The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon/Chapter 12
Henry advised to marry without waiting for sentence—Meeting of Henry and Francis—Anne Boleyn present at the interview—Value of Anne to the French Court—Pressure on the Pope by the Agents of the Emperor—Complaints of Catherine—Engagements of Francis—Action of Clement—The King conditionally excommunicated—Demand for final sentence—Cranmer appointed Archbishop of Canterbury—Marriage of Henry and Anne Boleyn—Supposed connivance of the Pope—The Nuncio attends Parliament—The Act of Appeals—The Emperor entreated to intervene—Chapuys and the King.
The Pope had promised Ortiz that nothing should be said of the intended excommunication till the brief was complete. He betrayed the secret to the English Agents, by whom it was conveyed to Henry. The French Ambassador had advised the King to hesitate no longer, but to marry and end the controversy. The Pope himself had several times in private expressed the same wish. But Henry, in love though he is supposed to have been, determined to see Francis in person before he took a step which could not be recalled. He desired to know distinctly how far France was prepared to go along with him in defying the Papal censures. An interview between the two Kings at such a crisis would also show the world that their alliance was a practical fact, and that if the Emperor declared war in execution of the censures he would have France for an enemy as well as England.
The intended meeting was announced at the end of August, and, strange to say, there was still a belief prevailing that a marriage would come of it between the King and a French princess, and that Anne would be disappointed after all. "If it be so," wrote Chapuys, "the Lady Anne is under a singular delusion, for she writes to her friends that at this interview all that she has been so long wishing for will be accomplished." One thing was clear, both to the Imperial Ambassador and the Nuncio, that the Pope by his long trifling had brought himself into a situation where he must either have to consent to a judgment against Catherine or encounter as best he could the combination of two of the most powerful Princes in Christendom. The least that he could do was to issue an inhibition against the King's marriage either with Anne or with the Frenchwoman.
The Pope's danger was real enough, but Anne Boleyn had nothing to fear for herself. She was to form part of the cortége. She was to go, and to be received at the French court as Henry's bride-elect, and she was created Marchioness of Pembroke for the occasion. Queen Catherine believed that the marriage would be completed at the interview with a publicity which would make Francis an accomplice. The Emperor was incredulous. Reluctantly he had been driven to the conclusion that Henry was really in earnest, and he still thought it impossible that such an outrage as a marriage could be seriously contemplated while the divorce was still undecided. Yet contemplated it evidently was. Politically the effect would have been important, and it is not certain that Francis would not have encouraged a step which would be taken as an open insult by Charles. The objection, so Chapuys heard, came from the lady herself, who desired to be married in state with the usual formalities in London. Invited to the interview, however, she certainly was by Francis. The French Queen sent her a present of jewels. The Sieur de Langey came with special compliments from the King to request her attendance. She had been a useful instrument in dividing Henry from the Emperor, and his master, De Langey said, desired to thank her for the inestimable services which she had rendered, and was daily rendering him. He wished to keep her devoted to his interests. Wolsey himself had not been more valuable to him. He had not to pay her a pension of 25,000 crowns, as he had done to the Cardinal. Therefore he meant to pay her in flattery and in forwarding the divorce at Rome.
In vain Catherine poured out to Clement her wailing cries for sentence—sentence without a moment's delay. Less than ever could the Pope be brought to move. He must wait and see what came of the meeting of the Kings; and whether the Emperor got the better of the Turks. It was the harder to bear because she had persuaded herself, and had persuaded Ortiz, that, if the King was once excommunicated, the whole of England would rise against him for his contumacious disobedience.
The interview which took place in October between the Kings of France and England was a momentous incident in the struggle, for it did, in fact, decide Henry to take the final step. The scene itself, the festivities, the regal reception of Anne, the Nun of Kent and the discovery of the singular influence which a hysterical impostor had been able to exercise in the higher circles of English life, have already been described by me, and I can add nothing to what I have already written. A more particular account, however, must be given of a French Commission which was immediately after despatched to Rome. Francis had not completely satisfied Henry. He had repeated the advice of his Ambassadors. He had encouraged the King to marry at once. He had reiterated his promises of support if the Emperor declared war. Even an engagement which Henry had desired to obtain from him, to unite France with England in a separate communion, should the Pope proceed to violence, Francis had seemed to give, and had wished his good brother to believe it. But his language had been less explicit on this point than on the other.
The Bishop of Tarbes, now Cardinal Grammont, was sent to Rome, with Cardinal Tournon, direct from the interview, with open instructions to demand a General Council, to inform the Pope that if he refused the two Kings would call a Council themselves and invite the Lutheran Princes to join them, and that, if the Pope excommunicated Henry, he would go to Rome for absolution so well accompanied that the Pope would be glad to grant it. If Catherine's friends in Rome were rightly informed, the Cardinals had brought also a secret Commission, which went the full extent of Henry's expectation. The Pope was to be required to fulfil at once the promise which he had given at Orvieto, and to give judgment for the divorce; "otherwise the Kings of France and England would abrogate the Papal authority in their several realms." The Pope, confident that the alternative before him was the loss of the two kingdoms, was preparing to yield. Henry certainly returned to England with an understanding that Francis and himself were perfectly united, and would adopt the same course, whatever that might be. A report went abroad that, relying on these assurances, he had brought his hesitation to an end, and immediately after landing made Anne secretly his wife. The rumour was premature, but the resolution was taken. The Pope, the King said, was making himself the tool of the Emperor. The Emperor was judge, and not the Pope; and neither he nor his people would endure it. He would maintain the liberties of his country, and the Pope, if he tried violence, would find his mistake.
It is not easy to believe that on a point of such vast consequence Henry could have misunderstood what Francis said, and he considered afterwards that he had been deliberately deceived; but under any aspect the meeting was a demonstration against the Papacy. Micer Mai, who watched the Pope from day to day, declared that his behaviour was enough to drive him out of his senses. Mai and Ortiz had at last forced another brief out of him—not a direct excommunication, but an excommunication which was to follow on further disobedience. They had compelled him to put it in writing that he might have committed himself before the French Cardinals' arrival. But when it was written he would not let it out of his hands. He was to meet the Emperor again at Bologna, and till he had learnt from Charles's own lips what he was prepared to do, it was unfair and unreasonable, he said, to require an act which might fatally commit him. He was not, however, to be allowed to escape. Catherine, when she heard of the despatch of the Cardinals, again flung herself on her nephew's protection. She insisted that the Pope should speak out. The French must not be listened to. There was nothing to be afraid of. "The English themselves carried no lightning except to strike her." Letters from Ortiz brought her news of the Pope's continued indecision—an indecision fatal, as she considered it, to the Church and to herself. Rumours reached her that the King had actually married, and she poured out her miseries to Chapuys. "The letters from Rome," she said, "reopen all my wounds. They show there is no justice for me or my daughter. It is withheld from us for political considerations. I do not ask His Holiness to declare war—a war I would rather die than provoke; but I have been appealing to the Vicar of God for justice for six years, and I cannot have it. I refused the proposals made to me two years ago by the King and Council. Must I accept them now? Since then I have received fresh injuries. I am separated from my lord, and he has married another woman without obtaining a divorce; and this last act has been done while the suit is still pending, and in defiance of him who has the power of God upon earth. I cover these lines with my tears as I write. I confide in you as my friend. Help me to bear the cross of my tribulation. Write to the Emperor. Bid him insist that judgment be pronounced. The next Parliament, I am told, will decide if I and my daughter are to suffer martyrdom. I hope God will accept it as an act of merit by us, as we shall suffer for the sake of the truth."
Catherine might say, and might mean, that she did not wish to be the cause of a war. But unless war was to be the alternative of her husband's submission, the Papal thunders would be as ineffectual as she supposed the English to be. The Emperor had not decided what he would do. He may still have clung to the hope that a decision would not be necessary, but he forced or persuaded the Pope to disregard the danger. The brief was issued, bearing the date at which it was drawn, and was transmitted to Flanders as the nearest point to England for publication.
In removing the Queen from his company without waiting for the decision of his cause, and cohabiting with a certain Anne, Clement told the King that he was insulting Divine justice and the Papal authority. He had already warned him, but his monition had not been respected. Again, therefore, he exhorted him on pain of excommunication to take Catherine back as his Queen, and put Anne away within a month of the presentation of the present letter. If the King still disobeyed, the Pope declared both him and Anne to be, ipso facto, excommunicated at the expiration of the term fixed, and forbade him to divorce himself by his own authority.
It might seem that the end had now come, and that in a month the King, and the subjects who continued loyal to him, would incur all the consequences of the Papal censures. But the proceedings of the Court of Rome were enveloped in formalities. Conditional excommunications affected the spiritual status of the persons denounced, but went no further. A second Bull of Excommunication was still requisite, declaring the King deposed and his subjects absolved from their allegiance, before the secular arm could be called in; and this last desperate remedy could not decently be resorted to, with the approval even of the Catholic opinion of Europe, until it had been decided whether Catherine was really legal queen. The enthusiastic Ortiz, however, believed that judgment on "the principal cause" would now be immediately given, and that the victory was won. He enclosed to the Empress a letter from Catherine to him, "to be preserved as a relic, since she would one day be canonised." "May God inspire the King of England," he said, "to acknowledge the error into which the Enemy of Mankind has led him, and amend his past conduct; otherwise it must follow that his disobedience to the Pope's injunction and his infidelity to God once proved, he will be deprived of his kingdom and the execution of the sentence committed to his Imperial Majesty. This done, all those in England who fear God will rise in arms, and the King will be punished as he deserves, the present brief operating as a formal sentence against him. On the main cause, there being no one in Rome to answer for the opposite party, sentence cannot long be delayed."
Ortiz was too sanguine, and the vision soon faded. The brief sounded formidable, but it said no more than had been contained or implied in another which Clement had issued three years before. He had allowed the first to be disregarded. He might equally allow the last. Each step which he had taken had been forced upon him, and his reluctance was not diminished. Chapuys thought that he had given a brief instead of passing sentence because he could recall one and could not recall the other; that "he was playing both with the King and the Emperor;" and in England, as well as elsewhere, it was thought "that there was some secret intelligence between him and the King." The Pope and the Emperor had met at Bologna and Charles's language had been as emphatic as Catherine desired; yet even at Bologna itself and during the conference Clement had assured the English Agents that there was still a prospect of compromise. It was even rumoured that the Emperor would allow the cause to be referred back to England, if securities could be found to protect the rights of the Princess Mary; nay, that he had gone so far as to say, "that, if the King made a suitable marriage, and not a love-marriage, he would bring the Pope and Catherine to allow the first marriage to be annulled."
In London the talk continued of the removal of the suit from Rome to Cambray. The Nuncio and the King were observed to be much together and on improved terms, the Nuncio openly saying that his Holiness wished to be relieved of the business. It was even considered still possible that the Pope might concede the dispensation to the King which had been originally asked for, to marry again without legal process. "If," wrote Chapuys, who thoroughly distrusted Clement, "the King once gains the point of not being obliged to appear at Rome, the Pope will have the less shame in granting the dispensation by absolute power, as it is made out that the King's right is so evident; and if his Holiness refuses it, the King will be more his enemy than ever. A sentence is the only sovereign remedy, and the Queen says the King would not resist, if only from fear of his subjects, who are not only well disposed to her and to your Majesty, but for the most part are good Catholics and would not endure excommunication and interdict. If a tumult arose I know not if the Lady, who is hated by all the world, would escape with life and jewels. But, unless the Pope takes care, he will lose his authority here, and his censures will not be regarded."
It was true that Anne was ill liked in England, and the King, in choosing her, was testing the question of his marriage in the least popular form which it could have assumed. The Venetian Ambassador mentions that one evening "seven or eight thousand women went out of London to seize Boleyn's daughter," who was supping at a villa on the river, the King not being with her. Many men were among them in women's clothes. Henry, however, showed no sign of change of purpose. He had presented her to the French Court as his intended Queen. And on such a matter he was not to be moved by the personal objections of his subjects. The month allowed in the brief went by. She was still at the court, and the continued negotiations with the Nuncio convinced Catherine's friends that there was mischief at work behind the scenes. Their uneasiness was increased by the selection which was now made of a successor to Archbishop Warham.
Thomas Cranmer had been Lord Wiltshire's private chaplain, and had at one time been his daughter's tutor. He had attended her father on his Embassy to the Emperor, had been active in collecting opinions on the Continent favourable to the divorce, and had been resident ambassador at the Imperial court. He had been much in Germany. He was personally acquainted with Luther. He had even married, and, though he could not produce his wife openly, the connection was well known. Protestant priests in taking wives were asserting only their natural liberty. Luther had married, and had married a nun. An example laudable at Wittenberg could not be censurable in London by those who held Luther excused. The German clergy had released themselves from their vows, as an improvement on the concubinage which had long and generally prevailed. Wolsey had a son and was not ashamed of him, even charging his education on English benefices. Clerical marriages were forbidden only by the Church law, which Parliament had never been invited to sanction, and though Cranmer could not introduce a wife into society he was at least as fit for archi-episcopal rank as the great Cardinal. He was a man of high natural gifts, and ardent to replace superstition and corruption by purer teaching. The English Liturgy survives to tell us what Cranmer was. His nomination to the Primacy took the world by surprise, for as yet he had held no higher preferment than an archdeaconry; but the reorganisation of the Church was to begin; Parliament was to meet again in February, and the King needed all the help that he could find in the House of Lords. The Bishops were still but half conquered. A man of intellect and learning was required at the head of them. "King Henry loved a man," it was said. He knew Cranmer and valued him. The appointment was made known in the first month of the new year. Before the new Primate could be installed a Bull of Confirmation was still legally necessary from Rome. The King was in haste. The annates due on the vacancy of the see of Canterbury were despatched at once, the King himself advancing the money and taking no advantage of the late Act. Such unusual precipitancy raised suspicions that something more was contemplated in which Cranmer's help would be needed.
The knot had, in fact, been cut which Henry had been so long struggling to untie. The Lady Anne had aspired to being the central figure of a grand ceremony. Her nuptials were to be attended with the pomp and splendour of a royal marriage. Public feeling was in too critical a condition to permit what might have been resented; and, lest the prize should escape her after all, she had brought down her pride to agree to a private service. When it was performed, and by whom, was never known. The date usually received was "on or before the 25th of January." Chapuys says that Cranmer himself officiated in the presence of the lady's father, mother and brother, two other friends of the lady, and a Canterbury priest. But Chapuys was relating only the story current at the time in society. Nothing authentic has been ascertained.… The fact that the marriage had taken place was concealed till the divorce could be pronounced by a Court protected by Act of Parliament, and perhaps with the hope that the announcement could be softened by the news that the nation might hope for an heir.
Dispatch was thus necessary with Cranmer's Bulls. He himself spoke without reserve on the right of the King to remarry, "being ready to maintain it with his life." Chapuys and the Nuncio both wrote to request the Pope not to be in a hurry with the confirmation of so dangerous a person. The Pope seemed determined to justify the suspicions entertained of him by his eagerness to meet Henry's wishes. It is certain that the warning had reached him. He sent the Bulls with all the speed he could. He knew, perhaps, what they were needed for.
Henry meanwhile was preparing to meet the Parliament, when the secret would have to be communicated to the world. The modern reader will conceive that no other subject could have occupied his mind. The relative importance of things varies with the distance from which we view them. He was King of England first. His domestic anxieties held still the second place. Before the opening, as the matter of greatest consequence, a draft Act was prepared to carry out the object which in the last year he had failed in securing—"an Act to restrain bishops from citing or arresting any of the King's subjects to appear before them, unless the bishop or his commissary was free from private grudge against the accused, unless there were three, or at least two, credible witnesses, and a copy of the libel had in all cases been delivered to the accused, with the names of the accusers." Such an Act was needed. It was not to shield what was still regarded as impiety, for Frith was burned a few months later for a denial of the Real Presence, which Luther himself called heresy. It was to check the arbitrary and indiscriminate tyranny of a sour, exasperated party, who were pursuing everyone with fire and sword who presumed to oppose them. More, writing to Erasmus, said he had purposely stated in his epitaph that he had been hard upon the heretics. He so hated that folk that, unless they repented, he preferred their enmity, so mischievous were they to the world.
The spirit of More was alive and dangerous. To Catholic minds there could be no surer evidence that the King was given over to the Evil One than leniency to heretics. They were the more disturbed to see how close the intimacy had grown between him and the Pope's representative. The Nuncio was constantly closeted with Henry or the Council. When Chapuys remonstrated, he said "he was a poor gentleman, living on his salary, and could not do otherwise." "The Pope had advised him to neglect no opportunity of promoting the welfare of religion." "Practices," Chapuys ascertained, were still going forward, and the Nuncio was at the bottom of them. The Nuncio assured him that he had exhorted the King to take Catherine back. The King had replied that he would not, and that reconciliation was impossible. Yet the secret communications did not cease, and the astonishment and alarm increased when the Nuncio consented to accompany the King to the opening of Parliament. He was conducted in state in the Royal barge from Greenwich. Henry sate on the throne, the Nuncio had a chair on his right, and the French Ambassador on his left. The object was to show the nation how little was really meant by the threat of exconmiunication, to intimidate the Bishops, and to make the clergy understand the extent of favour which they could expect from the Nuncio's master. The Nuncio's appearance was not limited to a single occasion. During the progress of the Session he attended the debates in the House of Commons. Norfolk gave him notice of the days on which the Pope would not be directly mentioned, that he might be present without scandal. The Duke admitted a wish for the world to see that the King and the Court of Rome understood each other. "By this presumption," said Chapuys, "they expect to make their profit as regards the people and the prelates who have hitherto supported the Holy See, who now, for the above reason, dare not speak, fearing to go against the Pope."
The world wondered and was satisfied. The Opposition was paralysed. The Bishop of Rochester complained to the Nuncio, and received nothing but regrets and promises which were not observed. Again, a council was held of Peers, Bishops, and lawyers to consider the divorce, when it was agreed at last that the cause might be tried in the Archbishop of Canterbury's court, and that the arrival of the Bulls would be accepted as a sign of the Pope's tacit connivance. Chapuys had failed to stop them. "The Queen," he said, "was thunderstruck, and complained bitterly of his Holiness. He had left her to languish for three and a half years since her appeal, and, instead of giving sentence, had now devised a scheme to prolong her misery and bastardise her daughter. She knew the King's character. If sentence was once given there would be no scandal. The King would obey, or, if he did not, which she thought impossible, she would die happy, knowing that the Pope had declared for her. Her own mind would be at rest, and the Princess would not lose her right. The Pope was entirely mistaken if he thought that he would induce the King to modify his action against the Church. The Lady and her father, who were staunch Lutherans, were urging him on. The sentence alone would make him pause. He dared not disobey, and if the people rose the Lady would find a rough handling." This, Chapuys said, was the Queen's opinion, which she had commanded him to communicate to the Emperor. For himself, he could only repeat his request that the Bulls for Canterbury should be delayed till the sentence was ready for delivery. If the Pope knew Cranmer's reputation as a heretic, he would be in no haste to confirm him.
Clement knew well enough what Cranmer was, and the Bulls had been despatched promptly before the Emperor could interfere. The King meanwhile had committed himself, and now went straight forward. He allowed his marriage to be known. Lord Wiltshire had withdrawn his opposition to it. Lord Rochfort, Anne's brother, was sent at the beginning of March to Paris, to say that the King had acted on the advice given him by his good brother at their last interview. He had taken a wife for the establishment of his realm in the hope of having male issue. He trusted, therefore, that Francis would remember his promise. In citing him to Rome the Pope had violated the rights of sovereign Princes. It touched them all, and, if allowed, would give the Pope universal authority. The time was passed when such pretensions could be tolerated.
At home he prepared for the worst. The fleet was further increased, new ships were put on the stocks; the yeomanry were armed, drilled, and equipped, and England rang with sounds of preparation for war; while in Parliament the famous Act was introduced which was to form the constitutional basis of national independence, and to end for ever the Papal jurisdiction in England. From the time that Convocation had acknowledged the King to be the Head of the Church the question of appeals to Rome had been virtually before the country. It was now to be settled, and English lawsuits were henceforth to be heard and decided within the limits of the empire. The Sibyl's pages were being rent out one by one. The Præmunire had been revived, and the Pope's claim of independent right to interfere by bull or brief in English affairs had been struck rudely down. Tribute in the shape of annates went next; the appellate jurisdiction was now to follow. Little would then be left save spiritual precedence, and this might not be of long continuance. There had been words enough. The time had come to act. On the introduction of the Act of Appeals the King spoke out to Chapuys as if the spirit of the Plantagenets was awake in him. "He said a thousand things in disparagement of the Pope, complaining of the authority and power he unduly assumed over the kingdoms of Christendom. He professed to have seen a book from the Papal library, in which it was maintained that all Christian princes were only feudatories of the Pope. He himself, he said, intended to put a remedy to such inordinate ambition, and repair the errors of Henry II. and John, who had been tricked into making England tributary to the Holy See." "The Emperor," he said, "not only demanded justice, but would have justice done in his own way, and according to his own caprice. For himself, he thought of resuming to the Crown the lands of the clergy, which his predecessors had alienated without right." Chapuys advised him to wait for a General Council before he tried such high measures. "But the King could not be persuaded" that a council was needed for such a purpose.
The Act of Appeals touched too many interests to be passed without opposition. Private persons as well as princes had appealed to the Roman law-courts, and suits pending or determined there might be reopened at home and produce confusion unless provided for. However complacent the Pope might appear, it could not be supposed that he would bear patiently the open renunciation of his authority. Excommunication was half perceived to be a spectre; but spectres had not wholly lost their terrors. With an excommunication pronounced in earnest might come interdict and stoppage of trade, perhaps war and rebellion at home; and one of the members for London said that if the King would refer the question between himself and the Queen to a General Council, the City of London would give him two hundred thousand pounds. The arrival of Cranmer's Bulls, while the Act was still under discussion, moderated the alarm. The Pope evidently was in no warlike humour. At the bottom of his heart he had throughout been in Henry's favour; he hoped probably that a time might come when he could say so, and that all this hostile legislation would then be repealed. When the excitement was at its hottest, and it was known at Rome, not only that the last brief had been defied, but that the King was about to marry the lady, the Pope had borne the news with singular calmness. After all, he said to the Count de Cifuentes, if the marriage is completed, we have only to think of a remedy. The remedy, Cifuentes said, was for the Pope to do justice; the King had been encouraged in his rash course by the toleration with which he had been treated and the constant delays. Clement answered that he would certainly do justice; but if the marriage was "a fact accomplished," he wished to know what the Emperor meant to do. Cifuentes told him that his Holiness must do his part first, and then the Emperor would "act as became a powerful and wise Prince."
The Pope had heard this language before. The Emperor was afraid of going to war with England, and the Pope knew it. The alternative, therefore, was either to make some concession to Henry or to let him go on as he pleased, bringing the Holy See into contempt by exposing its weakness: and either course would be equally dispiriting to the Queen and his own friends in England. "Everybody," wrote Chapuys, "cries murder on the Pope for his delays, and for not detaining the Archbishop's Bulls, till the definitive sentence had been given. He was warned of the danger of granting them. There is not a lord in the Court of either side who does not say publicly his Holiness will betray the Emperor. The Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk speak of it with more assurance, saying they know it well and could give good evidence of it."
The Act of Appeals, though strongly resisted in the House of Commons for fear of the consequences, was evidently to pass; and it was now understood that, as soon as it became law, Cranmer was to try the divorce suit and to give final judgment. The Pope's extraordinary conduct had paralysed opposition. The clergy, like some wild animal hardly broken in, were made to parade their docility and to approve beforehand the Archbishop's intended action. It was to be done in haste, for Anne was enceinte. The members of the Synod were allowed scant time, even to eat their dinners; they were so harassed that no one opened his mouth to contradict, except the Bishop of Rochester, and Rochester had no weight, being alone against all the rest. So docile was the assembly and so imperious the King that the Queen and all her supporters now regarded her cause as lost. Ortiz wrote from Rome to Charles that, "though he was bound to believe the contrary, he feared the Pope had sent, or might send, absolution to the King." Something might be done underhand to revoke the last brief, although the Pope knew what an evil thing it would be, and how ignominious to the Holy See.
The reforming party in England laughed at the expected interdict. The Pope, they said, would not dare to try it, or, if he did, Christian princes would not trouble themselves about him. The King said, significantly, to the Nuncio that he was only defending himself: "if the Pope gave him occasion to reconsider the matter, he might undo what was being aimed at his authority."
The Bill passed more rapidly through its later stages. The Papal jurisdiction was ended. Anyone who introduced Briefs of Excommunication or Interdict into the realm was declared guilty of high treason. The Bishop of Rochester, becoming violent, was committed to friendly custody under charge of Gardiner, now Bishop of Winchester. Appeals to the Pope on any matter, secular or spiritual, were forbidden thenceforward, and the Act was made retrospective, applying to suits already in progress. All was thus over. The Archbishop's sentence was known beforehand, and Anne Boleyn was to be crowned at Whitsuntide. Force was now the only remedy, and the constitutional opposition converted itself into conspiracy, to continue in that form till the end of the century. The King was convinced that the strength and energy of the country was with him. When told that there would be an invasion, he said that the English could never be conquered as long as they held together. Chapuys was convinced equally that they would not hold together. The clergy, and a section of the peers with whom he chiefly associated, spoke all in one tone, and he supposed that the language which they used to him represented a universal opinion. Thenceforward he and his English friends began to urge on the Emperor the necessity of armed intervention, and assured him that he had only to declare himself to find the whole nation at his back.
"Englishmen, high and low," Chapuys wrote, "desire your Majesty to send an army to destroy the venomous influence of the Lady and her adherents, and reform the realm. Forgive my boldness, but your Majesty ought not to hesitate. When this accursed Anne has her foot in the stirrup she will do the Queen and the Princess all the hurt she can. She boasts that she will have the Princess in her own train; one day, perhaps, she will poison her, or will marry her to some varlet, while the reaim itself will be made over to heresy. A conquest would be perfectly easy. The King has no trained army. All of the higher ranks and all the nobles are for your Majesty, except the Duke of Norfolk and two or three besides. Let the Pope call in the secular arm, stop the trade, encourage the Scots, send to sea a few ships, and the thing will be over. No injustice will be done, and, without this, England will be estranged from the Holy Faith and will become Lutheran. The King points the way and lends them wings, and the Archbishop of Canterbury does worse. There is no danger of French interference. France will wait to see the issue, and will give you no more trouble if this King receives his due. Again forgive me, but pity for the Queen and Princess obliges me to speak plainly."
The King could hardly be ignorant of the communications between the disaffected nobles and the Imperial Ambassador, but no outward sign appeared that he was aware of them. Lord Mountjoy, however, was sent with a guard to watch Catherine's residence, and, the decisive Act being passed through Parliament, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, with Lord Exeter and the Earl of Oxford, repaired to her once more to invite her, since she must see that further resistance was useless, to withdraw her appeal, and to tell her that, on her compliance, every arrangement should be made for her state and comfort, with an establishment suited to her rank. Chapuys demanded an audience of the King to remonstrate, and a remarkable conversation ensued. The Ambassador said he had heard of the proceedings in Convocation and in Parliament. It was his duty to speak. If the King had no regard for men whom he despised, he hoped that he would have respect to God. "God and his conscience," Henry answered calmly, "were on perfectly good terms." Chapuys expressed a doubt, and the King assured him that he was entirely sincere. Chapuys said he could not believe that at a time when Europe was distracted with heresies the King of England would set so evil an example. The King rejoined that, if the world found his new marriage strange, he himself found it more strange that Pope Julius should have granted a dispensation for his marriage with his brother's wife. He must have an heir to succeed him in his realm. The Emperor had no right to prevent him. The Ambassador spoke of the Princess. To provide a husband for the Princess would be the fittest means to secure the succession. Henry said he would have children of his own, and Chapuys ventured on more dangerous ground than he was aware of by hinting that he could not be sure of that. "Am I not a man," the King said sharply, "am I not a man like others? Am I not a man?" Thrice repeating the words. "But," he added, "I will not let you into my secrets." The Ambassador enquired whether he intended to remain on friendly terms with the Emperor. The King asked him with a frown what he meant by that. On his replying that the Emperor's friendship depended on the treatment of the Queen, the King said coldly that the Emperor had no right to interfere with the laws and constitution of England.
The Emperor, he said, did not wish to meddle with his laws, unless they personally affected the Queen. The King wanted to force her to abandon her appeal, and it was not to be expected that she would submit to statutes which had been carried by compulsion.
The King grew impatient. The statutes, he said, had been passed in Parliament, and the Queen as a subject must obey them.
The Ambassador retorted that new laws could not be retrospective; and, as to the Queen being a subject, if she was his wife she was his subject; if she was not his wife, she was not his subject.
This was true, and Henry was to be made to feel the dilemma. He contented himself, however, with saying that she must have patience, and obey the laws of the realm. The Emperor had injured him by hindering his marriage and preventing him from having male succession. The Queen was no more his wife than she was Chapuys's. He would do as he pleased, and if the Emperor made war on him he would fight.
Chapuys inquired whether, if an interdict was issued, and the Spaniards and Flemings resident in England obeyed it, his statutes would apply to them.
The King did not answer; but, turning to someone present, he said: "You have heard the Ambassador hint at excommunication. It is not I that am excommunicated, but the Emperor, who has kept me so long in mortal sin. That is an excommunication which the Pope cannot take off."
To the lords who carried the message to Catherine she replied as she had always done — that Queen she was, and she would never call herself by any other name. As to her establishment, she wanted nothing but a confessor, a doctor, and a couple of maids. If that was too much, she would go about the world and beg alms for the love of God.
"The King," Chapuys said, "was naturally kind and generous," but the "Lady Anne had so perverted him that he did not seem the same man." Unless the Emperor acted in earnest, she would make an end of Catherine, as she had done of Wolsey, whom she did not hate with half as much intensity. "All seems like a dream," he said. "Her own party do not know whether to laugh or cry at it. Every day people ask me when I am going away. As long as I remain here it will be always thought your Majesty has consented to the marriage."
- Charles V. to Mary of Hungary, Nov. 7, 1532.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. v. p. 642.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Oct. 1, 1532.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. v. p. 592.
- Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 1, p. 512.
- Ortiz to the Emperor, Sept. 30, 1532.—Ib. p. 533.
- Instructions to Cardinal Grammont and Tournon, Nov. 13, 1532.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. v. p. 648.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Nov. 10.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. v. p. 644.
- Ibid. p. 667.
- To the Emperor, Nov. 11.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 1, p. 554.
- Queen Catherine to Chapuys, Nov. 22, 1532.—Compressed Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 1, p. 291. The editor dates this letter Nov. 1531. He has mistaken the year. No report had gone abroad that the King was married to Anne before his return from France.
- Clement VII. to Henry VIII., Nov. 15, 1532; second date, Dec, 23.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. v. p. 650.
- Ortiz to the Empress, Jan. 19, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 1, pp. 579–80.
- Carlo Capello to the Signory, March 15, 1533.—Venetian Calendar, vol. iv. p. 389.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Feb. 9, 1532, vol. vi. p. 62. The same letter will be found in the Spanish Calendar, with some differences in the translation. The original French is in parts obscure.
- Chapuys to the Emperor, Feb. 23, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 1, p. 609.
- Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 65.
- Ghinucci and Lee to Henry VIII., March 11, 1533.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 100.
- More to Erasmus.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p, 144.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Feb. 15.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 73. Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 600.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Feb. 9, 1533. Compressed.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, pp. 592–600.
- Chapuys here mentions this very curious fact: "The Earl of Wiltshire," he wrote on Feb. 15, "has never declared himself up to this moment. On the contrary, he has hitherto, as the Duke of Norfolk has frequently told me, tried to dissuade the King rather than otherwise from the marriage."—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 602.
- Henry VIII. to Francis I., March 11, 1533.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 103.
- Chapuys to Charles V., March 11, 1533. — Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 619.
- Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, April 21, 1533, vol. iv. p. 171.
- Chapuys to Charles V., March 31. — Ibid. vol. vi. p. 128.
- Chapuys to Charles V., March 31. — Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 128.
- Dr. Ortiz to Charles V., April 14, 1533. — Ibid. pp. 159–60.
- Chapuys to Charles V., March 31, 1533. — Spanish Calendar, vol, iv. part 2, p. 626.
- Chapuys to Charles V., April 10, 1533. Compressed. — Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. pp. 149–51. Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 630.
- Chapuys to Charles V., April 16, 1533. — Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 163, etc., abridged. Also Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 635.