the new year it was rumored that he had eluded the King's vigilance and gone to Scotland. (fn. 145) Little doubt was entertained that he was at all events quite ready to rebel along with his kinsman Desmond. (fn. 146) The suspicion, however, seems to have been unfounded. By the month of April he had actually come to England—by what persuasions moved does not appear. He reached London, in appearance at least a free man, and no restraint was put upon him for some time after his arrival. He was, however, ill in body and mind, suffering from a harquebus wound which he had received some time before, and it was soon perceived that he was not likely to recover. (fn. 147) His commission as Deputy does not seem to have been revoked till his arrival in London,—at least it is only about that period that we find from Cromwell's memoranda the question who should be his successor first came before the Council. (fn. 148) Meanwhile efforts were made to induce his son, lord Thomas Fitzgerald, to come over to England also; but when it was known that the young man positively refused to put himself in the King's power the father was at length committed to the Tower. (fn. 149)
Lord Thomas, indeed, had done rather more than refuse. He had terminated some little misunderstanding with the earl of Desmond, and openly repudiated his allegiance. Along with his paternal uncles he had ravaged the country about Dublin, declaring that he took the Pope's part against the King, and all that took the King's part were accursed. (fn. 150) This sentiment appears to have been carefully promoted by refugee friars from England, and to have added no small strength to the rebellion. The Geraldines also boasted that they were to have the aid of 12.000 Spaniards. (fn. 151) The news of these things was in itself a plausible justification of Kildare's imprisonment; but his imprisonment added fuel to the flames. The rebellion grew more formidable every day. Lord Thomas Fitzgerald became for a time the actual ruler of Ireland, and gave orders that by a certain day all the English should quit the country on pain of death. The archbishop of Dublin, late chancellor of Ireland, had sailed for England. He was driven back upon the coast, and fell into the hands of lord Thomas, who put him and all his company to death, except two wealthy persons who paid a ransom. (fn. 152)
Never had there been such a serious blow inflicted on the King s authority in Ireland. It was to be feared disaffection would spread to England also; but Henry dissembled his feelings, and caused false reports to be spread, that the magnitude of the disaster might not be appreciated. Lord chancellor Audeley was not ashamed to declare publicly that lord Thomas had sued for pardon. The truth was, the King had been only too anxious that he should accept it. Promises were made to him in abundance, but all in vain. Deliverance of his father, and pardon not only for his own rebellion, but also for the Archbishop's murder, were freely offered him, but he refused all terms. The English Council scarcely knew what to do. A special meeting which had been arranged to consider the Irish crisis did not come off owing to the diversity of opinions. The duke of Norfolk, whose experience of the country ought to have made his opinion valuable, was anxious to avoid responsibility, and contrived to absent himself from Court just at the appointed time. His advice had been neglected in the past, and he threw upon Cromwell the responsibility for all the disasters. His policy had been to conciliate the Geraldines, but he was overruled by Skeffington and Cromwell. The course ultimately taken was the inevitable result of these complications in the past. Skeffington was again sent over to Ireland as lord Deputy to face the consequences of his own policy, and he addressed himself, unwillingly enough, to a task that seemed almost hopeless. (fn. 153)
He passed into Wales, or at least as far as Chester, (fn. 154) but remained for some time upon the coast, unwilling to cross without reinforcements, which the King ordered to be raised as secretly as possible, not to spread alarm in England. The news from Ireland, in fact, was so bad that the Court weakly endeavoured to suppress it altogether, giving orders that no one should speak of the affairs of that country at all, lest it should create disturbance. The earl of Kildare, meanwhile, died in the Tower, and disconcerted the plans of those who thought his son might be induced to accept a pardon. in the hope of seeing him at liberty. There was little enough ground for believing that they were right in any case. Lord Thomas had just gained a great victory over the King's forces and slain more than 1,500 of the King's men. Skeffington himself had written more than once since he left London that he was undone if he crossed the Channel. But cross he inevitably must, and on the 14th October he at length set sail. Two days later he was anchoring under Lambay Island, a few miles north of Dublin, and received news that the city and castle of Dublin were in the power of the enemy. The report was not strictly true, but numerous letters soon reached the ship, imploring the new Deputy to come to the aid of the citizens. Skeffington called a council, the result of which was that Sir William Brereton and John Salisbury were allowed to land and proceed to Dublin if they found it safe, while the Deputy and the rest of the fleet were to go on to Waterford. Brereton and Salisbury made their entry into Dublin in safety, and received a hearty welcome from the mayor, who, however, showed them that they had been driven to take truce with lord Thomas for six weeks, or. condition that they should obtain his pardon of the King and his appointment as lord Deputy besides, or else surrender the city. The covenant, they said, had been broken on his side almost as soon as it was struck, for he had burnt the corn of the prior of Kilmainham the very might after Brereton's landing; but he had taken three pledges of the best men in Dublin, and had sixteen sons and heirs of some of their best men as hostages, so that it would seem they were greatly at a disadvantage. (fn. 155)
As the wind would not serve to convey Skeffington and the fleet to Waterford, he after a few days abandoned the intention, and yielded to the wishes of the citizens of Dublin that he would land there instead. His landing seems to have produced considerable effect. Lord Thomas had already retired some distance from the city, and as Skeffington moved out to pursue him he shifted from place to place. Skeffington caused him to be proclaimed a traitor at the high cross at Drogheda, and took measures to have a sentence of excommunication issued against him for the murder of archbishop Allen,—a step in which there was necessarily some delay in consequence of the See being void. (fn. 156) He then sent a detachment on an expedition through the counties of Kildare and Carlow to Waterford, where he himself meant originally to have landed. The enemy did not care to molest them, but turned northwards to ravage Trim and Dunboyne; while, further north still, O' Neil invaded and laid waste the lands of the baron of Slane and the modern county of Louth. The bolder spirits in Dublin felt indignant that Skeffington made no attempt to punish these outrages. The rebels were but a contemptible band, without an archer among them, nor had they any artillery, yet the Deputy would scarcely permit his army to quit Dublin, and in fact made a dishonorable truce while he might have effectually broken their power. If matters were to go on like this, it was said, the King had better pardon lord Thomas at once to save further outlay. The new Deputy was too old and too much troubled by illness to prosecute the war with vigor. (fn. 157)
I must not conclude without expressing once more my acknowledgments for Mr. Martin's continued assistance in this work, and also for Mr. Brodie's useful services, especially in the preparation of the Index.