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Alarm Of Catherine And The Growth Of Lutheranism

Absolution Of Lord Thomas Fitzgerald For The Murder Of The Archbishop Of Dublin

Anger Of Anne Boleyn And The Duke Of Norfolk

Anne Boleyn Chosen By Henry To Succeed Catherine

Unpopularity Of Anne Boleyn And Removal Of Catherine From The Court

The Divorce

The Court At Blackfriars

Warlike Resolution Of The Pope Restrained By The Cardinals

Danger Of Challenging The Papal Dispensing Power

Illness Of The Pope



Least Viewed

Expectation That Henry Would Return To The Roman Communion

Intended Escape Of The Princess Mary Out Of England

Anne Sentenced To Die

Illness Of The Princess Mary

Competition For Henry's Hand

The Pope's Authority Abolished In England

Likelihood Of A Separation Of The King From Anne

Illness Of Queen Catherine

Coronation Of Anne Boleyn

Henry Advised To Marry Without Waiting For Sentence






Alarm Of Catherine And The Growth Of Lutheranism








On the collapse of the commission it was at once announced that the King
would summon a Parliament. For many years Wolsey had governed England as
he pleased. The King was now to take the reins in his own hands. The
long-suffering laity were to make their voices heard, and the great
Cardinal understood too well that he was to be called to account for his
stewardship. The Queen, who could think of nothing but her own wrongs,
conceived that the object must be some fresh violence to herself. She had
requested the Pope to issue a minatory brief forbidding Parliament to
meddle with her. She had mistaken the purpose of its meeting, and she had
mistaken the King's character. Important as the divorce question might be,
a great nation had other things to think of which had waited too long. It
had originated in an ambitious scheme of Wolsey to alter the balance of
power in Europe, and to form a new combination which the English generally
disliked. Had his policy been successful he would have been continued in
office, with various consequences which might or might not have been of
advantage to the country. But he had failed miserably. He had drawn the
King into a quarrel with his hereditary ally. He had entangled him, by
ungrounded assurances, in a network of embarrassments, which had been made
worse by the premature and indecent advancement of the Queen's intended
successor. For this the Cardinal was not responsible. It was the King's
own doing, and he had bitterly to pay for it. But Wolsey had misled his
master into believing that there would be no difficulty. In the last
critical moment he had not stood by him as the King had a right to expect;
and, in the result, Henry found himself summoned to appear as a party
before the Pope, the Pope himself being openly and confessedly a creature
in the hands of the Emperor. No English sovereign had ever before been
placed in a situation so degrading.

Parliament was to meet for other objects--objects which could not be
attained while Wolsey was in power and were themselves of incalculable
consequence. But Anne Boleyn was an embarrassment, and Henry did for the
moment hesitate whether it might not be better to abandon her. He had no
desire to break the unity of Christendom or to disturb the peace of his
own kingdom for the sake of a pretty woman. The Duke of Norfolk, though he
was Anne's uncle, if he did not oppose her intended elevation, did nothing
to encourage it. Her father, Lord Wiltshire, had been against it from the
first. The Peers and the people would be the sufferers from a disputed
succession, but they seemed willing to encounter the risk, or at least
they showed no eagerness for the King's marriage with this particular
person. If Reginald Pole is to be believed, the King did once inform the
Council that he would go no further with it. The Emperor, to make retreat
easy to him, had allowed nothing to be said on the subject at Cambray, and
had instructed the Pope to hold his hand and make no further movement. He
sent a new Ambassador to England, on a mission of doulceur et amytie.
Eustace Chapuys, the Minister whom he selected, was not perhaps the best
selection which he could have made, and Lord Paget, who knew him well, has
left an account of him not very favourable. "For Chapuys," he said, "I
never took him for a wise man, but for one that used to speak cum summa
licentia whatsoever came in buccam, without respect of honesty or
truth, so it might serve his turn, and of that fashion it is small mastery
to be a wise man. He is a great practicer, with which honest term we cover
tale-telling, lying, dissimuling, and flattering." Chapuys being the
authority for many of the scandals about Henry, this description of him by
a competent observer may be borne in remembrance; but there can be no
question that Charles sent him to England on an embassy of peace, and one
diplomatist is not always perhaps the fairest judge of another of the same
trade. The King's hesitation, if he ever did hesitate, was not of long
duration. He had been treated like a child, tricked, played with, trifled
with, and he was a dangerous person to deal with in so light a fashion.
Chapuys reached London in the beginning of September. On landing he found
the citation to Rome had not been officially notified to the King, as a
morsel too big for him to swallow. The King received him politely,
invited him to dine in the palace, and allowed him afterwards to be
introduced to Catherine, who was still residing at the court. Three days
after he had a long interview with Henry. His commission, he said, was to
smooth all differences between the King and his master. The King responded
with equal graciousness, but turned the conversation upon those
differences themselves. The Emperor, he said, had not used him well. The
advocation to Rome was absurd. He had written himself to the Pope with his
own hand, telling him it was not only expedient but absolutely necessary
that the cause should be tried in England. The Roman territories were
still in the occupation of the Imperial troops. The Pope had committed it
to two of his Cardinals, had solemnly promised that it should not be
revoked, and that he would confirm any sentence which the Legates should
pronounce. These engagements the Emperor had obliged the Pope to break. He
himself had not proceeded upon light grounds. He was a conscientious
prince, he said, who preferred his own salvation to all worldly
advantages, as appeared sufficiently from his conduct in the affair. Had
he been differently situated and not attentive to his conscience, he might
have adopted other measures, which he had not taken and never would
take. Chapuys attempted to defend Clement. "Enough of that pope,"
Henry sharply interrupted. "This is not the first time that he has changed
his mind. I have long known his versatile and fickle nature." The
Pope, he went on, "would never dare pronounce sentence, unless it favoured
the Emperor."

Catherine was eagerly communicative. Chapuys learned from her that the
King had offered that the case should be heard at Cambray--which she had,
of course, refused. She was much alarmed about the Parliament, "the King
having played his cards so well that he would have a majority of votes in
his favour." It was quite certain that he meant to persevere. She
professed outwardly that she was personally attached to the King; yet she
desired Chapuys expressly to caution the Emperor against believing that
his conduct had anything to do with conscience. The idea of separation,
she said, had originated entirely in his own iniquity and malice, and when
the treaty of Cambray was completed, he had announced it to her with the
words: "My peace with the Emperor is made: it will last as long as you
choose."

Chapuys had been charged to ascertain the feeling of the English people.
He found them generally well affected to the Queen. But the Lutheran
heresy was creeping in. The Duke of Suffolk had spoken bitterly of Papal
legates, and Chapuys believed if they had nothing to fear but the Pope's
malediction, there were great numbers who would follow the Duke's advice
and make Popes of the King and Bishops, all to have the divorce case tried
in England. The Queen was afraid of pressing her appeal, fearing that
if the Commons in Parliament heard that the King had been summoned to
Rome, measures injurious to her might easily be proposed and carried.
Even the Duke of Norfolk was not satisfactory. He professed to be devoted
to the Emperor; he said he would willingly have lost a hand so that the
divorce question should never have been raised; but it was an affair of
theology and canon law, and he had not meddled with it. If the Emperor
had remained neutral, instead of interfering, it would have been sooner
settled.

But, for the instant, the interests of the people of England were fixed on
a subject more immediately close to them. The sins of the clergy had at
last found them out. They pretended to be a supernatural order, to hold
the keys of heaven and hell, to be persons too sacred for ordinary
authority to touch. Their vices and their tyranny had made them and their
fantastic assumptions no longer bearable, and all Europe was in revolt
against the scandals of the Church and Churchmen. The ecclesiastical
courts, as the pretended guardians of morality, had the laity at their
mercy; and every offence, real or imaginary, was converted into an
occasion of extortion. The courts were themselves nests of corruption;
while the lives and habits of the order which they represented made
ridiculous their affectations of superiority to common men. Clement's
conduct of the divorce case was only a supreme instance of the methods in
which the clerical tribunals administered what they called justice. An
authority equally oblivious of the common principles of right and wrong
was extended over the private lives and language of every family in
Catholic Christendom. In England the cup was full and the day of reckoning
had arrived. I have related in the first volume of my history of the
period the meeting of the Parliament of 1529, and I have printed there the
Petition of the Commons to the Crown, with the Bishops' reply to it. I
need not repeat what has been written already. A few more words are
needed, however, to explain the animosity which broke out against Wolsey.
The great Cardinal was the living embodiment of the detested
ecclesiastical domination, and a representation in his own person of the
worst abuses complained of. He had been a vigorous Minister, full of large
schemes and high ambitions. He had been conscious of much that was wrong.
He had checked the eagerness of the bench of Bishops to interfere with
opinion, had suppressed many of the most disorderly smaller monasteries,
and had founded colleges out of their revenues. But he had left his own
life unreformed, as an example of avarice and pride. As Legate he had
absorbed the control of the entire ecclesiastical organisation. He had
trampled on the Peers. On himself he had piled benefice upon benefice. He
held three great bishoprics, and, in addition to them, the wealthiest of
the abbeys. York or Durham he had never entered; Winchester he may have
visited in intervals of business; and he resided occasionally at the Manor
of the More, which belonged to St. Albans: but this was all his personal
connection with offices to which duties were attached which he would have
admitted to be sacred, if, perhaps, with a smile. As Legate and Lord
Chancellor he disposed of the whole patronage of the realm. Every priest
or abbot who needed a license had to pay Wolsey for it. His officials were
busy in every diocese. Every will that was to be proved, every marriage
within the forbidden degrees, had to pass under their eyes, and from their
courts streams richer than Pactolus flowed into Wolsey's coffers. Foreign
princes, as we have seen, were eager to pile pensions upon him. His wealth
was known to be enormous. How enormous was now to be revealed. Even his
own son--for a son he had--was charged upon the commonwealth. The worst
iniquity of the times was the appointing children to the cure of souls.
Wolsey's boy was educated at Paris, and held benefices worth 1,500 crowns
a year, or 3,000 pounds of modern English money. A political mistake had
now destroyed his credit. His enemies were encouraged to speak, and the
storm burst upon him.

A list of detailed complaints against him survives which is curious alike
from its contents, the time at which it was drawn up, and the person by
whom it was composed--the old Lord Darcy of Templehurst, the leader
afterwards in the Pilgrimage of Grace. Darcy was an earnest Catholic. He
had fought in his youth under Ferdinand at the conquest of Granada. He was
a dear friend of Ferdinand's daughter, and an earnest supporter, against
Wolsey, of the Imperial alliance. His paper is long and the charges are
thrown together without order. The date is the 1st of July, when the
Legates' court had begun its sittings and was to end, as he might well
suppose, in Catherine's ruin. They express the bitterness of Darcy's
feelings. The briefest epitome is all that can be attempted of an
indictment which extended over the whole of Wolsey's public career. It
commences thus:--

"Hereafter followeth, by protestation, articles against the Cardinal of
York, shewed by me, Thomas Darcy, only to discharge my oath and bounden
duty to God and the King, and of no malice.

"1. All articles that touches God and his Church and his acts against the
same.

"2. All that touches the King's estate, honour and prerogative, and
against his laws.

"3. Lack of justice, and using himself by his authority as Chancellor
faculties legatine and cardinal; what wrongs, exactions he hath used.

"4. All his authorities, legatine and other, purchased of the Pope, and
offices and grants that he hath of the King's grace, special commissions
and instructions sent into every shire; he, and the Cardinal's servants,
to be straitly examined of his unlawful acts."

Following vaguely this distribution, Darcy proceeds with his catalogue of
wrongs. Half the list is of reforms commenced and unfinished, everything
disturbed and nothing set right, to "the ruffling of the good order of the
realm." Of direct offences we find Wolsey unexpectedly accused of having
broken the Praemunire statute by introducing faculties from Rome and
allowing the Pope to levy money in the realm contrary to the King's
prerogative royal, while for himself, by "colour of his powers as Cardinal
legate a latere and faculties spiritual and temporal, he had assembled
marvellous and mighty sums of money." Of bishops, abbots, priors, deans,
&c., he had received (other sums) for promotion spiritual since his entry.
He had appropriated the plate and jewels of the suppressed abbeys. He had
raised the "probate duty" all over the realm, the duty going into his own
coffers. He had laid importable charges on the nobles of the realm. He had
Towered, Fleeted, and put to the walls of Calais a number of the noblemen
of England, and many of them for light causes. He had promoted none but
such as served about the King to bring to pass his purposes, or were of
his council in such things as an honest man would not vouchsafe to be
acquainted with. He had hanged, pressed, and banished more men since he
was in authority than had suffered death by way of justice in all
Christendom besides. He had wasted the King's treasure, &c. He had levied
mighty sums of other houses of religion, some for dread to be pulled down,
and others by his feigned visitations under colour of virtuous
reformation. As Chancellor "he had taken up all the great matters
depending in suit to determine after his discretion, and would suffer no
way to take effect that had been devised by other men." In other times
"the best prelate in the realm was contented with one bishoprick." Darcy
demanded that the duties of bishops should be looked into. They should
hold no temporal offices, nor meddle with temporal affairs. They should
seek no dispensation from the Pope. The tenure of land in England should
be looked into, to find what temporal lands were in spiritual men's hands,
by what titles, for what purposes, and whether it was followed or no. The
King's grace should proceed to determine all reformations, of spiritual
and temporal, within his realm. Never more Legate nor Cardinal should be
in England: these legacies and faculties should be clearly annulled and
made frustrate, and search and enquiry be made what had been levied
thereby. He recommended that at once and without notice Wolsey's papers
and accounts should be seized. "Then matters much unknown would come forth
surely concerning his affairs with Pope, Emperor, the French King, other
Princes, and within the realm."

Many of Darcy's charges are really creditable to Wolsey, many more are
exaggerated; but of the oppressive character of his courts, and of the
immense revenue which he drew from them, no denial was possible. The
special interest of the composition, however, is that it expresses
precisely the temper of the Parliament of 1529. It enables us to
understand how the Chancellorship came to be accepted by Sir Thomas More.
It contains the views of conservative Catholic English statesmen who,
while they had no sympathy with changes of doctrine, were weary of
ecclesiastical domination, who desired to restrict the rights of the Pope
in England within the limits fixed by the laws of the Plantagenets, to
relieve the clergy of their temporal powers and employments, and reduce
them to their spiritual functions. Micer Mai and De Soria had said the
same thing; Charles V., likely enough, shared their opinion, though he
could not see his way towards acting upon it. In England it could be acted
upon, and it was.

There is no occasion to repeat the well-known tale of the fall of Wolsey.
He resigned the seals on the 18th of October; his property was seized and
examined into. The Venetian Ambassador reported that his ordinary income
was found to have been 150,000 crowns, besides pensions, gifts from
foreign princes, and irregular contributions from home. His personal
effects were worth half a million more. He said that it had been all
gathered for the King; if the King was pleased to take it before his end,
the King was welcome to it.

The King was thenceforward his own first minister; the Duke of Norfolk
became President of the Council; Suffolk was Vice-President, and Sir
Thomas More Lord Chancellor. But the King intended to rule with Parliament
to advise and to help him. Catherine told Chapuys, in fear for herself,
that the elections to the Lower House had been influenced to her own
injury. She was mistaken, for the elections had not turned on the divorce.
The object of the meeting of the Legislature was to reform the clergy, and
upon this all parties among the laity were agreed. It may be (though the
Queen could not know it) that exertions were made to counteract or
control the local influences of individual nobles or prelates. If the
object was to secure a real representation of popular feeling, it was
right and necessary to protect the electors against the power of
particular persons. But it is at least clear that this Parliament came up
charged with the grievances of which Darcy's indictment was the epitome.

The Houses met on the 3rd of November, and went at once to business. I can
add nothing to what I have written elsewhere on the acts of the first
session. Wolsey was impeached; the Peers would have attainted him or sent
him to trial for high treason; the Commons were more moderate, listening
to Cromwell, who faced unpopularity by defending gallantly his old patron.
But the King himself did not wish the fallen Cardinal to be pressed too
hard; and it was said that, determined to protect him, he forbade the
attainder. He had determined to pardon him, and an attainder would have
made pardon more difficult. Very interesting accounts of Wolsey's own
behaviour in his calamity are found in the letters of the foreign
Ambassadors. Du Bellay saw him on the 17th of October, the day before he
surrendered the Great Seal, and found him entirely broken. He wept; he
"hoped the French King and Madam would have pity on him." His face had
lost its fire; "he did not desire legateship, seal of office, or power; he
was ready to give up everything, to his shirt, and live in a hermitage, if
the King would not keep him in his displeasure." He wished Francis to
write to Henry in his favour. He had been the chief instrument of the
present amity with France; and such a service ought not to have given a
bad impression of him. Suspicions were abroad that he had received large
presents from the French Court; they were probably true, for he said "he
hoped Madam would not do him an injury if it were spoken of."

Nothing could be more piteous. The poor old man was like a hunted animal;
lately lord of the world, and now "none so poor to do him reverence."
Darcy had raised the question of the Praemunire. The ancient Statute of
Provisors had forbidden the introduction of Bulls from Rome, and the
statute was awake again. He was made to confess that the penalties of
Praemunire--confiscation of goods and imprisonment--had been incurred by
him when he published the Bull which made him Legate, and by the use of
which he had unlawfully vexed the greater number of the prelates of the
realm, and the King's other subjects.

His brother Legate, Campeggio, had remained for some weeks in London after
the dissolution of the court. But England was no place for him in the
hurly-burly which had broken loose. He went, and had to submit to the
indignity of having his luggage searched at Dover. The cause alleged was a
fear that he might be taking with him some of Wolsey's jewels. Tradition
said that he had obtained possession of the letters of the King to Anne
Boleyn, and that it was through him that they reached the Vatican. At any
rate, the locks were forced, the trunks inspected, and nothing of
importance was found in them. Campeggio complained to the King of the
violation of his privilege as ambassador. Henry told him ironically that
he had suffered no wrong: his legateship was gone when the cause was
revoked; he had no other commission: he was an English bishop, and so far,
therefore, an English subject. But a courteous apology was made for the
unnecessary violence which had been used; Campeggio's ruffled plumes
were smoothed, and he wrote to Salviati from Paris with the latest news of
Wolsey, telling him "that the King would not go to extremes, but would act
considerately in the matter, as he was accustomed to do in all his
actions."

Although no mention was made in Parliament of the divorce, the subject, of
course, could not sleep. The question of the succession to the crown
having been made so prominent, it would, and must, sooner or later, come
before the Legislature to be settled, and had already become a topic of
general consideration and anxiety. Mary's legitimacy had been impugned.
Falieri, writing from London and reporting what he heard in society, said
that "by English law females were excluded from the throne." Custom might
say so, for no female had, in fact, ever sat on the throne; but enacted
law or rule there was none: it was only one uncertainty the more. At any
rate, Falieri said that the King had determined to go on with the divorce,
that he might have a legitimate male heir.

Henry's experience of Clement had taught him that he need not fear any
further immediate steps. The advocation of the cause implied of itself a
desire for longer delay, and, with more patience than might have been
looked for in such a disappointment, he had resolved to wait for what the
Pope would do. That an English sovereign should plead before the Rota at
Rome was, of course, preposterous. The suggestion of it was an insult. But
other means might be found. He had himself proposed Cambray as a neutral
spot for a first commission; he really believed that the Pope was at
heart on his side, and therefore did not wish to quarrel with him. When
Campeggio was leaving England the King wrote to Clement more politely than
might have been expected. He did not insist that the English commission
should be renewed.

"We could have wished," he said, "not less for your sake than our own,
that all things had been so expedited as corresponded to our expectation,
not rashly conceived, but according to your promises. As it is, we have to
regard with grief and wonder the incredible confusion which has arisen. If
a Pope can relax Divine laws at his pleasure, surely he has as much power
over human laws. We have been so often deceived by your Holiness's
promises that no dependence can be placed on them. Our dignity has not
been consulted in the treatment which we have met with. If your Holiness
will keep the cause now advoked to Rome in your own hands, until it can be
decided by impartial judges, and in an indifferent place, in a manner
satisfactory to our scruples, we will forget what is past, and repay
kindness by kindness."

As the Pope had professed to be ignorant of the extent of his dispensing
power, the King proposed to submit this part of the question to the canon
lawyers of Europe. The Nuncios, meanwhile, in Paris and London advised
that the Pope and the Emperor should write in a friendly way to the King.
Charles was believed in England to have said "that the King should stick
to his wife in spite of his beard." He had not used such words, and ought
to disclaim them, but he might endeavour to persuade the King to let the
divorce drop.

The Parliament meanwhile had been fiercely busy in cutting down the Church
courts--abolishing or limiting the various forms of extortion by which the
laity had been plundered. The clergy were required to reside upon their
benefices. "Pluralities" were restricted. The business of the session had
been a series of Clergy Discipline Acts. The Bishop of Rochester
especially clamoured over the "want of faith" which such Acts exhibited,
but nothing had been done of which the Pope could complain, nothing of
which, perhaps, he did not secretly approve. Catherine, through her agents
at Rome, demanded instant sentence in her cause. The Pope's inclination
seemed again on Henry's side. He described an interview with the Emperor,
who had urged Catherine's case. He professed to have replied that he must
be cautious when the case was not clear. Many things, he said, made for
the King. All the divines were against the power of the Pope to dispense.
Of the canon lawyers, some were against it; and those who were not against
it considered that the dispensing powers could only be used for a very
urgent cause, as, to prevent the ruin of a kingdom. The Pope's function
was to judge whether such a cause had arisen; but no such inquiry was made
when the dispensation of Julius was granted. The Emperor must not be
surprised if he could do no more for the Queen.

The Emperor himself thought of nothing less than taking his uncle "by the
beard." He wished to be reconciled to him if he could find a way to it.
For one thing, he was in sore need of help against the Turks, and Chapuys
was directed to ascertain if Henry would give him money. Henry's reply was
not encouraging, and sounded ominously, as if his mind was making perilous
progress on the great questions of the day. He said it would be a foolish
thing for him to remit money to the Emperor and help him to maintain three
armies in Italy, which ought to be elsewhere. He had consulted his
Parliament, and had found he could not grant it. The said money might be
turned to other use, and be employed to promote dissension among Christian
princes. At a subsequent interview the conversation was renewed and
took a more general turn. The King spoke of the Court of Rome--the
ambitious magnificence of which, he said, "had been the cause of so many
wars, discords, and heresies." Had the Pope and Cardinals, he said,
observed the precepts of the Gospel and attended to the example of the
Fathers of the Church [several of whom the King mentioned, to Chapuys'
surprise], they would have led a different life, and not have scandalised
Christendom by their acts and manners. So far, Luther had told nothing but
the truth; and had Luther limited himself to inveighing against the vices,
abuses, and errors of the clergy, instead of attacking the Sacraments of
the Church, everyone would have gone with him; he would himself have
written in his favour, and taken pen in hand in his defence. Into the
Church in his own dominions he hoped, little by little, to introduce
reforms and end the scandal.

These expressions were dangerous enough, but there was worse to follow.
"Henry maintained that the only power which Churchmen had over laymen was
absolution from sin"; Chapuys found that he had told the Queen that he was
now waiting for the opinions of the foreign doctors; when he had obtained
these he would forward them to Rome; and should not the Pope, in
conformity with the opinions so expressed, declare the marriage null and
void, he would denounce the Pope as a heretic and marry whom he
pleased.

"The Lady Anne," Chapuys said, "was growing impatient, complaining that
she was wasting her time and youth to no purpose." The House of Commons
had already "clipped the claws" of the clergy, and it was not impossible
that, on the plea of the various and contradictory judgments on the
matter, they and the people might consent to the divorce.

The hope that the King might be held back by national disapproval was thus
seen to be waning. The national pride had been touched by the citation of
an English sovereign to plead before a foreign court. Charles V. feared
that the Pope, alarmed at the prospect of losing England, would "commit
some new folly" which might lead to war. The English Nuncio in fact
informed Chapuys, much to the latter's astonishment, that the Pope had
ordered him to find means to reconcile the King and the Emperor. Chapuys
thought the story most unlikely. The Emperor would never have trusted the
Pope with such a commission, nor was the Pope a promising mediator, seeing
that he was more hated in England than might have been supposed.

There were evident signs now that the country meant to support the King.
The Duke of Norfolk told the Ambassador that unless the Emperor would
permit his master to divorce the Queen and take another wife, there was no
remedy left. The King's scruples of conscience, instead of abating, were
on the increase, owing to the opinions of others who thought as he did,
and no one in the world could turn him. Chapuys thought it more
likely than not that the question would be introduced at once into
Parliament, where he had heard that a majority had been bribed or gained
over to the King's side. With the consent of the Commons he would consider
himself secure all round. Should the Pope pronounce in favour of the
Queen, the English would say that the sentence was unjust, for, besides
the suspicion and ill-will they had towards the Pope and other
ecclesiastical judges, they would allege that in confirming the Bull of
Pope Julius, the Pope and Cardinals would be only influenced by their own
interest "to increase the authority of the Pope, and procure him money by
such dispensations."

At this moment Chapuys feared some precipitate step on Henry's part.
Norfolk, whom he saw frequently, told him that "there was nothing which
the King would not grant the Emperor to obtain his consent, even to
becoming his slave for ever." "The reform of the clergy was partly
owing to the anger of the people at the advocation of the cause to Rome."
"Nearly all the people hated the priests," Chapuys said--an important
testimony from an unwilling witness. Peers and Commons might be brought to
agree that Popes could grant no dispensations in marriages or anything
else, and so save their money. If there was nothing to restrain them but
respect for the Pope, they would not care much for him, and the Holy See
would have no more obedience in England than in Germany. The Duke of
Norfolk talked as menacingly as the rest. He said publicly to the
Ambassador "that the Pope himself had been the first to perceive the
invalidity of the marriage, had written to say that it could not stand,
and would so declare himself, or have it legally declared.... and now,
being in the Emperor's power, the same Pope would have the case tried and
determined only as the Emperor wished."

Under these circumstances Chapuys could only advise that means should be
taken to weaken or defer the action of Parliament. The Cambray proposal
might be revived, or a suggestion made that the cause should be argued
before the Sorbonne at Paris. The Duke of Norfolk could perhaps be gained
over; but, unfortunately, he and Queen Catherine were not on good terms.
The Duke was afraid also--the words show how complicated were the threads
which ruled the situation--that, should the King dismiss the Lady Anne,
the Cardinal would in all probability regain his influence, owing to his
uncommon ability and the King's readiness to restore him to favour.
Everyone perceived the King bore the Cardinal no real ill-will, and should
the King's affection for the lady abate in the least, the Cardinal would
soon find means of settling the divorce in a manner which would cost the
opposite party their lives. In this letter of Chapuys is the first
allusion which I have found to the Mary Boleyn scandal, then beginning to
be heard of in circles opposed to the divorce: "People say," he wrote,
"that it is the King's evil destiny that impels him; for had he, as he
asserts, only attended to the voice of conscience, there would have been
still greater affinity to contend with in this intended marriage than in
that of the Queen his wife." The story is referred to as a fresh
feature of the case, which had not before been heard of.





Next: Anger Of Anne Boleyn And The Duke Of Norfolk

Previous: The Court At Blackfriars



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