Open main menu

CHAPTER XXI.


Funeral of Catherine—Miscarriage of Anne—The Princess Mary and the Act of Supremacy—Her continued desire to escape—Effect of Catherine's death on Spanish policy—Desire of the Emperor to recover the English alliance—Chapuys and Cromwell—Conditions of the treaty—Efforts of the Emperor to recover Henry to the Church—Matrimonial schemes—Likelihood of a separation of the King from Anne—Jane Seymour—Anne's conduct—The Imperial treaty—Easter at Greenwich—Debate in Council—The French alliance or the Imperial—The alternative advantages—Letter of the King to his Ambassador in Spain.


Catherine was buried with some state in Peterborough Cathedral, on the 29th of January. In the ceremonial she was described as the widow of Prince Arthur, not as the Queen of England, and the Spanish Ambassador, therefore, declined to be present. On the same day Anne Boleyn again miscarried, and this time of a male infant. She laid the blame of her misfortune on the Duke of Norfolk. The King: had been thrown from his horse; Norfolk, she said, had alarmed her, by telling her of the accident too suddenly. This Chapuys maliciously said that the King knew to be untrue, having been informed she had heard the news with much composure. The disappointment worked upon his mind; he said he saw plainly God would give him no male children by that woman; he went once to her bedside, spoke a few cold words, and left her with an intimation that he would speak to her again when she was recovered. Some concluded that there was a defect in her constitution; others whispered that she had been irritated at attentions which the King had been paying to Jane Seymour, who in earlier days had been a lady-in-waiting to Catherine. Anne herself, according to a not very credible story of Chapuys's, was little disturbed; her ladies were lamenting; she consoled them by saying that it was all for the best; the child that had been lost had been conceived in the Queen's lifetime, and the legitimacy of it might have been doubtful; no uncertainty would attach to the next.[1] It is not likely that Anne felt uncertain on such a point, or would have avowed it if she had. She might have reasons of her own for her hopes of another chance. Henry seemed to have no hope at all; he sent Chapuys a message through Cromwell that Mary's situation was now changed; her train should be increased, and her treatment improved—subject, however, of course, to her submission.

Mary had made up her mind, under Chapuys's advice, that if a prince was born, she would acknowledge the Act of Supremacy and the Act of Succession with a secret protest, as the Emperor had recommended her. She had no intention, however, of parting with her pretensions, and alienating her friends, as long as there was no brother whose claims she could not dispute. Chapuys had imagined, and Mary had believed, that the Emperor would have resented the alleged poisoning of Catherine; that, instead of her death removing the danger of war, as Henry supposed, war had now become more certain than ever. With this impression, the Princess still kept her mind fixed on escaping out of the country, and continued to press Chapuys to take her away. She had infinite courage; a Flemish ship was hovering about the mouth of the Thames ready to come up, on receiving notice, within two or three miles of Gravesend. The house to which she had been removed was forty miles from the place where she would have to embark; it was inconvenient for the intended enterprise, and was, perhaps, guarded, though she did not know it. She thought, however, that, if Chapuys would send her something to drug her women with, she could make her way into the garden, and the gate could be broken open. "She was so eager," Chapuys said, "that, if he had told her to cross the Channel in a sieve, she would venture it;" the distance from Gravesend was the difficulty: the Flemish shipmaster was afraid to go higher up the river: a forty miles' ride would require relays of horses, and the country through which she had to pass was thickly inhabited. Means, however, might be found to take her down in a boat, and if she was once out of England, and under the Emperor's protection, Chapuys was convinced that the King would no longer kick against the pricks.

Mary herself was less satisfied on this point. Happy as she would be to find herself out of personal danger, she feared her father might still persist in his heresies, and bring more souls to perdition; "she would, therefore, prefer infinitely," she said, "the general and total remedy so necessary for God's service." She wished Chapuys to send another messenger to the Emperor, to stir him up to activity. But Chapuys, desperate of rousing Charles by mere entreaties, encouraged her flight out of the country as the surest means of bringing Henry to a reckoning. The difficulty would not be very great; the King had shown an inclination to be more gentle with her; Mrs. Shelton had orders to admit her mother's physician to her at any time that he pleased; and others of the household at Kimbolton were to be transferred to her service; these relaxations would make the enterprise much easier, and Chapuys was disposed to let it be tried. The Emperor's consent, however, was of course a preliminary condition, and his latest instructions had been unfavourable. The Ambassador, therefore, referred the matter once more to Charles's judgment, adding only, with a view to his own safety, that, should the escape be carried out, his own share in it would immediately be suspected; and the King, who had no fear of anyone in the world, would undoubtedly kill him. He could be of no use in the execution of the plot, and would, therefore, make an excuse to cross to Flanders before the attempt was made.[2]

Chapuys's precipitancy had been disappointed before, and was to be disappointed again; he had worked hard to persuade Charles that Catherine had been murdered; Charles, by the manner in which he received the intelligence, showed that his Minister's representations had not convinced him. In sending word to the Empress that the Queen was dead, the Emperor said that accounts differed as to her last illness: some saying that it was caused by an affection of the stomach, which had lasted for some days; others that she had drunk something suspected to have contained poison. He did not himself say that he believed her to have been poisoned, nor did he wish it to be repeated as coming from him. The Princess, he heard, was inconsolable; he hoped God would have pity on her. He had gone into mourning, and had ordered the Spanish Court to do the same.[3]

In Spain there was an obvious consciousness that nothing had been done of which notice could be taken. Had there been a belief that a Spanish princess had been made away with in England, as the consummation of a protracted persecution, so proud a people would indisputably have demanded satisfaction. The effect was exactly the opposite. Articles had been drawn by the Spanish Council for a treaty with France as a settlement of the dispute about Milan. One of the conditions was the stipulation to which Cromwell had referred in a conversation with Chapuys, that France was to undertake the execution of the Papal sentence and the reduction of England to the Church. The Queen being dead, the Emperor's Council recommended that this article should now be withdrawn, and the recovery of the King be left to negotiation.[4] Instead of seeing in Catherine's death an occasion for violence, they found in it a fresh motive for a peaceful arrangement.

It was assumed that if the Princess escaped, and if Henry did not then submit, war would be the immediate consequence. The Emperor, always disinclined towards the "remedy" which his Ambassador had so long urged upon him, acted as Cromwell expected. The adventurous flight to Gravesend had to be abandoned, and he decided that Mary must remain quiet. In protecting Catherine while alive he had so far behaved like a gentleman and a man of honour. He was her nearest relation, and it was impossible for him to allow her to be pushed aside without an effort to prevent it. But as a statesman he had felt throughout that a wrong to his relation, or even a wrong to the Holy See, in the degraded condition of the Papacy, was no sufficient cause for adding to the confusions of Christendom. He had rather approved than condemned the internal reforms in the Church of England: and, after taking time to reflect and perhaps inquire more particularly into the circumstances of Catherine's end, he behaved precisely as he would have done if he was satisfied that her death was natural: he gave Chapuys to understand, in a letter from Naples,[5] that, if a fresh opening presented itself, he must take up again the abandoned treaty; and the secret interviews recommenced between the Ambassador and the English Chief Secretary.

These instructions must have arrived a week after the plans had been completed for Mary's escape, and Chapuys had to swallow his disappointment and obey with such heart as he could command. The first approaches were wary on both sides. Cromwell said that he had no commission to treat directly; and that, as the previous negotiations had been allowed to drop, the first overtures must now come from the Emperor; the Queen being gone, however, the ground of difference was removed, and the restoration of the old alliance was of high importance to Christendom; the King and the Emperor united could dictate peace to the world; France was on the eve of invading Italy, and had invited the Kinsg to make a simultaneous attack upon Flanders; a party in the Council wished him to consent; the King, however, preferred the friendship of the Emperor, and, Catherine being no longer alive, there was nothing to keep them asunder.

Chapuys, who never liked the proposal of a treaty at all, listened coldly; he said he had heard language of that kind before, and wished for something more precise; Cromwell replied that he had been speaking merely his own opinion; he had no authority and, therefore, could not enter into details; if there was to be a reconciliation, he repeated that the Emperor must make the advances.

The Emperor, Chapuys rejoined, would probably make four conditions: the King must be reconciled to the Church as well as to himself; the Princess must be restored to her rank and be declared legitimate; the King must assist in the war with the Turks, and the league must be offensive as well as defensive.

Cromwell's answer was more encouraging than Chapuys perhaps desired. The fourth article, he said, would be accepted at once, and on the third the King would do what he could; no great objection would be made to the second; the door was open. Reconciliation with Rome would be difficult, but even that was not impossible. If the Emperor would write under his own hand to the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, and to the Duke of Richmond, who in mind and body singularly resembled his father, much might be done.

A confidential Minister would not have ventured so far without knowing Henry's private views, and such large concessions were a measure of the decline of Anne Boleyn's influence. As regarded the Princess Mary, Chapuys had found that there was a real disposition to be more kind to her, for the King had sent her a crucifix which had belonged to her mother, containing a piece of the true cross, which Catherine had desired that she should have,[6] and had otherwise showed signs of a father's affection.

The Emperor himself now appears upon the scene, and the eagerness which he displayed for a reconciliation showed how little he had really seen to blame in Henry's conduct. So long as Catherine lived he was bound in honour to insist on her acknowledgment as queen; but she was gone, and he was willing to say no more about her. He saw that the intellect and energy of England were running upon the German lines. Chapuys, and perhaps other correspondents more trustworthy, had assured him that, if things went on as they were going, the hold of the Catholic Church on the English people would soon be lost. The King himself, if he wished it, might not be able to check the torrent, and the opinion of his vassals and his own imperious disposition might carry him to the extreme lengths of Luther. The Emperor was eager to rescue Henry before it was too late from the influences under which his quarrel with the Pope had plunged him. He praised Chapuys's dexterity; he was pleased with what Cromwell had said, and proceeded himself to take up the points of the proposals.

"The withdrawal of the King from the Church of Rome," he said, "was a matter of great importance. His pride might stand in the way of his turning back: he might be ashamed of showing a want of resolution before the world and before his subjects, and he was obstinate in his own opinions." Charles, therefore, directed Chapuys to lay before him such considerations as were likely to affect his judgment, the peril to his soul, the division and confusion sure to arise in his realm, and the evident danger should the Pope go on to the execution of the sentence and call in the assistance of the Princes of Christendom. Under the most favourable aspect, both he and his supporters would be held in continual anxiety; and, though he might be able to maintain what he had begun as long as he himself lived, he could not do it without great difficulty, and would inevitably leave an inheritance of calamity to those who came after him. Chapuys was to advise him, therefore, to take timely measures for the security of the realm, and either refer his differences with the Pope to a General Council, or trust to Charles himself to negotiate for him with the Holy See, which he might assure himself that Charles would do on honourable and favourable terms. The chief objections likely to be raised by Henry would be the Pope's sentence in the divorce case, the interests of his country in the annates question, and other claims upon the realm which the Pope pretended. The first could be disposed of in the arrangement to be made for the Princess; the annates could be moderated, and a limit fixed for the Pope's other demands; as to the supreme authority over the Church of England, Chapuys might persuade the King that the relative positions of the Crown and the Holy See might be determined to his own honour, and the profit and welfare of the realm.[7] The Emperor, indeed, was obliged to add he could give no pledge to the prejudice of the Church without the Pope's consent, but Chapuys might promise that he would use his utmost exertions to bring about a reasonable composition. Charles evidently did not intend to allow the pretensions of the Papacy to stand in the way of the settlement of Europe. If the Ambassador saw that a reconciliation with Rome was hopeless, sooner than lose the treaty the Emperor was ready to consent to leave that point out in order to carry the others, provided the King did not require him directly to countenance what he had done. As to the Princess, care would have to be taken not to compromise the honour of the late Queen, or the legitimacy and rights of her daughter. If her father would not consent to recognise formally her claim on the succession, that too might be left in suspense till the King's death; and Charles was willing to undertake that, as long as Henry lived, no action was to be taken against him, and none permitted to be taken on the part of any one, not even of the Pope, to punish him for his treatment of Catherine—not though her end had been hastened, as some suspected, by sinister means. A marriage could be arranged for Mary between the King and the Emperor; and, should the King himself decide to abandon the Concubine and marry again in a fit and convenient manner, Chapuys was to offer no opposition, and the Emperor said that he would not object to help him in conformity with the treaty.[8]

It was obvious to everyone that, if Henry separated from Anne, an immediate marriage with some other person would follow. Charles was already weighing the possibility, and when the event occurred it will be seen that he lost not a moment in endeavouring to secure Henry's hand for another of his own relations. Princes and statesmen are not scrupulous in arranging their political alliances, but, considering all that had happened and all that was about to happen, the readiness of Charles V. to bestow a second kinswoman on the husband of Queen Catherine may be taken to prove that his opinion of Henry's character was less unfavourable than that which is generally given by historians.

Cromwell had been premature in allowing a prospect of the restoration of the Papal authority in England. Charles, in his eagerness to smooth matters, had suggested that a way might be found to leave the King the reality of the supremacy, while the form was left to the Pope. But no such arrangement was really possible, and Henry had gone on with his legislative measures against the Church as if no treaty was under consideration. Parliament had met again, and had passed an Act for the suppression of the smaller monasteries. That the Emperor should be suing to him for an alliance while he was excommunicated by the Pope, and was deliberately pursuing a policy which was exasperating his own clergy, was peculiarly agreeable to Henry, and he enjoyed the triumph which it gave him; a still greater triumph would be another marriage into the Imperial family; and a wish that he should form some connection, the legality of which could not be disputed, was widely entertained and freely uttered among his own subjects. Chapuys, before Charles's letter could have reached him, had been active in encouraging the idea. He had spoken to Mary about it, and Mary had been so delighted at the prospect of her father's separation from Anne, that she said she would rejoice at it, though it cost her the succession.[9] That the King was likely to part with Anne was the general talk of London. Chapuys called on Cromwell, alluded to the rumour which had reached him, and intimated how much mischief would be avoided if the King could make up his mind to take another wife, against whom no objection could be brought. Cromwell said that he had never himself been in favour of the marriage with Anne, but, seeing the King bent on it, he had assisted him to the best of his power; he believed, however, that, the thing having been done, the King would abide by it; he might pay attentions to other ladies, but they meant nothing.

Cromwell's manner seemed peculiar, and Chapuys observed him more closely. The Secretary was leaning against a window, turning away his face as if to conceal a smile. There had been a report that some French princess was being thought of, and perhaps Chapuys made some allusion to it; for Cromwell said that Chapuys might assure himself that, if the King did take another wife, he would not look for her in France.

The smile might have had a meaning: which Chapuys could not suspect. The Secretary was by this time acquainted with circumstances in Anne's conduct which might throw another aspect on the situation, but the moment had not come to reveal them. It is likely enough that the King had been harassed and uncertain. The air was thick with stories claiming to be authentic. Lady Exeter had told Chapuys that the King had sent a purse and a letter to Jane Seymour, of whom Anne had been jealous. Jane Seymour had returned the letter unopened and the money along with it, and had prayed the bearer to say to the King that he must keep his presents till she made some honourable marriage.

Lady Exeter and her friends made their own comments. Anne's enemies, it was said, were encouraging the intimacy with Jane, and had told the lady to impress upon the King that the nation detested his connection with Anne and that no one believed it lawful; as if it was likely that a woman in the position in which Jane Seymour was supposed to stand could have spoken to him on such a subject, or would have recommended herself to Henry, if she did. At the same time it is possible and even probable that Henry, observing her quiet, modest and upright character, may have contrasted her with the lady to whom he had bound himself, may have wished that he could change one for the other, and may even have thought of doing it; but that, as Cromwell said, he had felt that he must make no more changes, and must abide by the destiny which he had imposed on himself.[10]

For, in fact, it was not open to Henry to raise the question of the lawfulness of his marriage with Anne, or to avail himself of it if raised by others. He had committed himself far too deeply, and the Parliament had been committed along with him, to the measures by which the marriage was legalised. Yet Anne's ascendancy was visibly drawing to an end, and clouds of a darker character were gathering over her head. In the early days of her married life outrageous libels had been freely circulated, both against her and against the King. Henry had been called a devil. The Duke of Norfolk had spoken of his niece as a grande putaine. To check these effusive utterances the severest penalties had been threatened by proclamation against all who dared to defame the Queen's character, and no one had ventured to whisper a word against her. But her conduct had been watched; light words, light actions had been observed and carefully noted. Her overbearing manner had left her without a friend save her own immediate connections and personal allies. "Men's mouths had been shut when they knew what ought not to have been concealed."[11] A long catalogue of misdeeds had been registered, with dates and particulars, treasured up for use by the ladies of the household, as soon as it should become safe to speak; and if her conduct had been really as abandoned as it was afterwards alleged to have been, the growing alienation of the King may be easily understood. It was impossible for any woman to have worn a mask so long and never to have given her husband occasion for dissatisfaction. Incidents must have occurred in the details of daily life, if not to rouse his suspicions, yet to have let him see that the woman for whom he had fought so fierce a battle had never been worth what she had cost him.

Anne Boleyn's fortunes, however, like Catherine's, were but an episode in the affairs of England and of Christendom, and the treaty with the Emperor was earnestly proceeded with as if nothing was the matter. The great concerns of nations are of more consequence to contemporary statesmen than the tragedies or comedies of royal households. Events rush on; the public interests which are all-absorbing while they last are superseded or forgotten; the personal interests remain, and the modern reader thinks that incidents which most affect himself must have been equally absorbing to every one at the time when they occurred. The mistake is natural, but it is a mistake notwithstanding. The great question of the hour was the alternative alliance with the Empire or with France, and the result to be expected from the separation of England from Rome.

The Emperor wrote, as Cromwell had suggested, to the three Dukes. Chapuys paid Cromwell a visit at his country-house in the middle of April, to discuss again the four conditions. Cromwell had laid them before the King, and had to report his answer. The reconciliation with Rome was declared impossible. Henry said that the injuries to England by the Pope's sentence had been too great, and the statutes too recent to be repealed. The Pope himself was now making overtures, and was disposed to gratify the King as much as possible. Something, therefore, might be done in the future, but for the present the question could not be entertained. Cromwell offered to show the Ambassador the Pope's letters, if he wished to see them. Chapuys observed sarcastically that, after all that had passed, the King ought to be highly gratified at finding his friendship solicited by the Pope and the Emperor, the two parties whom he had most offended. It might be hoped that, having enjoyed his triumph, the King would now recollect that something was due to the peace of Christendom. Cromwell did not attempt a repartee, and let the observation pass. He said, however, that he hoped much from time. On the other points, all consideration would be shown for the Princess, but the King could not consent to make her the subject of an article in the treaty; no difficulty would be made about assistance in the Turkish war; as to France, the Council were now unanimous in recommending the Imperial alliance, and had represented their views to the King. The King was pausing over his resolution, severely blaming the course which Francis was pursuing, but less willing to break with France than Cromwell had himself expected. Francis, Cromwell said, had stood by the King as a friend in the worst of his difficulties, and the King did not like to quarrel with him; he, however, intended to speak to Chapuys himself.

The Court was keeping Easter at Greenwich, and thither the Ambassador repaired. Easter Sunday falling on the 16th of April, the Chapter of the Garter was to be held there, and the assembly was large and splendid. Anne Boleyn was present in state as Queen, with her brother Lord Rochford, the demeanour of both of them undisturbed by signs of approaching storm. When Chapuys presented himself, Rochford paid him particular attention. The Ambassador had been long absent from the Court circle. Cromwell told him that the King would be pleased if he would now pay his respects to Anne, which he had never hitherto done, adding that, if he objected, it would not be insisted on. Chapuys excused himself. For various reasons, he said, he thought it not desirable. Cromwell said that his answer would be taken in good part, and hoped that the rest of their business would run smoothly.

Henry himself passed by as Cromwell was speaking to Chapuys. He bowed, took off his cap, and motioned to the Ambassador to replace his own. He then inquired after his health, asked how the Emperor was, how things were going in Italy—in short, was particularly courteous.

Service followed in the chapel. Rochford conducted Chapuys thither, and, as his sister was to be present and an encounter could not be avoided, people were curious to see how she and the Ambassador would behave to each other. Anne was "affable" enough, and curtseyed low as she swept past.

After mass the King and several members of the Council dined in Anne's apartments. As it was presumed that Chapuys would not desire to form one of the party, he was entertained by the household. Anne asked why he had not been invited. The King said there was reason for it.

Dinner over, Henry led Chapuys into his private cabinet, Cromwell following with the Chancellor Audeley. No one else was present at the beginning of the conference. The King drew the Ambassador apart into a window, when Chapuys again produced at length his four points. The King listened patiently as Chapuys expatiated on the action of the French, remarking only that Milan and Burgundy belonged to France and not to the Emperor. The observation showed Chapuys that things were not yet as he could have wished. He inquired whether, if the treaty was made, England would be prepared to assist the Emperor should France attack the Duke of Gueldres. Henry answered that he would do his part better than others had done their parts with him; he then called up Cromwell and Audeley, and made Chapuys repeat what he had said. This done, Chapuys withdrew to another part of the room, and fell into conversation with Sir Edward Seymour, who had since entered. He left Henry talking earnestly with the two Ministers, and between him and them Chapuys observed that there was a strong difference of opinion. The King's voice rose high. Cromwell, after a time, left him, and, saying that he was thirsty, seated himself on a chest out of the King's sight and asked for water. The King then rejoined the Ambassador, and told him that his communications were of such importance that he must have them in writing. Chapuys objected that this was unusual. He had no order to write anything, and dared not go beyond his instructions. Henry was civil, but persisted, saying that he could give no definite answer till he had the Emperor's offer in black and white before him. Generally, however, he said that his quarrel with Rome did not concern the Emperor. If he wished to treat with the Pope, he could do it without the Emperor's interposition; the Princess was his daughter, and would be used according to her deserts; a subvention for the Turkish war might be thought of when the alliance with Charles was renewed. Finally he said that he would not refuse his friendship to those who sought it in becoming terms, but he was not a child, to he whipped first and then caressed and invited back again and called sweet names. He drummed with his finger on his knees as he spoke. He insisted that he had been injured and expected an acknowledgment that he had been injured. The overtures, he repeated, must come from the Emperor. The Emperor must write him a letter requesting him to forget and forgive the past, and no more should then be said about it; but such a letter he must and would have. Chapuys restrained his temper. He said it was unreasonable to expect the Emperor to humiliate himself. Henry only grew more excited, called Charles ungrateful, declared that but for himself he would never have been on the Imperial throne, or even have recovered his authority in Spain when the commons had revolted; and, in return, the Emperor had stirred up Pope Clement to deprive him of his kingdom.

Chapuys said it was not the Emperor's doing. The Pope had done it himself, at the solicitation of other parties.

So the conference ended, and not satisfactorily. Henry was not a child to be whipped and caressed. Charles wanted him now, because he was threatened by France; and he, of his own judgment, preferred the Imperial alliance, like the rest of his countrymen; but Charles had coerced the Pope into refusing a concession which the Pope had admitted to be just, and the King knew better than his Council that the way to secure the Emperor's friendship was not to appear too eager for it.

The sharpness with which the King had spoken disappointed and even surprised Cromwell, who, when the audience was over, could hardly speak for vexation. His impression apparently was that the French faction had still too much influence with the King, and the French faction was the faction of Anne. He recovered his spirits when Chapuys informed him of the concessions which the Emperor was prepared to make, and said that he still hoped for "a good result."

The next morning, Wednesday, 19th of April, the Privy Council met again in full number. They sate for three hours. The future of England, the future of Europe, appeared to them at that moment to be hanging on the King's resolution. They went in a body to him and represented on their knees that they believed the Imperial alliance essential to the safety of the country, and they implored him not to reject a hand so unexpectedly held out to him on a mere point of honour. Henry, doubtless, felt as they did. Since his quarrel with Charles he had hardly known a quiet hour; he had been threatened with war, ruin of trade, interdict, and internal rebellion. On a return to the old friendship the sullen clergy, the angry Peers, would be compelled into submission, for the friend on whom they most depended would have deserted them; the traders would no longer be in alarm for their ventures; the Pope and his menaces would become a laughingstock, and in the divorce controversy the right would be tacitly allowed to have been with the King, since it was to be passed over without being mentioned. Immense advantages. But the imperious pride of Henry insisted on the form as well as the substance—on extorting a definite confession in words as well as a practical acknowledgment. All the troubles which had fallen on him—the quarrel with the Papacy, the obstinate resistance of Catherine and Mary, the threats of invasion, and insurrection—he looked upon as Charles's work. It was true that the offered friendship was important to England, but England's friendship was important to the Emperor, and the Emperor must ask for it. He told the kneeling Councillors that he would sooner lose his crown than admit, even by implication, that he had given Charles cause to complain of him. He was willing to take the Emperor's hand, but he would not seek or sue for it. The Emperor himself must write to him.

Cromwell, in describing what had passed to Chapuys, said that he was sorry that things had gone no better, but that he was not discouraged. The King had directed him to thank Chapuys for his exertions, and, for himself, he trusted that the Ambassador would persevere. If the Emperor would send even a letter of credit the King would be satisfied. In all his private conversations, although he had taken the responsibility on himself, he had acted under the King's instructions. The Ambassador asked him, if this was so, what could have caused the change. He answered that kings had humours and peculiarities of their own, unknown to ordinary mortals. In spite of what had passed, the King was writing at that moment to Francis, to require him to desist from his enterprise against Italy.

Chapuys replied that he would endeavour to obtain the letter from the Emperor which the King demanded. He wrote to Charles, giving a full and perhaps accurate account of all that had passed; but he ended with advice of his own which showed how well Henry had misunderstood Chapuys's own character, and the slippery ground on which he was standing. Chapuys had disliked the treaty with England from the beginning. He told his master that Henry's real purpose was to make him force out of the Pope a revocation of the sentence on the divorce. He recommended the Emperor once more to leave Henry to reap the fruit of his obstinacy, to come to terms with France, and allow the Pope to issue the Bull of Deposition—with a proviso that neither he nor Francis would regard any child as legitimate whom the King might have, either by the Concubine or by any other woman whom he might marry during the Concubine's life, unless by a dispensation from the Pope, which was not likely to be asked for. He did not venture to hope that the Emperor would agree, but such a course, he said, would bring the King to his senses, and force would be unnecessary.[12]

To Granvelle the Ambassador wrote more briefly to the same purpose. "God knew," he said, "how he had worked to bring the King to a right road; but he had found him unspeakably obstinate. The King seemed determined to compel the Emperor to acknowledge that Clement's sentence had been given under pressure from himself. Cromwell had behaved like an honest man, and had taken to his bed for sorrow. Cromwell knew how necessary the Emperor's friendship was to the King, but God or the Devil was preventing it."[13]

Henry gave his own version of the story to the English Ministers at Charles's court.

"The Emperor's Ambassador," he said, "has been with us at Greenwich with offers to renew the alliance, the conditions being that he would allow the Emperor to reconcile us with the Pope, that we will declare our daughter Mary legitimate and give her a place in the succession, that we will help him against the Turks, and declare war against France should France invade Milan.

"Our answer was that the breach of amity came first from the Emperor himself. We gave him the Imperial crown when it lay with us to dispose of. We lent him money in his difficulties, etc. In return he has shown us nothing but ingratitude, stirring the Bishop of Rome to do us injury. If he will by express writing desire us to forget his unkind doings, or will declare that what we consider unkindness has been wrongly imputed to him, we will gladly embrace his overtures; but as we have sustained the wrong we will not be suitors for reconciliation. As to the Bishop of Rome, we have not proceeded on such slight grounds as we would revoke or alter any part of our doings, having laid our foundation on the Law of God, nature, and honesty, and established our work thereupon with the consent of the Estates of the Realm in open and high court of Parliament. A proposal has been made to us by the Bishop himself which we have not yet embraced, nor would it be expedient that a reconciliation should be compassed by any other means. We should not think the Emperor earnestly desired a reconciliation with us, if he desired us to alter anything for the satisfaction of the Bishop of Rome, our enemy.

"As to our daughter Mary, if she will submit to the laws we will acknowledge and use her as our daughter; but we will not be directed or pressed therein. It is as meet for us to order things here without search for foreign advice as for the Emperor to determine his affairs without our counsel. About the Turks, we can come to no certain resolution; but if a reconciliation of the affairs of Christendom ensue, we will not fail to do our duty. Before we can treat of aid against the French King the amity with the Emperor must first be renewed."[14]

  1. "L'on m'a dicte que la Concubine consoloit ses demoiselles qui pleuroient, leur disant que c'estoit pour le mieulx, car elle en seroit tant plus tost enceinte, et que le fils qu'elle pourterait ne seroit dubieulx comme fust este icelle, estant conceu du vivant de la Royne." Chapuys to Granvelle, Feb. 25, 1536.—MS. Vienna; Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. x. p. 135.
  2. Chapuys to Charles V., Feb, 17, 1536.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol, x, p. 116.
  3. Charles V. to the Emperor, Feb. 1, 1536.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. part 2, p. 33.
  4. Report of the Privy Council of Spain, Feb. 26, 1536.—Ibid. p. 60.
  5. Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. x. p. 224.
  6. Chapuys to Charles V., Feb. 25, 1536.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. x. pp. 131 et seq.
  7. "Et atissy quant à l'auctorité de l'Eglise Anglicane l'on pourroit persuader au Roy que la chose se appoineteroit à son honneur, proufit, et bien du royaulme."
  8. I. e. as part of it. Charles V. to Chapuys, March 28, 1536.—MS. Vienna; Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. x. pp. 224 et seq.; Spanish Calendar, vol. v. part 2, pp. 71 et seq. There are some differences in the translations in the two Calendars. When I refer to the MS. at Vienna I use copies made there by myself.
  9. Chapuys to Charles V., April 1, 1536.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol, x, p. 243.
  10. Chapuys to Charles V., April 1, 1536.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. x. p. 242.
  11. Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, June 2, 1536, vol. x. pp. 428 et seq.
  12. Chapuys to Charles V., April 21, 1536.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. x. pp. 287 et seq.; Spanish Calendar, vol. v. part 2, pp. 85 et seq.
  13. April 21.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic.
  14. Henry VIII. to Pate, April 25, 1536. Abridged.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. x. p. 306.