The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon/Chapter 13
The King's claim—The obstinacy of Catherine—The Court at Dunstable—Judgment given by Cranmer—Debate in the Spanish Council of State—Objections to armed interference—The English opposition—Warning given to Chapuys—Chapuys and the Privy Council—Conversation with Cromwell—Coronation of Anne Boleyn—Discussions at Rome—Bull supra Attentatis—Confusion of the Catholic Powers—Libels against Henry—Personal history of Cromwell—Birth of Elizabeth—The King's disappointment—Bishop Fisher desires the introduction of a Spanish army into England—Growth of Lutheranism.
If circumstances can be imagined to justify the use of the dispensing power claimed and exercised by the Papacy, Henry VIII. had been entitled to demand assistance from Clement VII. in the situation in which he had found himself with Catherine of Aragon. He had been committed when little more than a boy, for political reasons, to a marriage of dubious legality. In the prime of his life he found himself fastened to a woman eight years older than himself; the children whom she had borne to him all dead, except one daughter; his wife past the age when she could hope to be again a mother; the kingdom with the certainty of civil war before it should the King die without a male heir. In hereditary monarchies, where the sovereign is the centre of the State, the interests of the nation have to be considered in the arrangements of his family. Henry had been married irregularly to Catherine to strengthen the alliance between England and Spain. When, as a result, a disputed succession and a renewal of the civil wars was seen to be inevitable, the King had a distinct right to ask to be relieved of the connection by the same irregular methods. The causa urgentissima, for which the dispensing power was allowed, was present in the highest degree, and that power ought to have been made use of. That it was not made use of was due to a control exerted upon the Pope by the Emperor, whose pride had been offended; and that such an influence could be employed for such a purpose vitiated the tribunal which had been trusted with a peculiar and exceptional authority. The Pope had not concealed his conviction that the demand was legitimate in itself, or that, in refusing, he was yielding to intimidation, and the inevitable consequences had followed. Royal persons who receive from birth and station remarkable favours of fortune occasionally have to submit to inconveniences attaching to their rank; and, when the occasion rises, they generally meet with little ceremony. At the outset the utmost efforts had been made to spare Catherine's feelings. Both the King and the Pope desired to avoid a judgment on the validity of her marriage. An heir to the crown was needed, and from her there was no hope of further issue. If at the beginning she had been found incapable of bearing a child, the marriage would have been dissolved of itself. Essentially the condition was the same. Technical difficulties could be disposed of by a Papal dispensation. She would have remained queen, her honour unaffected, the legitimacy of Mary unimpugned, the relations between the Holy See and the Crown and Church of England undisturbed. The obstinacy of Catherine herself, the Emperor's determination to support her, and the Pope's cowardice, prevented a reasonable arrangement; and thus the right of the Pope himself to the spiritual sovereignty of Europe came necessarily under question, when it implied the subjugation of independent princes to another power by which the Court of Rome was dominated.
Such a question once raised could have but one answer from the English nation. Every resource had been tried to the extreme limit of forbearance, and all had failed before the indomitable will of a single woman. A request admitted to be just had been met by excommiuiication and threats of force. With entire fitness, the King and Parliament had replied by withdrawing their recognition of a corrupt tribunal, and determining thenceforward to try and to judge their own suits in their own courts.
Thus, on the 10th of May, Cranmer, with three Bishops as assessors, sate at Dunstable under the Royal licence to hear the cause which had so long been the talk of Europe, and Catherine, who was at Ampthill, was cited to appear. She consulted Chapuys on the answer which she was to make. Chapuys advised her not to notice the summons. "Nothing done by such a Court could prejudice her," he said, "unless she renounced her appeal to Rome." As she made no plea, judgment was promptly given. The divorce was complete so far as English law could decide it, and it was doubtful to the last whether the Pope was not at heart a consenting party. The sentence had been, of course, anticipated. On the 27th of April Chapuys informed the Emperor how matters then stood.
"Had his Holiness done as he was advised, and inserted a clause in the Archbishop's Bulls forbidding the Archbishop to meddle in the case, he would have prevented much mischief. He chose to take his own way, and thus the English repeat what they have said all along: that in the end the Pope would deceive your Majesty.… The thing now to be done is to force from the Pope a quick and sudden decision of the case, so as to silence those who affirm that he is only procrastinating till he can decide in favour of the King, or who think that your Majesty will then acquiesce and that there will be no danger of war. … I have often tried to ascertain from the Queen what alternative she is looking to, seeing that gentleness produces no effect. I have found her hitherto so scrupulous in her profession of respect and affection for the King that she thinks she will be damned eternally if she takes a step which may lead to war. Latterly, however, she has let me know that she would like to see some other remedy tried, though she refers everything to me."
The proceedings at Dunstable may have added to Catherine's growing willingness for the "other remedy." She was no longer an English subject in the eye of the law, and might hold herself free to act as she pleased. Simultaneously, however, a consultation was going forward about her and her affairs in the Spanish Cabinet which was not promising for Chapuys's views. The Spanish Ambassador in London, it was said, was urging for war with England. The history of the divorce case was briefly stated. The delay of judgment had been caused by the King's protest that he could not appear at Rome. That point had been decided against the King. The Pope had promised the Emperor that he would proceed at once to sentence, but had not done it. Brief on brief had been presented to the King, ordering him to separate from Anne Boleyn pendente lite, but the King had paid no attention to them—had married the Lady and divorced the Queen. The Emperor was the Queen's nearest relation. What was he to do? There were three expedients before him: legal process, force, and law and force combined. The first was the best; but the King and the realm would refuse the tribunal, and the Pope always had been, and still was, very cold and indifferent in the matter, and most tolerant to the English King. Open force, in the existing state of Christendom, was dangerous. To begin an aggression was always a questionable step. Although the King had married "Anne de Bulans," he had used no violence against the Queen, or done anything to justify an armed attack upon him. The question was "a private one," and the Emperor must consider what he owed to the public welfare. Should the third course be adopted, the Pope would have to pronounce judgment and call in the secular arm. All Christian princes would then be bound to help him, and the Emperor, as the first among them, would have to place himself at the head of the enterprise. "But would it not be better and more convenient to avoid, for the present, harsh measures, which might bring on war and injure trade, and insist only on further censures and a sentence of deposition against the King? Should the Pope require to know beforehand what the Emperor would do to enforce the execution, it would be enough to tell the Pope that he must do his part first; any further engagement would imply that the sentence on the principal cause had been decided beforehand. Finally, it would have to be determined whether the Queen was to remain in England or to leave it."
These were the questions before the Cabinet. A Privy Councillor, perhaps Granvelle (the name is not mentioned), gave his own opinion, which was seemingly adopted.
All these ways were to be tried. The Pope must proceed with the suit. Force must be suspended for the present, the cause being a personal one, and having already begun when peace was made at Cambray. The Pope must conclude the principal matter, or at least insist on the revocation of what had been done since the suit commenced, and then, perhaps, force would not be required at all. The advice of the Consulta on the answer to be given to the Pope, should he require to know the Emperor's intentions, was exactly right. Nothing more need be said than that the Emperor would not forget the obligations which devolved on him, as an obedient son of the Church. The Queen, meanwhile, must remain in England. If she came away, a rupture would be inevitable.
The speaker advised further that a special embassy should be sent to England to remonstrate with the King.
This, however, if unsuccessful, it was felt would lead to war; and opposite to the words the Emperor himself wrote on the margin an emphatic No.
The mention of the peace of Cambray is important. The divorce had reached an acute stage before the peace was concluded. It had not been spoken of there, and the Emperor was diplomatically precluded from producing it as a fresh injury. Both he and the Council were evidently unwilling to act. The Pope knew their reluctance, and did not mean, if he could help it, to flourish his spiritual weapons without a sword to support them.
The King wrote to inform Charles of his marriage. "In the face of the Scotch pretensions to the succession," he said, "other heirs of his body were required for the security of the Crown. The thing was done, and the Pope must make the best of it." This was precisely what the Pope was inclined to do. Cifuentes thought that, though he seemed troubled, "he was really pleased." "He said positively that, if he was to declare the King of England deprived of his crown, the Emperor must bind himself to see the sentence executed." Charles had no intention of binding himself, nor would his Cabinet advise him to bind himself. The time was passed when Most Catholic Princes could put armies In motion to execute the decrees of the Bishop of Rome. The theory might linger, but the facts were changed. Philip II. tried the experiment half a century later, but it did not answer to him. A fresh order of things had risen in Europe, and passionate Catholics could not understand it. Dr. Ortiz shrieked that "the King, by his marriage, was guilty of heresy and schism;" the Emperor ought to use the opportunity, without waiting for further declarations from the Pope, and unsheath the sword which God had placed in his hands. English Peers and Prelates, impatient of the rising strength of the Commons and of the growth of Lutheranism, besieged Chapuys with entreaties for an Imperial force to be landed. They told him that Richard III. was not so hated by the people as Henry; but that, without help from abroad, they dared not declare themselves. Why could they not dare? The King had no janissaries about his throne. Why could they not stand up in the House of Lords and refuse to sanction the measures which they disapproved? Why, except that they were not the people. Numbers might still be on their side, but the daring, the intellect, the fighting-strength of England was against them, and the fresh air of dawning freedom chilled their blood. The modern creed is that majorities have a right to ride. If, out of every hundred men, four-fifths will vote on one side, but will not fight without help from the sword of the stranger; and the remaining fifth will both vote and fight—fight domestic cowards and foreign foes combined—which has the right to rule? The theory may be imperfect; but it is easy to foresee which will rule in fact. The marriage with Anne was formally communicated in the House of Lords. There were some murmurs. The King rose from the throne and said it had been necessary for the welfare of the realm. Peers and Commons acquiesced, and no more was said. The coronation of the new Queen was fixed for the 19th of May.
If the great men who had been so eager with Chapuys were poltroons, Chapuys himself was none. Rumours were flying that the Emperor was coming to waste England, destroy the Royal family, and place a foreign Prince on the throne. The Ambassador addressed a letter to Henry, saying that he held powers to take action for the preservation of the Queen's rights; and he gave him notice that he intended to enter immediately on the duties of his office. Henry showed no displeasure at so bold a communication, but sent Thomas Cromwell to him, who was now fast rising into consequence, to remind him that, large as was the latitude allowed to Ambassadors, he must not violate the rights of the Crown, and to warn him to be careful. He was then summoned before the Privy Council. Norfolk had previously cautioned him against introducing briefs or letters from the Pope, telling him that if he did he would be torn in pieces by the people. The Council demanded to see the powers which he said that he possessed. He produced directions which he had received to watch over the Queen's rights, and he then remarked on the several briefs by which the King was virtually excommunicated. Lord Wiltshire told him that if any subject had so acted he would have found himself in the Tower. The King wished him well; but if he wore two faces, and meddled with what did not concern him, he might fall into trouble.
Chapuys replied that the Council were like the eels of Melun, which cried out before they were skinned. He had done nothing, so far. He had not presented any "Apostolic letters." As to two faces, the Earl meant, he supposed, that he was about to act as the Queen's Proctor as well as Ambassador; he was not a lawyer; he had no such ambition. Then, speaking in Latin, because part of the Council did not understand French, he dwelt on the old friendship between the Emperor and the King. He said that the part which the Emperor had taken about the divorce was as much for the sake of the King and the realm as for the sake of the Queen, although the Queen and Princess were as a mother and a sister to him. He went through the case; he said their statutes were void in themselves, and, even if valid, could not be retrospective. The Archbishop had been just sworn to the Pope. He had broken his oath, and was under excommunication, and was, therefore, disqualified to act. He reminded the Council of the Wars of the Roses, and told them they were sharpening the thorns for fresh struggles.
Doctor Foxe (the King's Almoner, afterwards bishop) replied that the King could not live with his brother's wife without sin, and therefore left her. It was a fact accomplished, and no longer to be argued. To challenge the action of the Archbishop was to challenge the law of the land, and was not to be allowed. The Pope had no authority in England, spiritual or temporal. The introduction of bulls or briefs from Rome was unlawful, and could not be sheltered behind immunities of ambassadors. Chapuys was the representative of the Emperor, not of the Pope, and Foxe cautioned him against creating disturbances in the realm.
To this Chapuys quietly answered that he would do his duty, let the consequences be what they might. Being again warned, he said he would wait for two or three days, within which he looked for a satisfactory reply from the King.
In leaving the council-room, he said, in imperious fashion, as if he was addressing a set of criminals, that reports were current about the Emperor which he desired to notice. Some declared that he had consented to the marriage with the Lady Anne. Others that he meant to make war. Both allegations alike were false and malicious. So far from wishing to injure England, the Emperor wished to help and support it, and could not believe that he would ever be obliged to act otherwise; and as to consenting to the divorce, if the Pope declared for it he would submit to the Pope's judgment; otherwise the world would not turn him from the path which he meant to follow. He was acting as the King's best friend, as the King would acknowledge if he could forget his passion for the Lady and consider seriously his relations with the Emperor. He begged the Council, therefore, to prevent such rumours from being circulated if they did not wish Chapuys to contradict them himself.
The Ambassador was keeping within the truth when he said that Charles was not meditating war. Chapuys's instructions when first sent to England had been not to make matters worse than they were, not to threaten war, nor to imply in any way that there was danger of war. He had himself, however, insisted that there was no alternative. He had encouraged Catherine's friends with hope of eventual help, and continued to convey to the Emperor their passionate wish that "his Majesty's hand would soon reach England," before "the accursed woman" made an end of the Queen and of them—to tell him that, were his forces once on land, they might raise as many men as they pleased, and the London citizens would stand by, "keep the enlistment money," and wait to see which party won. As long, however, as his master was undecided he would not, he said, take measures which would do no good, and only lead to inconvenience. He had merely given the Council "a piece of his mind," and had said what no one else would say, for fear of Lady Anne.
The answer to his letter which he expected from the King did not arrive, but instead of it an invitation to dinner from the Duke of Norfolk, which he refused lest his consent should be misconstrued. Ultimately, however, Cromwell came to him with the King's permission. Cromwell, strange to say, had been a strong advocate for the Imperial alliance, in opposition to the French, and with Cromwell the Ambassador's relations were more easy than with the Duke. Their conversations were intimate and confidential. Chapuys professed a hope that the King's affection for the Lady would pass off, and promised, for himself, to pour no more oil on the fire till he received fresh orders. If they wished for peace, however, he said they must be careful of their behaviour to the Queen, and he complained of the removal of her arms from her barge in the river. Such petty acts of persecution ought to be avoided. The removal of the arms was the work of some too zealous friend of Anne. Cromwell had not heard of it, and said that the King would be greatly displeased. Meanwhile he trusted that Spanish notions of honour would not interfere with a friendship so useful to both countries. If it came to war, England would not be found an easy conquest. He defended the King's action. The Pope would not do him justice, so he had slapped the Pope in the face. No doubt he had been influenced by love for the Lady. Neither the King himself, nor all the Preachers in the world, would convince him that love had nothing to do with it. But the King was well read in the canon law, and if his conscience was satisfied it was enough.
As Cromwell was so frank, Chapuys asked him when and where the marriage with Anne had been concluded. Cromwell either would not or could not tell him, saying merely that Norfolk had not been present at the ceremony, but others of the Council had, and there was no doubt that it had really taken place.
So matters stood in England, every one waiting to learn how the Emperor would act. Anne Boleyn was duly crowned at Whitsuntide—a splendid official pageant compensating for the secrecy of her marriage. The streets were thronged with curious spectators, but there was no enthusiasm. The procession was like a funeral. The Pope was about to meet the King of France at Nice. Norfolk was commissioned to attend the interview, and, as Henry still hoped that the Duke would bring back an acquiescence in his wishes from Clement, Chapuys saw him before his departure. The Duke said the peace of the world now depended on the Emperor. He repeated that his niece's marriage had been no work of his. Her father and he had always been against it, and, but for them, it would have happened a year before. She had been furious with both of them. She was now enceinte, and had told her father and himself and Suffolk that she was in better plight than they wished her to be. To attempt to persuade the King to take Catherine back either by threat or argument would be labour thrown away, such "were his scruples of conscience and his despair of having male succession by her."
At Cromwell's intercession, the Bishop of Rochester was now released from confinement, and politics were quiet, till the effect was seen of the Nice conference. Anxious consultations were held at Rome before the Pope set out. The Cardinals met in consistory. Henry's belief had been that Francis was prepared to stand by him to the uttermost, and would carry Clement with him. He was now to find, either that he had been misled or had wilfully deceived himself. Cardinal Tournon, who was supposed to have carried an ultimatum from the meeting at Calais, had required the Pope to suspend the process against Henry: if the Pope replied that the offence was too great, and that he must deprive him, Francis did not say that he would risk excommunication himself by taking an open part, but had directed the Cardinal to urge the removal of the suit to a neutral place, as had been often proposed. The Pope told the Count de Cifuentes that this suggestion had been already discussed with the Emperor, and that the Emperor had not entirely disapproved; but the cunning and treacherous Clement had formed a plan of his own by which he thought he could save England and punish Henry. Francis being less firm than he had feared, he thought that, by working on French ambition, he could detach Francis completely from his English ally. The French were known to be eager to recover Calais. What if Calais could be offered them as a bait? They might turn their coats as they had so often done before. Cunning and weakness generally go together. It was an ingenious proposal, and throws a new light on Clement's character. Nothing came of it, for the Emperor, with a view to the safety of Flanders and the eventual recovery of the English alliance, declined to sanction a change of ownership on his own frontier. Finding no encouragement, Clement relapsed into his usual attitude. The Imperialists continued to press for the delivery of sentence before the Pope should leave Rome. The Pope continued to insist on knowing the Emperor's intentions.
A Spanish lawyer, Rodrigo Davalos, had been sent to Rome to dissuade the Pope from the Nice interview, and to quicken the action of the Rota.
"Queen Catherine's suit," he said, "had been carried on as if it were that of the poorest woman in the world. Since Cifuentes and he had been there the process had been pushed on, but the Advocates and Proctors had not received a real. Their hands required anointing to make them stick to their business. The Cardinals were at sixes and sevens, and refused to pull together, do what Davalos would."
Davalos, being a skilful manipulator and going the right way to work, pressed the process forward in the Rota without telling the Pope what he was doing, since Clement would have stopped it had he not been kept in ignorance. But, "God helping, no excuse was left." The forms were all concluded, and nothing remained but to pass the long-talked-of sentence. The Pope was so "importuned" by the French and English Ambassadors to suspend it till after the meeting at Nice that Davalos could not say whether he would get it, after all; but he told the Pope that further hesitation would be regarded by the Emperor as an outrage, and would raise suspicion through the whole world. The Pope promised, but where goodwill was wanting trifles were obstacles. Davalos confessed that he had no faith in his promise. He feared the Pope must have issued some secret brief, which stood in his way.
Clement, however, was driven on in spite of himself. Judgment on the principal cause could not be wrung from him. Cardinal Salviati was of opinion that they would never give it till the Emperor would promise that it should be executed. But a Brief super Attentatis, which was said to be an equivalent, Clement was required to sign, and did sign—a Bull on which Charles could act if occasion served, the Pope himself swearing great oaths that Henry had used him ill, and that he would bribe Francis to forsake him by the promise of Calais.
One more touch must be added to complete the comedy of distraction. A proposal of the Spanish Council to send a special embassy to London to remonstrate with the King had been definitely rejected by the Emperor. It was revived by Chapuys, with whom it had probably originated. He imagined that the most distinguished representatives of the Spanish nation might appear at the English Court and protest against the ill-usage of the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. If the King refused them satisfaction, they might demand to be heard in Parliament. The King would then be placed in the wrong before his own people. The nobles of Aragon and Castile would offer their persons and their property to maintain the Queen's right; and Chapuys said, "Not a Spaniard would hesitate if they were privately assured first that they would not he taken at their word."
Leaving the Catholic Powers in confusion and uncertainty, we return to England. Catherine had rejected every proposal which had been made to her. There could not be two queens in the same country, and, after Anne's coronation, a deputation waited upon her to intimate that her style must be changed. She must now consent to be termed Princess Dowager, when an establishment would be provided for her as the widow of the King's brother. Her magnificent refusal is well known to history. Cromwell spoke with unbounded admiration of it. Yet it was inconvenient, and increased the difficulty of providing for her, since she declined to accept any grants which might be made to her under the new title, or to be attended by any person who did not treat her and address her as queen. It would have been better if she had required to be allowed to return to Castile; but both the Spanish Council and the Emperor had decided that she must remain in England. The Princess had been allowed to rejoin her. The mother and daughter had made short expeditions together, and had been received with so much enthusiasm that it was found necessary again to part them. Stories were current of insulting messages which Catherine had received from the Lady Anne, false probably, and meant only to create exasperation. The popular feeling was warmly in her favour. She was personally liked as much as Anne was hated; and the King himself was not spared. As a specimen of the licence of language, "a Mrs. Amadas, witch and prophetess, was indicted for having said that 'the Lady Anne should be burned, for she was a harlot. Master Norris (Sir Henry Norris, Equerry to Henry) was bawd between her and the King. The King had kept both the mother and the daughter, and Lord Wiltshire was bawd to his wife and to his two daughters.'" In July the news arrived from Rome of the Brief de Attentatis, and with it the unpleasant intelligence that Francis could not be depended on, and that the hopes expected from the meeting at Nice would not be realised. The disappointment was concealed from Anne, for fear of endangering the expected child. Norfolk, who had waited in Paris to proceed in the French King's train, was ordered to return to England. Henry was not afraid, but he was discovering that he had nothing to rely upon but himself and the nation. The terms on which France and the Empire stood towards each other were so critical that he did not expect the Emperor to quarrel with England if he could help it. Chapuys seemed studiously to seek Cromwell. Of Cromwell's fidelity to himself Henry was too well assured to feel uneasy about their intimacy, and therefore they met often and as freely exchanged their thoughts. Chapuys found Cromwell "a man of sense, well versed in affairs of State, and able to judge soundly," with not too good an opinion of the Lady Anne, who returned his dislike. Anne was French; Cromwell was Imperialist beyond all the rest of the Council.
"I told him," wrote the Ambassador to Charles, after one of these conversations, "I often regretted your Majesty had not known him in Wolsey's time. He would have been a greater man than the Cardinal, and the King's affairs would have gone much better. He seemed pleased, so I continued. Now was the time for him to do his master better service than ever man did before. Sentence had been given in Rome against the King, and there was no further hope that your Majesty and the Pope would agree to the divorce. I presumed that the King being so reasonable, virtuous, and humane a prince, would not persist longer and blemish the many gifts which God had bestowed on him. I prayed him to move the King. He could do more with him than any other man. He was not in the Council when the accursed business was first mooted. The Queen trusted him, and, when reinstated, would not forget his service. Cromwell took what I said in good part. He assured me that all the Council desired your Majesty's friendship. He would do his best, and hoped that things would turn out well. If I can believe what he says there is still a hope that the King may change. I will set the net again and try if I can catch him; but one cannot be too cautious. The King is disturbed by what has passed at Rome. He fears the Pope will seduce the French King from him."
"Who was this Cromwell that had grown to such importance?" Granvelle had asked. "He is the son," replied Chapuys, "of a farrier in Chelsea, who is buried in the parish church there. His uncle, father of Richard Cromwell, was cook to the Archbishop of Canterbury. This Thomas Cromwell was wild in his youth, and had to leave the country. He went to Flanders and to Rome. Returning thence he married the daughter of a wool merchant, and worked at his father-in-law's business. After that he became a solicitor. Wolsey, finding him diligent and a man of ability for good or ill, took him into service and employed him in the suppression of religious houses. When Wolsey fell he behaved extremely well. The King took him into his secret Council. Now he is above everyone, except the Lady, and is supposed to have more credit than ever the Cardinal had. He is hospitable and liberal, speaks English well, aud Latin, French, and Italian tolerably."
The intimacy increased. Cromwell, though Imperial in politics and no admirer of Anne Boleyn, was notoriously Henry's chief adviser in the reform of the clergy; but to this aspect of him Chapuys had no objection. Neither the Ambassador nor Charles, nor any secular statesman in Europe, was blind to the enormities of Churchmen or disposed to lift a finger for them, if reform did not take the shape of Lutheranism. Charles himself had said that, if Henry had no objects beyond the correction of the spiritualty, he would rather aid than obstruct him. Between Chapuys and Cromwell there was thus common ground; and Cromwell's hint that the King might perhaps reconsider his position may not have been wholly groundless.
The action of the Rota, pressed through by Davalos, had taken Henry by surprise. He had not expected that the Pope would give a distinct judgment against him. He had been equally disappointed in the support which he expected from Francis. That he should now hesitate for an instant was natural and inevitable; but the irresolution, if real, did not last. Norfolk wrote to the King from Paris "to care nothing for the Pope:" there were men "enough at his side in England to defend his right with the sword." Henry appealed to a General Council, when a Council could be held which should be more than a Papal delegacy. The revenues of the English sees which were occupied by Campeggio and Ghinucci he sequestrated, as a sign of the abandonment of a detestable system.
His own mind, meanwhile, was fastened on the approaching confinement of Anne. With the birth of a male heir to the Crown he knew that his difficulties would vanish. Nurses and doctors had assured him of a son, and the event was expected both by him and by others with passionate expectation. A Prince of Wales would quiet the national uncertainty. It would be the answer of Heaven to Pope and Emperor, and a Divine sanction of his revolt. There is danger in interpreting Providence before the event. If the anticipation is disappointed the weight of the sentence may be thrown into the opposing scale.
To the bitter "mortification of the King and the Lady, to the reproach of physicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and sorceresses who affirmed that the child would be a male," to the delight of Chapuys and the perplexity of a large section of the English people who were waiting for Providence to speak, on the 7th of September the girl who was afterwards to be Queen Elizabeth was brought into the world.
This was the worst blow which Henry had received. He was less given to superstition than most of his subjects, but there had been too much of appeals to Heaven through the whole of the controversy. The need of a male heir had been paraded before Christendom as the ground of his action. He had already discovered that Anne was not what his blindness to her faults had allowed him to believe; he was fond of the Princess Mary, and Anne had threatened to make a waiting-maid of her. The new Queen had made herself detested in the Court by her insolence; there had been "lover's quarrels," from which Catherine's friends had gathered hopes, and much must have passed behind the scenes of which no record survives. A lady of the bed-chamber had heard Henry say he would "rather beg from door to door than forsake her;" on the other hand, Anne acknowledged afterwards that his love had not been returned, and she could hardly have failed to let him see it. Could she be the mother of a prince she was safe, but on this she might well think her security depended. All Henry's male children, except the Duke of Richmond, had died at the birth or in infancy; and words which she let fall to her sister-in-law, Lady Rochford, implied a suspicion that the fault was in the King. It is not without significance that in the subsequent indictment of Sir Henry Norris it was alleged that on the 6th of October, 1533, less than a month after Anne's confinement, she solicited Norris to have criminal intercourse with her, and that on the 12th the act was committed. But to this subject I shall return hereafter.
Anyway, the King made the best of his misfortune. If the first adventure had failed, a second might be more successful. The unwelcome daughter was christened amidst general indifference, without either bonfires or rejoicings. She was proclaimed Princess, and the title was taken away from her sister Mary. Chapuys, after what Cromwell had said to him, trusted naturally that the King's mind would be affected by his disappointment. They met again. Chapuys urged that it would be easier to set things straight than at an earlier stage. The King, being of a proud temper, would have felt humiliated if he had been baffled. He might now listen to reason. It was said of Englishmen that when they had made a mistake they were more ready to confess it than other people; and, so far from losing in public esteem, he would only gain, if he now admitted that he had been wrong. The Emperor would send an embassy requesting him affectionately to take Catherine back; his compliance would thus lose all appearance of compulsion. The expectation was reasonable. Cromwell, however, had to tell him in earnest language that it could not be; and the Catholic party in England, who had hoped as Chapuys hoped, and found themselves only further embittered by the exclusion of Mary from the succession, became desperate in turn. From this period their incipient treason developed into definite conspiracy, the leader among the disaffected and the most influential from his reputed piety and learning being Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, whose subsequent punishment has been the text for so many eloquent invectives. Writing on the 27th of September to the Emperor, Chapuys says: "The good Bishop of Rochester has sent to me to notify that the arms of the Pope against these obstinate men are softer than lead, and that your Majesty must set your hand to it, in which you will do a work as agreeable to God as a war against the Turk." This was not all. The Bishop had gone on to advise a measure which would lead immediately and intentionally to a revival of the Wars of the Roses. "If matters come to a rupture, the Bishop said it would be well for your Majesty to attach to yourself the son of the Princess Mary's governess [the Countess of Salisbury, mother of Reginald Pole], daughter of the Duke of Clarence, to whom, according to the opinion of many, the kingdom would belong. He is now studying at Padua. On account of the pretensions which he and his brother would have to the crown, the Queen would like to bestow the Princess on him in marriage, and the Princess would not refuse. He and his brothers have many kinsmen and allies, of whose services your Majesty might make use and gain the greater part of the realm."
The Bishop of Rochester might plead a higher allegiance as an excuse for conspiring to dethrone his Sovereign. But those who play such desperate games stake their lives upon the issue, and if they fail must pay the forfeit. The Bishop was not the only person who thus advised Chapuys. Rebellion and invasion became the settled thought of the King's opponents, and Catherine was expected to lend her countenance. The Regent's Council at Brussels, bolder than the Spanish, were for immediate war. A German force might be thrown across the Channel. The Flemish nobles might hesitate, but would allow ships to carry an army to Scotland. The army might then march south; Catherine would join it, and appear in the field. Catherine herself bade Chapuys charge the Pope in her name to proceed to the execution of the sentence "in the most rigorous terms of justice possible;" the King, she said, would then be brought to reason when he felt the bit. She did not advocate violence in words, though what she did advocate implied violence and made it inevitable. Fisher was prepared for any extremity. "The good and holy Bishop of Rochester," Chapuys repeated, "would like your Majesty to take active measures immediately, as I wrote in my last, which advice he has sent to me again lately to repeat. Without this they fear disorder. The smallest force would suffice."
Knowing Charles's unwillingness, the Ambassador added a further incitement. Among the preachers, he said, there was one who spread worse errors than Luther. The Prelates all desired to have him punished, but the Archbishop of Canterbury held him up, the King would not listen to them; and, were it not that he feared the people, would long since have professed Lutheranism himself.
- I have related elsewhere the story of the Dunstable trial, and do not repeat it.—[[History of England (Froude)/Chapter 5#417|History of England, vol. i. pp. 417–423.
- Chapuys to Charles V., April 27, 1533. Abridged.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p, 648.
- Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, pp. 650–658.
- The Count de Cifuentes to Charles V., May 7, 1533.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. pp. 203–4.
- Ibid., May 10.
- Ortiz to Charles V., May 3, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 659.
- Chapuys to Charles V., May 18, 1533.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. pp. 225–6.
- Chapuys to Henry VIII., May 5, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 668.
- Cramner had sworn the usual oath, but with a reservation that his first duty was to his Sovereign and the laws of his country.
- Chapuys to Charles V., May 26, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 687.
- Chapuys to Charles V., May 29, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 699.
- Cifuentes to Charles V., May 29, 1533.—Ibid. p. 702.
- The Cardinal of Jaen to Charles V., June 16, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 709.
- Davalos to Charles V., June 30 and July 5, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, pp. 725–728.
- Davalos to Charles V., June 30 and July 5, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 749.
- Ibid. p. 734.
- Chapuys to Charles V., June 28, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, pp. 718–20.
- Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 399.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Aug. 3, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, pp. 759–60.
- Chapuys to Granvelle, Nov. 21, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. 9, p. 289.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Aug. 23, 1533,—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 777.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Sept. 10, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 789.
- Ibid. p. 788.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Nov. 3, 1533.—Spanish Calendar, vol. iv. part 2, p. 842.
- The King's infirmities were not a secret. In 1533, upon Elizabeth's birth, a Señor de Gambaro, who was an intimate friend of the Duke of Norfolk, wrote at Rome for Cifuentes a curious account of the situation and prospects of things in England. Among other observations he says: "The [expected] child will be weak, owing to his father's condition " Avisos de las Cosas de Inglaterra dados por Sr. de Gambaro en Roma.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 683.
- Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 486. Spanish Calendar, vol. vi. part 2, p. 813.
- Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 486, Spanish Calendar, vol. vi. part 2, p. 813.
- News from Flanders.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 493.
- I.e. the calling in the secular arm, which had not been actually done in the Brief de Attentatis.
- Chapuys to Charles V., Oct. 10, 1533.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vi. p. 511.