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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

The Court At Blackfriars

Unpopularity Of Anne Boleyn And Removal Of Catherine From The Court

The Divorce

Warlike Resolution Of The Pope Restrained By The Cardinals

Death Of Archbishop Warham And The Pope Urged To Excommunicate Henry But Refuses Angering The Queen

Danger Of Challenging The Papal Dispensing Power

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Expectation That Henry Would Return To The Roman Communion

Intended Escape Of The Princess Mary Out Of England

Illness Of The Princess Mary

Anne Sentenced To Die

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

Anxiety Of The Pope To Satisfy The King

The story returns to Orvieto. The dispensation was promised on condition
that it should not be immediately acted on. Catherine having refused
to acquiesce in a private arrangement, Wolsey again pressed the Pope for a
commission to decide the cause in England, and to bind himself at the same
time not to revoke it, but to confirm any judgment which he might himself
give. "There were secret causes," he said, "which could not be committed
to writing which made such a concession imperative: certain diseases in
the Queen defying all remedy, for which, as for other causes, the King
would never again live with her as his wife."

The Pope, smarting from ill-treatment and grateful for the help of France
and England, professed himself earnestly anxious to do what Henry desired.
But he was still virtually a prisoner. He had been obliged by the General
of the Observants, when in St. Angelo, to promise to do nothing "whereby
the King's divorce might be judged in his own dominions." He pleaded for
time. He promised a commission of some kind, but he said he was undone if
action was taken upon it while the Germans and Spaniards remained in
Italy. He saw evident ruin before him, he said, but he professed to be
willing to run the hazard rather than that Wolsey should suspect him of
ingratitude. He implored the Cardinal, cum suspiriis et lacrymis, not to
precipitate him for ever, and precipitated he would be if, on receiving
the commission, the Cardinal at once began the process. A fortnight
later Casalis described a long conversation with the Pope and Cardinals on
the course to be pursued. Henry had desired that a second Legate should be
sent from Rome to act with Wolsey. To consent to this would directly
compromise the Papal Court. Clement had no objection to the going forward
with the cause, but he did not wish to be himself responsible. He signed
an imperfect commission not inconsistent with his promise to the General
of the Observants. On this Wolsey might act or, if he preferred it, might
proceed on his own Legatine authority. For himself, instead of engaging to
confirm Wolsey's sentence, he said that no doctor could better resolve the
point at issue than the King himself. If he was resolved, said the Pope,
let him commit his cause to the Legate, marry again, follow up the trial,
and then let a public application be made for a Legate to be sent from the
Consistory. If the Queen was cited first, she would put in no answer, save
to protest against the place and judges. The Imperialists would demand a
prohibition, and then the King could not marry, or, if he did, the
offspring would be illegitimate. They would also demand a commission for
the cause to be heard at Rome, which the Pope would be unable to refuse.
But the King being actually married again, they could not ask for a
prohibition. They could only ask that the cause should be re-examined at
Rome, when the Pope would give sentence and a judgment could be passed
which would satisfy the whole world. This was the Pope's own advice,
but he did not wish it to be known that it had come from himself. Casalis
might select the Legate to England after the first steps had been taken.
Campeggio he thought the fittest, being already an English bishop. At
any rate, the Pope bade Casalis say he would do his best to satisfy the
King, though he knew that the Emperor would never forgive him.

It is not certain what would have followed had Henry acted on the Pope's
suggestion. The judgment which Clement promised might have been in his
favour. Clement evidently wished him to think that it would. But he might,
after all, have found himself required to take Catherine back. Either
alternative was possible. At any rate he did not mean, if he could help
it, to have recourse to violent methods. Charles himself, though he
intended to prevent, if he could, a legal decision against his aunt, had
hinted at the possibility and even desirableness of a private arrangement,
if Catherine would agree. Catherine, unfortunately, would agree to
nothing, but stood resolutely upon her rights, and Charles was forced to
stand by her. Henry was equally obstinate, and the Pope was between the
rock and the whirlpool.

The Pope had promised, however, and had promised with apparent sincerity.
The Papal states remaining occupied by the Imperial troops, Henry carried
out his own part of the engagement by joining France in a declaration of
war against the Emperor. Toison d'or and Clarencieulx appeared before
Charles at Burgos on the 22nd of January, Charles sitting on his throne to
receive their defiance. Toison d'or said that the Emperor had opened
Christendom to the Turks, had imprisoned the Pope, had allowed his armies
to sack Rome and plunder churches and monasteries, had insulted the holy
relics, slain or robbed princes of the Church, cardinals, patriarchs,
archbishops, outraged nunneries and convents, had encouraged Lutheran
heretics in committing these atrocities, &c. For these reasons France
declared open war with the Emperor. The English herald--he was accused
afterwards of having exceeded his instructions--was almost as peremptory.
Henry, in earlier times, had lent Charles large sums of money, which had
not been repaid. Clarencieulx said that, unless the Pope was released and
the debt settled, the King of England must make common cause with his
brother of France. Six weeks' interval was allowed for the Emperor to
consider his answer before hostilities on the side of England should

The Emperor replied with calmness and dignity. War with France was
inevitable. As to England, he felt like Cicero, when doubting whether he
should quarrel with Caesar, that it was inconvenient to be in debt to an
enemy. If England attacked him he said he would defend himself, but he
declined to accept the defiance. Mendoza was not recalled from London. At
the end of the six weeks the situation was prolonged by successive truces
till the peace of Cambray. But Henry had kept his word to the Pope.
England appeared by the side of France in the lists as the armed champion
of the Papacy, and the Pope was expected to fulfil his promises without
disguise or subterfuge.

Clement's method of proceeding with the divorce was rejected. The
dispensation and commission which had been amended with a view to it were
rejected also as worthless. Dr. Fox and Stephen Gardiner were despatched
to Orvieto with fuller powers and with a message peremptory and even
menacing. They were again to impress on the Pope the danger of a disputed
succession. They were to hint that, if relief was refused in deference to
the Emperor, England might decline from obedience to the Holy See. The
Pope must, therefore, pass the commission and the dispensation in the form
in which it had been sent from England. If he objected that it was
unusual, they were to announce that the cause was of great moment. The
King would not be defrauded of his expectation through fear of the
Emperor. If he could not obtain justice from the Pope, he would be
compelled to seek it elsewhere.

The language of these instructions shows that the King and Wolsey
understood the Proteus that they were dealing with, and the necessity of
binding his hands if he was not to slip from them. It was not now the
fountain of justice, the august head of Christendom, that they were
addressing, but a shifty old man, clad by circumstances with the robe of
authority, but whose will was the will of the power which happened to be
strongest in Italy. It was not tolerable that the Emperor should dictate
on a question which touched the vital interests of an independent kingdom.

Spanish diplomatists had afterwards to excuse and explain away Clement's
concessions on the ground that they were signed when he was angry at his
imprisonment, had been extorted by threats, and were therefore of no
validity. He struggled hard to avoid committing himself. The unwelcome
documents were recast into various forms. The dispensation was not signed
after all, but in the place of it other briefs were signed of even graver
importance. The Pope yielded to the demand to send a second Legate to try
the cause with Wolsey in England, where it was assumed as a matter of
course that judgment would be given for the King. The Legate chosen was
Campeggio, who was himself, as was said, an English bishop. The Pope also
did express in writing his own opinion on the cause as favourable to the
King's plea. What passed at Orvieto was thus afterwards compendiously
related by Henry in a published statement of his case.

"On his first scruple the King sent to the Bishop of Rome, as Christ's
Vicar, who had the keys of knowledge, to dissolve his doubts. The said
Bishop refused to take any knowledge of it and desired the King to apply
for a commission to be sent into the realm, authorised to determine the
cause, thus pretending that it might no wise be entreated at Rome, but
only within the King's own realm. He delegated his whole powers to
Campeggio and Wolsey, giving them also a special commission in form of a
decretal, wherein he declared the King's marriage null and empowered him
to marry again. In the open commission also he gave them full authority to
give sentence for the King. Secretly he gave them instructions to burn the
commission decretal and not proceed upon it; (but) at the time of sending
the commission he also sent the King a brief, written in his own hand,
admitting the justice of his cause and promising sanctissime sub verbo
Pontificis that he would never advocate it to Rome."

Engagements which he intended to keep or break according to the turns of
the war between Francis and Charles did not press very heavily perhaps on
Clement's conscience, but they were not extorted from him without many
agonies. "He has granted the commission," Casalis wrote. "He is not
unwilling to please the King and Wolsey, but fears the Spaniards more than
ever he did. The Friar-General has forbidden him in the Emperor's name to
grant the King's request. He fears for his life from the Imperialists if
the Emperor knows of it. Before he would grant the brief he said, weeping,
that it would be his utter ruin. The Venetians and Florentines desired his
destruction. His sole hope of life was from the Emperor. He asked me to
swear whether the King would desert him or not. Satisfied on this point,
he granted the brief, saying that he placed himself in the King's arms, as
he would be drawn into perpetual war with the Emperor. Wolsey might
dispose of him and the Papacy as if he were Pope himself."

The Emperor had insisted, at Catherine's desire, that the cause should not
be heard in England. The Pope had agreed that it should be heard in
England. Consent had been wrung from him, but his consent had been given,
and Campeggio was to go and make the best of it. His open commission was
as ample as words could make it. He and Wolsey were to hear the cause and
decide it. The secret "decretal" which he had wept over while he signed it
declared, before the cause was heard, the sentence which was to be given,
and he had pledged his solemn word not to revoke the hearing to Rome. All
that Clement could do was to instruct the Legate before he started to
waste time on his way, and, on his arrival in England, to use his skill to
"accommodate matters," and to persuade the Queen--if he found her
persuadeable--to save him from his embarrassments by taking the veil. This
was a course which Charles himself in his private mind would have
recommended, but was too honourable to advise it. The fatal decretal was
to be seen only by a very few persons, and then, as Henry said, Campeggio
was to burn it. He was instructed also to pass no sentence without first
referring back to Rome, and, if driven to extremity, was to find an excuse
for postponing a decision; very natural conduct on the part of a weak,
frightened mortal--conduct not unlike that of his predecessor, Alexander
III., in the quarrel between Becket and Henry II.--but in both cases
purely human, not such as might have been looked for in a divinely guided
Vicar of Christ.

Next: The Divorce

Previous: Anne Boleyn Chosen By Henry To Succeed Catherine

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