The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon/Chapter 15

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The Papal curse—Determined attitude of the Princess Mary—Chapuys desires to be heard in Parliament—Interview with the King—Permission refused—The Act of Succession—Catherine loses the title of Queen—More and Fisher refuse to swear to the statute—Prospects of rebellion in Ireland—The Emperor unwilling to interfere—Perplexity of the Catholic party—Chapuys before the Privy Council—Insists on Catherine's rights—Singular defence of the Pope's action—Chapuys's intrigues—Defiant attitude of Catherine—Fears for her life—Condition of Europe—Prospect of war between France and the Empire—Unwillingness of the Emperor to interfere in England—Disappointment of Catherine—Visit of Chapuys to Kimbolton.

Pretenders to supernatural powers usually confine the display of their skill to the presence of friends and believers. The exercise of such powers to silence opponents or to convince incredulity may be alleged to have existed in the past, or may be foretold as to happen in the future; in the actual present prudent men are cautious of experiments which, if they fail, bring them only into ridicule. Excommunication had real terrors when a frightened world was willing to execute its penalties—when the object of the censure was cut off from the services of religion and was regarded as a pariah and an outlaw. The Princes of Europe had real cause to fear the curse of the Pope when their own subjects might withdraw their obedience and the Christian Powers were ready to take arms to coerce them. But Clement knew that his own thunders would find no such support, and he lacked the confidence of Dr. Ortiz that Heaven, if men failed, would avenge its own wrongs. He had not been permitted even to invite the Emperor formally to enforce the sentence which he had been compelled to pronounce. Protestant Germany had been left unpunished in its heresy. The curse had passed harmless over Luther and Luther's supporters. In England he was assured that his authority was still believed in, and that the King would be brought to judgment by his subjects. But there were no outward signs of it. His Bulls could no longer be introduced there. His clergy might at heart be loyal to him; but they had submitted to the Crown and the Parliament. His name was struck out of the service-books, and the business of life went on as if he had never spoken; the business of life, and also the business of the Government: for, the Pope being disposed of, the vital question of the succession to the Crown had still to be formally arranged.

Since the Emperor would not act Chapuys had been feeling his way with the Scotch. If James chose to assert himself, the Ambassador had promised him the Emperor's support. "He might marry the Princess Mary, and the Emperor would welcome the union of the crowns of Scotland and England."[1] Had Mary submitted to her father, her claim to a place in the line of inheritance would not have been taken from her, for she had been born bonâ fide parentum and in no reasonable sense could be held illegitimate. But she had remained immoveable. In small things as well as great she had been unnecessarily irritating. Her wardrobe had required replenishing, and she had refused to receive anything which was not given to her as Princess. Anne Boleyn accused her aunt of being too lenient, Mrs, Shelton having refused to make herself the instrument of Anne's violence. Chapuys feared the "accursed Lady" might be tempted into a more detestable course. But, any way, the nation had broken with the Pope, and Mary could not be left with the prospect of succeeding to the crown while she denied the competency of the English Parliament and the English courts of justice. A bill, therefore, was introduced to make the necessary provisions, establishing the succession in the child, and future children, of Anne.

Catherine could not yet believe that Parliament would assent. Parliament, she thought, had never yet heard the truth. She directed Chapuys to apply for permission to appear at the bar of the House of Lords and speak for her and the Princess.

After the failure of the Nuncio with Convocation Chapuys had little hope that he would be listened to; but Catherine insisted on his making the attempt, since a refusal, she thought, would be construed into an admission of her right.

The Ambassador wrote to the Council. They desired to know what he proposed to say, and he was allowed a private interview with the Duke of Norfolk. He told the Duke that he wished merely to give a history of the divorce case and would say nothing to irritate. The Duke said he would speak to the King; but the Emperor, considering all that the King had done for him, had not treated him well; they would sooner he had gone to war at once than crossed and thwarted them at so many turns. Chapuys protested that war had never been thought of, and it was arranged that he should see the King and himself present his request. Before he entered the presence Norfolk warned him to be careful of his words, as he was to speak on matters so odious and unpleasing that all the sugars and sauces in the world could not make them palatable. The King, however, was gracious. Chapuys boldly entered on the treatment of the Queen and Princess. He had heard, he said, that the subject was to be laid before Parliament, and he desired to present his remonstrances to the Lords and Commons themselves.

The King replied civilly that, as Chapuys must be aware, his first marriage had been judicially declared null; the Lady Catherine, therefore, could not any longer be called queen, nor the Lady Mary his legitimate daughter. As to Chapuys's request, it was not the custom in England for strangers to speak in Parliament.

Chapuys urged that the Archbishop's sentence was worth no more than the Bishop of Bath's sentence illegitimatising the children of Edward IV. Parliament would, no doubt, vote as the King pleased; but, as to custom, no such occasion had ever arisen before, and Parliament was not competent to decide questions which belonged only to spiritual judges. The Princess was indisputably legitimate, as at the time of her birth no doubt existed on the lawfulness of her mother's marriage.

This was a sound argument, and Henry seemed to admit the force of it. But he said that neither pope nor princes had a right to interfere with the laws and institutions of England. Secular judges were perfectly well able to deal with matrimonial causes. The Princess Elizabeth was next in succession till a son was born to him. That son he soon hoped to have. In short, he declined to allow Chapuys to make a speech in the House of Lords; so Chapuys dropped the subject, and interceded for permission to the Princess Mary to reside with her mother. He said frankly that, if harm came to her while in the charge of her present governess, the world would not be satisfied. Of course he knew that for all the gold in the world the King would not injure his daughter; but, even if she died of an ordinary illness, suspicions would be entertained of foul play. With real courage Chapuys reminded Henry that the knights who killed Becket had been encouraged by the knowledge that the king was displeased with him. The enemies of the Princess, perceiving that she was out of favour, and aware of the hatred[2] felt for her by the Lady Anne, might be similarly tempted to make away with her while she was in Mrs. Shelton's charge.

If Chapuys really used this language (and the account of it is his own), Henry VIII. was more forbearing than history has represented him. He turned the subject, and complained, as Norfolk had done, of the Emperor's ingratitude. Chapuys said he had nothing to fear from the Emperor, unless he gave occasion for it. He smiled sardonically, and replied that, if he had been vindictive, there had been occasions when he could have revenged himself. It was enough, however, if the world knew how injured he had been. He then closed the conversation, dismissed his visitor, and told him he must be satisfied with the patience with which he had been heard.[3]

The Bill for the settlement of the crown was thus discussed without Chapuys's assistance. The terms of it and the reasons for it are familiar to all readers of English history. The King's efforts to obtain an heir male had, so far, only complicated an already dangerous problem. Though the marriage with Catherine had been set aside in an English court, the right of such a Court to pronounce upon it was not yet familiar to the nation generally. The Pope had given an opposite sentence: many of the peers and commons, the Duke of Norfolk among them, though reconciled to the divorce, had not yet made up their minds to schism;[4] and Mary had still many friends who were otherwise loyal to her father. But, after the experience of the last century, Englishmen of all persuasions were frightened at the prospect of a disputed succession, which only a peremptory Act of Parliament could effectively dispose of. The Bill, therefore, passed at last with little opposition. Cranmer's judgment was confirmed as against the Pope's. The marriage with Catherine was declared null, the marriage with Anne valid, and Anne's children the lawful heirs of the crown. The Act alone was not enough. The disclosures brought to light in the affair of the Nun of Kent, the disaffection then revealed, and the rank of the persons implicated in it, necessitated further precautions. Any doubt which might have existed on the extent and character of the conspiracy is removed for ever by the Spanish Ambassador's letters. The Pope was threatening to absolve English subjects from their allegiance: how far he might be able to influence their minds had as yet to be seen; a Commission, therefore, was appointed to require and receive the oaths of all persons whom there was reason to suspect, that they would maintain the succession as determined in the Act.

The sentence from Rome had not arrived when the Bill became law, and no action was taken upon it till the terms in which Clement had spoken were specifically known. Catherine, however, seemed to think that the further she could provoke Henry to harsh measures, the nearer would be her own deliverance. She had always persuaded herself that judgment once given at Rome for her, the King would yield. The Act of Succession was thus specially galling, and with the same violent unwisdom which she had shown from the first, and against the direct advice of Chapuys, she had decided that the time was come for Mary "to show her teeth to the King."[5]

It was not for her to expose her daughter to perils which she professed to believe were threatening the lives of both of them. But Mary obeyed her but too well. While the Succession Bill was before the two Houses, Anne, probably at Henry's instance, went to Hatfield to invite her to receive her as Queen, promising, if she complied, that she should be treated better than she had ever been. Mary's answer was that she knew no Queen but her mother; if the King's mistress, so she designated Anne, would intercede with her father for her she would be grateful. The Lady, Chapuys heard, had said in a rage that she would put down that proud Spanish blood and do her worst with her. Nor was this all. The determined girl refused to be included in Elizabeth's household, or pay her the respect attaching to her birth. Elizabeth soon after being removed from Hatfield to the More, Mary declined to go with her, and obliged the gentlemen in attendance to place her by force in Mrs. Shelton's litter. The Ambassador felt the folly of such ineffectual resistance. Never, he said, would he have advised her to run such a risk of exasperating the King, while the Lady Anne was never ceasing day or night to injure her. His own advice had been that when violence was threatened she should yield; but he had been overruled by Catherine.[6]

Chapuys's intercourse with the Court was now restricted. He was received when he applied for a formal interview; but for his information on what was passing there, he was left to secret friends or to his diplomatic colleagues. He asked the French Ambassador how the King took the Pope's sentence. The ambassador said the King did not care in the least, which Chapuys was unable to believe. The action of the Parliament alarmed and shocked him. Among the hardest blows was the taking from the Bishops the powers of punishing heretics—a violation, as it appeared to him, of common right and the constitution of the realm. The sharp treatment of Bishop Nixe he regarded as an outrage and a crime. The Easter preachers were ordered to denounce the Pope in their sermons. Chapuys shuddered at their language. "They surpassed themselves in the abominations which they uttered." Worse than sermons followed. On the arrival of the "sentence," the Commission began its work in requiring the oath to the Succession Act. Those whose names had been compromised in the revelation of the Nun were naturally the first to be put to the test. Fisher, who had been found guilty of misprision of treason, had so far been left unpunished. It is uncertain whether the Government was aware of his communications with Chapuys, but enough was known to justify suspicion. The oath was offered him. He refused to take it, and he was committed to the Tower in earnest. He had been sentenced to imprisonment before, but had been so far left at liberty. Sir Thomas More might have been let alone, for there was no fear that he would lend himself to active treason. He, too, however, was required to swear, and declined, and followed Fisher to the same place. The Pope had declared war against the King, and his adherents had become the King's enemies. Chapuys himself was suspected. His encouragement of disaffection could not have been wholly concealed. He believed that his despatches had been opened in Calais, and that Cromwell had read them. There had been a Scotch war. As the Emperor was disinclined to stir, Chapuys had looked on James as a possibly useful instrument in disturbing Henry's peace. A Scottish Commission was in London to arrange a treaty, "as they had found England too strong for them alone." The Ambassador, more eager than ever, tried his best to dissuade the Chief Commissioner from agreeing to terms, pointing out the condition of the kingdom and the advantage to Scotland in joining in an attack on the King. The Scotchman listened, and promised to be secret. Chapuys assured him of the Emperor's gratitude,[7] and, though the treaty was concluded, he consoled the Ambassador by saying "that the peace would not prevent his master from waging war on the English. Pleas in plenty could easily be found."[8]

Ireland was a yet more promising field of operations. On the first rumour of the divorce the Earl of Desmond had offered his services to the Emperor. Chapuys discovered a more promising champion of the Church in Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, whom he described as "a youth of high promise." If the Pope would send the censures to Dublin, he undertook that Lord Thomas would publish them, and would be found a useful friend.

Again, in spite of refusal, he urged the Emperor to take action himself. Harm, he said, would befall the Queen and Princess, if there was longer delay; Mrs. Shelton had told Mary that she would lose her head if she persisted in disobedience; the people loved them well, but were afraid to move without support. The Lutherans were increasing, and would soon be dangerously strong. The present was the time to act. The King thought he could hold the recusants down by obliging them to swear to his statute; but if the chance was allowed, they would show their real minds.[9]

One difficulty remained in the way of action. The Pope, though he had given judgment, had not yet called in the secular arm which was supposed to be necessary as a preliminary, and all parties, save Catherine and her passionate advisers, were unwilling that a step should be taken from which there would be no returning. The Emperor did not wish it. Francis, irritated at the refusal to listen to Du Bellay, told the Pope that he was throwing England away. "The Pope," wrote the Cardinal of Jaen to Secretary Covos, "is restive. If we push him too hard he may go over to the enemy."[10] Charles ordered Cifuentes to keep strictly to his instructions. The evident hesitation amused and encouraged the English Cabinet. "Which Pope do you mean?" said the Duke of Norfolk to the Scotch Ambassador, who had spoken of Clement as an arbiter on some point in dispute, "the Pope of Rome or the Pope of Lambeth?" Henry, finding Francis had not wholly deserted him, "praised God" at a public dinner for having given him so good a brother in the King of France.

Under these circumstances, the Catholic party in England were alarmed and perplexed. Catherine had been undeceived at last in her expectation that the King would submit when the Pope had spoken. She informed Chapuys that she now saw it was necessary to use stronger remedies. What these remedies should be Chapuys said she dared not write, lest her letters should be intercepted. She was aware, too, that the Emperor knew best what should be done. Something must be tried, however, and speedily; for the King was acting vigorously, and to wait would be to be lost. A startling difference of opinion also was beginning to show itself even among the Queen's friends. Some might turn round, Chapuys said, as they feared the Emperor, in helping her, would set up again the Pope's authority, which they called tyrannical. It was the alarm at this which enabled the King to hold his subjects together.[11]

Though Mary had "shown her teeth" at her mother's bidding, she had not provoked her father to further severities. He asked Mrs. Shelton if her pride was subdued. Mrs. Shelton saying there were no signs of it, he ordered that she should be more kindly treated; and he sent her a message that, if she was obedient, he would find some royal marriage for her. She answered that God had not so blinded her that she should confess that her father and mother had lived in adultery. The words, perhaps, lost nothing in the repeating; but the King said, and said rightly, that it was her mother's influence. Catherine had persuaded her that his kindness was treachery, and that there was a purpose to poison her.[12]

A serious question, however, had risen about the Statute of Succession. The oath had been universally taken by everyone to whom it had been offered save More and Fisher. The reason for demanding it was the notorious intention of the Catholic party to take arms in Catherine's and Mary's interests. Were others to be sworn, and were the two ladies chiefly concerned to be exempted? Catherine, in ceasing to be queen, might be held to have recovered her rights as a foreigner. But she had remained in England by her own wish, and at the desire of the Emperor, to assist in fighting out the battle. Mary was undoubtedly a subject, and Catherine and she had both intimated that if the oath was demanded of them they would not take it. The Peers and Bishops were called together to consider the matter, and, as Catherine was a Spanish Princess, Chapuys was invited to attend.

The council-room was thronged. The Ambassador was introduced, and a copy of the statute was placed before him. He was informed that English subjects generally had voluntarily sworn to obey it. Two ladies only. Madam Catherine and Madam Mary, had declined, and the pains and penalties were pointed out to him which they might incur if they persisted.

Chapuys had been refused an opportunity of speaking his opinion in Parliament. It was now spontaneously offered him. He might, if he had pleased, have denounced the hardship of compelling the Queen and her daughter to assent personally to a statute which took their rights from them. The preamble declared the King's marriage with Catherine to have been invalid, and in swearing to the Act of Succession she would be abandoning her entire plea. There was no intention, however, of forcing the oath upon the mother. Mary was the person aimed at; and Mary might have been spared also, if she had not "shewn her teeth" so plainly. Chapuys, however, spoke out boldly on the whole question. The King, he said, could not deprive the Princess of her place as heir to the crown, nor was the English Parliament competent to decide as to the validity of a marriage. The preamble of the statute was a lie. He would have proved it had he been permitted to speak there. People had sworn because they were afraid, and did not wish to be martyrs; and the oath being imposed by force, they knew that it could be no more binding than the oaths which he had lately taken to the Pope had bound the Archbishop of Canterbury. For a general answer, he produced the Pope's sentence. The obstinacy which they complained of, he said, was in them, and not in the ladies. He could not persuade the ladies to swear; if he could, he would not, unless under orders from the Emperor; and he warned the Council that if they tried further violence they must be prepared to find the Emperor and Ferdinand their open enemies; the Emperor regarded the Queen as his mother, and the Princess as his sister; and, though he allowed that he was speaking without instructions, he intimated distinctly that the Emperor would not fail to protect them, and protect the cause of the Church, which had been intertwined with theirs.

Chapuys was bold, bolder perhaps than the Council had expected. The Bishop of Durham rose after a short pause. He had been Catherine's advocate, and, as Chapuys said, was one of the most learned and honest prelates in the realm. But he, too, had come to see that the cause now at issue was the independence of England. He said that the statute had been well considered. It had been passed for the quiet of the realm, and must be obeyed. On Chapuys rejoining that the quiet of the realm required the King's return to his wife, Tunstall mentioned the promises which had been made at the beginning of the suit, and produced the decretal which the Pope had given at Orvieto, declaring the marriage with Catherine invalid. Chapuys, in his answer, admitted, unconsciously, the justice of the English plea. He said the decretal had been issued when the Pope had just escaped from St. Angelo, and was angry and exasperated against the Emperor. As to other promises, he might or might not have made them. If he said he would give judgment in the King's favour, he might have meant merely such a judgment as would be good for the King; or perhaps he was doing as criminal judges often did—holding out hopes to prisoners to tempt confessions from them. Such practices were legitimate and laudable.

The English argument was that a judge such as Chapuys described was not to be trusted with English suits. Henry himself could not have put the case more effectively. The Bishop of London spoke, and the Archbishop of York, and then Sampson (the Dean of the Chapel Royal), who affirmed bluntly that the Pope had no inherent rights over England. Man had given him his authority, and man might take it from him. Chapuys replied that the King had found it established when he came to the throne, and had himself recognised it in referring his cause to the Pope. Cranmer was present, but took no direct part. He brought out, however, the true issue, by suggesting, through Tunstall, that the Pope had incapacitated himself by submitting to be controlled by the Emperor. This was the point of the matter. To allow an English suit to be decided by Charles V. was to make England a vassal state of the Empire. To this Chapuys had no valid answer, for none could be given; and he discreetly turned the argument by reflecting on the unfitness of Cranmer also.

So far the laymen on the Council had left the discussion to the Bishops, and the Ambassador thought that he had the best of it. The Duke of Norfolk, he imagined, thought so too; for the Duke rose after the taunts at the Archbishop. The King's second marriage, he said, was a fait accompli, and to argue further over it was loss of time. They had passed their statute, and he, for one, would maintain it to the last drop of his blood. To refuse obedience was high treason; and, the fact being so, the ladies must submit to the law. The King himself could not disobey an Act which concerned the tranquillity of the realm.

Chapuys would not yield. He said their laws were like the laws of Mahomet—laws of the sword—being so far worse, that Mahomet did not make his subjects swear to them. Not with entire honesty—for he knew now that Catherine had consented to the use of force—he added, that they could have small confidence in their own strength if they were afraid of two poor weak women, who had neither means nor will to trouble them.

The Council said that they would report to the King, and so the conversation ended. Chapuys spoke afterwards privately to Cromwell. He renewed his warning that, if violence was used, there would be real danger. Cromwell said he would do his best. But there was a general fear that something harsh would be tried at the instigation of the "accursed Concubine." Probably the question would be submitted to Parliament, or as some thought the Queen and Princess would be sent to the Tower.[13] Conceiving extremities to be close, Chapuys asked the Scotch Ambassador whether, if a mandate came from the Pope against England, the Scots would obey it. Certainly they would obey it, was the answer, though they might pretend to regret the necessity.

Violence such as Chapuys anticipated was not in contemplation. The opinion of Europe would have been outraged, if there had been no more genuine reason for moderation. An appeal was tried on Catherine herself. The Archbishop of York and the Bishop of Durham, both of whom had been her friends, went down to her to explain the nature of the statute and persuade her to obedience. Two accounts remain of the interview—that of the Bishops, and another supplied to Chapuys by the Queen's friends. The Bishops said that she was in great choler and agony, interrupted them with violent speeches, declared that she was the King's lawful wife, that between her and Prince Arthur there had been never more than a formal connection. The Pope had declared for her. The Archbishop of Canterbury was a shadow. The Acts of Parliament did not concern her.[14] Chapuys's story is not very different, though two elderly prelates, once her staunch supporters, could hardly have been as brutal as he describes. After various rough speeches, he said that the Bishops not only referred to the penalties of the statute (they themselves admitted this) but told her that if she persisted she might be put to death. She had answered that if any of them had a warrant to execute her they might do it at once. She begged only that the ceremony should be public, in the face of the people, and that she might not be murdered in her room.[15]

The mission had been rather to advise than to exact, and special demands were rather made on Catherine's side than the King's. Not only she would not swear herself to the statute, but she insisted that her household should be exempted also. She required a confessor, chaplains, physician, men-servants, as many women as the King would allow, and they were to take no oath save to the King and to her. Henry made less difficulty than might have been looked for—less than he would have been entitled to make had he known to what purpose these attendants would be used. The oath was for his native subjects; it was not exacted from herself, or by implication from her confessor, who was a Spaniard, or from her foreign servants.[16] If she would be reasonable he said that some of her requests might be granted. She might order her household as she pleased, if they would swear fidelity to him, and to herself as Princess Dowager. But he could not allow them to be sworn to her as Queen.

Chapuys's business was to make the worst of the story to the Emperor. The Court was at Richmond. Chapuys went thither, presented a complaint to the Council, and demanded an interview with the King. Henry would not see him, but sent him a message that he would inquire into what had passed, and would send him an answer. Chapuys, who had been for two years urging war in vain, exaggerated the new injuries. Others, and perhaps he himself, really believed the Queen's life to be in danger. "Every one," he wrote, after describing what had taken place, "fears that mischief will now befall her; the concubine has said she will never rest till she is put out of the way. It is monstrous and almost incredible, yet such is the King's obstinacy, and the wickedness of this accursed woman, that everything may be apprehended."[17] Anne, it is likely, was really dangerous. The King, so far as can be outwardly traced, was making the best of an unpleasant situation. The Council promised Chapuys that his remonstrances should be attended to. The Queen was left to herself, with no more petty persecutions, to manage her household in her own way. They might swear or not swear as pleased themselves and her; and with passionate loyalty they remained devoted to her service, assisting her in the conduct of a correspondence which every day became more dangerous.

The European sky meanwhile was blackening with coming storms. Francis had not forgotten Pavia, and as little could allow England to be conquered by Charles as Charles could allow France to be bribed by the promise of Calais. His Agents continued busy at Rome keeping a hand on the Pope; a fresh interview was proposed between the French King and Henry, who was to meet him at Calais again in the summer; and an aggressive Anglo-French alliance was a possibility which the Emperor had still to fear. He had small confidence in the representations of Chapuys, and had brought himself to hope that by smooth measures Henry might still be recovered. A joint embassy might be sent to England from himself and the Pope to remonstrate on the schism. If nothing else came of it, their own position would be set right before the world and in the eyes of English opinion. Clement, however, now made difficulties, and had no desire to help Charles out of his embarrassments. Charles had forced a judgment out of him without promising to execute it. Charles might now realise the inconvenience of having driven him on against his own inclination. Cifuentes had again received instructions to delay the issue of the Brief of Execution, or the calling in the secular arm. The Pope felt that he had been made use of and had been cheated, and was naturally resentful. Cifuentes made his proposal. Clement, "with the placid manner which he generally showed when a subject was disagreeable to him,. . . said that the embassy might go if the Emperor wished.... It would not be of the slightest use ...but it might do no harm. He must, of course, however, first consult the King of France." Cifuentes not liking the mention of France, the Pope went on maliciously to say that, if he had not gone to Marseilles, France would certainly have broken with the Church, as England had done, and would have set up a Patriarchate of its own. Indeed he was afraid it might yet come to that. The King of France had told him how he had been pressed to consent, and had made a merit of refusing. Cifuentes could but remark on the singular character of the King of France's religious convictions.[18]

The embassy was not sent to England, and the Pope kept back his invocation of the secular arm till a Prince could be found who would act. No one would be the first to move, and the meeting of the two Kings at Calais was indefinitely postponed. Francis complained of Henry's arbitrary manner, "speaking to me at times as if I were his subject." The explanation given to the world of the abandonment of the interview was that Henry found it inconvenient to leave the realm. A letter of Chapuys explains where the special inconvenience lay. The Lady Anne would be Regent in his absence, and could not be trusted in her present humour. "I have received word from a trustworthy source," he wrote on the 23d of June to the Emperor, "that the concubine has said more than once, and with great assurance, that the moment the King crosses the Channel to the interview, and she is left Regent, she will put the Princess to death by sword or otherwise. Her brother, Lord Rochford, telling her she would offend the King, she answered she cared not if she did. She would do it if she was burnt or flayed alive afterwards. The Princess knows her danger, but it gives her no concern. She puts her trust in God."

Imperfect credit must be given to stories set current by malicious credulity. But the existence of such stories shows the reputation which Anne had earned for herself, and which in part she deserves. Chapuys reiterated his warnings.

"Pardon my importunity," he continued, "but, unless your Majesty looks promptly to it, things will be past remedy. Lutheranism spreads fast, and the King calculates that it will make the people stand by him and will gain the Germans. So long as danger is not feared from without, Parliament will agree to all that he wishes. Were your Majesty even to overlook all that he has done, he would persist in the same way. Good Catholics are of opinion that the readiest way to bridle France and Germany is to begin in England. It can be done with ease. The people only wait for your Majesty to give the signal."[19]

The inaction of the Emperor was incomprehensible to Catherine's friends. To herself it was distracting. She had fed upon the hope that when the Pope had given judgment her trial would be at an end; that the voice of Catholic Europe would compel the King to submit. The Roman lightning had flashed, but the thunderbolt had not fallen. The English laity, long waiting in suspense, had begun to think, as Chapuys feared they would, that the Pope was the shadow, and Cranmer the substance. Cut off from the world, she thought she was forsaken, or that the Emperor's care for her would not carry him to the point of interference. If no voice was raised in her favour in her own Spain, the Spanish Ambassador might at least show that her countrymen had not forgotten her. She sent pressing messages to Chapuys, begging him to visit her; and Chapuys, impatient himself of his master's hesitating policy, resolved to go. He applied for permission to the Council. It was refused. But the Council could not forbid his making a summer pilgrimage to our Lady of Walsingham, and the road lay near Kimbolton. He wrote to Cromwell that, leave or no leave, he was going into Norfolk, and meant to call there. The porters might refuse him entrance if they pleased. He gave him fair notice. It should not be said that he had acted underhand.

It was the middle of July. Making as much display as possible, with a retinue of sixty horse, and accompanied by a party of Spaniards resident in London, the Ambassador rode ostentatiously through the City, and started on the great North Road. Spending a night on the way, he arrived on the second evening within a few miles of Catherine's residence. At this point he was overtaken by two gentlemen of the household, with an intimation that he would not be admitted. He demanded to see their orders, and, the orders not being produced, he said that, being so near the end of his journey, he did not mean to turn back. He would have persisted, but a message came to him from the Queen herself, or from one of her people, to say that she could not receive him; he could proceed to Walsingham if he pleased, but he must not approach within bowshot of the Castle. Some peremptory command must have reached her. A second secret message followed, that, although she had not dared to say so, she was grateful for his visit; and, though he must not come on himself, a party of his suite might show themselves before the gates.

Thus the next morning, under the bright July sky, a picturesque Spanish cavalcade was seen parading under the windows of Kimbolton, "to the great consolation of the ladies of the household, who spoke to them from the battlements; and with astonishment and joy among the peasantry, as if the Messiah had actually come." The Walsingham pilgrimage was abandoned, lest it should be thought to have been the real object of the journey; and Chapuys, with polite irony, sent the King word that he had relinquished it in deference to his Majesty's wishes. He returned to London by another road, to make a wider impression upon the people.

"The Emperor," he said, in relating his expedition, "would now see how matters stood. The Queen might be almost called the King's prisoner. The house," he said, "was well kept and well found, though there were complaints of shortness of provisions. She had five or six servants, and as many ladies-in-waiting, besides the men whom she looked on as her guards."[20]

  1. Chapuys to Charles V., Feb. 21, 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. pp. 53–54.
  2. Haine novercule.
  3. Chapuys to Charles V., Feb. 26, 1534. Abridged.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 59, etc.
  4. Chapuys to Charles V., March 7, 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 73.
  5. Chapuys to Charles V., March 30.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 96.
  6. Chapuys to Charles V., 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 96.
  7. Chapuys to Charles V., April 22, 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol, v. pp. 126, 127.
  8. Ibid. May 14, p. 151.
  9. Chapuys to Charles V., April 14, 1534,—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. pp. 125–31.
  10. Ibid. May 21, 1534, p. 167.
  11. Chapuys to Charles V., May 14, 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. pp. 153, 154.
  12. Chapuys to Charles V., May 14, 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v, pp. 153, 154,
  13. Chapuys to Charles V., May 19, 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. pp. 155–66.
  14. Lee and Tunstall to Henry VIII., May 21, 1534.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vii. p. 270.
  15. Chapuys to Charles V., May 29, 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 169.
  16. Thus much was certainly meant by the King's words: "He could not allow any of his native subjects to refuse to take the oath."—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. vii. p. 272.
  17. Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 172.
  18. Cifuentes to Charles V., June 6, 1534,—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. pp. 174 et seq.
  19. Chapuys to Charles V., June 23, 1534. Abridged.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. pp. 198–99.
  20. Chapuys to Charles V., July 27, 1534.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. pp. 219–20.