Pole left Rome. But Francis I and the emperor were at war, and neither wished to offend Henry lest he should take part with the other against him. Henry demanded of Francis I that Pole should be delivered up to him as a traitor. Francis promised not to receive Pole as legate. Though the cardinal made a public entry into Paris, he was informed that his presence in France was inconvenient, and that he must leave the country.
Much mortified, he withdrew to Cambray, which was neutral territory, and remained there more than a month, awaiting a safe-conduct from Mary, queen of Hungary, regent of the Netherlands, in order to get safely away. But the English ambassador at her court insisted that if he entered imperial territory he should be delivered up to Henry, and efforts were made by English agents to assassinate or kidnap him. Queen Mary excused herself from seeing him, and sent an escort in May to convey him from Cambray to Liège, without stopping any where more than a single night. Within the territory of the cardinal of Liège he was safe from further demands for his extradition.
The cardinal of Liège (Erard de la Marck) lodged Pole in his own palace, and with princely liberality pressed upon his acceptance large sums of money for his expenses. No stranger could enter or leave Liège unexamined while Pole was there. And he remained there nearly three months (Epp. Poli, ii., Diatriba ad Epistolas, cii-ciii, cix-cv). At length the pope ordered him to return to Rome, which he reached in October. He remained there till the following spring (1538), when he accompanied Paul III to the meeting at Nice between Francis I and Charles V. At the first interview of the emperor and the pope the former desired to be made acquainted with Pole, who accordingly waited on the emperor at Villafranca, and was very cordially received. After the meeting he spent some time at his friend Priuli's country house near Venice, and thence moved to Padua. There news reached him of the arrest in England of his brother Sir Geoffrey. He himself, in Venetian territory, was beset by spies and would-be assassins one of them the plausible scoundrel Philips who had betrayed the martyr Tindal. In October he removed to Rome. Not many weeks later he was refused an audience by the pope, because he had just received such distressing news of Pole's family that he could not bear to look him in the face. His eldest brother, Lord Montague, had been arrested on a charge of treason, and with him his mother and some dear and intimate friends.
Pole felt that his own griefs were those of his country and even of Europe. The only cure was to be sought in a restoration of papal authority in England by a league of Christian princes against Henry. He therefore accepted a mission from the pope to visit the emperor in Spain, and afterwards Francis I. He left Rome on 27 Dec. 1538, and, to avoid Henry's hired assassins, travelled in disguise, with few attendants. By the end of January 1539 he reached Barcelona, and he was with the emperor at Toledo in the middle of February. Sir Thomas Wyatt, the English ambassador, vainly demanded his extradition as a traitor. Charles replied that 'if he were his own traitor, coming from the Holy Father at Rome, he could not refuse him audience.' In other respects he was not more successful than before. Charles V replied that he was not inclined to take offensive measures against England until he was sure of the co-operation of France.
While on his return journey, at Gerona in Catalonia (not La Gironde, as in the 'Spanish Calendar,' vol. vi. pt. i. p. 145), Pole learned that an English exile was seeking to assassinate him in hope of earning pardon from Henry for past misdeeds. This knowledge, combined with a fear that an immediate visit to France might lead to closer union between England and the emperor, led him to return for a time to Carpentras, a neutral place in the papal territory near Avignon. He, however, commissioned Parpaglia, abbot of San Saluto, a Piedmontese belonging to his household, who had been with him at Toledo, to deliver his message to Francis and inquire if he should come himself. Parpaglia was received politely, but was told that Pole's presence in France was not desired. Pole despatched Parpaglia to Rome to give a full account of the two missions. Pole's expenses had not only far exceeded his allowances, but had absorbed nearly all his savings.
The pope was satisfied that the failure of the missions was not due to Pole, and on the death of Cardinal Campeggio [q. v.], who was titular bishop of Salisbury, offered the see to Pole. Pole, who was still at Carpentras, declined it. Meanwhile, in England, parliament had passed an act of attainder against Pole and all his family, with the exception of Sir Geoffrey. When the news of his mother's execution reached him, he said, 'I am now the son of a martyr. This is the king's reward for her care of his daughter's education;' but added calmly, 'Let us be of good cheer. We have now one patron more in heaven.' Deeply depressed, he found his best comfort in the quietude of Carpentras, and with much reluctance obeyed the pope's summons to Rome in 1540. The pope assigned him a bodyguard ;