The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon/Chapter 19

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CHAPTER XIX.


Campaign of the Emperor in Africa—Uncertainties at Rome—Policy of Francis—English preparations for war—Fresh appeals to the Emperor—Delay in the issue of the censures—The Princess Mary—Letter of Catherine to the Pope—Disaffection of the English Catholics—Libels against Henry, Cromwell, and Chapuys—Lord Thomas Fitzgerald—Dangerous position of Henry—Death of the Duke of Milan—Effect on European policy—Intended Bull of Paul III.—Indecision of Charles—Prospect of war with France—Advice of Charles to Catherine—Distrust of the Emperor at the Papal Court—Warlike resolution of the Pope restrained by the Cardinals.


Cifuentes had been misinformed when he feared that Francis was again about to interpose in Henry's behalf at Rome. The conference at Calais had broken up without definite results. The policy of France was to draw Henry off from his treaty with the Emperor; Henry preferred to play the two great Catholic Powers one against the other, and commit himself to neither; and Francis, knowing the indignation which Fisher's execution would produce at Rome, was turning his thoughts on other means of accomplishing his purpose. The Emperor's African campaign was splendidly successful—too successful to be satisfactory at the Vatican. The Pope, as the head of Christendom, was bound to express pleasure at the defeat of the Infidels, but he feared that Charles, victorious by land and sea, might give him trouble in his own dominions.[1] A settled purpose, however, remained to punish the English King, and Henry had need to be careful. The French faction in the Council wished him to proceed at once to extremities with the Princess, which would effectually end the hopes of an Imperial alliance. Anne Boleyn was continually telling the King that the Queen and Princess were his greatest danger. "They deserved death more than those who had been lately executed, since they were the cause of all the mischief."[2] Chapuys found himself no longer able to communicate with Mary, from the increased precaution in guarding her. It was alleged that there was a fear of her being carried off by the French.

The Imperial party at Rome, not knowing what to do or to advise, drew a curious memorandum for Charles's consideration. The Emperor, they said, had been informed when the divorce case was being tried at Rome, that England was a fief of the Church of Rome, and as the King had defied the Apostolic See, he deserved to be deprived of his crown. The Emperor had not approved of a step so severe. But the King had now beheaded the Bishop of Rochester, whom the Pope had made a cardinal. On the news of the execution the Pope and Cardinals had moved that he should be deprived at once and without more delay for this and for his other crimes. Against taking such action was the danger to the Queen of which they were greatly afraid, and also the sense that if, after sentence, the crown of England devolved on the Holy See, injury might be done to the prospects of the Princess. It might be contrived that the Pope in depriving the King might assign the crown to his daughter, or the Pope in consistory might declare secretly that they were acting in favour of the Princess and without prejudice to her claim. To this, however, there was the objection that the King might hear of it through some of the Cardinals. Something at any rate had to be done. All courses were dangerous. The Emperor was requested to decide.[3]

A new ingredient was now to be thrown into the political cauldron. So far from wishing to reconcile England with the Papacy, the Pope informed Cifuentes that Francis was now ready and willing to help the Apostolic See in the execution of the sentence against the King of England. Francis thought that the Emperor ought to begin, since the affair was his personal concern; but when the first step was taken Francis himself would be at the Pope's disposition. The meaning of this, in the opinion of Cifuentes, was merely to entangle the Emperor in a war with England, and so to leave him. The Pope himself thought so too. Francis had been heard to say that when the Emperor had opened the campaign he would come next and do what was most for his own interest. The Pope, however, said, as Clement had said before him, that, if Charles and Francis would only act together against England, the "execution" could be managed satisfactorily. Cifuentes replied that he had no commission to enter into that question. He reported what had passed to his master, and said that he would be in no haste to urge the Pope to further measures.[4]

Henry had expected nothing better from France. He had dared the Pope to do his worst. He stood alone, with no protection save in the jealousy of the rival Powers, and had nothing to trust to save his own ability to defend his country and his crown. His chief anxiety was for the security of the sea. A successful stoppage of trade would, as Cromwell admitted, lead to confusion and insurrection. Ship after ship was built and launched in the Thames. The busy note of preparation rang over the realm. The clergy, Lord Darcy had said, were to furnish money for the rising. The King was taking precautions to shorten their resources, and turn their revenues to the protection of the realm. Cromwell's visitors were out over England examining into the condition of the religious houses, exposing their abuses and sequestrating their estates. These dishonoured institutions had been found to be "very stews of unnatural crime" through the length and breadth of England. Their means of mischief were taken away from such worthless and treacherous communities. Crown officials were left in charge, and their final fate was reserved for Parliament.

Henry, meanwhile, confident in his subjects, and taking lightly the dangers which threatened him, went on progress along the Welsh borders, hunting, visiting, showing himself everywhere, and received with apparent enthusiasm. The behaviour of the people perplexed Chapuys. "I am told," he wrote, "that in the districts where he has been, a good part of the peasantry, after hearing the Court preachers, are abused into the belief that he was inspired by God to separate himself from his brother's wife. They are but idiots. They will return soon enough to the truth when there are any signs of change." They would not return, nor were they the fools he thought them. The clergy, Chapuys himself confessed it, had made themselves detested by the English commons for their loose lives and the tyranny of the ecclesiastical courts. The monasteries, too many of them, were nests of infamy and fraud, and the King whom the Catholic world called Antichrist appeared as a deliverer from an odious despotism.

At Rome there was still uncertainty. The Imperial memorandum explains the cause of the hesitation. The Emperor was engaged in Africa, and could decide nothing till his return. The great Powers were divided on the partition of the bear's skin, while the bear was still unstricken. Why, asked the impatient English Catholics, did not the Pope strike and make an end of him when even Francis, who had so long stayed his hand, was now urging him to proceed? Francis was probably as insincere as Cifuentes believed him to be. But the mere hope of help from such a quarter gave fresh life to the wearied Catherine and her agents.

"The Pope," wrote Dr. Ortiz to the Emperor, "has committed the deprivation of the King of England and the adjudication of the realm to the Apostolic See as a fief of the Church to Cardinals Campeggio, Simoneta, and Cesis. The delay in granting the executorials in the principal cause is wonderful. Although the deposition of the King was spoken of so hotly in the Consistory, and they wrote about it to all the Princes, they will only proceed with delay and with a monition to the King to be intimated in neighbouring countries. This is needless. His heresy, schism, and other crimes are notorious. He may be deprived without the delay of a monition. If it is pressed, it is to be feared it will be on the side of France. It is a wonderful revenge which the King of France has taken on the King of England, to favour him until he has fallen into schism and heresy, and then to forsake him in it, to delude him as far as the gallows, and to leave him to hang. The blood of the saints whom that King- has martyred calls to God for justice."[5]

Catherine, sick with hope deferred and tired of the Emperor's hesitation, was catching at the new straw which was floating by her. Ortiz must have kept her informed of the French overtures at the Vatican. She prayed the Regent Mary to use her influence with the French Queen. Now was the time for Francis to show himself a true friend of his brother of England, and assist in delivering him from a state of sin.[6]

Strange rumours were current in France and in England to explain the delay of the censures. The Pope had confessed himself alarmed at the completeness of Charles's success at Tunis. It was thought that the Emperor, fresh from his victories, might act on the advice of men like Lope de Soria, take his Holiness himself in hand and abolish the Temporal Power; that the Pope knew it, and therefore feared to make matters worse by provoking England further.[7]

Pope and Princes might watch each other in distrust at a safe distance; but to the English conspirators the long pause was life or death. Delays are usually fatal with intended rebellion. The only safety is in immediate action. Enthusiasm cools, and secrets are betrayed. Fisher's fate was a fresh spur to them to move, but it also proved that the Government knew too much and did not mean to flinch.

Chapuys tried Granvelle again. "Every man of position here," he said, "is in despair at the Pope's inaction. If something is not done promptly there will be no hope for the ladies, or for religion either, which is going daily to destruction. Things are come to such a pass that at some places men even preach against the Sacrament. The Emperor is bound to interfere. What he has done in Africa he can do in England with far more ease and with incomparably more political advantage."[8]

Granvelle could but answer that Henry was a monster, and that God would undoubtedly punish him; but that for himself he was so busy that he could scarcely breathe, and that the Emperor continued to hope for some peaceful arrangement.

Cifuentes meanwhile kept his hand on Paul. His task was difficult, for his orders were to prevent the issue of the executorials for fear France should act upon them, while Catholic Christendom would be shaken to its base if it became known that it was the Emperor who was preventing the Holy See from avenging itself. Even with the Pope Cifuentes could not be candid, and Ortiz, working on Paul's jealousy and unable to comprehend the obstacle, had persuaded his Holiness to draw up "the brief of execution" and furnish a copy to himself.[9]

"In the matter of the executory letters," Cifuentes wrote to Charles, "I have strictly followed your Majesty's instructions. They have been kept back for a year and a half without the least appearance that the delay proceeded from us, but, on the contrary, as if we were disappointed that they were not drawn when asked for. Besides his Holiness's wish to wait for the result of the offers of France, another circumstance has served your Majesty's purpose. There were certain clauses to which I could not consent, in the draft shown to me, as detrimental to the right of the Queen and Princess and to your Majesty's preëminence.

"Now that all hope has vanished of the return of the King of England to obedience. Dr. Ortiz, not knowing that you wished the execution to be delayed, has taken out the executory letters and almost despatched them while I was absent at Perugia. The letters are ready, nothing being wanted but the Pope's seal. I have detained them for a few days, pretending that I must examine the wording. They will remain in my possession till you inform me of your pleasure."[10]

The issue of the Pope's censures either in the form of a letter of execution or of a Bull of Deposition was to be the signal of the English rising, with or without the Emperor. Darcy and his friends were ready and resolved to begin. But without the Pope's direct sanction the movement would lose its inspiration. The Irish rebellion had collapsed for the want of it. Lord Thomas Fitzgerald had surrendered and was a prisoner in the Tower.

It was not the part of a child, however great her imagined wrongs, deliberately to promote an insurrection against her father. Henry II.'s sons had done it, but times were changed. The Princess Mary was determined to justify such of Henry's Council as had recommended the harshest measures against her. She wrote a letter to Chapuys which, if intercepted, might have made it difficult for the King to save her.

"The condition of things," she said, "is worse than wretched. The realm will fall to ruin unless his Majesty, for the service of God, the welfare of Christendom, the honour of the King my father, and compassion for the afflicted souls in this country, will take pity on us and apply the remedy. This I hope and feel assured that he will do if he is rightly informed of what is taking place. In the midst of his occupations in Africa he will have been unable to realise our condition. The whole truth cannot be conveyed in letters. I would, therefore, have you despatch one of your own people to inform him of everything, and to supplicate him on the part of the Queen my mother, and myself for the honour of God and for other respects to attend to and provide for us. In so acting he will accomplish a service most agreeable to Almighty God. Nor will he win less fame and glory to himself than he has achieved in the conquest of Tunis or in all his African expedition."[11]

Catherine simultaneously addressed herself to the Pope in a letter equally characteristic. The "brief of execution" was the natural close of her process, which, after judgment in her favour, she was entitled to demand. The Pope wished her to apply for it, that it might appear to be granted at her instance and not on his own impulse.

"Most Holy and Blessed Father," she wrote, "I kiss your Holiness's hands. My letters have been filled with complaints and importunities, and have been more calculated to give you pain than pleasure. I have therefore for some time ceased from writing to your Holiness, although my conscience has reproached me for my silence. One only satisfaction I have in thinking of the present state of things: I thank unceasingly our Lord Jesus Christ for having appointed a vicar like your Holiness, of whom so much good is spoken at a time when Christendom is in so great a strait. God in His mercy has preserved you for this hour. Once more, therefore, as an obedient child of the Holy See, I do entreat you to bear this realm in special mind, to remember the King, my lord and husband, and my daughter. Your Holiness knows, and all Christendom knows, what things are done here, what great offence is given to God, what scandal to the world, what reproach is thrown upon your Holiness. If a remedy be not applied shortly there will be no end to ruined souls and martyred saints. The good will be firm and will suffer. The lukewarm will fail if they find none to help them, and the rest will stray out of the way like sheep that have lost their shepherd. I place these facts before your Holiness because I know not any one on whose conscience the deaths of these holy and good men and the perdition of so many souls ought to weigh more heavily than on yours, inasmuch as your Holiness neglects to encounter these evils which the Devil, as we see, has sown among us.

"I write frankly to your Holiness, for the discharge of my own soul, as to one who, I hope, can feel with me and my daughter for the martyrdoms of these admirable persons. I have a mournful pleasure in expecting that we shall follow them in the manner of their torments. And so I end, waiting for the remedy from God and from your Holiness. May it come speedily. If not, the time will be past. Our Lord preserve your Holiness's person."[12]

On the same day and by the same messenger she wrote to Charles, congratulating him on his African victory, and imploring him, now that he was at liberty, to urge the Pope into activity. In other words, she was desiring him to carry fire and sword through England, when if she herself six years before would have allowed the Pope's predecessor to guide her and had retired into "religion," there would have been no divorce, no schism, no martyrs, no dangers of a European convulsion on her account. Catherine, as other persons have done, had allowed herself to be governed by her own wounded pride, and called it conscience.

Chapuys conveyed the Queen's arguments both to Charles and to Granvelle. He again assured them that the Princess and her mother were in real danger of death. If the Emperor continued to hesitate, he said, after his splendid victories in Africa, there would be general despair. The opportunity would be gone, and an enterprise now easy would then be difficult, if not impossible.

Now was the time. The execution of More and Fisher, the suppression of the monasteries, the spoliation of the Church, had filled clerical and aristocratic England with fear and fury. The harvest had failed; and the failure was interpreted as a judgment from Heaven on the King's conduct. So sure Chapuys felt that the Emperor would now move that he sent positive assurances to Catherine that his master would not return to Spain till he had restored her to her rights. Even the Bishop of Tarbes, who was again in London, believed that Henry was lost at last. The whole nation, he said, Peers and commons, and even the King's own servants, were devoted to the Princess and her mother, and would join any prince who would take up their cause. The discontent was universal, partly because the Princess was regarded as the right heir to the crown, partly for fear of war and the ruin of trade. The autumn had been wet: half the corn was still in the fields. Queen Anne was universally execrated, and even the King was losing his love for her. If war was declared, the entire country would rise.[13]

The Pope, it has been seen, had thought of declaring Mary to be Queen in her father's place. Such a step, if ventured, would inevitably be fatal to her. Her friends in England wished to see her married to some foreign prince—if possible, to the Dauphin—that she might be safe and out of the way. The Princess herself, and even the Emperor, were supposed to desire the match with the Dauphin, because in such an alliance the disputes with France might be forgotten, and Charles and the French king might unite to coerce Henry into obedience.

The wildest charges against Henry were now printed and circulated in Germany and the Low Countries. Cromwell complained to Chapuys. "Worse," he said, "could not be said against Jew or Devil." Chapuys replied ironically that he was sorry such things should be published. The Emperor would do his best to stop them, but in the general disorder tongues could not be controlled.

So critical the situation had become in these autumn months that Cromwell, of course with the King's consent, was obliged to take the unusual step of interfering with the election of the Lord Mayor of London, alleging that, with the State in so much peril, it was of the utmost consequence to have a well-disposed man of influence and experience at the head of the City.

"Cromwell came to me this morning," Chapuys wrote to his master on the 13th of October; "he said the King was informed that the Emperor intended to attack him in the Pope's name (he called his Holiness, 'bishop of Rome,' but begged my pardon while he did so,) and that a Legate or Bishop was coming to Flanders to stir the fire. The King could not believe that the Emperor had any such real intention after the friendship which he had shown him, especially when there was no cause. In breaking with the Pope he had done nothing contrary to the law of God, and religion was nowhere better regulated and reformed than it was now in England. The King would send a special embassy to the Emperor, if I thought it would be favourably received. I said I could not advise so great a Prince. I believed that, if the object of such an embassy was one which your Majesty could grant in honour and conscience, it would not only be well received but would be successful. Otherwise, I could neither recommend nor dissuade."[14]

By the same hand which carried this despatch Chapuys forwarded the letters of Catherine and Mary, adding another of his own to Granvelle, in which he said that "if the Emperor wished to give peace and union to Christendom, he must begin in England. It would be easy, for everyone was irritated. The King's treasure would pay for all, and would help, besides, for the enterprise against the Turk. It was time to punish him for his folly and impiety."[15]

Charles seemed to have arrived at the same conclusion. He had already written from Messina, on his return from Tunis, both to Chapuys and to his Ambassador in Paris, that, as long as Henry retained his concubine, persisted in his divorce, and refused to recognise the Princess as his heir, he could not honourably treat with him.[16] The Pope, when Catherine's letter reached him, was fuming with fresh anger at the fate of the Irish rebellion. Lord Thomas, spite of Papal absolution and blessing, was a prisoner in the Tower. He had surrendered to his uncle. Lord Leonard Grey, under some promise of pardon. He had been carried before the King. For a few days he was left at liberty, and might have been forgiven, if he would have made a satisfactory submission; but he calculated that "a new world" was not far off, and that he might hold out in safety. Such a wild cat required stricter keeping. The Tower gates closed on him, and soon after he paid for the Archbishop's life with his own.

Ortiz, when he heard that Fitzgerald was imprisoned, said that the choice lay before him to die a martyr or else to be perverted. God, he hoped, would permit the first. The spirit of one of the murdered Carthusians had appeared to the brotherhood and informed them of the glorious crown which had been bestowed on Fisher.[17]

In this exalted humour Catherine's letter found Paul and the Roman clergy. The Pope had already informed Cifuentes that he meant to proceed to "deprivation." The letters of execution had been so drawn or re-drawn as to involve the forfeiture of Henry's throne,[18] and Ortiz considered that Providence had so ordered it that the Pope was now acting motu proprio and not at the Queen's solicitation. Cifuentes was of opinion, however, that Paid meant to wait for the Queen's demand, that the responsibility might be hers. Chapuys's courier was ordered to deliver Catherine's letter into the Pope's own hands. Cifuentes took the liberty of detaining it till the Emperor's pleasure was known. But no one any longer doubted that the time was come. France and England were no longer united, and the word for action was to be spoken at last.

At no period of his reign had Henry been in greater danger. At home the public mind was unsettled. A large and powerful faction of peers and clergy were prepared for revolt, and abroad he had no longer an ally. England seemed on the eve of a conflict the issue of which no one could foresee. At this moment Providence, or the good luck which had so long befriended him, interposed to save the King and save the Reformation.

Sforza, Duke of Milan and husband of Christina of Denmark, died childless on the 24th of October. Milan was the special subject of difference between France and the Empire. The dispute had been suspended while the Duke was alive. His death reopened the question, and the war long looked for for the Milan succession became inevitable and immediately imminent.

The entire face of things was now changed. Francis had, perhaps, never seriously meant to join in executing the Papal sentence against England; but he had intended to encourage the Emperor to try, that he might fish himself afterwards in the troubled waters, and probably snatch at Calais. He now required Henry for a friend again, and the old difficulties and the old jealousies were revived in the usual form. Both the great Catholic Powers desired the suspension of the censures. The Emperor was again unwilling to act as the Pope's champion while he was uncertain of the French King. Francis wished to recover his position as Henry's defender. The Pope was an Italian prince as well as sovereign of the Church, and his secular interest was thought to be more French than Imperial.

No sooner was Sforza gone than the Cardinal Du Bellay and the Bishop of Mâcon were despatched from Paris to see and talk with Paul. They found him still too absorbed in the English question to attend to anything besides. He was in the high exalted mood of Gregory VII., imagining that he was about to reassert the ancient Papal prerogative, and again dispose of kingdoms.

The Pope, wrote the French Commissioners, having heard that there was famine and plague in England, had made up his mind to act, and was incredibly excited. The sentence was prepared and was to issue unexpectedly like a bolt out of the blue sky. They enclosed a copy of it, and waited for instructions from Francis as to the line which they were to take. To set things straight again would, they said, be almost impossible; but they would do their best to prevent extremities, and to show the King of England that they had endeavoured to serve him. Nothing like the sentence which Paid, had constructed had been ever seen before. Some articles had been inserted to force Francis to choose between the Pope and the King. They were malicious, unjust, and terriblement enormes.[19]

The new Hildebrand, applying to himself the words of Jeremiah, "Behold, I have set thee over nations and kingdoms, that thou mayest root out and destroy," had proceeded to root out Henry. He had cursed him; he cursed his abettors. His body when he died was to lie unburied and his soul lie in hell for ever. His subjects were ordered to renounce their allegiance, and were to fall under interdict if they continued to obey him. No true son of the Church was to hold intercourse or alliance with him or his adherents, under pain of sharing his damnation; and the Princes of Europe and the Peers and commons of England were required, on their allegiance to the Holy See, to expel him from the throne.[20]

This was the "remedy" for which Catherine had been so long entreating, out of affection for her misguided lord, whose soul she wished to save. The love which she professed was a love which her lord could have dispensed with.

The Papal Nuncio reported from Paris the attitude which France intended to assume. He had been speaking with the Admiral Philip de Chabot about England. The Admiral had admitted that the King had doubtless done violent things, and that the Pope had a right to notice them. France did not wish to defend him against the Pope, but, if he was attacked by the Emperor, would certainly take his part. The Nuncio said that he had pointed out that the King of England had God for an enemy; that he was, therefore, going to total ruin; and that the Pope had hoped to find in Francis a champion of the Church. The Admiral said that, of course, England ought to return to the faith: the Pope could deal with him hereafter; but France must take care of her own interests.[21]

Charles, too, was uneasy and undecided. Until the Milan question had been reopened the French had spoken as if they would no longer stand between Henry and retribution, but he was now assured that they would return to their old attitude. They had stood by Henry through the long controversy of the divorce. Even when Fisher was sent to the scaffold they had not broken their connection with him. The King, he knew, was frightened, and would yield, if France was firm; but, unless the Pope had a promise from the French King under his own hand to assist in executing the censures, the Pope would find himself disappointed; and the fear was that Francis would draw the Emperor into a war with England and then leave him to make his own bargain.[22]

Kings whose thrones and lives are threatened cannot afford to be lenient. Surrounded by traitors, uncertain of France, with the danger in which he stood immeasurably increased by the attitude of Catherine and her daughter, the King, so the Marchioness of Exeter reported to Chapuys, had been heard to say that they must bend or break. The anxiety which they were causing was not to be endured any longer. Parliament was about to meet, and their situation would have then to be considered.[23]

The Marchioness entreated him to let the Emperor know of this, and tell him that, if he waited longer, he would be too late to save them. Chapuys took care that these alarming news should lose nothing in the relating. Again, after a fortnight. Lady Exeter came to him, disguised, to renew the warning. The "she-devil of a Concubine," she said, was thinking of nothing save of how to get the ladies despatched. The Concubine ruled the Council, and the King was afraid to contradict her. The fear was, as Chapuys said, that he would make the Parliament a joint party with him in his cruelties, and that, losing hope of pardon from the Emperor, they would be more determined to defend themselves.[24]

The danger, if danger there was, to Catherine and Mary, was Chapuys's own creation. It was he who had encouraged them in defying the King, that they might form a visible rallying-point to the rebellion. Charles was more rational than the Ambassador, and less credulous of Henry's wickedness. "I cannot believe what you tell me," he replied to his Ambassador's frightful story. "The King cannot be so unnatural as to put to death his own wife and daughter. The threats you speak of can only be designed to terrify them. They must not give way, if it can be avoided; but, if they are really in danger, and there is no alternative, you may tell them from me that they must yield. A submission so made cannot prejudice their rights. They can protest that they are acting under compulsion, in fear for their lives. I will take care that their protestation is duly ratified by their proctors at Rome."[25] Chapuys was a politician, and obeyed his orders. But that either Catherine or her daughter should give way was the last wish either of him or of Ortiz, or any of the fanatical enthusiasts. Martyrs were the seed of the Church. If Mary abandoned her claim to the succession, her name could no longer be used as a battle-cry. The object was a revolution which would shake Henry from his throne. On the scaffold, as a victim to her fidelity to her mother and to the Holy See, she would give an impulse to the insurrection which nothing could resist.

The croaks of the raven were each day louder. Lady Exeter declared that the King had said that the Princess should be an example that no one should disobey the law. There was a prophecy of him that at the beginning of his reign he would be gentle as a lamb, and at the end worse than a lion. That prophecy he meant to fulfil.[26]

Ortiz, who had his information from Catherine herself, said that she was preparing to die as the Bishop of Rochester and the others had died. She regretted only that her life had not been as holy as theirs. The "kichen-wench"—as Ortiz named Anne—had often said of the Princess that either Mary would be her death or she would be Mary's, and that she would take care that Mary did not laugh at her after she, was gone.[27]

Stories flying at such a time were half of them the creation of rage and panic, imperfectly believed by those who related them, and reported to feed a fire which it was so hard to kindle; but they show the spirit of which the air was full. At Rome there was still distrust. Francis had shown the copy of the intended sentence to the different Ambassadors at Paris. He had said that the Pope was claiming a position for the Apostolic See which could not be allowed, and must be careful what he did.[28] Paul agreed with the Emperor that, before the sentence was delivered, pledges to assist must be exacted from Francis, but had thought that he might calculate with sufficient certainty on the hereditary enmity between France and England. Cifuentes told him that he must judge of the future by the past. The French were hankering after Italy, and other things were nothing in comparison. The Pope hinted that the Emperor was said to be treating privately with Henry. Cifuentes could give a flat denial to this, for the treaty had been dropped. If the Emperor, however, resolved to undertake the execution Francis was not to be allowed to hear of it, as he would use the knowledge to set Henry on his guard.[29]

Chapuys was a master of the art of conveying false impressions while speaking literal truth.

Francis, who, in spite of Cifuentes, learnt what was being projected at Rome, warned Henry that the Emperor was about to invade England. He even said that the Emperor had promised that, if he would not interfere, the English crown might be secured to a French prince by a marriage with Mary. Cromwell questioned Chapuys on such "strange news." Lying cost Chapuys nothing. The story was true, but he replied that it was wild nonsense. Not only had the Emperor never said such a thing, but he had never even thought of anything to the King's prejudice, and had always been solicitous for the honour and tranquillity of England. The Emperor wished to increase, not diminish, the power of the King, and even for the sake of the Queen and Princess he would not wish the King to be expelled, knowing the love they bore him. Cromwell said he had always told the King that the Emperor would attempt nothing against him unless he was forced. Chapuys agreed: so far, he said, from promoting hostilities against the King, the Emperor, ever since the sentence on the divorce, had held back the execution, and, if further measures were taken, they would be taken by the Pope and Cardinals, not by the Emperor.[30]

In this last intimation Chapuys was more correct than he was perhaps aware of.

The Pope, sick of the irresolutions and mutual animosities of the great Catholic Powers, had determined to act for himself. Catherine's friends had his ear. They at all events knew their own minds. On the 10th of December he called a consistory, said that he had suffered enough in the English cause, and would bear it no more. He required the opinions of the Cardinals on the issue of the executorial brief. The scene is described by Du Bellay, who was one of them, and was present. The Cardinals, who had been debating and disagreeing for seven years, were still in favour of further delays. They all felt that a brief or bull deposing the King was a step from which there would be no retreat. The Great Powers, they were well aware, would resent the Pope's assumption of an authority so arrogant. All but one of them said that before the executory letters were published a monition must first be sent to the King. The language of the letters, besides, was too comprehensive. The King's subjects and the King's allies were included in the censures, and, not being in fault, ought not to suffer. Voices, too, were heard to say that kings were privileged persons, and ought not to be treated with disrespect.

The Pope, before dissatisfied with their objections, now in high anger at the last suggestion, declared that he would spare neither emperors, nor kings, nor princes. God had placed him over them all; the Papal authority was not diminished—it was greater than ever, and would be greater still when there was a pope who dared to act without faction or cowardice. He reproached the Cardinals with embroiling a clear matter. The brief, he maintained, was a good brief, faulty perhaps in style, but right in substance, and approved it was to be, and at once.

It hit all round—hit the English people who continued loyal to their sovereign, hit the Continental Powers who had treaties with Henry which they had not broken. The Cardinals thought the Pope would spoil everything. Campeggio said such a Bull touched the French King, and must not appear. The Archbishop of Capua went with the Pope: "Issue at once," he said, "or the King will be sending protests, as he did in Clement's time." The Pope spoke in great anger, but to no purpose. The majority of the Cardinals was against him, and the Bull was allowed to sleep till a more favourable time. "It is long," said Du Bellay, "since there has been a Pope less loved by the College, the Romans, and the world."[31]

  1. Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 532.
  2. Chapuys to Charles V., July 25, 1535.—Ibid. vol. v. p. 518.
  3. Memorandum on the Affairs of England.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 522.
  4. Ibid. p. 535.
  5. Ortiz to the Empress, Sept. 1, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. p. 84.
  6. "Cuando se viese con la Señora Reyna su hermana despues de dadas mis afectuosas encomiendas rogarle de mi parte quisiese tener mencion de my con el Christianisimo Rey su marido y hacer quanto pudiese ser, que el sea buen amigo al Rey mi Señor procurando de quitarle del pecado, en que esta." Catherine to the Regent Mary, Aug. 8, 1535.—MS. Vienna.
  7. Chapuys to Charles V., Sept. 25, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. pp. 140–141.
  8. Chapuys to Granvelle, Sept. 25, 1535.—Vienna MS.; Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. p. 141.
  9. The executory brief was not identical with the Bull of Deposition. The first was the final act of Catherine's process, a declaration that Henry, having disobeyed the sentence on the divorce delivered by Clement VII., was excommunicated, and an invitation to the Catholic Powers to execute the judgment by force. The second involved a claim for the Holy See on England as a fief of the Church—an intimation that the King of England had forfeited his crown and that his subjects' allegiance had reverted to their Supreme Lord. The Pope and Consistory preferred the complete judgment, as more satisfactory to themselves. The Catholic Powers objected to it for the same reason. The practical effect would be the same.
  10. Cifuentes to Charles V., Oct. 8, 1535.—Spanish Calendar, vol. v. p. 547.
  11. "Et luy supplier de la part de la Reyne, ma mère, et myenne en l'honneur de Dieu et pour aultres respects que dessus vouloit entendre et pourvoyr aux affaires dyey. En quoy fera tres agréable service a Dieu, et n'en acquerra moins de gloire qu'en la conqueste de Tunis et de toute l'affaire d'Afrique." De la Princesse de l'Angleterre à l'Ambassadeur, October, 1535.—MS. Vienna; Spanish Calendar, vol, v. p. 559.
  12. Queen Catherine to the Pope, October 10, 1535.—MS. Vienna.
  13. The Bishop of Tarbes to the Bailly of Troyes, October, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. p. 187.
  14. Chapuys to Charles V., October 13, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. p. 196.
  15. Chapuys to Granvelle, October 13, 1535.—Ibid. p. 199.
  16. Ibid. pp. 225, 228.
  17. Spanish Calendar, October 24, 1535, vol. v. p. 559.
  18. Ortiz to the Emperor, November 4, 1535.—Ibid. vol. v. p. 565.
  19. Du Bellay and the Bishop of Mâcon to Francis I., November 12, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. p. 273.
  20. Froude's History of England, vol. ii. p. 386.
  21. Bishop of Faenza to M. Ambrogio, November 15, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. p. 276.
  22. Charles V. to Cifuentes, November, 1535.—Ibid. vol. ix. p. 277.
  23. "Tout a cest instant la Marquise de Exeter m'a envoyé dire que le Roy a dernierement dit á ses plus privés conseillers qu'il ne voulloit plus demeurer en les fascheuses crainctes et grevements qu'il avoit de long temps eus á cause des Royne et Princesse; et qu'il y regardassent á ce prochain Parlement l'en faire quicte, jurant bien et tres obstinement qu'il n'actendoit plus longuement de y pourvoir." Chapuys to Charles V., Nov. 6, 1535.—MS. Vienna.
  24. "Afin que par ce moyen, perdant l'espoir de la clemence et misericorde de Vostre Majeste toute-fois fussent plus determinez a se defendre." Chapuys á l'Empereur.—MS. Vienna, Nov. 23.
  25. The Emperor to Chapuys.—MS. Vienna.
  26. Chapuys to Granvelle, Nov. 21, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. p. 290.
  27. Ortiz to the Empress, Nov. 22, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. pp. 293–4.
  28. Bishop of Faenza to M. Ambrogio, Dec. 9.—Ibid. vol. ix. p. 317.
  29. Cifuentes to Charles V., Nov. 30, 1535.—Ibid. vol. ix. p. 303.
  30. Chapuys to Charles V., Dec. 18, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. p. 333.
  31. Cardinal du Bellay to the Cardinals of Lorraine and Tournon, Dec. 22, 1535.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. ix. pp, 341–43.