Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume 17, 1542. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1900.
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This volume, containing the Papers of the year 1542, continues the story of Henry VIII.'s reign from the tragedy of Katharine Howard to the battle of the Solway Moss and the death of James V. of Scotland.
It was in Parliament, as we have already seen, that the fate of Katharine Howard was to be determined. Parliament opened on the 16 January. The Lord Chancellor delivered a very long opening speech, (fn. 1) in the course of which he commented severely on the Queen's offences; and according to the Imperial Ambassador (in a letter dated at the end 29th January), the Lords had found her and the Lady Rochford guilty of high treason four days before he wrote, that is, as we should suppose, on the 25th. Their judgment moreover, according to Chapuys, was to be laid before the Commons two days after he wrote, i.e. on the 31st. But in the very next sentence he adds that the Commons had already that morning agreed with the judgment of the Lords on the Queen and three other ladies implicated with her. (fn. 2) All this is certainly inaccurate, and the real truth of the matter can only be ascertained by a reference to the Lords' Journals. There we find that the Bill of Attainder was first read on Saturday the 21st, and that a week afterwards, viz. on the 28th, the Lord Chancellor advised their Lordships not to proceed further until some very special steps had been taken, apparently to make the Queen commit herself more fully. Delegates from both houses were to go to her at Syon House (for she had not yet been lodged in the Tower), and by endeavouring to reässure her, (fn. 3) were to urge her to declare to them whatever she thought might benefit her cause.
Now it would seem that Chapuys's letter, though dated at the end 29th January (the day after it was proposed to send delegates from the two Houses to the Queen), must have been begun some time before,—apparently on the 25th, four days after the bill was read a first time in the Lords; and that it was already known that within two days (or perhaps three) a resolution of the Peers would be laid before the Commons. But this resolution, when passed, was not a formal conviction of Katharine Howard. (fn. 4) It was only for some joint action to be taken by the two Houses; and it must have been after a few days' interval that Chapuys resumed the pen when the Commons had agreed to this joint action, which apparently he took to be the formal condemnation of the Queen and ladies.
At all events, it is quite certain that on the 28th, four delegates were appointed by the Lords, viz. the Archbishop of Canterbury, Suffolk, Southampton, and the Bishop of Westminster; but on the Monday following (the 30th), the Chancellor reported reasons why the Privy Council had delayed their going to the Queen. That day they and the Commons both waited on the King, who, after separate interviews with each, called them both together before him and made them an address. It was not till Monday, the 6th February, that the second reading of the bill took place in the Lords; but apparently many questions were raised and the debate adjourned; for the Journals again record a "second" reading next day. The third reading followed on the Wednesday, when the bill was delivered to the King's Attorney to be carried to the Commons. There it was very soon passed through all its stages; and it received the royal assent on the 11th. (fn. 5)
By the same Act by which the Queen and Lady Rochford were condemned as guilty of high treason, the Duchess Dowager of Norfolk, the Countess of Bridgewater, and various other persons were attainted of misprision, and sentenced to perpetual imprisonment, with confiscation of all their property. (fn. 6) The Queen and Lady Rochford were executed on the 13 February after making full confession of their offences. (fn. 7) The story of the last days of Katharine Howard, reported by Chapuys to the Emperor, is of particular interest. (fn. 8) As to those who had been found guilty of misprision in connection with her offences, Lady William Howard and eight others, mostly women, received pardons on the last day of February; (fn. 9) but Lord William was still kept in prison, and the Duchess of Norfolk likewise, till the 5 May, when she, too, received a pardon. (fn. 10) Lord William was only released and pardoned in the end of August. (fn. 11)
Parliament was likewise occupied with a good deal of more ordinary business, such as the regulation of various industries and the improvement of legal processes. But the Act for Katharine Howard's attainder was specially remarkable for one clause, which declared it treason in future for any woman to marry the King if her life had been unchaste beforehand. (fn. 12)
It was in this Parliament that the privilege enjoyed by members of freedom from arrest for debt was definitely settled by the judgment pronounced in the celebrated case of Ferrers. The action taken by the King's Council on this subject is shown in No. 221. But the full particulars of the case are given in Holinshed's Chronicle (fn. 13) as the result of special inquiry, and deserve more consideration than they have even yet received from constitutional historians. Evidently the Sheriffs of London were unconscious of violating any legal privileges, though members had always been accustomed to claim immunity even for their menial servants. (fn. 14) Their own claim rested upon their being servants of the Crown engaged in the King's business. So the Sheriffs were compelled to release their prisoner from the Counter, and were themselves committed to the Tower for daring to arrest a man engaged in the King's service in Parliament.
As usual, the Convocation of the Clergy of the Province of Canterbury met soon after the Parliament in January, and early in February the question was brought before them whether the Great Bible which Cromwell had authorised for use in churches could be retained without scandal. The majority were against it, and considered that the book should be withdrawn until the text had undergone a thorough revision by comparison with the Vulgate. Committees were accordingly appointed to examine the book in sections. But owing, no doubt, to the inconvenience and expense of recalling what had been done, the King took the matter into his own hands, and on the 10 March the Archbishop announced in his name that the book would be submitted to the two Universities. Two days later a patent was given to Anthony Marlar, haberdasher, of London, granting him the sole right of printing the Bible during the next four years. (fn. 15)
On the 29 January, not the day of Katharine Howard's condemnation, as Chapuys considered it, but the day, no doubt, when it was virtually decided how to deal with her, the King recovered his lost spirits, and gave a great supper, with 26 ladies at his table, and 35 others at a table close by. He was seen to be particularly attentive to one who was a sister of Lord Cobham, and also of the divorced wife of Sir Thomas Wyatt; and there were two other ladies spoken of, for each of whom he seemed to have a considerable fancy. One of these was Anne Basset, daughter of Lord Lisle; and it was believed to be owing to her attractions that her father was at this time liberated from the Tower, a mercy so unexpected that the poor man, it is said, died of joy. (fn. 16)
But it was not supposed that the King was thinking now of any new matrimonial arrangement. He lacked not councillors, indeed, who would urge him, but he had not forgotten his recent mortification, and it was curiously remarked by Chapuys that few, if any, ladies at his own Court would now aspire to be his wife, as any subject who became so in future would, under the new law, have to declare, on pain of death, before she married him, if she had been guilty of any improper intimacies. Besides, he had begun to look old and grey, and was daily becoming more and more heavy and corpulent. (fn. 17)
Still his spirits improved, not only in prospect of Katharine's condemnation, but still more after her execution, and before Lent set in (22 February) he had a round of banqueting. But whatever ladies he might take up with hereafter, Chapuys could assure the Emperor he saw not the slightest appearance of his taking back Anne of Cleves. (fn. 18)
In diplomacy he was what he had always been. During the first half of this year he was continually pursuing his old foreign policy of encouraging the mutual suspicions of the Emperor and Francis, and getting each of them to bid against the other for his alliance. And on the whole it was not difficult to pursue the game with France, especially with the aid of such a diplomatist as Marillac. But the relations of England and the Emperor at this time require a little explanation, for which it will be necessary to go back upon the story of the preceding year, and even to the end of the year 1540. The dispute about Customs' duties with the Low Countries (fn. 19) was still unsettled. But this was a minor matter. Bishop Gardiner's mission to the Emperor in November, 1540, (fn. 20) had evidently more important objects. He was despatched, as shown in the last volume, along with Sir Henry Knyvet, who was to remain as resident Ambassador when he returned; and it was expected that he would be away for only two months, but his "diets" were paid to him in advance for four. (fn. 21) His principal business, however, was one which could not be accomplished even in four months; for, as Granvelle perceived from the first, it was to follow the Emperor to the Diet at Ratisbon and prevent too easy an agreement being made between him and the Protestants. (fn. 22) His presence in Germany, therefore, was not welcome, and even in the Low Countries the Emperor avoided receiving him and Knyvet till Christmas Day. (fn. 23) The Diet of Ratisbon, originally fixed for January, did not meet till April, and the Pope was sending Cardinal Contarini to be present at it, with great hope not only of reconciling the Protestants, but also of promoting an agreement between the Emperor and Francis. And, indeed, neither object at that time seemed hopeless; for the Emperor, after giving audience to Gardiner, sent Gardiner's commission into France to be shown to the French King, so as to avoid mistrust. (fn. 24) The Protestants, too, were in such good humour that they allowed the Emperor, on his way to Ratisbon, to enter Nur mberg with an armed retinue, whereas no former Emperor, it was said, had ever been permitted to occupy one of the Imperial castles in such fashion. (fn. 25) Things looked serious for the object of Gardiner's mission, and at Nuremberg he addressed himself to Granvelle, offering to assist the Catholic cause at the Diet, and regretting that the Emperor made so little account of his King. Granvelle answered that such a complaint was unfounded; the Emperor had shown Henry even too much consideration, seeing that he had divorced the Emperor's aunt, and repudiated the Pope's authority, which all Christians ought to respect. Yet the Emperor had several times offered to sue at the Pope's feet for his pardon, if Henry himself would have returned to his obedience, and he even now was willing on those terms to do his best for him, seeing that Cromwell, who was the cause of all the mischief, was removed. Gardiner, who could not deny the mischief done by Cromwell, was at a loss what to answer, except to say that it was a capital offence for an Englishman to propose the King's reconciliation with Rome. (fn. 26)
Gardiner, however, reported this conference to the King, and so great seemed the likelihood of Catholics and Protestants at that time coming to an agreement, and the latter recognising the Pope's authority, (fn. 27) that it was really a question whether Henry, with all his obstinacy, would not be driven to avail himself of the Emperor's offer to procure his pardon from the Holy See. Nay, he actually instructed Gardiner to thank Granvelle for his willingness to intercede in the matter (fn. 28) —the nearest step that he was ever known to take towards a confession of wrong-doing. The Diet at Ratisbon, however, like all previous attempts at agreement with the Protestants, (fn. 29) was a failure, and when it was over, the Emperor began to feel that after all he might have as much need of Henry as Henry had of him. So, yielding to the solicitations of Gardiner and Knyvett, who pressed for a treaty of closer friendship, he was willing at least to arrange that for six, eight, or perhaps ten months, neither he nor Henry should treat anything to the other's disadvantage. As soon as this had been agreed to in June, Bishop Gardiner returned home. (fn. 30) And mutual engagements for ten months were then made between the two Sovereigns, with a view to the conclusion meanwhile of a closer friendship and alliance. (fn. 31)
Immediately afterwards took place the capture and murder of Fregoso and Rincon, the French King's emissaries to the Turk. (fn. 32) No incident, of course, could have been better calculated to exasperate anew the relations between Charles and Francis; for the crime was clearly brought home to the Marquis of Guasto, the Imperial governor of Milan, yet the fact no less obviously reflected on the communications between France and the enemy of Christendom. Francis might protest, as he did, that the envoys were sent to persuade the Turk not to make war on Germany; (fn. 33) but the excuse was not believed, and the fact looked bad that he communicated with the Turk at all.
In his resentment against the Emperor, however, Francis naturally thought the more of the practicability of an alliance with England through the suggested marriage of Orleans and the Princess Mary. But as he durst not send a power to Marillac to negotiate the match, it very naturally cooled for a time, till, at the close of December, Henry himself took the matter up and addressed Marillac about it, first through the medium of the Lord Privy Seal (Southampton), afterwards personally. The Lord Privy Seal said his master was surprised that, considering the match had become a subject of common talk in France' the ambassador had not pursued the matter further and produced a power to treat. Marillac said that he had written home and was awaiting a reply from Francis, but thought the power would come soon enough when matters were in a fair way of being concluded. The King afterwards told him that he insisted on an express power, as he had often been deluded in such matters by trusting to more general ones. Marillac doubtless knew what this meant, but could only say he would write home. (fn. 34) Chapuys was not less well aware that the King's wish for a closer alliance with the Emperor was only to prevent an alliance against himself between the Emperor and Francis. (fn. 35) But the English diplomacy was successful. Marillac was persuaded that if the English were not taken in time they would ally themselves with the Emperor, who would probably marry the Princess Mary; (fn. 36) and Francis commissioned him to resume the subject of her match to Orleans and give assurance, whenever he saw that the English were in earnest about it, that he would send a power. (fn. 37)
Francis, however, was anxious not to be overreached as he had already been, once and again, in dealing with Henry VIII.; and after consulting Cardinal Beton, who was then at his court, he directed Marillac to confer with a Scotch embassy which had reached London at the new year, (fn. 38) and in conjunction with them to negotiate for an interview of the three Kings, Francis, Henry, and James V., for which the Cardinal was himself writing to those Ambassadors. (fn. 39) Marillac was glad to get these new instructions, which came just in time to make the English stop Bishop Bonner after he had been despatched on some special mission to the Emperor, and had actually taken his leave. The English seemed quite pleased at the renewal of negotiations about the match, and Marillac could see little sign of dissimulation in them. As to the interview also, Henry expressed the strongest desire for it, but thought his alliance with Francis ought first to be put upon a firm basis by negotiation, and did not see very well how the King of Scots could take part in it; he could not object, however, to James's sending Ambassadors to negotiate with both of them jointly, and for himself, if James desired it, he would go to meet him on the frontiers. (fn. 40)
By such talk was Marillac led on; while Chapuys, on the other hand, feared that the French were going to win the game. Chapuys was quite aware that as long as there was any chance of war between the Emperor and Francis, Henry would start difficulties in negotiating the closer alliance, and raise his terms in proportion as he was sought after. But it was important that he should be gained over at any price, so as to forestall the French; and so Chapuys told the Emperor. (fn. 41) The King, perhaps, like his Council, may have been at heart better disposed towards the Emperor than towards Francis; but with him it was mainly a question which of them could offer him the better terms. War was in view, however, if he took part with either, and he was preparing for the issue. He was taking pains to fortify Hull, (fn. 42) and intended to go and visit the fortifications of Dover. (fn. 43) Besides which, all other fortifications which had been recently commenced, were steadily continued, and stores of artillery and gunpowder were being got ready. (fn. 44) Of course Calais was not forgotten, and towards the end of February we find warning given to the officers there to repair to their posts; while Wallop at Guisnes was directed to be on his guard against surprise, as there was a rumor of musters in Picardy. (fn. 45)
On Marillac's report of the cordiality of Henry and his Ministers, Francis sent him two powers to be used as he saw needful, for the negotiation of the match between Orleans and Mary, instructing him to conclude that business before talking of the interview or of other matters. (fn. 46) But the ambassador soon discovered that now that he was prepared for business it was otherwise with those with whom he had to deal. Fine generalities, he said, gave place to very different language at close quarters, and it was impossible, after four days' conference, to get any express guarantee that Henry, in giving away his daughter, would recognise her as legitimate. Nor even, putting that subject aside for the moment, could he obtain any information about the dowry that Henry would give her. Francis asked Paget if the King really expected him to marry his son to a bastard; yet, knowing very well that the Church and the public opinion of Europe did not look upon the lady in that light, he said he was prepared to receive her as legitimate without asking Henry to undo anything he had done, and would even allow future daughters of Henry to take precedence of her if Henry would only give him some compensation—in the shape, perhaps, of assisting Orleans to recover Milan, or by acquitting Francis of all pensions and arrears that Henry claimed of him, though Francis, for his part, considered that he had forfeited his claim by not assisting him in 1536, when the Emperor invaded Provence. Perhaps also, to quicken the English, Marillac might insinuate that the Emperor wanted Orleans to marry his daughter, with whom he would deliver the counties of Bourgogne and Charolois. But Marillac had already tried that ruse, and noted that the English would never believe in the Emperor making any such concession. (fn. 47)
Strange it certainly does seem that, in spite of indications that might have been construed otherwise, Marillac believed in the middle of March matters were tending to complete peace and security between France and England. He noted that there was no talk of arming ships and reinforcing garrisons, such as had been usual at that season for three years past, and the King had put off, or given up, his intended visit to Dover. These were the grounds of assurance. Yet Marillac himself noted, besides, that the English were still continuing their fortifications, and considering schemes for securing their frontiers. War horses, too, were much in demand, the noblemen everywhere making efforts to obtain even more than they were bound by statute to keep. And, while councils were held every day from morning to night, how was Marillac so easily assured that everything tended to peace? (fn. 48)
A new step taken by the Government immediately afterwards naturally caused him some misgivings; but we do not find that they were very serious. Commissioners were sent out everywhere to demand a loan.
People could hardly have been prepared for this. No fresh taxation was imposed in the session of Parliament, for the large subsidy voted in 1540 had still to be collected for two years to come. There had been some talk, however, of giving the King parliamentary power to anticipate the further payments—a project which was wisely dropped. But the proceeds, even of that large subsidy, were not expected to cover the probable expenditure in view; and the Commissioners were to set forth the great charges incurred in making the harbour at Dover and repairing castles and fortresses, besides maintaining a garrison to reduce Ireland "to the knowledge of God and good civility." (fn. 49) £100,000 would scarcely suffice to meet this year's expenses in fortifications; and if the King were to disburse the money out of his own treasure, he would be ill-provided against any sudden event, "either by outward parts or otherwise." Hence the kingdom would be in serious danger, considering the daily preparations made by the Emperor and the French King, and the designs of the Turk. For these reasons the King had now resorted to Wolsey's old device of an amicable loan; (fn. 50) and it seems he was already thinking of enhancing the value of coin by proclamation. (fn. 51)
The loan was, on the whole, a success. Only the lords and the clergy (fn. 52) were at first asked to contribute, but afterwards the wealthy classes generally; and many were reconciled to an unwilling disbursement by being told that the money was to be used against the Turk and his adherents, which was understood to mean the French. But no one expected the promised repayment at the expiration of two years. The example of the last loan forbade all hopes of that. (fn. 53)
The ten months' engagement between the Emperor and Henry VIII. was to expire near the close of April, 1542. (fn. 54) But no steps had yet been taken towards the closer alliance in the beginning of the year. Charles naturally did not like to make a sudden change, and he, too, was bound to Francis in the same way as Francis was to him, not to treat with England without the other's consent. Thus there was the same necessity on either side not to be found out by the other in making advances to Henry, lest the blunderer should be accused of being the first to break the truce. The Emperor had therefore put off talking of the matter as long as it was politic to do so, his expedition to Algiers forming a very good excuse. But on the 14 March he wrote to Chapuys from Valladolid two letters, one of which was to be shown to the King of England or his Council, the other being of a more private nature. In the first he reciprocated Henry's desire for a closer alliance, and said he would have sent Chapuys a power to negotiate it but for the danger of sending through France. He would send one by sea, but it must go first to the Queen Regent of the Netherlands, and Chapuys might begin to treat in the meanwhile before it arrived. In the other he cautioned Chapuys that while the first letter was written expressly to be shown, he must take care not to let it go out of his hands, lest the English should turn it to their profit in their dealings with the French. Francis, he believed, had been cautious not to send the powers for the Orleans marriage, and he on his side must first send Chapuys's powers to Granvelle, whose advice he always took about such matters. But Granvelle, on his return from Italy, had been obliged, after touching at the island of Hières, to go back to Genoa, so the precious document which alone could commit the Emperor had to go first by sea to Genoa, and thence travel through Germany and come by Flanders. (fn. 55)
On receipt of these instructions, Chapuys did his part most dexterously, and though the King said he suspected stratagem in the commission given to the Queen of Hungary while the power for Chapuys to treat went round by Genoa, the ambassador urged so strongly the desirability of frankness, now that both sides had lost hope of any understanding with France, that the King was entirely satisfied. Henry in truth was no longer afraid that Charles would league with France against him. (fn. 56) But Bonner had "mixed the sweet with the bitter" to the Emperor in Spain, (fn. 57) and when Chapuys was left to negotiate with the Privy Council, he found that they did the same, raising their terms, in fact, as they had always done when they felt themselves secure. The King, they said, did not wish to suspend negotiations till Chapuys had sufficient powers; but a confirmation of old treaties was no good—indeed they were no longer valid, for though they had been scrupulously kept by the King, they had been broken on the Emperor's side by the edict in Flanders, of which Chapuys should obtain the repeal. They wished, therefore, to know what overtures he was free to make. Chapuys said he could make no new ones till he had instructions from the Emperor. Of four points which had been proposed six years before, he must for the present put aside two—the King's reconciliation to Rome, and the Princess Mary's legitimation. But he thought it a very appropriate time to discuss the third point, an aid against the Turk; while as to the fourth, which was about the French, the Emperor had since made a truce with them, so the case was altered. The English asked how long that truce would last, and Chapuys admitted that in his opinion the Emperor might declare it broken already, and it would last no longer than the French found it convenient. The English were willing to discuss both the two latter points, but it must be understood that their King was then on friendly terms with every reigning Sovereign, even with the French King and the King of Scots, and if he entered a league against France he must have compensation for his French pensions. As to the Turk, they could not touch upon that matter till the principal question was settled. (fn. 58)
The Queen of Hungary could only advise Chapuys to temporise till his powers from the Emperor arrived; (fn. 59) and on the 2 May Charles went so far as to sign a commission enabling him to make an offensive and defensive alliance with the English. (fn. 60) Granvelle had by that time returned to the Court at Valladolid, and expressed himself about Henry VIII. to Bonner and Knyvet in far more cordial terms than he had used to Gardiner. (fn. 61) He was delighted that all impediments to amity with England were now removed. He had a very bitter feeling against the French, who, he said, had galleys out to take him on his voyage in resentment at the fate of Rincon and Fregoso; but for his part he cared not so much for himself as because he had certain blank charters of the Emperor's touching the expedition of English matters, which he would not have come into the Frenchmen's hands. He swore that he possessed written evidences of what they had been doing. It was easy, when he was in this frame of mind, to lead up to the question of the "straiter amity" that was to be negotiated within a period just about to expire. But after this interview there was some delay; and though the prescribed term actually did expire, it did not greatly affect the question of the alliance, as the English had no great doubt which way the Emperor's interests would incline. (fn. 62)
Henry himself was pretty sure of this; and to help on the result, he went on haggling with Marillac about the terms on which he would give his daughter to Orleans. (fn. 63) But Marillac was now beginning to be a little uncomfortable, partly about the object of the loan, which was pressed much further than at first, and partly about the King's going to Dover, which, though deferred a short time, was afterwards fixed for the 24 April, and there were rumors that he would cross secretly to Calais, where he would inspect the fortifications and see how far the works at Guisnes had advanced. (fn. 64) This suspicion was rather augmented than otherwise by what the King himself told him on St. George's day at Greenwich—the day before he started,—when he said he was only going off for a brief visit to the seacoast and would be back in 20 days, giving Marillac distinctly to understand that his company on the journey was undesirable for lack of convenient lodgings. (fn. 65) Marillac was thus left to deal with some members of the Privy Council, who kept up the haggling more than ever, not only speaking as if the overture had come from Francis, but saying that Henry could not give with his daughter more than the sum of 300,000 crowns that he gave with his sister when she married Louis XII, and that as to making an alliance with Francis the King had no wish, directly or indirectly, to be led into a war with the Emperor. Now the French seem to have been quite clear that Paget had said the contrary of this in France,—i.e., that Henry did wish for a joint war with the Emperor. (fn. 66) But the English Privy Council would not believe what Marillac told them their own ambassador had said in Paris, and did not think he could have had any warrant to say so. (fn. 67)
The French had been vainly hoping that if the marriage really took effect, they might not only gain Henry for an effective ally, but that he might be got to relinquish the yearly payments guaranteed to him by treaties. But now there was no longer any hope of this, or any encouragement to proceed, and Francis directed his ambassador to let the matter rest. If the English were disposed to resume the subject, he was simply to report what they said, and possibly they might find Francis quite as cold as they had been. (fn. 68) Even Brion who, being now once more in favour, had been a warm promoter of the English alliance and cared nothing about the Pope or Henry's excommunication, could not but feel that their offers were altogether inadequate, and he told Paget that as the matter could not go forward, they must be content simply to remain good friends. (fn. 69)
When the King returned from Dover, Marillac found little comfort in the fact that he had not crossed the Channel; for he discovered that he had sent for Wallop, the governor of Guisnes, and questioned him about the possibility of a successful attack on Ardres before the works were completed. He had also ordered the works at Guisnes to be hastened, that they might be a match for those at Ardres. Then apparently Bishop Gardiner was brewing some mischief in daily conference with the Imperial Ambassdor, having lately removed to a house in the fields at Stepney to be near him, (fn. 70) and Marillac had got news from a very good authority that the King spoke of undertaking the defence of the Emperor's Flemish possessions and would lend the Emperor a good sum to be used against the Turk on security of certain towns in the Low Countries. The loan apparently was partly for this and partly to enable the King to recover his pensions from France, though some said that these oppressive exactions were mainly intended to keep down the people, to make it still more difficult to rebel, which was no easy matter at any rate, now that the King had cut off all prominent members of the blood royal. (fn. 71)
Marillac's information was not far wrong about the nature of Gardiner's communications with Chapuys. For the terms of the closer amity were already under consideration, the Ambassador having received his powers by the middle of May, and he rejoiced that there was some hope of the King and the Emperor putting a joint pressure on the French to prevent their assisting the Turk to trouble Christendom. Gardiner, indeed, told him that the King had no occasion to make war on France, but there was evidently an understood proviso— unless it was made worth his while; to satisfy which condition Chapuys was willing that the King should have— not towns in the Low Countries, as Marillac was informed, but in France (as soon as they were conquered, of course) for the assurance of his pension. (fn. 72) Gardiner, however, professed to have no commission to discuss matters; and Chapuys, after an audience which he had of the King on Ascension day (18 May), entered into fuller communications with Gardiner and two other Bishops, Tunstall and Thirleby, who were authorised to negotiate with him. They discussed a number of points together for a whole week, and at Whitsuntide, though very ill, he was carried in a litter to the King at Hampton Court, where lodgings were assigned both to him and to the three Bishops for their greater convenience. He remained there five days in continued conference with them, and the attentions shown to him appeared to Marillac altogether beyond those which an ordinary ambassador might have looked for. (fn. 73) But before Marillac had finished the letter reporting these things to his master, he learned that Chapuys, with all his gout, had secretly taken ship for Flanders on some business of very special importance. This was certainly of no good omen for France.
Chapuys had set out with a fair wind, but it became unpropitious before he left the Thames, and he crossed, apparently from Gravesend, to Dover by land, and thence sailed to Gravelines. The King at the same time got The Great Harry and all his other ships of war ready for service. In France there were all sorts of alarming rumors, and Brion was sadly perplexed, while Paget's ingenuity was somewhat taxed to explain matters. (fn. 74) But Chapuys returned in a fortnight and repaired to the King at the Moor. (fn. 75) He must have removed with him immediately afterwards to Hampton Court, where he remained about a fortnight, lodged in the palace, and returned to London on the 2nd July. (fn. 76) He had gone over, in fact, to expedite the closer alliance, which seemed now in a fair way of being concluded, though the King had made some difficulties about the loss of his French pensions, for which he would require compensation. But on his return matters did not yet advance so rapidly as he had hoped. He had, however, just before leaving Flanders, met at St. Omer the Sieur de Roeux, who told him that with the help of 4,000 Englishmen, in addition to the horse and foot he could himself raise in Artois, he would undertake to surprise Montreuil, which could easily be kept safe during the winter. This project Chapuys communicated to the King, who was vastly taken with it, and wrote to Wallop to put himself in communication on the subject with De Roeux. (fn. 77)
Henry, however, while making every preparation for war, was anxious not to commit himself against France prematurely, and it was agreed that the league should be kept secret till October. Meanwhile Chapuys at Hampton Court came to an agreement that the edict in Flanders against the export of goods in English ships should be revoked as soon as possible; which was done at once by Mary of Hungary, on the understanding that the English statute likewise was to be repealed on the first opportunity. Information was likewise sent to Paget (in order that he might plausibly rebuke the suspicions rife in France), that the Imperial Ambassador had gone to Court about these commercial matters during the Whitsun holidays, and that his voyage to Flanders and return were only with a view to their more effectual settlement. (fn. 78) To pass such false coin no one was more skilful than Paget; and civility and prudence alike required that it should be received for the time as genuine. But the best friends of England in France were sadly disappointed; and if Brion, sick at heart, and indeed sick in body, replied to Paget with polite insincerity, Margaret of Navarre had for some time been unable to restrain her feelings of indignation and disgust. (fn. 79)
It could scarcely have been satisfactory to Francis at such a time to have no more clearsighted agent in England than Marillac, who was still allowing himself to be fooled in the old fashion, and though warned to keep a sharp look out, believed that war preparations in England had considerably cooled, and that Chapuys was not succeeding in his negotiations. (fn. 80) Francis, however, was now resolved on his course of action, and sent his secretary, Claude de L'Aubespine, to England on a special mission, the real object of which, as Paget discovered, was only to "decipher" Henry, and learn, if possible, the real state of matters between him and the Emperor. For Francis had already decided on war with the latter, which he proclaimed two days after giving L'Aubespine his instructions, and it was a part of the envoy's charge to explain the reasons which had driven him to take up arms. He was also commissioned to inform Henry that Francis had received an embassy from the great King of Sweden, Gustavus Vasa, and had joined him in an alliance, offensive and defensive, with Denmark and the Duke of Prussia, which he hoped that Henry, too, would enter. (fn. 81) The hope was probably but a faint one; but if L'Aubespine could only "decipher" Henry satisfactorily, it would be seen, at least, whether he would stand by either combatant or profess a treacherous neutrality.
Henry chose the latter course. L'Aubespine had a cold reception, his audience being delayed four days, while the Imperial ambassador was at court. The King said he was very sorry that his neighbours had fallen out, whom he had formerly done his best to pacify, but as they had accused him of fomenting discord, he had given up meddling, and he piously thanked God that this rupture had not proceeded from him. As to the treaty with Sweden, he thought that King too poor to give effectual aid, and the Duke of Prussia was too far off. The King of Denmark was a more hopeful ally, but the Easterlings would not like war. When he had seen the articles of the treaty, he would decide whether he himself could enter it. He sent, however, a written reply to Francis, and Paget was instructed, in delivering it, to demand copies of the treaties made by France with their new confederates. If the English ambassador was questioned about forces lately sent over to Calais and Guisnes, he was to say there were only 200 or 300, sent merely for defence of the King's territory. (fn. 82)
L'Aubespine having got his answer, returned to France. Before leaving England he tried to create a belief in the public that he had met with a good reception; but appearances were against him. He was accompanied by Marillac down the river to Gravesend to see the King's naval preparations, and then to the port of embarcation—no doubt Dover—to see the new fortifications. (fn. 83) The message that he carried back with him was not a very comfortable one. He had been treated visibly with much less consideration than Chapuys. Henry could not be got to see much in the provocations Francis had received from the Emperor. Men were enrolled secretly in England, and merchant ships commanded to be ready. Artillery and gunners were dispatched to Calais. Moreover L'Aubespine had received a significant hint that he should have come with instructions about the King's French pensions if his mission was to have borne any fruit. (fn. 84)
On the 14 July the Duke of Orleans invaded Luxemburg, and on the 15th M. de Longueval with Martin Van Rossem attacked Brabant through Gelderland. The town of Damvilliers at once fell to Orleans, while the other army laid waste the country about Bois-le-Duc, took Hoogstraeten and threatened Antwerp. On the 21st the Dauphin left the French Court for Narbonne, where d'Annebault was to join him with bands of Italians, Swiss, and lanzknechts to attack Salsas and Perpignan. And later in the month the Duke of Vendôme was at St. Pol, preparing to invade Flanders. Thus by the end of July four armies were in the field invading or menacing the Emperor's dominions in different quarters. (fn. 85)
The news of these things created anxiety in England, especially the danger of Antwerp, the capture of which would have been a serious blow to English commerce. (fn. 86) Siege was actually laid to the place on the 26th but was raised two days later. (fn. 87) War, however, was soon hot within no great distance of Calais, and Wallop, commanding at Guisnes, was a little suspicious that the French forces mustering to lay siege to Tournehem might really be intended against him. (fn. 88)
Under these circumstances both the Imperial and the French Ambassadors were summoned to Windsor, where on the 8th August the Duke of Norfolk addressed them in the King's name, showing how he was compelled by the war which had broken out between the Emperor and Francis,— especially as the King of Scots was said to be preparing for war also,—to arm and raise men and ships in defence of the kingdom; and he desired to warn both belligerents to respect the neutrality of English ports and not ill-treat English seamen. The Imperial Ambassador, who had received private notice beforehand of the substance of this address, replied in suitable terms, saying he was quite sure that no one could misinterpret the King's conduct, and that both the Emperor and the Queen of Hungary would act accordingly. Marillac also made a like reply, though he inwardly noted the reference to the King of Scots, and felt sure that the preparations by sea and land, which Norfolk said were making to preserve neutrality, were really intended against France and Scotland. (fn. 89)
Marillac's suspicions were certainly much in accordance with all the evidence that we possess. Henry's more immediate aim, however, was to crush Scotland, while France was occupied with another enemy. And here we may note that the language used to the two ambassadors was exceedingly cautious. They were not told—very likely because it was not the fact—that the Scots had begun hostilities against England, but only that James was preparing for war and had ordered all his forces to be ready on brief warning. Yet it was one of the pleas that Henry advanced in his subsequent justification of the war with Scotland that the Scots had actually invaded England on the 4th July. This was not admitted by the Scots themselves, for they maintained it was the English who first broke the peace three days later, (fn. 90) and whatever may have been the truth of the matter, owing to the deficiency of correspondence we have no account of this alleged first outrage. Raids on both sides there certainly were during that month of July, but which side began it is not easy to say. James, in the course of that month, sent the Steward of his Household, James Leirmonth, of Dairsie, with a letter written in his own hand to Henry, to apologise, it is said, for some outrage of the Scots. Unluckily, just after his arrival, there was another raid, in which four or five English gentlemen with their companies attacked the invaders, but fell into an ambush, and were every man of them slain, to the number of forty or fifty. (fn. 91) On hearing of this Henry was so intensely angry that he refused to see the ambassador. He was, however, more composed on learning that the English had crossed the borders and slain three or four times the number of Scots in revenge. So on the 6th August he gave audience to Leirmonth, and wrote to James on the 8th—the very day he received the two ambassadors at Windsor—an answer which implied willingness to settle disputes by negotiation. And James replied in the same spirit, asking for a safe conduct for Robert Reid, bishop of Orkney, John Lord Erskine, Leirmonth, and two others. (fn. 92)
The King, however, had already on the news of the Scotch incursions, despatched Sir Robert Bowes to the East and Middle Marches in advance of the Earl of Rutland, who was to be Warden of the Marches generally, with orders to levy 600 men for the month from 12th August to 9th September. He was also to warn the local officers to keep good rule unless the Scots made new attempts; in which case they must take good care to give them a full equivalent for injuries inflicted. He was to notify this determination to keep good rule to Lord Maxwell and the officers of Scotland, and meanwhile to warn the Borderers to get their hay and corn into safe places. He was, further, to keep good espial on the Scots, especially to ascertain whether they had any ships ready for sea. (fn. 93)
The Borders, no doubt, were in a dangerous state; but the prompt sending of Leirmonth shows pretty clearly that it was against the King of Scotland's mind that disturbances occurred there. James, indeed, had been preparing for war, as the Duke of Norfolk said; for he had been taking musters in June (fn. 94); but that he wished to bring on war is contrary to all the evidence. The answer made to his message by Leirmonth, however, hardly suggests an equal desire on Henry's part to arrive at an amicable settlement. James had proposed that Commissioners of both Kings should meet on the Borders for redress of outrages. To this Henry replied that the Scotch Commissioners had better come to Windsor to discuss matters there—of course, at a serious disadvantage. (fn. 95) And the very day that this letter was signed he gave the Earl of Rutland his instructions, and sent him down to the Borders, where he was to take very secret counsel with Sir Robert Bowes and others as to the state of matters there, and, with advice of John Heron and the pensioners—the most hardened of the border thieves, whom the King had thought it politic for five years past to keep in his pay (fn. 96) —to "entertain" the rovers of Liddersdale and other Scotchmen willing to serve against their own sovereign, and take what further action might seem fit. (fn. 97)
To understand somewhat better the position of affairs with Scotland we must go back to that proposal of an interview in the preceding year which Henry wished to represent as originating with James. On this subject what was said in the Preface to the last Volume (pp. xxxviii., xxxix.) requires, I find, some little modification; for it appears that Bellenden, when he had audience of Henry at Northampton (fn. 98) really did speak of an interview between the two Kings, and Henry was no doubt justified in saying, as he did afterwards to a Scotch embassy of which Bellenden himself was a member, that that Ambassador had "proposed" the meeting. (fn. 99) The proposal, however, was not then a new one—in fact, it was a very old story; and a word or two about the history of the project seems not uncalled for. As far back as March, 1536, we find Chapuys writing that it had been actually settled that such an interview was to take place at York; for a courier had just come from Scotland with the news. (fn. 100) But that the thing was then proposed by Henry VIII. and not by James is quite evident from a letter of Lord William Howard a month later, (fn. 101) even if it were not sufficiently clear from the suspicions entertained in Scotland as to the object of his and Barlow's embassy. (fn. 102) James's Council, in fact, refused to let him go to meet Henry; and in 1537 the Council of Henry considered it one reason against granting James a safe conduct through England when he was returning with his newly married wife from France to Scotland that it would not be "honorable" for Henry to grant a free passage to one "who not only broke the appointment for the interview, but pretended that he should be betrayed if he kept it." (fn. 103) There was, however, in the opinion of the English Council another reason against granting the safe conduct, which apparently they considered more weighty because they put it first, viz., that no English King had ever received a Scotch King into his realm except as a vassal—a point which we may be pretty sure was not mentioned to James himself when the interview was proposed by Lord William Howard and Bishop Barlow.
In the spring of 1539 the project was again brought forward, and again by Henry himself, when he sent Sadler to James to remove unpleasant impressions and promote cordiality. The King then said that he was contemplating a visit to the North in the following summer, and if James would come and meet him the expense would be little on either side. (fn. 104)
It thus appears that Henry had been angling for an interview with his nephew for years at the time when Bellenden "proposed" the matter to him at Northampton in 1541; and to suppose that Bellenden made an unguarded promise that James was ready to accomplish the meeting offhand is against all moral probability. The Scotch Council had been all along very suspicious of Henry's intentions in this matter; and even now Cardinal Beton, who knew the facts, said expressly in France that it was Henry who was soliciting the interview, and soliciting it very eagerly. (fn. 105)
James excused his delay in accomplishing the meeting by his inability to obtain the consent of the Estates of his realm and of his father in-law the French King, whom he said he had earnestly solicited to agree to it; and Henry, though he declared that he had protracted his stay in the North that James might come to him, replied amicably that seeing the matter was made so "difficile" he was content to pass it over for that time. (fn. 106) This was in the beginning of February 1542, and there were other matters in dispute then pending; (fn. 107) but these it was to be hoped might be arranged by negotiation. Henry promised the Scotch Ambassadors that he would send Commissioners after the Parliament to meet others from Scotland; and as Parliament was dissolved in March they were no doubt appointed in or before April. Their names appear to have been John Dudley (newly created Viscount Lisle on the death of Arthur Plantagenet), (fn. 108) Sir Richard Southwell, Sir Thomas Wharton (the Deputy Warden at Carlisle), Aldrich, bishop of Carlisle, Lord Latimer, and Dr. Leigh. (fn. 109) But where they met the Scots or how long they conferred with them does not appear. The most serious question to be adjusted was about English rebels received in Scotland, some of whom were Churchmen; but as James's attitude on this subject was firm, the English Commissioners were instructed to give it the go-by till a more convenient season, and to pass on to a small question about the boundary. But even on this small question they and the Scots could come to no agreement. (fn. 110)
Shortly before the English Commissioners were appointed, one of them, Sir Thomas Wharton, had submitted to the King and Council a plan of his own for settling these international difficulties, of which apparently he would willingly have undertaken the execution himself if he could have got authority to do it. He was, as already mentioned, Deputy Warden at Carlisle, and his plan was simply to kidnap the King of the Scots when he was sojourning somewhere not far from the West Marches. The project was laid before the Council, or rather came before them as one item in the Border correspondence, but they refused to discuss it without a direct command. It seemed to them attended with many difficulties. The question of peace or war then hung in the balance, depending on James's answer to some communications and on the sending of Commissioners, but the relations of the two countries were for the present friendly. Then the castle to which James resorted was a good many miles from the Border, and the country between it and England was so well inhabited that a band sent to kidnap him would be sure to be discovered. In that district lay the town of Dumfries, which was very populous, as the neighbourhood was also, so that it would be difficult to bring the King away alive. Then if he was slain, what scandal would ensue ! And no less so if the plot were discovered, embittering the feud between the two countries to the very utmost. It was clearly bad policy and the scheme was not approved of. (fn. 111)
Although the Commissioners of the two Kingdoms parted without having arrived at any settlement, even of the small question of boundary, there seems to have been, when they separated, a brief period of peace upon the Borders. But that peace was now left precarious, and both sides looked upon war as only too probable. Both sides, indeed, were doubtless preparing for it even before the Commissioners parted. The English Commissioners were at Berwick in May and June seeing to the efficiency of the Border fortifications; and James, as already said, was taking musters in the latter month, which English Ambassadors, in letters from Scotland received before the 20th, spoke of having actually witnessed, adding that a general muster of all able to bear arms had been ordered to take place about Midsummer day. (fn. 112) No actual rupture of the peace, however, occurred before the 4th July—the date when, according to the English, it was broken by the Scots; and this, it is stated, was immediately after the departure of the Commissioners. But the Scots maintained that none occurred till the 7th, and that then it was the English who began. (fn. 113)
It was only on the 28th of the same month that Sir Robert Bowes was sent to the Borders with the Commission already referred to. Leirmonth's arrival at the English Court must have been about the same time—one might suppose a day or two later if he was sent to apologise for the same outrages which prompted the sending of Sir Robert. But we know nothing of his charge on this head, except the account that the English Council chose to give of it to Chapuys; and it is certain that James, for his part, did not acknowledge that the first breach was due to the Scots. Indeed, in a confidential despatch to Leirmonth, written on the 20th August, he wonders at the insistence of the English Council in maintaining that such was the case, when it was notorious that there were two English raids into Scotland before there was one Scotch raid into England. (fn. 114)
With all this, however, James was really so anxious for peace that he was quite disposed to comply with Henry's proposal that he should send Ambassadors to the English Court to settle differences, instead of deputing new Commissioners to meet on the Borders. He accordingly named, as we have seen, five Ambassadors, of whom Leirmonth was one, and he directed Leirmonth to procure a safe conduct for the others. But meanwhile, offences had grown on both sides. The English had burned six different towns in the Merse (or Berwickshire), and, just two days before James wrote, the Scots burned Carham tower and some houses in Cornhill. But James was so determined to stop outrages that even before formal complaint could have been lodged of this offence he ordered James Doig, the leader, to be cashiered and punished. (fn. 115)
James was at that time at his usual residence—Holyrood Palace; but Wharton informed the King that he was bringing forces to the border as if he intended some sudden exploit. The rumour may have arisen from the Earl of Huntly having been sent thither (with but forty attendants, as James said) really to prevent disorder. (fn. 116) The King, however, on Wharton's information, sent instructions to the Earl of Rutland to exercise unremitting vigilance, to see Norham, Wark, Alnwick, and other holds fully furnished with ordnance, gunners, and victuals, to make two new bulwarks at Berwick, and to keep ample reserves of victuals there and at Carlisle. (fn. 117) He also ordered the President and Council of the North to put all men in those quarters in readiness to march at an hour's notice; and he wrote to James regretting to hear of daily attempts quite at variance with the amity professed in his message sent by Leirmonth. (fn. 118) Then without waiting for a reply, he determined to send the Duke of Norfolk "with a main force" against the Scots, and gave him power to take the levies in Yorkshire and the North Counties. (fn. 119)
Whatever grounds Wharton may have had for believing that James intended to attack the English borders, it is certain that at that very time preparations were made at Berwick and at Norham for an invasion of Scotland. Sir Robert Bowes, though his instructions were not to commit aggressions unless the Scots began, and then see that they were fully requited, evidently considered that he had no longer occasion to be idle; and he arranged with Sir William Eure, the captain of Berwick, and the banished Earl of Angus and Sir George Douglas to make a raid into Teviotdale. They carried out their design on St. Bartholomew's day, the 24th August, burning Maxwell Heugh, Heiton of the Hill, and some other places; but returning homewards they fell into an ambush at Haddon Rig and were pursued by some 2,000 Scots, with the result that Bowes and his brother Richard, Sir John Witherington, marshal of Berwick, John Carr, captain of Wark, John Tempest, Sir Cuthbert Ratcliff, and John Heron of Chipchase, were taken prisoners, with others amounting in all to 400 or 500. Angus after some hard fighting saved himself, and others escaped by speed of horse. (fn. 120)
James V. wrote to Henry a letter of very temperate remonstrance on the unprovoked attack, again urging that if he really meant to keep the peace he would send a safe conduct for the Scotch Ambassadors and order his own officers on the Borders to desist from further invasions. (fn. 121) But defeat is not less bitter because it is just, and the indignation at Henry's Court was extreme. (fn. 122) There was no thought but of vengeance. Norfolk at once prepared to depart for the North, declaring that he would lower the Scottish pride; and to aid him in doing so his brother, Lord William, was released from the Tower. (fn. 123) His son, the Earl of Surrey, who had lately been in the Fleet for some misdemeanour, (fn. 124) also accompanied him on his expedition. (fn. 125) The Earl of Rutland was already well on his way north to take up his position as Warden; so that apparently he received news of the disaster in Scotland at Darlington on the 25th, when he at once pushed on to Newcastle, which he reached at seven in the evening. His thoughts were greatly occupied with the question how to procure sufficient grain for the coming army. (fn. 126)
To breathe fire and fury at Court was natural enough; but on second thoughts it was found that there might be inconvenience in the practice. There was James's Ambassador, Leirmonth, still waiting to obtain an answer about that larger embassy which he had offered to send. What was to be done about that ? Leirmonth at first expected to be made a prisoner. But for the present the advantage lay with the Scots, and James was still only asking for explanations, and for a safe conduct for his Ambassadors. (fn. 127) Were the English now going to show, by a breach of the law of nations, that the raid had been really authorised ? The Ambassador received variable treatment. Sometimes he was most cordially addressed and allowed to kill bucks in the parks. Again, before the day was over, all was coldness and distrust. (fn. 128) At last he was dismissed with something like incivility; but after starting on his way home he met a herald of the King, his master, with whom he returned once more to solicit even yet a safe conduct for the great embassy, that they might go to York, and treat with Norfolk and other Commissioners for a peace. (fn. 129)
The English in their diplomacy did not make a creditable appearance. They affected to believe that the "displeasure" which had occurred, had been due to an intended invasion of their country by the Earl of Huntly, who had been sent to the Borders avowedly to prevent outrages. (fn. 130) But, unluckily for them, James could produce a writing which had been taken on one of the prisoners, signed by Sir Robert Bowes, showing that the plan for an invasion of Scotland had been drawn and arranged beforehand. (fn. 131) And James learned some further secrets of English intrigues from James Douglas, whose life he pardoned, and whom he sent over the Firth, to Falkland Castle. (fn. 132) He must have seen clearly that it was Henry's policy to crush Scotland while France was afraid to aid her; and he wisely persevered in doing what he honorably could to prevent hostilities. He had his embassy ready to send to England; and Angus certainly did not do more than justice to his pacific intentions in writing to the Earl of Rutland that he desired peace because he had no word of assistance from France. (fn. 133)
Full of the expedition that he was to lead against the Scots, the Duke of Norfolk reached his own home at Kenninghall on the 2 September, (fn. 134) where he remained awhile perplexed about many things, and writing opposite directions on successive days. (fn. 135) Nor had he yet left Norfolk on the 12th, when he received orders from the King to defer setting out for eight days more. (fn. 136) For the King, when he left Court, had still to determine what to do about the proposed Scotch embassy; and he finally made up his mind to let the Ambassadors come, but only as far as York, where he would send some of his own Council to discuss matters with them. James agreed to this arrangement, though he could not help hinting that it would have been more satisfactory if they had been received nearer Henry's Court; and he gave a special commission to Lord Erskine, one of the embassy, to repair to Henry himself, either during, or after the meeting, to declare his strong desire for amity. (fn. 137)
The meeting at York was arranged to take place on the 18th September, and Norfolk was to be one of the Commissioners. (fn. 138) Their instructions were not to allow the negotiations to be prolonged more than eleven days :— they must either conclude a peace before Michaelmas, unless a day or two more seemed likely to effect it, or go forward on their journey. If the Scotch Ambassadors had not come to York by the 18th they might wait four days for them and then go and meet them at Newcastle. They must insist on the delivery of the English prisoners, if possible without ransom, and refuse to allow this condition to be postponed, threatening even to break off communications if it were not granted, but if this had no effect they might agree to anything reasonable to procure the deliverance of the prisoners. They must insist on the Scots interpreting the last treaty as requiring the delivery of all rebels, Kirkmen or others; also on their relinquishing their claim to the piece of ground about which the Boundary Commissioners could not agree, unless they could show better title than appeared at that time. They must conclude that neither party should aid the other's enemies, but that each should give mutual aid to the other ad expensas requirentis; and that this amity should be preferred to any other that might interfere with it. If, however, the Scots produced new evidence about the disputed land they were to consider it, and in conversation renew the suggestion of an interview between the Kings, and might follow up this in preference to the "piquant" question of the rebels, and use various persuasions. If, however, the Scots listened to the suggestion, the Commissioners must hint that hostages would probably be necessary. If they suggested that a formal request should be made for the interview by Henry they must be shown how unbecoming and objectionable it would be for one prince to ask another into his realm, although it was a thing that Henry undoubtedly desired. If the Scots on this matter wished to refer to their Sovereign and the eleven days expired before their messengers returned, the Commissioners were courteously to request them to draw to Newcastle or some place nearer the Borders, to continue the conferences there; where they would either come to a friendly conclusion, or separate with regret that Henry's amicable intentions had been fruitless. And so the English were to dismiss the others in good fashion "and in God's name haste forward the enterprise." (fn. 139)
These were the leading points of the instructions. But there were others relating to the alternative of hostilities; and it is to be noted that even if from the first the Commissioners saw no prospect of getting the Scots to acquiesce in their terms they were still to carry on the conferences in a most amicable spirit, while secretly augmenting the garrisons on the Borders, "lest the Scots, perceiving what were toward, would enter to give the first buffet." The Commissioners were also to be prepared, in case the Scots alleged (as apparently it was anticipated that they would) that the first breach of peace was on the side of the English, to show that on the contrary it was a Scotch raid into "Cokedal" (Coquetdale ?) on the 4 July, with which disturbances began. James's proposal to send up Lord Erskine as Ambassador to Henry, while his fellow-Commissioners remained at York to continue the negotiations, was by no means agreeable to the King. On receipt of James's letter he wrote again to the Commissioners on the 16th September. It was a mere artifice, he said, to win time,—as no doubt it was, to stave off those ruthless hostilities for which Henry had made such extensive preparations. The English Commissioners must tell Lord Erskine and his fellows that no delay could be permitted, and that if this was the object he must not repair to the King; but they must endeavour to learn from him in confidence the substance of his message, and inform the King beforehand. At the same time they were directed, if the Scots, alarmed a the preparations of war, showed themselves too eager to accept conditions, to insist upon six, or at least four, hostages, "of great estimation," such as three earls and a bishop, or three earls and three others, being given up before they left. Meanwhile they were to consider how border fortresses might be "taken and fortified, without notable charge, for the enlargement of the frontier," and how Scotch ships found in Leith harbour might be used to destroy the corn and cattle in the Orkney and Shetland islands from which Scotland derived considerable supplies. Some further directions were added relating to the services due from the Borderers. (fn. 140)
The Commissioners of both kingdoms, as appointed, met at York on the 18th. Those on the English side were the Duke of Norfolk, Fitzwilliam, earl of Southampton, Tunstall, bishop of Durham, and Sir Anthony Browne. The Scotch were Robert Reid, bishop of Orkney, Lord Erskine, and James Leirmonth. The English proceeded upon their first instructions, and asked what the Scots had to propose. They said a perpetual peace, and made no difficulty about the restoration of the prisoners if other things were agreed. Pressed further, they said Rosse herald had promised Henry that their master would deliver them upon his word or writing desiring it, and though they had no special instructions they were sure there would be no difficulty—the prisoners would be restored without ransom. The English then said they had commission for a league defensive and offensive, which showed their King's cordiality; but there could be no true amity if one prince could damage the other, and each prince must be bound not to make war at the bidding of a third. The Scots replied that they had old leagues with France, which they were not entitled to break. "So have we," said the English; "but if the Emperor or the French King broke with us, it is not for you to do so at another Prince's request." And they went on to talk about English traitors harboured in Scotland, the recent ineffectual conferences about boundaries and the still more recent excursions and slaughters; which led to a discussion between the representatives of the two countries as to which had taken the initiative. (fn. 141)
Next morning the Scotch said that in order to make a treaty on new lines they must refer to their master, and showed his signed instructions to that effect; but they knew he had no desire to break with the King for any Prince living. The outrages were but trifles and James had more desire for England's amity than for anything else. If so, the others asked why he had not come to the King on his promise last year ? The Scots, in reply, said they were sure their master would willingly send instructions both for the amity and for the meeting. The English said they could not protract the time if answer did not come at once; and even if the meeting were concluded, hostages would have to be given, else the King could not stay his preparations. This suggestion alarmed the Scots. Their nobles were so suspicious, they could never be got to go to England; it would be easier to induce the King himself to go thither in post, and the Ambassadors themselves would be hostages till he came. They swore by all that was holy that they did not dissemble, and they believed that before Christmas their master might be induced to come. They would write, however, about earls being sent for hostages, but had very little hope. They promised an answer in two days. (fn. 142)
On receiving the report of these conferences Henry expressed great approbation of the proceedings of his Commissioners, and instructed them, if the Scots showed the same sincerity on the return of their messenger, to conclude a perpetual peace for the lives of the two sovereigns, and, if the Scots desired it, to continue to their posterity. But they must demand that the exception of France should be left out of the treaty, which was to be made as effectual as possible against all potentates, spiritual or temporal. Also, the King of Scots must come to the King before Christmas; all prisoners in Scotland must be at once freely delivered with horse and gear; the hostages must remain till the Scotch King's coming and the conclusion of the treaty, and then the King of Scots must dissolve his frontier garrisons as the English would do likewise. If the difficulty about getting earls for hostages proved insuperable, the three Ambassadors might suffice if they signed a writing apart, showing why they remained. If agreement could be come to under these instructions, the Commissioners might at once stay the coming forward of the shires within Norfolk's Commission. (fn. 143) But to remove the scruples of the Scots about France, they should show them how the French in former treaties with England had "provided for themselves without regard for the Scots." (fn. 144)
The King appears to have been quite elated at the prospect of getting Scotland thus easily under his control. Yet possibly, when Chapuys asked him about the prospect of peace or war with that country, he showed himself a degree more sanguine than he really was, speaking of some things as accomplished facts which were really no more than anticipations. He believed, he said, that there would be no war, as the Scots had already agreed to release all the prisoners, to give compensation for injuries, and to make a league without reserving France, promising also that their King would come to London before Christmas. (fn. 145) James, however, had no mind to come so far, if it could be avoided; and at the next meeting of the Commissioners, the Scots only showed powers to agree to a royal meeting at York or Newcastle. The English, on this, were indignant. They said their King could never go to York for a meeting after last year's disappointment, and as the previous commissions of the Scots to treat for a peace were at the same time revoked, the army must at once proceed. The Scotch Commissioners were dismayed, not expecting the matter to be taken up so sharply, and offered to agree that their master should go to London. The English replied that they were trifling if they had no commission to that effect, and at last they produced instructions signed by their King, enabling them to agree to some other place than those above named. The English said that was a warrant to them to treat, but not to the English to conclude with them. They said everything would be concluded at the meeting touching rebels and bounds, and the amity made so strong that they should not break with England for the sake of any other potentate. When shown how the Scots had been left out by France in the last treaty, they said there would be no difficulty on that subject at the meeting. But the English answered that a treaty made at the meeting would be in vain, their master not being at liberty. The Scots said James might before he left Scotland give a commission to some of his subjects to conclude, and confirm the treaty after his return; whereas, if they insisted on concluding the amity before the meeting, the whole Scotch Council would ask, Where was the necessity for the meeting ? (fn. 146)
After much debate the Scots agreed to send in all haste for an absolute Commission without determining the place, and offered to remain as pledges till everything was performed. They thought their master would be at York about St Andrew's day (30 Nov.) and with the King before Christmas; and they desired that upon the conclusion of their meeting the armies might be dissolved. The English insisted that the prisoners should be restored first; but the Scots replied that they should be restored on the disbanding of the armies, or sooner if Henry wrote to demand them. They agreed that their master should come to London. He only waited for his Queen's confinement before setting out; which was expected about Martinmas (11th Nov.). They were quite unable to obtain earls as hostages. (fn. 147)
On receipt of this despatch the King at once instructed the Commissioners to insist on peremptory conditions or go forward with the enterprise without delay. The Scotch Ambassadors must agree in writing to deliver the prisoners immediately, before the army was disbanded, as otherwise the Scots might use them as hostages for their own pledges in England. They must also agree in writing that their King should repair to London before Christmas "without ifs and ands of his wife," considering how commonly women misreckoned their time, they three and some other noblemen, if possible, remaining as pledges. And since they now declined to conclude an amity till their King came, the pledges must remain till, after his return home, he had ratified the treaty. Only on these terms, and on knowledge that the Scots had disbanded their army, should the English do the like, and dismiss the Border garrisons. (fn. 148)
On the 5th October the Commissioners wrote that the Scotch herald had brought answer from his King the day before, giving his Ambassadors an absolute commission for a meeting without restraint of place. The delay, he said, had been due to the opposition of several of the Scotch Council, who even blamed the Ambassadors for desiring the meeting. Their King, however, sent them instructions restraining their commission. He could go no further than York, and not before the 15th January; but if Henry could not come so far he would agree to some such place as Huntingdon. The English replied that whereas their former commission was restricted to York, but their instructions gave them greater liberty, now it was just the reverse and the liberty before given to them was restrained. The Scots, however, regretted that they could not agree to the meeting at London, and as to the delivery of the prisoners they were referred to their first instructions—that they should be restored on a letter from Henry to their master. And as to horse and gear, these could not be restored, as they were carried off by Englishmen of Tynedale as well as by Scotchmen; but the prisoners should be delivered without ransom. They finally showed a letter from the Secretary of Scotland, warning them to make no further concessions, for the Council would sooner venture battle. (fn. 149)
The Scotch Council had very naturally taken alarm at the proposal that their King should visit Henry in London. But it was bad diplomacy to make concessions first and then withdraw them. The English Commissioners were now clear that the whole army must receive marching orders. But as with all their secret preparations that army could not be at Newcastle before the 15th, they still gave the Scots fair words, agreeing that they should write again to their master as they themselves would do to Henry, although they said they were sure he would not relax his terms. (fn. 150) Next day they received a visit from the Scotch Commissioners, who, fully impressed with the serious character of the crisis, begged leave for their colleague Leirmonth to repair to the King his master, saying his presence would do more good than letters. This the English refused, and the Scots then begged that he might go to the King of England; to which they at once acceded, as it might prevent the Scots "giving the first buffet," and the King could put off the time till his own army was quite ready. (fn. 151)
The English Commissioners resolved to leave York for Newcastle on Sunday, the 8th, or Monday, the 9th October, taking the Scots along with them; (fn. 152) and meanwhile they instructed the Duke of Suffolk, who had been appointed to replace the Earl of Rutland as Warden, (fn. 153) to advance and take the command of forces on the Borders. (fn. 154) But as "the dogs of war" were to be let slip at last, the Commissioners apparently desired to know on what pretext. It was always customary to make some defiance or declaration of war before commencing hostilities, giving the reasons for the rupture. What was to be the form of the defiance made to Scotland ? (fn. 155) The answer was that the King thought no formal "indiction" of war necessary in this case, seeing that hostilities had been openly begun (as he asserted) by the Scots, and the prisoners in Scotland had not been put to ransom. The great object, however, was to "purge the dishonor" done to the realm by the reports of the Scots that Bowes and his men had fled before an inferior force of Scots, and no conditions must be accepted until a "notable exploit" had been done towards that object and the Scots were driven to make greater offers. (fn. 156)
Yet, though war with Scotland had been intended for months past, and preparations secretly pushed on, things were by no means in that state of readiness that might have been expected. The attempt to rush matters had indeed been found impracticable. The Duke of Norfolk had left the Court in August, intending to enter Scotland with an army on the 29 September—the day which the King immediately afterwards prescribed as the limit for the York conferences. But his services were required as one of the Commissioners there, and he was directed to delay the invasion till the 6th October, against which date he was to have levies ready from Yorkshire and the bishopric of Durham. The Duke of Suffolk was also sent down to take Rutland's place on the borders as Warden during Norfolk's entry and to give order to the 6,000 men in the garrisons, who were to be employed in devastating the country in Norfolk's rear. (fn. 157) But the conferences with the Scotch Commissioners continued even to that very date—the 6th October—to which the invasion had been postponed, and on that morning Leirmonth was allowed to go to the King as if peace were still possible. These delays, however, were all welcome, and indeed necessary for the English themselves. The problem how to victual so large an army was more serious than it was at first conceived to be; and still more perplexing was the lack of beer. Sir George Lawson at Berwick could do nothing towards furnishing such a host for an eight days' invasion. They must depend on the supplies sent from London, and the Privy Council doubted if they could procure one tun more than they had done already. (fn. 158)
There were also other difficulties to be adjusted. (fn. 159) There were no tents in the North for the King's army; the supplies of wheat and malt there were limited; there were few mills to grind corn, (fn. 160) and there was great lack of casks and of brewhouses. The King's ships laden with victuals for the army, and also with ordnance, were awaited anxiously at Berwick and Newcastle, but were delayed so long by contrary winds that orders were sent for the levies to defer their setting out for six days. (fn. 161) One ship was lost near Yarmouth in a storm; another had to throw some of her cargo overboard. (fn. 162) The Commissioners at York, especially Southampton, were driven nearly to despair. (fn. 163) When at last ships with men and provisions from Norfolk and Suffolk reached Newcastle, the ships with ordnance, beer, and coopers' things were still wanting. (fn. 164) These, however, arrived safely in time; (fn. 165) but the ordnance, now that it was come, was not very serviceable. The master gunners proved all the "basses" and found but one whole. The ordnance had not been properly tested before it was sent; "the forelocckes breakys and ryves, evyn bye chambyrs," (fn. 166) wrote Sir Arthur Darcy, so that none of them would serve. Moreover, it was well the guns had not been lost on the voyage; for the Mary Flower that carried the great ordnance sprang a leak and had to transfer her load to another ship at Yarmouth. (fn. 167)
To add to the trouble, before the Commissioners left York the Earl of Southampton fell ill, and he reached Newcastle in a litter, where he died the day after his arrival. His last moments were embittered by disappointment at not being able to serve in the expedition, and Norfolk saw himself bereft of his only experienced general except Sir Anthony Browne, the half brother of the deceased veteran. He hoped the Lord Admiral (Lord Russell), would be despatched northwards to take the command of Southampton's men. (fn. 168)
Henry had just lost the day before another devoted servant in Sir Thomas Wyatt. The King had sent him to meet a special ambassador from the Emperor, the Sieur de Courrières, who had arrived at Falmouth on the 3rd October; but he took ill upon the road and died two days later. (fn. 169) He is better known to posterity as a poet than as a diplomatist; and with all his great abilities, perhaps his admirers might wish that less still were known of his doings in the latter capacity.
As to the enterprise against Scotland we pass over some points not without interest, such as the arrival of Rosse herald at Newcastle with letters from James V., which the Scotch Ambassadors would not open till their fellow Leirmonth's return from Henry VIII. (fn. 170) The King did not follow Norfolk's advice to send Lord Russell to the North but entrusted his own brother-in-law, the Earl of Hertford, with the command of Southampton's men. (fn. 171) And Hertford joined Norfolk at Berwick late on the 21st, just in time for the invasion, which is reckoned to have begun that very day, though the army had not yet cleared the bounds of Berwick. Indeed it was to have begun on Friday, the 20th, but by another piece of ill-luck the bridge at Berwick broke with the multitude of people, and five men were drowned and a number seriously injured. Writing to the Council on the 22nd Norfolk declared that the great enterprise was not feasible for lack of victuals. The men had been compelled to drink nothing but water for four days on the march, and though they had beer on the 21st there was only enough for six days more. The Duke and the other commanders would do what they could for those six days, aye, and for three days further, even though they only drank water. (fn. 172) On the 27th they wrote from Kelso (fn. 173) that they must turn homewards. The army had been poorly fed all the way from York to Berwick. Since entering Scotland they had drunk nothing but water during five days, and they had eaten no bread since they left Newcastle four days before they came to Berwick. The commanders never thought Englishmen could endure such privations and yet be so willing to go forward. The ways were so bad that the wains broke and precious drink was lost; while guns and carriages were with difficulty brought along. The greatest march they had been able to make was only five miles in a day (which, however, must mean at least seven or eight of our statute miles). Sir Anthony Browne, nevertheless, had on the 26th ridden six miles further and burnt eleven of the best towns and villages in the Merse, destroying an immense quantity of corn; and meanwhile the camp had burned the town and abbey of Kelso "which was reckoned the Edinburgh of the Merse and Teviotdale." But in two days 19 men had died of drinking puddle-water, and from lack of victuals. Their next letters were dated from Berwick on the 29th. (fn. 174)
So after all their preparations for an invasion with overwhelming force, the English had just been able to march from Berwick to Kelso along the north side of the Tweed and return by the south side, laying waste, indeed, the richest district in the Scotch Borders, but not daring to advance any further within Scottish ground ! In eight days they were back again at the place whence they had set out. From the first news of the difficulties about transport the King was grieved that so little damage was likely to be done to the enemy after such vast expense, (fn. 175) and he did not conceal his disappointment at the actual failure. (fn. 176) With better arrangements hereafter he hoped to do what could not be effected then. Meanwhile they must lay garrisons for the winter and guard against any attempt of the Scots to revenge themselves.
We are told in Hall's Chronicle that on the fourth day of the invasion the bishop of Orkney and James Leirmonth came to the Duke, then encamped at a place called Farneton, to treat of peace, but were dismissed without a hearing. It appears this was Fernyrig, four miles north of Coldstream. (fn. 177) Leirmonth, it is clear, had just returned from Greenwich, where, after unsatisfactory interviews with the Council (for he was not allowed to see the King) he was again "remitted to the Commissioners," of whom Norfolk was the chief, (fn. 178) and so made one final effort to stay hostilities upon the Borders.
Abundant as the Border correspondence is during the next few weeks, space warns us to be brief. The devastations committed in Scotland apparently prevented immediate retaliation. (fn. 179) But Henry, though he had thought an "indiction" of war unnecessary, on the pretence that the Scots began it when they were actually suing for peace, now found it advisable, in the beginning of November, to publish a manifesto declaring his reasons for entering into it and the claim which he might put forward to the sovereignty of Scotland. (fn. 180) An attempt of the Scots to garrison Coldingham induced Hertford to order the neighbouring garrisons to collect at Berwick at night (13 Nov.) and burn the town and abbey there; (fn. 181) and this advantage was followed up three days later by the burning of places which maintained 140 ploughs. (fn. 182) English ships visited the Forth and burned Aberdour; the Scots feared that they would make a bulwark on Inchkeith. (fn. 183) Sir Thomas Wharton also gave a good account of his activity on the West Borders. (fn. 184)
James V. and Cardinal Beton both wrote to the Pope to use his influence with Christian princes to protect Scotland against unprovoked aggression. The only real cause why Henry VIII. made war upon them, they said, was that James would not join Henry in his revolt against the Holy See and take his part against his own father-in-law. Francis I. (fn. 185) And this, as regards the Pope, was equally the opinion of an English Calvinist at Constance, and of another at Strasburg, writing freely on these matters to Bullinger. (fn. 186) The Scots stood in fear of a "warden raid" to burn Jedburgh. (fn. 187) In November, James proclaimed a muster at Lauder, with a view to punish the English aggressions. (fn. 188) He detained Somerset herald and Berwick pursuivant, whom the Duke of Norfolk had just sent him with a new demand for the liberation of the prisoners of Hadden Rig. (fn. 189) But instead of attacking the East Borders from Lauder, he diverged by Melrose and Hawick to the south-west; and it did not escape the knowledge of English spies that at least one raid was in contemplation which would be upon the Solway about the rivers Esk and Leven. Indeed more precise reports presently came to hand that James was sending 9,000 men before him to invade the Grahames in the West Marches, and would not meddle with the East Marches at all. (fn. 190)
Sir Thomas Wharton, at Carlisle, was, therefore, not taken unprepared, as some historians tell us. He was fully warned (fn. 191) what to expect; and even before receiving definite information, he had heard of great assemblies in Scotland, and had written secretly on the 18th for all the gentlemen of the West Marches to be at Carlisle on the 22nd November after sunset. With these, though some failed to keep their appointment, he made next day a raid to Middlebie, which he burned, and went on burning houses and corn upon the Kirtle on his way back. (fn. 192) On the 24th the Scots came over from the Debateable Land before daybreak in numbers reckoned at 18,000, and burned the Grahames' houses upon the Esk. But Wharton at once made speed towards them with a force of no more than 3,000, sending forward border spears "to prick at them." The noblemen and gentlemen of the Scotch Army lighted off their horses, but the host durst not give battle and they mounted again. Then some of the Musgraves and Grahames turned upon the invaders, who began to withdraw "softly." Their retreat soon became a rout; and finding a moss on their left hand, and the river Esk before them, now swollen by the tide, which was low when they first crossed, (fn. 193) they tried to escape by a ford "beside Arthuret mill." Many were drowned in the attempt—ten bodies were drawn from the Esk by fisher nets three days after— twenty men were slain and 1,200 prisoners were taken, among whom were two earls, five barons, and 500 Scotch lairds and gentlemen. (fn. 194)
Of the causes of this disgraceful rout—though some, perhaps, may be found indicated in the papers of this Volume—it is not for us to speak. The result was, of course, to give Henry an enormous and unlooked for advantage in his dealings with Scotland. The English prisoners in that country were now far more than counterbalanced, both in weight and in number, by the Scotch prisoners of the Solway Moss; and Henry's designs began to take new forms, of which we defer to speak till the appearance of the next Volume of this Calendar. But the climax of Scotland's misery and of England's gain was only reached three weeks later. The night before the invasion the King of Scots had rested at Lochmaben, from which he went on to Burnswarke Hill to view the fire raised by his troops, intending, it was said, next day to cross the Solway at low water and burn the country west of Carlisle, as the first invaders, he hoped, would already have devastated the east side. After the overthrow of his army he betook himself first to Tantallon, where he had a mistress more beloved than his Queen, then approaching her lying-in at Linlithgow; but he afterwards met his Council in Edinburgh. (fn. 195) He then crossed the Forth and removed to Falkland, where he took ill on the 6th December, and died at midnight on Thursday, the 14th. (fn. 196)
It was not merely the mortification of a great defeat that preyed upon his mind. This had been followed by a most untoward event—the murder by English refugees of Somerset herald when on his way back to England with an answer from the Earl of Murray touching the deliverance of the English prisoners in Scotland. (fn. 197) Another event, which might have ministered consolation, seems to have had rather the contrary effect. His Queen gave birth to a child on the 8th, and notwithstanding premature rumors of a boy it proved to be a girl. (fn. 198) The observation that James is said to have made on the subject is well known.
The interest of the Scotch and Border correspondence during the latter half of this year, 1542, has been such as to prevent our noticing a variety of other subjects which will be found mentioned here and there in the papers of this Volume. Among these are the further progress of the war between Francis and the Emperor, the ineffectual efforts of the Pope to procure peace by sending a legate to either Prince, the consequent hopelessness, for the present, of the Council which was to have met this year at Trent, the treason of Venetian Secretaries disclosing State secrets to the French and to the Turks, the ineffective diet at Nuremberg, the war with the Turks in Hungary; and, nearer home, the submissions of Irish chieftains, and the creation of the great O'Neil as Earl of Tyrone. More purely domestic still and less political, though reflecting in its own way the character of the times, is the discussion of Sir John Cheke with Bishop Gardiner as Chancellor of Cambridge on the pronunciation of Greek. But these subjects we may leave to others who will have no difficulty in verifying the special points they are in quest of through the medium of the Index. J. G.