History of England (Froude)/Chapter 22
THE fortifications necessary for the defence of Boulogne, the garrison, the fleet, the ordnance stores, the troops at Calais, on the Scottish Border, 1545. January.and in Ireland, were reported as likely to cost, in the six months from December to May, a hundred and four thousand pounds. The second instalment of the last subsidy—which had been collected, but was not yet paid into the treasury—would yield, it was calculated, a hundred thousand; but nearly half that sum was already due for the arrears of the past year. Upwards of forty thousand more would be, therefore, in instant requisition; and the King had coined down the crown plate, and had raised the last penny which he could for the present obtain by sale or mortgage of his estates. Parliament was to have met on the 1st of February; and as the nation was placed on its mettle by the Emperor's desertion, Parliament would no doubt be liberal. But a money bill could not be carried through the Houses in less than a month; and, by general usage, five months were always allowed to elapse between the vote of a supply and the levy of the first payment. It was thought unjust, also, to press so soon for a second war tax on the body of the people; and at a moment when every nobleman and gentleman was exerting himself to the utmost in preparing his tenants for service in the ensuing summer, to bring many of them to London in the winter and the spring would distract them from their duties, and expose them to a needless expense. For these reasons the privy council decided that the meeting of Parliament should be postponed till the following autumn; and that, for immediate necessities, a benevolence should be levied exclusively from the opulent classes. Should the war continue, a subsidy might be asked for when it could be paid with less inconvenience. 'The common people,' for the current year 'should not be grieved;' and no person should be called on to contribute unless with his own consent, or unless his circumstances notoriously justified a demand upon him.
Fifty or sixty thousand pounds, it was calculated, might be raised in this way; and thus they might struggle on till May. Forty thousand more would then fall in from sales of Crown lands already effected; and the ordinary revenue might afterwards be sufficient for the summer campaign. The estimate of expenses (as usual in such cases) fell far short of the reality; but the alternative lay only between a bold bearing, at whatever cost, and a peace equivalent to a defeat. The bulk of the people had no cause to complain; and the gentlemen preferred the honour of their country to their personal convenience. The clergy, being unable to give active assistance, were expected to be the largest contributors. The Bishop of Bath—not, indeed, without some gentle pressing—yielded a thousand marks. In general the money was paid in cheerfully; and the only resistance of a demonstrative kind was offered by a few tradesmen and merchants in London. Alderman Reed objected to a demand which he considered unconstitutional. Alderman Rock was insolent to the commissioners for the collection. The latter was consigned to three months' meditation in the Fleet Prison. The former, appealing to the letter of his bond, was taken at his word. The feudal duties of his office, though commuted by long usage for money payments, bound him to render military service for a fixed period at the call of the Crown: he was ordered to the Scotch Border to join the troops under Lord Evers. With these insignificant exceptions, the Government had no cause to complain of backwardness.
Meanwhile Sir Thomas Seymour kept the seas open with the fleet, while supplies were thrown into Boulogne. The Thames and the harbours along the southern coast were crowded with prizes brought in by the adventurers. The amount of provisions which had been taken was so considerable as to affect the markets, and keep down for the present a rise of prices; and (a noticeable evidence of the temper of the time) the churches belonging to the suppressed houses of religion in London were converted into warehouses for reception of the confiscated cargoes. The Grey Friars was filled with wine; Austin Friars and Black Friars with salt herring and dried cod. Nor had the winter suspended more active hostilities. France had risen for the struggle as gallantly as her ancient rival. The shadow of English domination, which had receded to the single point of Calais, was again threatening to advance; and the French people, exhausted as they were, threw out their whole strength for the conflict. They would drive the intruders from the Continent. They would carry the war across the Channel. They would seize Thanet or the Isle of Wight. Their spies were surveying Kent and Surrey, for a possible march upon London. Before all things, and without delay, they would recover Boulogne.
On the 26th of January M. de Biez, with fourteen thousand men, encamped opposite the town, across the river, and commenced throwing up works to command the entrance of the harbour. The site which he designed for the fort was by the sand-hills, close to the sea; and could he have succeeded in establishing himself there, he could have sunk any vessel which attempted to pass, and the fall of the place would have been inevitable. But the English engineers had been too quick for him: a chain of works had been extended along the ridge which follows the north bank of the river, from the citadel to the mouth. At the extremity, where a pillar stood which was called 'the Old Man,' batteries, heavily armed, commanded the southern shore, and from their elevated situation could search the French trenches. M. de Biez was compelled to take a position, comparatively useless, in front of Boulogne itself. Here for ten days he was allowed to remain disturbed; but the number of the garrison had now been raised to seven thousand—the choicest soldiers which England could supply; and Lord Hertford was in command, whose ability as a general was as remarkable as his weakness as a statesman. Feb. 6.Waiting for a favourable tide, they stole across the water two hours before daybreak on the 6th of February, and flung themselves in the darkness on the French camp. The surprise was complete, and caused a panic, instant and irredeemable. Tents, stores, artillery, were left to their fate; the whole army thought only of saving their lives, and fled towards Mottreul, being chased as far as Hardelot sands by a reserve of English cavalry, who, returning at their leisure, swept the supplies of the country before them within the lines of Boulogne.
This brilliant exploit was a fair commencement of the year. The lustre of it was clouded by a disaster which followed shortly after in Scotland. The sack of Edinburgh and the havoc on the Borders had been intended for a punishment; but the effect, so far from being salutary, had only been to exasperate. The Government was strengthened everywhere by an effervescence of patriotism; the Earl of Lennox had been forced to take refuge with Henry, who rewarded his services with the hand of Lady Margaret Douglas.
Lord Evers continued through the winter his desolating inroads; and the numbers and condition of his troops were maintained on so high a scale, that the Scots could neither retaliate nor effectually check them. Jedburgh and Kelso were again ravaged. Coldingham was taken and fortified, and an English garrison was left in possession; and though Arran attempted to recover it by assault, he failed disgracefully: except for the energy of Angus, whose patriotism was stronger than his promises to Henry, he would have left his guns under the walls to the enemy. Yet these misadventures added only to the hatred of the people without exciting their fears. The rumour had gone abroad of the menace of the annexation. Evers and Sir Brian Layton, it was said, had promised to conquer the whole country south of the Forth. Imagination had added that the land was to be desolated, 'the noblemen to be made into shepherds,' or else the population—man, woman, and child—to be exterminated. Encouraged by the despair which these stories provoked, by the promise of assistance from France, and the expectation of a war between England and the Empire, the Scots determined that they would never yield while a sword remained unbroken or an arm was left to strike a blow. The Douglases continued to correspond with Henry and affect a goodwill; but the King judged their intentions from their actions rather than their words; and the Wardens of the Marches, who had spared their estates so long as they were believed to be on the English side, had in the late inroads involved them in the general ruin.
The Scots could not bring a power into the field to meet their enemies openly; but stratagem might, perhaps, balance the inequality of force. High words passed in the middle of February between Evers and Sir George Douglas, on account of the rigorous execution of the last orders. A few days later a party of Scots, pretending to be confederates with the English, brought information to Berwick that the Regent was lying with a small force at Melrose, and might be surprised. Feb. 25.Evers started to seize him, with from four to five thousand men. on the 25th of February. The Regent retired as he advanced. Evers took possession of the abbey, and, either disappointed of expected assistance from the Earl of Angus, or hearing that he was with the Regent, he allowed his irritation to provoke him into an act of gratuitous barbarism. The princely ancestors of the Earl, for centuries the arbiters of Scotland, slept in the aisles of Melrose Abbey. Evers insulted the waning greatness of an almost imperial family, by desecrating their tombs. Feb. 26.He then turned in pursuit of the Regent, who hovered at a distance, and would not allow himself to be overtaken; and the English, after an ineffectual chase for a day and a night, at length gave up the enterprise, Feb. 27.and on the morning of the 27th were returning from Melrose to Jedburgh, across Ancram Muir. They were weary with a long march. The Scots, though they did not know it, were before and behind them; and at this time, whatever may have been their previous intentions, the Douglases were with the Regent. The first body of the enemy which the English saw they rushed upon with careless eagerness; but a high wind and a violent dust threw them into disorder. Angus shouted to Arran, 'Thou art suspected to be a coward, and I to be a traitor: if thou wouldst purge thyself of slander, let deeds, not painted speeches, now make your apology.' A heron rose out of the moor as they charged upon the shaken ranks of the invaders. 'I would my good goss-hawk were here,' he cried; 'we should all yoke together.' The English stood their ground for a time; but they were surprised in an ambuscade, and found themselves attacked on all sides by enemies, who appeared to have arisen out of the morasses. They wavered, broke, and fled in utter disorder, leaving their commanders to their fate.
English gentlemen, in early ages as well as late, seem to have known how to behave on such occasions. Evers, Layton, Lord Ogle, and a hundred more, 'most of them persons of quality,' were killed; a thousand prisoners—among them the recalcitrant alderman of London—paid for their cowardice by the ransom which was wrung from them. The victory had been won by Angus, in a not unjust revenge. But he remained, or pretended to remain, true to a cause with which he refused to identify the English commander. His friends condescended to apologize for his conduct, as forced upon him; and the Earl himself, if the words which he was said to have used, when threatened with the anger of Henry, were truly ascribed to him, implied that he had rather been provoked by an affront, than become false to his general policy. 'Is our good brother offended,' he exclaimed, 'that I am a good Scotchman; that I revenged on Ralph Evers the abusing of the tombs of my forefathers at Melrose? They were more honourable men than he; and I ought to have done no less. Will King Henry for that have my life? Little knows he the skirts of Keriietable. I will keep myself there from the whole English army.' Young Leslie, the Master of Rothes, one of the party who had volunteered to kill Beton, was also in the battle, and, after Angus, contributed most to the victory of the Scots. If conciliation had failed to gain the body of the people, chastisement seemed to have alienated the few who were well inclined.
Ancram Muir was almost the last success which the Scots gained. The substantial advantage was nothing. The English army was increased to thirty thousand men; and fresh devastations, to which no resistance could be attempted, avenged the defeat. One small party from Carlisle was cut off on the West Marches, and then the heavy hand of Hertford was again laid on Scotland.
Abroad, however, the consequences might have been more serious. The exulting eagerness of the Catholics magnified a skirmish into a battle, and the destruction of a marauding division into a lost campaign. The strength of England was said to be broken; and even the cautious Emperor was encouraged further in the belief, of which he had already given evidence, that he might himself venture into the lists. A secret correspondence commenced between Charles, Cardinal Pole, and the Papal faction in the Scottish Government; and that from the Empire a serious danger was threatened, the English Government had too much reason to fear. The nice point of the right of neutrals in time of war, which had been raised by the seizure of the Flemish ships, might have been settled by an amicable conference. The treaty of 1543, foreseeing possible differences between the two Governments, had prescribed an especial method of dealing with any disputes which might arise. But Charles had evidently no desire for a settlement. The treaty prohibited reprisals. On the 6th of January the English subjects in the Low Countries had been arrested, their property was sequestered, their ships were seized, and an Imperial edict explained so violent a measure as a retaliation for the outrage committed by the English privateers. The impression in Antwerp was, that a declaration of war would immediately follow. There was a panic upon the Bourse; and the large population which depended for their living on the manufacture of English wool expected immediate ruin. The case was a difficult one. It was agreed on both sides that 'munitions of war' were liable to seizure; but were provisions landed upon a coast where an army was in the field comprehended under that designation? Moreover, among the cargoes there were goods definitely the property of French owners. Could an enemy trade securely under a neutral flag? Henry, in default of a public law to guide him, had directed that goods which could be proved to be French should be retained as a lawful prize; that the provisions should be sold in England, and the price should be paid over to the Flemish owners; that the ships, with their remaining contents, should at once be restored. There was a common-sense propriety in this decision which Charles ought to have recognized; but he chose to have a verdict more absolute in his subjects' favour. To supply food to a fleet or camp might be illicit, he said, but not to send it into a district where it might possibly be taken up by military or naval contractors. The sale in England did not satisfy him, because in France the scarcity created by the war had enhanced prices enormously, while across the Channel they were at their ordinary level. He insisted on complete redress; and, until it was conceded, he declared his fixed intention of maintaining the arrests.
Prudence obliged the King to disguise his displeasure. He wrote to the Emperor, saying that 'he was much grieved by his strange and unkind demeanour.' The privy council instructed Wotton to add that, if the English ships, with their crews and owners, were detained, they could not suppose that the alleged cause was the real cause. 'You shall pray them to be plain,' the letter ran, 'and dissimulate the matter no longer; for their plain dealing his Majesty will accept, in some part of friendship.' The Venetians complained that the Emperor had betrayed them; the French, 'in times past,' declared that his word was not to be relied upon; the Germans did not trust him; and his conduct had even perplexed the Pope. For themselves, 'they hoped that there would be no new cause invented to make a quarrel with England;' 'whereunto,' they added, 'his Majesty considers whosoever would go about to provoke the Emperor, regarding only the present visage of things, should, if he cast his eye to the sequel, hereafter see more hurt than benefit ensue, both to the Emperor and also to his posterity.'
Wotton gave the message; but it bore no fruits. The Emperor was courteous in manner; but he refused to explain himself or recall his edict. He would not say that he required his subjects to be allowed unrestricted liberty of trade; he would not say that he did not. He was simply obstinate and immoveable, as if he desired a rupture, and meant to compel the English to commence.
In the presence of the new danger the negotiations with the Germans were not allowed to languish. On the Feb. 12.12th of February the King directed his agents to repair to the Landgrave, and warn him of the evident combination of the Catholic powers, and the necessity of a rapid combination to oppose them. The best and only enduring security would be a general league among the anti-Papal powers, cemented by common articles of belief. But circumstances were pressing, and such a league would be a work of time. In the interval, the Landgrave, the King of Denmark, the Duke of Holstein, the free towns, and himself might unite in a political combination, offensive and defensive. When this preliminary measure was effected, commissioners might meet with despatch and secrecy, and draw the terms of the larger confederacy. The minor difficulties which had caused a first failure need not occasion a second. As he had before urged, they had one common enemy, the Pope—one common object, the abolition of idolatry, the spread of the knowledge of the Bible, and the glory of God. With so broad a foundation of amity, disputes on the details of doctrine might surely be composed, 'either party,' as he once more said, 'relenting from extremities, and framing themselves to a godly indifferency and moderation.'
The advances having been commenced by the Landgrave, the prospect of success appeared to be favourable; but the Landgrave would take no positive step without the advice and consent of the Elector; and the Elector, the brother-in-law of the Duke of Cleves, could not bring himself to regard Henry with anything but incurable dislike. He had yielded twice to the apparent necessity of union; once in 1538, when the Lutheran divines visited England; again when the marriage with a Protestant princess promised a renewal of cordiality. On each of these occasions the result had been a failure, for which England was more in fault than Germany; and the second disappointment had been accompanied with scandal and affront. To another effort he may not be censured for having refused to consent. He closed his eyes to the obvious intentions of the Emperor, He could pardon him his treachery to England while he believed him faithful to his promises to the Diet; and, although the more far-seeing among the Lutheran statesmen deplored his unseasonable prejudice, they could prevail only so far as to prevent an absolute rejection of the English offers, and to postpone a final answer till their approaching assembly at Worms.
England was thus left to her own strength. It was well that she would not be taken unprepared. The abbey lands had been melted into cannon; the swords and lances stood ready in the castle halls; the longbow leant against the wall of the peasant's cottage and the sheaf of arrows hung above the chimney. Charles, if he so pleased, might use his opportunity; and it might prove less favourable than his hopes represented it. At all events, Henry would not tolerate the injuries of English subjects; the Emperor had sent no answer to his letter, and Wotton could not discover his intentions; the task of dealing with him was entrusted to the dexterous and fearless Paget; and the King with his owu hand instructed the ambassador in the terms which he was to use in detailing the injuries of which England complained. 'If the Emperor,' he continued, 'shall still fodder us forth with fair words, keeping, nevertheless, the goods under arrest, we cannot think that he dealeth friendly with us, but rather that he intendeth to break; which if he mind to do—well—we must bear it as we may. God, that hath known our meaning since our entry into the treaty, will judge between us and him, and give us force to withstand the malice of all our enemies. At the least, if he will needs break, you shall require him to deal with us like a prince of honour, and to give order, as we will for our part, that the subjects on both parts may have a reasonable time to depart with their goods, as hath always been accustomed between princes in semblable cases. We trust he will not be found faulty in that point, that not long ago he laid to other men's charge. When the French King, contrary to his saying that he intended no such thing, suddenly brake with him, he blamed his honour much, which mote, we trust, our good brother will eschew.'
Paget as little as any one understood the Emperor's conduct; but he was the person most likely to discover the meaning of it. If ordinary inquiry was baffled, he possessed an art of high-bred insolence, which generally exasperated the best-trained dissemblers into momentary openness. Charles knew him well; and if he had chosen a minister from the English council whom he would have desired not to receive, it was Sir William Paget. He could not refuse him an audience, however, and the conversation commenced with the secretary playing over as a prelude the articles of the treaty with England, and of the Peace of Crêpy. The Emperor, as usual, attempted to 'scold the matter out.' Paget alluded to the contingent under Sir John Wallop, which had been sent to the Netherlands in 1543, and then spoke of the attack on Guisnes, the analogous request which had been made for assistance, and the refusal.
'The French King,' he said, 'invading any one of you, is enemy to both by the treaty. Your Majesty cannot avoid that.'
The Emperor 'was put to the bay;' he 'began to study.' 'You press me with the treaty,' he presently said, 'and you tell me you had respect to my necessity. It was your not going forward according to your treaty that drove me to do as I did.'
The agreement, Paget replied, was selon la raison de la guerre, as the Emperor well knew. Both armies had, in fact, acted in the same manner; neither could go forward, leaving fortified towns in their rear.
'Well,' Charles said, 'I know by the treaty what he should have done.'
'And so do I,' said Paget, 'for I was at the making of the treaty, and,, by your favour, Sire, I know the meaning of all them that were at the making of it.'
'And I understand French,' rejoined Charles, 'as well as another; and there is no more in this matter but I and my council interpret the treaty one way, and the King my brother interprets it in another way.'
'The treaty,' the ambassador answered, 'is plain enough, and should have none other interpretation than the words bear. You may take it as it shall please you, and there is no other judge between you two but honour here and God above.'
He waived the hopeless dispute, and turned to the arrest. What was the meaning of it? he asked. What could 'the French, their mortal enemies,' do worse? Sharp words passed and repassed. The Emperor equivocated: he spoke of merchandise, as well as provisions, captured and appropriated. Paget had his proofs ready that the merchandise which had been detained belonged to French owners; that the ships and their other contents had been restored. Charles said he did not know that there had been a restitution. The English minister assured him quietly that he had forgotten himself, since he had seen with his own eyes a letter from the Spanish ambassador to the Emperor, in which the fact was explicitly mentioned. Again Charles shifted his ground. 'There must be satisfaction for the future,' he said; he must have security that his subjects should not be molested any more in their trade with France.
'In France, Sire,' Paget replied, 'your subjects may sell nothing, nor yet have any traffic thither, if you do according to your treaty, which, if it shall like you to observe, then the point you speak of is provided. Either there is a treaty or there is none. If there is none, it is another matter; if there is, let it be observed.'
'Keep the treaty!' the Emperor cried. 'I would other men had kept it with me as I have kept it with them, and then this needed not to have been. My good brother looketh to be superior over me in all things, and that I may not endure. It is not for mine honour. He began first with me, or else it should have been long ere I should have begun with him. I would be glad to do him all the friendship and pleasure that I could, and to have his love and friendship. I have been glad to seek it almost on my knees.'
He began to complain of his gout, and desired the discussion to be brought to an end. 'I conclude, then,' Paget said, 'that I am to take for an answer that, until everything is done in England which your subjects require, every demand paid, reasonable and unreasonable, and an order taken that your subjects may traffic with France at their liberty, you intend to keep the English merchants prisoners, and their property under arrest.'
The word 'prisoners' sounded harshly. The Emperor winced a little, and muttered that the arrest of 'the persons' might have been hasty, and his council would see about it. More he could not say, nor at the moment would his illness allow him. He rose, and left the room.
So closed the first interview, which Paget said he 'liked never a deal.' The merchants would probably be allowed to depart. Their property, he had ascertained, was not more than equal to the aggregate debts of the English residents in the Low Countries; so that, except in the stoppage of their trade, they would not seriously suffer; but as to his ulterior object, Charles had baffled him.
March.A week later, M. Scory, president of the Flemish council, furnished some clue. They had heard, he said, that the English people were so exasperated by the Peace of Crêpy, and the King spoke so indignantly of the Emperor, that when the ships which were going to France were seized they expected England would declare war against them, and they made the arrest 'to be sure of a good pawn.' 'You may see,' Paget said, in reply, 'what an evil conscience doth; there was no such thing meant on our behalf.' But he felt that there was a mystery below which he had not penetrated; and Charles, it is more than likely, was waiting for the result of the war, and was fomenting a dispute which could be converted into a quarrel, if England should materially suffer in the approaching struggle. March passed on. The ships were not released; but no further act of hostility was committed. The English residents were allowed to leave the country; and to Paget himself the Imperial ministers remained outwardly smooth, profuse in soft words, insisting that the Emperor wished nothing but good to Henry; that he would mediate with France; that, if his mediation was not accepted, he would even threaten to re-open the war, provided it was understood by England that the threat would not be acted on. But this was not reassuring. He felt that he was resting on a field of treacherous ice; and in a mood of characteristic melancholy he poured out his feelings in cipher to his friend Sir William Petre:—
'What care they if what they do make for their purpose? All is one. Nusquam tuta fides. Dissimulation, vanity, flattery, unshamefastness reign most here, and with the same they must be rencontred. There is no remedy as the world goeth now. Surely, Master Petre, you will not believe how this their proceeding with the King's Majesty grieveth me. But what remedy! By my troth none, but wink at it for the time, and dissemble. I intend, if I can, to speak with the Emperor, with whom I intend, with just consideration of the persons both of him and the King's Majesty, to tell so plain a tale as peradventure was never told him, and yet so reverently as he shall think I mind but to tell the truth to him. I am weary of being here; and I wish, without the offence of his Majesty, that I had never come hither.'
In the particular occasion of dispute, since the Emperor was obstinate, Henry partially gave way. The condition for the release was the concession of liberty of traffic of all kinds between the ports of France and the Netherlands; and the King, stipulating only that ships belonging to the Low Countries entering French harbours should not be appropriated for purposes of war, consented, till a joint commission should have discussed and settled the general question. April 6.The necessary edicts were then issued, the English trade was renewed, and Charles again affected to be anxious for the success of 'his allies' in the war.
While this angry interlude was in progress, the German Diet was opened by Ferdinand at Worms; and simultaneously the cardinals began to assemble at Trent. The council so long talked of, so loudly clamoured for, so angrily deprecated, to which for years Western Christendom had been looking with hope or fear, was at last to become a fact. The dream had lingered long of a free assembly, summoned by the princes, as the exponent of the intellect of Europe. The Germans, duped by the Edicts of Speyer, had persevered, in spite of warnings from England, in nourishing the pleasant vision; and now the thing which they had so pertinaciously demanded was come. From, the opening-speech, of the King of the Romans the Diet learnt, for the first time, that the religious differences of Europe would be referred to a synod of bishops, who were assembling at the invitation of the Holy Father of Christendom; and Luther, in bitter scorn, sketched before their dull eyes the image of their infatuation. The King of England, whose refusal to recognize any council called in the name of the Pope, had long been intimated, saw only his anticipations confirmed, and was prepared to deal substantially with the contingency.
Among the strange phenomena of the times none is more remarkable than the popularity of Henry VIII. among the younger Italians. The closer the acquaintance with the Papacy, the greater was the respect for the prince who had dared to take the spectre by the throat; so deeply the feeling had penetrated, that Paul found it prudent to assist Francis in the war with money rather than men, lest the contingent which he had promised should desert to the English; and Henry, though pressed on so many sides, found leisure to avail himself of the goodwill of his friends in their own country. Ludovico de l'Armi, a Venetian nobleman, raised a corps of free-lances for the English service, who, hovering on the skirts of the territory of the Republic, fluttered the dovecotes of the right-reverend legislators. Reginald Pole, in mere terror of being clutched and carried off to England, durst not adventure to join them till the Pope applied to De l'Armi for a passport. The passport was refused; he was forced to steal to the meeting-place of the cardinals in disguise; and even when arrived within the walls of Trent, he was still insecure, and lived only 'in incredible and continual fear.'
The Germans, too, were stirred by the announcement of Ferdinand into unusual vitality. The Diet replied to his address with a protest which was doubtfully received; and the Landgrave, released for the moment from the influence of the Elector, once more consulted the English, agents. He told them that, if the King continued to wish for the league, he would do his best to 'travel in it;' and, 'wishing only that he had done so when they were last with him,' they undertook to re-open the negotiations. May.The Landgrave consulted the representatives of the other Protestant States; and if the undisguised exultation of the Romanists could have assisted them to a resolution, the alliance would rapidly have been concluded. The Emperor appeared at the Diet in the beginning of May, accompanied by Cardinal Farnese. Events were not yet in train for a demonstration of open hostility to the Reformation, and he attempted to resume his usual plausible disguise; when a hot Franciscan, the Sunday after his arrival, betrayed the truth in an impatient sermon. Charles, Ferdinand, Farnese, and Granvelle were present in the church. The preacher, after sketching the character of the Lutherans with the diabolical features ascribed to them in the orthodox imagination, wound up with a passionate peroration urging their destruction. 'Now, O Emperor!' he exclaimed, directly addressing Charles, 'now is the time to fulfil your duty; enough of trifling, enough of loitering on the way; long ago you should have done the work: God has blessed you with power; He has raised you on high to be the defender of his Church. Up, then! Call out your armies! Smite and destroy the accursed generation; it is a crime to endure longer these venomous wretches crawling in the sunshine, and venting their poison over all things. Say not that you will do it hereafter; now is the time, do it now; each day new thousands of souls are in peril of damnation through the madness of these men, and of you the account will be demanded.'
Since the preacher was neither arrested nor punished, the reality of danger penetrated the densest understanding. Farnese, in fear of being murdered, stole away on a stormy night, disguised as a servant; and the Landgrave became more eager and energetic than ever. But his efforts, unhappily, were still in vain; the Elector continued obstinate; the majority of the Smalcaldic League—considering, not without truth, that Henry had only sought their friendship hitherto when despairing of the Emperor—had accustomed themselves to look for support, if Charles should attack them, rather to France than to England. The preference, in fact, was not confined to the princes, but extended to the people. Both Francis and Henry desired to recruit among the Lanzknechts for the war. Francis was embarrassed by the numbers who offered him their services, and his German legions were among the most faithful of his troops. Henry found only false promises, broken engagements, mutiny, and desertion.
Thus, between the soothing duplicity of the Emperor and a false reliance upon France, the German Protestants allowed the scheme to die away into an offer to be mediators in a peace, and into conditions of alliance to which Henry could not listen. After two months' deliberation, they replied that they could pledge themselves to nothing. It was possible only that they might consider the King of England's offers, if he on his side would bind himself to assist them, should they be attacked on a pretext of religion, and would deposit 200,000 crowns as caution-money with the senate of Hamburg, which, in case of necessity, they might appropriate.
Two years later the princes of the League could better estimate the relative importance of the alliance to England and to themselves. In fact, perhaps, the attitude of all the powers, Catholic or Protestant, in Europe towards this country depended on the issue of the struggle which the opening summer would bring with it. France was known to be straining every nerve to bring her old rival on her knees. Men, ships, and money were collected with unheard-of profusion; and the French themselves were so confident of success, that other nations shared inevitably, to some extent, the same expectations. The siege of Boulogne had not been pressed. The intention was to collect a fleet so large as absolutely to command the Channel. The occupation of the Isle of Wight—a more feasible enterprise than the march on London—would be the prelude of an attack on Portsmouth and the destruction of the fleet; and in the same stroke which crippled their naval power, the English would lose not Boulogne only, but their last hold upon the French soil. Montgomery, with five thousand men, was sent into Scotland to defend the Borders. The whole available strength of France remaining was collected at the mouth of the Seine. A hundred and fifty ships of war and twenty-five galleys, which had dared the dangers of the Bay of Biscay, and had come round from Marseilles, were to form the convoy of sixty transports, and sixty thousand men. William the Norman had brought as large a force with him, but his fleet was nothing. The Spanish Armada was as powerful on the sea, but the troops intended for land-service scarce amounted to half the army of Francis. The aim of the expedition was successfully concealed. Rumour pointed alternately to Scotland or the western counties, to Kent or Sussex, to the Humber, the Thames, or the Solent; June.and the English Government, to be prepared on all sides, had a hundred and twenty thousand men in the field throughout the summer. Thirty thousand, under Hertford, guarded the Marches of Northumberland; the Duke of Norfolk in Lincolnshire and Suffolk, Lord Russell in the West, were each in command of an equal force; while the Duke of Suffolk, with the fourth division, held Sussex, Kent, and Hampshire, and was prepared, if necessary, to cross the Channel. The garrisons at Calais, Guisnes, and Boulogne were, at the lowest, fifteen thousand strong. The new fortresses along the coasts were largely manned. The number of English soldiers in receipt of pay fell scarcely short of a hundred and forty thousand, in addition to German contingents perpetually raised and perpetually useless, and the small but effective company of Italians under De l'Armi.
On the sea, also, the returns were tolerably satisfactory. The ships, indeed, in commission, belonging to the Crown, did not exceed sixty; but several were larger than the largest of the French, and all were more efficiently manned. The 'Great Harry,' a ship of a thousand tons, with a crew of seven hundred, carried Lord Lisle's flag. The 'Venetian,' with the flag of Sir Peter Carew, was seven hundred tons; her crew four hundred and fifty. The rest were rather smaller, although they passed at the time as vessels of first-class power. In collective force, nevertheless, the enemy had the advantage. The whole number of sailors in the fleet at the beginning of June amounted only to twelve thousand.
The royal squadron, however, properly so called, formed but a small part of the naval strength of England. The sea-going population had not thought it necessary to discontinue their ordinary occupations; the Iceland and Ireland fishing-fleets sailed as usual in May; but there remained a number of vessels, of various sizes, belonging to Falmouth, Truro, Fowey, Plymouth, Dartmouth, Dittisham, Totness, Poole, Rye, Bristol, and other places, which through the winter had been out as privateers; and, having gorged themselves with plunder, were called in, as the time of danger approached, to join the lord admiral at Spithead. The two services had absorbed between them the effective male inhabitants of the coast towns. There was a fear that the home fisheries would be neglected, and an important item in the food of the people might fall short. But this anxiety was found unnecessary. The wives and daughters of the absent sailors along the western shores, the mothers of the hardy generation who sailed with Drake round the world, and explored with Davis the Polar Ocean, undertook this portion of their husbands' labours. 'The women of the fishers' towns,' wrote Lord Russell, 'eight or nine of them, with but one boy or one man with them, adventure to sail a-fishing sixteen or twenty miles to sea, and are sometimes chased home by the Frenchmen.'
A greater difficulty was occasioned by the multitude of prisoners who had been brought in by the privateers, and could neither be efficiently kept, for want of men to guard them, nor could be allowed to escape without danger. Minor perils, however, could and must be overlooked. The whole serviceable fleet remaining in the English waters was collected by the end of June at Portsmouth—in all a hundred sail and sixteen thousand hands.
In England itself party animosities were for the time forgotten. The counties vied with each other in demonstrations of loyalty. The Duke of Norfolk, after a general survey of England, reported that ' he found both gentlemen and all others very well minded to resist the enemy if they should land—the most part saying, 'My lord, if they come, for God's sake bring us between the sea and them.'' The martial ardour had even penetrated to the highest places of the order who were generally exempt from military service: the Archbishop of Canterbury desired to have a battery of light artillery placed at his disposal for the defence of the coast of Kent. But the best blood of England, if we may judge by the list of names, was seeking in preference the more novel glory which might be earned in the fleet. Berkeleys, Carews, Courtenays, St Clairs, Chichesters, Clintons, Cheyneys, Russells, Dudleys, Seymours, Willoughbys, Tyrrells, Stukeleys, were either in command of the King's ships or of privateers equipped by themselves. For the first time in her history England possessed a navy which deserved the name; and in the motley crowd of vessels which covered the anchorage at Spithead, was the germ of the power which in time was to rule the seas.
The westerly gales, which had continued into the summer, delayed the opening of active operations. One only enterprise was projected by Lord Lisle in an interval of fair weather: he proposed to convert thirty merchantmen, which had been brought to the Downs as prizes, into fire-ships, and to send them in with the tide upon the enemy's anchorage at Havre. The prizes designed for this purpose escaped in a storm; but Lisle, not choosing to be disappointed, sailed without them, and ventured himself into the Seine, within shot of the French. The galleys came out to skirmish, but the weather became again dangerous; and the admiral, as much in fear of a lee shore as of the enemy, returned to Portsmouth.
July.At last with July came the summer, bringing with it its calms and heat; and the great armament, commanded by D'Annebault in person, sailed for England. A few straggling ships, in search of plunder, or to mislead the English, made a first attempt to effect a landing at Brighton; but the beacons were fired, the country rose j and the few companies who were on shore were driven back before they had effected more than trifling injury. The main body, which they soon rejoined, had held their course direct to the Solent.
July 18.The King was at Portsmouth, having gone down to review the fleet, when, on the 18th of July, two hundred sail were reported at the back of the Isle of Wight. The entire force of the enemy, which had been collected, had been safely transported across the Channel. With boats feeling the way in front with sounding-lines, they rounded St Helen's Point, and took up their position in a line which extended from Brading Harbour almost to Hyde. In the light evening breeze, fourteen English ships stood across to reconnoitre; D'Annebault came to meet them with, the galleys, and there was some distant firing; but there was no intention of an engagement on either side. The English withdrew, and night closed in.
July 19.The morning which followed was breathlessly calm. Lisle's fleet lay all inside in the Spit, the heavy sails hanging motionless on the yards, the smoke from the chimneys of the cottages on shore rising in blue columns straight up into the air. It was a morning beautiful with the beauty of an English summer and an English sea. But for the work before him, Lord Lisle would have gladly heard the west wind whistling among his shrouds; at this time he had not a galley to oppose to the five-and-twenty which D'Annebault had brought with him; and in such weather the galleys had all the advantages of the modern gunboats. From the single long gun which each of them carried in the bow they poured shot for an hour into the tall stationary hulls of the line-of-battle ships; and keeping in constant motion, they were themselves in perfect security. According to the French account of the action, the 'Great Harry' suffered so severely as almost to be sunk at her anchorage; and had the calm continued, they believed that they could have destroyed the entire fleet. As the morning drew on, however, the off-shore breeze sprung up suddenly; the large ships began to glide through the water; a number of frigates—long, narrow vessels—so swift, the French said, that they could outsail their fastest shallops—came out with 'incredible swiftness;' and the fortune of the day was changed. The enemy were afraid to turn, lest they should be run over; if they attempted to escape into the wind, they would be cut off from their own fleet. The main line advanced barely in time to save them; and the English, whose object was to draw the enemy into action under the guns of their own fortresses and among the shoals at the Spit, retired to their old ground. The loss on both sides had been insignificant; but the occasion was rendered memorable by a misfortune. The 'Mary Rose,' a ship of six hundred tons, and one of the finest in the navy, was among the vessels engaged with the galleys. She was commanded by Sir Greorge Carew, and manned with a crew who were said, all of them, to be fitter, in their own conceit, to order than obey, and to be incompetent for ordinary work. The ports were open for action, the guns were run out, and, in consequence of the calm, had been imperfectly secured. The breeze rising suddenly, and the vessel heeling slightly over, the windward tier slipped across the deck, and, as she yielded further to the weight, the lee ports were depressed below the water-line, the ship instantly filled, and carried down with her every soul who was on board. Almost at the same moment the French treasure-ship, 'La Maîtresse,' was also reported to be sinking. She had been strained at sea, and the shock of her own cannon completed the mischief. There was but just time to save her crew and remove the money chest, when she too was disabled. She was towed to the mouth of Brading Harbour and left on the shore.
These inglorious casualties were a feeble result of the meeting of the two largest navies which had encountered each other for centuries. The day had as yet lost but a few hours, and D'Annebault hearing that the King was a spectator of the scene, believed that he might taunt him out of his caution by landing troops in the island. The sight of the enemy taking possession of English territory, and the blaze of English villages, scarcely two cannon-shot distance from him, would provoke his patience, and the fleet would again advance. Detachments were set on shore at three different points, which in Du Bellay's description are not easy to recognize. Pierre Strozzi, an Italian, attacked a fort, perhaps near Sea View, which had annoyed the galleys in the morning. The garrison abandoned it as he approached, and it was destroyed. M. de Thais, landing without resistance, advanced into the island to reconnoitre. He went forward till he had entangled his party in a glen surrounded by thickets; and here he was checked by a shower of arrows from invisible hands. The English, few in number, but on their own ground hovered about him, giving way when they were attacked, but hanging on his skirts, and pouring death into his ranks from their silent bows, till prudence warned him to withdraw to the open sands. The third detachment was the most considerable; it was composed of picked men, and was led by two of the most distinguished commanders of the galleys. These must have landed close to Bembridge. They were no sooner on shore than they were charged by a body of cavalry, There was sharp fighting; and the soldiers in the nearest ships, excited at the spectacle of the skirmish and the rattle of the carbines, became unmanageable, seized the boats, and went off, without their officers, to join. The English being now out-numbered, withdrew; the French straggled after them in loose order, till they came out upon the downs sloping up towards the Culver Cliffs; and here, being scattered in twos and threes, they were again charged with fatal effect. Many were cut in pieces; the rest fled, the English pursuing and sabreing them down to the shore; and but few would have escaped, but that the disaster was perceived from the fleet; large masses of men were sent in, under shelter of the guns, to relieve the fugitives; and the English, being badly pressed in return, drew off, still fighting as they retreated, till they reached a stream, which they crossed, and broke the bridge behind them.
It was by this time evening; and the day had produced little except remarkable evidence of incapacity in the French commanders. July 20.In the morning a council of war was held. The English fleet, to avoid exposing themselves a second time to the attacks of the galleys, had withdrawn into the harbour or under the shore; and D'Annebault, confident in numbers and French daring, proposed, since they would not venture out, to go in and attack them where they lay, and, if possible, carry Portsmouth. The crews, brave as lions, desired nothing better. The pilots, when consulted, declared the enterprise impracticable. In order to reach the enemy, they would have to advance up a channel which only four ships could pass abreast. They must take the flow of the tide; and the current was so violent that, if any misadventure befell the first which entered, the whole line would nevertheless be obliged to follow, and they would all be crushed together in confusion. The admiral disbelieved in difficulties. He thought they might anchor and bombard the town. But their cables, the pilots declared, would not be strong enough to bring them up, at the rate at which they would be going; or they might be cut; or the eddies, perpetually shifting the position of the ships, would lay them open to be swept by the English batteries. Imagining that the reluctance might arise from cowardice, D'Annebault, as soon as night fell, sent in boats with muffled oars, to try the soundings and measure the passage into the harbour. They returned with more than a confirmation of the unfavourable reports. A single ship, they stated, could only enter in experienced hands; and they had found the approaches so full of shoals and hidden sand-bars, that, for a fleet to advance in the face of an enemy was, as the pilots said, an impossibility.
It remained, therefore, to decide whether the army should land in force upon the island, and drive the English out of it, as they might easily do. They had brought with them seven thousand pioneers, who could throw up fortresses rapidly at Newport, Cowes, St Helen's, and elsewhere; and they could leave garrisons strong enough to maintain their ground against any force which the English would be able to bring against them. They would thus hold in their hands a security for Boulogne; and as the English did not dare to face their fleet in the open water, they might convert their tenure into a permanence.
This was the course which they were intended to pursue; and it was the course which, in the opinion of Du Bellay, one of the ablest generals in France, they indisputably ought to have pursued. In neglecting it he considered that an opportunity was wasted, the loss of which his confidence in Providence and in the destinies of France alone enabled him to forgive.
D'Annebault, however, had received discretionary powers; and, for some unknown reason, he determined to try his fortune elsewhere. After three days of barren demonstration, the fleet weighed anchor and sailed. His misfortunes in the Isle of Wight were not yet over. The ships were in want of fresh water; and on leaving St Helen's he went round into Shanklin July 21.Bay, where he sent his boats to fill their casks at the rivulet which runs down the Chine. The stream was small, the task was tedious, and the Chevalier d'Eulx, who, with a few companies, was appointed to guard the watering parties, seeing no signs of danger, wandered inland, attended by some of his men, to the top of the high down adjoining. The English, who had been engaged with the other detachments two days before, had kept on the hills, watching the motions of the fleet. The Chevalier was caught in an ambuscade, and, after defending himself like a hero, he was killed, with most of his followers. Persecuted by small misadventures, the fleet now dropped across the opening of the Solent; the weather threatened to change; there were signs of a wind from the westward; but, uncertain of their movements, they lay for two nights between Selsea Bill and the mouth of Chichester harbour.
It was now Lord Lisle's turn to act on the offensive. In calms and light airs the French galleys had an advantage over him; in a strong breeze the galleys were useless; and the massive and ably-manned English ships might compensate, with their size and the weight of metal which they carried, for their inferiority in numbers. The enemy was anchored on a lee shore. The same evening the English admiral sent in a boat from the 'Great Harry,' with the following note to the King:—
'It may please your Highness to understand that I do perceive, by my Lord of Surrey, it is your Majesty's pleasure that I should declare unto you by writing the effect of a certain purpose which, by occasion of a little gale of wind that we had for a while yesternight, came in my mind, which is after this sort:—In case the same gale of wind had grown to be stable, being then at plank west, and had blown to a course and a bonnet off (which were the terms that I examined the masters by), whether then the French fleet were able to ride it out in that place where they lie; and they said, very well, they ought to do it. And then I asked whether, if they saw or perceived us to come under sail, making towards them, whether they would bide us at anchor or not? and they said, if they did bide us at anchor, they were cast away; for we, coming with a fair wind, should bear over whom we listed into the sea; and therefore they would not bide that adventure, but rather would come under their small sail, to abide us loose, for that were their most advantage. I asked, if they were once loose and put from their anchors with that strainable wind, whether they could seize any part of the Wight again. And they said, it was not possible for them to do it, but of force must go room with the high seas, and much ado to escape a danger called the Owers; and that some of them of likelihood should rest there, if such a wind should come and they were put from their anchors. So thought I, and said then to my Lord of Surrey, that these Frenchmen which be here, if they land, they may happen to find such a blast that they should never see their own country again.
'This is the effect of this purpose serving to none other end but if such a wind should chance, this, I doubt not, would follow, if it shall like your Highness that we endeavour us to the same. Wherein neither in no other enterprise, being never so feasible, I will not attempt, your Majesty being so near, without first making your Majesty privy thereunto; and not without your Grace's consent thereunto; albeit that I would not, for mine own part, little pass to shed the best blood in my body to remove them out of your sight. But have your Grace no doubt of any hasty or unadvised presumptuous enterprise that I shall make, having charge of so weighty a matter under your Majesty, without being first well instructed from your Highness; for if I have any knowledge in any kind of thing, I have received the same from yourself. July 21.In the 'Harry Grace a Dieu,' 21st of July, at eight o'clock in the evening. Your Majesty's faithful servant to command,
If Lisle's project had been executed, the mutilated action in the Solent would have been followed by an engagement which would have satisfied the most sanguinary expectations, and the question of the sovereignty of the Channel would have required no further settlement. July 22.The King consented to the risk. The night following the wind blew up from the south-west, and the fleet was preparing to start; but the distance was short; a Flemish spy carried news of his danger to D'Annebault, and the admiral at once slipped from his anchorage, and made off into the open sea. He crossed the Channel to Boulogne, where the French had by this time an army of twenty thousand men, and, landing his pioneers, he returned to the English coast with his vessels less inconveniently crowded. A desultory attack on Seaford was his next effort. A landing was effected, and the village was pillaged and set on fire; but, in an over-confidence that the country was unguarded, the French remained too long. The hardy Sussex volunteers were brought down upon them in swarms by the smoke of the conflagration. Every wall and hedge became alive with armed men, the boats were destroyed at the piers, and but a small fraction of the invaders recovered the fleet. Encouraged by these successive failures, Lisle now ventured out into the Channel to cover the transport of troops to Calais. The hot weather had returned; AugustAugust brought with it its light easterly winds and calms; and, if we may judge by the constantly recurring complaints in the correspondence, it was sultry beyond the ordinary heat of an English summer. The beer which was supplied for the fleet turned acid; fresh meat would not keep for two days. The English admiral was obliged to hang along the shore, where boats passing to and fro continually could furnish a succession of supplies. After a fortnight of ineffectual cruising, the two fleets, on the morning of the 15th, were in sight of each other off Shoreham. The light air which was stirring came in from the sea. The French were outside, and stretched for five miles along the offing. Having the advantage of the wind, they could force an engagement if they pleased, and Lisle hourly expected that they would bear down upon him. The galleys came out as before; but the English were better provided than at Spithead. They had several large galliasses, and 'shallops with oars;' one of the former commanded by Captain Tyrrell, of four hundred and fifty tons, as swift as those of the enemy, and more heavily armed. An indecisive battle lasted till the evening, when the French retreated behind their larger ships, and by that time the whole line had drifted down within a league of the English. Lisle cast anchor, to show that he was ready for them if they cared to approach him nearer. As darkness fell the enemy appeared to be imitating the example, and a general action was confidently looked for in a few hours. A breeze, however, sprung up at midnight. August 16.As day broke, the space which they had occupied was vacant, and the last vessel of the fleet of D'Annebault was hull down on the horizon, in full sail for France. Disease had given a victory to the English which they had no opportunity of winning with their cannon; and the admiral had paid dearly for his ruinous mistake at St Helen's. He had been a month at sea; his soldiers were cooped together in multitudes in the holds of ill-ventilated vessels; their meat was putrid; their water was foul; the plague had broken out among them, and they had perished by thousands. The single hope to save those who remained was to disembark them instantly; and officers and men, terrified at their in visible enemy, had but one desire, to escape from theii prisons, which had become charnel-houses of corruption. The English despatch-boats, which followed them to the mouth of the Seine, watched the wreck of the late magnificent army lifted out upon the shore; and 'there was no manner of courage, nor gladness, nor appearance of comfort in them. Such a number of sick and miserable creatures they never saw.'
This was the disastrous conclusion of the mighty effort which was to lay England prostrate. The resources of France had been concentrated upon one grand experiment, and, from combined misfortune and bad management, it ended in a collapse, which left their rivals, almost without a blow, undisputed masters of the sea. But they were not the only sufferers. In the English fleet, also, disease had appeared in a deadly form. There were complaints of swellings in the legs, and face, and head; the 'bloody flux' was prevalent, and here too were instances of 'plague.' The larger size of the ships, the far smaller number of men to be accommodated in them, together with the more regular supply which had been maintained of fresh provisions, kept the evil within milder limits for a time. They remained together a few weeks longer. September.On the 3rd of September they landed six or seven thousand men in Normandy, and after burning Treport and the adjoining villages, they retired with the loss of but three men. But the health of the men becoming worse, the fishermen being anxious to be at home to prepare for the herring season, and the privateers dropping off on their own adventures, the service for the summer was held to be closed. A small squadron was kept in commission to protect the communication with Boulogne; the rest of the ships were paid off, and their crews dismissed. Little glory had been gained by either side; but the English had obtained the substantial advantages of victory, if without its distinction, and to the French the reality of defeat was aggravated by the discredit of mismanagement. On D'Annebault, who was the principal author of the war, the responsibility of the failure chiefly rested; but the catastrophe had been on so large a scale, and the defensive powers of England had been so remarkably illustrated, that neither the French nor any other nation would be likely to renew the attempt at an invasion.
It remained to be seen if they could retrieve their fortunes by the recovery of Boulogne, for on this side lay their only present hope. The Comte de Montgomery had been landed with his five thousand men in Scotland, and from him also there had been great expectations. An ominous entry in the State Papers measured too plainly the extent of service which French assistance could render in return for Scottish fidelity. While Lisle was watching the dissolution of D'Annebault's fleet, Lord Hertford was making his preparations to undo the effects of Ancram Muir. When the harvest was ripe for destruction, he recrossed the Border, under the eyes of the Regent and Montgomery, and the following brief epitome of desolation records his exploits there:—'List of fortresses, abbeys, friars' houses, market towns, villages, towers, and places burnt, razed, and cast down by the Earl of Hertford, the King's Majesty's lieutenant in the north parts, in the invasion of Scotland, between the eighth of September and the twenty-third of the same, anno 1545. Monasteries and friars' houses, seven; castles, towers, and piles, sixteen; market towns, five; villages, two hundred and forty-three; mills, thirteen; spitals and hospitals, three.' Barbarous and useless havoc! for the spirits of the proud Scots were tough and hard as steel. English conciliation had failed to bend them; and English ferocity could as little break their ineffectual but indomitable gallantry. Only God Almighty and the common cause of the Reformation could fuse at last the jarring elements, and undo the hatred which had been bred by human folly.
The Comte de Montgomery was not to recover the lost laurels of his country. The prospect of success now was at Boulogne, where, on the site of the camp from which he had been driven in February, De Biez began again in July to collect an army. The new fort, defended by a force too considerable for an attack, rose rapidly; and so long as D' Annebault held the sea, the approaches were closed, and the town effectually blockaded. Aug. 1.The French commander had only to maintain his advantage, and the place must soon be his own. Poynings promised his Government to hold out to the latest hour that man could endure; but the arrival of that 'latest hour' was matter of certainty, and could easily be calculated.
September.The dispersion of the fleet, however, soon relieved the anxiety of the garrison. Thirty-five thousand men, with D'Annebault's pioneers, lay in front of the town; but day after day the English provision-ships sailed calmly into the river, under the guns of the Old Man, free to come and to go as they pleased. The irritated army accused De Biez of treason; De Biez quarrelled with his officers; and the officers were in turn distrusted by the men. In suspicion, divided counsels, indecision, and want of discipline, there were all the materials of fresh disappointment. Francis, who was staying at a hunting lodge a few leagues distant, interfered with the management without improving it; and although the camp was the lounge of the young nobles of his train, whose amusement was to ride over to Boulogne, and break a lance with the English cavalry, exploits of individual gallantry effected little towards dismounting cannon or cutting off supplies. Siege-guns were placed in position at the fort, but they were too distant to injure the defences; and the English works had been constructed so skilfully, that on the river side they could not be brought nearer. Treachery was next tried. Three engineers from the Netherlands volunteered to take service with the garrison, intending to blow up the magazines; but the mine was countermined; the engineers were 'hoist with their own petard;' and in the discovery of one treason the clue was found of another. The Government fell on the scent of a priest who was busy in disguise among the Spanish soldiers in the English service at Berwick; and the man was detected and hanged.
A desire to obtain a command of the river had been the temptation which placed the French in their present position; and De Biez, finding that he could not succeed, resolved to remove to another. His conduct throughout the siege was strange. His desire to attempt the town on the other side was intelligible in itself; but he created suspicion by giving as a reason, in a council of war, at which Du Bellay was present, that he understood an English force was coming with supplies from Calais. The officers felt the absurdity of supposing that the enemy would hazard a battle to relieve a place to which they had undisputed access by sea; and Francis, though giving an equally absurd reason for his belief, expressed a doubt of the General's integrity. The marshal, however, was left in command; the move was effected; and a new camp was formed on Mount Lambert, on the lines which had been occupied by Henry in the preceding summer. Here they were nearer the town; but they were as little able as before to reply effectively to the English batteries; and the change produced no alteration in the monotony of the siege, except that, there being no longer a river in their way, the sallies of the garrison were incessant; and the war resolved itself into a succession of skirmishes. In these adventures the knightly gallantry of the French showed to better advantage than their generalship; and on one occasion a young nobleman, whose name in later life sounded ominously in English ears, first showed the metal of which he was made. There had been an engagement of cavalry, in which the French were yielding before superior numbers, when Francis of Lorraine, the eldest son of the Duke of Guise, dashed into the mêlée. He was struck with a lance through the bars of his helmet. The steel head pierced both cheeks, and six inches of the shaft were snapped off by the violence of the blow. He sat firm in his saddle, and rode back unassisted to his tent; and when the surgeon thought he would die of pain, when the iron was extracted, 'he bore it as easily as if it had been but the plucking of a hair out of his head.' Francis of Lorraine bore the scar of that wound to his grave; but he lived to repay the stroke by waving the fleurs-de-lys on the battlements of Calais, whilst the remnants of the last English garrison were taking leave for ever of the soil of France.
His turn of victory was to come; but at another time, and in another reign. For the present Boulogne would not be taken; and the ally which had done the English so great a service at sea came again to their aid. The plague, introduced perhaps by the soldiers who had disembarked from the ships, burst out in the besieging army; whole companies were annihilated by its fury; and at length the men died so fast that they were not even buried. The corpses were flung out to putrify in heaps, and saturate the air with pestilence. A few weeks of suffering made the continuance of operations by land as impossible as in the fleet. Four thousand men were left in the fort, and at the end of September the siege was raised.
One exploit only the army accomplished before their dispersion. The Calais Pale was strongly defended on the French frontier. Towards the Netherlands, the friendly, or at least the neutral, territory of the Emperor had been considered an adequate protection. Either careless of Charles's displeasure, or confident that he would not be displeased, they broke in suddenly through Bredenarde, overran the country, killing the unarmed peasants and villagers, and, except for the rain which had filled the dykes and impeded their movements, they might perhaps have carried Guisnes by surprise. The more important object was missed, but several hundred people were destroyed; and having inflicted heavy injury by burning farms and villages, they retired at their leisure, by the route by which they had advanced; they recrossed into France, broke up, and the campaign was over.
The adventure might have been pardoned if it had formed the close of a series of successes; but the alliance with England, recklessly as the Emperor had dealt with it, continued to exist, and the desire for its maintenance was beginning to revive. It was true that his obligations were interpreted by his convenience; but France, exhausted by failure, and England, inspirited by victory, were no longer in the same relative positions as at the Peace of Crêpy. The religious enthusiasm, and the zeal for Catholic unity, had been cooled by a slackness on the part of Francis in evacuating Piedmont; and at this very time, on the 9th of September, the Duke of Orleans, whose marriage with his niece or his daughter was to form the connecting link between the two Catholic powers, had died. Under such circumstances the French General had been unwise to presume too far on the indifference of the Emperor to the observance of his treaties. There had been a moment, indeed, in the summer, when he assumed an aspect towards England most dangerously menacing. The first quarrel had been scarcely disposed of when Henry, in consequence of the notoriety of the intended French invasion, applied, in compliance with the special article which referred to such a contingency, for assistance in men or money. While Charles was seeking excuses to parry this demand, an opportunity was thrown in his way by a complaint which reached him from Spain. The English merchants, being heretics, were not allowed to plead in the Castilian courts, or their evidence was not admitted against true believers, and they were exposed to outrages of all kinds without possibility of redress. Injustice produced injustice. An Englishman who had been robbed by the authorities in a Spanish port, indemnified himself on the high seas at the expense of the first Spanish ship which he fell in with. The Emperor required that he should be surrendered to justice. Henry refused to sacrifice a man who had been the first sufferer by a sustained and intolerable injury; and letters of general reprisal against all English property in Spain were in consequence threatened. The two countries seemed now to be drifting into a quarrel which neither would nor could be settled without war. The only prospect of escape, indeed, appeared to lie in the success of a commission which, in the beginning of June, June.met at Gravelines to discuss the various difficulties which had arisen under the treaty. It was composed of Sir William Petre, Dr Thirlby, and Eustace Chapuys,. the late Ambassador of the Emperor in London. To the English representatives instructions characteristic of the givers were furnished by the King and by Sir William Paget.
The privy council, writing at Henry's dictation, after dwelling on the many injuries of which English subjects complained, continued thus:—
'Either they think we are afraid of them, which if they do they are abused, for we have God on our side, and he will keep us when all the world will be against us; or else they think us beasts that, doing us openly and wittingly wrong in ten things, look to have redress at their beck at our hands in every one thing seeming to them wrong. Pray them to weigh things more indifferently. To charge us with breach of covenant when they break first, to bind us to the words of a treaty when it maketh for their purpose, and to use the benefit of a glosed interpretation when the words make against them, what equity, reason, honour, justice, treaty, or amity, can bear it? and this his Majesty would were told them earnestly, vehemently, and yet as it were by way of friendly complaint, that an old friend making himself in felicity and quietness partaker of his friend's trouble and un quietness, should for his good will and friendship not only be left alone in the hands of their common enemy, but also of his friend, be thus himself and his subjects as it were tossed and turmoiled.'
The excellent Paget, on the other hand, the cleverest of living men, the father of that whole race of English statesmen, who, finding their lot cast for them in hard times, have trusted more to intellect than to virtue, improved the opportunity to give to his friend Petre a lesson in diplomacy and on the character of the man with whom he would have to deal.
'For Chapuys,' he said, 'I never took him for a wise man, but for one that used to speak cum summâ licentiâ whatsoever came in buccam without respect of honesty or truth, so it might serve his turn; and of that fashion it is small mastery to be a wise man. Indeed he is a great practicer, with which honest term we cover tale-telling, lying, dissimuling, and flattering. As you have learnt to scold mannerly, so must you also, if you will deal with him, learn to lie falsely, but yet artificially, that you be not perceived, or at the least so unshamefastly that, though you be perceived, yet he to whom you tell the lie shall not dare for shame reproach you of it for fear of your falling out with him.'
But the English commissioners could neither touch Chapuys' conscience, nor, however well instructed, were they a match for him in the art of lying. The conferences were fruitless. Charles resumed the management of the quarrel into his own hands; and carrying out his threat, repeated against the English in Spain the same measure which had been practised with success in the Netherlands. Ships and persons were arrested everywhere, and the Emperor appeared to desire to exhibit to the Catholic world the indignities to which he could compel England to submit.
The opportunity for this measure was chosen when the danger from the French was at its highest; but Henry had gathered confidence from the spirit of his subjects. By an accident, two Spanish ships, one of them 'of great value,' probably loaded with bullion, were reported as on their way from South America to the Low Countries. The King stretched out his hand into the Channel and secured an ample indemnity for the English losses. He desired Wotton to state that 'he could do no less in so manifest a case of injury,' unless he would have it appear that he would not or durst not resent it; and if the Emperor used 'any high words or threatenings,' as 'when he was told things which he liked not he was noted to use,' the ambassador should say that 'his Majesty knew him to be a great prince and never the worse by his means, and if he intended to take that way with him, his Majesty would have him to think that he was a prince too, and had a Milan in his hand for the French King as well as he; July 11.and that rather than he would be overtrodden by him in that sort, he would do things for the satisfaction of himself that the Emperor would not, peradventure, think, and would be loath he should.' Either because he feared that Henry would execute his threat, or because a further step in the way of reprisal would be followed by war—and as yet prudence warned him to hesitate—the Emperor lowered his tone; he professed a sudden anxiety to mediate between France and England for a peace, and for an amicable arrangement of his own quarrel. The change of attitude was so apparent as to provoke Wotton's suspicions, and three weeks later the alteration became more patent. August.When D'Annebault's failure at the Isle of Wight became known, the Emperor professed himself ready to send assistance in money according to the treaty, and his desire for cordiality increased in warmth in proportion to the improvement of the English prospects. The Duke of Orleans died while the direction of the current was changing; and as if the subordinates of the French and Imperial Governments were conscious of the probable consequences, their attitude to each other in Piedmont became daily more hostile.
It was under these circumstances that the army which broke up from Boulogne ventured on a violation of the Netherlands frontier, and it will be seen that the occasion was ill-timed. Without actually threatening Francis, Charles declared more distinctly his anxiety to bring about a settlement. As an evidence of his friendship with England he consented, though with some reluctance, to an interview with the King, should the King desire to see him; and more pointedly he furnished Henry with a copy of a letter revealing the abominable treachery which the Catholic party in Europe were meditating towards England; and in which the Emperor, had the fortune of war been more favourable to the French, would doubtless have been ready to bear a part.
October.The campaign being over, the King of France now signified his readiness to treat for a peace; and, though little confidence could be placed in his good faith, something might be expected from his exhaustion. The Germans on the one side, and the Emperor on the other, offered their services to assist an arrangement; and the two factions in the French and English councils were indulged in their several sympathies, and were allowed to contend with each other for the privilege of securing for their respective countries the most favourable terms.
The great obstacle would still be the English conquest. The majority of Henry's advisers were of opinion that enough had been done for the honour of England. They had taken Boulogne; they had proved that it could not be wrested from them by force; but it was not worth to them the expense of further contention. 'If we leave it now,' said Gardiner, 'we shall win this opinion, that we might do what we list, were it not for respect that the King's Majesty hath for Christendom. In this opinion we be abroad in the world now; and this opinion may be maintained by a peace. I esteem nothing Boulogne in comparison of the mastery we have won in keeping it and defending of our realm alone.' The Duke of Norfolk was led by his French sympathies to the same conclusion; and the King was all but alone in maintaining an opposite view. With the evidence in his hands of the bad faith of the Continental powers, he trusted as much to the substantial thing which he had grasped as to the sentiments which might be entertained of him. He had felt the value of a 'Milan for the French King,' which he could play off against the Emperor; and the power of restitution was a card which he preferred to retain in his hand. Lord Surrey, who was now with the garrison at Guisnes, took the same side; but rather, it was thought, because he was crippled with debt, and believed that, if the war lasted, he might cut his way out of his embarrassments, than from public spirit. Henry only, on definite grounds, insisted that Boulogne was the gage for which the battle was fought—that England could not afford the appearance of yielding—that her position and her prospects depended on the evidence which she could offer of her strength.
Since the King insisted, the council were forced to yield; the negotiations opened, to come on one side to a rapid end. Gardiner went to Brussels to meet D'Annebault and Boyard—'as fearful,' he described himself, 'as a doe that stayeth hearkening to every crash of a bough.' At the opening interview D'Annebault stated distinctly that, 'as the King of England had gained much honour in taking and keeping Boulogne, so he must now have the honour of restoring it.' Boyard said that the King of France would waste his realm to recover it. He might suffer wonderfully, but do it he would. He would not endure the disgrace of the loss. Gladly would Gardiner have consented. 'If we take peace now,' he wrote to Paget, 'we establish the valiantness of England for ever. We be wonderful winners. We be esteemed to have treasure infinite, and to exceed all other.' But his desires were bounded by his powers, and the conference was useless.
The Emperor would not openly interfere, but he allowed the Bishop to console himself for his disappointment by remaining at Brussels for a revision of the treaty. He held out a hope that, under a new form, it might recover its damaged obligations, and become in fact, as, if words had meaning, it ought to have been already, the basis of a genuine alliance. The other negotiation was entrusted to the only hands which combined the necessary delicacy with the equally necessary strength. Paget alone could be relied upon to ascertain the true disposition of the Lutherans. The German contingent, commanded by a friend of the Landgrave, had accepted the King's money, and had never crossed the frontier. Some thousands who had been with the army at Calais, had mutinied and deserted. The delegates at Worms had trifled with Henry's offers of alliance. The Elector personally hated him. The present ambassadors might be the willing instruments of French cunning, or they might be themselves its dupes.
November.After receiving their instructions from the French Government, the Protestant representatives arrived at Calais in the middle of November. They consisted of Sleidan the historian, John Bruno, Sturmius—not the theologian, but another person of the same name and of more worldly qualities—and two or three more, of no particular note. Paget's first business was to satisfy himself of their characters. In separate interviews he found that Bruno and Sturmius were the only important persons. In Bruno he saw evidently an open-minded, honourable man, 'like a Spaniard in feature and colour,' too frank for diplomacy, but of a genuine and noble nature. Sturmius was a 'practitioner,' 'altogether French,' a keen intriguer, and a match for himself. Their colleagues, including the historian, Paget described as 'sheep,' 'gross Almains,' of whom nothing could be looked for but blunders.
It soon appeared, too, that the difference of qualities had been appreciated in Paris. The open mission had been entrusted to Bruno.
He spoke to Paget of the condition of Europe. The Pope, he said, was making a great effort to unite the Catholic powers. He had stimulated the war in order to weaken England; and his hope was at last to crush Germany and England also. To oppose him successfully, Francis must be divided from the Emperor; and he was empowered to say that, if peace was made by their present mediation, and if the King of England did not press for too stringent conditions, that object might possibly be obtained, and perhaps also the French might separate from the Papacy.
All this was a matter of course. There was no doubt of Bruno's sincerity, but he had said nothing specific, he had nothing specific to say; Paget knew too well the meaning of such vague language.
'To allure you to travail with us, to bring their purpose to pass,' he replied, 'they make you believe it is the mean to bind them to work against the Bishop of Rome, which tale, as it is new to you, and pleasant, because you do desire it, so it is to us very familiar. Heretofore when they would work anything with us, then had they nothing in their mouths but the Bishop of Rome's matters, the devising of a Patriarchate, which hath been so often said, so little done.' What had been their real conduct? They had bound themselves in their last treaty with the Emperor to maintain the Council of Trent, and the two Courts were known to be plotting a Catholic league. The safeguard of the Reformation would have been the Evangelical Alliance, and Bruno, while he regretted that it had not been completed, admitted that the fault had not been with England.
Evidently Bruno had not been admitted to the full secrets of the mission, and the minister repaired to Sturmius.
Privatus cum privato, in strictest secrecy, the latter said that he was allowed to mention the terms of peace to which the King of France had resolved to consent. Both Francis and the Dauphin distrusted the Emperor. Milan would never be surrendered. Madame d'Estampes hated the Admiral and all the Imperial faction; and the prolonged stay of Gardiner at Brussels had filled the friends of England at Paris with alarm. Granvelle was believed to have repeated the suggestion of a daughter of Ferdinand as a suitable wife for Prince Edward. Rumour added that Charles was again thinking of the Princess Mary, and Philip might complete the union of the families by taking Elizabeth. Let these views be given up, let Gardiner be recalled, and the Imperialist and Romanizing factions would be out of favour, and peace would be granted to the English on the most liberal conditions. They should keep Boulogne; the pensions should be paid; the Queen of Scotland should be placed at Henry's disposal, and be carried to England whenever he desired. Let a treaty be accepted upon these terms, and the Protestant States would be comprehended in it, the Council of Trent would be disowned, and the Reformation would be saved.
The adventitious matter of this communication the English ambassador could estimate at its proper value; but the special proposals were not inadmissible; if they were made in sincerity, it was difficult to see why Bruno and Sturmius had received separate commissions; they were referred, however, without delay to the King. A day or two after Sturmius was summoned to Paris, by an express from Madame d'Estampes, and a private messenger came to Paget to entreat, in her name and that of the Queen of Navarre, for an immediate answer. The opposite faction, he said, were busily at work. If they succeeded, the two ladies, and all that were against the Pope, were ruined; while if peace could be made, 'the Admiral and the Cardinal Tournon would be sent to the devil headlong.'
In treating for peace with a great nation it was dangerous to hold a secret correspondence with intriguing women. Paget was cold. The messenger grew feverish.
'O,' he cried, 'help now; for herein resteth the deliverance of France out of the tyranny of the Pope, and the conservation of your liberty.'
'If there were peace,' asked Paget, 'would the King your master leave the Pope?'
'I say not so directly,' he answered; 'but Madame d'Estampes and the Queen of Navarre say it cannot choose but follow.'
But Madame d'Estampes and the Queen of Navarre were not the French Government. 'I am of gross understanding,' Paget replied. 'I can advise nothing, nor set forth any other practice, but after a rude and plain fashion. Let us enjoy Boulogne; pay us that you owe us, and assure us of our pension.'
December.A few days after, Sturmius returned. He had seen the King of France himself, and with great difficulty he said that he had prevailed upon him to consent really and truly to pay his debts to England—the amount of arrears to be assessed by the Germans; to leave Boulogne as a security in the hands of the English; and either to force the Scots to observe the treaty of 1543, or, if they refused, to leave them without support or encouragement.
Had this been a bonâ fide offer on the part of the French Government, the war was at an end; but Paget, on asking a few questions, discovered circumstances which induced him to hesitate. It appeared that when D'Annebault was at Brussels a conversation had passed between him and the Emperor, in which the latter had said that, 'unless the French King would agree with him in omnibus rebus litigiosis, he would not travel for the restitution of Boulogne; and in that case he would.' Francis, who looked for no conditions, was irritated; and Madame d'Estampes took the opportunity of urging a peace with England. When out of temper Francis would say more than he meant; and Sturmius's first conversation with Paget had been based upon hasty expressions which the King let fall in the heat of the moment. Tournon and D'Annebault had afterwards remonstrated; the King was relapsing into hostility; when at the moment Friar Gruzman brought an intimation from the Emperor that he was resolved after all to keep Milan. Francis was at once incontrollable. The name of Milan drove him into madness; he swore, par la foy de gentilhomme, that he would make a league with the Protestants; he desired Madame d'Estampes to summon Sturmius; and out of the fit of bad temper arose the articles now proposed.
'The Frenchmen,' Paget wrote to the King, 'be naturally fantastical; and a man shall have at one time that he cannot at another;' he doubted whether it might not be better to close with them at once; and yet there was a distrust of conditions arrived at in a passing humour, and disapproved by a powerful faction. The expenses of the war and the terms on which Boulogne was to be held, required to be ventilated; and suspicion was justified by a discovery soon after that Francis had sent to Scotland, instructing Beton to practise for a peace, and 'not to stick to promise what the King of England would, so that he would render Boulogne; for, whatsoever promises the Scots made, the Queen being an infant, she might go from it when she came of age.' The King had fallen among thieves, and more than ordinary precautions were necessary. In vain Sturmius flattered the English successes. Paget said that he had the peace so much at heart that he ate it, drank it, slept it, dreamt it; but he knew that the French were exhausted, and that sooner or later the same terms would be offered, with the consent of all parties, and with security that they would be faithfully observed.
The ambassador's own conduct must be described by no pen but his own. Troubled with a needless fear that, from youth and inexperience, he had fallen short of what he ought to have accomplished, at an intricate point in the negotiations he poured out his heart to Henry:—
'Good will,' he said, 'your Majesty is sure of in us all; and for my part, so that all things were concluded to your Majesty's contentation, I would say with all my heart, as St Paul said, Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo. I have omitted no manner of thing, neither of your Majesty's forces, your riches yet in store, the forwardness of your subjects, their wealth, their contributions, what forces you intend to make, what you will do, yea, things unthought of, rather than fail if the French King agree not; how your Majesty will invade him on this side by sea and land, on Piedmont side by the Duke of Savoy; and if he touch your Majesty's countries, or help the Scots, then the Emperor will be his enemy, and after fall out with him for Savoy, Piedmont, and Burgundy. On the other side I have said that there yet remaineth a love in your Majesty's heart towards him; what wonderful things he may hope of your Majesty, if he make this peace with you; how they (the Protestants) may hope touching religion; how I am French, how I am Evangelic, how I will and have the means to move maria et montes for them and the French King. Finally, touching your Majesty, the Emperor, the French King, the Almayns, and every prince's councillors, I have praised, dispraised, given hope, fear, mistrust, jealousy, suspicion, respectively; I have lied, said truth, spoken fair, roughly, pleasantly, promised gifts, pensions, and done all that may be done or said for the advancement of this matter, and much more than I will abide by, as Will Somers saith, if I were asked the question. But all is in God's hands; and it is He that beyond all men's expectations directeth things at his pleasure to his glory.'
A sufficient result would arise in due time from these honest services. The difficulty was already less in the terms on which a peace might be made, than on the security which could be obtained for their observance. After a weary correspondence, Henry declared that he would be satisfied if Boulogne with the country adjoining was left in his hands till the arrears of his debts were paid, if hostages were given for the future payment of the pensions, and the connection with the Scots relinquished. In these points the discussion terminated; and an arrangement was all but concluded, when the Romanist party made a last effort, and succeeded in breaking off the negotiations. The Protestants withdrew; and the war was renewed, till the impossibility of wresting better conditions from England was more completely proved.
Lord Surrey commanded at Boulogne through the winter, with perpetual skirmishes and alternate successes and failures. The garrison of the French fort had suffered, like the rest of the army, from the plague. Surrey had cut short its supplies, and famine had been added to disease. 1546.
January 7.On the 7th of January his good fortune was interrupted by a catastrophe. The enemy, five thousand strong, were reported to be approaching with a convoy of provisions from Mottreul. The Earl attempted to intercept them; and in a severe action which ensued, several companies of infantry, in 'a humour' which, Lord Surrey said, 'sometimes reigned among Englishmen,' were seized with a panic, and ran, leaving their officers to be destroyed. But, as with the defeat of Ancram Muir, a single reverse produced little difference in the bearings of the war: Surrey was superseded; March.in March Lord Hertford was again in France with thirty thousand men, while Lord Lisle, 'God's own knight,' as he was called, was preparing a fleet at Portsmouth a third more powerful than that which had baffled D'Annebault. The Emperor had accepted and signed a revised version of the treaty, by which he again bound himself to interfere if England or the Calais Pale was invaded, and his differences with France left little doubt that this time he would keep his word. The Germans had halted between two opinions till the course which they ought to have followed was no longer open to them. At one moment they deplored their rejection of the English advances; they entreated Henry again to join them, even though they declined to take part with him in the war; in the next, careless of offending him, and reckless of the consequences, they threw open their frontiers to the recruiting officers of the French. April.Christopher Mont remonstrated with the Landgrave, and the Landgrave pointed despondingly to Henry's renewed league with the Empire; not choosing to confess, and yet unable to deny, that the same league had been within their own reach, and that they had trifled with their opportunity. Repentance now was too late. The substantial support of the Emperor, however hollow might be the motive with which it was given, was too valuable to the English to be flung away in the uncertain hope of a friendship unpopular in itself with most of them, and politically made useless by divided counsels and instability of purpose.
How little they could expect from France the Lutheran league had soon occasion of knowing. As soon as the attitude of Charles was definitively taken, the cabinet of Paris had no longer a serious intention of continuing the war. They had other work upon their hands. The glens of Languedoc and the valley of the Loire were already ringing with the shrieks of perishing heretics. The blood of four thousand innocents—old men, women, and children—was the pious expiation with which, at the opening of the Council of Trent, Francis sought to purchase remission for his dealings with the enemies of the faith; and the Germans awoke to find in their Pharaoh a bruised reed, which had run into their hand and pierced it.
On the 6th of May, no longer with the assistance of mediators or female intriguers, Lord Lisle, Paget, D'Annebault, and Boyard, the president of the French council, met at Ardes for a concluding arrangement, and this time the conference opened with a frankness on both sides which promised well for the result. Paget said that England had been drawn into the war to recover her debts, and four times the amount of the debt, he allowed, had been already spent in the process of recovery.
'You have well scourged us,' D'Annebault said, with equal honesty, 'for that your money was not paid. You have slain our people, and devastated our country, and also compelled us to pay our debts, which is a sufficient pain for nonpayment, and a great honour to your master.'
Honour had been the chief point in the quarrel—England could not submit that its debts should be disowned. Honour being satisfied, it was vain to expect that the whole expenses could be recovered, although it was just to insist upon a portion of them.
Successive offers and successive demands were referred to London and Paris. May.On the 15th of May, Paget informed the King of the conditions to which the French would agree:—
1. On or before Michaelmas, 1554, they would pay two million crowns, for the arrears due to England, for the fortifications which had been erected at Boulogne, and the expenses of the war.
2. The claim for the half-million crowns expended by England in 1528, in support of the army in Italy, should be referred to a commission, and should be paid, if determined to be just.
3. The life-pension to the King of a hundred thousand crowns, and the perpetual pension to England of fifty thousand, should be also paid.
4. Boulogne, and the county of Boulogne, should be left in the hands of the English for eight years as a security, or till the completion of the payments.
5. The Scots should be comprehended in the peace, but under conditions which should leave them still bound by the treaties of 1543.
These terms were less than those which England had expected—less, perhaps, than those which she might have exacted at the close of another campaign. But the war had already cost fifteen hundred thousand pounds. A fresh subsidy had been cheerfully granted by Parliament, when it met in November; but the expenses of the enormous force which the King had been obliged to maintain in the past summer had fallen at a time when there were no ordinary means of meeting it; the financial expedients, so easy in the present constitution of society, were then impossible; and after mature deliberation, ahd satisfied that so extreme a measure was justified by necessity, the council had applied for a temporary loan from the Mint, which would occasion a debasement of the currency. It was a proceeding not distinguishable, except in form, from the suspension of specie payments in 1797, and it was caused by a similar pressure. The effect was less immediately felt in the enhancement of prices, because at the earlier period the tariff of the necessaries of life was assessed by law, and the shilling, whatever was its purity, was for a time equally efficacious in the market. But artificial prices are, in their nature, incapable of being long maintained, and the evil of a depreciated currency was no mystery to the able ministers of Henry. The loan was accompanied with a definite engagement from the Lord Chancellor that it should be repaid at the earliest moment; and inevitable as the war had been at its outset, yet prudence and honesty alike recommended a return to peace when the credit of the country had been adequately maintained, without a further drain on its resources. Sir William Paget had been so earnest for the acceptance of the French offers, as to have displeased the King by his warmth; but he still persisted: 'No man living,' he wrote to Petre, 'taketh so much care as I do for the avoiding every manner of thing which might offend his Majesty; not for any servile fear, for there is none in me, but for the singular love and entire affection which God, my conscience, and honesty have graffed and nourished in my heart to my sovereign and most benign and gentle master. As for peace, when I remember that God is the Author of it, yea, peace itself, and that Christ praised always peaceable men all the time of his being among men visibly, and at his departing from them recommended most specially peace, I cannot but praise peace, desire peace, and help to my power the advancement of peace. I see, and so doth all his Majesty's council, as both I and you have heard them say when they are together, the continuance of the war, for the charge thereof so uncertain, the ways and means for the relief thereof so strait, and at such ebb, as my heart bleedeth in my body when I think of it. So as we had peace to the King's Majesty's satisfaction, I would gladly be sacrificed for it, if my death might help forward the matter.'
Round the earnestness of the persuasion an English humour flickered playfully. 'I remember,' he said, 'President Scory's tale to me at my last being with the Emperor, of one that, being condemned to die by a certain king, which had an ass wherein he had great felicity, the man offered—to save his life—that within a twelve-month he could make the king's ass to speak; whereunto the king accorded; and being said unto the man by a friend of his, What! it is impossible; hold thy peace, quoth he, car ou le Roy mourera ou l'asne mourera, ou l'asne parlera ou je mourera, signifying thereby that in time many things are altered. And so, ere the time of payment come, either we shall make some new bargain to keep Boulogne, or the French King, for want of keeping his covenants, shall forfeit it; or the French King shall die, and his son need not so much desire the recovery of it; or some other thing will chance in the mean time.'
The reasoning and the tale prevailed. Henry acquiesced in the French proposals without alteration, and after some minor differences on the frontier line, and on the tenure of property within the conceded territory, peace was concluded on the 7th of June, 1546.
Scotland had been one of the chief causes of the war. Scotland had been among the chief difficulties in the conclusion of it. Yet here, too, while the commissioners were debating at Ardes, the principal occasion of trouble was removed, and the chief pillar of the anti-English policy was struck suddenly away.
The schemes which had been formed against the life of the Cardinal appeared to have dropped to the ground, and he had continued his war against the Reformers with sword and stake. He had done the work of the Ultramontanes effectively. He had saved the authority of the Pope at a moment when it was tottering to its base; and the clergy within the realm and without had not been slack in their recognition of his merits. But being supreme, he was pleased that his position should be universally acknowledged; and on an inquisitorial visit which he had paid to Glasgow, an indecorous dispute had arisen between himself and a rival archbishop on the score of precedence, when they were going to mass in the cathedral. The coldness which had followed had been too injurious to Catholic interests to be allowed to continue; the two prelates were soon reconciled, and the occasion was chosen for the execution, or the murder, whichever we prefer to call it, of the most dangerous of the present leaders of the Reformation.
George Wishart, one of a numerous race who at that time bore the name of Wishart in the Lowlands, had been educated at Cambridge. At the University he had borne the character of saintliness; not perhaps the mild and feminine disposition which the word now suggests to us, but a character like Latimer's or Tyndal's. He had afterwards in England exposed himself to honourable peril. A letter of the Mayor of Bristol to Cromwell, in 1539, complains of his presence and his teaching; and Bristol was the hotbed of orthodoxy, the most dangerous of English towns to an Evangelical preacher. From this time (unless he was the messenger who carried to Hertford the intimation of the conspiracy against the Cardinal) his name disappears until he came forward in his own country, on the brief service by which he was to earn his martyrdom.
1545.In the autumn of 1545 he began to preach in the fields in various parts of Scotland, followed, like his Master, by crowds of the poor, and, like Him, teaching them to abandon their sins, and to lead pure, sober, and industrious lives. Such an occupation might have been considered innocent, perhaps even laudable; but it is likely that he did not conceal his opinion of those whose functions he was obliged to usurp. He became formidable by a popularity as extensive as it was rapid; and the Cardinal, as the readiest method of delivering himself from a troublesome person, commissioned a priest to stab him. The priest prepared to obey; but Wishart detected a suspicious figure among his listeners, and a suspicious movement; he caught the arm as it was raised under the gown, and the poniard dropped from the hand. The first failure was followed by a second. A hasty message, brought at midnight, summoned the preacher to the bedside of a dying kinsman, and armed men lay in ambush on the road, to take him dead or alive. Here also a seasonable prudence preserved him for a time. But his enemy was too powerful; the Earl of Bothwell next undertook the capture, and succeeded. John Knox, who, since the attempts at the Reformer's destruction, had attended him with a sword, desired still to share his fortunes; but Wishart, who had seen how precious a mind and heart lay behind the rugged features of his follower, would not allow it. 'Gang home to your bairns,' he said to him, 'ane is sufficient for a sacrifice.' He accompanied Bothwell alone, and was imprisoned, first at Edinburgh, and then in the fatal Sea Tower at St Andrew's. This was in Jan. 1546. January, 1546.
A Convocation of the clergy was held by the Cardinal in the following month, the Archbishop of Glasgow was present, and the criminal against the Church was brought out for trial. The heresy was readily proved; but, as we know, the spiritual law, and spiritual men, though they could convict, yet might not sentence to death. They washed their hands, like Pilate, and handed over their offenders to secular judgment and secular execution. In decent observance of these formalities, Beton applied to the Regent for the assistance necessary to complete the proceedings; and the Regent would have acquiesced as a matter of course, but, at the entreaty of a friend, he was persuaded to hesitate, and directed the Cardinal to proceed no further until he could himself examine the prisoner in person. The Cardinal in an ordinary matter might have endured Arran's interference; in the present instance he declined the responsibility of obedience. He arranged a pseudo-official condemnation in one of his own courts, where a lay magistrate transacted the necessary forms; and on the 1st of March a pile and a gallows were prepared under the windows of the Castle, where the two Archbishops might sit in state and preside over the ceremony.
In anticipation of an attempt at rescue, the Castle guns were loaded and the portfires lighted. May.'After this, Mr Wishart was led to the fire, with a rope about his neck, and a chain of iron about his middle; and when that he came to the fire, he sat down upon his knees and rose up again, and thrice he said these words: 'Oh, thou Saviour of the world, have mercy on me. Father of Heaven, I commend my spirit into thy holy hands.'' He next spoke a few words to the people; and then 'last of all the hangman, that was his tormentor, sat upon his knees and said, 'Sir, I pray you forgive me, for I am not guilty of your death; 'to whom he answered, 'Come hither to me;' and he kissed his cheek and said, 'Lo, here is a token that I forgive thee. Do thy office.' And then he was put upon a gibbet and hanged, and then burnt to powder.'
Life for life. If Wishart was an instrument of the conspiracy against Beton, in the eyes of his friends, he was still a martyr, and Beton was a murderer. Law, in its pure and proper sense, there was none in Scotland; the partition lines between evil and good were obliterated in the general anarchy; and right struggled against wrong with such ambiguous weapons as the 'wild justice' of nature suggested.
With a misgiving that danger was in the air, the Cardinal strengthened his faction by marrying one of his bastard daughters to the Earl of Crawford. The secret overtures of the Laird of Grange and Norman Leslie to the English Government, it is likely, had been betrayed to him; and another Leslie, the brother of the Earl of Rothes, on Wishart's death, had been heard to mutter that 'his hand and dagger should be priests to the Cardinal.' Throughout the spring, in the lengthening days, a hundred workmen were busy, from sunrise to sunset, converting the episcopal palace of St Andrew's into an impregnable fortress, where dungeons were already destined for the custody of perilous conspirators.
May 28.The night of the 28th of May the great churchman passed with his mistress; she was seen in the dawn of the morning to leave the postern which led to his private apartments; and about the same hour the drawbridge was lowered, and the front gates were thrown open, to admit the masons and the stone-carts. May 29.As the labourers were collecting, William Kirkaldy, the treasurer's eldest son, a boy of about seventeen, and five or six other young men, sauntered to the porter's lodge, and inquired if the Cardinal was stirring. They were told that he had not yet appeared, and they affected to be looking at the alterations, and asking indifferent questions, when presently the Master of Rothes came up, with two or three more, and afterwards John Leslie. The first two parties had caused no suspicion. It was daylight; the castle was full of men; and the idea of danger occurred to no one. John Leslie, however, was known to be on bad terms with Beton, and as he crossed the bridge, the porter started and attempted to close the gates. But the movement was too late. Kirkaldy struck him down with a single blow, snatched the keys from his girdle, and flung him into the foss. Leslie sprang through; the workmen, confused by the sudden surprise, and some of them perhaps in the secret of the plot, were thrust out, and the gates were locked behind them; and while young Grange kept guard over the postern, the rest of the party secured the servants in their rooms, and dismissed them one by one. Beton's apartment overlooked the quadrangle. Being disturbed by the noise, he threw open his window, and called to know the meaning of it. Some one cried that Norman Leslie had taken the castle. He drew back and darted to the back gate, but it was closed; he was caught in the trap, and returning to his room, he barricaded the door, and sat waiting for his fate.
It was not long in finding him. The tramp of steps sounded along the gallery; a voice summoned him to open. 'Who calls?' he cried. 'Leslie!' was the answer. 'Is it Norman?' he said. The Master of Rothes was but a boy, and he might hope to soften him. But Norman was below in the court; it was John, who had sworn to give Wishart's murderer the last sacrament with his poniard, and with him James Melville and Carmichael—names, both of them, of equally portentous omen.
The Cardinal did not move; the door was strong; and he cried out to know if they would spare his life. 'Perhaps,' Leslie answered. 'Nay,' exclaimed the wretched voice, 'but swear that you will; ' swear by God's wounds.' 'That which was said is unsaid,' shouted the avenger. He called for fire; a pan of burning charcoal was laid against the panels, and the crackling of the blazing wood soon told the hopelessness of resistance. A boy who was in the room drew back the bolts; the armed men strode in through the smoke, and their victim stood before them half-dressed and trembling. In the hard eyes and the drawn swords he read his doom. He sank back into a chair. 'I am a priest! I am a priest!' he said; 'ye will not slay me.' Leslie and Carmichael darted forward, without speaking, and each stabbed him. They drew back their arms to repeat their blows, when James Melville, 'being a man,' says Knox, 'of nature most gentle and modest,' perceiving them both in choler, withdrew them; 'This work and judgment of God, although it be secret,' he cried, yet ought it to be done with greater gravity.' Holding his sword at Beton's throat, 'Repent thee,' he said to him, 'of thy former wicked life, but especially of the shedding of the blood of that instrument of God, Mr George Wishart, which, albeit the flames of fire consumed before men, yet cries it with a vengeance upon thee; and we from God are sent to revenge it. I protest that neither the hatred of thy person, the love of thy riches, or the fear of any trouble thou couldst have done to me in particular, moved or move me to strike thee, but only because thou hast been, and remainest, an obstinate enemy to Christ Jesus and his Holy Evangel.' 'And so he struck him twice or thrice through with a sword,' and so he fell, cut off even in the blossom of his sins, only shrieking miserably, 'I am a priest; I am a priest. Fie! fie! all is gone!'
The cry went out through the castle, and up into the borough of St Andrew's. The alarm-bell rang. The provost and four hundred of the townspeople streamed down under the walls before the gate, and clamoured to bring out the Cardinal. 'Incontinent, they brought the Cardinal dead to the wall head in a pair of sheets, and hung him over the wall by the tane arm and the tane foot, and bade the people see there their god.'
'The faithless multitude, that would not believe till they did see, departed without requiem æternam or requiescat in pace sung for his soul. Because the weather was hot,' says the pitiless Knox, 'and his funeral could not suddenly be prepared, it was thought best to bestow enough of great salt upon him, a coffin of lead, and a corner in the bottom of the Sea Tower, to await what exequies his brethren the bishops would bestow upon him.'
Thus perished David Beton, and with him the cause of the Papacy in Scotland. The national faction survived his death. Mary of Guise and her friends continued to lean upon France, and the ancient religion appeared for a few years longer to maintain itself at their side. But the spirit of Romanism as a living superstition was extinguished with its latest representative; and the mass was no longer the expression of a true inward belief. Those who professed to be the friends of the Church shared with its enemies in its present plunder. In a few years the once beautiful fabric lay prostrate in confused ruin.
- Minute of Mr Secretary Paget on the State of the Realm: Haines' State Papers, vol. i.
- Haines' State Papers, vol. i. The readiness of the country to support the Government is well described by Becon: 'When the King's letters were delivered for the preparing of certain people apt for the wars, how expeditely was his Grace's pleasure accomplished in every condition! The gentlemen, all other businesses laid aside, immediately provided their appointed number of men, arraying them with decent martial armour, so that nothing wanted, but all things set at such a stay that they, receiving premonition of very little time, were ready at all hours to bring forth their men apt and ready for the wars. The men which were pressed to go unto the wars it was almost incredible to see and perceive what alacrity and quickness of spirit was in them. They seemed to be so desirous to defend their country, that they in a manner neglected their domestical travails, their private business, not much esteemed their dear wives and children, no nor yet their own lives, so that they might in any point do good to the public weal of England.'—Strype's Memorials, vol. i. pp. 601, 602.
- Paget takes credit to the council for patriotism in this arrangement. 'If we should regard our private commodities,' he says, 'we would rather desire a Parliament than none, for then we should pay nothing mora than the law appoint eth; whereas now, Upon prorogation of the Parliament, we shall pay that which the law will bind us unto, and also every of us will stretch himself besides to his power in benevolence.'—Paget's Minute: Haines, vol. i.
- Ibid. From a passage in the same minute it seems that the unfruitfulness of the King's last marriage was creating great anxiety. 'As to the matter of the succession,' he says, 'as it is undoubtedly a marvellous great matter, so we trust that God, which hath hitherto preserved his Majesty to his glory and honour, and to our comfort, will preserve him longer and send him time enough both to proceed for that and many other things which be to be looked upon.'
- MS. State Paper Office, Domestic, vol. xvi.
- Holinshed; Stow; Lord Herbert.
- 'Last year the French King had much ado to get any money of his subjects against the Emperor. Against us they are content to give all that they have.'—Wotton to Paget: State Papers, vol. x. p. 461: and see Du Bellay's Memoirs.
- Stephen Vaughan sent the following information to the King, from Antwerp: 'A French broker,' he said, 'hath secretly called upon me. He asked me if there was not in England an island called Sheppy, and a place by it called Margate, and by those two a haven. I said there was. 'Then,' said he, 'you may perceive I have heard of these places, though I have never been there myself. To the effect of my discovery,' said he, 'you shall understand that the French King hath sent unto this town of Antwerp a gentleman of Lorrayne named Joseph Chevalier. The same hath sent out of this town, two days past, a Frenchman, being a bourgeois of Antwerp, named John Boden, together with another man that nameth himself to be born in Geneva, but indeed he is a Frenchman. These two,' he said, 'were sent from hence in a hoy by sea, and had delivered unto them eleven packs of canvass to be by them uttered and sold in London, and the money coming thereof to maintain their charges there. The said Joseph Chevalier, besides these two, hath sent another broker named John Young, also of this town; he speaketh singularly well the English tongue. These three shall meet together in London, and shall lodge in a Fleming's house dwelling by the Thames, named Waters. The first two shall have charge to view and consider the said Isle of Sheppy, Margate, and the grounds between them and London; what landing there may be for the French King's army, what soils to place an army strongly in. For,' said he, 'the French King hath bruited that he will send forth this summer three armies, one to land in England, the second in Scotland, and the third he mindeth to send to Boulogne, and Guisnes, and Calais. But his purpose is to send no army to Scotland, for he hath appointed with the Scots that while his armies shall be arrived, the one at Margate and the other at Boulogne, they shall set upon the north parts of England, with all the power they can make. The French King proposeth with his army that he appointeth to land in the Isle of Sheppy and at Margate, to send great store of victuals, which shall be laden in boats of Normandy with flat bottoms, which, together with the galleys, shall then set men on land. This army shall go so strong that it shall be able to give battle, and is minded, if the same may be able, to go through to London, where,' said he, 'a little without the same is a hill from which London lyeth all open, and with their ordnance laid from thence they shall beat the town.''—State Papers, vol. x. p. 302.
- Du Bellay's Memoirs
- Holinshed; Hall; Du Bellay: State Papers, vol. x. p. 289.
- Henry VIII. to Sir George Douglas; Douglas to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. v. pp. 415–418. The inroads of the English in the winter were distinguished by peculiar ferocity. Evers's troops were many of them English Marchers, who carried their personal feuds into the war; and if Sir George Douglas spoke the truth, some of these had even killed women and children.
- State Papers, vol. v. pp. 415–418.
- State Papers, vol. v. p. 417.
- They were probably trusting to the guidance of the Scots, who had drawn them into the expedition. Paget, writing from the Netherlands to the King, says, 'There was some treason among the Scots that were come in to your Majesty; that being a thing before contrived and conjurated bet ween them and the governour, and therefore a certain conclusion made among them that the thing must follow as it did, the Scots advertised the same not being yet done over hither as a thing already done. For the same day the fight was in Scotland the question was asked me here of the thing, and whether your Highness's lieutenant was slain or taken with all his army.'
And again, in a letter from the privy council we find: 'If Ralph Evers had not given too much credit to those false new reconciled Scots, he was like to have had as good success and as much honour of that journey as ever he had of any since the beginning of these wars.'—State Papers, vol. x. pp. 334, 354.
- Buchanan and Calderwood say 'two hundred.' They have doubled the real number. See State Papers, vol. x. p. 354.
- 'As anentis the last business where your subjects gate displeasure, your Grace may be sure on mine honour it was so far sought by your Majesty's warden on the Earl of Angus, that he behoved to fight or take great shame.'—The Earl of Cassilis to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. v. p. 425.
- Calderwood, vol. i. p. 182.
- 'Forasmuch as the Scottish priests lately taken on the seas hath declared and shewed unto us certain things as well touching the secret dispatch of the Emperor into land, whereof we lately advertised, as also the conveyance of letters to and from Cardinal Pole by an English friar at Antwerp, which we caused him to put in writing, we have thought good to address these unto you with the same writing of the priest's own hand.'—Tunstall and Sadler to Paget: State Papers, vol. v. p. 447. The priest's confession is in the note in the same page.
- State Papers, vol. x. pp. 241–243.
- 'Since the arrests made here by the Emperor, all the inhabitants of this town … shrink at it, fearing the utter decay of their traffic. Great numbers of fullers, shearmen, dyers, and others thought their livings were utterly bereaved from them … It hath made many to confess to me that it were better for this country to have twenty years' war with France than one with England.'—Vaughan to the Privy Council: State Papers, vol. x. p. 257.
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 245, &c.
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 271. &c.
- Instructions by the King's Majesty to Beauclerk and Mont: State Papers, vol. x. p. 278
- 'A quo ejus intempestivissimo præjudicio multos optimos viros diversissimum sentire scio. Maxime cum modo Romanus episcopus contra utrosque calamum stringat, sæviat, et convitia expuat.'—Mont to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. x. p. 288.
- Instructions by the King's Majesty to Sir William Paget: State Papers, vol. x. p. 295, &c.
- I have been obliged to abridge the conversation and condense the sentences.
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 310, &c.
- Ibid. p. 336.
- 'Mistrust not the Emperor,' President Scory said to Paget, 'for, whatever we say unto you, the Emperor intendeth to use all the means he can to bring them to a conformity, and to tell them that you will call upon us for the declaration of war, and that we cannot avoid it, and that they must come to reason; or else we must needs declare ourselves, for we must needs keep our promises unto you.' 'Marry,' quoth I, 'this will be a good tale and a true, and if they will not come to reason, the best part of the tale is to declare indeed.' 'Nay,' quoth he, and laughed, 'there shall be nothing left unsaid that may further the matter.' 'Nor undone?' quoth I. 'I wot what you mean,' quoth he; 'but as for that, however we intend for the advancement of your affairs to use that matter in our conferences with them, yet I pray you molest us not withal.'—Paget to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. x. p. 364.
- Paget to Petre: State Papers, vol. x. p. 376.
- He published a caricature, the description of which must be conveyed in another language: 'Le Pape revêtu de ses ornemens y paroissoit assis sur une truye fort large, et dont les mammelles étoient fort amples qu'il piquoit à coup d'éperons. Il donnoit en même temps sa benediction à tous ceux qu'il reucontroit avec les deux doigts de la maine droite étendus scion la coutume; et de la gauche il tenait un excrément frais et tout fumant. A l'odeur de cette ordure la truye tournoit sa tête et tâchoit de saisir la proye de ses narines et de son grouin; le Pape pour se moquer d'elle la piquant durement. Il faut, lui disoit-il, que tu me souffres sur ton dos, et que tu sentes les éperons quoique ce soit malgre toi; tu m'as déjà donné assez de chagrin au sujet de concile où tu veux me conduire pour m'y accuser librement; voilà ce concile que tu demandes si instamment. Par la truye Luther vouloit désigner l'Allemagne.'—Sleidan, vol. ii. p. 260. Traduit en François par Pierre de Courrayer.
- Harvel to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. x. p. 492. During the siege of Boulogne by the French, the Italians in the pay of Francis actually did desert to the English in twenties and thirties.—Ibid. p. 569, &c.
- State Papers, vol. x. pp. 367, 368, 399, 400.
- Ibid. p. 453.
- Beauclerk and Mont to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. x. pp. 422, 423.
- State Papers, vol. v. p. 554.
- Paget to Petre: State Papers, vol. x. p. 468.
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 468.
- Lord Russell to the Council: State Papers, vol. i. p. 828.
- MS. State Paper Office, Domestic, vol. xvi. The MSS. in this volume are the principal English authorities for the events of the summer.
- 'My Lord of Canterbury, having required certain pieces of artillery to be drawn to and from sundry places upon the cliffs with horses, at the charge of the country, for the repelling of the enemy, shall be furnished of the same, if Mr Seymour, upon view of the place, shall think it convenient.'—Note of the State of the Realm: State Papers, vol. i. p. 786.
- The watchword at night was perhaps the origin of the 'National Anthem.' The challenge was 'God save the King.' The answer was, 'Long to reign over us.'—Ibid p. 814.
- MS. State Paper Office.
- A beautifully-finished drawing of the French galleys on the beach under Brighton is in the Cotton Library.
- The action is related with great minuteness in Du Bellay's Memoirs.
- The French believed, not unnaturally, that the 'Mary Rose' sank from the effect of their shot. But the cause of the accident was ascertained beyond all doubt.—See State Papers, vol. i. p. 794. There are also several letters, by eye-witnesses, in MS. in the State Paper Office on the subject. The hull has been recently broken up, and some of the guns have been recovered. A good account of the loss may be bought at Portsmouth, composed chiefly of extracts from the State Papers, and bound with oak covers made from the timbers of the ship.
- Du Bellay.
- The brook at the head of Brading Harbour probably. Du Bellay evidently wrote from the account of persons who were present.
- Du Bellay's Memoirs.
- Haines' State Papers, vol. i. p. 51.
- Du Bellay's Memoirs. It is not often that in the independent records of two countries, we find separate portions of the same story which fit so accurately as Du Bellay's narrative and the letter of Lord Lisle.
- There is a difficulty in fixing the day of the failure at Seaford; Du Bellay relates it as if it followed immediately on the departure from the Isle of Wight. But there may have been some other attempt elsewhere, or he may have mistaken the exact order of events.—See Hall, Holinshed, and a letter among the MSS. State Paper Office, Domestic, vol. xvi. On the 30th of July D'Annebault was at Boulogne.—State Papers, vol. i. p. 795, note.
- Lisle to Gage: State Papers, vol. i. p. 816.
- Lisle to Henry VIII.: ibid. p. 823.
- 'Whereof two of them wilfully cast away themselves, and more would have done so if they had not been looked unto.'—Lisle to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. 1. pp. 829, 830.
- State Papers, vol. v. p. 467.
- Haines' State Papers, vol. i.
- The Council at Boulogne to the Privy Council; State Papers, vol. x. pp. 547–8.
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 574.
- 'La quelle tous les jours a nostre veue et sans danger il refreschissoit par mer.' Du Bellay.
- 'Le roy me dit qu'il pensoit que le dit mareschal n'eust voulu que Boulogne eust esté reprinse craignant perdre son autorité de commander aux princes et a une si grosse armée.'—Du Bellay.
- 'Il porta la doulour aussi patiemment que qui ne luy enst tiré qu'un poil de la téte'—Du Bellay.
- Du Bellay; and see State Papers, vol. x. p. 609.
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 481, &c.
- Paget to Petre: State Papers, vol. x. p. 466.
- State Papers, vol. x. pp. 499, 506.
- Ibid. p. 503.
- 'I marvel whence proccedeth this sudden ostentation of amity in offering to labour for a peace. Peradventure some scorpion may be hidden under the stone.'—Wotton to Paget: ibid. p. 514. And again, 'In the coldest of the winter these men were soon chafed, and took matters very hot upon light causes; and now, in the hottest of this hot summer, upon greater occasion to be somewhat chafed, they shew themselves somewhat colder than I thought they would have done; what the cause is I cannot well perceive.'—Wotton to Wriothesley: State papers, vol. x. p. 535.
- 'As concerning the aid demanded, he (Granvelle) said that the Emperor was contented to give it, and to give it in money as it was required, and for the whole time that it was required; to begin as soon as by the treaty it ought to do: but under condition that your Majesty would require nothing of the Emperor against the treaty made betwixt him and France, and that your Majesty would promise to give like aid to the Emperor when the like case should occur. This was a good indifferent way.'—Wotton to Henry VIII. State Papers, vol. x. p. 552.
- 'In Piedmont the things between the Imperials and French proceedeth very roughly, every part engrossing himself as in just wars, so great is the suspicion between the parties, whereby men conjectureth manifest rupture between the Imperials and the French.'—Harvel to Henry VIII.: ibid. p. 646.
- The Protestant Princes were feeling their way at Paris towards mediating for a peace with England. A certain Gabriel de Guzman, described as 'a creeping friar' and a secret agent between Francis and Charles, was told to let the Emperor know indirectly of those overtures, in order that he might himself come more prominently forward; a peace might then be arranged, but with an understanding that it was not to be observed; and De Guzman laid the views of the King of France before the Emperor with the most devout naïveté.
'Juntamente con esto, me mandó al dispedir que procurase de sentir en la Corte de Vuestra Majestad Sy holgaria de juntarse con el contra el Ingles, mandando se lo la Iglesia como ya otra vez a Vuestra Majestad propuse, y anadiendo de nuevo dos puntos mas. El primero, que para la honestidad y excusa de Vuestra Majestad, el Rey haria paz con el Ingles con las mejores condiciones que el pudiese, estando seguro que despues la Iglesia mandaria a todos los Reys Christianos que castigasen al Inglese y segun el derecho commun le privasen de sus bienes como a cismatico y herege; y que entonces seria la causa commun y ygual a todos; y con esto Vuestra Majestad no seria mas notado que los otros, pues todos ygualmente ternian paz con el Rey de Inglaterra; y complir los mandamientos de Iglesia, en cosa tan sancta y pia, no es contra la palabra ni juramento, pues nadie puede prometer contra la obediencia de la Iglesia; y en esta expedition seria contento contribuir ygualmente, y se contentara con Gales, Guinas y Bologna y la renunciacion del derecho pretenso al reyno, y pension por el dicho Ingles; y que todo lo demas quedase a la disposition y voluntad de sua Majestad.' The second point refers to the efforts of the Duke of Orleans, and is unimportant.
The pious Catholics, it seems, however, distrusted the sincerity of Francis in his perfidy. 'Vuestra Majestad,' sighs De Guzman, in conclusion, 'crea que tiene tanta gana y necessidad de hazer paz con el Ingles que temo sy Dios no le alumbra que haga alguna cequedad tal como la llamada del Turco. Nuestro Señor la provea por su sancta bondad, y de a Vuestra Majestad la salud y vida que su Iglesia a menester.'
To what schemes, to what treacheries, must not Charles have been a party, before a confidential servant could address such a letter to him; and yet it perhaps required even greater effrontery to make use of it for political capital. He sent an emissary into England, 'and to the intent that the King's Majesty should perceive the Emperor's good meaning and affection towards his Highness, the said emissary brought with him a certain letter, to be shewed to his Majesty, written to the Emperor, for a practice against the King's Majesty of great importance.'—State Papers, vol. x. p. 619.
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 664.
- See State Papers, vol. x. p. 617, note. The Duke of Norfolk cautioned him how he encouraged Henry in his resolution. 'Have yourself in wait,' he wrote, 'that ye animate the King not too much for the keeping of Boulogne, for who so doth at length shall get small thanks. Look well what answer ye make to the letters from us and the council; confirm not his enterprises contained in them.'—Nott's Surrey, p. 178.
- Gardiner to Paget: State Papers, vol. x. p. 664.
- Ibid. p. 673.
- An English officer wrote to Paget of the German troops that 'he did perceive that the King's Majesty was bought and sold amongst a great many of false harlots, which did take his Grace's money and did laugh his Grace to scorn, and also lewdly did report of him.'—Dymock to Paget: State Papers, vol. x. p. 579, note; and see a Letter of Thirlby to Paget: ibid. p. 632.
- Paget to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. x. p. 708, &c
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 755.
- State Papers, vol. x. p. 774.
- Ibid. p. 775.
- Sir Edward Karne to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. xi. p. 80.
- The King's jester.
- Paget to Henry VIII. State Papers, vol. x. p. 782.
- Surrey to Henry VIII.: State Papers, vol. xi. p. 3, &c.
- 'Discessum Domini Bucleri plerique omnes Protestantes et boni viri dolent. Cupiunt enim conjunctionem cum serenissimo rege inire quod modo in hisce comitiis Francfordianis fore speraverant. Vident enim Romanum episcopum cum suis complicibus non desistere a cœlo terræ confundendo; et ut in causâ cum serenissimo rege conjuncti sunt, ita admodum cupiunt communi consilio et sociis armis ereptam libertatem contra Romani episcopi tyrannidem vindicare.'—Mont to Paget: State Papers, vol. x. p. 822.
- Ibid. vol. xi. p. 33.
- Ibid. vol. x. p. 36.
- 'One thing there is which much offendeth the King's Majesty, that seeing the French King is in league with the Bishop of Rome, the apparent enemy of those Princes, and who hath in no one point joined himself with the Protestants nor will not, yet they esteem his friendship so much as they do, suffering men of his to be so familiar with them, and to levy in their countries against the King's Majesty. Let them look to the matter. The weaker they suffer his Majesty to be made, they shall find at length their part therein, and so tell them hardly their part is more therein than they know of. But few words sufficeth a wise man: for whensoever it pleaseth their enemies, they have in their hands wherewith to bring their antient friend, as they call him, the French King, on their necks with his drawn sword in his hand to overthrow those heretics, as the French King calleth them among his council.'—Paget to Mont: State Papers, vol. xi. p. 61.
- State Papers, vol. xi. p. 132.
- State Papers, vol. xi. p. 163: and see Du Bellay.
- For the account of this Parliament see the next Chapter.
- State Papers, vol. i. pp. 830, 835. It was under this aspect that the tempting resource first suggested itself. Nor is it fair to condemn a measure to which, under some form or other, all nations in times of difficulty have had recourse, because the promise of repayment was subsequently broken with infinite injury to the country.
- Paget to Petre State Papers, vol. x. p. 139.
- Paget to Petre: State Papers, vol. xi. p. 164.
- Rymer's Fœdera, vol. vi. part 3, p. 136.
- 'The Cardinal alleged, by reason of his cardinalship, and that he was legatus natus in the kingdom of Antichrist, that he should have the pre-eminence, and that his cross should not only go before, but that it only should be borne wheresoever he was. The Archbishop (of Glasgow) also lacked no reason, as he thought, for maintenance of his glory. He was an archbishop in his own diocese, and in his own cathedral, see, and kirk, and therefore ought to give place to no man. However these doubts were resolved by the doctors of divinity of both the prelates, yet the decision was as ye shall hear. Coming forth or going in at the choir door of Glasgow Kirk began striving for state between the two cross-bearers, so that from glooming they came to shouldering, from shouldering they went, to buffets; and then for charity's sake they cried, 'Dispersit dedit pauperibus,' and assayed which of the crosses was of finest metal, which staff was strongest, and which bearer could best defend his master's pre-eminence; and that there should be no superiority in that behalf, to the ground went both the crosses; and there began no little fray, but yet a merry game, for rochets were rent, tippets were torn, crowns were knyppit, and gowns might have been seen wantonly wag from one wall to the other. Many of them lacked beards, and that was the more pity, and therefore could not buckle other by the byrss as some bold men would have done. But fie on the jackmen, they did not their duty, for had the one part of them rencountered the other, then all had gone right.'—Knox's History of the Reformation.
- MS. State Paper Office, first series, vol. x.
- Knox, who is the principal authority for the circumstance of Wishart's ministry, was in constant attendance upon him, and speaks with the authority, if also with the prejudices, of an eye-witness, a friend and companion.
- Knox was at this time teaching the family of the Laird of Ormiston.
- Calderwood, vol. i. p. 201.
- Knox; Calderwood.
- Lyndsay to Wharton: State Papers, vol. v. p. 560; Buchanan; Calderwood; Knox.
- As an immediate consequence, a popular outbreak and a pillage of the religious houses was looked for. On the 11th of June or July (the record is ambiguous), 'My Lord Governour, with advice of the Queen's Grace and lords of the council, understanding that through the occasion of this troublous time, and great inobedience made both to God and man in the committing of divers enorme and exorbitant crimes, it is dread and feared that evil-disposed persons will invade, destroy, cast down, and withhold abbeys, abbey places, kirks, as well parish churches as other religious places, priories of all orders, nunneries, chapels, and other spiritual men's houses, against the laws of God and man, and incontrair the liberty and freedom of holy kirk, for the eschewing of such inconvenients, it is statute and ordained that letters be directed into all parts of the realm, with open proclamation and charge to all our Sovereign Lady's lieges, that nane of them take on hand to cast down or destroy any such places ordained for God's service or dedicated to the same, under the pain of tinsall of life, lands, and goods.'—Acta Parliamentorum Mariæ, 1546.