Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 2, 1509-1525. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1866.
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The plan of this volume differs in one essential point from that of the one preceding. The Calendar of the Spanish correspondence relating to England during the reign of King Henry VII. aimed at completeness without respect to the archives or libraries in which the documents are preserved. This Calendar, on the contrary, is restricted to such State Papers as are to be found in Spain and in that portion of the Imperial archives at Paris which formerly belonged to Simancas, and forms now, under the designation of Papiers de Simancas, a separate collection in the great repository of French State Papers. The archives and collections from which this volume has been compiled are the following :—
1, the Archives at Simancas ;
2, the National Library in Madrid ;
3, the Archives of the Royal Academy of History in Madrid ; (fn. 1)
4, the Collections of Don Pascual de Gayangos in Madrid ;
5, the Archives of the Crown of Aragon in Barcelona ;
6, the Imperial Archives in Paris.
The Simancas papers in Paris have been re-arranged since I examined them. The marginal references in my Calendar will, therefore, not always correspond to the places which the documents at present occupy. As they, however, are placed in a chronological order, the reader who wishes to consult the originals will have no great difficulty in finding them. I think it my duty to mention that, when I was examining the Spanish documents in the Imperial archives, I found amongst them a dozen or two of State Papers relating to English history, which, judging by their contents, do not seem to belong to that collection. I have, nevertheless, mentioned them, as I was afraid lest they might hereafter be overlooked had I left them unnoticed.
The collection of Don Pascual de Gayangos is a private one, and it might be supposed that it deserved less credit than papers preserved in national archives. I have, therefore, gone into the question of their authenticity in a particularly scrupulous manner. I was the better enabled to do so as Don Pascual permitted me, with almost unexampled liberality, to take that portion of his extremely valuable collection in which I was interested with me to Simancas, where I had the best opportunity of carefully comparing his papers with those which are preserved in the archives. The result of my minute examination is, that I am perfectly convinced that the collection of Don Pascual consists of genuine State Papers, written by the princes, ministers, and secretaries of the period to which they relate. The paper, the handwriting, and the seals are identical with the paper, the handwriting, and the seals of the corresponding documents in the archives at Simancas, at Paris, and of the Royal Academy of History in Madrid. Duplicates of papers in the collection of Don Pascual de Gayangos are not seldom to be found in the national depositories. Moreover, ciphered despatches are sometimes in the possession of Don Pascual, the decipherings of which, made by the secretaries of state, are in the public archives ; whilst, on the other hand, Don Pascual possesses decipherings, made by the secretaries of state, of which the originals in cipher are at Simancas or in the Royal Academy of History in Madrid. From these and several other circumstances it is clear that the State Papers in possession of Don Pascual de Gayangos, and those which have remained undisturbed in the public archives, formed at one period but one collection. Had I met with transcripts, I should have hesitated to admit them into my Calendar. That portion of the collection of Don Pascual which I have seen consists, however, only of original documents.
The number of State Papers, still preserved in Spain, which relate to the period of King Henry VIII. being enormous, the choice as to which of the documents were to be mentioned in my Calendar, and which were to be rejected, offered considerable difficulty. At first sight this question seems to admit of an easy decision. All despatches written from or to England, and, in addition to them, those State Papers or passages in which England is mentioned, ought to be admitted, and all other documents, whatever their contents ought to be excluded. Such a simple rule would to some extent have answered the purpose for the period of King Henry VII. He had, during the greater part of his reign, confined his energies principally to the home affairs of England.
But his son adopted from the beginning of his reign an opposite policy. Ambitious and incautious, he rather courted than evaded diplomatic complications. Interested as an active party in all the great state transactions of the Continent, the line of conduct which Henry VIII. was likely to adopt was taken into account by the governments of Europe, and he would have exposed himself to severe censure had he not in all measures of foreign policy considered whether the general state of politics rendered them feasible or impossible, beneficial or detrimental. These and many other equally important questions cannot be answered from the correspondence of foreign courts with the English Government, in which, naturally enough, every scheme was presented under the most favourable colour. We must look to those State Papers which were not intended to reach England, and in which the truth concerning the circumstances which King Henry took into account or ought to have taken into account is stated. They relate essentially to English history, quite independently of the question whether, according to the technical rules of the archives, they constitute the correspondence with Rome or with France, and whether the name of England is mentioned in them or not. I will give one example. The reader will find in this volume (fn. 2) a memoir of the Privy Council of the Emperor, in which Charles is strongly advised to marry a Portuguese Infanta. Not an allusion is made to England. If we, however, bear in mind that this memoir was written when the Emperor was about to conclude the treaty of marriage with the Princess Mary of England, we learn from that document that the Imperial advisers were not in favour of the English matrimonial alliance, and that the Emperor himself, most probably from the very beginning, intended to break his promise.
Whenever I thought that a document in which England was not mentioned was nevertheless necessary rightly to understand the history of England, I have mentioned it in my Calendar. The number of such documents is, however, small. Fully aware of my responsibility, I have departed from the general rule only in cases of absolute necessity.
A calendar may be made in such a manner that the abstracts contained in it refer the reader in a few words to the documents, or it may embody in a condensed form all the contents of the documents, so that the student in exceptional cases only is expected to read the State Papers themselves. Both methods have their advantages and their disadvantages. It is, however, not necessary to enter here into this question, as I have adopted the last-mentioned method, not on general principle, but from special reasons. By far the greatest portion of the documents noticed in this Calendar are written in Spanish ; not such Spanish as men of letters wrote at the beginning of the 16th century, but such as state officers, men of business, secretaries, and soldiers were accustomed to pen down under the pressure of business. It is very far from being always clear. In spite of my long acquaintance with this kind of writing, I have often been obliged to read documents over and over again before I was able to understand them. Giving a fuller account of these, I believe I spare the historian a considerable amount of very tedious work. Another consideration was that the reader would scarcely be satisfied if I referred him to documents which are preserved in so far distant a country as Spain. Many of the papers, it is true, are copied ; but a not inconsiderable portion of them have been accessible to me only by special favour, and under circumstances which excluded the idea of depositing full transcripts from them in public archives. All these reasons induced me to make the abstracts not shorter than was compatible with such a degree of completeness that the Calendar can, to some extent, be made use of without consulting the documents.
I must add a few words on the ciphered despatches, in as far as they relate to this volume. Of the many hundreds of still undeciphered State Papers which belong to the later period of the reign of King Henry VIII., I reserve it to myself to speak in one of the forthcoming volumes. Very few despatches in cipher, of which the original deciphering is not extant, relate to the earlier years of the reign of King Henry. But many of the original decipherings are incorrect, and even unintelligible. It was necessary to complete them where words and even sentences were omitted, and to correct them from the originals in cipher where they contain errors of the decipherer. This work has been done by Don Manuel de Goicoechea, by Mr. Paul Friedmann, and by myself. Don Manuel is the keeper of the archives of the Royal Academy of History in Madrid, and Mr. Paul Friedmann is a German gentleman who has rendered me very valuable services during several years in my labours in Simancas and other archives. It is scarcely necessary to add that I take upon myself the responsibility for the correctness of their decipherings.
The first document mentioned in this volume was written before the death of King Henry VII. was known in Spain. It is an instruction to a new ambassador whom King Ferdinand intended to send to England, containing a detailed account of the state of public affairs as they then were.
The Princess Katharine had been contracted in marriage to Prince Henry, and the Archduke Charles had been betrothed to the Princess Mary. King Henry opposed the consummation of the marriage between his son and the Princess Katharine, whilst King Ferdinand refused to ratify the treaty of marriage between his grandson and the Princess Mary. Both kings were influenced by very similar considerations. King Ferdinand distrusted the King of England, and apparently not without reason. King Henry had favoured the pretensions of King Philip when he went to Spain, in order to wrest the government of Castile from the hands of his father-in-law. He had sided with the Emperor, who pretended that he, being the paternal grandfather of the heir to the throne, was entitled to govern that country. King Henry had endeavoured to contract a marriage with the insane Queen Juana, for no other purpose than to obtain thereby a right to claim the administration of Castile for himself. He had not strictly confined his negotiations to the Catholic King, but also entertained secret intelligence with discontented subjects. (fn. 3) The marriage of the heir apparent to the crown of Castile with a daughter of King Henry raised, under such circumstances, the well-founded suspicion in the breast of King Ferdinand that his "good brother of England" would make a pretext of it to meddle in the affairs of Castile. He therefore refused to ratify the treaty. King Henry, on the other hand, was afraid lest the Catholic King would gain more influence in England than was compatible with a peaceful government, if the Princess Katharine had become the wife of the heir apparent of England. His suspicion was as well founded as that of King Ferdinand ; for the Catholic King had acted with respect to Prince Henry in a very unscrupulous manner. Whilst he was on the worst possible terms with the King, he accredited his ambassador to the Prince, and offered to place his person and all the resources of his kingdom at his disposal, if he wished to make use of them. (fn. 4) For what purpose could an heir apparent make use of the army and navy of a sovereign who was almost at war with his father? There is no doubt that King Ferdinand was open to the suspicion of having attempted to stir thoughts of treason and rebellion in the breast of the Prince of Wales. It is probable that King Henry was not aware how far King Ferdinand had gone ; but that he feared the influence of the Catholic King and the Spanish party on his son can scarcely be doubted, if we remember how vigilantly he watched him, and how carefully he evaded every occasion on which Prince Henry could have seen his betrothed bride. That he, under such circumstances, objected to the consummation of the marriage is but what could be expected from him.
The quarrel between the two kings grew more acrimonious when King Ferdinand learnt that the King of England refused to send the Princess Katharine back to Spain. Open threats of war had been made, and actual hostilities would probably have begun, had the King of France not calmed King Ferdinand with the judicious observation that it would have been unreasonable to go to war, as the whole dispute would soon be satisfactorily settled by the imminent death of the King of England. (fn. 5)
When King Henry died, on the 21st of April 1509, the whole aspect of affairs was suddenly changed. A marriage between Prince Charles and the Princess Mary was no longer dangerous to the tranquillity of Spain ; and if a matrimonial alliance of the young King of England with the Princess Katharine was really calculated to increase his power, there was no longer a suspicious father to be afraid of it. King Ferdinand may have preferred a Portuguese matrimonial alliance for his grandson, or a marriage with the Princess of Bohemia ; but the principal thing was that no immediate danger was attached to the English match. As Prince Charles had scarcely completed the ninth year of his age, King Ferdinand could trust to time, and felt tolerably sure to find more than one pretext for breaking off the engagement before the betrothal could become an indissoluble sacrament.
The news of so welcome an event as the death of King Henry VII. was longer in reaching Spain than might reasonably be expected. First a courier arrived from Flanders, who had met in France another Spanish courier, who came from England, and informed him that King Henry was dead. The courier from England was, however, not travelling on the direct road to Spain, but in the direction of Lyons. Thus King Ferdinand remained in uncertainty whether his adversary was dead or still alive. Time was precious under these circumstances. He therefore did not wait for the arrival of positive news, but sent instructions to the Knight Commander of Membrilla and to the Princess herself, ordering them not to lose a moment, and to have the marriage ceremonies performed immediately. He ratified at the same time the treaty of marriage between Prince Charles and the Princess Mary, behaving on the money questions, which had for so long a time been debated, in a liberal manner. Although the great obstacles to the marriage of the Princess Katharine had been removed, King Ferdinand was afraid lest things which were small in themselves might obstruct it. The Spanish party in England was very far from living in harmony and good understanding with each other. The ambassador and the confessor were the two most influential persons near the Princess. They were mortal enemies. The Princess herself, who was by no means so soft and gentle a young lady as she has often been depicted, was quarrelling with the Knight Commander of Membrilla, as she had quarrelled with all his predecessors. She had behaved uncourteously to the bankers Grimaldi, and offended them, though they were to pay her dower. John Stile, the English ambassador in Spain, had sent unfavourable reports to his master, and the English councillors could not be trusted. King Ferdinand and his ever faithful secretary, Almazan, did all that was in their power to prevent the marriage from wrecking in the last hour on one of these petty difficulties. They implored the Princess to reconcile herself with the ambassador, and to be amiable with the bankers. They admonished the Knight Commander to suffer in silent resignation even the greatest injustice from the Princess, to do his duty, and not to complain, "for God's sake," to any person in England. Great reward was promised him if he succeeded in his mission ; and utter misery and ruin, he was told, was to be his future if he should be unsuccessful. John Stile was ordered into the presence of King Ferdinand. He promised henceforth to send only favourable reports to England, and in particular to recommend the marriage. As for the English councillors, there was only one remedy if they should prove refractory—money. King Ferdinand ordered his ambassadors to use it freely, and, if necessary, to corrupt the advisers of the young King. (fn. 6)
So much solicitude had been superfluous. The courier who was the bearer of the despatches of the King and of the Secretary had scarcely left when a messenger from the ambassador in England arrived with letters dated the 23rd and 27th of April. They contained not only the positive news that King Henry VII. was dead, but also the information that the marriage between King Henry VIII. and the Princess Katharine was arranged, and that its consummation would take place as soon as the dower should be paid. (fn. 7) On the 3rd of June the Princess Katharine was wedded in St. Paul's to the new King.
She had undergone humiliation and hardships of the most cruel kind. She had fought many a battle to obtain his hand. Had she not loved him success alone would have been a great satisfaction for her. But there is no doubt that Queen Katharine loved King Henry, and that she was beloved by him at that time. Her expressions of satisfaction and endearment were not false. When she had miscarried with her first child she was full of sorrow and grief, but the affection of King Henry consoled her. "I thank God and your Highness," she wrote to her father on that occasion, "for such a husband as I have." (fn. 8) Henry was not only a loving husband, but also a dutiful son-in-law. Both King Ferdinand and King Henry seemed never to be tired of expressions of paternal affection on the one side and filial obedience on the other side. The Catholic King knew full well how to speak with great warmth on matrimonial love. "A good marriage," he wrote on the 13th of September 1509 to his daughter, "is not only a good thing in itself, but the source of all other kinds of happiness. God shows His favour to good husbands and wives." (fn. 9) Even the two kingdoms seemed to participate in the general bliss. The young King wrote to Spain that the people of England were contented and quiet, and had never before on any occasion been so enthusiastic as at his wedding. King Ferdinand and Almazan wrote to England that in Spain there were peace, justice, order, and plenty. I am sorry that I cannot dwell longer on these moments of happiness in the lives of a King and a Queen who suffered so much in after life, and one of whom inflicted so much misery on others. But letters of contented lovers and good sons offer little scope for an historian, and much less for a mere calendarer. I should therefore dismiss this subject, were it not for one circumstance, which was little heeded at that time, but grew into great importance at a later period. A letter of the Spanish ambassador in England to King Ferdinand, which is not extant, had contained certain references to scruples of conscience about the lawfulness of a marriage with the widow of a deceased brother. They do not appear to have been entertained by the King of England, or the Princess, or the Privy Council. It seems that the Spanish confessor of the Princess was the person who gave expression to them. King Ferdinand at once overruled them, assuring the King of England that the marriage was perfectly lawful as the Pope had given his dispensation. He added that King Henry would even commit a sin if he were to break off the engagement to which he was pledged. The King of Portugal, he added, had married two sisters, and was living cheerfully and happily, blest with a numerous offspring. He admonished King Henry and the Princess to follow the example of the King and Queen of Portugal, and expressed his hope that they would beget many children, and live in happiness to the end of their lives. (fn. 10) As for the confessor, King Ferdinand made short work of him ; he ordered the ambassador to send him back immediately to Spain. The scruples do not seem to have been deeprooted. Archbishop Warham, who is recorded by English writers to have shared the opinions of the Spanish confessor, officiated a few days later at the wedding.
The rich reward which the Knight Commander of Membrilla earned was that, as soon as the Princess Katharine was married, he was suspended from his functions as ambassador, not because he had committed any error, but simply because the young Queen hated him. Queen Katharine was herself accredited as diplomatic agent at the court of her husband until Luis Caroz, the new ambassador, was sent from Spain. This irregular measure was not without significance. It indicated that King Ferdinand regarded King Henry too much as his son, and was inclined to forget that his son-in-law was an independent sovereign.
On the 17th of July 1509, that is to say, a short time after the marriage, King Henry wrote to his father-in-law, saying that he was amusing himself in jousting, hunting, birding, and other innocent and honest pastimes, sometimes visiting different parts of his kingdom, but never, on that account, neglecting the affairs of state. Luis Caroz entertained a different opinion. He stated that the young King attended most assiduously to his amusements, but neglected his duties as a king. Nor does that seem to have been the private opinion of the Spanish ambassador only. The Bishops of Winchester and Durham had complained that the King was entirely absorbed by his amusements. They suggested to Caroz that King Ferdinand should remind Henry of his duties. (fn. 11)
Contradictory as these statements apparently are, they were probably both true, the difference consisting in what the opposing parties understood by such expressions as duties of a king and affairs of state. If the ambassador and the bishops expected that the young King should earnestly take part in the despatch of real business, they were perfectly right in complaining that he neglected his duties. King Henry looked, however, in a different way on affairs of state. He saw only the bright and easy side attached to his high position. Ceremonies of state, audiences given to foreign ambassadors, living in a grand style, seemed to him all that a king had to do. That he did not neglect these lighter duties we have sufficient proof in the Spanish correspondence. He did even more ; he was tolerably well informed with respect to the outlines of public affairs. He was, thus, not altogether unable to converse with a foreign ambassador about a treaty or a war. As he contented himself with a superficial view, and thought it irksome to enter into long debates about the reasons for or against a certain measure, or about its probable consequences, he did not raise many difficulties of detail, and quickly expressed his assent or dissent.
Whilst the ambassadors spoke in terms of high commendation of the rapidity with which the King arrived at his decisions, they complained in the most bitter terms of the intolerable slowness of the councillors, who set up petty difficulties at every stage of the negotiations. There is no doubt that they were obliged to look the more deeply into the business the more superficially the King had treated it ; but there seems to have been an additional reason for their tardiness. The reader will remember that during the reign of King Henry VII. the Spanish ambassadors complained that the French showed their goodwill towards the English statesmen not only "by words but also by deeds." Doctor de Puebla, the most devoted admirer of the late King, was the foremost in denouncing the corruption of the Privy Council. This practice increased during the reign of King Henry VIII. It was so manifest that a Spanish ambassador could dare to speak with the King without any disguise on the subject. He complained that the privy councillors sold all secrets of state to the French, asking King Henry to tell him with which of them he could transact business which regarded France without the risk of being betrayed. The King was not offended. He advised the ambassador to speak on secret matters to no one but to the Bishop of Winchester. The phrase, however, with which he coupled his advice shows that he could not vouch for the honesty of even this his most faithful servant. "His name is Fox," the King added, "and people think that a fox he is." (fn. 12)
Honesty of statesmen in general was certainly not great at the period here under review. It would, however, be a mistake to suppose that the administrations of all countries were equally corrupt. The first place with respect to corruption was occupied by the Court of Rome. All persons who held offices of trust or possessed influence otherwise, from the cardinals down to the valets de chambre and the scribes, were bought by foreign governments. Switzerland was corrupt. The courtiers and officers of Prince Charles, as long as his administration was restricted to Flanders, had a reputation of being particularly accessible to the influence of money. The ministers of the Emperor Maximilian were often in the pay of foreign sovereigns ; and the German princes could not boast of any degree of integrity. As for England, the long lists of pensions, or, in other words, of corruption money, to be found in this Calendar and in other State Papers, do not permit us to except her from the number of corrupted administrations. But France was not corrupt, in as far as her foreign policy was concerned. Her statesmen sold favours to French subjects or to other private persons in a scandalous manner, and were by no means trusty administrators of the public funds ; but they were not in the pay of foreign princes. To the servants of King Ferdinand a higher praise is due in this respect. With the exception of some isolated facts, for the most part connected with the Inquisition, no traces of corruption are to be found, not only in those State Papers which are mentioned in this Calendar, but also in the thousands of other documents which I have examined. After Prince Charles had ascended the throne of Spain and been elected Emperor, corruption by foreign potentates almost disappeared from amongst his statesmen, although many of them had been his servants in the venal administration of Flanders.
The reason why some governments were more and others less corrupt is not to be sought for in the higher or lower state of morality in the different countries. It was of a purely political nature. The public servants of a state of first rank did not sell themselves to foreign princes, because they were carrying out plans which they had originated themselves. If France, for instance, decided upon conquering Milan and Naples or the whole of Italy, no other prince would have offered a French statesman the smallest sum of money for executing such a plan. They would gladly have paid them the greatest bribes for abandoning their schemes, if it had not been impossible even for the most influential minister to oppose measures which the King and the nation regarded as conducive to the greatness for which, they thought, they were predestined. Moreover, men who were entirely absorbed in forming and carrying out great plans may have been guilty of heinous crimes, but they have at all times been less accessible to mere considerations of money. In a state of inferior rank the contrary reasons produced naturally the opposite effects. The ministers of a secondary state were rarely the originators of great political plans, but they were eagerly sought for by the great powers as allies. Their line of policy was not so clearly defined. The advantages of an alliance of a second-rate power with France might have been nearly equal to those of a league with King Ferdinand. Ministers, even if not omnipotent, had it therefore in their power to exercise more or less influence on questions of foreign policy, and it was in a period of lax morality natural that bribes were offered to them, and that they not always refused to accept them.
The ministers of the Kings of France, of King Ferdinand, and of the Emperor Charles were comparatively untainted by corruption, because these princes took the lead in the political affairs of Europe. The ministers of the Emperor Maximilian and of King Henry could be bought, because their masters were, though powerful, not rulers of first rank.
Another characteristic of English statesmen was, according to the Spanish State Papers, a propensity to exaggeration. I will mention two instances. The short war of King Ferdinand with the Moors in Africa was, as he himself confessed, only a pretext for assembling an army which it might become necessary to employ against France. When he obtained some insignificant victories on the African coast the English magnified them, and imagined that he would soon conquer the "whole of Africa." (fn. 13) Richard Pace accompanied the Duke of Bourbon as English commissioner during the first invasion of Provence. If we can trust the Imperial ambassador in Rome, the letters which Pace sent to that city were full of the grossest exaggeration. When the invading army obtained some advantages, he stated that the enterprise was successful beyond all expectation, the whole of France having already been conquered. When Bourbon met with his first reverses, Pace wrote that all was ruined and the army lost. (fn. 14) Queen Katharine, speaking in general of the character of the English, observed that there was no people in the world more influenced by good or bad success. "A small advantage rendered them overbearing, and a little adversity made them despondent." (fn. 15)
The position of King Henry VIII., in as far as his relations with Spain were concerned, was, therefore, not a favourable one. On the one side we find a self-indulgent and inexperienced prince, with corrupted ministers ; on the other side an eminently experienced, unscrupulous, enterprising, and at the same time cautious sovereign, at the head of a comparatively pure administration : the young King of England placing unlimited confidence in the Catholic King, whom he regarded as his "true father ;" the Catholic King looking upon all other princes only in the light of instruments for carrying out his plans.
When King Henry, in the spring of the year 1521, advised Pope Leo X. to remain neutral in the war between the Emperor and the King of France, the Pope answered that the King of England might remain neutral if he liked, as his kingdom was surrounded by the sea, but that he did not enjoy such a privilege, as the Papal states were not an island. (fn. 16) This great natural advantage of England over all the states of the continent could not be foregone by any shortcoming of the King and his advisers.
Before I speak of the negotiations between England and Spain, I must give a short sketch of the political plans of King Ferdinand. They cannot be learnt from published documents and histories, whilst without knowing them it is impossible rightly to understand the real significance of the events which took place in the period intervening between the accession of Henry VIII. and the death of the Catholic King.
King Ferdinand had been hampered during the earlier years of his reign, first by Queen Isabella, then by King Philip, and after the death of King Philip by the Emperor Maximilian and Henry VII. Queen Isabella had been the sovereign of Castile in her own right, and King Philip, the Emperor, and King Henry had either openly claimed or clandestinely striven to obtain the government of that kingdom, in the name of the insane Queen Juana, or her son, Prince Charles, who was a mere child. Queen Isabella and King Philip died before Henry VII. ; and soon after the death of the latter, King Ferdinand arranged his disputes with the Emperor in the treaty of Blois. No longer threatened in the government of Spain, he was at liberty to dedicate all his energies to an attempt to carry out his great plans of European policy.
When he married Queen Isabella the passes of the mountains which form a natural barrier against aggressions from the north were in the possession of the French and of the King of Navarra, who, although in theory an independent sovereign, relied in fact for his safety on France. At the time of the death of Henry VII. the mountain passes on the Mediterranean side of the Pyrenees had, by the acquisition of the counties of Cerdaña and Roussillon, come into the hands of King Ferdinand.
But the kingdom of Naples, which had been added to the Spanish dominions, was exposed to the attacks of the French, who claimed one half of it, and were always ready to appropriate to themselves the whole. Naples was separated from France by more than one half of the length of Italy ; but the smaller Italian states were too weak to render any serious resistance, and too fickle to be counted upon as friends or as foes by King Ferdinand. Spain, too, was ill protected on the side of the Atlantic Ocean. The route from Bayonne by Irun to Vitoria and Bilbao was in the power of Spain. But there was another mountain pass, from St. Jean de Pié de Port to Pamplona, which was under the control of the King of Navarra. The French had it, therefore, in their power to enter Navarra by this route, and once established in that kingdom to surprise Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon, or Burgos, one of the capitals of Castile, cutting off the Biscayan provinces from the rest of the monarchy.
To render Spain secure from such a surprise it was necessary to bring the mountain passes of Navarra under the control of Spain, or, in other words, to conquer Navarra, and Bearn also if possible. If that were done a sudden invasion of Spain would be impossible, as the long mountain ridge which stretched from Navarra to the county of Cerdaña was utterly impassable for an army.
The best way to render Naples secure seemed to King Ferdinand to be, that a great kingdom in the north of Italy should be formed, powerful enough to prevent the French from marching their armies to the south. Another advantage, of incomparably greater importance, would have been attached to the formation of such a kingdom. It would have facilitated a politically advantageous division of the great Austro-Spanish inheritance between Prince Charles and the Infante Ferdinand. It is not necessary to remind the reader of the importance of this division. It was to give to Europe her political features for centuries to come. If the question was of the greatest importance, it was not less difficult. The inheritance consisted of the kingdom of Aragon, with its dependencies of Sicily, Naples, Sardinia, Corsica, Majorca, Minorca, and some smaller islands ; of Castile and the newly-discovered countries in America ; of the Burgundian states, that is to say, the Netherlands, Alsatia, and the county of Burgundy ; of the five Austrian principalities, and the Imperial purple. Prince Charles, being the first-born, was the lawful heir in Aragon, Castile, and the Burgundian dominions, all which states were to be his undivided inheritance.
It is generally stated that King Ferdinand intended to leave the crown of Aragon to his favourite grandson, the Infante Ferdinand. Had he ever harboured such an intention he would have shown thereby that he was a politician of very inferior rank. No greater misfortune could have befallen Spain than such a division. Had Prince Charles been deprived of his right of inheritance in Aragon, he would most probably, as soon as he had ascended the throne of Castile, have tried to make good his claims on the neighbouring kingdom. He could have counted in such a case on a numerous political party amongst the Aragonese themselves. All those who were in favour of a lawful succession would have been his supporters. An intestine war, headed by two rival brothers, would have been the inevitable consequence. King Ferdinand was never guilty of conceiving such a political crime. The union of Castile and Aragon, he declared, was his work, and he would never consent that it should be undone. The Emperor Maximilian, who, though by no means an incapable statesman, was liable often to commit great blunders, had in fact proposed such a division in the year 1513. King Ferdinand, however, answered that he would negotiate with the Emperor on all other subjects, but that he would never suffer that so nefarious a plan should be even mentioned in his presence. Numerous documents are to be found in this volume which entirely forbid the idea of King Ferdinand entertaining the intention of leaving the crown of Aragon to the Infante Ferdinand. (fn. 17)
Excluded from the inheritance in Spain and the Burgundian dominions, the Infante Ferdinand had an undisputed right to the inheritance of one half of the five Austrian principalities. As the Imperial dignity was not hereditary, but depended on election, he could also enter the list of candidates for the crown of the Emperors. But the division of the Austrian dominions, and consequently the weakening of the power of the house of Austria, would have been not only a disadvantage to the Spanish-Austrian dynasty, but also a calamity for the whole Christian community. As the Turks were rapidly encroaching on that side of Europe, it was more desirable to form a powerful empire on the banks of the Danube than to enfeeble still more the states which already existed. The best occasion for founding a mighty empire offered itself. Ladislaus II., King of Bohemia and Hungary, had only one son, Lewis, who was so delicate in health that no issue was expected from him. In case that he should die without children, his sister, the Princess Anne, was the heiress of both kingdoms. Her father was easily persuaded to marry her to the heir of the Austrian principalities. Bohemia, Austria, and Hungary, if united, would be by no means a contemptible state. Which of the two brothers was, then, to be its King, and which was to be excluded? Charles, the first-born, was naturally to be the Emperor. But if Charles was to be the Emperor, he would have had a difficult position in the Empire if he owned not a single principality in it. Thus King Ferdinand decided that Prince Charles was to be also the heir in Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary. Such an arrangement was, however, only possible if the Infante Ferdinand was otherwise indemnified.
The Italian kingdom was to form this indemnity. It was to consist of Genoa, Pavia, Milan, and the Venetian territories on the mainland. The county of the Tyrol, being the most southern of the Austrian dominions, could, without sensibly weakening the projected empire, be divided from it and added to the Italian kingdom. Stretching from the Mediterranean to the Adriatic Sea, and from the Gulf of Spezia to the Lake of Constance, it would have been a splendid endowment for a younger son of the greatest family on earth. As aggrandized Austria was expected to be strong enough to resist the Turks, so King Ferdinand thought the Italian kingdom would be powerful enough to prevent the French from overrunning Italy. There was a very well-founded prospect that it could be still further enlarged afterwards, and it was more than once in question to add Naples to it, and the smaller Italian states would easily have fallen a prey to their powerful neighbour. Moreover, King Ferdinand thought that it would be a service rendered to the Catholic religion and to the peace of Europe if the Church were thoroughly reformed. What he understood by a thorough reformation of the Church he has never positively stated ; but it is highly probable, from the circumstances under which he gave utterance to his reforming propensities, that the thoroughly reformed Church of Rome would have found herself deprived of her temporal power.
The state of public affairs in Europe was not unfavourable to the execution of the plan of King Ferdinand. Spain, France, and the Emperor were leagued against Venice. Her territories on the mainland were to be taken from her. Milan, Pavia, and Genoa had for some time past been the subjects of contention between the great princes of Europe. None of them had been able to form a stable government. They might, therefore, be expected to be less unwilling to abandon their claims. The pretensions of minor princes, such as the Sforzas and others, could, certainly, not offer any difficulty if the great powers had agreed on a measure.
As the whole scheme was greatly in favour of the house of Austria, the approval of the Emperor did not seem to be doubtful. But the same reasons which might be expected to induce the Emperor to give his assent to the plan were most likely to determine the King of France to oppose it. France had the greatest interest to prevent the house of Austria from growing stronger than it was. King Ferdinand, therefore, decided upon forcing unwilling France to consent to his plan. So much pressure was to be brought to bear on her that she should be glad to buy security for herself by conceding that which the Catholic King demanded from her. All depended on his ability to form a general league against France, and thus to make the other princes of Christendom the unconscious instruments for carrying out his plans.
On the 18th of May 1509 Almazan wrote to the Princess Katharine that, as soon as the marriage should have been consummated, King Ferdinand would communicate all his secrets to King Henry, and would expect in return that "his son" should conceal nothing from him. This absolute confidence between the two kings, he said, was indispensable, in order that King Ferdinand, as a true father might give advice to the young King on all matters of state. (fn. 18) The despatches from the Catholic King were not less insinuating than the letter of his secretary. He was ready to come to England at the head of an army, and to defend in person the interests of his children, if necessary. He had instructed his ambassador in Rome to take as much care of the interests of England as of his own country. (fn. 19) To such flattering words King Ferdinand added presents well calculated to gratify the taste of the youthful King. If it is borne in mind that the ambassador who communicated these messages to the King of England was the young Queen with whom he lived still in the honeymoon of their married life, it is not to be wondered at that he was entirely captivated by his father-in-law. He wrote back that he regarded King Ferdinand as his "new father ;" that he was "ready to obey his behests, as he would obey those of his father, if he were still alive ;" that only advantages could follow from their intimate alliance ; that he would sacrifice the friendship of all other princes of Christendom if he could thereby preserve his goodwill, and similar expressions of filial love and obedience. When Luis Caroz, the new ambassador, had arrived in England, he wrote to his master that the young King became visibly excited by the desire to show his readiness to render services to his father-in-law. The occasion for making use of the readiness of King Henry to oblige King Ferdinand soon offered itself. (fn. 20)
The members of the League of Cambray had decided to deprive Venice of her territories on the mainland. King Ferdinand was to have back the towns of Trani, Brindisi, Otranto, Gallipoli, and other seaports in the kingdom of Naples which had been occupied by the Venetians. He soon obtained possession of them without waging a battle. Thus, his personal interests being satisfied, he looked with an unfavourable eye on the conquests of the King of France and the Emperor in the dominions of the Republic. Had France rendered herself very strong in Italy it would have been more difficult to persuade her to cede her Italian possessions, which were necessary for the formation of the projected empire in Italy. King Ferdinand would, therefore, early in the summer of 1509 have already declared himself against France, had he been at liberty to act as he liked ; but he was bound by the treaty of Cambray. Moreover, and this was probably the principal reason which withheld him, the King of France was at that time rendering him valuable services. The Cardinal of Amboise was arranging the old disputes of King Ferdinand with the Emperor about the government of Castile, the treaty which settled them not having then been concluded. (fn. 21) Had the Catholic King come to a rupture, or had he given only serious cause for suspicion to the French, King Louis would certainly not have employed all his influence on the Emperor in order to obtain the most favourable conditions for his enemy.
It was a fortunate circumstance for the Catholic King that the father of King Henry had been excluded from the League. The King of England was at perfect liberty to act as he thought was convenient. King Ferdinand, resolved to make use of the liberty of his son-in-law, wrote, on the 13th of September, a letter in plain writing to Queen Katharine, in which he spoke in general terms of the affairs of Venice, and referred her to an accompanying letter in cipher, in which his views on the subject were fully detailed. This letter in cipher is not extant, or at least I have not been able to discover it. Its general contents, however, can be guessed at from the answer of King Henry, (fn. 22) who thanked his father-in-law for having communicated to him his views on the affairs of Venice, praised his wisdom and moderation for having rejected the iniquitous proposal of other princes, his confederates, entirely to destroy Venice, and enlarged on the necessity of preserving the Republic, which formed a wall against the Turks. Enclosed in this private letter was another paper, destined for public use. In it King Henry begged King Ferdinand to intercede with the other princes in favour of Venice, without, however, manifesting by a single word that he had received communications from his father-in-law on this subject. If these letters make it probable that King Henry was prompted by the Catholic King, the suspicion is rendered much stronger if we consider that the King of England and his councillors did not feel any lively interest in the fate of the Italian republic. Only a few months later the Spanish ambassador asked King Henry what he would do if the King of France were to conquer the whole of Venice. The King referred him to the Bishop of Durham, and the Bishop had no other reply than that the question was a very difficult one, and that he would answer it at the Feast of Easter. The Feast of Easter passed, and as the Bishop was not further urged the whole matter was permitted to drop.
However that may be, in November 1509 King Henry was a zealous advocate of the Venetian republic. He interfered in behalf of it in Rome, in France, and with the Emperor, furnishing at the same time the Catholic King an excellent pretext for advising his allies to reconsider the question whether Venice was to be destroyed or not.
This was not a bad beginning for a young and inexperienced king surrounded by councillors who had been formed in the timid school of Henry VII. The voice of England was, after a long interruption, heard once more in the councils of Europe on a measure of general policy. It must be confessed that it was not everywhere well received. The King of France seems to have regarded the unexpected audacity of his young neighbour with a feeling of surprise, mingled with contempt. At all events, the answer of King Louis was very uncivil, and Frenchmen boasted openly that they would soon make war upon England, in order to punish her for her arrogance. (fn. 23) That France resented the affront so much was by no means a bad sign ; it showed that the protest of King Henry had produced its effect. And as for the threats, King Ferdinand very truly observed that France was not in a position to attack England.
The disputes between the Emperor and the Catholic King about the government of Castile having been settled in the month of December 1509, under the auspices of King Louis, King Ferdinand showed his gratitude by organizing a general attack on France. The moment for throwing off the mask had, however, not yet come, as the Emperor had not been gained, and the Pope was not yet prepared to enter into the league. In public the Spanish ambassadors were, consequently, ordered to speak as though the most perfect friendship existed between their master and the King of France. King Ferdinand went even further. King Henry was still very inexperienced. Some lessons in practical statecraft would not be superfluous. King Ferdinand, therefore, paternally admonished his son-in-law not to show that he resented the affront of the King of France, to remain on friendly terms with him, and to wait until a good opportunity for vengeance might come. King Henry was to act in future with more caution. Secrecy and circumspection, King Ferdinand said to him, were always necessary in great enterprises. Political plans must not be known until they were ripe for execution. King Henry had written both his letters of the 1st of November, the public letter as well as the private one, in common writing. Had the courier been intercepted, the duplicity of King Ferdinand would have been betrayed to the French. He asked, therefore, his son-in-law to write henceforth in his letters nothing but such things as the French might read without danger. All other communications to him he wished should be made by the Queen in cipher. (fn. 24)
These lessons do not seem to have been thrown away upon King Henry. He not only acted upon them, but even improved upon the precepts of his father-in-law. King Henry, whose councillors do not seem to have been entirely reassured by the promises of the Catholic King, that as long as he lived France would never attack England, thought it advisable to reconcile himself with King Louis. He kept, however, his intentions secret, even from his mentor and father-in-law, who heard of the treaty only when it had been signed by both parties, and was even then left in doubt as to when it had been concluded. Had King Ferdinand really been so self-sacrificing a father as he professed to be, he would have delighted in the exploit of his beloved son and pupil, although it was directed against himself. As it was, King Ferdinand resented the behaviour of the English, concealed his resentment, and treated them henceforth with more caution.
The English councillors excused themselves for having concluded the treaty. The King of England, they said, was still young and inexperienced. He had no heir, and could not, therefore, risk a war with France. They were not sincere. Under the given circumstances it was not King Henry who had reason to be afraid of a war with France, but King Louis had good motives to fear the King of England. Having decided to invade Italy with the whole force of France, nothing could have been more unwelcome to him than a hostile demonstration of England on the northern frontiers of his realm. Relieved from that danger by his treaty with King Henry, he began earnestly to prepare for his Italian expedition. The treaty had been signed on the 23rd of March 1510, and on the 9th of April Cabanillas, the Spanish ambassador in France, wrote already to his master that the French intended not only to conquer what remained of the territories of the Venetian republic, but also to get possession of as much of Italy as they could obtain, the Pontifical States not even excepted. Their plan was to march direct to Rome. If the Pope remained in his capital, he was to be arrested, and to be imprisoned for the remainder of his life. If he fled, he was to be declared unworthy. In either case he was to be tried for appearance sake by a council of cardinals, deprived of his dignity, and another Pope, of the choice of King Louis, was to be elected. Many cardinals were gained over, and many more, it was expected, might be induced by corruption or intimidation to take part in the proceedings. Statesmen who were nearest the King of France stated their belief that he would render himself spiritual and temporal lord of Italy ; and politicians in general who were well acquainted with the state of public affairs, entertained serious fears lest he would become sole arbiter of the whole Christian world. (fn. 25)
King Henry was again selected by King Ferdinand as his instrument. The Catholic King, to use his own words, placed his principal hopes, after God and his good right, in the King of England, his good son. Translated into common language, this phrase meant nothing else than that King Ferdinand intended to undo the late treaty of friendship between England and France, and to replace it by two other treaties of very different characters. The first of them was to be a most intimate alliance between himself and his son-in-law. If King Henry was more closely allied to him than to the King of France, he had it in his power to make use of the resources of England even against King Louis. The second treaty was to be one of an openly hostile nature. It was an alliance between the Pope, the Emperor, the King of England, and the Italian states, the avowed object of which was to be to drive the French by force of arms out of Italy. King Ferdinand would have preferred not to be a member of it, if he could have avoided it. A neutral position between the league and France would have admirably suited his plans. Had he been sure of the friendship of the King of England and of the other principal members of the confederacy, he could have sold his good services to King Louis for almost any price.
A year ago King Ferdinand would probably have confided, although certainly not the whole truth, at least a portion of his schemes, in such a form as he thought convenient, to his son-in-law, and asked his help for carrying them out. Rendered more cautious by his late experience, he thought it necessary to instruct his ambassador not to betray by a single word to King Henry or to his councillors that he wanted their aid. They might be inclined, he said, to take advantage of him. (fn. 26)
To conclude a league with another prince in great haste, and yet not to let him know that the alliance is much desired, seems to be a difficult undertaking. King Ferdinand, however, was never daunted by such difficulties, and the event showed that he had not deceived himself. Before his instructions left Spain, Luis Caroz had already executed them. The new Spanish ambassador had been from the first most cordially received in England. One day, when speaking with the King, he enlarged on the love which King Ferdinand bore his son-in-law, and King Henry responded with the warmest protestations of his filial devotedness. "Sire," interrupted the ambassador, "why do not we conclude the closer alliance? In your mind it is already concluded. Let us, therefore, set to work, and reduce the treaty to writing." When Luis Caroz, in the course of his conversation, observed that he was instructed to consent to whatever the King of England wished, this flattering mark of confidence quite overpowered King Henry. The Bishop of Winchester and the Lord Privy Seal, who were generally employed in the negotiations with Spain, were not at court. In order not to delay the conclusion of the alliance even for a few days, the King deputed the Bishop of Durham and some other privy councillors to enter immediately into negotiations with Luis Caroz.
As soon, however, as the business was in the hands of the ministers the delays of which the Spanish ambassadors so often complained began. The Bishop of Winchester arrived a few days later, but his presence did not enforce more rapidity on the negotiations. Luis Caroz could not help suspecting "a thousand disagreeable things." He bethought himself, therefore, of a stratagem.
The Bishops of Winchester and Durham spoke to him in one of their conferences about the dangers which would arise from the great number of French partisans in the College of Cardinals, especially if a new election of a Pope should soon take place. They expressed their opinion that the Pope ought to create more Italian cardinals who were hostile to France. Why more Italian cardinals? asked Luis Caroz. It would be better to elevate more English prelates to that dignity. Both bishops observed, with assumed disinterestedness, that the English were not in the habit of asking favours. If they had been, they would oftener be made cardinals. No more was said on the affair on that occasion. Shortly afterwards, however, one bishop after the other came to the house of the ambassador, and begged him not to permit the subject to drop. They each asked him separately to speak with King Henry on their promotion, but without letting their master know that the request came from them. Moreover, they entreated him to persuade King Ferdinand to interfere in their favour at Rome. Luis Caroz promised them in the most obliging manner to do what they wished. He really spoke with King Henry on the subject, and found him ready to ask the Pope that more Englishmen should be created cardinals. He begged also King Ferdinand to recommend the Bishops of Winchester and Durham in Rome. Whether the Catholic King complied with that demand is not stated in the State Papers which I have seen. The well-known fact is that neither of the two bishops ever obtained the cardinal's hat. But Luis Caroz assured King Ferdinand that, had he not deluded the commissioners with these never fulfilled hopes, the conclusion of the treaty would have been much more delayed, and in no case would the alliance have been concluded on so advantageous and honourable conditions. (fn. 27)
The treaty of the 24th of May was as favourable to King Ferdinand as he could have expected. The alliance was only a defensive one, but King Ferdinand, who was not yet decided to go to war with France, did not wish to conclude an offensive league ; and as hostile as a defensive alliance could be, it was. King Louis was mentioned by name as one of the probable enemies of the confederates ; it was stipulated that in case of a war of either of them with France the succour to be given by the other ally was to be more effectual, and the warlike operations were to be carried on with greater vigour, than in the case of the enemy being one of the other princes. (fn. 28) Such a clause virtually annulled the whole treaty of friendship between England and France.
One half of the plan of King Ferdinand was thus executed. The other half, however, offered more serious difficulties. The conclusion of the general league involved an immediate declaration of war with France on the part of King Henry. Besides, King Ferdinand had to concert the alliance, not only with his "good son of England," but also with the Pope, the Italians, and especially with the Emperor.
The Spanish ambassador was instructed to speak with King Henry about the intentions of King Louis as soon as the alliance between England and Spain should have been concluded. He was to enlarge upon the dangers to which the Church and all the Christian princes were exposed, and to suggest the idea to King Henry that a general league against France ought to be formed. That was, however, to be done in such a way that the King of England should think he was the originator of the plan. Only on the contingency that this scheme should fail, was the ambassador ordered to make direct proposals, and to remind King Henry of his duties towards himself, towards the other princes of Christendom, and towards the Church. In case of need he was to make use of the influence of Queen Katharine over her husband. If the Queen should refuse to advise King Henry to go to war with France, her confessor was to tell her that she was bound as a good Christian to do so. (fn. 29) King Ferdinand did not even stop here. As it might happen that the confessor also would have scruples against doing what he was asked, the Catholic King decided upon bringing the authority of the Pope to bear on the confessor of the Queen, and on the King of England himself.
He had no great esteem for the person of the Pope, and cared little for his interests. In a letter to his ambassador in Rome he plainly stated his contempt for Pope Julius II., adding that he intended to make use of him only as his instrument. (fn. 30) There is no doubt that he was ready to fling him away as soon as he no longer rendered the desired services. But what King Ferdinand expected on this occasion from Julius II. was by no means of small importance. The Holy Father was not only requested to intercede for King Ferdinand in England, but also to reconcile the Emperor with the republic of Venice, and to persuade the Italian princes to enter the league against France.
In order to make the Pope act according to his wishes, he betrayed to him, in secret, the whole scheme of King Louis, whilst he ordered his ambassador in Rome to show more zeal than ever in public for the interests of France. It is easy to understand what effect these privy communications, couched in the most vivid language, produced on the excitable and irascible Pope. When he had learnt that he was not only to be robbed of all his states, but also to be deposed and to be kept as a prisoner in a dungeon, he went, in spite of old age, over the snowcovered mountains, to fight his enemies in person.
King Louis, suspecting the intentions of the Pope, had ordered that certain messengers should be intercepted on their way from Rome. Among them was a courier, who was the bearer of letters from the English ambassador at the Roman Court to the Papal Nuncio in England. The ambassador begged the Nuncio to exhort King Henry to declare war with France, advising him to employ very bold language, (fn. 31) and to use very forcible words (fn. 32) in his conversation with the King. The Nuncio, the English ambassador said, should lure the King with the hope of an easy conquest of the French provinces which had formerly belonged to the crown of England, and to the predecessors of the Archduke Charles. A brief of the Pope accompanied these letters, ordering the Nuncio to give implicit faith to what the English ambassador had written to him. Similar briefs and letters had been sent to Germany and Switzerland. When King Louis showed the intercepted correspondence to Cabanillas, he observed that he did not understand what could have induced the English ambassador to write to the Papal Nuncio instead of addressing himself to his master. (fn. 33) The only interpretation I am able to offer is that the English ambassador most probably dared not to write "bold language" and to make use of "palabras bien piquantes" in a letter to his King. Besides, when we remember that the Bishops of Durham and of Winchester had begged Ferdinand to remind Henry of his duties, it is to be supposed that an exhortation apparently coming from the Pope was believed to be more effectual with King Henry than the advice of one of his servants.
In spite of all the exertions of the Pope and King Ferdinand, the conclusion of the general league against France was much delayed. The principal difficulty was created by the Emperor. Venice was so important a state of Italy that a general league, the object of which was to free that country from French supremacy, could not be concluded without the concurrence of the republic. As long, however, as the Emperor carried on war with the Venetians both could not be members of the same alliance ; and Maximilian was so much blinded by hatred that he could not be persuaded to make peace.
As soon as King Ferdinand had concluded the more intimate alliance with King Henry the consequences of it speedily became visible. No longer protected against an attack from the north, King Louis had abandoned his plan of going in person to Italy at the head of an irresistible army. But when he saw that the Emperor remained his confederate, and when the aggression of the Pope made a more decided action in Italy unavoidably necessary, Chaumont marched, in the year 1510, to the very gates of Bologna. The Pope had a narrow escape. In the spring of the following year Marshal Trivulzio returned to Bologna. The Cardinal of Pavia, who was Papal Legate in that city, fled in the dead of night, and was murdered on the road. The people of Bologna revolted, and the Bentivogli, that is to say the French party, took possession of the city. The Papal and Venetian armies were annihilated.
No time was to be lost by King Ferdinand if he wished to prevent the French from rendering themselves masters of Italy, and thereby frustrating his plan of forming an Italian kingdom for the Infante Ferdinand. The Pope had evidently even more urgent reasons to bring about the league against his enemy. If the Emperor could not be gained over, the league must be concluded without him. As, however, a confederacy of which neither the Emperor nor King Ferdinand should form a party would have been powerless, the Catholic King saw himself obliged to abandon his plan of deceitful neutrality. On the 4th of October 1511 the Pope, Spain, and Venice concluded an alliance for the defence of the Church. Cardinal Bainbridge was present, but did not sign the treaty, from no other motive than that his commission had not yet arrived from England. This oversight was soon remedied. King Henry declared his adhesion to the league on the 13th of November. Thus the rupture between France and England was complete.
The defensive alliance between England and Spain, however intimate it may have been, was no longer of any advantage either to King Ferdinand or to King Henry, since both had entered into an offensive league against France. The treaty of the 24th of May 1510 was, therefore, converted into an offensive confederacy on the 17th of November 1511. The pretext for it was the duty of the contracting parties to defend the Holy Church ; the real object of King Henry was to conquer Aquitaine with the help of the Catholic King, who had bound himself to deliver to his son-in-law all such places as had formerly belonged to the crown of England as soon as he should have wrested them from the enemy. The real intentions of King Ferdinand, however, were neither the defence of the Church nor the conquest of Aquitaine. After negotiations, continued for more than 18 months, he had at last succeeded in forming two mighty confederations against France, and he was resolved to use them as his instruments, in order to wrest from King Louis his consent to the formation of the kingdom of Italy. The instrument was not so perfect as he had wished. The Emperor had not entered the league. Still it was able to render services, and on the skill with which Ferdinand would handle it depended the fulfilment of his dearest wishes.
Were the two alliances which King Henry had concluded in the month of November 1511 dictated by sound statesmanship? That he entered into the general league was only natural. England could not gain anything if King Louis conquered Italy, and the peace of Christendom would have been exposed to serious dangers had Pope Julius really been deposed. The King of England, therefore, did nothing more than was to be expected from a Catholic prince when he entered the general league. The conclusion of the special alliance between England and Spain for the conquest of Aquitaine, however, was neither necessary nor advantageous to him.
King Henry claimed not only Aquitaine but also Normandy. That the more distant of these two provinces should be conquered first admits of an easy explanation. The Emperor was at that time still an ally of France. Flanders was, therefore, not available as a base of operation in a war with King Louis, and the territory of Calais was too small a strip of country to afford sufficient space for organizing the attack, or, in case of need, sheltering the retreat of two large armies. The error which King Henry and his councillors committed did not, therefore, consist in their choice of Aquitaine for invasion, but in the circumstance that they deluded themselves with the idea of an easy conquest of any portion of French territory by the aid of their confederates. None of the allies of England claimed any portion of the French kingdom. The consequence of this was obvious. Had King Louis been placed in a very difficult position, he would assuredly have preferred to satisfy all the other confederates, and then turned the whole of his forces against England. Every one of the allies would have profited thereby except Henry. For the final result of a war of England with France on French soil could not be doubtful. But if King Henry really believed that he alone was sufficiently strong to conquer and to hold Guienne and Normandy, he was doubly wrong in concluding an alliance the result of which could be no other than to hamper his freedom of action.
The political error of the English statesmen was not amended by the unsatisfactory manner in which their promises were fulfilled. In June 1512 the English army, under the command of the Marquis of Dorset, sailed for Spain. Scarcely had they disembarked when disputes arose between King Ferdinand and the Marquis of Dorset about the manner in which the enterprise on Guienne was to be carried out. The English had most probably not formed any definite plan of operation when they left their own country. If we consider how imperfect maps were at that period, it is even likely that the English were but superficially acquainted with the intricate geography of the mountainous country which divided Spain from France. They imagined that there was nothing else to do than to march straight to Bayonne, and lay siege to it.
On the other hand, King Ferdinand, who was well acquainted with the geography of his own country, had no difficulty in pointing out all the weak parts of this plan. Bayonne was well fortified and well stored with provisions. It was garrisoned by 9000 or 10,000 foot and 600 horse. (fn. 34) Had the plan of the Marquis of Dorset been adopted, Bayonne would have offered serious resistance to the invading armies. Whilst they were besieging Bayonne, the French would have had it in their power to cross the Pyrenees from St. Jean de Pié de Port to Pamplona. This pass being more than 20 miles distant from Bayonne could not be defended by the besiegers. The French, after having rendered themselves masters of Navarra, would have been able to bring under their control the only road which led from Spain to the frontiers of France. They would have been in a position to choose the point of attack, and if the smallest part of the road had been conquered all communication by it would have been interrupted. The invading English and Spanish armies would thus not only have been placed between the strong garrison of Bayonne and the French army in their rear, but would also have been cut off from all supplies and reinforcements. They would most probably have soon been forced to surrender. Whilst King Ferdinand rejected the plan of the Marquis of Dorset for these obvious reasons, he proposed, first to secure the communication of the invading armies with their base of operation by the conquest of Navarra and Bearn. From Bearn he intended to march to Dax. By that means Bayonne would have been separated from the rest of France, and it was to be expected that if the surrounding country had been conquered the garrison of that place would have surrendered without a formal siege being necessary. The Spaniards and the English would then have been able to march straight to Bordeaux.
As King Ferdinand had not assented to the ill-considered plan of the Marquis, so the Marquis refused to adopt the reasonable proposal of King Ferdinand. Interminable negotiations followed. Whilst messengers and letters were sent to and fro, the Duke of Alba conquered Navarra, crossed the mountains, and took possession of St. Jean de Pié de Port and some other places on the French side of the Pyrenees. As soon as that was done King Ferdinand invited the Marquis to follow the Duke of Alba, and to begin war in Guienne. The Marquis at first consented ; (fn. 35) when, however, every preparation for the crossing of the Pyrenees by the English had been made, and they were to break up their camp, the Marquis sent a letter to King Ferdinand, (fn. 36) announcing that he would remain no longer than 25 days in Spain or in France without regard as to whether Guienne was conquered or not. The only reply which King Ferdinand could give was that it would serve no purpose to invade Guienne, if the enterprise were to be abandoned directly afterwards. Taking the slowness of the English troops into consideration, he observed that the 25 days would scarcely suffice to enter Guienne and to march back to the Spanish port where the English were to embark. Neither he nor the King of England could gain anything by such proceedings. On the contrary, their honour and reputation would suffer thereby. As, however, the Marquis insisted on his decision, nothing was left to King Ferdinand but to let the Marquis and his army return to England, and the expedition was at an end. (fn. 37)
Such is the story told by King Ferdinand. We may be inclined to doubt its accuracy. If we, however, compare it with the account of the English ambassadors who accompanied the expedition, (fn. 38) we find that King Ferdinand had not exaggerated the shortcomings of the English commanders and troops. On the contrary, it appears that he had spoken of them with that moderation of language which so well becomes one government when dealing with another.
During the dispute, King Ferdinand had already sent Martin Dampies and Juan de Sepulveda to England to complain of the behaviour of the Marquis of Dorset. When the English troops embarked he dispatched his Paymaster-General of the army, Martin de Muxica, with very full instructions, to King Henry. Muxica was ordered to explain the failure of the enterprise by alleging the insufficiency of the English commanders, and especially of the Commander-in-Chief, by the want of soldier-like habits of the troops, and by personal motives influencing the Marquis of Dorset, who had gone so far as to enter into negotiations respecting a marriage with a daughter of the King of Navarra. The description of the proceedings which took place in England is curious. The King held a court, seated on a chair of state under a canopy, with his prelates, councillors, and noblemen gathered round him. The captains of the army, with the exception of the Marquis of Dorset, who was not at court, were ordered into the presence of the King, and bidden to kneel down. Luis Caroz and Muxica then explained the subject of their mission, and the captains were asked what they had to answer. They did not even attempt to justify themselves, and brought forward nothing but excuses. They stated, firstly, that they had no provisions ; secondly, that the soldiers had mutinied ; and, thirdly, that all the fault lay with the Marquis of Dorset. They seem to have felt keenly the humiliation of having to reply on their knees to the Spanish ambassadors who were standing, and begged the King to punish them, if they deserved punishment, but to permit them to stand upright.
After the audience a deliberation of the Privy Council took place. The English councillors had still some doubt as to whether the allegations of the Spanish ambassadors were true. But when the letters of the Marquis of Dorset were produced, the council declared that the captains and soldiers had behaved badly, and had thereby compromised their own dignity and that of their country. (fn. 39) The councillors asked the ambassadors what punishment they thought that the captains deserved. King Ferdinand could easily afford to be magnanimous on this occasion, and his ambassadors declared that their master did not wish any punishment to be inflicted, as the object of the mission of Muxica had only been to see that the truth should come to light. (fn. 40)
The result of the treaty of the 17th of November 1511 was, on the part of King Ferdinand, that he had forced the French to abandon their plans of conquest in Italy, that he had conquered the kingdom of Navarra, together with St. Jean de Pié de Port, and some other places north of the Pyrenees, that he had showed to the whole of Europe his sway over the councils of England, and that he was able to conclude the whole affair with an act of clemency. The English, on the other hand, had spent great sums of money without obtaining any advantage, had lost a good deal of their military prestige, and had ended by enacting a humiliating scene.
A curious circumstance, not immediately connected with English history, is elucidated by the papers recorded in this volume. It is an admitted opinion among some historians that Pope Julius II. assisted King Ferdinand in the conquest of Navarra by excommunicating John D'Albret and the Queen. Other historians of equal authority deny the fact, and observe that the original bull has never been produced. (fn. 41) The truth is that Pope Julius had granted the bull. Bulls were generally written on extraordinarily large sheets of parchment. But as it was difficult to read a document the lines of which were thirty or forty inches long, it was customary to add in the Papal Chancery a transcript of the original bull on paper or parchment of convenient size. When the bull and the transcript arrived in Spain, the transcript only was read, and it was found to be in perfect order. The Archbishop of Cosenza, who was Papal Nuncio, had copies made from it, which were published in Spain, and sent to other countries. Thus, the excommunication served all the purposes which King Ferdinand had in view. When, however, almost a year later, it was found necessary to consult the original, it was discovered that in several essential parts it differed from the transcript, and was utterly worthless. In the formula of excommunication, which runs thus in the transcript, "eosque ex tunc de cetero in reges vel dominos minime recognoscant nec appellent," the word "minime" was left out. In another passage where the King and Queen were called "reos," the letter "r" was suppressed, changing the word "reos" simply into "eos." King Ferdinand justly observed that such a bull was not an excommunication. It seemed rather to be an exhortation to the inhabitants of Navarra to remain true to their King and Queen. (fn. 42)
It may be that these were slips of the pen, though it might be supposed that bulls were carefully written out. King Ferdinand, however, does not suggest any idea of an involuntary error. If Pope Julius intended to play such a trick upon King Ferdinand, whatever his ultimate intentions may have been, it must be confessed that he little consulted the dignity of the Vicar of Christ on earth.
A few remarks on the military qualities of the English.
King Ferdinand observed that the English soldiers who had come to Spain were strong, stout-hearted, stood firm in battle, and never thought of taking flight. But a long time having elapsed during which England had had no wars, the English troops did not know how to behave in a campaign. The captains, quarrelling with one another, were unable to enforce rigid discipline amongst their men. The rank and file showed a marked dislike to perform such labours as were inevitably entailed on soldiers. They were self-indulgent and idle.
The arms which the English used were not in keeping with the progress which the art of war had made. The number of pikemen in the English army was too small. Pikemen were at that period employed in all European armies to give greater consistency to the infantry, and to enable them to resist the attacks of cavalry. Provided that the English troops were well armed, practised in the evolutions of regular warfare, well drilled and disciplined, King Ferdinand observed that they would excel those of any other nation, make England honoured, prove a great security to the country, and be an effective instrument of conquest.
As for the quarrelsome character of the captains, King Ferdinand seems to have despaired of the possibility of mending it. They lost generally more time in disputes than the execution of the measure in view required. At all events, English troops were declared to be incapable of acting in concert with those of other nations.
English cavalry was entirely insignificant. England depended for that arm on Flanders and Germany. Even horses were by no means abundant ; and those which could be obtained were small, weak, and unfit to be made use of in a campaign.
French troops, and especially infantry, had not a high reputation at the beginning of the sixteenth century. In the art of war, however, they were believed to be superior to the English. Spanish infantry was good, and rapidly progressing to that perfection which it attained ten or twelve years afterwards under the command of men like the Marquis of Pescara and Antonio de Leyva. They were distinguished not only on the field of battle, but were also patient in enduring all kinds of hardship and privation. The sense of military honour was, perhaps, in no other army so strong as in the Spanish.
Whilst high mental culture is generally attributed to the Italians during the period here under review, they are almost unanimously declared to have been effeminate and scarcely able to bear arms. That is a mistake. The Italians had good infantry, their sharpshooters were equalled only by the best Spanish arquebusiers, their light cavalry was excellent, and even the men-at-arms of Naples occupied an honourable position when compared with the men-at-arms of other nations. Irregular or badly disciplined Italian troops were, however, absolutely worthless.
Two countries towered far above all other nations with respect to military efficiency. They were Germany and Switzerland. German and Swiss troops differed in many particulars from one another. The Swiss, for instance, were of little use in besieging, storming, and defending fortified places, whilst the German lansquenets were as useful in a pitched battle as in the siege of a fortress. An Italian, Spanish, French, or English army was considered inefficient in a regular war against an army which contained a considerable number of Swiss or German troops, unless Swiss or German contingents were added to it. These auxiliaries were thought to be indispensable when a difficult retreat was to be covered, a camp to be pitched close to the front of the enemy, or a sudden attack to be repulsed. The German veterans generally broke through the ranks of the troops of other nations. Both the Germans and the Swiss were mercenaries. It is difficult to decide which of the two was the more so. As for the German troops, a Spanish memoir, probably drawn up by a consejo de guerra, complains that such was their "beastliness" and arrogance that they were a "firebrand" and a source of incessant disorder, unless they were commanded by a generous and courageous captain from their own country, selected by the Emperor. Another complaint against the German lansquenets was perhaps of a more serious nature. During the great wars in Italy, pestilence was generally raging in that country. All the other troops, and especially the Italians and the Spaniards, could easily be prevailed upon carefully to avoid communication with the infected places. The Germans, on the contrary would, in spite of all the remonstrances of their officers, enter a village or a farmhouse, which they perfectly well knew was plague-stricken, with no other object than to steal a chicken, and thus introduce the malady into their ranks.
The military strength of the different governments of Europe was not in proportion to the excellence of their national troops. As the best soldiers were mercenaries they sold themselves to the highest bidder without respect to nationality. When we read of Italian, Spanish, French and English armies we must not suppose that they consisted of Italians, Spaniards, Frenchmen and Englishmen only. The difference in the warlike qualities of the nations of Europe had no other practical consequence than that the Germans and the Swiss earned large sums of money by the trade of a soldier, whilst the English, the French, &c., did not.
The best arms were those which were made in Milan and Brescia, and those which were exported to foreign countries by way of Flanders, that is to say, the arms from Solingen and its neighbourhood, where this branch of industry flourished then as well as now.
Had the English army done its duty, and yet had the enterprise failed, the deceit of King Ferdinand and the self-delusion of King Henry would, perhaps, have become evident. As it was, nothing but a desire was raised to wipe out the blot by returning with more energy to the same ill-advised undertaking. King Henry was even more resolved than before to conquer Guienne, and so gain back the money he had lost and the prestige he had compromised ; whilst King Ferdinand availed himself with unrelenting cruelty, clad in the most loving language, of the political errors of his "dear son." "The tyranny of France in Italy" was at an end. Navarra was conquered. But the consent of France to the formation of an Italian kingdom for the Infante Ferdinand had still to be wrung from King Louis. The King of England was, therefore, to continue to serve King Ferdinand as a tool. At the same time that King Ferdinand incited him to continue the war, the Pope, the Italian states, and the Emperor were earnestly desired to avail themselves of the opportunity to lower the pride of the French, and secure their possessions against any future attacks of King Louis.
The Pope and the Emperor were the first to cross the policy of King Ferdinand, not from a well-conceived design to frustrate his schemes, but from too great eagerness. The Pope undertook in November 1512 to reinforce the League against France by two treaties which he concluded with the Emperor.
The first of these treaties was a general league, not between the Pope and the Emperor only, but comprising also the King of England, King Ferdinand, and the Duke of Milan. The second treaty of alliance was concluded between the Pope and the Emperor alone, and was especially directed against the Venetians and the Duke of Ferrara, who were to be excommunicated and conquered. In the general league it was stipulated that France was not only to be invaded but to be entirely destroyed, and its provinces were to be apportioned among the confederates as their share of the booty. The Emperor was to have Burgundy and Picardy, and King Henry all the provinces which had belonged formerly to the crown of England. Provence was to be given either to the Duke of Lorraine or to the Pope : Lyons and Dauphiné were to be divided between the Pope and the Emperor. Not satisfied with their plans of conquering Ferrara, Venice, and France, Pope Julius and the Emperor Maximilian resolved also to undertake the conquest of the whole of the Turkish Empire. Maximilian was to be the "Imperator" of the Christian armies. His share in the conquest was to be Constantinople and the whole of Greece. Even his title was settled in the treaty. He was henceforth to be styled "Emperor of the Occident and Orient." Believing that their plans were really destined to be executed, Pope Julius took care to reserve all the rights and privileges of the Holy Church. (fn. 43) Ill-timed as this treaty was, the separate alliance between the Pope and the Emperor was still more obnoxious. When the news of the conclusion of the treaties together with the copies of them reached Spain in the month of January 1513, King Ferdinand caused them to be translated into Spanish in order that he might see with his own eyes what had been done. His astonishment and indignation equalled the enormity of the blunders. He had directed all his efforts to isolate France, and thereby to weaken her, whilst these treaties, by excluding Venice, forced the Republic to seek the alliance of King Louis, and to place her rich resources at his disposal.
King Ferdinand did all in his power to prevent such a loss. He reprimanded the Cardinal of Gurk and his ambassadors in Rome who had consented to the treaties. He blamed the Emperor severely, and told him that he was as incapable a politician as the English statesmen, who by their own measures had prevented the execution of that which they most ardently desired. (fn. 44) He told the Venetians that neither he nor the King of England would ratify the treaties. And as for the Pope, King Ferdinand seems to have given him up as incorrigible. He did not reproach him, but from this moment he urged most earnestly the necessity of a thorough reformation of the Church. Until the Church was reformed, he declared, the blundering ambition of the Holy Father would always disturb the peace of Christendom. All, however, was in vain. Venice concluded at Blois, on the 6th of March 1513, a league with France.
When Muxica went to England he was the bearer of new proposals to conquer Guienne the following summer. King Ferdinand, however, made two conditions. He demanded that no English troops should be sent to him, as it was his intention to conquer Guienne with a Spanish army reinforced by German contingents. The aid he expected from England was, that King Henry should pay him one half of the expenses incurred for the conquest. The second condition was that King Henry should invade France from Calais, and begin the war in Normandy at once.
King Ferdinand could feel tolerably sure that King Henry, already excited by the eager desire to conquer Guienne, would not resist the temptation of the double prize held up before him, of Guienne and Normandy together. But he preferred rather to do too much than too little. He therefore added all kinds of studious blandishments to this temptation. He enlarged upon his love for his son, on his own liberality, on the sacrifices he was ready to make, not only by spending large sums of money, but also in exposing himself to the danger of a war with his powerful neighbour, in order to bestow upon the King and Queen of England all the greatness this world could offer. He was careful to clear himself of the suspicion of harbouring selfish designs. The Duchy of Guienne was to be delivered to King Henry as soon as it was conquered. In case this offer should not be sufficient to remove all suspicion from the breast of King Henry, King Ferdinand promised to give him any security that might be demanded. His solicitude that nothing should be neglected to ensure success was as great as if the conquest was to be his own. He carefully pointed out all the measures to be taken. The war was to begin early in the month of May in order that the whole summer might be employed in carrying out the conquest to its ultimate consequences ; the Emperor was, moreover, to be persuaded to make common cause with the King of England, by invading France in Burgundy and in Picardy, &c. (fn. 45)
When the English troops had returned to their own country, King Ferdinand had concluded a truce of six months with the King of France. He was perfectly entitled to do so, as the Marquis of Dorset had forsaken him and had been the first to abandon the common enterprise. But, however badly the English might have behaved towards him, King Ferdinand declared he could not for a moment cease to occupy himself with the furtherance of their interests. Thus, he said, the truce was concluded not so much because it was a political necessity for him as because it was advantageous to King Henry. John Stile had informed him that the Scots had created difficulties on the borders, and that the French threatened England with a numerous fleet. The truce relieved King Henry from all danger. Besides, the Pope had not done his duty towards the King of England. He had neglected to publish a bull depriving the King of France of his duchies of Guienne and Normandy. As, in consequence of the truce, the French would be at greater liberty to carry on the war in Italy, King Ferdinand informed his son-in-law that the Pope would be placed in a dangerous position, and would thereby be forced to seek the friendship of the Emperor and the King of England. King Henry could then ask of the Holy Father whatever he chose.
If King Henry had had an opportunity of reading the despatches which King Ferdinand sent to his ambassadors in Rome and at the Imperial court, he would not have discovered a single word which would have betrayed the intention of his father-in-law to deal treacherously with him. They contained, it is true, complaints of the behaviour of the English troops who had been in Spain. But the complaints were those of a father and a friend who regrets that his son and ally had injured himself. Some minor facts were presented in a different light. But was it not necessary for King Ferdinand to give such colouring to his representations addressed to different princes, as best suited the temper of those whom he was attempting to gain over? As if it had been his main object, he most earnestly exhorted the Emperor and the Pope always to be the friends of the King of England, whose alliance he valued so highly. (fn. 46)
Was that all hypocrisy? I think not. King Ferdinand took care of the interests of his son-in-law, just as a good husbandman would take care of his stock and of his implements ; no more and no less. He was sure to be the gainer, if the plan of invading the different provinces of France was well concerted. If the Italian league was not formed, or if its members were so divided that combined action could not be expected from them ; if the King of England should undertake the conquest of Guienne and Normandy in such a way that it was clear that he must break down at the very beginning ; if the Emperor should continue to make war with Venice instead of directing his forces against France, King Louis would not be exposed to serious danger, and consequently he would be little inclined to buy peace and security by great concessions. As for Guienne there is not the least reason to suspect that King Ferdinand intended to keep it for himself. In his opinion the possession of Guienne was tantamount to everlasting war with France, and to an utter desertion by all his allies. That unenviable condition he reserved for his son-in-law.
King Henry and his councillors on this occasion did what they ought to have avoided, and avoided what they ought to have done. They eagerly accepted the plan of conquering Guienne and Normandy, but attempted to lower the very reasonable demands of King Ferdinand concerning the monetary aid which the English were expected to pay him. They hoped to gain the paltry sum of about 100,000 ducats. As they drew up a new treaty and sent it for ratification to Spain, (fn. 47) they provided the Catholic King with a document by means of which he had it in his power to convince the French that it depended only on him whether France should be invaded from different sides or remain at peace. By offering King Ferdinand a smaller subsidy than he had asked they furnished him with an excellent pretext for remonstrating and thereby gaining time. Of what value delay was to him under the existing circumstances a very simple story, told by himself in his most felicitous manner of assumed truthful simplicity, will show. He did not relate it on this occasion, but several months later.
Early in the winter King Ferdinand had resolved to send to England the Provincial of the Dominican Friars in Aragon as confessor of Queen Katharine. The venerable Father was unable to bear the hardships of a sea voyage, and therefore took his route through France, without having been provided with a safe conduct. The pious man chose that route, King Ferdinand observed, at his own risk. The Provincial seems to have continued his journey without let or hindrance until he arrived at Blois, where the court was then residing. At Blois he was arrested. The Queen of France, who was herself a most religious lady, when she heard that a man so famous for his exemplary conduct was in custody, could not resist her desire to see him. They met, and, as could not otherwise have happened, they spoke of the unsatisfactory state of affairs in Christendom and the horrors of war, the Queen expressing her willingness to become an instrument for making peace. The final result of the meeting was that the reverend Father was sent back to King Ferdinand. (fn. 48) He arrived at the court of Spain on the 23rd of February 1513, as the bearer of letters which contained pacific proposals from the Queen of France, in the name of her royal husband.
This is the version given by King Ferdinand. I do not doubt that his account was true as far as bare facts are concerned. But it can scarcely be imagined that King Ferdinand had not foreseen all that occurred. How could he have expected that the Provincial would be permitted to travel through France to England without a safe conduct? If the Provincial did not wish to be arrested, why did he go to Blois, instead of following the direct road from Tours to Paris by Vendôme and Châteaudun? There is also a circumstance which King Ferdinand did not tell the King of England, and which strongly confirms my suspicions. The peaceful overtures which the Provincial of Aragon brought to King Ferdinand contained a proposal made by King Louis to marry his daughter Renée to the Infante Ferdinand, and to give them the duchy of Milan, the county of Pavia, and the signory of Genoa as dower. This was exactly what King Ferdinand desired. His plan concerning the Italian kingdom was in a fair way of being accomplished.
The answer of King Ferdinand to the English project of the new alliance was dictated by these circumstances. He told King Henry that the treaty which he had sent to Spain was so badly conceived that it could not be executed. King Louis, he said, if attacked in Guienne and in Normandy, had it in his power to leave garrisons in the fortresses on the frontiers of Calais, and to march all his troops to the south in order to repulse the Spanish invasion, or else he might first beat the English, and afterwards expel the Spaniards. It was, therefore, necessary that each of the invading armies should be strong enough to resist singlehanded an attack of all the forces of France. The Spanish infantry, King Ferdinand added, was superior to the French, and the English soldiers were strong and courageous. Had they to cope with French troops only, they would probably remain victorious. The French, however, were in the habit of employing numerous bodies of German mercenaries, and neither the Spaniards nor the English had any chance of resisting them, unless they were also reinforced by Germans. The German contingent wanted for the conquest of Guienne alone was reckoned by King Ferdinand at 6,000. Another clause against which the Catholic King made objections, was the time when the war was to begin. He had demanded that hostilities should commence early in the month of May. The projected treaty fixed the time at which France was to be attacked at the end of June. The end of June, King Ferdinand said, was the same as the beginning of July, and the remaining three months of the season would not suffice to bring such a vast enterprise as the conquest of Guienne to a satisfactory conclusion. The consequence would simply be a waste of money and of life. The war in Guienne was to be carried on in the sole interest of King Henry ; it would, consequently, have been only just that England should have borne all the expenses of it. Thus, the offer of King Ferdinand to take upon himself all the trouble and danger of the enterprise, and in addition to contribute more than one half to the expenses, had all the appearance of self-sacrificing liberality. King Henry and his councillors had been aware that their offer of 100,000 crowns was a poor one, and the English ambassadors were instructed to promise. King Ferdinand by word of mouth that he should have 100,000 crowns more after the conquest was effected. He might even keep Guienne as security until the payment was made. This indirect confession that the subsidy they had offered was inadequate did not improve their case. What value could verbal promises have by the side of formal international treaties? King Ferdinand was perfectly justified in declaring that they had none. With regard to the offer of Guienne as a security, the reader who knows the real intentions of the Catholic King will not be surprised at his answer. He insisted more than ever that the duchy should at once be delivered over into the possession of England, and requested King Henry to send a paymaster of his own to pay the German troops in order that all the world should see that the war was not a Spanish but an English undertaking. King Ferdinand directed another treaty with England to be drawn up, according to which Guienne and Normandy were to be conquered, not in the current year (1513), but early in next spring. He sent it to England, and ordered his ambassador to sign no other treaty except this one. (fn. 49)
The time which King Ferdinand gained by this reply was employed to push on the negotiations with France as quickly as possible. France made no difficulties about the concessions which King Ferdinand demanded ; but King Louis wished to settle the affair in a separate treaty with Spain. Had King Ferdinand acceded to the desires of his antagonist, the instrument of pressure which he had taken so much pains to forge would have been broken by his own hands. His alliances with the King of England, the Emperor, and the Pope would have been at once at an end ; and the King of France, relieved from the danger of seeing his kingdom invaded by four armies, would certainly have found a plausible pretext for evading his promises. King Ferdinand remained on this occasion faithful to King Henry and his other allies. When the French saw that their proposals for a separate treaty were rejected, they consented to make a general peace with King Ferdinand and all his confederates. Nothing seemed to be wanting except to obtain the consent of the Emperor and the King of England. To gain time King Ferdinand concluded on the first of April 1513 the treaty of Orthez as a preliminary measure. (fn. 50) The truce was to last for a year between King Louis, the King of Scotland, and the Duke of Gueldres on the one part, and King Ferdinand, Queen Juana, the Emperor, the King of England, and Prince Charles on the other part. It was to be observed in all countries and on all seas this side the Italian mountains. The whole of Italy and the Italian waters were excluded from it.
King Ferdinand alleged to King Henry two reasons for the exclusion of Italy. The first was that he thought it necessary to reserve to himself the right to assist the Italians in case that they should be attacked by the King of France. This pretext was so flimsy that it shows the inventive powers of King Ferdinand were sometimes at fault. Had Italy been included, the King of France could not have attacked any of the Italian states as long as the truce lasted. The other object he had in view, he said, was that he wished to make Italy more dependent on him and his ally. (fn. 51) Although this may have been true, it did not exhaust the question. King Ferdinand had a third and principal reason, which he concealed. As soon as the peace between England, Spain, France, and the Emperor should have been concluded, the Italian kingdom was to be formed, and the reformation of the Church was to be taken in hand. The formation of the Italian kingdom, however, rendered it necessary to conquer Genoa, Pavia, Milan, Venice, and perhaps some other Italian states. The reformation of the Church might have been decided upon in such a manner, that either parts of or else all the Papal States might have been portioned out to increase the kingdom of Naples or the kingdom of the Infante Ferdinand, or they might have been necessary to indemnify those princes whom it might seem to be too hard a measure to dispossess without offering them any compensation. Had Italy been included in the truce, the execution of these measures must have been postponed until its expiration.
By the treaty of Orthez King Ferdinand had divided his task into two halves, but the work to be done remained the same as before. If he succeeded in persuading King Henry and the Emperor to accept the truce, he was by no means released thereby from his obligation to bring about a definitive peace. That was the price he had to pay for the concessions of the King of France.
The simplest way would have been to discover his plans to his allies. The Emperor was as much interested in the projected kingdom of Italy as he, the Infante Ferdinand being the grandson of both. Thus, it was only reasonable to expect that the Emperor would approve the scheme. But with respect to King Henry, the case was much more difficult. England was to gain nothing. It would at this period, perhaps, not have been difficult to convince even King Henry that his ideas of conquering Guienne and Normandy were utterly chimerical, and that a good peace with France was the best policy he could under the actual circumstances adopt. But a frank disclosure was rendered impossible by the previous conduct of King Ferdinand. Had King Henry been told by his father-in-law that he had hitherto been made use of as his tool, would he not have deeply resented it? Moreover, the application of more pressure on France might again become indispensable. King Ferdinand therefore resolved to keep his schemes secret, and not to communicate them even to the Emperor or Madame Margaret, from fear lest they might betray them, until he should have come to a perfect understanding with King Louis about all and every point in question. (fn. 52) Whilst the negotiations lasted the invasion of France by the King of England, the Emperor, and the Italians was to remain in suspense. As soon, however, as the subject should have been settled with King Louis, a general conference of Spanish, French, English and Imperial plenipotentiaries was to be held. They were to be instructed to conclude a general peace of Christendom, and to bring about a thorough reformation of the Church. During the conference, King Ferdinand thought, the Emperor could be gained ; and as soon as King Ferdinand, the King of France, and the Emperor should have decided upon their measures no further resistance was to be expected from the King of England.
Pope Julius died in the month of February 1513. His death released the Church from the danger of losing her temporal power. Leo X. was very different from his choleric and blundering predecessor. Cautious, subtle, and bent on increasing the power of his family, he could, in the opinion of the Catholic King, render him in this conjuncture greater advantages as an ally than any he could gain by despoiling him of his states. Alluring him with the bait of the aggrandizement of his relations, he assigned him a part which was more important than dignified. The general conference of the ambassadors was to be held in Rome under his presidency. If the King of England should refuse to reconcile himself with the King of France, the King of France should then appeal, King Ferdinand said, to the arbitration of the Holy Father. In order to prevent the Pope from being too favourable to England, King Ferdinand undertook to obtain from him a formal promise that he would give only such a decision as would be approved by him and King Louis. It was probable that King Henry, being a devout son of the Church, would not fail to accept the arbitration of the Roman Pontiff. Should he, however, against all expectation, prove recalcitrant, the Pope should force him into obedience by ecclesiastical censures. (fn. 53)
Such was the general plan of King Ferdinand.
He sent, on the 21st of May 1513, his secretary Quintana, and two days later Gabriel de Orti, his chaplain, to the King of France with ample instructions first to conclude the preliminary treaty, and then to make arrangements with respect to the general conference of the ambassadors. (fn. 54) The negotiations were to be kept strictly secret. None, except the King and the Queen, the secretary Robertet, and a cardinal, whose name was left blank, were to know anything about them. The cardinal was probably Bernard de Carvajal, who had taken part in the Council of Pisa, and had then become a confidential adviser of the King of France. Craft was opposed to craft. King Louis tried to entrap his adversary by proposing a defensive alliance against all and every possible aggressor, and especially against the King of England, if he should attack either Spain or France. Assuming an air as though he did not suspect the King of France of any unfriendly intentions, the Catholic King only pointed out that it would not be wise to mention the name of the King of England, as that would probably offend the English and render them his enemies. He declared himself ready, however, to conclude a defensive alliance on condition that neither King Henry nor any other prince should be mentioned. (fn. 55)
Quintana took with him to France, besides his instructions, a draft treaty (fn. 56) and a letter to Hieronymo de Vich, the Spanish ambassador in Rome. This treaty was couched in the most cautious language possible. King Ferdinand and King Louis were to be friends and allies for no other purpose than to render peace to the whole of Christendom, and to make a war with the Infidels possible. They bound themselves to defend the Holy Church, and to remain friends of the Emperor and of the King of England during the remainder of their lives. The Infante Ferdinand, whom his grandfather described as a "handsome, intelligent, and good boy," was to marry Madame Renée, and the King of France was to give them the duchy of Milan, with Pavia and Genoa. The letter to Hieronymo de Vich contained the instructions of King Ferdinand concerning the general conference of ambassadors, and the means by which King Henry was to be forced to do his will. Quintana was ordered to send it to Rome as soon as the treaty with France should be signed. Should, however, the honourable and friendly place assigned to King Henry in the treaty, the revival of the French pensions, the arbitration of the Pope, and, if necessary, the ecclesiastical censures, fail to produce the expected effect upon the King of England, in such a case King Ferdinand declared that he would reconcile himself with France without respect to the wishes of his allies. (fn. 57)
Whilst Quintana was to arrange the whole affair with King Louis, Luis Caroz and Pedro de Urea were ordered to persuade King Henry and the Emperor to accept and ratify the truce, which had been concluded at Orthez. King Ferdinand explained to his son-in-law that he had been forced by absolute necessity to conclude the truce, as he had been forsaken by all his friends and allies, the King of England as well as the Emperor, who had already concluded a treaty, not with him, but with France, and could no longer be counted upon as an ally. Moreover the Pope and the Venetians had conspired to drive him and the Emperor out of Italy. Even if King Henry would now conclude an offensive alliance against France, it would be too late to begin the war in the current year. To these political reasons King Ferdinand added others of a more sentimental character. The Queen of France had implored him and the King of England, "for God's sake," not to reject her peaceful offers, for on them depended the weal or the woe of Christendom. As he had been won by the prayers of the Queen of France, so he entreated his son-in-law, if for no other reasons at least for his sake, to ratify the treaty of truce. "God," he protested, "had made the King of England a great and powerful prince, who, with the assistance of his relations, could perform glorious deeds in this world." He begged him, therefore, to consider that, if his first great achievement should be performed in the service of God, He would afterwards give him many great victories and unbounded prosperity. There was no greater service, he said, which King Henry could render to God than to join his efforts with those of the Emperor, of the King of France, and of himself to bring about a good and holy reformation of the Church, of which she stood in so great want. The reformation, however, could not be taken in hand, unless the King of England ratified the truce.
It seems as though King Ferdinand was afraid lest his pathetic and deceitful appeal would prove too touching, and render King Henry so staunch a supporter of peace that the French would no longer be afraid of him. He took care, therefore, to give new aliment to the warlike propensities of his son-in-law. The conquest of Guienne and Normandy, which was impossible in the year 1513, he said, could be undertaken in the year 1514, with well-founded hope of an easy and sure victory. The twelve months of the truce could be employed in making all the necessary preparations for war, and in arranging alliances against the common enemy. Italy could be pacified and the Emperor reconciled with Venice. When that was done, the army of the Italian league could be employed against France, which, if attacked from all sides, would soon be forced to yield. (fn. 58)
The efforts of King Ferdinand were in vain. His arguments, it must be confessed, were not felicitous in all respects. Not to mention that the reasons for making peace, coupled with the reasons for beginning the war anew, were calculated each to destroy the effect of the other, his allegations concerning the Emperor were not only false, but King Henry knew that they were not true. King Ferdinand had advised his son-in-law to win over the Emperor, but was not aware that his disciple had succeeded more completely than was agreeable to him under the present circumstances. By promising a subsidy of 125,000 gold crowns, King Henry had induced the Emperor to conclude the treaty of Malines (5th April). Provence, Dauphiné, Burgundy, Picardy, Normandy, Bearn, Guienne, and the whole of Languedoc were at once to be invaded by the Pope, the Emperor, King Ferdinand, and the King of England, with armies each of which was to be stronger than the whole force of France. (fn. 59)
King Ferdinand, when he was informed of this treaty, accused the Emperor of swindling his ally downright, by promising things which he could not do, even if he should have the intention of carrying out his promises. But King Henry was of different opinion. He had faith in his new ally. Nor did he content himself with the treaty of Malines. He made one step further, and obtained, on the 18th of April 1513, from Luis Caroz at Bernard's Castle, the signature of a treaty of alliance, which in all essential parts was identical with the treaty he had just concluded with the Emperor. King Ferdinand was bound by it to declare war with France within thirty days, and to begin hostilities within two months. (fn. 60)
Of the manner in which King Henry accomplished this feat we are only imperfectly informed. King Ferdinand accused him of having forced Luis Caroz to sign the treaty and to swear to it. (fn. 61) To suppose that physical force had been employed is out of the question. But it is by no means impossible that King Henry, and perhaps Wolsey, had used exceedingly strong language, going so far as to threaten to become the mortal enemies of King Ferdinand, and to do him all possible harm if the treaty was not signed. That the King in his fits of passion was capable of such conduct we shall soon have opportunity to see ; and with Wolsey it was, at a later period of his life at least, quite a common stratagem to attempt to cow ambassadors into doing his will. However that may be, the young King showed on this occasion that he had a will of his own. Unfortunately his attempt at asserting his independence was an egregious political mistake.
That the behaviour of King Henry on this occasion was not that of a statesman is so clear that it scarcely requires explanation. There can be no doubt that he earnestly desired to conquer Guienne and Normandy. He had no other reason for going to war with France. Even the pretext of last year to defend the Church by making war in Guienne had ceased, Pope Leo being in a fair way to settle his disputes with King Louis. Wishing to conquer Guienne, an alliance with King Ferdinand was, if in his opinion not absolutely necessary, at least in the highest degree desirable. If, then, the assistance of King Ferdinand was so valuable, how could a man, I do not say an experienced politician, but one of common understanding, believe for a moment that a prince like King Ferdinand could be gained by forcing his ambassador to do an act of disobedience, and thus insulting the very person whose aid he was asking? If the treaty was likely to have any practical consequence, it could only be a rupture with King Ferdinand, and not an alliance with him.
The political error of King Henry and his advisers, great as it was, was rendered still more flagrant by the mistakes of detail into which they were led. To mention one of them, King Ferdinand had, as the reader will remember, early in the year offered to conquer Guienne, if King Henry would pay one half of his expenses. King Henry had offered him 100,000 crowns, but King Ferdinand had declared the subsidy insufficient. The new treaty, instead of making the least concession to this not unreasonable demand, increased his burdens, and offered him no subsidy at all. Other clauses contained stipulations which were almost as ill advised as this one. It is impossible to explain errors so evident in any other way than by admitting that when the passions of King Henry were roused, they rendered him blind to the plainest political truth. In a young man such a fit of passion may be pardonable, in a King it is dangerous. It boded no good for the later years of King Henry.
However that may be, one thing is clear. No two princes could have entertained views more diametrically opposite than those held by King Ferdinand and King Henry ; the former attempting to wile his son-in-law into concluding peace with France ; the other striving to force his father-in-law to help him to destroy it.
King Ferdinand would probably have preferred to conceal from King Louis what was passing between him and his son-in-law. As that, however, was impossible, he made a virtue of necessity, and enlarged upon his devotedness to the King of France, telling him that he was quarrelling for his sake with his best friends and nearest relations. Gratitude must not be counted upon in political life. King Louis thanked King Ferdinand for his great friendship, but immediately made plans to profit by the differences which had arisen. The alliance between Spain and England, he thought, might perhaps be entirely severed, and King Ferdinand deprived of his most efficient agent. The negotiations between Spain and France, which had been so prosperous of late, began to assume a less satisfactory tone. Difficulties were raised about the delivery of Madame Renée into the keeping of Queen Germaine, about the surrender of the fortresses in Milan and Genoa, about the payments due to the King of France out of the revenues of the kingdom of Naples, and other similar measures of detail. Besides this, King Louis, who was already the ally of Venice, made proposals to the Pope, renounced the schismatical council, and offered to conclude a separate peace with Rome ; whilst his armies under Monsieur de la Trémouille made great progress in the duchy of Milan. The negotiations between King Ferdinand and King Louis soon assumed so unfavourable an aspect that the Secretary Quintana was recalled. King Ferdinand saw that it was necessary to apply more pressure on the King of France.
Instead of advising King Henry, as he had hitherto done, to ratify the truce, and, if possible, to make peace, King Ferdinand began to encourage him to invade France as soon as possible. King Ferdinand had hitherto asked the Pope and the Emperor to reconcile themselves with the King of France. He urged them now not to cease carrying on war with France until they had humbled her pride and weakened her so much that she would no longer be dangerous to her neighbours. The Emperor, who was occupied with his war against Venice, was admonished not to forget the duties he had taken upon himself in the treaty of Malines, but to go forthwith to the north, and to do what he had promised the King of England. The invasion of France was praised as an enterprise calculated to bestow great advantages on the whole of Christendom. (fn. 62) Meanwhile the French were defeated by the Swiss at Novara on the 6th of June. Instead of relenting, King Ferdinand developed greater energy in urging the other princes of Christendom. His only fear was lest the Venetians should have been right in predicting that the English would soon be driven out of France without having accomplished any great feat.
King Henry had begun early in the spring to assemble a large army in England, and to enlist a German contingent in Flanders. Battles at sea were fought, in which both the English and the French showed great valour, both at the same time claiming the victory. No information is to be found in this calendar concerning these naval combats. In the month of May English troops began to cross the straits, and the German contingents to assemble at Calais. The siege of Thérouanne was begun on the 22nd of June, whilst the French besieged the important frontier fortress of Hesdin, only a few miles distant from Thérouanne, which was defended by Ferry de Croy. King Henry arrived at the camp, and was afterwards joined by the Emperor, who certainly was not at the head of so numerous a body of troops as he had promised ; but, on the other hand, he did not come without bringing succour. The battle of the Spurs was fought on the 16th of August, and Thérouanne surrendered on the 22nd of the same month. Imperial and Swiss troops were at the same time victorious in Burgundy.
During the invasion of France the relations between King Henry and his father-in-law had again assumed their old character of at least apparent love and friendship. King Henry, as soon as he was in a position not only to imagine victories in fancy, but to realize them in fact, felt how much the assistance of King Ferdinand was worth to him ; (fn. 63) and King Ferdinand had learnt by his late experience that he could not yet spare so useful an ally as his son-in-law. Thus King Ferdinand was once more the "good father," and King Henry once more the "beloved son." King Ferdinand explained, in mild and conciliatory terms, his reasons for not ratifying the treaty of Bernard's Castle, declaring at the same time his readiness to conclude without delay the treaty which he had sent to England. The mission of Quintana to France was represented in such a light, that King Ferdinand appeared to have been too confiding in the goodness of others, until his indignation was roused at the proposal of King Louis to conclude a separate peace. He would not, he said, have concluded it even if the King of France had offered him all he possessed. King Ferdinand would have been wrong had he rejected such a proposal, if it ever could have been made. But as he was sure to obtain his ends by making the King of England believe in his disinterestedness, we do not need to enlarge on his pretended self-sacrifice. Not more useful to King Henry than these protestations of friendship, were the observations of King Ferdinand on the manner in which the English ought to carry on the war. It was the plan of the French, he wrote to his ambassador, to weary out the English with sieges and small actions, cutting them off from their supplies. The King of England ought, therefore, to take great care to provide his army with abundant provisions, and on no account to divide his troops into small detachments. The French, being superior to the English in the art of war, would do them great harm in a series of small engagements. (fn. 64) All this may have been true, but overflowing with love as King Ferdinand was, his liberality was by no means excessive as soon as real services were demanded from him. He offered to assist his beloved son by conquering Bearn. He told King Henry that it was against his principles ever and under any circumstances to break a treaty he had concluded. Since the truce of Orthez was to last until the 1st April 1514, he could not invade Guienne at once ; but if he attacked Bearn, which was not mentioned in the truce, the King of France would be obliged to defend that county, and thus be the first to break the treaty, thereby setting him free from his obligations. (fn. 65) The King of England, however, answered on the 22nd of July that he was unable to understand how the conquest of Bearn by King Ferdinand could aid him in his war in Picardy. The King of France, under the present circumstances, he said, would certainly not divide his forces in order to defend a possession of the King of Navarra. A battle was imminent, and he begged "his good father" not entirely to forsake him, but to oblige the French to divide their forces by a vigorous and immediate attack on the southern frontiers. (fn. 66)
It was not difficult to foresee what the reply of King Ferdinand would be. Not a decided refusal, for he wanted the services of King Henry, nor yet a frank promise, for he did not wish to be placed in a position which would render it difficult for him to resume negotiations with France. Always fertile in expedients, he declared that the French, having broken the truce at sea, had set him free from his obligations, and that he was willing to invade Guienne as soon as the treaty which he had sent to King Henry was signed by both parties. This proposal could not reach King Henry before the middle of September. Since Luis Caroz had concluded the alliance of Bernard's Castle, King Ferdinand had ordered him not to assent to any treaty before it had been sent to Spain and had obtained his special approval. If King Henry, therefore, had without loss of time accepted the projected articles, it would still have been necessary to send them back to King Ferdinand. Supposing that he had not thought it requisite to make any new observations on any of the clauses, his order to sign the treaty would not have reached Luis Caroz before the middle of November, that is to say, when the season was far too much advanced for making war in the current year, 1513.
As, however, the first news from the theatre of war was favourable, King Ferdinand resolved not to lose any advantage which could be gained from a victorious campaign of the King of England. He, therefore, instructed his ambassador extraordinary, Gabriel de Orti, to judge for himself, on his arrival at the camp, whether it was likely that the English would obtain any decided success. In case the English should be prosperous, he was to urge King Henry and the Emperor to continue the war with the utmost vigour, promising them all the assistance that could reasonably be demanded. If, however, it did not appear that the Emperor, the King of England, and the Swiss were likely to obtain any considerable result, or if it should become necessary from other reasons to make peace with France, Orti was to prevent King Henry from concluding a separate treaty. The Emperor, Spain, England, and Prince Charles were to be regarded as one of the contracting parties, and the King of France as the other. Not trusting any longer to his formerly undisputed influence over the mind of King Henry, Ferdinand begged the Pope to send similar instructions to his nuncios. (fn. 67)
It appears that Gabriel de Orti arrived after the surrender of Thérouanne. He found King Henry and the Emperor quarrelling about such questions as to whom the prisoners of the battle of Guinegate were to belong. King Henry claimed all of them, and the Emperor refused to deliver up those which had been taken by the German troops. Conferences were held, in which, among other subjects, the proposals of King Ferdinand were discussed. I am, however, unable to state any particulars respecting these negotiations. It is only known that the Emperor was dissatisfied with the King of England, and that, although their quarrel was patched up, both princes were on no friendly terms when they separated. The final result was, that, although on the 30th of August new reinforcements of Swiss and Burgundian troops arrived, the united armies did not march to Normandy ; that the plan of King Henry to conquer great provinces of France was abandoned ; and that he led his army to Tournay, abandoning Hesdin to its fate. Tournay was a French town quite distinct from the rest of the kingdom. It was surrounded by the neutral territories of Prince Charles, who was excluded by positive treaties from participating in the war. The town was fortified, but had no garrison. The resistance which the citizens offered was feeble, and King Henry achieved an easy victory.
The army with which King Henry had invaded France was one of the greatest and most expensive that had been assembled for many years. The Swiss and some Burgundian troops had made a powerful diversion in Burgundy, and even the doubtful behaviour of King Ferdinand had obliged King Louis to send some forces to the frontiers of Spain. But, on the other hand, a whole month spent in the siege of the first fortified place was a fact not encouraging the continuation of war ; and, even if King Henry had believed in the promises of King Ferdinand, it was clear that his assistance would arrive too late. Thus, the vast plans of conquest remained unfulfilled, and the result of the campaign was such as Gabriel de Orti most probably did not think a decisive success. King Henry, however, seems to have been satisfied with himself. He wrote on the 12th of October from Tournay to the Pope that he had annihilated the Scots, had conquered Tournay, and that the French had run away so quickly that it was impossible for him to follow them. The Pope admonished him in return not to be too much elated after his victories, and to make peace with France. King Henry replied that he attributed success not to himself but to God, who had given Saul power to slay his thousands, and David strength to kill his ten thousands. As for the peace with France, he thought it would be premature to speak of it. (fn. 68)
The small result of his great enterprise must have convinced even King Henry that the remarks of his father-in-law on the difficulties of a conquest of France, to which he had recourse as often as he wished to moderate the warlike ardour of his son-in-law, did not spring altogether from illwill. Experience had shown that they were too well founded, and that it would have been wiser not to slight the advice of an old and experienced statesman. Thus, it was not difficult to dissuade King Henry from concluding a separate peace. It is not even probable that King Henry at this conjuncture entertained any such intentions. He seems rather to have been under an influence which was much akin to the excitement of an unsuccessful player, who, having forfeited one stake, is ready to hazard a greater sum in order to gain back what he has lost. He desired to indemnify himself for the heavy sacrifices he had just made by conquering France in the following year. The commissioners of the Emperor and of King Henry signed a new alliance against France on the 17th of October 1513, in the city of Lille. The Spanish ambassadors were present, but, according to the orders of King Ferdinand, they abstained from affixing their names. (fn. 69) The treaty contained nothing positively unreasonable. The Emperor and King Henry bound themselves to invade Burgundy, Picardy, and Normandy in the spring of 1514. King Ferdinand was at the same time to conquer Guienne for the King of England. He was, however, not expected to carry on the war entirely at his own expense and only from love of his dear son-in-law. He was to be indemnified in some degree. The sum of 20,000 gold crowns a month was certainly moderate ; and this time the English had not attempted to lower the demands. As King Ferdinand had stated that he could conquer Guienne with so small a subsidy, they had no reason to offer him more, especially as their own resources were greatly exhausted by the last war. King Henry and his councillors were, consequently, perfectly justified in expecting that next spring the invasion of France would begin with a better prospect of success than on any previous occasion.
They were destined to find themselves once more deceived. King Ferdinand had not for a moment abandoned his Italian scheme, and was as disinclined as ever to engage in hostilities, which, if successful, would have rendered all negotiations with France impossible, and if disastrous would have taught King Louis that it was not an absolute necessity for him to buy his friendship by such great concessions as he demanded.
Whilst the English were still besieging Thérouanne, King Ferdinand had, in anticipation that the French would soon make new overtures to him, tried to win over the Emperor to his plans. The Cardinal of Gurk was entrusted with that negotiation. He was at once the most influential minister of the Emperor, and a confidential servant of King Ferdinand, from whom he received not only a pension of 2,000 ducats, but also 5,000 ducats a year out of the revenues of the duchy of Milan, in addition to the promise of a good bishopric. No better man could have been chosen. King Ferdinand, however, confided to him only one half of his plans, namely, that which related to the territories of Venice and the county of the Tyrol. The Emperor had always been determined to conquer Venice. It was not probable, therefore, that he would raise difficulties against the plan of giving Venice and the Tyrol to the Infante, and thereby securing the undivided possession of the other Austrian principalities to the elder brother. (fn. 70) That part of the plan of King Ferdinand which concerned Genoa, Pavia, and Milan was kept secret, even from the Cardinal of Gurk, until the consent of the King of France should have been obtained. Such being the state of affairs, the feelings of King Ferdinand may easily be imagined when, in the month of December, Monsieur de Borne arrived with a message from the King of France to the effect that all King Ferdinand had asked for had been acceded to. (fn. 71) His long cherished plans seemed at once to have reached their fulfilment. King Louis wished that the Infante should also have Naples, and King Ferdinand was not disinclined to grant that demand. If the kingdom of Italy stretched from the Alps to the Straits of Messina, would the Papal dominions and Florence have continued to form separate and independent states?
The pure gold of these overtures was not, however, quite without alloy. The proposals of the King of France, already reduced to the form of a treaty, contained two clauses which were fraught with more danger than was evident at first sight. King Louis asked the Catholic King to conclude an alliance with him, not only for the defence of their present possessions, but also for the recovery of such dominions as by right belonged to them, but had been unjustly withheld by others. What could these dominions be? King Ferdinand had invariably during his life stripped other princes of as much as he could, but he had never permitted his neighbours to get an inch of land from him. The French kings were complained of by all the world as being a conquering and not a losing dynasty. There were, indeed, certain claims which France had made on Naples and Milan, but they were settled in this very treaty. They could not, therefore, be the dominions hinted at in the ominous article. Thus, no other explanation remained but that Tournay, the only gain of the great campaign, was meant. If any doubt could exist as to this point, it would be resolved by the last article of the treaty. The Pope and the Emperor were to be unconditionally included in the alliance, but the King of England only in case that he should first give back Tournay to the King of France. (fn. 72) An article which bound King Ferdinand to assist France in reconquering Tournay must have led to an immediate rupture with England.
The Catholic King was placed, as he himself confessed, in an extremely perplexing position. If he accepted the French overtures, he exposed himself to the danger of losing the friendship of King Henry. If his alliance with England was dissolved, the pressure he had in his power to bring to bear on France was sensibly diminished, and King Louis might retract his promises. Even more, the King of France could conclude a separate treaty with England, and thereby fortify himself. On the other hand, if the Catholic King objected to the clauses concerning Tournay, new negotiations would have to be carried on, and the conclusion of this affiair would have been delayed. How dangerous that was the experience of last year had shown him. The right moment had slipped away.
Setting aside his usual caution, he decided for once to trust in his good fortune. As the articles of the treaty were already signed by King Louis, (fn. 73) time would scarcely have been left to the French to betray him to the King of England even if they had the intention of doing so. Moreover, the Queen of France, there was no doubt, was sincerely desirous to bring about a definite and lasting peace. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, King Ferdinand once more sent Pedro de Quintana to the French court towards the end of December 1513. He instructed him to accept the treaty as it was drawn up. As, however, the Emperor and the King of England would become his enemies if he concluded the peace without their knowledge and consent, he ordered Quintana first to go to the Emperor and to confer with him on the subject.
With the Emperor Quintana was to speak in secret, after having made him swear that he would not reveal the communications which he was about to hear. That done he was to inform him of the proposals of King Louis. King Ferdinand grew pathetic in speaking of the advantages which he and the Emperor would obtain, without going to war, by accepting the overtures of France. The peace with King Louis, he said, was equivalent to an acquisition of three new kingdoms, as it would secure the undisturbed possession of Naples, Navarra, and Milan. Princes are justified in making war only if they obtain thereby a remedy for the disadvantages under which they and their states are labouring. The object of a war is to obtain a good and durable peace. As in this case a good peace was offered without war, it would be impious to shed the blood of Christians. The acceptance of the proposals of King Louis involved a renunciation on the side of the Emperor of his claims on the duchy of Burgundy. But they were claims which it was difficult to enforce, and besides King Ferdinand had been informed that the revenues of the whole duchy did not amount to more than 12,000 crowns, a sum scarcely sufficient to pay the expenses for the garrisons in the fortified places. As for King Henry, he must give back Tournay, (fn. 74) but it was not the intention of Ferdinand to deal harshly with him. The pension which he had formerly received from France was to be revived, and he was to have his share of the booty of dispossessed kings, dukes, and princelings. He coveted Scotland. King Louis was to bind himself not to make difficulties if he should undertake to give such a form to the government of that country as he liked, or even "take the government of Scotland into his own hands." The possession of Scotland would have been more than an equivalent for his chimerical schemes on Guienne and Normandy, and the Pope was to exhort him not to neglect his real interest, and give up hopes the fulfillment of which was impossible. But if he was not satisfied, so much the worse for him, for he could not expect that the Emperor and King Ferdinand would carry on war to gratify his taste for conquest. (fn. 75)
To King Henry no extraordinary embassy was sent. King Ferdinand was resolved to use him to the last moment as his instrument, and to leave the task of destroying the illusions of which he had been the principal author to the Pope and the Emperor rather than to undertake it himself. The language which he addressed to the King of England was that of deliberate falsehood. He told him that the disadvantages of a war with France were much felt and complained of in Spain, especially as the Spaniards knew full well that the war was to be carried on in the interest of England. True to his dissembling policy, he added that his devotion to the Church, to King Henry, to Queen Katharine, and to Prince Charles was so great, that, in spite of the discontent of his subjects, he was ready to undertake the war. On one condition, however, he declared he must insist : the Emperor and the King of England "must make sure of the assistance of God by binding themselves to undertake a general war with the Infidels, if He gave them victory" in the enterprise on France. After these protestations, however, King Ferdinand declared that the treaty of Lille could not be accepted by him in its present form. The treaty contained ten clauses. He objected to seven of them, and added two more. Some of the alterations were insignificant, as, for instance, those which related to the order of the clauses and to the preamble. Others professed to make the meaning of some clauses more clear, although no explanation was wanted. But one objection, although it was certainly not of great weight in itself, was singularly calculated to wound the vanity of King Henry. He had styled himself in the treaty of Lille "King of France and of England." King Ferdinand declared that the assumption of the title of King of France by the King of England before he had conquered that country was a puerility. The worst, however, was that the new form which King Ferdinand had given to the treaty was, in its most important clauses, very far from clear. It was difficult to decide whether the obligation of King Henry to pay the troops of King Ferdinand referred only to the German contingent or to all his troops. (fn. 76) Such a treaty could not be signed by King Henry. New negotiations were necessary, and whilst they lasted King Ferdinand had it in his power to threaten France with an English invasion as soon as King Louis should raise new difficulties. Whether he was likely thereby to obtain his ends or not, it is not easy to state. One thing is, however, clear. In as far as he had trusted to fortune he was disappointed. Fortune declared herself entirely against him.
King Ferdinand had counted on the assistance of the Queen of France. When Quintana arrived at the court of King Louis he found the Queen ill, and a few days afterwards she was dead. This loss did not at first seem to be irreparable. The King of France, who wished to have a son, was inclined to take another wife. King Ferdinand offered him his grand-daughter, Madame Eleanor. (fn. 77) Certain historians have praised her for her beauty. But if the truth must be told, she was decidedly ugly. Her thinness was so excessive that doubts were raised as to whether she was at all fit to be married. King Ferdinand over-ruled these doubts. Common people, he said, may look for handsome wives, but princes do not marry for love ; they take wives only to beget children. (fn. 78) King Louis seems to have shared his ideas. He declared his readiness to marry Madame Eleanor.
This proposed marriage, however, raised an unexpected enemy to King Ferdinand. A lady who had great influence in the councils of Europe had given up the resolution to which she had adhered during so many years not to marry a third husband. There is no occasion for us to enter into conjectures as to the reasons which induced the Archduchess Margaret to offer herself in marriage to the King of France. She did so, and thereby placed herself in open opposition with King Ferdinand.
Another enemy injured him greatly on this occasion. He was not a king or a prince, but a poor exile. Many of the Spaniards who had espoused the cause of Philip I. against King Ferdinand had, after the death of Philip, retired to the court of Prince Charles in Flanders. They had obtained great influence in the councils of the Prince and even of the Emperor. Juan Manuel and Maestro Mota were the most conspicuous of them. King Ferdinand, who was not blind to the injury which the Spanish exiles might do him, had gained over Maestro Mota by a pension, and consigned Juan Manuel to perdition. For that purpose he had asked Madame Margaret to deliver up Juan Manuel to Artieta, a captain of a Spanish vessel which had sailed to Flanders on the pretext of carrying on commerce, but in fact for no other purpose than that of transporting Juan Manuel to some place, the name of which was confided only to the captain. Madame Margaret had consented to the request of the Catholic King. Don Juan, however, would not have been so dangerous an enemy as he was if he could have been disposed of in so easy a manner. He had found means to learn the secret whilst there was still time to avert the danger, and obtained from the Emperor an order prohibiting Madame Margaret from surrendering him. (fn. 79) Thus the plan had failed, and Juan Manuel had become all the more determined to avenge himself of his deadly enemy. He gained the services of Juan Adursa, who was a Spanish merchant at Antwerp, by promising him the office of treasurer to the future King of Spain. Adursa was a near relative of Doña Maria de Salinas, one of the maids of honour of Queen Katharine. She was young, beautiful, and a favourite of the whole court. Through her Juan Manuel instilled drop by drop into the mind of King Henry the worst interpretations of the doings and intentions of King Ferdinand. (fn. 80)
All these hostile influences delayed the conclusion of the treaty between King Ferdinand, the Emperor, King Henry, and the King of France. Meanwhile the truce concluded at Orthez was to come to an end on the 1st of April 1514. Had it not been renewed a state of war would have been the immediate consequence. No choice was left to King Ferdinand. He renewed, on the 13th of March at Orléans, the truce with France, not only in his name, but also in the name of the Emperor, the King of England, and Prince Charles. That Italy was this time not excluded from it was principally due to the influence of Madame Margaret. For when she had been obliged to give up all hope of marrying King Louis, she was not deterred by her bad success. If she could not be Queen of France, she desired to marry the Duke Maximilian Sforza, and to be Duchess of Milan. To humour her the duchy of Milan and Duke Sforza were received into the friendship of King Ferdinand and the Emperor, but how sincere this friendship was may be guessed from the circumstance that the King of France paid in the summer of the same year, in the name of King Ferdinand, to the Emperor the sum of 100,000 écus d'or au soleil, which were to be employed in the conquest of Milan. (fn. 81) However, Madame Margaret was reconciled to King Ferdinand, and the Emperor was entirely won over. But King Henry? The treaty of Orléans could not be concealed from him, and King Ferdinand had his misgivings. He begged the Emperor to persuade the King of England to ratify the treaty and to be a good ally, that is to say, to have no will of his own. The old and venerable Emperor, King Ferdinand said, had such gentle and winning words at his disposal that no person could resist him. (fn. 82) All his blandishments, however, produced but little effect in England. King Henry, prompted by Juan Manuel and the French, suspected him as well as the Catholic King.
Prince Charles had on the 24th of February 1514 completed the 14th year of his age, and according to the canons of the Church he was able to contract marriage per verba de prœsenti. King Henry insisted that he should perform the ceremony of marriage with the Princess Mary. But a binding union between Prince Charles and an English princess was in direct opposition to the plans of the Emperor and King Ferdinand, by whom the Prince was destined to become the husband of the heiress of the crowns of Bohemia and Hungary. Could it be expected that they would give up such a prize for the sister of King Henry? Although fully decided to break off the English match, the Emperor and King Ferdinand did not dare to answer the summons of King Henry with an open refusal, for fear of offending him still more. Their language was ambiguous, evasive ; they tried to put off the final decision. Under other circumstances King Henry might, perhaps, have been once again deceived ; but as it was, he regarded the evasive answers as a refusal, and the refusal as a personal affront. It is easy to understand that as soon as he was on bad terms with his father-in-law a thousand stories which had hitherto been whispered in the corners of the anterooms were freely uttered in his presence, and that the worst interpretations of the conduct of King Ferdinand were the most accredited at the Court of England.
King Louis was not slow in availing himself of the dissensions of his adversaries. Whilst he still continued negotiating with King Ferdinand, he offered to conclude a separate peace with King Henry. His arguments, supported by proposals of pecuniary advantages not only to the King, but also to the King's advisers and servants, proved to be irresistible. On the 7th of August 1514 Henry VIII. concluded two treaties with France. The one of them was a treaty of marriage between Princess Mary and King Louis, the other a treaty of alliance. (fn. 83) Thus, King Louis had at last triumphed, and succeeded in severing the alliance by means of which King Ferdinand had held him in subjection during the last four years. It was a defeat of the Catholic King, but it was not a victory of King Henry.
The advantages of the alliance were very unequally divided. The Kings of England and of France bound themselves to aid each other in defending their present territories, as well as in conquering such dominions as by right belonged to them. England claimed Guienne and Normandy ; but these claims were waived by the simple fact that King Henry had become the ally of the King of France. On the other hand, King Louis claimed the duchy of Milan, the signory of Genoa, and the county of Asti. These claims were not only not renounced, but it was expressly stipulated in Article 20 that Milan, Genoa, and Asti were excluded from the alliance, or, in other words, that King Louis reserved to himself the right to make good his demands by force of arms. The inequality of the treaty in this respect is self-evident. As England was not threatened with an invasion, France was not bound to send a single soldier to her assistance, whilst England was obliged to help King Louis with troops and ships in his enterprise on Italy.
But the treaty of the 7th of August must not be judged by the motives and intentions of, or by the results to, the contracting parties only. It did not last longer than a few months, and yet its consequences changed the whole political state of Europe, and are, to some extent, felt even in our days. It was due to this treaty that King Henry was not permitted to "take the government of Scotland into his own hands," and that that country was afterwards united to England in a peaceful way. It was due to this treaty that the kingdom of Italy was not formed. Thus, as the Infante Ferdinand could not be indemnified, he did not renounce his claim on one half of the Austrian inheritance ; and as a division of the Austrian principalities would have prevented the formation of a powerful empire on the frontiers of Turkey, Charles had no choice but to leave the whole of them to his younger brother. Being the heir of the Austrian principalities, Ferdinand was the only possible husband for the Princess Anne, and by this marriage he acquired the kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia. The consequence was that no state of his own in Germany was left to Charles. He carried his election as Emperor, but suffered the whole of his life from the fact that he was regarded as an alien. Even his victories of 1546-7 did not render him master of the empire, and all his repeated exertions to secure the succession of the Imperial throne to his son Philip were in vain. The younger branch of Habsburg furnished the future emperors. As neither Spain nor the newly discovered islands and continent, neither the Burgundian dominions, nor Naples, Sicily and Milan belonged to them, Charles was the last of the house of Habsburg who was in a position to aspire to universal empire. His successors were virtually Emperors of Austria, possessing almost exactly the same territories as they hold at present.
England was emancipated from the influence of Spain, and King Henry, perhaps, flattered himself that he had gained great advantages by asserting his independence. If he thought so, he was mistaken. It is a generally received opinion that there are peoples which are not ripe for political freedom. If this dictum holds good with respect to nations, it is still truer when applied to individuals. The passion of King Henry, which had impelled him to throw off the yoke of his father-in-law, carried him beyond all limits of reason, and there were always foreign princes at hand ready to profit by his follies. Luis Caroz painted the ungraciousness of King Henry in vivid colours. The King of England behaved in the most discourteous and offensive manner whenever the affairs of King Ferdinand were mentioned before him. As often as the ambassador went to court he was not treated like a representative of a foreign power, but like "a bull at whom all persons throw darts." King Henry was likened by Caroz to a colt which had broken loose. If he were not soon bridled, it would afterwards be found impossible to control him, and he would carry out his intention of doing as much harm to King Ferdinand as he could. Luis Caroz begged the Catholic King to decide upon some strong measure against King Henry, and to tell him that it was adopted in consequence of his bad conduct. It was possible, the ambassador added, that the King might thus become sensible of the wrong he was doing, and if not, his councillors would make him listen to reason. (fn. 84)
To state that a prince is bent on doing as much harm as he can to another prince, without regard to the detrimental consequences to himself, not to mention the sufferings he might thereby entail on his subjects, is so grave an accusation that we may pause before admitting it, even on the direct testimony of a responsible minister. Unhappily for the reputation of King Henry we have his own words, which allow of no doubt. In the autumn of 1514, he had instructed the Duke of Suffolk to make certain proposals to the King of France. These instructions do not seem to be extant ; but as the two most important articles of them are transcribed verbatim in the answer which King Louis gave to the Duke of Suffolk on the 26th of November, we are perfectly enabled to judge of them for ourselves. In Article 2, King Henry incited King Louis to drive the Spaniards out of Navarra, promising to assist him with all his forces. In Article 3 he pretended that the kingdom of Castile belonged by right to the daughters of Queen Isabella. As Queen Katharine was one of them, he stated that he was determined to make good the claims of his wife, and asked King Louis to say what his opinion on this subject was, and what assistance he would lend him. In addition to this extravagant claim—for the kingdom of Castile was no more the common inheritance of the daughters of Queen Isabella, to be portioned out between them, than England had been the common inheritance of the children of Henry VII.— King Henry empowered the Duke of Suffolk to concert any measures whatever with the King of France which were calculated to cause "the greatest mischief to King Ferdinand." (fn. 85) These are almost the same words which the Spanish ambassador had made use of. The truth of his statement cannot, therefore, be doubted.
King Louis answered that the expulsion of King Ferdinand from Navarra would be a good thing in itself, but it would cost more than the kingdom was worth. Whether King Henry had any well-founded claims on Castile he was not able to judge, as he was not acquainted with the laws of that country. But whether the King of England were right or wrong was a matter of little importance to him ; and he would readily assist his friend in conquering Castile, if the undertaking were not so difficult. Exactly in the same manner as King Ferdinand had formerly told King Henry that the conquest of France was not so facile an enterprise as he imagined, so King Louis now reminded him that it was not so easy to conquer Castile as he seemed to think. He advised him, therefore, to remain ostensibly the friend of his father-in-law, to worm out all his secrets, and then to communicate them to him without any reserve. He, on the other hand, promised to do the same.
Thus far, King Louis treated King Henry in the same manner in which King Ferdinand had done. That was natural enough. Demands are sometimes so unreasonable that only one answer can be made to them. King Louis, however, went further. He explained his own undoubted right to the duchy of Milan, signified his intention to reconquer it, and asked King Henry for money not only to carry out his enterprise, but also to relieve the burdens of his poor French subjects. (fn. 86) As Henry had bound himself in his last treaty to assist Louis in recovering the dominions which belonged by right to him, to call for his assistance in the enterprise on Milan was not unreasonable, but to ask a King of England to give money wherewith to lighten taxation in France was a pretension of unexampled insolence. If the alliance between England and France were to last, King Henry was likely to exchange one master for another, who was much more unscrupulous than his predecessor.
When things were in this state King Louis died, on the 1st of January 1515. The Royne Blanche, (fn. 87) that is to say, the Queen in white or in mourning, married the Duke of Suffolk, became the subject of gossip at the different courts of Europe, and returned to England not well satisfied with King Francis. The family connexion between France and England was severed. Francis I. invaded Italy, won the battle of Marignan, and conquered the duchy of Milan. King Henry had no right to be astonished at this. In consequence of his treaty he was even bound to assist the French. But in the ardour of his warlike preparations, the King of France had neglected to pay him and his councillors the pensions which had fallen due on the 1st of May. On the other hand, the Duke Maximilian Sforza had sent over his secretary, Michael de Abbatis, in order to implore the assistance of King Henry. The secretary had promised, in the name of the Duke, a pension of 10,000 ducats to Wolsey. It was to begin as soon as the Duke should have reconquered the duchy, and to be continued as long as he or his successors remained in the possession of Milan (fn. 88). Thus, Wolsey had a strong pecuniary interest in inducing King Henry to oppose the King of France.
During all this time the conduct of King Ferdinand formed the strongest possible contrast to the behaviour of King Henry. He did not permit any angry feeling to take possession of his mind. As his voice was not likely to gain the ear of his son-in-law, he spoke to him through the Pope and the Emperor. Nothing but kind and gentle expressions came from his lips, and he urged upon his allies that they should at any risk try to preserve the friendship of the King of England. Moreover, he sent in December 1514 a new ambassador to England, Bernard de Mesa, Bishop of Elna, (fn. 89) a man of gentle and winning manners, and to whose influence it was due that the hatred of King Henry towards his father-in-law gradually subsided. Nor had King Ferdinand omitted to improve his relations with other princes. As soon as he was informed that King Henry and King Louis had concluded an alliance, he brought about a league between the Pope, the Emperor, himself, the Duke of Milan, the family de Medicis, Florence, Genoa, the Swiss Confederacy and the German (Suabian) league. (fn. 90) A place was reserved in this treaty for the King of England, who if he had definitively rejected it, would have become not only the enemy of King Ferdinand, but also of all the other allies. Early in the year 1515, that is to say, not many months after the alliance between France and England had been concluded, it was known that King Henry was inclined to reconcile himself to his father-in-law. Nothing but a pretext for breaking his treaty with France was wanted. (fn. 91)
King Ferdinand asked the Pope to excommunicate the King of France, releasing thereby King Henry from his obligations towards him. (fn. 92) Leo X., however, had, notwithstanding his alliance with Spain, entered into secret negotiations with France. As great personal advantages had been promised to him, he was, naturally enough, by no means inclined to do the bidding of King Ferdinand, and the public instrument which his nuncio issued was, although very condemnatory of the policy of Francis, not a formal excommunication. (fn. 93) The Catholic King was forced to have recourse to other means. He wrote a flattering letter to King Henry, accompanied by splendid presents. These, as we learn, not from the papers in this volume, but from a document which will be found in that which is to follow, consisted of horses, saddles, and bridles, and of a collar for the King himself. The impression made by these gifts seems to have been quite overwhelming. King Henry wrote in the most grateful terms, enthusiastically thanking his father-in-law for his liberality. The Queen added a letter, in which she stated that her husband was as happy and proud of the presents as it was possible for a man to be. He was ready to show his gratitude by adopting any measure King Ferdinand should propose. (fn. 94) As the relations between the father-in-law and the son-in-law were so entirely changed by the gift of some horses, saddles, bridles, and a collar, the services of the Pope could be dispensed with. King Henry concluded, on the 19th of October 1515, a new treaty of alliance with King Ferdinand, after having entered the general league against France. (fn. 95) The new alliance was only a defensive one, but the principal gain was that King Henry had been rescued from the influence of the French, and that his allegiance to his father-in-law was renewed. He had not grown wiser, for, as he had been bent a few months ago on doing any harm "whatever" to King Ferdinand, so he was now desirous to do some injury, "whatever it might be," to the French. Queen Katharine stated positively that it would have been difficult to conclude the treaty with King Henry had he not received the presents. (fn. 96)
It would be interesting to know which of the English ministers were in favour of the French and which in favour of the Spanish alliance. As, however, King Ferdinand always carried on his negotiations direct with the King or the Queen, the Spanish State Papers do not give any information on this point.
Queen Katharine behaved during the whole of the quarrel between King Henry and King Ferdinand as became a Queen of England. She loved and revered her father. It certainly made her unhappy to see that he and her husband had become enemies. But when King Ferdinand attempted to make use of her influence over her husband, she refused to serve any such purpose. Luis Caroz complained in the most bitter terms that neither he nor any other Spaniard could obtain the smallest advantage through her interference. Encouraged by her confessor, Fray Diego de Hernandez, she seemed, he said, to have forgotten that she was a Spaniard, and was desirous only to cultivate the goodwill of the people which had become hers through her marriage. (fn. 97) We congratulate the Queen and her confessor that they so well understood what was befitting her position.
The friendship between King Ferdinand and King Henry was, after the reconciliation, according to the document which I have already mentioned, more intimate than it had ever been before. As soon as two princes of such different attainments had come together the influence of the Catholic King over the policy of England was inevitable. King Ferdinand therefore immediately resumed his schemes on Italy. England was again to be used as the instrument of pressure, and King Henry was as eager as ever to renew the war with France, only that this time he heeded the counsels of his father-in-law more than he had done formerly. The war was not to be begun without preparation, and the assistance of the Swiss was first to be secured. As their greediness had been disappointed by all the Christian princes in turn, excepting the King of England, it was he who was to be security for the fulfilment of the promises to be made to them. An arrangement was concluded that he should take upon himself the obligation to pay 180,000 crowns to the Swiss, for which the King of Spain was partly to indemnify him by repaying 80,000 crowns. (fn. 98) The Emperor, who had learnt by experience what bad consequences had resulted from his dilatory policy, had given in anticipation his full consent to the plan of the Catholic King, approving the formation of the Italian kingdom for the Infante Ferdinand, and the transmission of the whole and undivided inheritance of the houses of Spain, Austria, and Burgundy to Charles, the future Emperor. As soon, therefore, as the French should be again placed in such difficulties as to repeat their former offers, there was every prospect that the arrangements would be immediately concluded, and that the designs of King Ferdinand would be accomplished. His confidence in success was so great that he gave expression to still larger plans, at which he had only hinted on former occasions. Adopting the plan of the Emperor Maximilian, he declared in plain terms that he intended to crown his political edifice by conquering Constantinople, all the territories of the Turks in Europe, Syria, and Jerusalem, and by re-uniting the Empire of the Orient to the Empire of the Occident. (fn. 99)
When the affairs of the Catholic King were in this prosperous state, and he was occupied with such vast plans, a new enemy arose against whom all his statecraft was of no avail. He had been ill since the autumn of 1515. His illness increased during the winter, and in the month of January in 1516 he died.
I have not tried to gloss over the eminent faults of Ferdinand ; but if we look back dispassionately upon his whole political career, we cannot refuse him the praise of having been, although not one of the greatest of kings in the highest acceptation of the word, yet a prince of far more than ordinary merit. He spoke only the truth when he proudly stated that he had made Spain greater than it ever had been during the last seven centuries. Whenever he mentioned his own measures he showed that he was perfectly aware of their bearing. He was therefore fully responsible for the bad actions he committed, but justice requires that his successes should also be placed to his credit. Born a prince, in the small kingdom of Aragon, but not even the heir to the crown, he brought about the union of that kingdom with Castile, and added to the new state the kingdom of Granada, the kingdom of Naples, the kingdom of Navarra, and the counties of Roussillon and Cerdaña, together with the newly discovered countries on the other side of the Ocean. That he did not execute his plans in Italy, and that his great scheme of the conquest of Greece and Constantinople was not accomplished, does not diminish his claims to be considered a great statesman. It is a property of energetic and widely grasping minds to conceive plans for which their lives are too short.
Successful conquerors are frequently to be met with in history. The conquests of Ferdinand, however, are recommended by the circumstance that they were judicious. The greater part of the conquered countries belongs to this day to Spain, and even the kingdom of Naples was separated from it more than 200 years afterwards, by a treaty which changed in general the whole political state of Europe. Another merit of his conquests was that he effected them without entailing any great amount of hardship on his country. In spite of his falsehood and almost repulsive hypocrisy, when compared with princes like Henry VII., Maximilian, King Philip, Popes Alexander and Julius, who were all of them on the same level as himself with respect to his duplicity, and inferior only as regards his intelligence and energy, it seems to me that the special opprobrium cast upon his character is greatly due to the illwill which small men bear to those greater than themselves. (fn. 100)
But, however just we may be towards the higher qualities of King Ferdinand, England had no reason to love him. His great influence over King Henry in his youth gave him opportunity to exercise a beneficial influence on the formation of his character. Had he been as loving a father as he pretended, he could have taught his son-in-law the real duties of royalty, and shown him that mere self-indulgence in a prince is the source of misery for himself and for his subjects. He would thereby perhaps have spared great suffering to his daughter, whom he really loved with as much affection as he was capable of, and bestowed a great benefit on the people of England. Instead of acting as a true father, he so conducted himself that King Henry in his riper years cannot have regarded him in any other light than as a heartless dissembler, who had done him infinite harm. Instead of softening the uncontrolled passions of King Henry, he poisoned them.
Up to the time of the death of King Ferdinand the documents preserved at Simancas are our principal sources of information. Immediately after his decease, however, a great blank occurs in that collection of State Papers. The period intervening between the years 1516 and 1528 is represented in the archives at Simancas, and in that portion of them which is now in Paris, by a few isolated documents, which seem to have been separated by some accident from the collections to which they formerly belonged. I should have little to say here of the history of those twelve years were it not for the circumstance that the Royal Academy of History in Madrid and Don Pascual de Gayangos are in possession of the great bulk of the Italian correspondence of Charles V. from the year 1520 down to the year 1528. The correspondence of the Emperor with his ambassadors in England during this period, however, is not in Spain. It cannot, therefore, be calendared in this volume. But as I have succeeded in collecting a portion of it from other archives, small as it is, it is my intention to make use of it on the rare occasions when I think it is necessary to do so, in order to explain those State Papers which are mentioned in my Calendar, or to warn the reader not to misinterpret my abstracts.
Italy was during the period from 1520 to 1528 the theatre of the most interesting and most important events in European history. The negotiations of the Emperor in Rome and Venice, the battles fought in Lombardy and Naples, the invasion of Provence under the command of the Duke of Bourbon, and the battle at Pavia were not of a merely local interest. These events exercised influence all over Christendom, over England as well as over the Continent. When, early in the morning of the 24th of February 1525, the French army was annihilated under the walls of Pavia, the position of England as a member of the community of Christian states was essentially changed. It was in the evening of that memorable day in very different circumstances from what it had been in the morning.
The subject of the negotiations which the Emperor carried on in Italy was an alliance against France, not between Charles V. and the Italian states, but between Charles V. and the King of England, on the one part, and the princes of Italy, on the other. The diplomatic transactions relating to the conclusion of this league concerned England, therefore, as much as the Emperor himself. (fn. 101)
The correspondence with Rome offers particular difficulties. Whatever the authority of the Popes was according to the constitution of the Church, it was much limited in practice, not only by the College of Cardinals, but also by the influence of individuals in office and out of office. Long lists of persons are sometimes met with, each of whom, it is stated, had it in his power to accelerate or to delay, to aid or to hinder, the adoption of various political measures. Foreign princes were obliged to carry on negotiations with them, and to win their good graces by bribes, pensions, and bishoprics. The consequence is that the despatches from Rome contain a great amount of personal notices. To suppress them seemed to me almost tantamount to falsifying history. Had I done so, I should erroneously have represented as acting upon broad principles of statesmanship men who were influenced by considerations of personal advantages as much as, sometimes even more than, by political motives. In order, however, not to overburden my Calendar with never-ending detail, I have not aimed at completeness in this respect, but contented myself with giving instances in illustration of the character of the statesmen with whom English and Imperial diplomatists had to deal.
I have not been able to consult any one about the selection of the documents to be mentioned in my Calendar. As no one except myself had examined them, no one could offer me advice. The responsibility is, therefore, entirely my own. I do not pretend never to have erred, but I must beg the reader who, perhaps, is inclined to think that some circumstances which are mentioned in this volume are irrelevant, to reserve his judgment until the whole correspondence of the Emperor relating to England is placed before him.
Before I make any further observations I must recall to the mind of the reader what were the guiding political principles of Charles V.
When the great-grandfather of Charles was crowned as Roman Emperor, there was no really powerful state in the whole of Christendom. The Eastern empire was extinct. Germany contained, besides the Free Towns, some thousands of princes, prelates, counts, and nobles who were nominally subjects, but virtually sovereign lords of the territories which belonged to them. In France the great vassals defied at once the law of the land and the authority of the King. The Spanish peninsula was broken up into five kingdoms, which were at continual war with one another. Each of the five kings considered it to be a piece of political wisdom to foment discord and rebellion in the dominions of his neighbours. The distracted political state of Italy is sufficiently known. England was suffering from civil war. Poland, although possessed of vast territories, had never been of importance in general European politics ; and Russia was at that time scarcely known in the western parts of Europe. But whilst the Christian states were weak and disorganized, the Turkish empire was strong and aggressive, and for all purposes of attack against Christendom it had a natural ally in the Mahometan kingdom in the south of Spain.
Louis XI. reduced the French vassals to obedience. Berry, Normandy, the county and marches of Boulogne, the duchy of Burgundy, Anjou, Maine, and Provence were successively annexed to the crown. France then became once more a great power, and the weaker states had one Christian sovereign to whom they could have recourse for protection. But just because the French kings were the natural supporters of the weaker princes, they threatened the independence of the whole of them. Genuine State Papers of the fifteenth century are by no means numerous. In such of them, however, as are still extant we find the fear expressed over and over again that the Kings of France would render themselves "masters of the world," "establish a universal empire," "subject the whole of Christendom to their dictation," &c., &c. The best means to avert such a danger was to found another powerful state as a counterpoise. Ferdinand the Catholic was the first prince who undertook the enterprise. His plan does not seem at first to have gone further than to form a united kingdom of Spain by the side of the united kingdom of France. When, however, by the premature extinction of the two elder lines of his house the union under one head of the Spanish, Austrian, and Burgundian dominions had become an inevitable necessity, King Ferdinand based political plans on it which, if executed, would have remodelled the whole state of Christendom. This is not the place to inquire when the princes of the house of Habsburg first conceived the idea of reviving the old Roman empire. All we can do is to remind the reader that Maximilian I. flattered himself with such hopes. When we find that a prince, who was scarcely able to hold his own, cherished ideas of conquering the world, we are justified in supposing that this was nothing more than one of his many idle day dreams. As soon, however, as a king of such calm judgment and unrelaxing energy as King Ferdinand approved this plan, and began to devote his energies to carry it out, the idea of a universal empire could no longer be treated as a mere whim of a capricious sovereign. That a prince, who had already added three kingdoms to the inheritance of his grandson, should beguile himself with chimerical self-delusions, that he should permit his heir to imbibe ideas which were utterly impracticable, and consequently would imperil the stability of his empire, was at least highly improbable. The example set by King Ferdinand was, therefore, calculated to make a particularly deep impression on the mind of the youthful Charles. But that was not all. Two Popes formally recognized the claims of the united houses of Spain and Austria to govern the whole of Christendom. The reader will remember that Julius II. and Leo X. had concluded treaties with the Emperor Maximilian and King Ferdinand, according to which France was to be subjected, Greece, Constantinople, and Syria were to be conquered, and both crowns, those of the Eastern and Western empires, were to be placed on the same head. When Pope Leo X. wrote to Charles, after his coronation at Aix la Chapelle, saying that the Emperor and the Pope were like the two great luminaries of heaven which regulate times and seasons, and in comparison with which all the other heavenly bodies were small and insignificant, we may question which was to be the sun, and which was to shine with only a borrowed lustre ; but Charles certainly had no doubts on the subject. (fn. 102)
Nor was the idea of universal empire restricted to the Pope and to some princes and their courtiers. The nations shared it. Such a letter as that which the city of Valladolid wrote to Charles after the death of the Catholic King is only one example among many of the same kind. We select it because it is printed, and can be easily consulted. The citizens encouraged the young prince to render himself master of the world, and from the beginning of his reign to prepare such measures as would ultimately lead to the conquest of the Holy Land. (fn. 103)
Whether the plan of reviving the empire of the Roman Cæsars was practicable in the sixteenth century or not, beneficial to Europe or detrimental, this much is clear, that Charles was brought up in the idea that he was to be the lord of the world. As both his grandfathers, as the Pope, who was then still looked upon as speaking in the name of the whole of Christendom, as his own subjects expected him to realize the idea of one great and powerful Christian empire, was it at all likely that he would resist influences which so much flattered his ambition? Serious and reserved from the earliest years of his boyhood, ruled by a concentrated and passionate love of empire, he not only regarded the whole of Christendom as belonging to him by right divine, but he considered also the establishment of universal empire as his duty towards God and men. Lust of empire and religious feelings were blended in him to such an extent that he most sincerely thought the subjection of the whole of Christendom to his dictatorship served, to use his own words, as well the interests of the house of Austria as the interests of God and His Church.
The sequel of the history will prove how thoroughly he endeavoured to carry out what he regarded as his duty. He directed all his energies to conquer Italy, France, England, and the Turkish empire. Though he often altered his plan in regard to the measures for effecting these conquests, and often changed the order in which they were to be made, he never in his own mind gave up the smallest portion of the countries which were to form his universal empire. France offered to divide the world with him, but he scorned such an idea. His reverses not only roused his energies, but also rendered harsher and more unsparing his cold and unsympathizing character than it had been from the first. The opposition he met with from his political adversaries, however justified by the law of self-preservation, was in his eyes nothing but crime and impiety. Unscrupulous in the choice of his means from the very beginning of his reign, he never shrank in his later days from the commission of atrocious crimes. That the victims were his enemies excused these iniquities in his opinion. He has been suspected of some dark deeds, such as the assassination of the French ambassadors, Fregoso and Rincon, and of Pier-Luigi Farnese ; but the most unprejudiced historians have generally pronounced a verdict in his favour, principally from the general consideration that it was impossible a great Emperor could be guilty of crimes of such a nature. These historians, however high their credit may be, know nothing of the real character of Charles V. His genuine State Papers show that he was guilty not only of the crimes of which he was suspected, but that he committed an almost incredible number of other deeds of darkness. That frail, pallid, and apparently unimpassioned man sacrificed without any scruple all his gentler impulses, and all the world besides, whenever he thought it necessary for the execution of his plans. Gifted with many great and commanding qualities, his nature grew more and more merciless until he sank into a state of rare moral and physical misery during his life at Yuste. In the loneliness of his later years he had ample time to review his past life, but he never felt remorse, except for one of his acts which posterity has always considered to have been creditable to him. The code of morals of the aspirant after universal empire in the sixteenth century was very different from the general ideas of right and wrong in disinterested lookers on in our days.
Political measures were generally first debated in the Imperial Council of State, to which persons who did not properly belong to that body were sometimes admitted. The privy councillors gave their votes in writing. When the questions of foreign policy had been discussed in the Council of State, Gattinara, as long as he lived, and after his death Francisco de los Covos, Nicolas Perenot (the elder Granvelle), and, at a later period, his son, then Bishop of Arras, conferred on them with the Emperor, generally making him adopt their views without respect to the opinion of the council. If the business was of a very secret kind, the other advisers of the crown were not even informed of it. This manner of despatching affairs considerably influences the value of the State Papers. A protocol of a sitting of the Privy Council of State may contain the real intentions of the Imperial Government, or it may not ; whilst those documents in which the decisions of the Emperor, Gattinara, Covos, and Granvelle, father and son, are recorded may in general be accepted as a true exposure of the Imperial policy.
However numerous and great their faults may have been, Charles and his advisers had, at all events, the redeeming quality that they were always in earnest in carrying out their plans, and never condescended to false pretences. Neither Gattinara, nor Covos, nor Perenot would have stooped to deceive themselves or the Emperor with flattering delusions. And had they attempted to do so they would not have succeeded, for Charles V., very unlike Henry VIII., would have scorned the idea of vain pomp and the semblance of greatness without its reality.
Whilst Charles V. was striving after universal empire, Francis boasted that he would make him one of the weakest and poorest princes of Christendom. Nor was this entirely vain talk, for Francis really formed plans to deprive Charles of Spain, of Italy, of the Imperial crown, and, in fact, of all he possessed. His resources were by no means despicable. France enjoyed in especial the advantage of being a compact power, whilst the Imperial dominions were scattered over the whole of Europe. But Francis, the "chivalrous king," although capable occasionally of executing some brilliant feat, was of too easy and improvident a nature, too much given to his pleasures, and too much governed by women of no great talent to turn his advantages to good account. His statesmen and generals also, notwithstanding that some of them have been much extolled, do not bear any close examination.
Turkey was then at the height of her power. If we read chronicles only, we find the Turks spoken of invariably as the implacable enemies of Christendom. There is no doubt they were considered as such by princes, courtiers, and pious men ; but with the lower classes they were not altogether unpopular. It was well known that they exacted lighter taxes from their subjects, to whatever creed they might belong, than many of the Christian governments. This truth was so apparent that even Pope Adrian was fully aware of it, and spoke plainly of the danger arising to church and state from the favourable opinion entertained by Christians of the Turks. Not only some private individuals, but whole parishes, with their priests at their head, emigrated from Naples and Sicily to Africa, not to become Mahomedans, but with the purpose of enjoying a greater degree of religious liberty and of political freedom.
Besides the Emperor, France, and the Turks, there was a fourth great power in Europe—the Pope. His spiritual influence extended over the whole of the western world, and was at first rather heightened than diminished by the Lutheran schism. Being, however, at the same time, the sovereign of an Italian state which was not equal to Venice and scarcely superior to Milan, the Vicar of Christ was subject to all the dangers with which little princes are threatened in times of great political commotions. Whether the high prerogative of the spiritual power assisted more towards screening the small temporal kingdom from invasion and conquest, or whether the petty cares for the safety of the temporal possessions contributed more towards lowering the spiritual authority, is a question not to be answered here. But this much, at all events, is indisputably clear from the state papers of Charles V., that the Popes, in their quality of supreme chiefs of the Church, were almost continually influenced by political considerations, which were often so small as to prompt the wish to acquire a third-rate town, or to obtain the monopoly of selling salt to a neighbouring principality.
But we must return to England. It was hardly possible for Henry VIII. and Wolsey to adopt a policy of absolute neutrality and to remain unconcerned in what was happening on the Continent. As the struggle was for absolute supremacy, the independence of England would have ceased whether the Emperor, Francis, or the Turks had succeeded in carrying out their plans. Two ways were open to English statesmen. The one was to side with either of the great temporal Christian powers whenever it was in danger of being subjugated by its rival. This alternative had two inconveniences. It perpetuated war, and forced upon England the undignified position of the smaller state associated with a great ally. The other course was resolutely and honestly, in good earnest and not only for appearance' sake, to fulfil the duties of a great nation, and thereby to elevate England to the first rank among European powers. Her material resources seem then already to have been sufficiently great, and her insular position rendered such an attempt less dangerous to her than it would have been to other states. Henry VIII. could have counted on active support on the Continent, as the fear with which Charles V. and Francis I. inspired all the smaller potentates of Europe would have secured him numerous friends. But, if we can trust the Spanish state papers, there was, before Elizabeth's reign, no English statesman energetic, intelligent, and honest enough to inaugurate a new period of a great and independent policy. We shall hereafter see that the endeavours of Henry VIII. were utter failures, and did not even deserve success.
In the year 1520 the treaty concluded in London on the 2nd of October 1518 still formed the basis of international law. According to it, the Pope, the Emperor, the King of France, the King of England, and their confederates were to remain friends during the whole of their lives. If one of them should, contrary to all expectation, do anything to the prejudice of either of the other contracting princes, all the other allies were to combine with the injured party, and exact reparation, having recourse, if necessary, to force of arms. Charles, although he had carried his election as Emperor notwithstanding the competition of Francis, was in a critical position, on account of the revolutionary movements which disturbed Naples, Spain, and even the Austrian dominions. Was it to be expected that his rival would be prevented by a few parchments, containing high sounding phrases of friendship and peace, sealed, and signed, and sworn to, from taking advantage of his difficulties? A struggle was inevitable, and pretexts for hostilities were not wanting. The Emperor, hampered as he was with domestic troubles, would probably have wished to defer the war for some time. As that, however, from reasons we cannot explain here, would have involved the loss of Naples, he had no alternative but to begin his great contest at once under conditions the most unfavourable that could be imagined.
Charles and his advisers, Chièvres, Juan Manuel, Maestro Mota, and even Gattinara, had not been the friends of King Ferdinand. As soon, however, as they had to govern a great empire, they imitated his policy. A confederacy with England and the Italian States against France was the first measure to be concerted. In order to bring about an alliance with King Henry, the Emperor sent an embassy to England at the head of which was Jehan de le Sauch : and in order to win over the Pope, Juan Manuel was despatched to Rome.
Juan Manuel arrived towards the end of the month of April 1520. He was the bearer of a draft treaty which had been drawn up in the Imperial Chancellery. His powers went far beyond those of a common ambassador, as all the other Imperial envoys in Italy were placed under his orders, and even the right to dispose of the naval and military forces of Naples and Sicily was conceded to him. The state of affairs which he found to exist at Rome was by no means favourable. The negotiations between the Pope and the King of France concerning Naples were much further advanced than had been suspected.
Leo X. was the reverse of his predecessor, Julius II., who had possessed a mediocre intellect, but was endowed with great strength of will. The Medicean Pope was of a subtle and penetrating mind, or, according to the phrase of his time, "a double Florentine," but his intellectual powers were not supported by force of character. Threats and temptations were, therefore, calculated to have great influence over him. His fears were excited by the intimation of the dangers in which Italy was involved by the presence of the French, and which would be greatly increased if the Emperor and the King of France should ever become true friends. Moreover, the Emperor had it in his power to show favour to "a certain friar in Germany who called himself Martin Luther," and who, as Juan Manuel was credibly informed, was a great scholar and an implacable enemy of the Papal power. Juan Manuel advised the Emperor to show some favour to the friar, but at the same time to take great care that he always remained in a position to crush the schismatic as soon as he was no longer in need of him. (fn. 104) These threats produced a deep impression. The temptations, on the other hand, held out to Leo X. were the restoration to the Church of Parma, Piacenza, and other territories, together with the promise of aggrandisement of the family of the de Medicis.
Indirect means to render the Pope an enemy of the King of France, and thereby to force upon him the necessity of himself seeking the alliance of the Emperor and the King of England, were not neglected. I will mention only two of these means, namely, the endeavours to induce the Pope to give a cardinal's hat to the Bishop of Liege, and to take part in the enterprise on Genoa. The Bishop of Liege was so hated by the King of France that he regarded any one who showed favour to him as his personal enemy, and the significance of the enterprise on Genoa is clear if it be borne in mind that at that time Genoa was in the possession of the King of France. (fn. 105)
Juan Manuel wielded his weapons against the Pope with considerable dexterity. Scarcely a month had passed before he was enabled to write to his master that Leo X. had become fully aware of the need in which he stood of the friendship of the Emperor. The triple alliance between Rome, England, and Charles V. was in principle consented to by the Roman Court, and all that remained to be done was the arrangement of detail. (fn. 106) Several of these minor questions, however, were exceedingly perplexing, and the negotiations assumed more than once so unfriendly a character that a rupture seemed imminent.
The opposition which Charles V. had hitherto encountered in his hereditary dominions had by this time spread throughout the Empire. Public feeling in Germany was so unfavourable that Monsieur de Chiévres seems really to have thought it dangerous for the Emperor to venture further into that country than to Aix la Chapelle, where he was to be crowned. The strongest remonstrances of Juan Manuel were necessary to urge Charles to go fearlessly to Worms, and to hold the Diet there. But the most serious embarrassment of all was want of money. The expenses of the Emperor in time of peace were great ; his war expenditure, it was easy to foresee, would be enormous ; his exchequer was empty, and the revenues from his disaffected dominions were stopped. Such an ally could not inspire great confidence in the Pope.
King Francis, apparently at least, forgiving Leo X. his participation in the attempt to deprive him of Genoa, sent one ambassador after another to Rome with tempting proposals to the Holy Father and to all his family. The French, besides, availed themselves of the duplicity of Cardinal Wolsey, spreading the rumour through the whole of Italy that he would soon reconcile Francis and Charles, in which case the Emperor would abandon the Italian princes to the vengeance of the King of France. Under such circumstances, it is not to be wondered at that the Pope grew cold and reserved towards the Imperial ambassador, whilst he had frequent conferences with the diplomatic agents of Francis. Juan Manuel reproached him in hard terms with his inconsistency. Leo X. felt keenly the affront, blushed deeply, but did not permit his personal feelings to interfere with his policy. Not daring to come to a rupture with the Emperor, he tried to allay his suspicions. In order to convince the Imperial ambassador that he was not betraying the Emperor, he proposed to hide a servant of Juan Manuel under the bed in the room in which the French ambassadors were received in audience. (fn. 107) He told him moreover that Moreta, the French envoy, who was by no means an intelligent man, had been trifled with by him. Among other things, the Pope said that the King of France had asked him to create a French cardinal, and that he had given Moreta a sealed bundle of papers, with the injunction to deliver it to the nuncio in France, pretending that it contained the elevation of a French prelate to the dignity of a cardinal. In that bundle, however, there was not any paper of that kind, and in order to prolong the deception, the Pope had ordered his nuncio not to open the packet without his special permission. (fn. 108) But although he rendered Moreta ridiculous, was he not at the same time trifling with the Emperor also? Juan Manuel, suspecting him of such a design, had recourse to stronger means of persuasion, declaring positively to the Pope and to the Cardinal de Medicis, that, if they should make peace with France, the Emperor would also conclude an alliance with Francis, and thereby render all his treaties with other princes, the Pope included, entirely nugatory. Francis and Charles, he said, in such a case would divide Italy between themselves. This statement produced a great impression on the mind of the Pope, and a still deeper on the mind of the Cardinal. At the same time Juan Manuel had ordered the Imperial troops in Naples to march to Civita Ducata, a small place near upon the frontiers of Rome. (fn. 109) Adding temptations to threats, he offered to the Cardinal de Medicis the bishopric of Jaen, worth 8,000 ducats a year, and a pension of 10,000 ducats out of the revenues of the see of Toledo. (fn. 110) These menaces and favours produced the desired effect. The Pope seemed at first greatly offended, and declared that he would send for French troops, in order to have a counterpoise to the Imperial forces. Soon, however, he became calmer, and concluded on the 12th of December 1520 an arrangement with Juan Manuel, according to which the Pope and the Emperor exchanged promises in writing that neither of them would within three months conclude any treaty with France, and during three months more would not enter into an alliance with that power without the knowledge and consent of the other party. As for the King of England, the Pope gave the Emperor time up to the end of the following March for winning him over to the league. This agreement was kept strictly secret, and Juan Manuel observed that "if Count Carpi and the other French ambassador knew of these bonds, they would hang themselves." (fn. 111)
To win over King Henry within so short a time was not in the power of the Emperor. The English ambassadors in Rome, instead of espousing the Imperial cause, behaved in a way which showed that their master, or at least Wolsey, was more inclined to aid the King of France than the Emperor. (fn. 112) Wolsey, availing himself of the difficulty in which the Pope and the Emperor were placed, increased his demands, and asked to be made legate for life, instead of accepting that dignity for the period of ten years which the Pope had declared himself ready to grant. (fn. 113) The Pope, always wavering between hope and fear, grew impatient. He declared that it would be madness if he were to place himself under the protection of the Emperor, as long as the Emperor had not subdued his rebellious subjects in Spain, Naples, and Sicily, nor succeeded in winning over the Swiss to his cause, nor secured a reliable friendship with the King of England. Juan Manuel had once more recourse to threats, and his threats produced again their desired effect. A treaty of alliance was actually drawn up. When the Pope had fixed the day for signing it news arrived at Rome that the King of France had concluded an alliance with the Swiss. Such an alliance would have made the French much stronger than they were before. The Pope, therefore, became so much afraid of them that he deferred the signing of the alliance from day to day. Juan Manuel then ordered the Neapolitan troops to enter the Papal States. When Leo X. heard what had taken place he grew furious, and many hard words were exchanged between him and the Imperial ambassador. A rupture seemed to be inevitable. Whilst affairs were in this precarious state, a despatch arrived from the Emperor of a reassuring and conciliatory character. Juan Manuel, as soon as he had received it, went to the palace, but could not see the Pope, "because he had taken a purgation." Some days afterwards, however, when the Pope "had got rid of the ill humours," and when it was known that the rumour of the French having concluded an alliance with the Swiss was false, an offensive league between the Pope and the Emperor was signed on the 29th of May 1521. England was expected to accede to it. (fn. 114)
As soon as the alliance between the Pope and the Emperor had been concluded, Juan Manuel asked Charles to discontinue the semblance of tolerance which he had shown towards Martin Luther, and Leo X. urged the Emperor to fulfil his promise and to win over the King of England to their league. (fn. 115) With Luther we are not here concerned. Even with respect to the direct negotiations between the Imperial Court and the government of Henry VIII. I have to offer only a few remarks, as the despatches which were exchanged between Charles V. and his ambassadors in England are not preserved in Spain.
Charles, as we know, had not waited until Leo X. asked him to persuade Henry VIII. to take an active part in the intended war against France. The Emperor knew that Henry VIII. liked him personally, and was at heart no friend of the French. But from personal liking to active aid in a war the step was wide. Henry had no cause for serious complaints of the behaviour of King Francis. His recent experience had shown him that all his alliances with the predecessors of Charles, with Ferdinand as well as with Maximilian, had not enabled him to recover the smallest portion of the French provinces which he claimed as his property. Nor were officious friends wanting who warned him against the apparent friendship of the Emperor. Leo X. had sent early in the year 1520 his Auditor de la Camera to England, with instructions to explain at large to King Henry all the dangers to which the whole of Christendom would be exposed if Charles should be rendered still more powerful than he already was. (fn. 116) Besides these reasons of state, the personal interests of King Henry were opposed to a rupture with Francis. The daughter of King Henry was betrothed to the Dauphin, and he himself was receiving considerable sums of money from France. The payments which since the treaty of Estaple the French had been in the habit of making to the Kings of England were called by Henry VIII. a tribute, and by foreigners a pension. Whatever the real nature of them might have been, it was clear that the King of France had it in his power, by withholding them, to inflict upon the King of England a penalty which Henry VIII. would most probably have felt as keenly, and consequently dreaded as much, as his father. There are few princes to be found in history who squandered so much money as Henry VIII ; and yet there is no doubt he was fond of money, even to avarice. No stronger illustration of his covetousness could be adduced than his behaviour towards his sister Mary, whom he robbed of her dower after the death of Louis XII. He resented it deeply if any of the payments were not punctually made at the time stipulated. When, however, he had obtained the money, he distributed it among the young ladies attending upon the Queen, and among his favourites, to play with at cards, boasting that it had been paid to him in recognition of the subjection in which he held the kingdom of France. (fn. 117)
Wolsey was at that time receiving pensions from the King of France, amounting to about 14,800 livres Tournois a year. Another sum of 7,800 livres Tournois was yearly distributed between eight other English statesmen, among whom we find the names of the Duke of Norfolk, the Duke of Suffolk, the Bishop of Winchester, the Earl of Worcester, the Earl of Shrewsbury, Sir Thomas Lovel, and other influential persons. These pensions were not only regularly paid, but the King of France showed his liberality towards the English by occasional extraordinary gifts. He had a short time before—if we may trust the generally exact information of Juan Manuel—given to Wolsey 50,000 livres Tournois, adding the promise that he would make him Pope after the death of Leo X. (fn. 118)
In order to secure the French pensions, Wolsey withstood all endeavours of the Emperor and Madame Margaret to prevent the interview of King Henry with the King of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. The treaty of marriage of the Princess Mary with the Dauphin was confirmed at that interview, and money arrangements were made which were very advantageous to the King of England. Whilst Wolsey entertained, at least in appearance, most friendly relations with France, he showed no goodwill towards either the Pope or the Emperor. When, for instance, the Cardinal of Sion had sent a confidential messenger to England, to speak personally with King Henry about certain matters, the agent was obliged to wait many weeks before he could obtain an audience. At last he was received, not however, as he wished, by the King alone, but in presence of the Cardinal, and of the French ambassador. When he delivered his message, Henry behaved to him in the most offensive manner possible, turning his back upon him and walking out of the room when he was in the midst of his peroration. (fn. 119) The Cardinal more than once observed to the Papal nuncio that he was perfectly aware that the Pope tried to avoid him, and to make use of other persons, sneeringly adding that he, however, was the man who could do or undo whatever he liked, and that it was in his power to bring about a friendly interview between King Henry and the King of France or the Emperor, or a meeting of all three of them, just as he should judge convenient. On another occasion he pretended that if the Emperor should begin war with France, King Henry would aid the French, adding that he had told this to Monsieur de Chièvres, who would not dare to act otherwise than in accordance with his commands. The Pope, he said, ought not, therefore, to hope to obtain any assistance from the Emperor against France. As all the other princes, Wolsey finally remarked, had sent him full powers to reconcile them with each other, he asked the Pope to authorize him also to conclude a general peace of Christendom. (fn. 120)
Juan Manuel was afraid lest this language of Wolsey should deter the timorous Pope from adopting measures of a hostile nature against France. To his satisfaction, however, he saw that the behaviour of the Cardinal did not produce any impression on Leo X., who did not even think it necessary to send him a civil answer. The reason thereof is to be sought for in a circumstance which Leo X. himself related to the Imperial ambassador. The Pope had on a former occasion—most probably when he was carrying on negotiations with France concerning the conquest of Naples—tried to learn what the real feelings of the King of England were by tempting him with certain measures which were prejudicial to the Emperor. King Henry, however, had positively refused to undertake anything which could injure Charles, and had thereby shown that he was his sincere friend. (fn. 121) But although the attachment of King Henry to the cause of the Emperor rendered the threats of Wolsey much less formidable than they would otherwise have been, the weakness of the King offered very imperfect security that his friendship would last.
The services of Wolsey must be secured. Calculations as to how he was to be gained were based upon the most simple principles in the world. The whole gist of them is contained in a letter of Juan Manuel to the Emperor, in which he states that Wolsey had already once before, from personal motives, implicated England in an utterly unprofitable war with France, and that, therefore, he might be induced to do it again. Gattinara, in a marginal note, expressed his complete agreement in this estimate of Wolsey's character. (fn. 122) The opinion that Wolsey would be moved by no other considerations then such as had respect to his private advantage recurs over and over again in this correspondence.
The price offered him was his nomination as legate, the bishopric of Badajoz, estimated to be worth 5,000 ducats a year, (fn. 123) and a pension of 2,000 ducats yearly out of the revenues of the see of Palencia. Neither the preferment nor the pension could be conferred upon him without the sanction of the Pope, who detested no man on earth so much as the Cardinal of York. When, however, the consent of Leo X. had at last been obtained through the exertions of the Imperial ambassador, care was taken that the gift should be conveyed in the most gracious manner. The fees of the Papal Chancery were remitted, a circumstance which saved the Cardinal a "good many ducats," and would give him an opportunity of boasting that "Kings and Popes did him honour." The essential point, however, was that the bulls and briefs were not sent to Wolsey, but to the Emperor and to the Papal nuncio, it being expressly understood that they were not to be delivered to Wolsey unless he behaved as he was bidden. When the English ambassador in Rome made an attempt to get them into his possession the only effect was to excite the astonishment of the Pope and Juan Manuel at his so little understanding the real nature of this transaction. (fn. 124) Pensions to other English statesmen were granted at the same time, as, for instance, a pension of 1,000 florins to the Bishop of Durham, of 800 florins to Richard Pace, and of 300 florins to Brian Tuke. (fn. 125)
As Wolsey shortly afterwards sold his bishopric of Badajoz to the Bishop of Elna for the sum of 2,500 ducats a year, (fn. 126) all he received from the Emperor amounted to 4,500 ducats, against 14,800 livres Tournois from the King of France. To choose between these two pensions was difficult. Was it not possible to preserve both of them? Wolsey is accused, over and over again, of having been guided by such consideration of lucre, and the sequel of the history will show that the accusations were not unfounded.
Leo X. and Juan Manuel sometimes despaired of the possibility of persuading Henry, or rather Wolsey, to declare war against France. In one of his warlike moments Leo X. even advised the Emperor to begin hostilities without waiting for the declaration of the King of England, who, he said, was not a powerful prince, but only enabled by the geographical position of his kingdom to become troublesome to King Francis. (fn. 127) The Emperor, he thought, should content himself with securing the neutrality of England. Charles, however, had cogent reasons for entertaining a different opinion of the value of the English alliance. Whether King Henry was a really powerful prince or not, the Emperor knew that a friend who would lend him money was even more valuable than an ally who would send soldiers to fight on his side. Two alliances were, according to the most accredited opinion of those days, of the highest importance for any prince who intended to undertake a great war—that of England and that of Switzerland : "England for the sake of her money, Switzerland for the sake of her men." As the Swiss could not be had without payment, the English alliance was by far the more necessary to any prince who undertook to carry on war with an empty exchequer. Juan Manuel, it is true, had earnestly advised his master to observe the greatest economy, and to avoid all and every expense which was not strictly requisite. This advice had not been given to an unwilling listener. The household of the Emperor was conducted on principles of the utmost economy. Nor was the public service treated with greater liberality. Imperial ambassadors were often forced to sell and to pledge their jewels in order to obtain money wherewith to defray their most necessary daily expenses. Even the Imperial couriers were seldom paid. They were obliged to take post horses by positive force, and the scandal grew occasionally so great that the Pope thought it obligatory on him to excommunicate them. But what could be the result of the greatest parsimony during a few months? The war was impending. When Leo X. asked Charles to discontinue his negotiations with England, assuring him that as long as the war with France might last, money would never be wanting in the Papal exchequer, Gattinara wrote on the margin of the despatch that if the Emperor could say as much for himself, he would not hesitate to begin hostilities at once. (fn. 128)
We have already mentioned in what boastful terms the Cardinal had spoken of himself, and how disparaging his language was to his master. Attributing to himself, in an almost brutal tone, the right of deciding the destinies of England, he very clearly implied that the King was nothing but a puppet. Such manner of speaking, to say the least, was highly incautious. Wolsey had obtained his power less by real merit and indispensable services than by gratifying the taste of his King for show and display of greatness. Had Henry been told what his minister said behind his back his vanity would have been deeply outraged. Though Wolsey might hinder an agent of the Cardinal of Sion from having a private interview with the King, he could not prevent the Emperor. It was known that Charles had already once remonstrated with Henry about the too great influence he permitted the Cardinal to exercise over him. When the Pope heard of it he not only approved what the Emperor had done, but even proposed to form a general league in England of all the ambassadors of foreign princes, in order to get Wolsey out of the way. (fn. 129) Charles did not discountenance the Pope, but advised him to wait and see how the Cardinal would behave in future. The position in which Wolsey had placed himself was not, therefore, without danger. But the very dependence of so influential a minister on his will was a reason for Charles not to sacrifice him except in case of absolute necessity.
The long expected visit of the Emperor in England at last took place, towards the end of May 1520. When the Emperor and the King of England, after an interview of a few days, separated, Charles went to Flanders, and Henry to his meeting with the King of France. Scarcely had the festivities of the Field of the Cloth of Gold been concluded when Henry repaired to Calais, and had a second meeting with the Emperor. During these two interviews the line of conduct to be pursued by both princes was debated ; and on the 14th of July 1520 the preliminaries of a treaty of alliance between them against France were signed. As the negotiations were carried on by word of mouth, little documentary evidence respecting them can be expected to exist. But however imperfect this evidence may be, it is clear, from later documents, that among other things the pecuniary interests of King Henry, of Wolsey, and the other pensioners of France, were also settled on this occasion. In case of a rupture, Charles promised to pay the French pensions, in addition to those he had himself granted. Wolsey was by that measure converted into as obedient and faithful a servant of the Emperor as his character permitted him to be.
The reader will remember that Juan Manuel had advised the Emperor to frighten the Pope by assuming the appearance of being inclined to conclude peace with the King of France. Charles had, besides, other reasons for adopting such a stratagem. Agreeably to the treaty of London, King Henry was bound to declare war against the Emperor or the King of France, according as either was the aggressor. That Henry or Wolsey should have had any scruples as to their duty to help the one or the other of their allies is not at all likely, but as the King of France had been made to believe that King Henry would deal with him in an honest and upright way, it was to be expected that he would disarm if negotiations of peace were opened, and that, whilst the French would thus be unprepared for war, Charles could wrest Tournay from them by surprise.
Richard Wingfield was at that period staying with the Emperor at Brussels. Charles asked him in June 1521 to beg King Henry to send Wolsey over to Calais with the instruction, "under the colour of a reconciliation," with France, definitely to settle with Gattinara the provisions of an alliance against France. (fn. 130)
The letters and despatches relating to the conference at Calais in the year 1521 are almost all extant. The greater part of them is also published. Whoever reads them with attention will observe many contradictions, even in despatches sent by the same courier. These incongruities, however, will be explained if it is borne in mind that the initiated persons were only the Emperor, Gattinara, Wolsey, and to a certain extent the nuncio. The other ambassadors were sent to Calais with the view of giving to the preparations for war a false semblance of negotiations of peace. When Wolsey went to Bruges, and concluded on the 25th of August 1521, in the name of his master, a treaty with the Emperor by which both princes bound themselves to make war upon France, the Venetian ambassador at the Imperial Court, and even the ambassador of the Infante and Archduke Ferdinand, the brother of the Emperor, wrote to their respective masters that peace with France would soon be concluded. The fear lest the secret would be betrayed was so great that Juan Manuel himself, who was the originator of the plan, was during some time left in utter ignorance of the real nature of these negotiations. He was not distrusted, but it was thought dangerous to commit so important a secret to writing, even in cipher. It is, therefore, not to be wondered at that when the peaceful news was spread throughout Italy, the Pope and Juan Manuel were afraid that Wolsey was deceiving the Emperor. They sent him warning after warning, inveighed against the artful and treacherous character of Wolsey, and implored the Emperor not to permit himself to be deceived by that cunning prelate, who, they said, sold every secret to the French for money. Gattinara, who knew the truth, wrote with the greatest equanimity on the margin of one of these despatches ; "It is clear that the Cardinal is deceiving the one or the other." (fn. 131) He could not have any doubt as to which was the deceived prince.
French historians generally speak with the greatest bitterness of the conduct of King Henry and Wolsey on this occasion. After what we have already said, we cannot deny their deliberate duplicity ; but we do not on this account pass a harsh judgment on either Henry or his minister. To deceive an enemy or a foreign prince by any false pretences whatever was at that time a received principle of diplomacy. The King of France acted in similar circumstances in a similar way. If the French had not been the deceived party, they would have been the deceivers. But whilst the employment of even gross deception towards foreign princes may be excused by the morals of the time, to betray his own country and his own sovereign was a blot on the character of a statesman which could not at any period be regarded with leniency. The reader will judge whether Wolsey was guilty of this or not.
According to the treaty of Bruges, the Emperor and the King of England were henceforth to be allies in a defensive as well as in an aggressive war against France. If the war should be a defensive one, each of the contracting princes was bound to defend the other with all his might. If on the other hand the war should be an offensive one, the Emperor, as well as King Henry, promised to invade France at the head of 10,000 horse and 30,000 foot. As the English were not then considered to be good soldiers, the Emperor permitted King Henry to enlist as many German foot and horse as he wished. Each of the allies was, besides, bound to send to sea a fleet which should contain at least 3,000 armed men. The object of the war was stated to be the conquest of all those territories and provinces which belonged by right to either of the contracting parties, but were withheld from them by the King of France. Neither the Emperor nor the King of England was to be at liberty to conclude peace or a truce with their enemy before the object of this treaty was fully attained. In order to gain time for warlike preparations, it was stipulated that the invasion of France should commence in the month of March 1523. If, however, the war with France in which the Emperor was actually engaged should not be concluded in the month of November of the current year 1521, or if the Emperor should wish to subject Gueldres or Friesland, or the King of England undertake to conquer Scotland, or to reduce Ireland to obedience, in each of these contingencies the allies were bound to aid one another, without limitation to the month of March 1523. Should the King of France, in consequence of a rupture with England, refuse to pay to King Henry the accustomed pensions, amounting to 133,305 gold crowns a year, the Emperor promised to pay them until the King of France, in consequence of the conclusion of peace, should resume his payments, or until the King of England should conquer French territories producing sufficient for his indemnification.
Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry was, as we have already stated, betrothed to the Dauphin. A war with France would naturally break that engagement. In order that the young Princess, who had then attained the venerable age of five years, should not remain unprovided with a husband, Charles bound himself to marry her as soon as she should be of marriageable age. If King Henry should die without legitimate male issue, the Emperor and his wife were to be his successors on the English throne. If, on the contrary, a son should be born to the King of England, the marriage portion of the Princess was to consist of the enormous sum of 1,000,000 gold crowns. (fn. 132)
This treaty was as favourable to the Emperor as he could wish, and so detrimental to the interests of England that the English statesman who concluded it must have been either a dupe or a traitor, unless he was partly duped and partly betraying his country, which is the most probable supposition.
Although the conditions of the treaty were, as is invariable in such cases, apparently equitable for both parties, there was in fact an immense inequality. For the Emperor was forced to accept a war, in which victory might reasonably have been expected to secure to him considerable advantages. Henry, on the contrary, was threatened with no war, and the result of a victory of his ally could hardly have been attended with any advantages to him. The conquest of Guienne and Normandy by England was so chimerical an idea, that the statesmen of the time found it difficult to believe that a prince of even so little political judgment as Henry VIII. could seriously intend to undertake it. The war was purely for the interest of Charles, who wished that England should take part in it for no other purpose than to occupy a considerable portion of the French forces in the north, and thereby make it more easy for the Imperialists to drive the French out of Milan and Genoa. What their ulterior intentions were we may learn from the Imperial councillors themselves : "Milan and Genoa are the key and the gate of Italy. By obtaining them the whole of that country can be conquered and held. Italy, once reduced to obedience, is the true seat of government, to the sceptre of which the whole world will be subjected. The French, your enemies, know that very well. They attach, therefore, more value to the possession of Italy than to the defence of their own country." (fn. 133) Thus Henry bound himself by the treaty of Bruges to aid the Emperor in carrying out a plan which, if it had been accomplished, would have reduced the independent kingdom of England to a mere dependency of the universal empire of Charles. The French, as we have just seen, knew this, the Italians knew it also, and the reader will remember that the Pope, before his pusillanimity and covetousness had made him an accomplice of the Emperor, had even warned King Henry of the danger with which he was threatened.
Henry, there is no doubt, was so much dazzled by the idle hope of achieving great conquests that he was utterly incapable of estimating the true nature of the treaty. But Wolsey was by far too experienced a statesman not to know what he was doing. If any doubt could be entertained, his own words would dispel it. Before the Imperial ministers he had no reason to put a false colour on the manner in which he served his King. They knew his intentions. He therefore made no secret with them of his real opinions, but declared that it was out of the question to conquer the French provinces. (fn. 134) On other occasions he stated his conviction that all the advantages of the treaty were on the side of the Emperor.
Knowing that Wolsey did not deceive himself with respect to the real nature of the alliance, we can read only with astonishment the letter which he had the hardihood to write to his master on the 28th of August, from Gravelines, when he was on his way from Bruges to Calais. He lauded there in unmeasured terms the sincerity of the Emperor, and intentionally undervalued the kingdom of England, calling it "thys your realme "which ys in an angle of the worlde." After having thus tried to render Henry discontented with his father's inheritance, he drew a splendid picture of the greatness and glory the new treaty would bestow on him. "By your wysdom and cownsel," he said, "Spayne, Itally, Alemayne, and thes Lowe Cowntres, whych ys the gretest parte of Crystendame, shal be rulyd and governyd. And as for Frawnce, thys not nowe beyng assurydly knyt, shall nat fayle to do as your Grace shall comawnde." (fn. 135) Such a letter, written under such circumstances, amounts, we think, to nothing less than treason.
The marriage of the Princess Mary with the Emperor might, perhaps, in the estimation of Henry, have compensated to some extent the disadvantages of the treaty. The prospect that a son of his daughter might one day be the ruler of the world was an idea highly flattering to his pride, and that he really indulged in such delusions we gather from his proposals to the Emperor after the battle of Pavia. Had King Henry, however, known the actual state of affairs, he would have seen that none of the things he longed for had the least prospect of fulfilment. The Emperor, from the very beginning, did not intend to marry the Princess of England. Before Charles was betrothed to her he had entered into negotiations with the King of Portugal concerning a marriage between himself and the Infanta Isabella, who five years later really became his wife. We are not in a position to state whether the marriage treaty had actually been signed or not, but, if it was not, nothing but its signature was wanting. All its conditions had been agreed to by both parties. The Emperor, if he had broken off his engagement with the Infanta, would have deeply offended the King and the people of Portugal. Portugal was a comparatively feeble country, but the Portuguese had it in their power to create great difficulties for the Emperor, and even to place his crown of Castile in imminent danger. The circumstances which rendered this possible are of so extraordinary a nature that we should not dare to state them if the original protocol in which they are set forth by the Imperial Council were not still extant.
The Infanta Juana, called in Portugal the Excellent, and known in Spain under the disparaging name of la Beltraneja, was still living at the Portuguese Court. She was the only child of Queen Juana, wife of King Henry IV. of Castile. She was born in wedlock. King Henry of Castile had recognized her as his legitimate child, and sworn her as his successor on the throne. The next heir after the Infanta Juana was the Infanta Isabella, afterwards Queen Isabella the Catholic, who was a sister of King Henry IV., and consequently the aunt of his daughter. When King Henry IV. died the Infanta Isabella and her partisans pretended that King Henry had not been lawfully married to the mother of Doña Juana at the time of her birth, and that she was not even his daughter, but the child of Don Beltran de la Cueva, Duke of Albuquerque, on which account she was called la Beltraneja. In order to prove that the marriage between King Henry IV. and Queen Juana was not lawful at the time when the Infanta Juana was born, her adversaries adduced the following reasons. King Henry married in the year 1437 Doña Blanca of Aragon, sister of King Ferdinand the Catholic. Doña Blanca bore him no children. King Henry, wishing to have issue, begged the Pope to authorize him to take another wife. He obtained a bull of dispensation permitting him to marry another lady, on condition, however, that if within a fixed period of time he should have no child by his second wife, his marriage with her should not be lawful, and he should be bound to return to his first Queen. In compliance with this bull, King Henry of Castile married his second wife, the Infanta Juana of Portugal. As the period fixed in the bull of dispensation passed, and the second Queen had no child, her marriage with King Henry of Castile became, ipso facto, invalid. The Princess, who afterwards was called la Beltraneja, would, therefore, if she had been the daughter of King Henry, not have been his legitimate child. It was further pretended, however, that her father was not the King, but Don Beltran de la Cueva. In proof of this assertion three circumstances were adduced, 1, that the Queen Juana was notoriously incontinent ; 2, that when her daughter was born the infant received some slight blows on her nose, in order to give it the form of the nose of King Henry IV. ; and 3, that an unsuccessful attempt had been made to exchange her for the new-born son of another lady. (fn. 136)
These were the grounds on which Queen Isabella the Catholic had excluded her niece from the throne of Castile. It must be confessed that if grave ministers assembled in a council of state could not devise better reasons, Isabella's right of succession, and consequently the right of her heir Charles V., was based on no strong foundation. But the battle fought in the fields of Toro had terminated in her favour, and the Infanta Juana had been obliged to retire to Portugal. The Queen—we are still quoting from the same document —always prudent, did not rely on the force of arms only. She desired to make the royal house of Portugal her friend, and to ally it to her by the nearest bonds of relationship. That was the reason why she married two of her daughters first to the heir apparent of the Portuguese throne, and then to King Manuel. When, however, the Comuneros in Spain had risen in rebellion, King Francis decided to make use of the claims of the Infanta Juana, and to set her up as a rival of Charles V. For that purpose he had entered into negotiations with the court at Lisbon, declaring openly that Charles had no right to the throne of Castile. The Spanish councillors advised their master to imitate the policy of his prudent grandmother, to conclude a marriage with a Portuguese Infanta, and thereby to induce the King of Portugal not to permit that the claims of the so-called Beltraneja should be advanced to his prejudice. After having asked for the hand of the Infanta Isabella, to break his engagement to her at the most dangerous moment, when he was about to begin a great war with France, would have been an egregious blunder. All we know of his negotiations in Portugal at this period leads us to believe that he never intended such a step. Cristoforo Baroso, Imperial ambassador in Lisbon, had informed the Chancellor Gattinara on the 9th of December 1521 (fn. 137) that, if the Emperor should refuse to marry the Infanta, a complete rupture with Portugal would be the consequence. In answer to this letter Poupet de Lachaux was sent to Portugal. It is not quite clear what the instructions of the Emperor were with respect to the marriage, as a portion of them was given by word of mouth. But this much is known, that after the King of Portugal had heard his explanations, Charles was regarded at the Court of Lisbon as the future husband of the Infanta, in spite of his marriage treaty with the Princess of England. It can, therefore, scarcely be doubted that he had followed the advice of his Privy Council, and never broken off his engagement to his future wife.
Thus, the treaty of Bruges was not even calculated to gratify the vanity of Henry VIII. Of the three persons principally concerned in it, two had gained their ends. Wolsey had secured the payment of both his French and his Imperial pensions, had obtained the continuation of his legatine power, and the promise was made to him that he should be the next Pope. The Emperor had rendered the resources of England serviceable for the execution of his plans. But neither Charles nor Wolsey was satisfied. The only person who was entirely contented was the King of England, who had acquired nothing. Wolsey used all his influence over him to kindle his love for the Emperor to an ardent passion, and made him disregard all the warnings he received. (fn. 138) Henry assured the Emperor that he would henceforth take as much care of the Imperial interests as of his own life ; (fn. 139) and when some partisans of the French attempted to make him distrust the sincerity of Charles, he declared that if the Emperor should deceive him he would never again trust any man in this world. (fn. 140)
We feel inclined to pity Henry for his misfortune in having such a minister as Wolsey, and such an ally as Charles. His words, that he would never again trust any man in this world, if the Emperor should deceive him, deserve the attention of the reader. They explain to a considerable extent the character of the King in his later years. A wise man would most probably have profited by such experience ; but the effect of continual deceptions on the character of so vain and self-indulgent a prince as Henry could not be otherwise than disastrous.
When the Emperor had succeeded in concluding separate treaties of alliance with the Pope and with the King of England, nothing remained to be done except to reduce the two separate treaties into the form of one instrument. Some circumstances, however, retarded the final conclusion of these negotiations for several months.
The distrust with which the Pope and his nuncios regarded King Henry and Cardinal Wolsey was excessively strong. Wolsey, too, had no great confidence in the honesty and discretion of his own ambassadors. For very obvious reasons, it was the intention of all parties to keep the treaty of Bruges secret for some while. But from the Pope, who was expected to be one of the members of the triple alliance, it could certainly not be concealed. A copy of the treaty was, therefore, forwarded to Juan Manuel. According to custom it should also have been sent to the ambassador of the King of England ; and both of them should have invited the Pope to accede to it. Wolsey, however, objected to the sending of the treaty to the English ambassador. It was, he said, sufficient that a copy be communicated to Juan Manuel. For if the English ambassador should be made cognizant of it, the secret could scarcely be kept. Besides, the Cardinal added, all parties placed more confidence in the Emperor than in him. (fn. 141) The consequence was that the English ambassador in Rome was not aware that a treaty had been concluded. When he was asked whether he had received a copy of it he did not know what to answer, and confirmed thereby the suspicions of the Pope who imparted them to his nuncio at Calais. Leo X. had already, at the beginning of August, sent a power to conclude the triple alliance. (fn. 142) When Wolsey inquired of the nuncio whether he had received it, he said, he had not, fearing some intrigue of the Cardinal. Gattinara afterwards convinced him that he was mistaken in his apprehensions, but the power could not be made use of, because Wolsey would have seen by its date that he had been told a falsehood. It was, therefore, necessary to send to Rome to ask the Pope for a new power. Time was thus lost.
Another circumstance which caused delay was that the King of England and Wolsey, and probably also the Emperor, wished to wait until the King of France should have paid the English pensions, which were due on the 1st of November. They were foiled in this design. The King of France, suspecting their intentions, stopped the payments.
Whilst Wolsey and the ambassadors were assembled in Calais, the Emperor carried on war with France in Italy, as well as on the frontiers of Flanders. As the first news from Italy was that the Imperial and Papal troops had been forced to raise the siege of Parma, Wolsey became afraid that the French might be more powerful than he had supposed. His love of peace grew all at once very strong. The French troops were probably as good as the Imperial, for the strength of both armies consisted chiefly in German and Swiss mercenaries, who fought equally well on the one side as on the other. French finances were in a more prosperous state than those of Charles. But Françoise de Foix, Countess de Châteaubriant, was at this time the mistress of Francis I. She was not young ; she must in 1521 have been forty-six or forty-seven years of age ; yet her influence was sufficient to elevate her three brothers, Lautrec, Lescun, and Lesparre, to places of great responsibility for which they were utterly disqualified. A wise king, such was the saying of the day, should have a young mistress, but old and experienced generals. The King of France, on the contrary, had an old mistress, and sent to his armies young generals who had no experience at all. The Imperial and Papal forces, on the other hand, were commanded by Prospero Colonna, the Marquis of Pescara, Antonio de Leyva, Federigo Gonzaga, and other captains of great merit, in whom the soldiers had absolute confidence. Thus, it was not to be wondered at that the bad news was soon followed by more favourable intelligence. The 16,000 Swiss which Lautrec had led into Italy, in succour of his brother Lescun, disbanded ; the Imperial and Papal armies effected their junction at Gambara and Medole, on the battle-field of Solferino, with the 8,000 Swiss whom the Cardinal of Sion had enlisted, and on the night between the 12th and the 13th of November they forced the passage of the Adda near Vaprio, and entered, on the 16th of the same month, the city of Milan. As soon as these tidings arrived at Calais Wolsey again changed his mind. He spoke no longer of peace with France, but signed, on the 24th of November 1521, the triple alliance against France. Historians justly complain that this treaty has never been published. Sometimes, even, doubts about its conclusion have been entertained. The original of the treaty on parchment, signed and sealed by all parties, is, however, preserved in the Archives du Departement du Nord in Lille, and an abstract from it, which is correct in all essential points, is given in the History of Henry VIII. by Lord Herbert.
Whilst the negotiations at Calais were carried on King Henry had sent a book against Martin Luther to Rome. All the learned men in England, Juan Manuel was informed, had taken part in its composition, and it was declared to be a good book. The reward of the King, if reward it were, was that he received the title of Defensor Fidei, a title which, the Imperial ambassador declared, had no meaning, and prejudiced no prince in Christendom. When Gattinara read these observations of the ambassador he could not refrain from writing an ironical remark on the margin of the letter. (fn. 143)
The news that the triple alliance had been concluded had not reached Rome when Juan Manuel wrote that Pope Leo had "eaten or drunk something that he should not." He begged the Emperor to read these words with particular attention. On the 27th of November 1521 the Pope was still in good health. On the 1st of December he was dead. (fn. 144) The league on the conclusion of which the Emperor had bestowed so much pains was dissolved.
The death of a Pope was in the 16th century an event which interrupted all political affairs in Europe. They remained in a state of suspense until a successor had been chosen. Every palace in Rome and the house of every foreign minister was converted into a fortress, which received a more or less numerous garrison of soldiers and armed retainers, together with artillery, ammunition, and provisions. Every personage of importance was prepared to defend his house against a besieging enemy, or to make a sally from it and to surprise his adversaries, according to circumstances. The people in the streets indulged in lawless license. Conservators of the city were nominated, on whom it was incumbent to provide for public order and security. If they, however, did not belong themselves to the different contending factions, a case which was rare enough, they found it not seldom beyond their power to reduce the great men to obedience and to restrain the multitude from committing excesses. We may imagine what the state of public security in Rome was when we read that Juan Manuel regarded it as a daring act that he went to the houses of the different cardinals, accompanied only by his servants, he and his followers being armed with swords, whilst the courtyard of the embassy was full of troops and artillery. (fn. 145) Prelates, ambassadors, agents, and others were constantly going to and fro, between the more prominent leaders of the various parties, offering their services, bargaining for their rewards, trying to worm out the secrets of one another, and selling true and false information alike to any one who was ready to pay for it. Juan Manuel was an old conspirator. He cannot be suspected of having entertained very nice sentiments of political honesty. Nevertheless he declared that it was utterly repugnant to his feelings to stoop to such means as must be employed in an election of a Pope. "All," he added, "is based on avarice and lies." (fn. 146) In other elections there were generally three or four candidates. On this occasion all the cardinals who were present in Rome aspired to the crown of the Pontiff. (fn. 147)
Such was the information which the Imperial ambassador sent to his master. But were there no candidates among the cardinals who were absent from Rome? The Emperor had, as early as in the year 1520, positively promised Wolsey to use all his influence to make him Pope. (fn. 148) He had even gone so far as to send Wolsey a copy of his instructions to Juan Manuel. Enlarging on the great abilities and high virtues of the English cardinal, he ordered his ambassador to do all in his power to secure the election of Wolsey. (fn. 149) These instructions, it is true, seem to have been dated the 30th of December 1521. They could not, therefore, have reached Rome before the election was decided, or, at least, before it was near its conclusion. But the Emperor in the document in question mentioned that, as soon as he had been informed of the demise of Leo X., he had sent the necessary orders to Rome, and written letters to the various cardinals, in favour of Wolsey. Were such letters and such instructions ever sent, or was the Emperor deceiving Wolsey? We can almost positively affirm that the instructions never reached the Imperial ambassador ; and it is highly probable that the Emperor never intended to recommend Wolsey for the Papal throne.
The despatches of Juan Manuel to the Emperor relating to this conclave are, I think, still complete. Not all of them are mentioned in this Calendar. Those, however, which are not noticed do not contain the slightest allusion to Cardinal Wolsey as a candidate, any more than do the documents of which abstracts are to be found in this volume. Had the Emperor sent such orders, the ambassador might have executed them badly, he might even have remonstrated ; but, at all events, he would have spoken of them. His absolute silence on this subject seems to me to prove that he had not the least idea that Wolsey regarded himself as the candidate of the Emperor. This opinion is the more confirmed by the circumstance that Juan Manuel mentioned the possibility that an absent cardinal might be elected. He however, in such a case, did not propose Cardinal Wolsey, but the Cardinal of Tortosa (Adrian).
Juan Manuel, complaining that he had been left entirely without instructions, stated, in his despatch of the 6th of January 1521, that a courier travelling in the direction of Rome had fallen from his horse, and that the horse had run away with the mail bag. (fn. 150) This mail bag may have contained some instructions and letters concerning Wolsey. We are, however, inclined to believe that the whole story was invented as an excuse by the Emperor ; for Charles could neither have wished to see Wolsey on the Papal throne, nor could he have hoped to succeed if he had really undertaken to favour him.
Charles V. and Gattinara would have cared little if the Cardinal of York had been a luxurious and frivolous man only ; but his great sin, in their estimation, was that he could not be relied upon in politics. He who had sold his services first to the French, then to the Emperor, would probably sell himself again to the French, if the French offered a higher price.
But even supposing that Charles had been inclined to favour the election of Wolsey, he must have known that, considering the unpopularity of the Cardinal, he would not have been able to carry it. For during the vacancy of the Papal throne the influence of an emperor or of a king on the cardinals was by no means so great as to determine the choice of the future Chief of Christendom. Every letter relating to the conclave testifies amply to this truth. Had, then, the Emperor tried to carry the election of Wolsey, and failed, he would not only have lost his labour, but also rendered the choice of a Pope belonging to the French party more probable. Such an error he was not likely to commit.
Besides the letters of Juan Manuel, an abstract of a protocol of the election will be found in this Calendar. It is made from a copy which King Philip II. of Spain had ordered to be transcribed in the Papal archives for his private use, and may, therefore, be considered as a reliable transcript of an official document. It agrees in all essential points with the protocols of the same election which have been published by Burman and by Papebroek. No fewer than twenty-nine cardinals are mentioned as candidates in the eleven scrutinies. The name of Wolsey is once to be found among them. On the 3rd of January 1522, when the Cardinal of Volterra had twelve votes, and the other suffrages were nearly equally divided between ten other candidates, seven cardinals were in favour of Wolsey. But these supporters he lost on the next day, and we look in vain for his name in the following lists. There are letters still extant, in which Cardinal Campegio and others state that Wolsey had a considerable number of votes in every scrutiny. These statements are in open contradiction with the protocol and the despatches of Juan Manuel, who had no reason to conceal the truth from his master, and must have known the facts, as he directed the election. Did, then, Campegio and the other correspondents of Wolsey state what they knew was untrue in order to flatter the vanity or to appease the resentment of the English cardinal?
We may here notice that the idea that the conclaves in the sixteenth century were really secret must be dismissed at once. The ceremony of walling up some entrances was observed, but, as the Duke of Sessa wrote on occasion of the next election, only as an empty form. Other doors of the palace remained open, and the cardinals assembled in the conclave communicated freely with the outer world.
The conclave was one of the longest on record. The Cardinal de Medicis was the first candidate of the Emperor, who had recommended his election many months before the death of Pope Leo. When the conclave opened the Cardinal had eighteen votes in his favour. Juan Manuel, however, soon saw that it was impossible to carry his election, and favoured, therefore, the Cardinal Farnese. As Farnese had been suspected of sometimes sympathising with the French party, the Imperial ambassador made an agreement with him, by which the Cardinal bound himself henceforth to show favour only to the Imperial cause. The son of Farnese was sent to Naples as a hostage. (fn. 151)
On the 6th of January Cardinal Farnese obtained twelve votes by ticket, and eight cardinals who had not voted for him on their billets went over to his side. Only six suffrages were wanting to carry his election, when the Cardinal Cesarini, who had voted for him by ticket, retracted and went over to the Cardinal Egidio. The important law question whether a cardinal who had given his ticket in favour of one candidate could retract it by word of mouth and vote for another was disputed by the cardinals, but no decision could be arrived at. It remained an undecided point of canon law ; but as for the election of Farnese, the Cardinal of Santi Quattro, who had already exclaimed "Papam habem us," was forced to confess "et Papam non habemus." (fn. 152) After this incident the opposition to Farnese grew stronger, and soon proved insurmountable.
Before the Cardinals had assembled Juan Manuel had already written, (fn. 153) in his forcible language, that "there cannot be so much hatred and so many devils in hell as among these cardinals." When they were forced to live together, day and night plotting and counterplotting against each other, their personal animosities grew so strong that it seemed impossible for any one of them to unite two-thirds of the votes in his favour. The only expedient under such circumstances was to elect a cardinal who was absent. On the 9th of January 1522 Bernard de Carbajal, Cardinal of Santa Croce, as well as Adrian Florentius, or Florisse, Cardinal of Tortosa, had each fifteen votes. As the Cardinal of Tortosa, being absent, had not made so many determined enemies as his competitor, all the other cardinals, with the exception of the Cardinal of Bologna, transferred their votes to him, and he was proclaimed Pope by the Cardinal Cornelio late in the evening of the 9th of January 1522.
The new Pope, Adrian VI., belongs to those Roman Pontiffs who, on the whole, have been favourably judged by historians. There is no doubt he possessed many qualities which at first sight seemed to recommend him. Born on the 2nd of March 1459, he had not completed the sixty-second year of his age when he was elected. He was consequently not so old but that he could enjoy the full command of his intellectual faculties. Short, stout, and of a florid complexion, he enjoyed perfect health when he arrived at Rome. He was a scholar, and his habits were of almost primitive simplicity. Had he finished his life as a professor of the university at Louvain, the annals of that learned body might have mentioned his name with well-deserved praise. For a more elevated position, however, and especially for a place of great political responsibility, Adrian was utterly disqualified, partly in consequence of the very qualities which recommended him as a professor. A distinguished member of the university, he became an indifferent preceptor of Prince Charles, an incapable governor of Spain, and one of the most wretched rulers who ever sat on the chair of St. Peter. It was a fortunate circumstance for the Church that his reign was a short one.
Accustomed from his earliest years to a parsimonious life, expenses which were moderate and even necessary for a Pope seemed to him extravagant. He became avaricious, and was in constant fear that he would soon have no money to buy bread for himself. (fn. 154) Even Lope Hurtado de Mendoza, the warmest friend of Adrian, could not conceal his fear lest he, who had not known how to live as a cardinal, would create great difficulties for himself by his mean style of living in Rome. His scrupulous exactness, which was highly praiseworthy when brought to bear on the explanation of theological inquiries, degenerated into irresolution when he had to come to a speedy decision on great and complicated questions of policy. Perhaps no other Pope held so many and such protracted conferences and consultations with his advisers ; yet the most pressing business remained undispatched. (fn. 155) The son of humble parents, he always preserved a warm sympathy with the poorer and lower classes of society. However honourable that feeling was, it brought him, when he was the first personage in Christendom, under the sway of crafty schemers of the lowest description. The basest menials in the Papal palace took part in the government of the Church.
Juan Manuel declared that he could not find it in his heart to give obedience to so despicable a Pope as Adrian. He asked the Viceroy of Naples to perform that ceremony in his stead, on which occasion the Pope is said to have behaved in a perfectly childish manner. Juan Manuel was hated by him with the most bitter hatred man can feel for a fellow-creature. Although he never ceased faithfully to take care of the interests of Adrian, not for the Pope's but for the Emperor's sake, yet he may justly be suspected of having formed too unfavourable a judgment of the person of his most implacable enemy. The Duke of Sessa, however, a good Catholic and a man of an upright and conciliatory character, who had been chosen as successor of Juan Manuel for no other purpose but that of cultivating friendly relations between Rome and the Imperial Court, cannot be supposed to have sent false reports to his master in order to injure the character of the Pope. His information concerning Adrian is, notwithstanding, not more favourable than that sent by Juan Manuel. The Datario Enkenvöert, he wrote on the 17th of October 1522, had more influence over the Pope than could be wished, and the Referendary Johan Vincle and Peter of Rome commanded Enkenvöert. Peter of Rome was not a Roman, but a German who had entered the service of the Pope as a sweeper, and then risen to the place of a valet de chambre. (fn. 156) This melancholy description of the Court of Rome concluded with a hint that the power of command descended still lower. (fn. 157) Nor are we left in darkness as to what this hint meant. Peter of Rome owed his great influence to the circumstance that he was the pimp of the all-powerful Datario, and procured him the opportunity of intercourse with ribald women. (fn. 158)
Corruption was often rife at the Court of Rome, but it never attained such a height as during this reign. There was not a cardinal and there was not a lackey in the palace whom it was not necessary to buy ; for, say the despatches of the ambassadors, there was no person so mean that he could not influence the decision of the Pope on matters of church and state. (fn. 159) To those who had not entirely lost the sense of their own dignity, it became repugnant to transact business in Rome, (fn. 160) and the Emperor, on more than one occasion, refused to give church preferments to the menials of the Pope on whom Adrian had conferred bishoprics and deaneries. He threatened them with exemplary punishment, after the death of Adrian if they did not content themselves with what favours the Emperor had thought proper to bestow on them. (fn. 161)
Avaricious, weak, undecided, and influenced by a coarse, corrupt, and insatiable class of servants, Pope Adrian VI. had been too much imbued with commendations of virtue in the course of his studies to resign himself without a struggle to a contemptible position. As, however, it was quite beyond his power to act as a really good Pope, he chose the easier method of composing fine sounding phrases full of noble sentiments. Such phrases, if they were written in good Latin, seemed to satisfy his cravings for virtue quite as much as though they were real deeds. He liked to delude himself. No wonder that in his imagination he lived in a particularly pure atmosphere. Enkenvöert, for instance, whom we have just left in the society of Peter of Rome and of harlots, and whose mercenary character is testified by his own letters, was, according to the saying of the Pope, so learned and so virtuous a man that, "if the whole world should perish, and Enkenvöert alone be spared, all learning and all the goodness of mankind would be preserved in his person." (fn. 162) When the Duke of Sessa informed Adrian that the Emperor had resolved to pay money to certain servants of the Papal household, in order to satisfy their demands, his Holiness flew into a passion of virtuous indignation, declaring that he would immediately dismiss any of his servants who would take even the smallest sum. Such a declaration, if accepted without further examination, would be a splendid proof of the honesty of Pope Adrian. If we, however, compare it with the actual facts, it does not seem to deserve any other comment than that which it received from the Imperial ambassador : "Tattle! The Pope will not hear it, that is all. This kind of buying and selling is abundantly carried on in his palace." (fn. 163)
The illusions of Adrian VI. were not the self-deceptions of a little enlightened but robust nature. They were based upon an entirely artificial foundation, so weak that it threatened to break down at the first breath of unrestrained discussion. We are, therefore, not astonished to hear that the Pope was impatient of contradiction to such an extent that it was sometimes impossible to carry on a conversation with him in a decent manner. It was even found necessary, more than once, abruptly to discontinue negotiations with him because the short but no longer stout and florid man grew so excited that he could not proffer a single word, and was in danger of being suffocated by his excitement. (fn. 164)
One feeling in Pope Adrian was genuine and strong when once roused. He was capable of implacable and irreconcilable hatred. (fn. 165) Luther and his followers shared with Juan Manuel the distinction of being the principal subjects of his deep-rooted aversion.
The worst consequence of the weakness and inefficiency of Adrian for his high position was, perhaps, that he was unable to command the respect of his servants and of the princes of Christendom. The King of France called him "the schoolmaster," and sent letters to him long after his election as Pope addressed to the "Cardinal of Tortosa ;" whilst the Emperor gave him clearly to understand that he might easily be reduced to the position of a "simple curate of St. Peter." (fn. 166) Even the Swiss dared to bully him. (fn. 167)
That the election of such a Pope as successor of Leo X. must have worked a great change in the state of European politics, and deeply affected England as well as the continental countries, seems to us self-evident. (fn. 168)
Wolsey was not offended by his failure in the election at Rome. He does not even seem to have expected to be successful, and entered the list of candidates only to render his election on a future occasion more easy. (fn. 169) The pretended instructions of the Emperor to Juan Manuel, and the false news from Rome, reporting that he had been more than once among those cardinals who had obtained the greatest number of votes, satisfied his ambition for the present, and filled his heart with hopes for the future. He continued to serve the Emperor.
The death of Pope Leo had dissolved only the triple alliance. The treaty of the 25th of August 1521, which was concluded between Charles and Henry, continued in full force. The Emperor and the King of England remained, therefore, bound towards each other to make war upon France. These bonds, which weighed already heavily on England, were soon rendered more oppressive by the conclusion of new treaties.
After long negotiations, in which Wolsey treated ceremonies and punctilio as though they were important affairs of state, the Emperor arrived at Calais on the 27th of May 1522. Next day he crossed the Channel to Dover during a gale. His reception in England was at first not brilliant. The necessary number of horses was not kept in readiness. The followers of the Emperor found that English cooking was detestable, conversation with the English disagreeable, and travelling extremely tiresome. Even the jousts held at Greenwich were not thought worth looking at. When, however, King Henry had led the Emperor from one to another of his residences, and feast had been followed by feast, the Imperial courtiers became reconciled to English life, and praised the cheapness of the country in which the King paid all the expenses of his guests. (fn. 170)
During the intervals between jousting, hunting, theatricals, &c., state business was transacted. The Emperor, although he was only twenty-two years of age, seems to have exercised considerable personal influence over King Henry and Wolsey. He easily obtained from them as much and even more than he could have expected. King Henry was not bound by the treaty of Bruges to invade France before the month of May 1523. Charles persuaded him to declare war, and to begin hostilities without delay. The Emperor, following the advice of Juan Manuel, insisted that even before he left England, the challenge, to use the phrase of that time, should be sent to the King of France. King Henry did so, as he afterwards repeatedly declared, from his great love for the Emperor, his future son-in-law. According to what had been settled at Bruges and Calais, the Emperor was bound to pay to King Henry the pension of 133,005 ducats a year, which the Kings of England were in the habit of receiving from France. The Emperor renewed his promise in a formal document, but instead of making the first payment, which was due many months since, he asked Henry to lend him 150,000 ducats. King Henry did this, again induced not by considerations of the welfare of his people, but from love for the Emperor, his future son-in-law. The great enterprise, however, that is to say the war by which Normandy, Guienne, and the whole of Languedoc, the duchy of Burgundy, and Provence were to be wrested from France, was postponed to the year 1524. When all was arranged in three long treaties, and the war with France declared, King Henry gave a great banquet, and after supper a French play was performed by young gentlemen. Friendship, Prudence, and Might made an alliance, and subjected an unruly horse, which was understood to be the King of France. When France had been curbed, in the allegory, eight ladies in fancy dress danced the Pabana. Whilst Henry thus engaged himself to squander away the resources of his realm in an expensive and unprofitable war, he and the Emperor were everywhere received with applause by the people. (fn. 171)
France, however easy it had been to subject her in the play, would, there was no doubt, in real war offer a resistance much more difficult to overcome. The Emperor and his minister did not content themselves, therefore, with the English alliance alone. The Pope, Venice, and Switzerland were also to be won over to the league against the "French King." Henry promised to help the Emperor also in his diplomatic campaign.
Before the election of Pope Adrian was known in England Richard Pace was sent to Rome, amply provided with money which was to be employed in buying votes for Wolsey. If the election of Wolsey, however, should prove impossible, Pace was instructed to help the Imperial ambassadors to persuade the new Pope and the other princes of Italy to enter the league of the Emperor and King Henry against France. He was despatched too late from England, and arrived at Rome three weeks after Pope Adrian had been elected. As the new Pope was not in Rome, Pace could not enter into negotiations with him. After a short stay in that city, he proceeded to Venice, where his services were greatly wanted. Pace is described by all the Imperial ambassadors as the most able and best informed English diplomatist. Such disparaging expressions as they so freely indulged in when speaking of the other agents of the English Government in Italy, were never made use of in connexion with his name. Moreover, Pace possessed one of the most necessary qualities of a good diplomatist. He was of an amiable temper, and succeeded in being on friendly terms even with those whom he opposed. He was in the pay of the Emperor, and it was believed that he received also a pension of 1,000 ducats from Venice. (fn. 172) He nevertheless acted, on the whole, in an upright way, furthering as much as was in his power the interests of the Emperor, and yet sending despatches to England of which Juan Manuel observed that they sometimes contained more truthful information than could be wished.
Venice was then the most powerful state in Italy. A flourishing commerce, considerable territorial possessions, a good navy, and an army which was not entirely despicable, secured her a certain position not only as an Italian but even as a European power. Her republican institutions were tempered by a strong aristocracy. Nevertheless, the general policy of the Republic was liberal enough to offer an asylum to all those who were persecuted in their own states by political enemies. To the refugees from all the states of Italy a great number of other foreigners must be added, who were attracted by commerce and by love of pleasure. For Venice was then not only a great commercial community, it was also a city famous for brilliant feasts, banquets, masks, and love adventures. Many a young nobleman squandered away there in a few months the inheritance of his fathers. Indeed, life in Venice was dangerous for young men of all conditions. More than one example is to be found in the correspondence of Charles V. of ambassadors sent with important missions lingering longer in Venice than was compatible with their duty, because they wished to be present at a masquerade in one of the palaces, or at a gay supper on the island of Murano. At one of these nocturnal feasts of Murano a cavalier, masked from head to foot, knelt down before a noble lady, asking her to dance with him. Another cavalier, also masked, who was already kneeling before the same lady, declared that he could not permit her to dance with his rival. A dispute ensued. Swords and daggers soon succeeded to angry words. Wounded and slain remained on the field of combat. Such scenes heightened the brilliancy of the feast. But the dismay of the Doge and the Signory was great when it was discovered that the principal actor in this brawl, who had been mortally wounded, was the Duke of Fernandina, ambassador of the Emperor, who was on his way back from an important mission to Rome, and was anxiously expected by Charles V. He had postponed his departure in order to go to the masquerade in company of the Bishop Elect of Padua. (fn. 173) The despatch which informs the Emperor of the death of his ambassador, written with the greatest simplicity possible, reads like a chapter from a romance.
The presence of so many strangers in their city enabled the Venetians to become well informed of all the intrigues carried on by the exiles in their several countries, and they availed themselves often with great dexterity of this knowledge. To take a city by surprise, and with the help of conspirators inside the gates, was a feat in which the Republic excelled. But this advantage was not without its reverse. Exiles were then, as now, inclined to invent stories, to circulate, and at last to believe them, and to act according to their self-delusions. The Republic was in consequence occasionally involved in great difficulties.
The power of Venice was considerable, as we have stated, but it is too often overrated. In the League of Cambray, it is true, almost the whole of Europe combined against her. Historians have often accepted that as an indication of the strength of the Republic. Those who have done so have, however, overlooked that of all the allies France alone took the field, and routed the Venetian armies completely in one short campaign. The fact is, that Venice was, in comparison with the great powers of those days—France, the monarchy of Charles V., and the Turks—almost entirely helpless. As she was, moreover, placed between the three great and aggressive powers, it is no small merit that she contrived for so long a time to guard her independence, but it must not be imagined that she was never forced to undergo great humiliation. On the contrary, her policy was generally of a kind to which no government would have stooped if it had not been forced by utter necessity. The Venetian nobility had their Golden Book, and considered themselves not seldom as the first nobility in the world. The nobles of Spain, France, Germany, England, and even of Italy, however, looked down upon them as mere traders. The Venetians are merchants, wrote Hieronymo Adorno to the Emperor, and must be treated as such. (fn. 174) Alonso Sanchez reminded the Emperor more than once that he must not expect anything from the Venetians but that they should behave like themselves, that is to say, like men whose only aim it was to make money by every means. In order to give his master an idea of the greediness of the Venetians, he told him that they had invented a game called lotto. They often sold their jewels and their houses to take shares in this lotto, hoping to obtain a great prize. (fn. 175) On the whole, it is clearly visible from the despatches of the Imperial ambassadors that Charles V. and his court regarded Venice with that superciliousness which a great military power so often assumes towards merely commercial communities ; and how strong that disdain was we gather from a letter by which the Venetian ambassador at the Imperial court informed the Signory that to act like a trader was considered to be worse than to behave villanously. (fn. 176)
Venice was placed in a difficult position when Charles V. and Henry VIII. began negotiating with her about her entry into an alliance against France. If France had remained victorious, the French would have punished the faithless merchants with exceptional severity, and if the Emperor had been the victor, he would probably not have considered himself bound to show any gratitude towards a people of traders. The Venetians had, therefore, no reason to conclude a league with Charles and Henry. But, on the other hand, if they had rejected the offers of the Emperor, they could have expected nothing but utter ruin in case the Imperial arms should have remained unrivalled in the north of Italy. The Signory adopted, under such circumstances, that line of policy which the weak generally observe towards the strong. They avoided a positive answer, trying to preserve their neutrality as long as possible, and hoping that something might happen to prevent the Emperor from forcing them to assume a decided attitude against either of the contending parties. The Signory, it must be confessed, tried once, but only once, and that for a short time, to make a stand against the Emperor. In June 1522 the Venetians were arming some galleys in their port. When Alonso Sanchez asked them whether they intended to fight the Turks, the Signory resolutely answered that they were prepared to fight any enemy of the Republic without distinction. They dared to give such an answer because they had been informed that the King of France had enlisted a great army with the intention of invading Italy, and that the King of England and Wolsey were their friends. As soon, however, as the hope of immediate assistance from France vanished, the courage of the Venetians began to fail. They were, observes Juan Manuel, very grandiloquent when they got into a passion, but they "kissed the hands and the feet" (fn. 177) of the Emperor as soon as their passion cooled down.
The chief object of the negotiations in Venice was, as already stated, to force the Republic to enter into the league of Charles and Henry against France. As the Venetians, however, had old feuds with the house of Austria, both parties claiming several frontier cities and indemnities in money, the league against France could not well be concluded before they had been reconciled. Alonso Sanchez, the Imperial ambassador, and Richard Pace were, therefore, instructed, at the same time that they carried on the negotiations concerning the league, to persuade the Venetians to conclude a separate treaty of peace with the Emperor and the Archduke, or, as he was then generally called, the Infante Ferdinand.
The negotiations commenced early in the month of January 1522, before Richard Pace had arrived. The Venetians do not appear to have at first seen the whole danger to which they were exposed. They thought that the Emperor had no allies, and was fully occupied in settling the administration of his rebellious kingdoms. In order to dispel that illusion, Alonso Sanchez showed the Signory the treaty of alliance between Charles V. and Henry VIII., which had been concluded at Bruges. When the Venetians could no longer doubt that the Emperor had an ally, they attempted to hide the prospect of an unpleasant future by deluding themselves with the hope that King Henry would in reality do nothing for the Emperor, and on no conditions dare to begin war with so powerful a neighbour as France.
The Signory first tried a stratagem by which they hoped either to disunite King Henry from the Emperor, or at least to obtain through his intercession more favourable conditions. The Venetian ambassadors offered to accept Wolsey and his master as umpires, flattering them by declaring that the people of Venice confided entirely in them, and would leave the arrangement of their affairs in their hands. Juan Manuel, as well as Alonso Sanchez, added that the Venetians had given money to the Cardinal. (fn. 178) However that may be, King Henry and Wolsey were not insensible to the mark of confidence, and it was perfectly characteristic of Wolsey eagerly to seize this opportunity of making his master believe that he was the arbiter of all the other princes of Christendom. Richard Pace was consequently instructed to inform the Signory that King Henry accepted the mediatorship. (fn. 179) Wolsey went even so far as to promise the Venetian ambassadors in England that he would make alterations in the articles of the separate treaty of peace between the Emperor, the Archduke Ferdinand, and Venice. (fn. 180) When Alonso Sanchez was informed of what was passing in England, he declared without any hesitation that he could not believe that King Henry and Wolsey arrogated to themselves the right of meddling in the disputes between the Emperor and Venice. (fn. 181) But, he added, if that should be the case, neither the King nor the Cardinal were in a position to wring any concession from Charles. He begged, at the same time, the Emperor and the Imperial ambassadors in England to ask King Henry forthwith to abstain from all interference in the negotiations concerning the separate treaty. That these remonstrances were not without effect is clear from the subsequent despatches of the Imperial ambassador in Venice. Whilst the Signory was deluding itself with the hope that it had gained in Henry and Wolsey staunch and powerful friends, and whilst daily expecting news from England and Spain that the Emperor had lowered his pretensions, it received letters from its ambassadors abroad which contained very different tidings.
Charles V. had determined upon a measure which would be quite unintelligible if we did not know that in his opinion, and in the opinion of his ministers, the merchant city had no claim to that respect and consideration which are due from the government of one state to the government of another. Venice was in the habit of sending yearly a fleet of merchant vessels to the northern shores, especially to Flanders and England. This fleet on its way to the north and on its return to the Adriatic Sea entered several ports of Spain, in order to take in fresh provisions. It was suggested that on the next voyage all the Venetian merchantmen should be arrested in Spain, and the vessels and their crews detained until Venice should have concluded the separate peace with Austria and the general league against France, on the conditions which the Emperor found it convenient to approve. When this plan was communicated to Alonso Sanchez he proposed to the Emperor to let the Venetian fleet sail unmolested to Flanders and England. There, he said, it will take in valuable cargoes of merchandise, and if an embargo were laid on the Venetian galleys on their homeward voyage, the measure would be much more effective as laden vessels are worth more than empty ones. (fn. 182) The argument was unanswerable, and the proposal of Alonso Sanchez was at once adopted. As, however, the Venetian galleys were not to be confiscated and sold, but to be given back if the Venetians entered the league, the embargo on their vessels was not attended with any pecuniary advantages for the prince who should execute that measure. On the contrary, it was admitted that under certain circumstances it might be advisable to indemnify the Venetians for their commercial losses. (fn. 183) The Emperor, therefore, thought it convenient for himself that his good friend and ally King Henry should do the feat, and thus bear the odium of the proceeding and the responsibility for the indemnity. He wrote on the 24th of April 1522 to his ambassadors in England, instructing them to make a proposal concerning this affair to the King and to the Cardinal. As Charles was not much concerned in the question of right or wrong, so he supposed that Henry and Wolsey would not much trouble themselves with such niceties. He consequently dwelt only on the advantages the English would derive from the employment of the Venetian galleys in the war with France. The same letter contained new assurances that the pensions of Wolsey should be punctually paid. (fn. 184) King Henry did as he was bidden, and an embargo was laid on all Venetian vessels in England. England was at perfect peace with the Republic when this wanton outrage on international law was committed, which, if it had been perpetrated against any state jealous of its honour, would have been followed by an immediate declaration of war.
When the Venetians were informed that Henry, instead of being the mediator between them and the Emperor, had arrested their fleet, they broke out in a fierce but impotent rage. The circumstances by which the embargo had been accompanied were particularly affronting. The Venetian ambassadors had remonstrated with the King and the Cardinal, but Henry and Wolsey had declared, without adding a single soothing word, that they must abide by their decision. (fn. 185) They had even gone further. The King and Wolsey had severely reprimanded the Republic for her unworthy conduct towards the Emperor, and Wolsey had made use of many harsh and offensive words, and had recourse even to threats. (fn. 186) The Venetians vented their indignation in publicly abusing the King of England, and all Englishmen on the face of the earth. (fn. 187) When Richard Pace arrived some time later, he complained to the Signory of the licentious language of which his royal master was the subject, adding that King Henry was so wise and so powerful that he could show the Venetians both by reason and by feats of arms that he could keep his word as well as they and better. Whatever the Signory may have thought of the wisdom of King Henry, they deputed some persons to punish his calumniators. (fn. 188) The rage seems to have soon subsided, and although the Signory pretended in public that they would not be prevented by the embargo from making common cause with the French, it was well known that the proprietors of the galleys reproached the government with being the cause of their losses. (fn. 189)
Richard Pace fell ill of a liver complaint in Rome when he was ready to start for Venice, and on his recovery he was forced to travel by short and slow journeys. Thus, his arrival was delayed until the 20th of August. As soon, however, as he had reached Venice, the Signory was formally summoned by him and the Imperial ambassador to fulfil the obligations it had taken upon itself in the treaty of London. (fn. 190) This treaty was the general alliance which had been concluded on the 2nd of October 1518. According to clause 3 each member of the league was bound to make war upon any aggressor, whether he were a member of the confederacy or not. (fn. 191) As Charles V. and Henry VIII. pretended that the King of France had begun the war, they maintained that Venice was bound to declare herself an enemy of King Francis. The clause was clear, but the Signory objected, apparently not without reason, that the treaty was no longer binding as one of the principal parties to it, Pope Leo, had died. They consulted great lawyers, and the lawyers gave their opinion entirely in favour of the Republic. (fn. 192) But of what use could such opinions be? If the interpretation of the Signory was supported by doctors of law and the jus gentium, the interpretation of the Emperor and King Henry was supported by German lansquenets and well disciplined Spanish infantry. In order to make use of this advantage, the Emperor had sent directions to his captains in Italy to invade the territories of Venice if the Republic should continue to make difficulties, and Alonso Sanchez begged Richard Pace to let the Signory know the decision of Charles in a private and "inoffensive" manner.
The Signory, deceived in their expectation of an English mediation and frightened by the threatening attitude of the Emperor, did not yet give up all resistance. They conceived a new hope, scarcely better founded than that based on the goodwill of the English. They flattered themselves that Pope Adrian would soon reconcile King Henry with King Francis. Charles V. knew very well that the King of England would not conclude peace with France without his consent ; but, on the other hand, it was no secret that Adrian VI. really wished to make a general peace in Christendom, and that he was on friendly terms with the Republic. Fearing that a military occupation of Venetian territory would hurt the susceptibilities of the Pope, the Imperial captains marched only to the frontiers, but did not invade the Venetian dominions. As, thus, the military measures were not so complete as had been contemplated, it was found necessary to increase the diplomatic pressure. Alonso Sanchez and Richard Pace seeming not to be equal to the task, Hieronymo Adorno was sent in November 1522 to assist them. Hieronymo was as intelligent and energetic a statesman as his brother Antoniotto, Doge of Genoa, was a weak-minded man. Through his influence the Signory was soon persuaded to enter into a defensive alliance with the Emperor and the King of England. The only difficulties which remained to be settled concerned the amount of money which the Republic was to pay to the Emperor, and the ratification of the treaty by the Archduke Ferdinand. When the negotiations were in this prosperous state the Doge of Venice died in May 1523, and soon afterwards Hieronymo Adorno was also dead. The Prothonotary Caracciolo was sent in his stead. Some time was thereby gained by the Signory, who, however, soon saw that all hope of definitely remaining neutral must be given up. For the Pope, instead of reconciling King Henry with the King of France, had exhorted the Signory to conclude the alliance with the Emperor and with England. It is true that he had added the commendation, that the Venetians, in spite of their alliance with the Emperor, should not make war with any prince of Christendom, but such a commendation, even in the mouth of Pope Adrian, could scarcely have been serious. The alliance with the Emperor, whether it was a defensive or an offensive one, was war with France. The Signory, not even supported by the Pope, surrendered to the Emperor, after having made one more attempt to obtain a paltry advantage. They offered to pay the indemnity of 200,000 ducats in debased Venetian coin instead of full weighted scudos. The attempt was not crowned with success. Caracciolo told the Signory in a solemn sitting that the mean trick they intended was quite below the dignity of the government of any state. Having been rebuked in this manner the Doge concluded, on the 29th of July 1523, the separate treaty and the league, after negotiations which had been protracted during nineteen months. In the Pregadi, (fn. 193) in which 250 members were present, only twenty-two voted against the alliance.
The documents relating to the negotiations in Venice form a prominent part of the correspondence of the years 1522 and 1523. It is quite impossible, and would be tedious, to follow the Imperial ambassadors in their descriptions of all the little stratagems used on both sides. But one point deserves our greatest attention, although the subject of the dispute was only one word, and the Imperial ambassador declared the demands of the Signory to be utterly frivolous. The treaty of peace which the Emperor had proposed contained a clause guaranteeing the Republic the possession of their dominions "pacifice et quiete sine aliqua molestia." The Signory asked that the word "libere" should be added, but the Emperor refused. (fn. 194) The word "libere" could scarcely have any other significance than that the Venetians wished to preserve their independence. They wished to remain free republicans, and not to be made subjects of Charles. As Venice had never been regarded as a fief of the Empire, the refusal of Charles clearly indicates that he was then already contemplating the subjection of the Republic, and that the Venetians were quite right when they were afraid of the "greatness of the Emperor," (fn. 195) as Caracciolo wrote they were.
The behaviour of Richard Pace had been creditable to England during the whole of the negotiations. The policy of King Henry may not have been a wise one, but Pace was not answerable for that. Through the negligence of Wolsey or his secretaries, Pace was not provided with the most necessary documents when he went to Venice. He was not even in possession of a copy of the treaty of London, on the execution of which he was instructed to insist. Alonso Sanchez lent him his copy, and permitted him to make a transcript from it. (fn. 196) While the most important part of the negotiations was in progress, Pace remained without instructions from his master, and the only news he received from England was through private unofficial letters from his friends. He excused the carelessness of his master, saying that the English understood very imperfectly the affairs of Italy. However that may have been, he well performed the task which was entrusted to him, in spite of the little encouragement he received from home. When the treaty had been signed, he wrote to the Emperor, whom he called the "elect by God" and compared with the Roman Emperor Augustus, that he, "being an Englishman, was persuaded that he had been predestined to be the cause of ruin to the King of France." (fn. 197) But notwithstanding his flattery and his boasting, he deserved the thanks of Charles ; nor did the Emperor permit this occasion to pass without assuring him of his Imperial favour, asking at the same time what kind of reward would be the most agreeable to him.
Whilst the negotiations in Venice were being carried on, the Imperial ambassadors, who were staying with the Pope in Spain or residing at Rome, were pressing hard upon Adrian VI. and the Cardinals to ratify the triple alliance which had been concluded with Leo X. King Henry was apparently as much interested in these negotiations as Charles V. himself, and the English ambassadors took part in the diplomatic proceedings in Rome just in the same manner as Pace participated in the negotiations at Venice. But John Clerk and Thomas Hanibal seem to have been diplomatists of inferior rank. At all events, the part they acted in Rome was not important. They rendered occasionally good services to the cause which their master had adopted, but almost the whole weight of the extremely difficult negotiations fell on the Imperial ambassador, Juan Manuel, on his successor, the Duke of Sessa, and on Lope Hurtado de Mendoza, who was particularly attached to the person of Pope Adrian.
It reflects but little credit on the investigations of historians that a story, invented to sooth the susceptibilities of Wolsey, not on the occasion of the election of Adrian but of that of Clement VII., is still repeated in the best modern works treating of that period. The cardinals did not dare, it is generally stated, to give their votes to Wolsey, because they were afraid lest he would transfer the seat of the Papacy from Rome to England. Whoever is acquainted with the real state of affairs in Rome in the sixteenth century, and with the character of such cardinals as Soderini, Carbajal, de Medicis, Colonna, Farnese, Monte, and a host of others, will be more inclined to believe that Wolsey might perhaps have been elected if the cardinals had really thought that he would remain in England after his elevation. Neither Rome, nor Spain, nor France, nor Germany, nor any other state on the Continent, and most probably not even Scotland, would have recognized him as Pope, and the cardinals would have proceeded to a new election. A new election was always agreeable to them, as the more ambitious hoped that they might be elevated to the Papal throne, and all were sure to make a rich harvest of advantages of all kinds during the weeks or months when they were deciding who was to be the Chief of Catholic Christendom. The greatest princes courted their friendship, and offered them whatever they could reasonably desire.
Scarcely had Adrian been elected when the cardinals began to commit grave excesses, with the avowed intention of frightening the Pope, and preventing him from coming to Rome. (fn. 198) They declared their readiness to make peace with the enemies of the Apostolic See, of King Henry and of the Emperor, that is to say, with the King of France, with Francesco Maria, Duke of Urbino, and with others, abandoning to them Parma and Piacenza, Perugia, and other territories of the Papal States. They plundered the Apostolic palace. The Cardinals of Ancona, of Santa Croce, Minerva, and of Volterra carried away from the rooms of the Pope tapestry, jewels, and precious stuffs of great value. (fn. 199) Not satisfied with the plunder of the palace, certain cardinals coveted also the silver which was preserved in the vestry of the Papal chapel. The sexton fled when the keys were asked from him, but the cardinals broke the doors, and appropriated whatever they had a liking for. They would have perpetrated acts of even greater violence, had not the Imperial ambassador ordered troops from Naples, and threatened them with measures of coercion. (fn. 200) Several cardinals had taken possession of the Papal palace, behaving as though it belonged to themselves. And how did the Pope act in this conjuncture? He meekly wrote to his friends in Rome asking them to take a private house for him, with a little bit of garden attached to it. (fn. 201)
When the cardinals elected so good a Pope as Adrian was at first believed to be, Juan Manuel wrote that they had been "inspired by the Holy Ghost," but he added that "the Devil had since the election taken possession of them." (fn. 202) Translated into plain language this phrase meant that at the election the Imperial party had been the stronger one, but that afterwards the French partisans had got the upper hand. The staunchest supporter of the King of France in Rome was Francesco Soderini, Cardinal Bishop of Volterra. He was a man of high intelligence and great activity. He was ill in bed, but from his couch he commanded the Cardinal of Ancona, who was in all things of the same mind as he, the Cardinals Colonna and Jacobacius, and the whole of the most reverend body of princes of the Church. He was the "captain" of all of them. (fn. 203) The Papal army was still in Lombardy, where Leo X. had sent it to assist Prospero Colonna in his operations against the French. The College, however, issued orders to the Marquis of Mantua, under whose immediate command the Papal troops were placed, to go over to the French. (fn. 204) As the Pope was then believed to be the creature of the Emperor and his faithful adherent, the cardinals spoke openly of the necessity of electing a new Pope belonging to the French party. (fn. 205) Such being the state of things in Rome, we may easily believe Juan Manuel when he assured his master that his task of seeing that the interests of the Emperor and the King of England were not injured, was one of uncommon difficulty, and even endangered his life.
The relations between the Emperor and Adrian were scarcely more satisfactory. The Pope was "deadly afraid" of the cardinals, and did not dare to do anything that would displease them. During many months after his election the cardinals did not call him Pope, nor did he venture to assume that title. Even when he sent Borrel to ask the College to send him the Ring of the Fisherman, he did it in the most humble manner, promising the cardinals that he would not make any use of it without their special permission. (fn. 206) Fear of the cardinals and want of decision made him linger in Spain much longer than was compatible with his duty as supreme head of the Church. Besides his fear he had another reason for postponing his departure. The last harvest had been bad in Spain. Adrian determined to wait until the new bread corn should be ripe, fearing that the providing of the fleet with flour at an earlier date might cause a dearth in the seaports. (fn. 207) Poor kind-natured man! Meanwhile the government of the Church was in danger of falling to pieces, and Juan Manuel was writing despatch after despatch urging him to hasten to Rome.
Immediately after the election the cardinals were chosen who were to inform Adrian of his elevation. They took care that the money for their journey should be paid to them without delay, but they did not start on their mission. (fn. 208) The Cardinal of Santa Croce, on the other hand, acted with the greatest promptitude. He despatched his confidential secretary, Astudillo, without losing an hour, to France and to Spain. Astudillo left Rome on the 10th of January, a few hours after Adrian had been proclaimed. According to the documents to be found in this volume, Astudillo was taken prisoner in France, conducted into the presence of King Francis, but afterwards released. This notice is not correct. Astudillo went to St. Germain, not because he was taken prisoner, but by command of his master, in order to inform the King of France that the election of Adrian was not so prejudicial to his interests as he might be inclined to suppose. Adrian, the Cardinal of Santa Croce declared, had been his friend before the election, and he would soon gain so much influence over him that the new Pope would do nothing without his sanction. He begged Francis to inform Astudillo of what he wished to have represented to Adrian. The instructions of the King of France to the secretary of the Cardinal were characteristic enough. Astudillo was ordered to tell the new Pontiff that it was not the Emperor, but the King of France, who had made him Pope, because he knew that he was a saint. Astudillo arrived on the 9th of February at Vitoria, and delivered his message, adding, on the part of his master, that the Cardinal of Santa Croce had taken the tiara from his own head and placed it on the brow of his friend Adrian. (fn. 209) The Pope believed what Astudillo told him. Overflowing with gratitude he sat down, and began writing a letter to Francis, in which he probably intended to declare his readiness to go to Rome by way of France, and to have an interview with the most Christian King. Considering the weakness of Adrian, an interview with the King of France was believed to be tantamount to an alliance with him. The servants of the Emperor who were staying with him prevented him, therefore, from carrying out his design, and the letter remained unfinished. Lope Hurtado de Mendoza and Poupet de Lachaux arrived soon afterwards, and succeeded in persuading Adrian that he was the victim of an intrigue. The impression which the message of the King of France and of the Cardinal of Santa Croce had produced on the mind of the Pope was, however, never entirely obliterated ; and, although he sometimes spoke with the greatest love of the Emperor, he never acted according to these professions, and occasionally made use of very offensive language towards his late pupil.
In the month of May or in the beginning of June 1522 "the Franciscan Friar of the mother of the King of France" came to the Pope, told him that the French were ready to conclude a general peace, and again begged him to go to Rome by way of France. At that period, however, the diplomatic agents of the Emperor were watching the Pope with great vigilance, and had been reinforced by John Clerk. John Clerk was the first formal ambassador who had been accredited to the Pope, and Henry VIII. was the first prince of Christendom who had performed the usual ceremonial of assuring the new Pontiff of his obedience. Adrian, highly flattered by this unwonted mark of esteem, chose the English ambassador as his confidential adviser, communicating to him the last overtures of the King of France. John Clerk, on his part, consulted with Lope Hurtado de Mendoza. It is scarcely necessary to state what advice Lope Hurtado offered. The result was, that the Pope decided to go to Rome by sea, and not by land through France. (fn. 210)
Whilst the French were attempting to beguile the Pope, Cardinal Wolsey had formed a plan to induce him to go to England, and there to have an interview with Charles V. and King Henry. As the opinion of Juan Manuel was generally acted upon by the Emperor in all affairs which concerned Italy and the Apostolic See, Wolsey resolved first to win over this powerful minister, and instructed Richard Pace to speak with him about his plan. Juan Manuel was not a friend of the English cardinal. He was indefatigable in denouncing his vanity, his slowness, and his predilection for unmeaning ceremonies, on which he wasted time whilst the most urgent affairs of state remained in suspense. He could not on this occasion brook the idea of furnishing Wolsey with an opportunity of gratifying his taste for idle display. Partly in order to prevent the triumph of the man whom he hated, and partly from the consideration that the presence of Adrian in Rome was necessary, he opposed the scheme of Wolsey. The Pope, he wrote to the Emperor, might go by way of Flanders and Germany, not by way of England, to Rome ; he might see the Emperor, but only in case that no time should be lost by this indirect course. (fn. 211) How was that possible? But even had Juan Manuel and the Emperor not opposed the plan of Wolsey, it is certain that it would never have been fulfilled. The Pope who had rejected the prayer of King Francis, in order not to offend the Emperor and the King of England, would certainly have refused to see Charles and Henry, in order to avoid making an enemy of the King of France. When, some months later, the Emperor had arrived in Spain, and was on his way to see Adrian the Pope precipitately embarked. After his long delayed departure this hasty retreat looked almost like a flight.
Of the voyage of the Pope I have nothing of importance to chronicle in this place. The Pope, shaping his course along the coast of Spain, France, and Italy, and frequently communicating with the towns on the shore, behaved well, as Lope Hurtado wrote, that is to say, he showed no predilection for the French. John Clerk and Lope Hurtado, who accompanied him, lived on the most friendly terms possible. "The English ambassador," Lope Hurtado wrote on the 5th of August to the Emperor, "is indeed a very excellent man. He does whatever I ask him, and I will, conjointly with him, speak with the Pope, and tell his Holiness how he ought to behave, whenever I shall think it necessary." (fn. 212)
Pope Leo X. had died on the 1st of December 1521, and Adrian VI. landed in Ostia on the 28th of August 1522. The throne of St. Peter, which had been left virtually vacant during nine long months, was at last again occupied by a Pontiff.
When the Pope had arrived at Rome the new Imperial ambassador, Duke of Sessa, Lope Hurtado de Mendoza, the English ambassadors and Charles de Lanoy, Viceroy of Naples, who had come on purpose from the seat of his Viceroyalty, made a combined attempt to persuade him openly to espouse the cause of the Emperor and the King of England, declaring himself an enemy of France. The Pope did not yield to their pressure. His answer was the only one which a really good Pope could have given. He answered that he abhorred war between Christian princes, and that it was his earnest desire to establish a firm and satisfactory peace. Unfortunately for his reputation none of the statesmen—of whatever party they were—who transacted business with him and knew him well, gave him credit for being in earnest in what he most solemnly declared. The diplomatists of the French party accused him of pusillanimous subserviency to the Emperor ; and the Imperial agents, without any exception, charged him with being guided, not by love of peace or considerations for the common welfare of Christendom, but influenced by the fear that a war would cost him money. (fn. 213) This accusation does not seem to have been quite unfounded. That the Pope did not abhor war, provided he was not called upon to contribute to its expenses, he showed on more than one occasion. Whenever the Imperial army obtained a decided advantage over the French he did not conceal his exultation, thereby encouraging Charles to continue the war. (fn. 214) He went even further, declaring to the English ambassadors that he would take part in it if King Henry would pay him 50,000 ducats. (fn. 215) Such behaviour and such declarations contrasted sadly with his high-sounding pacific exhortations.
There is no doubt he was poor. When his predecessor died he left the Apostolic See indebted to the amount of about 1,150,000 ducats, and the government of the cardinals had not been calculated to improve the finances. A raging pestilence was generally a fortunate godsend for the revenues of the Popes, as it afforded them an opportunity to sell a great number of sees vacated by victims of the plague. The pestilence which prevailed during the whole of the reign of Adrian VI., not only in the capital of Christendom but throughout Italy, seems, however, to have been too cruel to benefit the exchequer of the Holy See. So many prelates died, and the vacated bishoprics in the gift of the Pope became so numerous, that the market was overstocked. Buyers could not be found, for they well knew that if they bought bishoprics and then died,— and the fear of death was very natural at such a time,— their heirs would lose the money. They did not like, they said, "to have the Pope for their heir."
As the motives of the peaceful policy of Pope Adrian were not creditable to his character, so the manner in which he attempted to carry it out reflected no honour on him as a statesman. He sent the Archbishop of Bari to the King of France, and the Bishop of Astorga to King Henry. The object of their mission was to do all in their power to reconcile France with England and the Emperor. So small, however, was the authority which the Pope exercised over his most trusted servants, that the Archbishop of Bari, instead of seriously occupying himself in the work of peace, acted as a spy of Charles, communicating to the Duke of Sessa, to Lope Hurtado, and to the Emperor himself all such secrets as he had been able to worm out of the French ministers. (fn. 216) He went even so far as to send letters, which the King of France and his mother had written to the Pope, and which had been entrusted to him to forward to their address, not to Pope Adrian but to Lope Hurtado ; and Lope Hurtado, instead of delivering them to the Holy Father, made them over to the Emperor. (fn. 217) On another occasion the Archbishop secretly advised Charles not to conclude peace or a truce with the King of France, as the French were much dissatisfied with their King, and would probably soon give him enough to do in his own kingdom. (fn. 218)
The conduct of the Bishop of Astorga in England was even more strange than that of the Archbishop of Bari in France. He had been despatched from Spain early in the summer of 1522. The Pope waited impatiently for his letters, as on the decision of King Henry, as to whether he would make peace with France or not, depended the execution of the line of policy which Adrian had proposed to himself. Weeks and months passed away, and no answer from England arrived. (fn. 219) At last the Pope, being afraid lest an accident should have happened to his nuncio, sent a messenger to England to inquire whether he was dead or alive. This messenger arrived in London about the middle of the month of January 1523, and learnt that the nuncio had left England a few days before in order to bring the answer of King Henry to the Pope. (fn. 220) Nor was the intelligence he carried from England to Rome calculated to console Adrian for his long and anxious waiting. King Henry would not hear of making peace with France, but declared that he was resolved to invade that kingdom in person, and to make a most cruel war on the French. (fn. 221)
Avarice being the ruling passion of Adrian, he detested a war, which ultimately might entail expenses on himself, as heartily as and perhaps even more than the most sincere lover of peace from higher motives would have done. Any prince who advocated war was, therefore, sure of his antipathy, and any statesman who gave him hope that peace would soon be concluded could count upon his gratitude. The Emperor and the King of France, knowing full well the character of the Pope, shaped their policy accordingly. Although determined to continue the war and to implicate the Pope in it, they at once began in Rome to act the part of most ardent lovers of peace. The Emperor would, however, have incurred great risk had he assumed a conciliatory attitude in Rome without informing his ally of the real nature of his policy. The best way, he thought, would be to persuade Henry to make common cause with him also in this fraud. It does not seem that he encountered any difficulties in England. Wolsey wrote, first in his own name, that, despite the warlike answer of his master, England was not disinclined to accept a peaceable arrangement, and the King soon followed the example of his minister and of his ally.
The Pope, as the Duke of Sessa thought, was fooled in a most "preposterous" manner. (fn. 222) But the Emperor was not a common dissembler. He would not satisfy himself with deceiving the Holy Father alone. The Pope and the King of England were both to be his victims. His scheme was ingenious. Under the pretext that it was desirable the English and Imperial ambassadors in Rome should receive identical instructions and identical powers, he had sent his instructions and his power for the Duke of Sessa to Louis de Praet, who was then ambassador in England, with the order to show them to King Henry, and to ask him to send a similar power and similar instructions to his ambassador in Rome. King Henry did not quite do as he was bidden. His proposals differed from those of the Emperor in one essential point, as, according to them, the allies of the principal belligerent parties were to be excluded from the treaty. Such a peace or truce would not have interrupted the war. Hostilities would have been continued in Italy and in Scotland, in Guelders, Friesland, and Navarra, although no longer in the name of the great princes of Christendom, yet in the name of their smaller confederates whom they were bound to defend. As the Emperor did not wish to make peace, but desired only to throw the blame on his ally, the unacceptable conditions of Henry served his purpose admirably. Nevertheless, care was taken that even they should not reach Rome before it was too late for the Pope to think of bringing about any peaceful arrangement whatever. Louis de Praet narrated with great complacency in his letter, dated London, the 8th of May 1523, the manner in which he executed that exploit. He made an arrangement with Wolsey according to which John Clerk, who had come to England, should take the instructions and the power of King Henry, as well as those of the Emperor, to Rome. Clerk was given to understand that he should travel slowly. Moreover, he was ordered to see on his way Madame Margaret, the Duke of Milan, Richard Pace, and other personages with whom he had to transact business. Thus, it was calculated, he could not arrive at Rome before the month of June 1523, that is to say, at a time when the war which was in preparation would have begun. The Emperor and the King of England, de Praet added, would thus show their readiness to obey the behests of the Pope, and yet carry out their designs "sans que le Pape se peut douiller." (fn. 223) But whilst the apparent consent of the King of England was sent in such a way that it should arrive too late, the Emperor despatched a special messenger direct to the Duke of Sessa, with another power to conclude peace or a truce, ordering his ambassador to show it sub sigillo confessionis to his Holiness, and to declare that the Emperor was particularly desirous to reconcile himself with his enemies, but that he was prevented from doing so by his ally the King of England. (fn. 224) By that manœuvre he appropriated all credit to himself, and, whilst deceiving the King of England as well as the Pope, he was praised by both. (fn. 225)
On one occasion, however, Charles was really inclined to conclude a general peace. When he was staying in England in the summer 1522, it was known in Europe that the Turks were making extraordinary preparations for war, and would most probably attack Hungary and Rhodes. The Archduke Ferdinand, more interested than any prince of Christendom in resisting the infidels, sent Martin de Salinas to the Emperor, the King of England, and Queen Katharine, in order to implore them not to neglect this danger. Salinas had to contend with great difficulties before he could even see the Princes and the Queen to whom he was accredited, as all of them were entirely absorbed by festivities and preparations for the war with France. When he at last obtained audiences of them, it was only to be convinced of the absolute failure of his mission. "The real Turk is he with whom we are occupied" (the King of France) was the almost cynical answer which Wolsey gave when Gattinara spoke to him about this subject, and Martin de Salinas wrote the melancholy words to his master that he must trust in God and not hope for any assistance either from England or the Emperor. (fn. 226) The Knights of Rhodes did not fare better than the Archduke. Forsaken by the whole of Christendom they confided in God, defended their island as long as they could, but were at last forced to abandon it. The news of the loss of Rhodes arrived in Europe towards the end of December 1522. A sense of shame and indignation pervaded Christendom from one extremity to the other. If ever the Christian princes of the sixteenth century could have been brought to set aside their mutual quarrels, and to undertake a common war with their common enemy, that moment had arrived. Charles, always watchfully looking out for every opportunity which could possibly lead him one step nearer his coveted universal empire, resolved to try whether he could not profit by the re-awakened sense of common interests which united or ought to have united all Christians. He proposed to the Pope to conclude peace on condition that a general war of Christendom against the Turks should be immediately undertaken. All princes without any exception were to be obliged to send their contingents, and the Church, the orders of monks and nuns in all countries not excepted, was to make rich contributions in money. This Christian army was to be placed under the command of the Emperor, who reserved it especially to himself to select from the mendicant friars, who possessing no property could not give money, the most sturdy monks who promised to become excellent soldiers. Had such an army and such pecuniary resources been placed at the disposal of Charles, he would most probably soon have been the "Emperor of the Occident and of the Orient." That the sublime is only too often intimately allied to the base was proved on this occasion. For whilst Charles was occupied with his plan of conquering the world, he attempted also to swindle his friend out of a sum of money. The reader knows that he had bound himself under threat of the severest ecclesiastical censures to pay the King of England the pensions which the latter had been in the habit of receiving from France, and to refund him the 150,000 crowns which King Henry had lent him. He had not only not paid his debts to the King, but his obligations towards Wolsey were unfulfilled, although he had been more than once reminded of his promises. (fn. 227) To be asked payment in a manner which was not always delicate was certainly disagreeable for an Emperor, and the desire to get rid of his debts in any way was natural enough in a man like Charles. When he proposed to the Pope the common war against the Turks, he, therefore, added the prayer that his Holiness should absolve him from his contract to pay his debts, or if the Holy Father should think that the King of England would resent the meddling in his money concerns, to give motu proprio a general bull releasing all persons who would participate in the crusade from ecclesiastical censures incurred on account of any kind of unpaid debts. "The cause of God required such a measure," for it was to be feared that the Christian arms could not be victorious if censured persons should be found in the ranks of the cross. (fn. 228) Both the great and the petty scheme fell together, as circumstances very soon occurred which materially changed the state of affairs in Christendom.
The Cardinal of Volterra was indefatigably intriguing with the King of France against the Emperor. A French army, it was intended, should march to Naples, where it would be joined by numerous rebels. When the plot was almost ripe for execution, and the French had gained some small advantages at Fuentarabia and Thérouanne, their language in Rome grew more haughty, and a reconciliation became more difficult. At last, on the 28th of March 1523, the Pope received a letter from King Francis in which he openly declared that he would not conclude either peace or a truce. (fn. 229) Almost at the same time the correspondence of the Cardinal of Volterra with his nephews Pietro and Tomasio Soderini, concerning the enterprise on Naples, was intercepted, and sent to the Imperial ambassadors in Rome. (fn. 230) The whole policy of the French, and the falsehood of their peaceful declarations, became clear even to the obtuse understanding of Pope Adrian, who broke out into loud lamentations, not because Christendom was again to be steeped in blood, but because he had spent so much money to no purpose in sending couriers to the King of France and to other potentates. His excitement was so great that the Duke of Sessa was afraid lest he might die of suffocation. (fn. 231)
The Cardinal of Volterra was accused of high treason. He answered that, as he owed no allegiance to the Emperor, he could not be guilty of treasonable acts against him, and though he had invited the French to invade Italy, other Cardinals were constantly advising the Emperor to conquer it. Notwithstanding the defence which he made he was sent to prison on the 27th of April 1523 (fn. 232), and the Imperial ambassadors insisted that he should die the death of a traitor. They even asked the Emperor to tell the Pope that if the Roman tribunals did not act with promptitude and severity, he would take the law into his own hands. (fn. 233) It was impossible for the King of France to permit his most zealous partisan and agent in Italy to be treated in such a manner. He recalled his ambassadors from Rome, and the rupture between him and the Pope was an accomplished fact.
The Duke of Sessa, assisted by the English ambassadors, availed himself of the difficulty in which Adrian was placed to urge him to enter the league with the Emperor, with King Henry, and with the Princes of Italy. Our restricted space will not permit us to narrate the details of these interesting negotiations. We must therefore refer the reader to the abstracts, and content ourselves with observing here that the final result was that Adrian concluded the proposed treaty on the 29th of July. (fn. 234) When the question whether the Pope ought to enter the league or not was debated in a Consistory of Cardinals, 28 votes were in favour of that measure, and only four Cardinals dared to oppose it. (fn. 235)
The two treaties which were concluded on the same day —the one in Rome, the other in Venice—changed the whole political condition of Europe. (fn. 236) The King of France, who had hitherto been threatening to render himself, with the help of his numerous Italian friends, master of that country on the possession of which the supremacy of Christendom seemed to depend, was at once deprived of his most useful allies, whilst the new league placed the resources of the whole of Italy at the disposal of the Emperor and the King of England. The alliance, it is true, was only a defensive one, but as the French had been on the point of invading Italy, a defensive league was almost equivalent to an offensive confederacy.
Formidable though this was, the Emperor and King Henry were in a position to render themselves still stronger. The intelligence which the Archbishop of Bari had sent as early as June and July 1522, that many French subjects were dissatisfied with their King, and would soon give him serious trouble at home, proved to have been based on facts. Charles, Duke of Bourbon, the greatest vassal of France, the chief of numerous adherents and retainers, was ready to rise in rebellion. There are not many documents relating to the conspiracy of the Duke of Bourbon and his negotiations with the Emperor and the King of England to be found in this Calendar. I have, therefore, little to say on the subject. One observation, however, I must make. The King of England and Wolsey gave no encouragement to the Duke when he was meditating his treason. Beaurain was sent by the Emperor to persuade King Henry to conclude an alliance with the Duke of Bourbon, but Henry and Wolsey, instead of availing themselves of that opportunity to injure the King of France, tried to dissuade the Emperor from espousing the cause of the rebel. They were not influenced by any moral scruples. They were only imperfectly informed by their spies, and believed that the Duke was on the best terms possible with Francis, and that the rebellion was merely a stratagem. The Duke, so Henry and Wolsey thought, intended to enlist a powerful army with the money received from the Emperor and from England, and as soon as the English and Imperial troops should have invaded France he would forsake them, join the French, and annihilate the foreign invaders. (fn. 237) Long negotiations were necessary to prove to King Henry and Cardinal Wolsey that they were utterly mistaken. It is necessary to bear this circumstance in mind, in order not to misinterpret the correspondence relating to the treason of the Duke of Bourbon.
The league of the Emperor, the King of England, the Holy Father, the Italian states, and the Duke of Bourbon against France was again destined soon to be deranged by the death of the Pope.
When Adrian VI. arrived in Italy most of the ambassadors had fled from the pestilence to Marino and other places in its neighbourhood. He, however, fearlessly remained in the city. The pestilence spared him, but the weight which had been placed on his shoulders was too heavy for him. He was rapidly sinking under the consciousness of his great responsibility and the inadequacy of his powers. Four months after his arrival the Duke of Sessa wrote to the Emperor that he was quite terrified when he saw the Pope. "When his Holiness arrived he was stout ; now he is thin, pale, and his eyes are rheumatic." (fn. 238) In May 1523 he suffered from an illness of the kidneys, but rallied again. When, however, he had signed the alliance, he fell ill from the effects of mental over exertion, one party urging him to conclude the league, and others warning him not to do so. (fn. 239) The immediate consequences of it, that is to say, the payments of money towards the maintenance of the army, killed him. To give away money seems to have been to Adrian what the shedding of their life blood is to other mortals. On the 29th of August the Pope paid his first instalment, and his illness immediately increased so much that the probability of his dying was mentioned. (fn. 240) On the 9th of September the Duke of Sessa informed his master that his Holiness had sent 10,000 ducats for the pay of the army, and added that the illness of the Pope had so much increased that he had been given up by his physicians. (fn. 241) On the 14th of September he died. And under what circumstances did he expire! His best friend, Enkenvöert, tormented him on his deathbed with the demand to make him a cardinal, whilst the other cardinals showed their reluctance to assemble in a consistory, but pressed hard upon the dying old man to confess where he had hidden his treasures. "They did not treat him like a Pope, but like a private man who is on the rack," poor Adrian swearing that he had not a thousand ducats in his possession. (fn. 242) Not even after his death did the cardinals spare his memory. The protocol of the election of Clement VII. begins with the words : "Pope Adrian VI. died on the 18th kal. of October 1523, leaving behind him the reputation of having been very stingy and very weak." (fn. 243) Avarior judicatus est et inertior. We are glad that we have done with him.
The last official act of Pope Adrian was that, almost at the hour of his death, he gave a bull motu proprio, ordering that the Cardinal of Volterra should on no condition be released from prison. The College of Cardinals, however, which had not shown much respect for his lawful orders whilst he was alive, entirely disregarded his commands, which were of very doubtful legality, when he was dead. The prison of the Cardinal of Volterra was opened, and it was he who said the mass of Spiritus Sanctus on the 1st of October, when the cardinals were entering the conclave.
The Emperor had, long before this time, resolved that the Cardinal de Medicis was to be his candidate, and positive orders to that effect had repeatedly been sent to the Duke of Sessa. (fn. 244) To be the candidate of the Emperor, it is scarcely necessary to state, was equivalent to being the adversary of the French party, who neglected no means to defeat him. Of all the diplomatists in the service of the King of France no one was better acquainted with the intricacies of Italian policy than Alberto Pio, Count of Carpi. He was, to use the words of Lope Hurtado, "a devil," who knew every thing and meddled in every thing. (fn. 245) The King of France ordered him to proceed without delay to Rome. Travelling by almost impracticable mountain roads, he reached the capital of Christendom in good time to exert his influence. The French party broke out into triumphant joy at his arrival. They soon found, however, that they had miscalculated the assistance they would derive from the presence of this influential statesman. His old friendship for the Cardinal de Medicis proving stronger than his loyalty towards the King of France, he did not oppose, but aided, the election of his friend. The contest for the Papal crown was carried on with great acrimony. The younger cardinals, that is to say, those who had been created by Pope Leo X., formed one compact and well organized body. They were in favour of the election of Cardinal de Medicis. Opposed to them were all the older cardinals, who had likewise formed a kind of confederacy, and sworn that they would not give their votes either to de Medicis or to any of his party. But in spite of their solemn oath desertion thinned their ranks. At last the Cardinal Colonna was won over by the united efforts of the Duke of Sessa and of the Cardinal de Medicis. After having arranged his tactics with some of his friends, he suddenly rose on the night of the 18th of November, and exclaimed in a loud voice : "All who wish to have Julius for Pope, and to preserve the unity of the Christian republic intact, follow me!" The cardinals, surprised by this appeal, discontinued their disputes, and after a short deliberation the Cardinal de Medicis was elected Pope "by the inspiration of God." That God had inspired his election, the author of the protocol of the proceedings in the conclave observed, was clear, as neither the Emperor nor the King of France had been able to influence even such cardinals as had their bishoprics in their states. (fn. 246)
We must here again ask what part did Cardinal Wolsey take on the occasion of this election? The Emperor had consoled him after his failure in the year 1522 with the positive promise that he should be the next Pope. Did Charles V. again break his engagement to the all-powerful minister of Henry VIII.? There is not the least doubt that he did, but the documents to be found in this volume show that he was again trying to make Wolsey believe that he was most scrupulously fulfilling his promise. As soon as the death of Pope Adrian was known in Spain, the Emperor had ordered a despatch to be written to his ambassador in Rome commanding him to persuade the cardinals of the Imperial party to give their votes to the Cardinal of York. It is highly probable that this despatch was shown to the English ambassadors at the Imperial Court, and that a copy of it was, as on the former occasion, sent to England. Had the despatch not been delivered to the courier who was about to start for Rome, the English ambassadors could easily have detected the fraud practised almost in their presence. The orders were, therefore, handed over to the messenger. As he was going by sea, the old stratagem of a courier slipping down from his saddle, and the horse running away with the mail bag, could not be repeated. A much simpler and surer way to spare the Imperial ambassador the perplexity which contradictory commands might have caused was, therefore, adopted. Orders were sent to the proper authorities at Barcelona to take from the courier the despatch concerning the election of Wolsey, and to keep it back until a new Pope was proclaimed. (fn. 247)
Whilst the Emperor acquitted himself in so easy a manner of his obligations towards the English Cardinal, Wolsey himself took care that the Duke of Sessa should, without loss of time, be reminded of the promises the Emperor had made him. It was an English courier who carried these letters to Rome. He arrived without any accident, and delivered his message whilst it was still uncertain who the new Pope would be. It is not stated by the Duke of Sessa who were the writers of the letters recommending the Cardinal of England, but we may safely suppose that the Imperial ambassadors were the authors of them, and that Wolsey himself had, perhaps, added some very friendly lines in his own handwriting. As the Duke, however, had positive orders from his master, he could not be doubtful for a moment as to which of the two candidates, de Medicis or Wolsey, he was to lend his aid. But he could not help wondering at the great confidence the English entertained of the election of Wolsey, as though "God would work a miracle every day." He knew perfectly well that Wolsey could not be elected, for the cardinals had made a covenant and sworn to it, according to which no absent person was eligible. The cardinals, it must be confessed—we quote the words of the Duke of Sessa—were not in the habit of fulfilling their oaths, but in this case it was clear that they would not break their vow, as the bad consequences of the last election were still fresh in their memory, and the people were clamorously demanding that the Pope should be chosen from amongst those who were present in the conclave. So sure did the Duke of Sessa feel about the utter impossibility of the Cardinal of York being elected, that he did not think he was disobeying the commands of his master when he warmly recommended Wolsey on his own responsibility. (fn. 248) He regarded his recommendation simply as a harmless act of courtesy.
I have already stated that Clement VII. was elected in order to preserve the unity of the Christian Republic intact. Politically speaking, this phrase meant that he was expected to prevent the Turks from conquering Christendom. With respect to religion, the same phrase signified that Clement VII. took it upon himself to see that the Roman Catholic Church should not be definitively split asunder by Luther and his disciples. He could not hope to carry out his programme as long as Europe was divided into two hostile camps. If France had declared against the new doctrine, the Emperor would have shown favour to the reformers, not because he had any sympathy with them, but because they were the enemies of his enemy. If, on the other hand, the Emperor had employed hostile measures against the Lutherans, the King of France would have supported them from similar reasons. The first step to be taken by the Pope was, undoubtedly, to reconcile the King of France with the Emperor and the King of England.
Being the mediator between the contending parties, it was natural, and even necessary, that he should remain on friendly terms with all of them. He went, however, too far in the right direction. He entered into such intimate relations with the King of France that the Emperor and King Henry would have been offended and rendered suspicious if they had known them. Concealment was, therefore, indispensable. He secretly helped the Emperor (fn. 249) against the King of France, and promised him further assistance. Had the French known what the Pope was doing, they would have become his enemies. Overstepping the proper limits of a mediator, the Pope placed himself at the beginning of his reign in a false position. Under such circumstances, the lofty tone he adopted when he proclaimed that his antipathies and his hatred against any Christian prince had disappeared and had been replaced by love which embraced all of them, did not produce the effect which he had expected. The Emperor and the King of England as well as the King of France thought they had sufficient reason to believe that the love of the Holy Father did not extend to their enemies, and when the Emperor, about a year later, found that he was mistaken, and that the Pope entertained at least as friendly sentiments towards the King of France as towards him, he considered himself ill-used, and accused Clement of want of frankness.
The College of Cardinals seconded the efforts of the Pope, entreating the princes of Christendom to make peace. We read their letters, however, with painful astonishment, as they contain such remarks as that the former Emperors earned their great reputation by making war on the Jews, and putting heretics to death. (fn. 250) Were, then, the Emperor, King Francis, and King Henry exhorted to make peace for no other purpose than to hunt down poor Jews in the squalid back-streets to which they had been relegated, and to persecute and burn Christians who did not strictly adhere to the dogmas of the church which had been declared to be orthodox? (fn. 251) Yet among the Cardinals there was more than one who enjoyed all the advantages which a careful education and refinement of taste could bestow.
When the Imperial and the English ambassadors urged Pope Clement VII. to enter the league against France, he declared that he would send the Archbishop of Capua to the Emperor, the King of France, and the King of England on a message of peace. (fn. 252) Nicolaus Schomberg, a German by birth, was a "man of genius," but he had all the pride of a friar, was vain, talked too much, and could not keep his counsel. Very damaging qualities in a diplomatist, we should think, but we are assured that, on the whole, the choice of Clement VII. was an excellent one, and that, if peace was possible at all, the best results were to be expected from the exertions of so able a negotiator.
The instructions the Archbishop of Capua took with him drew a melancholy picture of the state of Europe. Hungary, Sicily, and Apulia were ruined and threatened by the Turks ; Germany, not long since so flourishing, was in a distracted state, and infected by heresy ; the French were hostile to their own King ; and Spain was utterly exhausted, and agitated by party spirit. The Archbishop was ordered to remind the Emperor and the King of France of their duties as Christian princes to defend Christendom against the Infidels, and to further, as much as was in their power, the welfare of their subjects. He was to tell them that the Pope would entirely disapprove of their conduct if they refused to make peace. To the King of France he was, moreover, to say that it was not love of glory but mean cupidity which instigated him to covet the Duchy of Milan.
The most curious portion of these instructions, however, related to England. Whilst the objects, so it was stated in them, which the Emperor and the King of France had in view, viz., the conquest not only of Milan but of the whole of Italy, were plainly intelligible, the aim of the King of England was as incomprehensible as the cause by which he was moved was futile. It was difficult even to guess what King Henry intended, and for what object he carried on hostilities. He may, perhaps, the instructions went on to say, wish to avenge himself for the slights he has received from the King of France and from the Scots, or to punish the King of France for his disparaging language ; or, subdued by the flattery of Charles, he may have nothing else in view than to help the Emperor ; or he may really wish to preserve peace in Italy. It was even not impossible, the instructions added, that the King of England expected to be rewarded by the Emperor after the victory, and hoped, perhaps, to get Normandy.
Is it possible to pass a severer judgment on the policy of a great power than by stating that the reasons by which it had been induced to undertake a long and expensive war were unintelligible and must be guessed at? And to what extravagant conjectures were the statesmen who were then at the head of the government in Rome forced to have recourse in order to explain the political conduct of King Henry? He wished, perhaps, to revenge himself for the disparaging language of King Francis, or he hoped, perhaps, to be rewarded by the Emperor after the victory! We must recall to our mind the words of Juan Manuel if we wish to understand the true political position of England at this conjuncture. "The Cardinal of England, who had already on a former occasion, from personal motives, involved his country in an unprofitable war, would do it once more." (fn. 253)
Though the general statement of the case was little flattering to the reputation of Henry and of Wolsey, the means by which it was expected to persuade them to conclude peace show, even more clearly, how low an opinion of their statesmanship prevailed at Rome. The resources of the Emperor and of the King of France were dried up, but the pecuniary means of the King of England were far from being exhausted. He would, therefore, at first sight appear to be the natural and unavoidable arbiter of war or peace. This advantage, however, could not be made use of, as he was only an accessory and not a principal actor on the political theatre of Europe, and had no clear object in view. The only obstacle which it was thought necessary to overcome was his hatred of the King of France, and the surest means to accomplish this purpose seemed to be to frighten and to flatter him at the same time. To frighten him was indispensable, because if he had no fear, he would "according to English fashion" indefinitely postpone his decision. No other dangers, however, could be imagined than those arising from the enmity of Scotland, and the doubtful loyalty of Henry's own subjects. The Archbishop was, therefore, ordered to paint these dangers in strong colours to King Henry, but on no condition to excite the Scots or the English against him. After having frightened the King the Archbishop was to flatter him in the most fulsome manner, telling him that his name was revered in the whole world, that the Pope valued him above all the rest of Christendom, &c., &c., winding up his peroration with an appeal to pecuniary considerations. As the other countries were entirely ruined, King Henry alone would have to bear all expenses of war if war was to continue.
Wolsey was to be treated in the same way as his master, so said the instructions. (fn. 254)
Notwithstanding that no material advantages had been offered to Cardinal Wolsey, the mission of the Archbishop of Capua, which had entirely failed in France and obtained nothing more than an apparent success in Spain, had in England some chance of leading to at least a partial result, if a result it can be called that the policy of England was from this moment no longer decidedly warlike, but ambiguous and vacillating. (fn. 255) That England had no grounds for going to war was her strongest reason to make peace. But such considerations were not likely to prevail with such a King as Henry nor with such a minister as Wolsey. The fact was, that Henry was discouraged by the failure of his enterprise of 1523, and discontented with his allies. He had undertaken the invasion of France only because he was unable to withstand the demands of the Emperor. (fn. 256) Charles was, therefore, doubly obliged strictly to fulfil his promises and to invade Guienne with an army of 20,000 men. Instead of doing so, he disbanded his troops as soon as he had conquered Fuentarabia. The Duke of Bourbon was to overrun the duchy of Burgundy, and then to join his troops with the English forces. The enterprise of Bourbon was wrecked in its very commencement ; and the English, left without succour, were obliged to retire in great haste. Besides these the King of England had other reasons for being little satisfied with Charles V. Madame Margaret, who since her own plans of marriage had proved a failure had become rather severe in matrimonial matters, had warned the King of England that the Emperor intended to break off his engagement to the Princess Mary. Henry, alarmed at this idea, had ordered John Clerk to speak with the Pope, and to ask him to give his dispensation. Clement, however, consulted the Duke of Sessa, and as the Duke declared that he was not informed of the intentions of his master, the Pope gave the English ambassador an evasive answer, without granting the dispensation. (fn. 257) Moreover, Charles had not paid to Henry either the French pension or the 150,000 crowns which he had borrowed during his last stay in England. But the worst of all, probably, was that the French pension due to Wolsey on the 1st of November was still unpaid, and that the Cardinal had not received any portion of his pension out of the see of Palencia. (fn. 258) The Emperor had constantly been flattering, but only flattering, and never fulfilled any of his promises. Such behaviour was an insult to his ally. It showed that he entertained the lowest opinion of the intellectual capacities of his friend. Though he most probably would have shrunk from making such a confession, others were fully aware of this fact. Even Prospero Colonna, who was staying far away in Italy, was not mistaken, and as a faithful servant begged him not to carry his disdain of King Henry too far. (fn. 259)
However that may be, the cause of the Emperor had become unpopular at the Court of England. Though the King had not yet resolved to forsake his ally, and though he was still under the agreeable delusion that he would wear at some not very distant time the crown of France, he wished that the continual demands of the Emperor on him should at last come to an end, and that he should be left at liberty to settle his old quarrels with Scotland. The Cardinal, on the other hand, although he was assuming before his master the appearance of still favouring the interests of Charles, well knew that his policy of encouraging the Emperor to continue the war, while at the same time he was indirectly dissuading the other princes from assisting him, was calculated to involve his Imperial patron in apparently insurmountable difficulties. He wished to show him that his services could not be spared, and would not be obtained unless punctually paid for.
This change in the feelings of Wolsey, as well as in those of King Henry, was soon observable in Italy. The news from England which reached the Pope and the Italian princes was so contradictory, and the conduct of the English ambassadors in Italy so changing, that it was difficult to decide whether England was the ally or the enemy of Charles. On the 23rd of February, for instance, the language of John Clerk and Hanibal was as warlike as it could possibly be. King Henry was represented as making preparations for an invasion of France with two armies. The one of them was to consist of 20,000 men, and the King himself was to command it. The other was to be employed in a "secret" expedition, from which the greatest results were expected. King Henry wished that the Duke of Bourbon should be the commander-in-chief of it, and invited him to go to England. (fn. 260) But how could the Duke forsake the army in Lombardy? He was then Imperial Lieutenant-General of all the Emperor's forces in Italy. The demand was so unreasonable that bad intentions, at least on Wolsey's part, might have been suspected.
On the next day, the 24th, the language of the English ambassadors in Rome began already to change. They still advised the Pope to succour the Emperor with money, but were, at the same time, loudly complaining of the disbanding of the Imperial forces in Spain, and declaring that King Henry was not disinclined to conclude peace with France. (fn. 261) In March the invasion of France by four armies, two of them English and two Imperial, was again spoken of in Rome, but the Duke of Sessa had his doubts whether the English intended to fulfil their promises. (fn. 262) During the month of April, the news from England was again decidedly discouraging. The Papal Nuncio at the court of King Henry wrote to tell the Pope that the English had not made any preparations for war, that Wolsey was ready to conclude peace, and wished only to avoid the appearance of himself making the first overtures, because that would injure his reputation. The information given by Lope Hurtado to the Emperor and to Gattinara fully confirmed these statements. (fn. 263) The month of May began under still less favourable auspices. Wolsey was not only plotting with the French, but had succeeded in persuading the King to sanction his policy. (fn. 264) As the King of France was always desirous to reconcile himself with England in order to break up the alliance of his enemies, Henry seemed lost for the Emperor. But the English policy suddenly changed once more. Before the month of May had ended, and even before the victories of the Imperial army in Lombardy were known in England, King Henry himself informed the Papal Nuncio that he would give the money which was necessary for the invasion of Provence, that Richard Pace was expected in England, and would soon return with sufficient funds to the Duke of Bourbon. This agreeable news was, after an interval of a few days, followed by intelligence still more favourable to the cause of the Emperor. The Archbishop of Capua brought the welcome tidings that King Henry, instead of making peace, would invade France. (fn. 265) None of these promises were fulfilled. Pace was stopped on his journey at Malines, no money was sent to the Duke of Bourbon, and the King of England did not make even the slightest preparations for an invasion of France.
To tax a statesman of the sixteenth century, and especially a man like Wolsey, with double-dealing and want of honesty towards such men as Charles V. and the Chancellor Gattinara would be an unmeaning reproach. The only question which can interest us is whether it was at all probable that he would attain his ends. To this the documents contained in this volume do not give a full answer, but still they afford us a few glimpses which are not without value. The Pope, being a timid man, grew alarmed at the unfriendly behaviour of the Cardinal towards the Emperor. Although he really wished to make peace, he had no desire that it should be unfavourable to Charles. He knew that such an arrangement would not last, and that it would have been worse than the continuation of war. The French had made him tempting proposals. King Francis had offered to marry his second son to a niece of Clement VII., and to give the duchy of Milan to the young couple as dower. He also promised to conquer Ferrara for the Pope. Clement, however, resisted on this occasion all temptations, (fn. 266) and even urged the Emperor to humble the pride of France, making the casuistic distinction that he was advocating war not in his quality of Pope, but of a de Medicis. When the defection of the King of England seemed to be imminent, he spoke with the English ambassadors, and induced them to beg their master not to forsake his ally. (fn. 267) Even the Archbishop of Capua, the messenger of peace, was instructed to persuade the English to invade France. Thus, the measures of Wolsey had produced a deep impression in Rome, but certainly had not attained his desired object of deterring the Pope from aiding Charles.
If we could place implicit credit in the letters which are to be found in this volume, we should come to the conclusion that the Emperor, though he did not absolutely despise the machinations of Wolsey, treated them with great unconcern. He warned the Pope not to trust the Cardinal, but added that his intrigues were of little importance, as Wolsey had no other aim in view than to get the peace negotiations into his own hands, and thereby to secure special advantages to his master. In another letter the Emperor said he had no doubt that the English would abandon all thoughts of peace, and make war with France as soon as they were informed of the victories in Lombardy, and saw that the invasion of Provence was really undertaken. (fn. 268)
Two ways to secure the assistance of King Henry lay open before the Emperor. He could either satisfy the personal demands of Wolsey, and then make use of the influence of the Cardinal over the King for all his purposes, however detrimental they might be to England ; or he could neglect the pretensions of Wolsey, and try to make the King do his will in spite of the open or secret opposition of the minister. He chose the second alternative, following, as it seems, rather the suggestions of his personal dislike than the dictates of dispassionate statesmanship. What the Cardinal asked was not much for an Emperor to grant. The reader will remember that the Emperor had given, in the year 1521, to Wolsey two pensions, amounting together to 4,500 ducats, to be paid out of the revenues of the Sees of Badajoz and Palencia. Disputes, however, soon arose between Wolsey and the Bishops, and the pensions were not paid. A good opportunity for settling this quarrel offered itself when the Archiepiscopal See of Toledo became vacant. Wolsey consented that his pensions should be transferred to that See. The yearly payments to be made by the new Archbishop to pensioners of the Emperor amounted to no less than 27,500 ducats. Out of this sum 4,500 were reserved for Wolsey. The whole affair would have been satisfactorily settled had not the Cardinal refused to pay his share of the fees of the Papal Chancery, and demanded that the payments to him should be made by bankers in England in a coin of a little higher value than that in which accounts in Rome were generally made up, and which seems to have been the common tender in similar transactions. When the Emperor was informed of this petty squabble, instead of humouring the Cardinal, he ordered that 2,000 ducats out of the 4,500 should be given to Antonio de Rojas, Archbishop of Granada and President of the Privy Council of Castile. (fn. 269) Thus he not only inflicted a pecuniary loss, but also put an affront on Wolsey.
Deeply to offend Wolsey, and yet to dispose of the resources of England, was not an easy undertaking. But Charles and his Chancellor—both then suffering under serious indispositions—seem to have been rendered careless by their previous easy successes. In May 1524 Monsieur de Courrières was sent as envoy extraordinary to England. He was to inform King Henry of the defeat of the French, and to beg him to contribute money for the enterprise on Provence as well as to invade France in the north. The mission of Courrières was not successful, and Charles V. lowered his pretensions to the demand that his ally should do one of the two things, either invade Picardy or pay one half of the expenses for the war in Provence. (fn. 270) In order to incline him to assist the Emperor, he was once more to be tempted with the hope that the crown of France should be placed on his head. When, in the summer of 1523, he had first entered into negotiations with the Duke of Bourbon, he had drawn up a treaty, signed it on the 4th of August, and sent the signed copy to the Duke for acceptance. According to clause eight the Duke of Bourbon should recognize the King of England as his sovereign lord, that is to say, as King of France, but the final decision on this point was reserved for the Emperor. (fn. 271) Neither Charles V. nor the Duke of Bourbon it is obvious had the least intention to conquer the kingdom of France for Henry. The Emperor had already made so many promises to his ally with the resolve not to fulfil them, that he could, without any sensible aggravation of his pangs of conscience, have added this one other deceit to his long list of impostures. But it seems to have been repugnant to his pride to bestow even the semblance of such greatness on a prince whom he esteemed so little. The claims of Henry remained in suspense. As, however, it was essential that his illusions should not be entirely destroyed, because they were the surest means by which he could be made to serve the interests of the Emperor, Charles took special care that the King of England should not renounce his pretensions on France in the peace negotiations which were pending before the Pope. (fn. 272) Both Henry and Wolsey, it seems, were again ensnared, and the Cardinal, on the 28th of May, instructed Richard Pace to go to Milan, and inform the Duke of Bourbon, that, if he would swear the oath of fealty to King Henry "as his subject to his crown of France," the King would pay 100,000 crowns, and more, towards the expenses for the enterprise on Provence, and would even attack France in the north. The money of England was much wanted. So the Duke of Bourbon confessed himself, took the sacraments "very religiously," and then declared on the 25th of June, in the presence of four French gentlemen, "upon his faith," that he would, with the help of his friends, place the crown of France on the head of King Henry, his and Richard Pace's common master. Pace took this formless declaration for a binding oath of fealty, and wrote "boldly" to Wolsey that he would impute to him the loss of the crown of France if he would not effectually assist the Duke of Bourbon. But what was the real value of such a promise, made as it was by a man who had just betrayed his rightful sovereign, and who, by avoiding the forms prescribed by custom and law, clearly showed that he was not sincere? And what could the Duke of Bourbon have done, even if he had had the best intentions? He was by this time a servant of the Emperor, and the army at the head of which he was placed was not his own. Wolsey was perfectly right not to attach great value to the words of the Duke of Bourbon. The only fault for which we can reproach him on this occasion is that he did not entirely undeceive the King. But we must not be hard upon him. It was he who during so long a time had fostered the day dreams of greatness indulged in by the King, whose morbid illusions were the very foundations upon which the extraordinary power of the Cardinal was built. How could he be expected to destroy them?
What succour King Henry positively promised the Emperor for the war in Provence is not easy to state. He wrote letters to the Duke of Bourbon and the Viceroy of Naples full of great promises ; he declared to the Imperial ambassadors in England that he would, at all events, pay as much for the enterprise on Provence as the Emperor, and the Cardinal added that he would never permit the army to break down from want of money. But to the Papal Nuncio King Henry and Wolsey spoke in a very different tone, (fn. 273) and even the assurances to the Emperor were made in such a manner that he entertained grave doubts about their sincerity. What the King of England and the Legate have promised, wrote Charles V. to his ambassador in England, is little, but even that they will probably not fulfil. (fn. 274)
The Emperor did not for a single moment change his plans of invading Provence. (fn. 275) But, being a wary politician, he did not lose sight of the possibility of a defeat. He, therefore, continued the peace negotiations which Pope Clement had begun, and sent in the month of May, amidst his warlike preparations, Monsieur de la Roche, with ample and detailed instructions, to Rome. It might be, he stated, that the war would take an unfavourable turn, that the Turks would invade Christendom, or that some other great and unexpected calamity should befal him. (fn. 276) Either of these cases was foreseen in the instructions, which contain no less than fifty-one heads grouped into nine proposals. For the detail which this State Paper contains I must refer the reader to the abstract from it, which fills ten pages of this calendar. (fn. 277) All I can do here is shortly to mention some of its most interesting contents. The Emperor proposed that he and the King of France should commit the adjustment of all their old quarrels into the hands of umpires under the presidency of the Pope, hoping, no doubt, once more to repeat the impostures of the congress at Calais. As, however, it might happen that Francis would not permit himself to be deceived a second time in the same manner, the Emperor added more positive proposals, offering to give Milan to King Francis, or rather to one of his sons or future grandsons, if the King of France would at once restore the duchy of Burgundy to him. He was ready to sacrifice his allies, the Duke of Milan and Antoniotto Adorno, Doge of Genoa. England had of late carried on negotiations with France, concerning a marriage of the Princess Mary, the betrothed bride of the Emperor, with the Dauphin. Charles tried to thwart this plan. The Queen of France was still alive, but dangerously ill. In expectation of her death the Emperor proposed that the widower in spe should marry Eleanor, Queen Dowager of Portugal, his sister. As, however, it was possible that the Queen of France might recover, it was thought advisable that the Dauphin should take the Infanta Maria, the infant daughter of Madame Eleanor, for his wife. It must not be supposed that the Emperor felt any jealousy at the idea that the Princess Mary should become the wife of another. He disposed of her in favour of the king of Scotland, and was ready to accept the hand of Madame Charlotte, the daughter of King Francis. These matrimonial alliances, if they had really been contracted, might have established more friendly relations between the rival families. It must, however, not be overlooked that three of the intended brides, the Princess of England, the Infanta of Portugal, and Madame Charlotte were still children at this period. They could not contract binding marriages, and if in the course of time circumstances changed, the Emperor would change his plans also. King Henry was not to gain great advantages. On the contrary he was to content himself with the pensions which he had formerly received from France. He advanced claims on Scotland which we hereafter shall have an opportunity to mention, but Charles declared them to be immoderate, and begged the Pope motu proprio to declare in a bull that Henry must renounce them. (fn. 278) Notwithstanding these arrangements, which showed no great love for England, the Emperor declared that he felt perfectly sure of the friendship of Henry, as he had taken measures that he should not gain anything by a rupture. (fn. 279)
If we return to the question whether it was at all likely that Wolsey would attain the ends he had proposed to himself, we must answer in the negative. For Charles, if forsaken by England, would, as his instructions to Monsieur de la Roche show, have tried to conclude peace with France, and in such a case neither he nor Francis would have needed any longer the aid of England. The influence of Wolsey and of his master on the continent would have sunk to a low ebb, and it is probable that their power would not have been safe even in their own country. The first duty of Wolsey was, therefore, according to the line of policy he had adopted, to prevent by all means such a reconciliation. But, supposing that he had good reasons to feel sure of success, it could be foreseen that in such an event the one or the other of the two adversaries must be destroyed, and that the victorious prince would be more dangerous to English interests and independence, in the same way as a united empire is stronger than a divided one. To expect that the Emperor and France would so completely annihilate each other that England would remain the sole arbiter of Europe was so preposterous an idea that it is difficult to understand how Wolsey could entertain it.
The war in Italy which had begun in the year 1521 had been continued with a few interruptions, which the utter exhaustion of the two great adversaries had rendered unavoidable, and which served only to prepare new means for immediate resumption of hostilities. When the Emperor informed his Commissioner General with the army in Italy, the Abbot of Najera, that the campaign in Picardy in 1522 was considered to have been a success, and that the booty of the English and Flemish troops amounted to 800,000 ducats, the Abbot answered, almost ironically, that he was glad to hear such good tidings, but that he wished the Emperor and the King of England would carry on the war in an effectual manner. (fn. 280) The fact was that the warlike operations on the Spanish frontiers were of small importance, and the incursions into Picardy and Artois by English and Flemish troops were rather raids undertaken for the sake of plunder than regular campaigns. The French, knowing beforehand that the English would return to their country ere the bad season set in, employed a comparatively small body of troops to garrison the frontier towns and to harass the invading enemy, but did not sensibly weaken their armies in Italy. And even of that small portion of the French army which was employed in the north the greater part were sent back to Italy as soon as the English commenced to retreat. (fn. 281) Thus the relief which the English invasions of France brought to the Imperial army in Italy was only temporary and small. In Lombardy, on the contrary, the war was continued during the winter as well as in the fine season. The hardships entailed on the soldiers, and the difficulties with which the commanders had to contend, were enormous. The troops were generally not paid, and, the country being entirely exhausted, the soldiers were often starved, although they were sometimes permitted to take by force whatever the unfortunate peasants possessed. The cattle had disappeared, the fields were to a great extent unploughed, and a pestilence of the worst description was raging. Imperfectly provided with warm clothing, and not seldom almost completely deprived of horses and bullocks, the army was obliged to move in the midst of winter over roads which the rains had converted into long lines of mire, or which were covered with ice and snow. The battle fought on the 27th of April at the Bicocca had secured to the Imperial arms the superiority in Italy during the year 1522, and in 1523 the breakdown of the enterprise of the Duke of Bourbon, the retreat of the English, and the disbanding of the Spanish army, were counterbalanced by the skilful defence of Milan by Prospero Colonna, and, in the spring of 1524, by the decisive successes of the Imperialists at Biagrasso. The French, entirely routed, were forced to abandon Lombardy.
His Italian army being the only troops which were really formidable to the French, the Emperor resolved that they should deal a decisive blow by invading Provence and Dauphiné. This idea was not new. The Imperial captains in Italy had from the beginning of the war always contemplated the conquest of the southern provinces of France as their finishing stroke. When Lope Hurtado de Mendoza accompanied Pope Adrian VI. on his voyage from Spain to Rome, he fell ill at Genoa. He was obliged to remain behind. Whilst he was staying in that city, he had opportunity to speak with a great number of persons who were well acquainted with the Italian wars. All of them were of opinion that Provence was the weakest point of France. The country was said to be fertile, the coasts accessible, and the population enjoyed the unenviable reputation of being cowards. They were "dead of fear" when they thought of the cruelties which had been committed on occasion of the sack of Genoa, and believed the Imperialists hung all soldiers who fell into their power and imprisoned all civilians. Whilst in the north of France every man knew how to handle a sword, the inhabitants of Provence did not know "how to handle a knife." In Provence there were no strong fortresses. With 200,000 ducats, Lope Hurtado was assured, as much could be done in Provence as with 2,000,000 in the north or near the Spanish frontiers. Provence, Lyons, Dauphiné and the whole of Languedoc could be easily conquered. Out of the revenues of these provinces so much money could be gained that the invading army could not only be maintained, but also reinforced and made strong enough to march straightway to Paris. (fn. 282) In the month of October 1523 Hieronymo Adorno, who had already entered into communication with the King of England on this subject, sent Giovanni Centurio to Alonso Sanchez, Imperial ambassador in Venice, to impart to him his plan that the Marquis of Pescara should invade Provence. Alonso Sanchez conferred with Richard Pace, and asked him to persuade the King of England to contribute money for that enterprise. Pace objected at first that such a proposal would be unpopular in England as it would occasion new expenses. Afterwards, however, when he had been persuaded that the conquest of Provence would be the cheapest way of enfeebling and ultimately conquering France, he wrote to his master, recommending the scheme of Hieronymo Adorno, and asking of him a contribution of 150,000 ducats. (fn. 283)
Circumstances delayed the execution of the enterprise. When, however, in the month of December 1523, the speedy dissolution of the French forces in Lombardy was anticipated, Charles thought that this excellent opportunity of carrying out his long cherished plan ought not to be neglected. He declared the King of France a rebel of the empire, and proclaimed the kingdom of Arles, Dauphiné, Lyons, city and county, Valence, Dijon, Provence, Orange, Montelimar, Mouzon, and Mézières, all which principalities, counties, and cities were fiefs of the empire, confiscated to the crown. (fn. 284) At the same time he nominated the Duke of Bourbon Lieutenant General of his armies in Italy. The choice of the Commander in Chief was an unhappy one. The Duke of Bourbon did not enjoy in Italy the reputation of being a captain of any great merit, and his late treason, immediately followed by the disastrous campaign in Burgundy, had not contributed to raise him in the estimation of his contemporaries. The Imperial commanders declared that they would obey the orders of the Duke, not because they had confidence in him, but because the Emperor had commanded them to do so. The opinion of the Pope was even more unfavourable. The only persons who were satisfied with the choice of the Emperor were his enemies, the French, who knew that the Duke was not a formidable adversary. (fn. 285) The Imperial commanders and the Abbot of Najera held a council of war early in the month of May 1524, in which it was resolved that the Duke should invade Provence at the head of 600 lances, 7,000 German foot, 3,000 Spaniards, and 2,000 Italians. (fn. 286) Such an army would evidently have been too small, and the Emperor ordered that the invading forces should consist of 800 men-at-arms, 1,500 light horse, 20,000 foot, and the necessary number of pieces of ordnance, &c.
In June 1524 the Duke of Bourbon, accompanied by Richard Pace, advanced with his army by the Col di Tenda to Nice and St. Laurent du Var. The Emperor had sent 300,000 ducats for the pay of the army. The Viceroy of Naples, however, in whose hands they had been deposited, did not think it wise to spend them all at once, and kept the greater portion in reserve, as he did not know whether the money which the King of England had promised would be paid. (fn. 287) His suspicion was well founded. The 200,000 crowns which King Henry had assured the Duke of Bourbon would be ready and of which 100,000 crowns were to be paid as a first instalment at St. Laurent had not arrived. The Duke waited seventeen days, and received at last the paltry sum of 33,000 ducats. Wolsey excused himself afterwards, pretending that Richard Pace had informed him that no more money had been asked, but Pace had the courage to declare that that was not true, and that he would have been "a liar," if he had made such a statement. (fn. 288) However that may be, without receiving the promised pecuniary succour from England, the Duke was unable to pay his army, and a portion of the troops which were still behind refused to advance. The consequence was that his forces were much weaker than the Emperor had intended that they should be. They mustered only 800 men-at-arms, 800 light horse, and about 14,000 foot. The French who opposed them were still less numerous, counting only 300 lances and 7,000 foot. They fell back before the invading enemy, and the Duke of Bourbon conquered Aix, the capital of Provence, without a gun being fired.
The highly interesting letters of the Abbot of Najera, which are still preserved at Madrid, contain the most trustworthy and most complete description of the military operations in Provence. I must, however, forbear enlarging on this subject. It is well known that the enterprise broke down. Marseilles, defended by Renzo da Ceri and Chabot de Brion, and succoured by the fleet under the command of Andrea Doria and Lafayette, defied all exertions of the besiegers. La Palisse and Federigo da Bozzolo defended Arles, whilst neither the Emperor nor the King of England made a diversion by attacking France. At the headquarters of the Imperial army dissension was rife. The Duke of Bourbon was always in a passion, and Richard Pace was as passionate as the Duke. "Thus the army," the Marquis of Pescara wrote to the Duke of Sessa, "was placed between two passions." Pace and the Duke of Bourbon urged the captains to attack Marseilles, Arles, and Avignon at once, whilst the most able captains declared that it would be madness to think of conquering Arles and Avignon as long as the French held the banks of the Durance and Marseilles had not surrendered. (fn. 289) Meanwhile Francis I. assembled an army in and near Avignon, which was daily increasing in numbers.
The Emperor could no longer conceal from himself the evil consequences of his contemptuous treatment of Wolsey. He tried to reconcile him. On the 12th of August he ordered Louis de Praet to complain to King Henry of the non-fulfilment of his promise, and to ask him to send without delay 300,000 ducats to the Duke of Bourbon ; but Wolsey, at the same time, was not forgotten. The Emperor ordered that a new pension payable out of the revenues of the See of Toledo should be conferred on him, and offered to pay all the expenses of the Papal Chancery. (fn. 290) Having thus propitiated the Cardinal, he reminded him of his promise that he would never permit the army to be broken up from want of money. (fn. 291) It was too late. Wolsey was not to be won, and the whole burden of the war had to be borne by the Emperor alone. He did all he could. Without waiting for an answer from England he had given orders to arm a fleet at Carthagena, and commanded the 5,000 German troops which were in Perpignan to invade France, and, if possible, to operate a junction with the troops under the command of Bourbon. (fn. 292) The Viceroy of Naples was instructed to pay 100,000 ducats in addition to the 300,000 which had already been sent. (fn. 293) But all these measures were much more calculated to prevent an utter defeat than to achieve any conquest. Charles, therefore, warned the Duke of Bourbon not to hazard himself too far into France, but to take care to be always able to retreat with ease. The decision as to the moment a retreat might become necessary was left to the Duke and to the other captains. (fn. 294)
No time was to be lost. The Duke of Bourbon, Richard Pace, the Abbot of Najera, the Marquis of Pescara, and the other commanders, held, towards the end of August and during the month of September, frequent councils of war, in which the question of retreating was debated. The opinions widely differed. The Duke of Bourbon and Richard Pace urged the Imperial captains to raise the siege of Marseilles, but instead of retreating to Italy to advance further into the interior of France. The other members of the council opposed such a hazardous plan, and declared themselves in favour of returning to Lombardy. (fn. 295) The Duke of Bourbon was evidently under the influence of hatred towards the King of France, but Richard Pace acted according to the instructions he had received from England, and it must be confessed that if he had succeeded in persuading the commanders to adopt his advice, the Imperial army would have been lost, and Wolsey would have been avenged. Political schemes, however, if they are worth anything, must be adapted to the understanding of those who are to be entrapped. Neither the Emperor and his ministers, nor such men as the Marquis of Pescara and the Abbot of Najera, were likely to be deceived in so gross a manner. On the 27th of September the siege of Marseilles was raised, and the Imperial army began to retreat towards Nice.
The King of France who—as his letter to the King of Tunis, dated Avignon the 26th of September, shows (fn. 296) — seems some days earlier to have received the false information that the enemy was fleeing in disorder, abandoning all his artillery, broke up his camp at Avignon with the intention of annihilating the Imperialists. As soon, however, as he became aware of his mistake, he changed his plan, and Bourbon was permitted to lead his troops unmolested to Finale on the Riviera of Genoa. Whilst the Imperial army was marching along the Gulf, King Francis, at the head of 2,000 lances, a considerable body of light horse, 6,000 Germans, 8,000 Swiss, and 20,000 French and Italian infantry, advanced by Briançon towards Turin. Lanoy, who, during the campaign in Provence, had remained in Piedmont, had only a small body of troops which was utterly insufficient to oppose the advance of so formidable an enemy ; and as it was thought that the fate of Italy depended on the question which of the two armies would first arrive in Lombardy, the reduced and worn-out troops of the Emperor left the seashore and crossed from Finale the Maritime Alps, which were already covered with snow, to the plains of Italy. When the French arrived on the 17th of October at Turin, the Imperial army was only forty miglie distant from Alessandria. The invasion of Provence had been an utter failure, but the army was not lost, and Lombardy not entirely defenceless.
The Viceroy of Naples, summing up the causes of the failure, stated that Provence was not conquered because the King of England refused to invade France, and left the Emperor to bear alone the burden of the war ; because the Swiss sent succour to the King of France ; because Marseilles was well defended ; because the French fleet was mistress of the seas ; because the Duke of Bourbon was not an efficient commander-in-chief, and the captains were quarrelling with each other. (fn. 297)
Charles V., exhausted and weary, resolved to conclude peace, or a truce for at least five years, not on the conditions which he had made before the disaster in Provence, but on any conditions that were not derogatory to his honour and did not give a decided preponderance to Francis I. He wanted time to gather strength, and then, well prepared for the contest for the empire of the world, once more to resume hostilities. When he empowered the Duke of Bourbon to retreat to Italy, he asked him to inform Monsieur de la Roche of his decision, in order that he might hasten the conclusion of peace or a long truce, and attempt to recover by diplomacy what was lost in the campaign.
The Duke of Sessa and Monsieur de la Roche, however, had not waited for the letters of the Duke of Bourbon. As soon as it was known in Rome that the war in Provence was not so favourable to the Imperial arms as had been anticipated, they had urged Clement VII. to reconcile the Emperor and the King of France as speedily as possible. The Pope held two conferences with the Imperial, the French, and the English ambassadors, the first on the 25th and the second on the 27th of August. That the demands of the Count of Carpi were great, was not to be wondered at, as his master hoped to annihilate his enemy. He asked the Duchy of Milan and Tournay for France without offering any equivalent. When, however, the English ambassador declared that he would not consent to any longer truce than until the next April, that he would not release the Emperor from his obligation to pay the French pensions, and that Scotland being a fief of England, King Henry claimed the suzerainty over it under circumstances which would have made him immediately master of that country, the Imperial ambassadors could not conceal their surprise. And yet that was not all. King Henry, Wolsey, and the English ambassador spoke of the endeavours of the Emperor to conclude peace as though that was a violation of faith, and as though the English, who had been mere lookers on, had been sacrificing their treasures and their blood for the common cause. "Thus it is not only the enemy, but also the friend who raises difficulties to your Majesty," wrote the Duke of Sessa to his master. (fn. 298) The Duke of Sessa was right, but the policy of Wolsey also was perfectly justifiable from his point of view. He must by all means try to prevent a peace between the Emperor and France, and his conditions were well calculated to render peace almost impossible. Unpromising as this beginning of the negotiations was, the position of the Emperor grew still worse, when a few days afterwards Monsieur de la Roche suddenly died, the wife of the Duke of Sessa fell mortally ill, and her husband went to his château at Sessa to see her once more before death removed her for ever. He, too, fell ill from grief, and was unable for some while to attend to his business. Juan Perez, the First Secretary of Legation, was a man of no authority, imperfectly informed of the real intentions of Charles V., and as the private secretary of Monsieur de la Roche had refused to deliver the papers of his late master, the peace negotiations came to a stand still. (fn. 299)
But as soon as the Imperial army had returned to Italy, military affairs began considerably to improve. The incompetent and unpopular Duke of Bourbon was not formally deprived of his place as commander-in-chief, but in reality he sank down to a position of utter insignificance. The captains removed him from the army during the most critical period. He was sent to Germany to see that the succour which the Infante Ferdinand had promised should not tarry. Charles de Lanoy, Viceroy of Naples, assumed the supreme direction of military and diplomatic affairs, but was wise enough to leave the management of the army in the hands of the Marquis of Pescara, the greatest military genius of his age. The city of Milan, could not be defended. It was not even thought worth defending. A few years before Milan had been one of the most populous and most flourishing towns in Europe, but war and pestilence, had ruined her. Not less than 100,000 inhabitants were said to have perished of the plague or fled, and it was calculated that not ten men could be found within the walls of the city able to bear weapons. There were no provisions, no stores of any kind. The French were permitted to occupy Milan unopposed. Pavia was a place of much greater strategical importance. It was garrisoned by 6,000 German troops under Count Zollern, 500 Spanish foot, and about 500 horse. Antonio de Leyva, the bravest of soldiers, and as a commander inferior only to the Marquis of Pescara, was chosen as chief of that small but gallant army. The French, instead of attacking the Imperialists who were collecting at Lodi, a place which was imperfectly fortified, and could scarcely be defended, marched from Milan due south and besieged Pavia. That was a grave error, and the Marquis of Pescara and his companions in arms were not the men to permit their enemy to commit a mistake without taking advantage of it. As soon as it was known in Lodi that Francis was besieging Pavia, the Abbot of Najera wrote to the Emperor that it was difficult for the King of France to return to his dominions without risking his life and all he possessed in this world. In fact the Imperial captains felt already confident that he would be killed or taken prisoner. (fn. 300) They had only one fear. The army was not paid, and might at any moment break out in mutiny and disband. "Money, and much money" was wanted. (fn. 301)
In the month of November the Duke of Sessa resumed the negotiations of peace which had been interrupted by the death of Monsieur de la Roche. When he tried to encourage the Pope by representing to him the affairs of the Emperor in the most favourable light, Clement listened to him with that courtesy which a well informed person sometimes exhibits towards one more ignorant. (fn. 302) The heart of the Pope was full of sorrow when he thought that the Emperor whose friend he had been for so many years, and to whom he chiefly owed his election, should be reduced to impotence, and the French should be triumphant throughout Italy. But reasons of state did not permit him to follow his inclinations. If the French rendered themselves masters of Italy it was of the greatest importance to him, a petty Italian sovereign, to be on good terms with them. Besides Francis made new and very tempting overtures. Count Carpi offered in the name of his master to restore Modena, Reggio, and Rubiera to the Pope. The King of France repeated his proposal to marry his second son with the daughter of Duke Lorenzo de Medicis, promising them this time not only the duchy of Milan but also the kingdom of Naples. Clement wavered a long time between his love for the Emperor and the political advantages which apparently were within his grasp. He suffered so much that his health was impaired, but at last, urged by the Datario Gianmatteo Giberto, so famous in later years for his enmity to the Emperor, he decided in favour of France. (fn. 303) Defection had become rife. Genoa had concluded peace with France on the 10th of November, Venice and the Pope on the 12th of December, and the Dukes of Savoy, Florence, and Ferrara and all the smaller princes soon followed the example of Rome. Giovanni de Medicis, the best commander of light cavalry, had gone over with his troops to the French. One bad piece of news followed another. But the worst was still to come. The Duke of Sessa had, on the 30th of November, informed his master that the French had asked permission of the Pope to send the Duke of Albany with an army through the Pontifical States to Naples, and on the 5th of January Clement VII. himself informed Charles that he was too weak to refuse the French demand. (fn. 304)
The Italians were fickle, and always at the disposal of the victor. Their behaviour surprised no one. But the English? What will the King of England do? King Henry, in spite of his promises, had made scarcely any contributions towards the pay of the army. According to the account of the Abbot of Najera, he owed, on the 1st of November, 10,000 ducats and 130,000 scudos. He could not excuse himself with want of money. Before the Imperial army had begun to retreat, Sir John Russell had arrived at the camp near Marseilles, the bearer, as it was thought, of 100,000 ducats from the King of England. He had no money. The bills of exchange had been sent by other persons, certain English Knights of Rhodes, and arrived just at the moment when the siege of Marseilles had been raised. Sir John, according to his instructions, had refused to pay a single penny, and the money had been carried to Viterbo, and thence to Rome, where it was at the disposal of the English ambassador. Moreover, the language of King Henry had again become warlike. He pretended that he was resolved to invade France in person, and that he had sent an English captain over to Flanders to enlist 5,000 German horse and 5,000 German infantry. The Cardinal feigned fully to approve the plan of the King. (fn. 305) When the Emperor asked the advice of Richard Pace, the latter declared that the war against France must be continued "totis viribus," and promised the assistance of his master. (fn. 306) But all these promises were empty words, and nothing more.
If we compare the contents of this volume with a long letter of Wolsey to his master, dated 12th of February, which is printed in the State Papers of Henry VIII, (fn. 307) it is difficult to decide which most excites our astonishment, the audacity of the Cardinal, or the ignorance and want of judgment in the King. Wolsey assured his master, as late as February 1525, that, thanks to his exertions, the Venetians had remained staunch adherents to the Emperor, and promised the Duke of Bourbon to give battle to the French. The reader knows and Wolsey knew that Venice had already, on the 12th of December 1524, concluded peace with France. The treaty was not secret. It had been promulgated in France and in Italy. Wolsey pretended that Richard Pace had written him the news concerning Venice on the 28th of January. Pace was so fully aware of the hopeless state of affairs in Venice, that he did not believe he could be of any use there. When he was ordered to go to that city, he asked, on the 3rd of February, the Prothonotary Caracciolo whether it was at all worth his while to resume negotiations with the Signory. Caracciolo advised him to go to Venice, but for no other purpose than to show the Signory the falsehood of the rumours that Henry had already come to a complete rupture with the Emperor. (fn. 308) Wolsey promised King Henry the best results from his negotiations in Rome, and pretended not to entertain the least doubt but that the English ambassadors would succeed in persuading Clement VII. to reverse his whole line of policy and resolutely to aid the Emperor against the King of France. Did Wolsey really believe such a thing? The Pope and the Datario Giberto, instead of permitting themselves to be influenced by the exhortations of the English ambassadors, attempted to make a tool of them. Although they did not succeed in all respects, the Datario exercised a damaging influence on the most important question, that of the payment of the money. (fn. 309) Wolsey had ordered that 50,000 crowns out of the 100,000 which were deposited in Rome should be paid to the Imperial captains after a decisive battle should have been fought. Did he really imagine that the Emperor would be in want of so small a sum of money after a victory, or that in case of defeat the Imperial army could be reorganized with 50,000 crowns? King Henry may have been weakly credulous, but the Emperor and his ministers knew only too well the truth.
The Emperor was forsaken by all his friends. He must henceforth have no other hope than that in his own resources and in his army. Such were the contents of letters which the Prothonotary Caracciolo, and other Imperial servants, wrote to him from Italy. (fn. 310) Had Charles been a weak man he would have been lost, and Wolsey would have triumphed. But whatever his faults weakness was not one of them, and the whole policy of Wolsey was a failure. "I am," he wrote to the Duke of Sessa, "more determined than ever to carry on the war with the greatest energy until Italy is freed from the French, and am resolved to conquer or to die." (fn. 311) Seven days later, on the 9th of February, he declared that his enemies shall find him as "hard" an adversary as ever, and that he intended to "pay the Datario," although under the present circumstances it was necessary to dissemble with the dissembler some while longer. The Datario and others, he added, will soon repent their perfidy, the Duke of Ferrara will weep one day over the treaty he has concluded with France, but the severest punishment was reserved for the merchant city, Venice. This, the Emperor wrote in conclusion, is not a time to speak of Martin Luther ; and despising at this great conjuncture all small measures, he almost rudely declared that he would not pay any pensions to the servants of the Pope. (fn. 312) Wolsey was not mentioned on this occasion. That was natural, as the Emperor was writing to his agents in Italy, but we may feel assured that Wolsey was not forgotten.
Charles was in Spain, far away from the scene of danger. His determined language might therefore be taken for empty boasting. It was more than that, and, moreover, it was fully responded to by his servants in Italy. The Abbot of Najera writing from the camp at Lodi, and enumerating the long list of faithless allies, concluded by adding, so "much the better." (fn. 313) The greater part of the allies had always been French partisans at heart, and their desertions rendered the situation more clear.
On the 11th of January, the Duke of Bourbon returned from his mission to Germany with 200 horse and the infantry of the Infante Ferdinand. George Frunsberg, the famous German condottiere, arrived on the 14th of the same month at Pandino with more than 5,000 German foot. As soon as this succour had arrived or was near at hand, a council of war was held, which lasted four days. It was absolutely necessary to relieve Pavia, but although the Emperor had sent 700,000 ducats since the invasion of Provence, at least 100,000 ducats more were wanted for the pay of the army, as certain troops had not received the smallest sum for the last sixteen months. It was not usual at those times that an army would fight under such circumstances. The council of war separated in despair. When all hope seemed to be lost, the indefatigable Abbot of Najera went to the Marquis of Pescara, "whose great genius and unimpeachable honour gave him an immense influence over the whole army," and begged him to try and persuade the soldiers to continue their services until the 10th of February without demanding their pay. The Marquis consented to this plan, and the Duke of Bourbon and the Viceroy of Naples approved it. It was arranged that the Marquis should speak first to the Spaniards and Italians, and when they had been won, to the Germans, who were to be told that the other troops would vow everlasting enmity to them if they refused to march to Pavia and relieve their countrymen. When the Marquis, on the 15th of January, spoke to the Spaniards, they applauded their beloved captain, and declared themselves ready to sell their horses, their cloaks, and even their shirts to obtain money wherewith to buy bread, or to give it to those who had none, or refused to march without being paid. The Italian troops behaved as the Spaniards had done. Even the German mercenaries yielded to the moral influence of the Marquis. The 7,000 lansquenets who were in the camp, declared that they would wait for their pay until the 10th of February, and march to relieve Pavia if one scudo were paid to each of them. The troops of Frunsberg did not ask more than one half of the sum which they had already received, and the men-at-arms, who had heavy expenses for their horses and servants, asked no more than one month's pay. The small amount of 30,000 ducats, which the officers procured by selling and pawning whatever they possessed, sufficed for the moment. (fn. 314)
The Imperial army consisted of 13,000 Germans, 6,000 Spaniards, 3,000 Italians, 800 men-at-arms, and 1,500 light horse, altogether 24,300 men. The forces of the King of France amounted to about 29,000 men, but there were not 10,000 among them who were as good soldiers as those of the Emperor. "All from the highest officer to the lowest soldier are sure of victory." "All the soldiers of the Imperial army are animated by the greatest desire to fight, as though every one of them were sure that it will be he who is to wound and to take prisoner the King of France." Such was the language in which the Abbot of Najera wrote, not after the battle, but before the army set out from Lodi.
When the French, who were encamped before Pavia, were informed that the Imperial army was on its march, their courage began to fail. Castel San Angelo, a strong place on the road from Lodi to Pavia, and garrisoned by picked men under the command of Pietro Gonzaga, was scarcely defended, the Marquis of Pescara taking it with the loss of only six men. Numerous skirmishes in the open field followed, in which the French took flight generally even when they were greatly superior in numbers. "The King of France has soldiers," wrote the Abbot of Najera on the 17th of February, "who think it a distinction to flee." However brave the captains personally may have been, there was only one commander in the French camp who could lead his troops fearlessly against the enemy. Giovanni de Medicis and his light horse were hated, feared, and esteemed by the Imperial army. On the 6th of February the Imperialists had pitched their camp within cannon shot of the French entrenchments ; but the French were so strongly fortified that it would have been madness to assault them behind their walls before the means of attack were fully prepared. Had Francis been permitted to act according to his own "chivalrous" inspirations, as his flatterers called them, he would probably soon have offered the Marquis of Pescara an opportunity of taking him prisoner without any great exertion. What could be expected of a commander who was foolish enough to challenge the Marquis to come and fight with him in the open field with 20,000 foot, 800 men-at-arms, and a corresponding force of light horse on either side? And what could be more absurd than to offer him 20,000 scudos if he accepted the battle? (fn. 315) Pescara, it is scarcely necessary to state, thankfully received the offer. He was to obtain money from his enemy wherewith he could pay his troops ; he was to be at liberty to make use of the whole of his forces under the most favourable circumstances, whilst the King of France bound himself to leave behind a not inconsiderable portion of his army, and to forego the advantages of his strongly fortified position. Had the King of France been permitted to act according to his own inspiration, the task of the Imperial army would have been an easy one ; but in the French camp were men wiser than Francis I. La Trémouille intercepted the answer of the Marquis of Pescara, and the King indulged in the sweet self-delusion that his adversary was afraid of him. But we are not occupied with the follies of Francis. His generals were by no means despicable, and the ground must be conquered "inch by inch until the two armies shall be so near that they can reach one another with their pikes." (fn. 316)
Antonio de Leyva wrote, on the 6th of February, to the Viceroy, informing him that the garrison in Pavia was not so badly off that it was necessary to fight under disadvantages in order to relieve it some days earlier. The siege had already lasted three months ; provisions were scarce. As early as during the first half of January the soldiers were disputing which was the better food, horseflesh or the meat of the beasts of burden they had brought from Provence. In the month of February a cat was the best morsel even an officer could obtain. Besides, ammunition, and especially gunpowder, was wanting. The Viceroy sent Leyva 5,000 pounds of gunpowder packed on the croups of 50 horses. The horsemen missed their road, and entered the camp of the enemy, but so great was the carelessness of the French that, believing the Imperialists to be a troop of the light horse of Giovanni de Medicis, the French permitted them to pass unmolested through the camp. Leyva made a sally, and drove the French out of the suburbs of San Salvatore, where—we may easily imagine the joy of the Germans—he found four caves full of wine and other stores. (fn. 317)
But the 10th of February was approaching, and the so much dreaded cry of "Geld, Geld!" (fn. 318) was heard in the ranks of the lansquenets. The captains once more succeeded in appeasing them, and concluded an arrangement according to which the soldiers were to wait twelve days longer. A time of painful suspense! The Emperor was far away. Even if he should send money, it would arrive too late. But as the English had 100,000 ducats in Rome, one more occasion was offered to them to still the wrath of the Emperor. Victory was now scarcely doubtful. The only question was, how complete it would be and how dear it would cost. The Imperial army had not only fought, but worked day and night, infantry as well as cavalry, digging ditches, cutting trees, dragging fascines to the camp, and constructing the earthworks. The captains, and especially Lanoy, the Marquis of Pescara, and Alarcon seemed never to rest. They were everywhere present, exposing themselves to hardships and dangers. (fn. 319) The works had advanced so quickly, that if the 50,000 crowns which Wolsey had promised had been paid, and the troops persuaded to continue their services some days longer, the Imperialists, without risking the life of a single soldier, would have forced Francis to surrender with his whole army. (fn. 320) Gregory Casale, who had arrived at the camp before Pavia early in the month of February, being the bearer of the order of Wolsey, had been dispatched on the 7th of February to Rome to fetch the money. In Rome, however, the artifice of Wolsey became apparent. The English ambassadors refused to pay. (fn. 321) So the Viceroy, the Marquis of Pescara, the other captains, and the Abbot held a council of war, and decided on the 21st of February "to confide in God, in the Emperor's good luck, but especially in the valour of the army, and to incur some risk." The Viceroy declared that he was fully resolved to die or to conquer, but added that he hoped to live and to be victorious. (fn. 322)
Shortly after midnight on the 24th of February the Imperial army was in movement. Three large openings in the wall of the park were made before the French were aware of it. The German and Spanish foot entered through these breaches in the fortifications of the French. At daybreak the Imperialists attacked. One hour later King Francis and those of his captains who had not been slain, were prisoners of war. The French army no longer existed. Some isolated fugitives were, in the afternoon and during the following days, seen in the fields or on the roads, hastening away from the scene of disaster ; all the rest had been slain, drowned, or captured.
The Abbot of Najera wrote on the same day from the palace at Pavia : "To day is the feast of the Apostle St. Mathias, on which, five and twenty years ago your Majesty is said to have been born. Five and twenty thousand times thanks and praise to God for his mercy! Your Majesty is from this day in a position to prescribe laws to Christians and Turks according to your pleasure." Nor was that mere flattery. The attention of the whole of Europe had during more than three weeks been concentrated on the events that were passing on the small corner formed by the Ticino and the Po ; the result now surpassed the most sanguine expectations. Couriers hurried on all sides with the utmost speed, announcing to the bewildered people that assembled wherever they changed their horses, that Francis I. was no longer a king, and that Charles V. was the absolute master not only of Italy, but of the whole of Christendom ; Charles, whom in time of need all his allies had forsaken, who had vowed that he would reckon with them, and that they should weep over the hour in which they deserted to his enemy.
Here we conclude.
King Henry had served Charles V. for three years, nourishing himself with hopes, and making real sacrifices of treasures and human life. To count upon the political gratitude of Charles V. was a sad mistake : but at the last moment deeply to wound him and to offer him a plausible pretext for not fulfilling his promises was a still greater fault. Wolsey most probably miscalculated the strength of the character of Charles, and was incapable of realizing the devotion and energy of his captains and servants. Had he been a private man we would gladly forgive him, but in a prime minister such an error cannot be excused. As for King Henry, we have only to observe that a prince who was so little self-dependent and who could so easily and so grossly be imposed upon can scarcely be made answerable for his conduct. The best we can say of him is that as long as his vanity was flattered he was far from being cruel, and that he had not yet learned during the period here under review, to compensate for his weakness abroad by measures of harshness at home, nor to avenge the injuries he received from his brother sovereigns by inflicting miseries on his own subjects. Be that as it may, if he wished to preserve England from being reduced to the place of a province of the universal empire of Charles V. he must employ all his strength to undo all he had hitherto helped to call into life. English policy had proved a failure. It must be reversed.
This introduction is a long one, but the great amount of historical information to be found in the abstracts has not permitted of abbreviation. Even as it is, many interesting notices are not mentioned in it, and must be read in the abstracts. In the following volumes the number of documents relating to England will rapidly increase.
In conclusion, I must most earnestly warn the reader not to regard my prefatory sketch as an attempt at writing history. It is nothing more, and can be nothing more, than a succinct view of some of the most important events of a period as they appear in the light which those portions of the Spanish and Imperial papers that are still preserved in Spain throws on them.
In other archives other state papers are to be found which represent matters in a different aspect. It is, however, beyond my province to speak of them, and I must leave it to the future historian to pronounce judgment after he has well considered the adverse evidence contained in the Spanish papers, and the favourable account Wolsey and the other English ministers gave of themselves.