That which gave the death-blow to feudalism in England was undoubtedly the Battle of Bosworth. The Normans, after their invasion and conquest, had drilled and disciplined the English people with so thorough a comprehension of the capabilities of the Saxon population, and so full an appreciation of their solid merits, that the sense of subjugation was soon effaced and a harmonious system established which time could not entirely destroy. The courtesy of the upper classes and the respectful subordination of the lower alike contributed to the strength of an English nationality, which, as it became more and more entirely insular, became more and more unique; so that even the decay and demoralisation which followed the loss of continental possessions in the fifteenth century, were accompanied by a compensation which was very real though but little appreciated at the time. With the loss of France, England was released from a burden which she was quite unable to bear; and when, a century later, she lost Calais also, she was all the more able to negotiate effectually with Scotland, and lay firm the foundations of a United Kingdom which a future age was to build up.
The expulsion of the English from both Normandy and Gascony in the days of Henry VI had led naturally to mutual recriminations among the nobility and gentry, who looked upon France as a playground to which they had an obvious right. These feelings mixed themselves with the great dynastic struggle of the Wars of the Roses; and the House of York owed not a little of its popularity to the fact that their party was not responsible for disaster abroad. But when Edward IV taxed his subjects severely for a new invasion of France, which was to revive the glories of the Black Prince and of Henry V, and when, instead of prosecuting his claims in the field, he listened to a seductive offer of an annual tribute from Louis XI and returned home from a bloodless campaign, it was already clear to discerning minds that the reconquest of France was a dream and an impossibility. Edward, indeed, though an excellent soldier when events compelled him to act, was constitutionally indolent; nor did he win the hearts of his people by pocketing what seemed very like a bribe from an enemy, after impoverishing his own subjects for the purpose of making war. But he was anxious to bequeath to his children a quiet succession, untroubled by serious difficulties either abroad or at home. Unhappily, he was no politician, and failed to foresee the clouds which darkened the horizon in both quarters just before his death.
England might have done very well without France, and even the quarrels of the nobility might have been left to settle themselves, had they not shaken the throne itself. But the security of the throne depended on the support of great families with large landed possessions, who could put large forces of their retainers into the field at need. Warwick the King-maker had been the great ally of Edward IV and of his father, and it was to him more than any other man in England that Edward owed his kingdom. It was by Warwick also that he was afterwards driven out of it, and that Henry VI was reinstated there for a time. Edward's own brother Clarence was won over by Warwick to assist in driving him out; and, though afterwards he changed sides again and helped in his brother's restoration, mutual distrust still remained, and Clarence was ultimately put to death as a traitor. Strange to say, Edward seems to have retained his confidence in his younger brother Richard, who after his death proved a worse traitor still; for he supplanted Edward's two sons, and then murdered them after getting himself proclaimed King as Richard III. But a conspiracy was formed between confederates both in England and in Britanny, where Henry, Earl of Richmond, lived in exile, by which it was arranged that he should invade the kingdom, and after winning the Crown by the defeat of Richard in battle, should marry Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV, thereby uniting the claims of the House of York to those of the House of Lancaster.
HENRY VII. (1485-1509.)
It was thus that the Earl of Richmond after the victory of Bos-worth became King Henry the Seventh. He indeed claimed the throne in his own right by a Lancastrian title; but, as that title seemed open to some objections, he could not have hoped to win it apart from the pledge he had given to marry the heiress of York; still less could he have retained it without actually marrying her. During nearly the whole of his reign he was troubled with Yorkist conspiracies; and it was with great wisdom that, in his second Parliament, he procured the institution of the Court of the Star Chamber-a Court of evil repute in later times, but of great value in that day for the correction of irregularities in the administration of justice, caused by the excessive power of local magnates, partial sheriffs, and corrupt juries. The name of this Court was derived from the chamber in which the Privy Council had been accustomed to sit at Westminster, and the Act only delegated to a Committee of that Council powers which had been always exercised, when thought fit, by the Council as a whole. An Act was also passed to make murderers always amenable to prosecution by the Crown, without waiting, as had been usual, a year and a day during which the next of kin might prosecute. The responsibility of coroners and townships was also increased in all cases of slaughter. The King, moreover, with the Pope's assent, imposed some restrictions on the privileges of sanctuaries, especially in cases of treason, and on those of the clergy when convicted of crime.
But faction at home was unhappily reinforced by movements outside the country; for foreign princes joined continually in the game, and Ireland afforded, especially at the commencement of Henry's reign, a basis of operations against England of which these princes were not slow to take advantage. For Ireland had been a stronghold of the Yorkist party, where in past days Richard, Duke of York, proscribed in England, had ruled as the King's lieutenant in defiance of the very authority he professed to represent. It was not a country which a Lancastrian King could hope to reduce very speedily to obedience; and yet we shall see that, notwithstanding the most unpromising commencement, Henry's success in this matter was far beyond expectation.
The first rumour of disturbances after his accession arose out of the escape of Viscount Lovel and the two brothers Stafford from sanctuary at Colchester in the spring of 1486. The leaders, however, still lay hid, and it was not till the beginning of 1487 that some far-reaching plots developed themselves. Lovel fled to Flanders-a hotbed of conspiracy against Henry-and a boy named Lambert Simnel was set up in Ireland, first as a son of Edward IV (the murder of the two young princes in the Tower being held doubtful by some), afterwards as the Earl of Warwick, son of the ill-fated Duke of Clarence, whom Henry, just after his accession, had lodged in the Tower to prevent any rising in his favour. Then John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, who had attended a meeting of the Privy Council at Sheen on February 2, escaped to Flanders also. He was probably the originator of the whole conspiracy; for he was the eldest son of the Duke of Suffolk by Elizabeth, sister of Edward IV, and had been nominated by Richard III as his successor on the throne. His hopes had thus been blighted by Henry's accession; and, having prepared a fleet, he now took counsel in Flanders with his aunt, Margaret, Duchess Dowager of Burgundy (another sister of Edward IV), how to dispossess Henry of the kingdom. He then went to Simnel in Ireland, whose pretensions he recognised, though he had the best reason to know their falsehood, as a means of clearing the ground for himself. Simnel was crowned in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, in the presence of the Earl of Kildare, then Deputy of Ireland, and of his brother the Lord Chancellor, and of nearly all the judges, nobility, and bishops of the land. Supported by Lincoln, Kildare, and a body of German mercenaries under one Martin Swart, the pretender invaded England. But he was defeated at Stoke-upon-Trent (June 16, 1487); his leaders, including Lincoln and Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, were slain, and he was himself taken prisoner.
So ended the first great crisis in Henry's reign. And he was stronger now than he had been, not only by the death of Lincoln and the overthrow of the conspiracy, but because his Queen Elizabeth in the year preceding had borne him a son, to whom, in respect of his old British descent, he gave the name of the fabled King Arthur. As a further counterpoise to faction he now caused the Queen to be crowned (November 25). But at this very time he had also to appeal urgently to Parliament (it was his second Parliament) for aid in the shape of taxation for the defence of the realm. The continual danger of invasion made it an object of supreme importance to him to study carefully the aims and policy of foreign princes; for his own security upon the throne depended quite as much on what was done abroad as on anything that he could do at home. The Spanish sovereigns, Ferdinand and Isabel, were anxious to draw him into a war with France; and the marriage of Prince Arthur to their daughter, Katharine of Aragon, was already arranged in 1488. Henry was unwilling to make war upon a country whose government had really assisted him to obtain the Crown; but he had been scarcely less indebted, as an exile, to the Duke of Britanny, and France was menacing the independence of that duchy. Henry endeavoured to mediate, while a band of volunteers under Lord Woodville crossed the Channel unauthorised, and shared the disastrous defeat of the Bretons in the battle of St Aubin (July 28, 1488). Henry strongly disowned responsibility for this expedition; but ill-feeling had been already aroused both in France and England, and on April 1, 1489, he fully committed himself to the defence of the duchy by a treaty with the Duchess Anne. Moreover, a state of war between England and France had existed when he came to the throne, and he had only suspended it by a truce, which he from time to time renewed, till circumstances were at last too strong for him. The treaty for the marriage between Arthur and Katharine was fettered with conditions which really obliged England to make actual war upon France for the benefit of Spain. This was the understanding from the first, and it was distinctly expressed in the treaty which Henry's ambassadors negotiated at Medina del Campo in March, 1489. Henry was making preparations, though he was anxious to put off the event to the last. In February Parliament granted him a very special subsidy of one-tenth of the annual value of lands and one-eightieth part of the whole value of men's goods. The levying of this impost created disturbances in Yorkshire, in attempting to suppress which the Earl of Northumberland was slain; but resistance was at length put down. Henry did his best for some time to assist Britanny without engaging otherwise in hostility with France; but his efforts were all thrown away. In December, 1491, the Duchess Anne married Charles VIII and the first step was taken towards a union of Britanny with France. Next year, in fulfilment of obligations, alike to Spain and to Maximilian, King of the Romans, Henry crossed the Channel and besieged Boulogne (October). The season was late, and he was quite unsupported by his allies; but he fulfilled his treaty obligations to them; and, moreover, finding Charles VIII quite willing to pay him an annual tribute of 50,000 francs, he followed the example of Edward IV and made a peace very profitable to himself (the Treaty of Etaples, November 3, 1492), after having taxed his subjects highly and drawn "benevolences" from them for an energetic war.
However unpopular this result might be in England, it certainly strengthened Henry's hands in dealing with foreign Powers. He was no longer under special obligations to Spain, and France had consented to buy his friendship. The prince who was most dissatisfied with the result was Maximilian, King of the Romans, to whom Henry had already rendered very important aid, and who seemed to consider him bound to fight his battles in France, though he had himself been by no means a steady and faithful ally. Maximilian's animosity from this time was persistent; yet it was perhaps not more injurious to Henry in particular than it was inconvenient to other Powers, when, in 1495, Spain, Venice and the Pope would have been glad to draw England into a league with Maximilian against France.
Maximilian's infant son Philip, called Archduke of Austria, was to govern the Netherlands when he came of age. But the Council which meanwhile governed in his name had very little respect for his father, who in fact was at one time not allowed the guardianship of his own son. Much more influential was Margaret Duchess of Burgundy, widow of the young Prince's grandfather, Charles the Bold; who, being a sister of Edward IV, and having sustained considerable loss of revenue by the accession of Henry VII, laboured assiduously for his overthrow. She harboured at her Court disaffected Yorkists who fled from England, and assisted their conspiracies against the new King. Her nephew, John de la Pole, Earl of Lincoln, who supported Simnel and was killed at the battle of Stoke (1487), had first escaped over sea and held conference with her. And, notwithstanding the disastrous failure of that rebellion, the refugees at her Court had ample facilities for the formation of fresh conspiracies.
It is questionable, however, whether the new impostor who now appeared on the scene received his original stimulus from her. Perkin Warbeck, a native of Tournay, was a young man who had been much in the Low Countries and in Portugal, and having finally taken service with a Breton named Pregent Meno, landed in Cork in 1491, arrayed in fine clothing belonging to his master. The Irish took him for a prince of royal birth; if not Warwick, the son of Clarence, he must be a bastard son of Richard III. But after he had denied both characters, they persuaded him to personate Richard Duke of York, the younger of the two princes murdered in the Tower, telling him he would be supported by the Earls of Kildare and Desmond, who were both, in spite of recent professions of loyalty, wholly bent on the King's destruction. He remained some little time in Ireland, learning to speak English fluently and to play the part assigned to him, when Charles VIII, knowing that Henry was preparing to make war on France, invited him to his Court. There for a brief time he was honoured as a prince; but on the conclusion of the Peace of Etaples (1492) he was dismissed and went to Flanders, where Margaret received him with open arms, acknowledging him as her nephew. Next year, when Maximilian visited the Low Countries, Henry sent an embassy to him and to the Archduke Philip to remonstrate against the countenance given to the Pretender; but it produced no result, the Council of the young Archduke replying that Margaret was free to do as she pleased within the lands of her jointure.
Thus it was clear that the government of the Low Countries intended to allow conspiracies to be matured in those parts against Henry VII. He met this by forbidding commerce with Flanders and removing the mart of the Merchant Adventurers from Antwerp to Calais (September 18, 1493). This was a step quite against his ordinary policy, for no King was ever more studious of the interests of commerce, and though aimed at the Flemings it produced inconvenience on both sides, thus leading to a riot in London, as the German merchants of the Hansa had certain privileges by charter, which enabled them to carry on the traffic forbidden to Englishmen. Perkin, however, soon afterwards repaired to Maximilian at Vienna, where at the funeral of the Emperor Frederick III a place was assigned to him corresponding to his pretensions. Next year he returned with Maximilian to Flanders, where he was recognised as King of England. But Henry had intelligence of those implicated in the conspiracy at home, and a number of arrests were made, the most startling of which was that of Sir William Stanley. To him King Henry had owed not only his crown but his life, when it was in serious danger at Bosworth; in reward for which, among other things, Stanley had been appointed the King's Chamberlain. Yet he had sent over to Flanders to encourage Perkin one Sir Robert Clifford, who, turning informer, revealed his intrigues to the King. Stanley was beheaded on Tower Hill (February 16, 1495). This disconcerted for a time a plan for the invasion of England which had been formed in the Low Countries and was nearly ripe for execution. On July 3, however, Warbeck appeared with a little fleet off Deal, and some of his followers landed, but were presently taken, sent up to London and hanged. Perkin himself had wisely refrained from landing, and sailed to Ireland, where he attacked by sea the loyal town of Waterford, which Desmond's followers at the same time besieged by land. After eleven days, however, he was compelled to withdraw with loss, and later in the year he found a better asylum in Scotland, which had long been prepared to receive him.
Influenced, no doubt, by Maximilian and by Margaret of Burgundy, James IV of Scotland had committed himself to Perkin's cause before he came, and now not only acknowledged him as Duke of York, but gave him in marriage his cousin, Katharine Gordon, daughter of the Earl of Huntly. In September, 1496, when the young man had been nearly a year his guest in Scotland, James invaded England with Perkin in his company. But it was a mere brief border raid, from which the Scots returned in three days on hearing of a force sent from Newcastle to oppose them; and all that came of it was that a truce was broken, and that Henry now made preparations to punish a neighbour whom he had been anxious to conciliate. He assembled a great council which, anticipating the action of Parliament, promised him £120,000 for the War, and authorised the raising of ,£40,000 in loans. Parliament met in January, 1497. Two fifteenths and tenths were imposed, to be levied in May and November following. But the first attempt to collect the money in Cornwall met with serious opposition. A lawyer named Thomas Flammock told the people that they were not bound to pay, as the King had a right to the services of his feudal tenants for military purposes, without burdening his subjects generally. Flammock and a blacksmith named Michael Joseph became the leaders of an army of malcontents, which marched on towards London. They were joined at Wells by Lord Audeley, but were refused admittance into Bristol. At last they encamped upon Blackheath, and actually overlooked London. But here at length they were defeated with great slaughter (June 17), and the survivors delivered themselves up as prisoners.
This result was not obtained without the aid of a force under Lord Daubeney, which had been raised to proceed against Scotland, but was hastily recalled to meet the Cornishmen. Henry's troubles made him the more anxious to come to terms with James, if he could only be got to deliver up Perkin, or even to cease to countenance him. But just at the time when he despatched Bishop Fox to Scotland to make these demands (July, 1497), James was sending off' Warbeck by sea from Ayr with a view to his landing among the disaffected population in Cornwall and getting them to aid his pretensions. Before sailing, however,' Warbeck had received a message from a turbulent Irish chieftain named Sir James Ormond, which induced him to take Ireland on his way. This was a mistake; for both Kildare and Desmond were now reconciled to the King. But he landed at Cork and was received warmly by an old friend, John Walter, or John a Water as he is called by the chroniclers, who had lately been mayor. Sir James Ormond had by this time been killed in a private encounter; and Perkin wasted precious time while the loyal citizens of Waterford not only despatched across the Channel news of his arrival and design of invading Cornwall, but did their best, first to seize him, and, afterwards, when he sailed in September, to intercept him on his passage.
He not only escaped capture, however, but landed at Whitesand Bay near the Land's End on September 7, and speedily drew after him a very considerable following. On September 17 he appeared before Exeter and for two days attempted to storm the town. Failing here, he went on towards Taunton, where, hearing that an army under Daubeney was advancing to meet him, he stole away in the night and, riding hard across country with one or two companions, took refuge at Beaulieu Sanctuary in Hampshire. The Sanctuary being soon afterwards surrounded, he surrendered on promise of the King's pardon and was brought back to Taunton where the King had now arrived. He was compelled to confess his imposture before his wife, who had accompanied him to Cornwall, and who was sent for from St Michael's Mount, where he had left her. The King, pitying her misfortunes, sent her with an escort to the Queen; while he himself followed slowly to Westminster, where he arrived in the latter part of November.
With him came Perkin, whose career was now virtually finished, and the King seems at this time to have had no other thought than to expose him to public derision as a rebuke to factiousness. Misled by the Duchess Margaret, it is quite possible that Maximilian and some other foreign princes had believed in Perkin; but it is clear that most of them valued him merely as a pawn by which to gain their own ends with Henry VII. And this was really his whole significance. In England he had never the courage to play his part effectively. At Deal he refused to land; in Northumberland he only pitied the ravages committed by his Scotch allies; in Devonshire he stole away from his own followers in search of an asylum. And now the Londoners flocked to see him "as he were a monster," while he was made to repeat his confession in public and conveyed on horseback through the streets, one day to the Tower and another day to Westminster. His life was spared for two years longer.
His dismissal from Scotland, though certainly not a concession to English demands, is commonly considered to have cleared the way for a peace between the kingdoms. And no doubt it did so, but not at once. Owing to the Cornish rebellion James had for a time escaped retribution for his infraction of the truce in the preceding year; and, just after sending Warbeck away, he proceeded to besiege Norham Castle on the Tweed. The Earl of Surrey, however, whom Henry had some years before appointed lieutenant of the North, hastened to its relief, and James was obliged to retire. Surrey then advanced into the Borders, destroyed some fortresses and took the castle of Ayton, where (September 30,1497) by the mediation of the Spanish Ambassador, Pedro de Ayala, another seven years' truce was arranged between the two countries, with a stipulation, to which both kings afterwards agreed, that matters in dispute between them should be referred to Spanish arbitration. Spain had a very deep interest in promoting friendly relations between England and Scotland, in order that the former country might still be a check upon France; and Ayala was a most efficient instrument in the reconciliation. Next year, an unfortunate incident on the Borders threatened for a moment to disturb the new settlement. Some Scotchmen visiting Norham Castle in armour created suspicion. Haughty words led to blows, and the Scots fled. The English, too, killed a number of Scots, apparently in some raid which followed. But both sovereigns were so anxious to preserve the peace that the matter was satisfactorily arranged by Bishop Fox, who was sent to James at Melrose, and who there apparently concluded with him a long-talked-of project for his marriage with Henry's daughter Margaret.
Henry had now seemingly surmounted his most serious difficulties; but there were still troubles in store for him. Before relating these, however, something must be said of his remarkable success in the pacification of Ireland. How, it will be asked, had that country, after supporting Lambert Simnel with such strange enthusiasm and unanimity in 1487, become so loyal ten years later that hardly the slightest Irish encouragement was then afforded to Perkin Warbeck? This result was certainly due to a patience and sagacity on the King's part, characteristic of that "politic governance" for which he bore so high a name among princes. Even after the victory of Stoke he could not afford to punish Simnel's adherents in Ireland, who were virtually the whole Irish people. In 1488, the year after Simnel's coronation, he sent Sir Richard Edgecombe to Ireland, to receive the submissions of Kildare and the other Irish lords, and administer oaths of allegiance; and it required great adroitness in the envoy to succeed in such a mission. They took the oath, however, and Kildare was continued as Lord Deputy. But new Yorkist plots were brewing in England, and, in order to be safe as regards Ireland, Henry desired to win Kildare over to a personal interview with him. He sent him a private message promising great favours if he would come, with a renewal of the dignity of Lord Deputy for ten years; and he also wrote to him on July 28, 1490, expressly desiring his presence within ten months. But all this was nothing to Kildare. He allowed the time granted him to expire* and then not only wrote himself, but induced a number of the Irish lords to write in his excuse to the King, that his continued presence in Ireland at that time was absolutely indispensable. The King, however, they declared, might rest assured of the Earl's complete loyalty.
Henry could not well have remained satisfied with this assurance. Next year Kildare and his cousin Desmond ericouraged Perkin Warbeck; and in 1492 the King made a complete change in the government of Ireland, appointing Walter Fitzsimmons, Archbishop of Dublin, as Lord Deputy in Kildare's place. Some Irish feuds broke out, and there was fighting in the streets of Dublin; but at last in 1493 Kildare was induced by a promise of pardon to go over and seek the King's presence. He and some Irish lords who went with him were invited by the King to a feast, at which Simnel served them with wine; and witnessing the shame on each of their faces when they saw their cupbearer, Henry remarked sarcastically "My masters, you will crown apes some day!" Kildare received his pardon on June 22, but was not restored to his old office. After some other changes the King (September 11, 1494) appointed his second son Henry as Lord Lieutenant (a mere honorary title), with Sir Edward Poynings as his Deputy. Poynings was a good soldier but found desultory warfare with Irish chieftains unsatisfactory, and tried to secure their loyalty by money payments. He then opened at Drogheda, on December 1, 1494, the Parliament which passed the celebrated Acts called by his name, whereby for the next three centuries all legislation submitted to the Irish Parliament required first to be approved by the English Council. Other enactments in this Parliament were conceived in the same spirit as laws passed in England, to put down armed retinues and the war-cries of hostile factions. But having established a new system of government, Poynings was recalled in January, 1496; and on August 6 following Kildare, who had curiously regained the King's confidence by his frankness, was reinstated as Deputy. From that day he held the office till his death and was faithful both to Henry and to his son. The King seems to have believed from the first that nothing but a little personal intercourse with him was required to make him a loyal subject; and he was right in the belief.
Warbeck's imposture being now at an end, the King did not at first care to keep him in very close confinement. But on June 9, 1498 (the year after his capture), he created some alarm by escaping at night from the King's Court, where he had been only watched by keepers. He got no further, however, than Sheen, where he again took sanctuary and prevailed upon the prior to intercede for him. He was placed in the stocks for several hours, one day at Westminster and another day in Cheapside; after which he was shut up in the Tower, where he remained the greater part of next year. But meanwhile the King had been disquieted by a new impostor, a young man named Ralph Wilford, who suddenly appeared in Kent, first telling people privately that he was the Earl of Warwick just escaped from the Tower; while one Friar Patrick, by whom he was accompanied, confirmed the story and at last declared it from the pulpit. Both the young man and the friar were soon appreherided, and the former was hanged on Shrove Tuesday (February 12, 1499). A few weeks later it was observed, that Henry seemed to have grown twenty years older, and was spending much time in religious observances, while also accumulating money, of which he had an unequalled store. That he was brooding over danger to himself is hardly doubtful. ' Later in the year Warbeck managed to corrupt some of his keepers, with whom he formed a conspiracy to kill Sir John Digby, the Lieutenant of the Tower, and liberate himself and the Earl of Warwick, who, having been a prisoner from boyhood and knowing nothing of the world, gave too easy an assent to the project. Warbeck was tried and hanged at Tyburn in November with his old associate, John & Water, Mayor of Cork. The Earl of Warwick was arraigned at Westminster before the Earl of Oxford as Constable of England, confessed the indictment in his simplicity, and was beheaded on Tower Hill.
Warwick's confinement had been all along justified only by the danger of leaving him at liberty; but his execution was felt to be nothing less than a judicial murder. One thing, however, was made clear to Yorkist intriguers; neither counterfeit Warwicks nor any other counterfeits would avail them now. If they took further action, it must be in their own names.
The year 1500 was a year of Jubilee at Rome, and in England a period of domestic peace seemed to have begun. Henry was much stronger now in his relations with foreign princes. The stoppage of trade with the Netherlands, owing to the support given to Warbeck there in 1493, had been long since ended. From the first it had been found intolerable, especially on the other side of the Channel, and on February 24, 1496, a commercial treaty was concluded in London between the two countries. This did not, indeed, prove a complete settlement, and was followed by further treaties in July 1497 and May 1499; but a better understanding was growing up, and in 1498 the English merchants returned to Antwerp, where they were received with a general procession. On May 8, 1500, Henry VII with his Queen crossed to Calais, where they remained till June 16. On June 9 they had a meeting with Archduke Philip, in which most cordial relations were established and marriages proposed between the two families, which, however, did not take effect.
This meeting seems to have quickened the anxiety of Ferdinand and Isabel of Spain at length to give effect to the long-talked-of match of their daughter Katharine, which they had repeatedly delayed till they should be convinced of the stability of Henry's throne. She was sent to England in 1501, landed at Plymouth on October 2, and after travelling slowly up to London entered the city on November 12. She was received with a vast amount of pageantry and scenic displays, and the marriage took place at St Paul's on Sunday the 14th. Amid the rejoicings which followed, came ambassadors from Scotland to negotiate another marriage, that, namely, of James IV with Margaret, the treaty for which was concluded on January 24, 1502. Next day the marriage was celebrated by proxy at Richmond. But on April 2 following, to the inexpressible grief of Henry and his Queen, Prince Arthur diied at Ludlow; and next year (1503) on February 11, died his mother the Queen, leaving Henry a widower. In the following summer he conducted his daughter as far as Northamptonshire on her way to Scotland, and she was married to James at Edinburgh on August 8.
Meanwhile a new danger for Henry had sprung up. Edmund de la Pole, the brother of the Earl of Lincoln who had supported Simnel, had succeeded on his father's death to the dukedom of Suffolk; but, as the family estate had suffered seriously from his brother's attainder, he arranged with the King, on the restoration of a part of the property, to bear the title of "Earl of Suffolk" only. In 1498 he killed a man in a passion, but after being indicted received the King's pardon. In the summer of 1499 he escaped over sea to Calais, and was going on to the Court of Margaret of Burgundy in Flanders, when ambassadors on their way from Henry VII to the Archduke Philip persuaded him to return. He was with the King at his meeting with Philip in 1500. But in August, 1501, he escaped abroad again, together with his younger brother Richard, relying on a promise which Maximilian, King of the Romans, had made to Sir Robert Curzon, that he would help him to obtain the Crown of England. Sir Robert had been captain of Hammes Castle, but had a desire to go and fight for Maximilian against the Turks; and he obtained leave of the King to give up his post for that purpose on August 29, 1499. This date must have been just after Suffolk's first flight, and there is reason to suspect that leave to give up his post was granted to him on an understanding that he would act as a spy on Suffolk for the King, and ascertain whether the factious Duchess Margaret was disposed to encourage him as she had encouraged Simnel and Warbeck in Flanders. In fact, he simulated flight like one out of favour with his King. But the Duchess Margaret had already been obliged to apologise for the countenance she had given to Warbeck, and it does not appear that she was prepared to encourage Suffolk. At all events, it was by convincing the Earl that he would receive no support from foreign princes, either from France, Spain, Portugal, Scotland, or even from Philip (who was no less an ally of Henry than were the others), that the King's ambassadors persuaded him to return. This, however, was just before the judicial murder of Warwick,—an act which aroused a good deal of resentment in England; and Curzon, when he reached the Court of Maximilian, gave expression to the general feeling about the "murders and tyrannies" of the King of England. And it was then that Maximilian declared himself willing to help Suffolk to obtain the Crown.
The Earl reached Maximilian in the Tyrol, and was most kindly received; but he was put off with repeated excuses on account of the amity between England and Maximilian's son, Philip. He was sent to Aachen for aid, and various schemes fell through. Maximilian, in truth, since the day he promised to help him, had been drawn by overtures from Henry, and, though he still had the will to some extent, his means were not equal to his will. Meanwhile several friends of Suffolk in England were imprisoned, and the Earl himself along with Curzon and other fugitives abroad were denounced as traitors at Paul's Cross (November 7, 1501) and excommunicated on the strength of a papal bull. Suffolk ran into debt at Aachen even for the necessaries of life, while of course all his property in England was confiscated. But on June 20, 1502, a treaty was made at Antwerp between Henry and Maximilian, in which the latter was promised £10,000 for his war against the Turks, on condition that he would not harbour any English rebels, even of ducal dignity (to which Suffolk still laid claim); and the money was paid to him at Augsburg on July 28, the day on which he confirmed the treaty. Aachen, however, was a free city of the Empire and Maximilian was slow to fulfil his pledges and procure Suffolk's banishment.
And now, notwithstanding Henry's treaties with foreign princes, some would have been glad to get Suffolk into their hands, in order to use him like Warbeck as a check upon England. Spain demanded his surrender from the city of Aachen under the specious guise of friendship to Henry, but was refused. In the spring of 1504, however, the Earl had hopes of assistance from Duke George of Saxony, hereditary governor of Fries-land, who apparently desired to get him into his hands only as a means of bargaining for Henry's assistance against the town of Groningen, which still withstood his authority. The Earl obtained a passport from the Duke of Gelders to enable him to pass through his country to Friesland, and was permitted to depart from Aachen, leaving his brother Richard as a hostage to his creditors for payment of his debts. But notwithstanding his safe-conduct the Duke of Gelders caused him to be taken and confined at Hattem. So the Duke of Saxony was foiled of his prize, and it was feared that the Duke of Gelders would make use of him in the same way, to bid for Henry's assistance in his quarrels with his neighbour the Archduke Philip, who since the death of Queen Isabel in November, 1504, was called King of Castile in right of his wife Juana. Gelders, however, appears to have got nothing out of Henry, when in July, 1505, King Philip's forces captured Zutphen and Hattem. Suffolk thus had a new custodian; but, peace being immediately made between Philip and Gelders, the former did not like to retain the fugitive in the teeth of his treaties with Henry, who was at that very time advancing money to him for his prospective voyage to Spain. He accordingly sent Suffolk back to Wageningen, where he was again in the Duke of Gelders' hands. Suffolk tried to escape, and then implored Philip to reclaim him; which apparently Philip did indirectly after receiving the last instalment of Henry's loan; whereupon Suffolk, coming into his hands again, was shut up in the castle of Namur.
But early in 1506, Philip and his Queen Juana, having set sail for Spain, were driven by tempest on the coast of England. Henry at once saw his advantage, hospitably received them at his Court/ and wrung from Philip not only the surrender of the unhappy Suffolk (whose life he promised to spare) but a very important commercial treaty with Flanders, which settled some long-standing tariff disputes in a way that the Flemings continually resented afterwards as unjust and onesided.
Meanwhile the deaths of Prince Arthur and the Queen had given rise to new marriage projects. As soon as the former event was known to Ferdinand and Isabel they sent a special ambassador to England empowered to demand repayment of the first instalment (all that was yet paid) of Katharine's dower, and that Katharine herself should be sent back to Spain, or, if Henry preferred it, to conclude a new marriage for her with his second son Henry, soon afterwards created Prince of Wales. This last was clearly their aim, and as early as September 24, 1502, a draft treaty for the new marriage was drawn up in England; but it was not concluded till June 23, 1503. Application was made to Rome for a dispensation, both by Spain and by England; but its issue was delayed first by the deaths of two Popes within one year, and then by the necessity of special enquiry into the case. A brief, ante-dated December 26, 1503, was at length sent to Spain for the satisfaction of Queen Isabel on her death-bed; and a bull, almost verbally the same, was afterwards issued with the same date. But, owing to continual disputes between Henry VII and Ferdinand, the marriage did not take place during the life of the former King.
The fact that Katharine remained in England gave Henry a great advantage over Ferdinand in these diplomatic squabbles. When Henry found himself a widower in 1503, a shameful suggestion was brought forward that he might himself marry her instead of his son. It was probably meant only to alarm the Spanish Court, and Isabel tried to meet it by offering him as a bride her niece, Juana Queen of Naples, the younger of two dowager princesses who bore the same title and lived together at Valencia. After some time Henry asked for this lady's portrait, and when, on Isabel's death, he sent three gentlemen to Spain to ascertain what hold Ferdinand still had upon Castile, he commissioned/them also to visit the princess and to report, rather too minutely, on her personal qualities. Offers were further held out to him of a French match, either for his son or for himself; and Maximilian and Philip encouraged him to look for the hand of Maximilian's daughter, Margaret of Savoy. When Philip went to Spain, Margaret was left as Regent of the Netherlands, and since his marriage with her would have given Henry the government of that country, this scheme was more than once the subject of negotiations; but she could not herself be induced to agree to it. A more repulsive match was for some time talked about, owing to Philip's early death (September 25, 1506), namely with his widow, the mad Queen Juana of Castile; which Henry could only have contemplated as a means of obtaining the control of her kingdom. But another project was afterwards set on foot, which tended the same way, and excited the most serious jealousy in Ferdinand. As Philip's son Charles, heir alike to the lands of the House of Austria, the dukedom of Burgundy and the throne of Castile, was but a child under tutelage of his grandfather Maximilian, Henry won the Emperor over to an alliance; and a treaty was concluded at Calais, December 21, 1507, for the marriage of Prince Charles to the King's second daughter, Mary. Bonds were taken from various princes and towns in the Netherlands for the fulfilment of this treaty when the prince should come of age; and, on December 17, 1508, the Sieur de Bergues, who came over at the head of a distinguished embassy, married the Princess by proxy. On the 21st a rich jewel of the Emperor, called the fleur-de-lis, was given in pawn to Henry for 50,000 crowns of gold.
King Henry, who had been subject for some time to attacks of gout, died on April 21, 1509. He had made his will on March 30, leaving large bequests for masses and charitable objects, with strict injunctions to his executors to make restitution for wrongs done in answer to all complaints. He was buried, according to his direction, in the gorgeous chapel he had himself built in Westminster Abbey. During his life he had amassed, it was said, as much gold as all other Kings in Christendom put together. A more distinct and apparently well-founded statement is that at his death • he left in bullion four and a half millions, besides abundance of plate and jewels. Doubtless he had studied to keep a large reserve for his own security, and he made rebellions pay their own expenses in fines. But he had permitted agents, of whom the most notorious were Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley, further to fill his exchequer by extortions, founded generally on antiquated processes of law, for which at the last he expressed remorse. The two great ministers, Cardinal Morton and Sir Reginald Bray, who had paved his way to the throne, had died long before him. They had no doubt given much judicious counsel during the anxieties of the first part of his reign. But in his latter years he was strong both at home and abroad, his friendship being sought after by all European princes. HENRY VIII. (1509-19.)
It was a new world altogether when Henry VIII, in his eighteenth year, succeeded his father upon the throne. With a full exchequer and an undisputed title, the young King was at the commencement of his reign liberal and generous; and being handsome in person, highly accomplished and fond of manly exercises, he was abundantly popular. The old King just before his death had desired to atone for past severities, and had issued a general pardon, which his successor at o^ce renewed, excepting from it, however, among others, those instruments of extortion, Empson and Dudley, who were arrested the very day after his accession. By his father's dying advice, moreover, the unfriendly policy towards Ferdinand of Aragon was dropped at once, and the King married Katharine on June 11. He was crowned with her on the 28th at Westminster.
Dudley was found guilty of constructive treason at the Guildhall of London on July 18, 1509, and Empson at Northampton on August 8. The treason in both cases consisted in their having written to friends to come up to London armed, in anticipation of the old King's death, to help them to maintain their influence. Both Empson and Dudley were attainted in the Parliament which met in January, 1510, and both were beheaded on Tower Hill on August 17 following. The bonds which they had wrung from many on various legal pretexts were one by one brought into Chancery, and cancelled. It is noteworthy that Dudley during his imprisonment composed a treatise called The Tree of Common Wealth, in which he pointed out the chief dangers of the time, including that of the cruel administration of penal laws, in which he himself had taken so much part.
The first two years of the King's reign were peaceful and happy. There were no events to chronicle but Court pageants and tournaments, Christmas revels and May games; and when, on January 1, 1511, Katharine bore to the King a son named Henry, a new stimulus was given to these displays. But, though a household was appointed for the royal infant, he died on February 22. That same month the King received a request from his father-in-law, Ferdinand of Aragon, for the aid of fifteen hundred archers to make war on the Moors of Barbary. The men were easily found, and were placed under the command of Lord Darcy. But the expedition was unfortunate; for they had scarcely landed at Cadiz when they found that Ferdinand, pressed by France, had been obliged to make a truce with the Moors, and their services were not required. The men, too, were ill-disciplined, became intoxicated with Spanish wines, had frays with the natives, and returned home in ill-humour. Another expedition of fifteen hundred archers sent under the command of Sir Edward Poynings to the assistance of Margaret of Savoy and the Burgundians against Gelders was at first more satisfactory; for with their aid some places were captured and destroyed (August). But when, after these successes, siege was laid to Venloo and had continued twenty-nine days, Poynings began to feel that their allies were making undue use of the detachment, and it obtained leave to return home. Hereupon, the river being swollen by heavy rains, the Burgundians raised the siege and retired for the winter, wasting the country round about.
Shortly before this began a misunderstanding with James IV of Scotland, on account of acts of piracy stated to have been committed by his sea captain, Andrew Barton. The King sent out against him Lord Thomas Howard, eldest son of the Earl of Surrey, with his younger brother Edward, soon afterwards knighted and created Lord Admiral. In the Downs, Lord Thomas overtook Andrew Barton, who after a fierce fight fell into his hands, mortally wounded, his ship the Lion being captured with her crew by the Englishmen, who after a further chase also took the bark Jenny Pirwyn, the Lion's consort, and brought them both to Blackwall on August 2. The Scotch prisoners appealed to the King for mercy, confessing their offence to be piracy, and were sent out of the country; but James was exceedingly angry, and demanded redress for Barton's death and the capture of his two ships.
In this year (1511) King Henry VIII was also first drawn into continental politics. In 1508 the leading Powers on the Continent had combined against Venice in the League of Cambray; but France, the prime mover in the game, very soon alarmed her confederates, and especially Pope Julius II, by her successes in Northern Italy. Pope Julius thereupon made friends with the Seigniory, and in April, 1510, sent a golden rose to Henry VIII. The surrender of Bologna to the French in May, 1511, and the attempt, in which Louis XII secured the concurrence of the Emperor Maximilian, to set up a Council at Pisa enraged the Pope still more, and drew other princes to his aid. The Holy League was proclaimed at Rome on October 4 between the Pope and Ferdinand of Aragon; and Henry joined it on November 13, promising to make active war against France in the following spring. The recovery of Guyenne, which had now been lost to England for sixty years, was the reward held out to him by the treaty. Accordingly in May, 1512, while the French seemed still to be making head in Italy, having on Easter Sunday cut to pieces the papal and Spanish forces at Ravenna, an expedition was despatched to Spain under the Marquis of Dorset for the invasion of Guyenne, in the hope of its-being supported by Spanish troops. It landed in Biscay on June 7; but it was even more unfortunate than Lord Darcy's expedition. No preparation had been made in Spain for its reception, not even by way of supplying the soldiers with victuals, or with carriage for their ordnance. They were exposed to the weather, and-'the diet and wines of Spain disagreed with their English habits of body. Moreover, while hundreds died of diarrhoea, the force was kept idle for months, expecting the Duke of Alva to join it. But Alva was engaged on Ferdinand's work in the conquest of Navarre, in which he succeeded perfectly; and the only effect of the English expedition was to hamper the French in Italy, where they soon completely lost their footing. Dorset's troops at last mutinied, and at a council of war on August 28 resolved to return home without leave,—in fact, against orders. The King was very indignant, but was unable to punish where so many were in fault.
It had been arranged that, while Dorset sought to recover Guyenne, English ships were to keep the Channel as far as Brest, and the Spaniards the sea thence to the Bay of Biscay. Sir Edward Howard was appointed Admiral of the English fleet on April 7, and after cruising about the Channel and chasing French fishing-boats he accompanied Dorset's fleet as far as Brest. He then landed on the Breton coast, burning towns and villages ruthlessly over a circuit of thirty miles, and returned home. But the Spanish fleet did not come to join the English till September, when it was really useless; and French ships were meanwhile got ready both in Normandy and Britanny, and placed under the command of the redoubted Pregent de Bidoux, summoned hastily from the Mediterranean. Thus by August, when another expedition sailed from England for Brest harbour, the French had a pretty fair squadron there, and on the 10th a fierce action took place between the two fleets. The Regent, the largest vessel on the English side, grappled with her chief opponent the Cordeliere (called by the English the Great Carrack of Brest), till by some means both vessels took fire, and were totally consumed with the loss of nearly all their crews. Sir Thomas Knyvet, commander of the Regent, was among the victims. The King at once determined to repair the loss of the Regent by building a still larger ship called the Henry Grace de Dieu, or "The Great Harry," which was launched two years later.
In April, 1513, Sir Edward Howard again sailed to the entrance of Brest harbour, intent on avenging Knyvet's fate. He found drawn up in shallow water a line of French galleys, which rained shot and square bolts upon him from guns and crossbows. Putting himself in a row-barge he faced this tremendous fire and boarded Pregent's galley, while his men cast the anchor on to the galley's deck. But the cable was either let slip or cut by the French; and Sir Edward, left in the hands of the enemy, was thrust overboard and perished. The attack was foolhardy; but Howard's gallantry retrieved the honour of the English nation.
For several months preparations had been in progress for an invasion of France by the King in person. It may have been in order to prevent any possible conspiracy at home that the unhappy Earl of Suffolk, whose brother Richard de la Pole was now in the French King's service, was beheaded on April 30, notwithstanding the promise given by Henry VII that his life should be spared. The first portion of the invading army went over to Calais in the latter part of May, and the King himself landed there on June 30, having left the Queen behind him as Regent in his absence. Siege was laid to the fortified city of Terouanne on June 22; but it still held out on August 4, when the King joined the besiegers. On the llth he left the camp and had a meeting with the Emperor Maximilian, between Terouanne and Aire, in very foul weather; of which, indeed, there had been much already. Next day the Emperor visited the trenches and returned for a time to Aire. He was afterwards content, instead of joining the King under his own banner, to serve with his company at the King's wages under the banner of St George; for he was always glad of money, while his great military experience was unquestionably of service to the King. On the night of the llth Lyon King of Arms arrived with a message from James IV, setting forth various complaints against England and requiring Henry to desist from the invasion of a country which was James' ally. To this an appropriate answer was next day returned by Henry.
On the 16th the King removed his camp to Guinegaste in order to defeat any attempt on the part of the French, who were mustering south of Terouanne, at victualling the place. They were presently descried and, after a brief encounter, took to flight, leaving in the hands of the English some most illustrious prisoners, among whom were the Duke of Longueville and the renowned Chevalier Bayard. The engagement received the name of "the Battle of the Spurs" from the speedy flight of the French. A week later, on the 23rd, Terouanne surrendered. The fortifications which had made it so formidable were then blown up, and the invading army passed on to Tournay, which likewise surrendered a month later, on September 23. These conquests were not valuable to England unless she had an interest in Belgium; but Henry looked forward to the marriage of his sister Mary to young Charles of Castile, which, as we have seen, had been arranged in Henry VII's time. The city of Terouanne, as belonging to the House of Burgundy, was made over to the Emperor, whose soldiers ruthlessly destroyed it by fire. On the way to Tournay Henry paid a visit to Margaret of Savoy at Lille, which was within the territory of Flanders; and after the capture of the city she returned the visit, bringing with her the young Prince, then in his fourteenth year. Yet another meeting was held at Lille, where on October 17 it was arranged that the marriage should take place at Calais in the following year in presence of the Emperor, Margaret of Savoy, Henry VIII, and Queen Katharine. Provisions were also made for the defence of Artois and Hainault in the winter, and for the further prosecution of the War next year.
The ungracious declaration of war by the Scotch King had not been unexpected. Notwithstanding his treaties with England James had formed a new league with France in 1512, and had given most unsatisfactory answers as to his evident preparations for war to the English ambassador, West, Bishop of Ely. Before embarking at Dover, Henry had accordingly conferred the command of the North upon Thomas, Earl of Surrey, who conducted the Queen back to London, and thence in the end of July proceeded to his charge. Even in August the Scots made a raid into Northumberland under Hume, the Lord Chamberlain of Scotland, in which they came off so badly that they themselves called it "the 111 Raid"; for they were met by Sir William Bulmer and driven home with great slaughter and the loss of all their booty. But on the S2nd James himself entered Northumberland with as large an army as he could collect, won Norham Castle after a six days' siege, and razed it to the ground; after which he took some other fortresses. Hearing of this at Durham, Surrey advanced with the banner of St Cuthbert to Newcastle, where he had ordered musters from all the Northern counties to be held on September 1. On the 4th he despatched a herald to the King of Scots, reproaching him with his bad faith and offering to give him battle on the Friday following (September 9). James awaited his attack on ground very well chosen. The deep river Till lay between the armies. But Surrey bade his vanguard with the ordnance cross it at Twizel bridge near its junction with the Tweed, while the rear crossed at another point, threatening to cut off the retreat of the Scotch army. Hereupon the Scots made an onslaught which for a time was successful; but the fortune of the day changed, and the invaders were disastrously defeated. The King and the flower of the Scottish nobility were left dead upon the field of Flodden. In reward for this victory Surrey was some months later created Duke of Norfolk, and his son was made Earl of Surrey in his own right.
The success of the English arms in France and in Scotland produced important results both abroad and at home. The disgrace which had attended Dorset's expedition to Spain was now more than wiped out, and it was clear that, even as a military Power, England had to be reckoned with. But the belief still generally prevailed that she was an «asy dupe. She had been doing the work of Ferdinand in Spain; in Prance she had been winning conquests for Maximilian; and by more than one treaty she had been subsidising that needy Emperor, really to keep him true to his engagements as to his grandson's marriage with Mary. Henry's military successes compelled scheming politicians to change their tactics. His father-in-law, Ferdinand, did not relish them at all; for he had already made secret overtures for peace to France. Nor had he ever loved the project of an English princess marrying Charles of Castile, which would have afforded Henry opportunities for interference in Spain. And although in October, 1513, his ambassador at Lille made a treaty with the Emperor and Henry for continuing the War against France, the year could scarcely have run out before he had persuaded Maximilian to join him in coming to terms with the enemy, and leaving England in the lurch. Thus in the spring of the following year the War was really between England and France only; and Admiral Pregent burned the small fishing village of Brighthelmstone (Brighton), while Wallop committed similar havock on the coast of Normandy.
Early in 1513 Louis XII and his Queen, Anne of Britanny, had in vain attempted to break up the confederacy against France by offering their second daughter Renee to the Prince of Castile, with the duchy of Britanny as her dowry. Anne of Britanny died in January, 1514; but Louis renewed the offer, and appeared to meet with less resistance. There was, indeed, always a French party in Flanders; and though Margaret of Savoy was strongly opposed to a breach of faith with England in this matter, she was overborne by her father Maximilian, who, under the influence of Ferdinand, invented excuses for putting off the match with Mary, which plainly proved that there was no intention of concluding it.
But Henry was less of a dupe than men supposed. He had one counsellor, especially, not so famous yet as he was soon to become, whose eye was keen to detect false dealing and treachery abroad, and who well knew in what direction to look for a remedy. The abilities of Thomas Wolsey as a diplomatist had already been discovered by Henry VII, who made him his Chaplain and also Dean of Lincoln; and though the new King, at the commencement of his reign, was more largely under the influence of others, it was Wolsey whose energies had planned and organised the naval and military expeditions of the last three years. In fact he was rapidly becoming in most matters the King's sole counsellor. He accompanied Henry in the French campaign; and after the capture of Tournay the King obtained for him by papal bull the bishopric of that city, the see being newly vacant, though another bishop had been nominated by France. In February, 1514, the more substantial bishopric of Lincoln was also bestowed upon him; and, before many months were over, the death of Cardinal Bainbridge at Rome enabled the King to advance him from Lincoln to the archbishopric of York.
Under Wolsey's direction it was not difficult for Henry to chastise the perfidy of Ferdinand and the instability of Maximilian. While King Henry, deserted by his allies, seemed resolute to carry on the War alone, secret negotiations were opened with France through the prisoners left in English hands by the battle of the Spurs; and there was no enemy whom France was so anxious to conciliate as England. The death of Anne of Britanny cleared the way for Louis to enter the state of matrimony again at the age of fifty-two, and Henry had n& scruple about giving him the hand of his own sister Mary, a beautiful girl of eighteen. On August 7 there were concluded in London a treaty of peace with France and another for the marriage, a pledge being given by French commissioners for the payment of 1,000,000 gold crowns by half-yearly instalments of 50,000 francs. The marriage was actually celebrated at Abbeville on October 9.
This new alliance with France astonished the world, and spread serious alarm in many places. Henry certainly harboured deep designs in connexion with it, especially against his father-in-law; while Louis considered that he should now be able most effectually to prosecute his claim to the duchy of Milan. But Europe had scarcely had time to consider what might come of these arrangements, when they were virtually at an end. Louis XII died on January 1, 1515; and, as he left no sons, the Count of Angouleme succeeded him as Francis I. There was, indeed, no disposition, at all events on the part of Francis, to break off the amity with England; but it was clear from the first that that young and chivalrous King would be a rival, and not a help, to Henry in his European schemes. The embassy sent to him from England on his accession was headed by Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, in whom the hope had been raised of marrying the widowed French Queen. Unfortunately for the other purposes of the Duke's mission, Francis found out his secret, and, after putting him to the blush, promised every possible assistance in the matter he had most at heart. The King was as good as his word; but the impatience of the young couple, who feared strong opposition in England, induced them to be married in France before they left. On their return Suffolk was in serious danger from the indignation of King Henry and his nobles; but by Wolsey's intercession he procured his pardon.
Suffolk's indiscretion had, in fact, entailed the failure of some secret diplomacy with which he had been charged; and succeeding ambassadors could not remedy the result of his mismanagement. Francis renewed the treaty made with Suffolk's predecessor, and took his departure for Italy in order to assert his claim to Milan, evading an inconvenient demand that he should prevent the Duke of Albany from proceeding to Scotland.
John Duke of Albany was the son of Duke Alexander, who had tried to supplant his brother James III in Scotland, and had been driven into exile in France. There his son had been brought up and was now living,—a Frenchman in birth and feeling, but next heir to the Crown of Scotland after the two children of James IV. For this reason the Scottish people desired his coming. Immediately after the battle of Flodden, it is true, the widowed Queen Margaret was recognised, under her late husband's will, as Regent for her infant son James V. But in this she was evidently intended to be controlled by a Council, and even then Albany's presence was desired; but Louis XII would not allow him to leave France. It was only natural, however, that Francis I should refuse to give any pledge to detain him; and events in Scotland meanwhile had certainly made his going thither more desirable. For Margaret, after giving birth to a posthumous child- Alexander, Duke of Ross-very speedily married young Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, and thereby made herself a partisan among the opposing factions of the Scotch nobility. She was considered to have by this act forfeited both the regency and the control of her children; and the Council (August 26, 1514) were unanimous that Albany should be called in to assume the government. Margaret's position became intolerable, and in November she wrote to Henry from Stirling, where she had shut herself up with Angus, to send forces by sea and land for her deliverance. The country was indeed full of feuds and conspiracies; but Henry's treaties with France forbade open interference with Scotland, and he advised his sister to escape to England instead, and bring her husband and her children with her. This however was not to be easily effected, even had it been desired by Margaret herself, which at first was very likely not the case. Albany arrived in Scotland in May, 1515, and, being afterwards confirmed as governor by the Scottish Parliament, was quite resolved on obtaining possession of the children. To this end a deputation of Scotch lords approached the Queen at Stirling; but they were compelled to deliver their message outside the gates, the portcullis being dropped. The castle was besieged, and Albany himself appeared before it on August 4 with formidable artillery. Margaret, deserted by her friends, put the keys of the castle into the young King's hands and delivered both him and his brother to the Duke. Next month, by means of skilful arrangements made for her by Lord Dacre, she contrived to escape to Harbottle in. Northumberland, where, on October 7, she was delivered of a daughter, Margaret Douglas, afterwards the mother of Lord Darnley. Here the Queen was obliged to remain for the winter, removing no further than Morpeth in November, as her confinement had been followed by a long illness, during which the news of her second son's death at Stirling was for a time concealed from her; and she only visited her brother's Court in the following spring.
Meanwhile the influence of Henry VIII at Rome had procured for Wolsey the title of Cardinal, which was bestowed upon him by Leo X on September 10. On December 24 following the King appointed him Lord Chancellor, and ambassadors noted that the whole power of the State appeared to be lodged in him. The King, indeed, reposed very complete confidence in him, but always required frequent conferences with him as to the aims and methods of policy, and the Cardinal always found it necessary to carry out the objects of a very intelligent master, whether he quite approved of them himself or not, Henry VIII might hunt and take his pleasure; bui/ there was no department of the State's business which he failed to look into or which he did not fully command.
In September, 1515, Francis I won the battle of Marignano, to the confusion of the Pope, and the Spaniards, and the Swiss. Nor was the; news more acceptable to Henry, who read the letters presented to him by the French ambassador with ill-concealed mortification. He had no reasonable cause, however, for a rupture with France, and Wolsey and Suffolk were eager to assure the ambassador that nothing of the kind was in contemplation. But not only had he just (October 19) made a new treaty (though a defensive one only) with Ferdinand of Aragon, but he had also been listening with interest to a secretary of Maximilian Sforza, Duke of Milan, who urged him to league with the Swiss for the expulsion of the French from Italy. And Wolsey had already despatched his very able secretary, Richard Pace, on a secret mission to hire Swiss mercenaries for this purpose, throwing out a hint that their efforts were likely to be seconded by another English invasion of France. Unluckily, even before Pace had set out, not only had the Swiss been decisively defeated at Marignano, but Milan had opened its gates to the victors, and the Duke, taken prisoner, had resigned his duchy for a French pension. But the plan was not dropped. The Emperor conferred the title of Duke of Milan on Francis Sforza, brother of Maximilian, and it was arranged that the Swiss were to serve the Emperor and to be paid by England.
But a further change very soon took place in the situation. In January, 1516, Ferdinand of Aragon died, and the young Prince Charles was in Flanders proclaimed King of Castile. It was desirable -and became more and more so as time went on-that he should leave the Netherlands for his new dominions, but there were many difficulties to compose. His Council leaned to France, and the Holy League had not much prospect of survival without Spain. England, however, clung to her former policy, and, as it seemed at first, with every prospect of success. The French were driven into Milan, and it was thought that they could not keep the city against the Emperor, who had come down from Trent and joined the Swiss with a view to attacking them. But, when almost at the gates of the city on Easter Monday, March 24, he suddenly changed his mind, refused to advance further, and presently withdrew once more across the Adda towards Germany, alleging the most frivolous excuses to Pace and the English ambassador, Wingfield. Whether he was discontented at not having received English money, or had actually received French money, is uncertain. The Swiss would have gone on without him; but their leaders fell out among themselves, and the whole enterprise was ruined. Still, by Wolsey's policy, the Swiss were kept in pay, and the Emperor was prevented for a time from coming to an understanding with France. Conscious of his debts to England, Maximilian gravely offered to invest King Henry with the dukedom of Milan, and even to resign the Empire itself in his favour. Henry was not much taken with these offers, but thought it more important that the Emperor should come down to Flanders and correct the French leanings of his grandson's counsellors; or he might come on to Calais, where, in that case, Henry would meet him. The suggestion was agreeable to Maximilian, as it offered a pretext for new demands on Henry's purse for travelling expenses. He delayed the journey, however, for some time, while Charles and his counsellors concluded a treaty with France at Noyon, on August 13, with the object of settling questions about Navarre and Naples, so as to let the young Prince go to Spain with comfort. This was quite disastrous to the policy of England and to the manifest interests of Maximilian, and had a bad effect upon the Swiss. But Maximilian required further aid from England to prevent Verona falling into the hands of the Venetians, and it was apparently with this object mainly that he despatched Matthias Schinner, Cardinal of Sion, into England in October, though there were no doubt more specious pretexts. For, notwithstanding the Treaty of Noyon, even Charles' counsellors admitted the danger of Francis becoming supreme in Italy and putting pressure on the Pope. The Cardinal of Sion conferred with them on the way to England, and a league for the defence of the Church was concluded in London on October 29 between England, the Emperor, and Spain. But the Emperor was still called on to perform his promise; and, being yet far from the Low Countries, he continually required golden arguments to make him advance further. He reached Hagenau in Elsass in the beginning of December; and the Cardinal of Sion, who joined him there on his return from England, continued the begging on his behalf, writing to Wolsey that Charles' counsellors were seriously alarmed at his approach. This was a gross falsehood; for, shameful to say, at that very time the Emperor, by his commissioners at Brussels, had accepted the Treaty of Noyon and given his oath to observe it. Moreover, he had put Verona into the hands of the King of Castile, who, he pretended, could keep it better than himself; but Charles merely handed it over by compact to the French, to be restored by them to the Venetians.
So, in fact, all the King's money bestowed on Maximilian was lost. But under Wolsey's guidance large compensation was obtained ere long. No change was made in external policy. The Emperor was treated still as a friend, till he fell into suspicion with other allies, and lost all influence in Europe: while, on the other hand, England was sought by all parties for the sake of her full coffers. Charles of Castile felt the need of her to advance money to him for his voyage to Spain; and, while Henry was supposed to be still bent on doing France all the mischief in his power, very secret negotiations began between France and England, first for the restoration of Tournay, and ultimately, before the world knew, for a cordial alliance, of which Inore will be said presently.
Meanwhile the Queen had given birth in February to a daughter named Mary, who was afterwards Queen of England; and in May Margaret, Queen of Scotland, came to her brother's Court at Greenwich. Her stay in England gave Henry very great power in dealing with the Northern kingdom. Even at Harbottle and Morpeth she had fallen under the power of Lord Dacre, a great master of intrigue, who understood the King's general objects and first induced her to prefer demands which were refused by the Scotch lords; then, later, to sign a bill of complaints against Albany, in which it was even insinuated that the King was not safe in his hands, and that the death of the King's younger brother was probably due to the Duke. This, however, was only a State-paper to be used when convenient; for she was at that very time corresponding with Albany, who at her request liberated her friends from prison, agreed to give up her dowry, and showed every desire to satisfy her. Yet, on June 1, 1516, Henry wrote to the Scotch lords a formal demand for Albany's removal; but he was met by an absolute refusal on July 4. Albany, however, was really desirous to revisit France, and to this end he made a treaty with Wolsey on July 24, arranged for a prolongation of the truce and a settlement of Margaret's demands, and proposed to pass through England on his way, and there conclude a perpetual peace. At a later date, he obtained an unwilling permission from the Scotch Parliament to return to France for a time; but the visit to England had to be abandoned.
He returned to France in June, 1517, and in the course of the same month Margaret re-entered Scotland, having left London on May 16. Little more than a fortnight before her departure occurred the formidable riot of the London apprentices called Evil Mayday. It arose out of a conspiracy against foreigners, on whose houses a general attack was made during the night of April 30. This outbreak was not unexpected; but the civic authorities, in spite of a serious warning from Wolsey, who had to protect his own house at Westminster with a guard and artillery, failed to take adequate steps to prevent it. Troops were despatched into the City by various routes, and cannon were used to quell the disturbance. Two hundred and seventy-eight citizens were taken prisoners, of whom sixty were hanged in different parts of the City, and some beheaded and quartered, the offence being counted treason on account of the King's amity with foreign princes. The rest were pardoned at the intercession of the Queen and Wolsey.
Another public calamity which speedily followed was a severe outbreak of the Sweating Sickness-an epidemic which first made notable ravages in England immediately after the accession of Henry VII (1485). Wolsey was dangerously ill of it, and the Court was obliged, both this year and, in the year following (1518), to withdraw from the neighbourhood of London for fear of the infection. Early in 1517 a conspiracy to poison Pope Leo X was discovered at Rome, in which some Cardinals were implicated-among others, Cardinal Adrian de Corneto, the papal Collector in England, who held the bishopric of Bath and Wells, originally bestowed upon him by King Henry VII. He exercised his office of collector by deputy, and his sub-collector, the celebrated Polydore Vergil, had already been imprisoned by Wolsey for an intrigue, and had only been released at the Pope's urgent intercession. Leo seems to have been equally anxious to spare Adrian himself the full penalty of his guilt; but Henry insisted that he should be deprived alike of his cardinalate and of his English bishopric, intending that the latter should be bestowed on Wolsey In commendam, to be held along with the archbishopric of York. The Pope put off the deprivation as long as possible. But both this and another concession he ultimately consented to make, in order to advance a project of his own. For in March, 1517, the Lateran Council, taking advantage of the general peace in Europe, had proposed a Crusade against the Turk, and Leo had before the year was out already sent Legates to some countries to promote it. Henry VIII, however, objected that it was unusual to admit a foreign Legate in England, but said that he would waive the objection if Wolsey also were made Legate de latere at the same time. A joint legatine commission was accordingly issued by Leo in May, 1518, to Cardinal Campeggio and to Wolsey; whereupon the former proceeded as far as Calais. But Cardinal Adrian was not yet deprived of his bishopric, and powerful intercession was used in his behalf. At Calais, therefore, Campeggio had to remain some weeks, until certain intelligence was received of Adrian's deprivation, when he was conducted across the Channel in July, and received with great magnificence in London.
Nothing came, indeed, of the expedition against the Turk. The selfishness of princes and the double views of the Popes themselves always interfered with such projects. But the proposal for a general peace had for some time formed an admirable blind for negotiations, which had been secretly in progress for a special alliance between England and France. These arose out of private communications concerning Tournay -first, seemingly about ecclesiastical jurisdiction, for the French Bishop always maintained his claim against Wolsey,—afterwards about the town itself, which the French were anxious to recover. No one yet knew what was going on, when in July, 1518, a protocol was signed by Wolsey and the French ambassador, Villeroy, for the surrender of the city and for the future marriage of the Princess Mary to the Dauphin, born in February of that same year. A magnificent embassy then came over in September, and was received by the King in the presence of Cardinal Campeggio. A treaty of universal peace, as it was called, was signed in London by the French ambassadors and the English Privy Council on October 2, and on the next day the King and the ambassadors swore to it at St Paul's. It was professedly a treaty betweten Leo X, Maximilian, Francis I, Charles of Spain, and Henry VIII, for mutual | defence against invasion; but it was only signed at present by representatives of England and France, time being given to the Pope and the others to confirm it. This in itself, however, made it first of all a closer alliance with France; and two days later further treaties were signed for the marriage, for the surrender of Tournay, and for the settlement of questions about depredations. Bonnivet, the head of the French embassy, then, as proxy for the Dauphin, formally married Mary at Greenwich on October 5, and finally on the 8th another treaty was signed for an interview between the French and English Kings, to take place at Sandingfield near Calais before April 1 of the following year.
Charles of Castile did not like this treaty, but it was for his own interest to confirm it, and he did so in Spain. Thus it formed a fair beginning for a European settlement, and virtually took Campeggio's mission out of his hands, making England the negotiator of the general peace, and consequently the arbiter of continental differences. To England, however, the great immediate advantage was. in the first place, that France was willing to buy her friendship, by means of an understanding that Albany must be kept from returning to Scotland, and of the payment of 600,000 crowns for the surrender of Tournay- a city which had been very expensive to keep, and to secure which the King had, in 1515, begun to build a citadel. Wolsey, too, surrendered his ineffectual claims on the bishopric (whose revenues he had never been able to draw) for a pension of 12,000 livres.
Early in the next year (1519) the Emperor Maximilian died (January 12). Charles of Spain and Francis I of France immediately became candidates for the succession; and perhaps these events had their share in putting off the interview between the Kings of France and England. But in May Henry himself became a third competitor, sending Pace (now his own Secretary instead of Wolsey's) to Germany, to suggest in secret objections to both the other candidates and thus win the Electors in his favour. It was a hopeless project, which Wolsey certainly promoted against his own better judgment, because he saw his master set upon it. Moreover, it was a piece of double dealing towards Francis whose candidature Henry had promised to fsupport; and Francis found it out, but did not let the fact disturb the new amity. Charles was elected Emperor (June 28).
This brings us to the threshold of a new epoch, to be treated of in a later volume. During the latter part of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century, the constant tendency had been for every kingdom of Europe to consolidate itself and bring feudal lordships into full subjection to the supreme ruler. France felt this necessity most in order to repel the English invader. England herself was made to feel it by the Wars of the Roses. Spain came together under Ferdinand and Isabel, and drove out the Moors. The House of Burgundy, with its rich inheritance in the Netherlands, was a dangerous neighbour to France and a natural ally of England; but, ending in a female, it became joined with the House of Austria which had already attained to the Empire, and was striving to secure it as a dynastic inheritance. The spirit of the times moved even the Papacy, whose territorial claims in Italy Julius II advanced by a warfare much more earthly than spiritual.
The spirit of the times in political matters had been appreciated by Sir Thomas More whose Utopia is described elsewhere in this volume as a classic product of an age of discovery. Such it was in its most striking aspect; but none the less was it in some parts a most faithful transcript of the Machiavellian politics pursued by the princes of Europe, and not least by the King of England. In More's ideal island inhabited by intelligent pagans we find precisely those arts practised which were practised in the Courts of Christian Europe. While kingdoms were advancing, and domestic peace and security should have found a firmer basis, the rulers of Christendom were cheating each other, engaging in unjust wars, or, like England, paying Swiss mercenaries to fight without declaring themselves belligerents. Henry VII had watched continental politics without allowing himself to be drawn into continental wars. It was otherwise with Henry VIII. Young and popular, and seated on a throne as secure as his father's was unstable, to him the glories of war had their attractions, and the practices of the Utopians in the conduct of it were not abhorrent. Such things were merely in the way of statesmanship, and when the King was satisfied there was no one to call him to account.
Yet it was a highly polished age. Many ideas of former days, no doubt, had lost their hold. Chivalry had decayed; the talk of crusades against the Turk had become a mockery; the Eastern Empire had passed away, and the pretensions of the Western Empire had become more unreal than ever. But civilisation had recovered from the disorders of papal schisms, internecine wars, and socialistic insurrections. There was marked progress in art and letters, first in Italy, then over the continent of Europe; and if in England there was little art and the young vernacular literature seemed to have languished since Chaucer's day, yet this country was scarcely behind other nations in cherishing the revived study of the classics. Long before the close of the £fteenth century English monks, like Prior Sellyng of Canterbury, had brought Greek scholarship home from Italian universities; and Erasmus himself, who first came to England in 1497 or 1498, and was set to teach Greek at Cambridge in 1510, found the country a special abode of scholarship. More, Colet, Grocyn and Linacre were the men in whom this culture was most conspicuous; and Archbishop Warham and Bishop Fisher were the leading patrons of learning. The people, too, were polished in their manners. English urbanity struck even a Venetian who visited the country about the year 1500. But Erasmus found in English social intercourse something more than mere urbanity. "Did you but know the endowments of Britain," he writes to his poetical friend Andrelinus, "you would run hither with winged feet, and if the gout stopped you, you would wish yourself a Daedalus. To mention one thing out of many. There are here nymphs of divine beauty, gentle and kind, whom you may well prefer to your Camoenae. Moreover there is a fashion never sufficiently commended. Wherever you go you are received by every one with kisses; when you take leave you are dismissed with kisses. You return, kisses again are renewed. People come to you and kisses are dffered; they take their leave and kisses are again distributed. Wherever you meet there are kisses in abundance; in short wherever you move all things are charged with kisses. And, Faustus, if you once tasted how sweet and fragrant they are, you would be glad to sojourn in England, not for ten years only like Solon, but to your dying day."
Such was English social life before the days of Puritanism; but it must be said, this pleasant freedom of manners was accompanied by much laxity with regard to social ties. Our Venetian visitor found, side by side with English courtesy, an absence of domestic affection which seemed to him altogether amazing: of licentiousness he saw instances in this country, but none of a man in love; and though Englishmen kept jealous guard over their wives, offences against married life could always among them in the end be condoned for money. For their children they seemed to have no affection, sending them out to service in other homes as soon as they reached the age of seven, or nine at the utmost, in order that they might learn manners. These observations are fully confirmed by the evidence of the Paston Letters, where, among other things, we read of a young lady of twenty in a respectable family being repeatedly beaten and having her head broken in two or three places at a time, so that she was inclined to marry an elderly and ill-favoured suitor to escape from her mother's tyranny.
This painful absence of natural feeling was largely owing to the feudal system of wardships, by which heirs under age were disposed of in marriage without their own consent, and that union which lays the foundation of all social life was commonly made a matter of bargain and sale. It was anything but an ideal condition of society; yet the nation was polite, well ordered, and, on the whole, very submissive to authority. The people loved their King, and even when their affection came to be sorely tried, honoured him with a respectful obedience which later generations found it impossible to pay to his successors.