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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






Competition For Henry's Hand








Human nature is said to be the same in all ages and countries. Manners, if
it be so, signally vary. Among us, when a wife dies, some decent interval
is allowed before her successor is spoken of. The execution for adultery
of a Queen about whom all Europe had been so long and so keenly agitated
might have been expected to be followed by a pause. No pause, however,
ensued after the fall of Anne Boleyn. If Henry had been the most
interesting and popular of contemporary princes, there could not have been
greater anxiety to secure his vacant hand. Had he been the most pious of
Churchmen, the Pope could not have made greater haste to approach him with
offers of friendship. There was no waiting even for the result of the
trial. No sooner was it known that Anne had been committed to the Tower
for adultery than the result was anticipated as a certainty. It was
assumed as a matter of course that the King would instantly look for
another wife, and Francis and the Emperor lost not a moment in trying each
to be beforehand with the other. M. d'Inteville had come over to
intercede for Sir Francis Weston, but he brought a commission to treat for
a marriage between Henry and a French princess. To this overture the King
replied at once that it could not be, and, according to Chapuys, added
ungraciously, and perhaps with disgust, that he had experienced already
the effects of French education. The words, perhaps, were used to
Cromwell, and not to the French Ambassador; but Chapuys was hardly less
surprised when Cromwell, in reporting them, coolly added that the King
could not marry out of the realm, because, if a French princess
misconducted herself, they could not punish her as they had punished the
last. The Ambassador did not understand irony, and was naturally
startled, for he had received instructions to make a similar application
on behalf of his own master. Charles was eager to secure the prize, and,
anticipating Anne's fate, he despatched a courier to Chapuys on hearing of
her arrest, with orders to seize the opportunity. "If Hannaert's news be
true," he wrote on the 15th of May, the day of the trial at Westminster,
"the King, now that God has permitted this woman's damnable life to be
discovered, may be more inclined to treat with us, and there may be a
better foundation for an arrangement in favour of the Princess. But you
must use all your skill to prevent a marriage with France. The King should
rather choose one of his own subjects, either the lady for whom he has
already shown a preference or some other."

So far Charles had written when Chapuys's messenger arrived with later
news. "George has just come," the Emperor then continued, "and I have
heard from him what has passed about the Concubine. It is supposed that
she and the partners of her guilt will be executed, and that the King,
being of amorous complexion and anxious, as he has always pretended, for a
male heir, will now marry immediately. Overtures will certainly be made to
him from France. You will endeavour, either as of yourself or through
Cromwell, to arrange a match for him with the Infanta of Portugal, my
niece, who has a settlement by will of 400,000 ducats. Simultaneously you
will propose another marriage between the Princess Mary and the Infant of
Portugal, Don Louis, my brother-in-law. You will point out that these
alliances will remove past unpleasantness, and will unite myself, the
King, and our respective countries. You will show the advantage that will
accrue to the realm of England should a Prince be the result, and we may
reasonably hope that it will be so, the Infanta being young and well
nurtured. If you find the King disinclined to this marriage, you may
propose my niece, the Duchess Dowager of Milan, a beautiful young lady
with a good dowry."

On the same 15th of May Granvelle, no less eager, wrote to Chapuys also.
"M. l'Ambassadeur, my good brother and friend, I have received your
letters and have heard what your messenger had to tell me. You have done
well to keep us informed about the Concubine. It is indeed fine music and
food for laughter. God is revealing the iniquity of those from whom
so much mischief has risen. We must make our profit of it, and manage
matters as the Emperor directs. Use all your diligence and dexterity.
Immense advantage will follow, public and private. You will yourself not
fail of your reward for your true and faithful services."

So anxious was Charles for fresh matrimonial arrangements with Henry, that
he wrote again to the same purpose three days later--a strange wish if he
believed Catherine to have been murdered, or her successor to be on the
eve of execution because the King was tired of her. To Charles and
Granvelle, as to Chapuys himself, the unfortunate Anne was the English
Messalina. The Emperor and all the contemporary world saw in her nothing
but a wicked woman at last detected and brought to justice.

What came of these advances will be presently seen; but, before
proceeding, a glance must be given at the receipt of the intelligence of
Anne's fall at the Holy See. This also was chose de rire. Chapuys had
sent to Rome in the past winter a story that Henry had said Anne Boleyn
had bewitched him. The Pope had taken it literally, and had supposed that
when the witch was removed the enchantment would end. He sent for Sir
Gregory Casalis on the 17th of May, and informed him of what he had heard
from England. He said that he had always recognised the many and great
qualities of the King; and those qualities he did not doubt would now
show themselves, as he had been relieved from his unfortunate marriage.
Let the King reattach himself to Holy Church and take the Pope for an
ally; they could then give the law both to the Emperor and to the King of
France, and the entire glory of restoring peace to Christendom would
attach to Henry himself. The King, he said, had no cause to regard him as
an enemy; for he had always endeavored to be his friend. In the
matrimonial cause he had remonstrated in private with his predecessor. At
Bologna he had argued for four hours with the Emperor, trying to persuade
him that the King ought not to be interfered with. Never had he
desired to offend the King, although so many violent acts had been done in
England against the Holy See. He had made the Bishop of Rochester a
cardinal solely with a view to the General Council, and because the Bishop
had written a learned book against Luther. On the Bishop's execution, he
had been compelled to say and do certain things, but he had never intended
to give effect to them.

If the Pope had thought the King to have been right in his divorce suit,
it was not easy to understand why he had excommunicated him and tried to
deprive him of his crown because he had disobeyed a judgment thus
confessed to have been unjust. Casalis asked him if he was to communicate
what he had said to the King. The Pope, after reflecting a little, said
that Casalis might communicate it as of himself; that he might tell the
King that the Pope was well-disposed towards him, and that he might
expect every favour from the Pope. Casalis wrote in consequence that on
the least hint that the King desired a reconciliation, a Nuncio would be
sent to England to do everything that could be found possible; after the
many injuries which he had received, opinion at Rome would not permit the
Pope to make advances until he was assured that they would be well
received; but some one would be sent in Casalis's name bringing
credentials from his Holiness.

Never since the world began was a dastardly assassination, if Anne Boleyn
was an innocent woman, rewarded with so universal a solicitation for the
friendship of the assassin. In England the effect was the same. Except by
the Lutherans, Anne had been universally hated, and the king was regarded
with the respectful compassion due to a man who had been cruelly injured.
The late marriage had been tolerated out of hope for the birth of the
Prince who was so passionately longed for. Even before the discovery of
Anne's conduct, a considerable party, with the Princess Mary among them,
had desired to see the King separated from her and married to some other
respectable woman. Jane Seymour had been talked about as a steady friend
of Catherine, and, when Catherine was gone, of the Princess. The King had
paid her attentions which, if Chapuys's stories were literally true--as
probably they were not--had been of a marked kind. In all respects she was
the opposite of Anne. She had plain features, pale complexion, a low
figure--in short, had no personal beauty, or any pretensions to it, with
nothing in her appearance to recommend her, except her youth. She was
about twenty-five years of age. She was not witty either, or brilliant;
but she was modest, quiet, with a strong understanding and rectitude of
principle, and, so far as her age and her opportunities allowed, she had
taken Mary's part at the court. Perhaps this had recommended her to Henry.
Whether he had himself ever seriously thought of dismissing Anne and
inviting Jane Seymour to take her place is very dubious; nor has anyone a
right to suppose that under such conditions Jane Seymour would have
regarded such a proposal as anything but an insult. How soon after the
detection of Anne's crime the intention was formed is equally
uncertain. Every person at home and abroad regarded it as obvious
that he must marry some one, and marry at once. He himself professed to be
unwilling, "unless he was constrained by his subjects."

In Chapuys's letters, truth and lies are so intermixed that all his
personal stories must be received with distrust. Invariably, however, he
believed and reported the most scandalous rumours which he could hear.
Everybody, he said, rejoiced at the execution of the putaine; but there
were some who spoke variously of the King. He had heard, from good
authority, that in a conversation which passed between Mistress Seymour
and the King before the arrest of the Concubine, the lady urged him to
restore the Princess to the court. The King told her she was a fool; she
ought to be thinking more of the children which they might expect of their
own, than of the elevation of the other. The lady replied that in
soliciting for the Princess, she was consulting for the good of the King,
of herself, of her children should she have any, and of all the realm,
as, without it, the English nation would never be satisfied. Such a
conversation is not in itself likely to have been carried on before
Anne's arrest, and certainly not where it could be overheard by others;
especially as Chapuys admitted that the King said publicly he would not
marry anyone unless the Parliament invited him. One would like to know
what the trustworthy authority might have been. Unfortunately for the
veracity of his informant, he went on with an account of the King's
personal behaviour, the accuracy of which can be tested.

"People," he said, "had found it strange that the King, after having
received such ignominy, should have gone about at such a time banqueting
with ladies, sometimes remaining after midnight, and returning by the
river, accompanied by music and the singers of his chamber. He supped
lately," the Ambassador continued, "with several ladies at the house of
the Bishop of Carlisle, and showed extravagant joy." The Bishop came the
next morning to tell Chapuys of the visit, and added a story of the King
having said that he had written a tragedy on Anne's conduct which he
offered the Bishop to read. Of John Kite, the Bishop of Carlisle,
little is known, save that Sir William Kingston said he used to play
"penny gleek" with him. But it happens that a letter exists, written on
the same day as Chapuys's, which describes Henry's conduct at precisely
the same period.

John Husee, the friend and agent of Lord Lisle, was in London on some
errand from his employer. His business required him to speak to the King,
and he said that he had been unable to obtain admittance, the King having
remained in strict seclusion from the day of Anne's arrest to her
execution. "His Grace," Husee wrote, "came not abroad this fortnight,
except it was in the garden or in his boat, when it may become no man to
interrupt him. Now that this matter is past I hope to see him."

Chapuys was very clever; he may be believed, with limitations, when
writing on business or describing conversations of his own with particular
persons; but so malicious was he, and so careless in his matters of fact
or probability, that he cannot be believed at all when reporting
scandalous anecdotes which reached him from his "trustworthy authorities."

It is, however, true that, before the fortnight had expired, the King had
resolved to do what the Council recommended--marry Jane Seymour, and marry
her promptly, to close further solicitation from foreign Powers. There is
no sign that she had herself sought so questionable an elevation. A
powerful party in the State wished her to accept a position which could
have few attractions, and she seems to have acquiesced without difficulty.
Francis and Charles were offering their respective Princesses; the
readiest way to answer them without offence was to place the so much
coveted hand out of the reach of either. On the 20th of May, the morning
after Anne was beheaded, Jane Seymour was brought secretly by water to the
palace at Westminster, and was then and there formally betrothed to the
King. The marriage followed a few days later. On Ascension Day, the 25th
of May, the King, in rejecting the offered match from Francis, said that
he was not then actually married. On the 29th or 30th, Jane was formally
introduced as Queen.

Chapuys was disappointed in his expectation of popular displeasure. Not a
murmur was heard to break the expression of universal satisfaction. The
new Queen was a general favourite; everyone knew that she was a friend of
the Princess Mary, and everyone desired to see Mary replaced in her
rights. Fortunately for the Princess, the attempt at escape had never been
carried out. She had remained quietly watching the overthrow of her enemy,
and trusting the care of her fortunes to Cromwell, who, she knew, had
always been her advocate. She had avoided writing to him to intercede for
her, because, as she said, "I perceived that nobody dared speak for me as
long as that woman lived who is now gone, whom God in his mercy
forgive!" The time had now come for her to be received back into
favour. Submission of some kind it would be necessary for her to make; and
the form in which it was to be done was the difficulty. The King could not
replace in the line of the succession a daughter who was openly defying
the law. Cromwell drew for Mary a sketch of a letter which he thought
would be sufficient. It was to acknowledge that she had offended her
father, to beg his blessing and his forgiveness, and to promise obedience
for the future, to congratulate him on his marriage, and to ask permission
to wait on the new Queen. He showed the draft to Chapuys, for the Princess
to transcribe and send. Chapuys objected that the surrender was too
absolute. Cromwell said that he might alter it if he pleased, and a saving
clause was introduced, not too conspicuous. She was to promise to submit
in all things "under God." In this form, apparently, the letter was
despatched, and was said to have given great satisfaction both to Henry
and the new Queen. Now it was thought that Mary would be restored to her
rank as Princess. She would be excluded from the succession only if a son
or daughter should be born of the new marriage; but this did not alarm
Chapuys, for "according to the opinion of many," he said, "there was no
fear of any issue of either sex."

On Ascension Day, the Ambassador had been admitted to an audience, the
first since the unprosperous discussion at Greenwich. The subject of the
treaty with the Emperor had been renewed under more promising auspices.
The King had been gracious. Chapuys had told him that the Emperor desired
to explain and justify the actions of which the King had complained; but
before entering on a topic which might renew unpleasant feelings, he said
that the Emperor had instructed him to consult the King's wishes; and he
undertook to conform to them. The King listened with evident satisfaction;
and a long talk followed, in the course of which the Ambassador introduced
the various proposals which the Emperor had made for fresh matrimonial
connections. The King said that Chapuys was a bringer of good news; his
own desire was to see a union of all Christian princes; if the Emperor was
in earnest, he hoped that he would furnish the Ambassador with the
necessary powers to negotiate, or would send a plenipotentiary for that
particular purpose.

The offer of the Infanta of Portugal for the King himself was, of course,
declined, the choice being already made; but Cromwell said afterwards that
Don Luis might perhaps be accepted for the Princess, the position of the
Princess being the chief point on which the stability of all other
arrangements must depend. As to the "General Council," it was not to be
supposed that the King wanted to set up "a God of his own," or to
separate himself from the rest of Christendom. He was as anxious as any
one for a Council, but it must be a Council called by the Emperor as chief
of Christian Europe. It is to be observed that Henry, as Head of the
Church of England, took upon himself the entire ordering of what was or
was not to be. Even the form of consulting the clergy was not so much as
thought of. Chapuys could not answer for as much indifference on the
Emperor's part. The Council, he thought, must be left in the Pope's hand
at the outset. The Council itself, when it assembled, could do as it
pleased. He suggested, however, that Cromwell should put in writing his
conception of the manner in which a Council could be called by the
Emperor, which Cromwell promised to do.

All things were thus appearing to run smooth. Four days later, when the
marriage with Jane Seymour had been completed, Chapuys saw Henry again.
The King asked him if he had heard further from the Emperor. Chapuys was
able to assent. Charles's eager letters had come in by successive posts,
and one had just arrived in which he had expressed his grief and
astonishment at the conduct of Anne Boleyn, had described how he had
spoken to his own Council about the woman's horrible ingratitude, and had
himself offered thanks to God for having discovered the conspiracy, and
saved the King from so great a danger. Henry made graceful
acknowledgments, replied most politely on the offer of the Infanta, for
which he said he was infinitely obliged to the Emperor, and conducted the
Ambassador into another room to introduce him to the Queen.

Chapuys was all courtesy. At Henry's desire he kissed and congratulated
Jane. The Emperor, he said, would be delighted that the King had found so
good and virtuous a wife. He assured her that the whole nation was united
in rejoicing at her marriage. He recommended the Princess to her care, and
hoped that she would have the honourable name of peacemaker.

The King answered for her that this was her nature. She would not for the
world that he went to war.

Chapuys was aware that Henry was not going to war on the side of
Francis--that danger had passed; but that he would not go to war at all
was not precisely what Chapuys wished to hear. What Charles wanted was
Henry's active help against the French. The fourth condition of the
proposed treaty was an alliance offensive and defensive. Henry merely said
he would mediate, and, if France would not agree to reasonable terms, he
would then declare for the Emperor.

The Emperor, like many other persons, had attributed the whole of Henry's
conduct to the attractions of Anne Boleyn. He had supposed that after his
eyes had been opened he would abandon all that he had done, make his peace
with the Pope, and return to his old friends with renewed heartiness. He
was surprised and disappointed. Mediation would do no good at all, he
said. If the King would join him against France, the Emperor would
undertake to make no peace without including him, and would take security
for the honour and welfare of the realm. But he declined to quarrel with
the Pope to please the King; and if the King would not return to the
obedience of the Holy See or submit his differences with the Pope to the
Emperor and the Council, he said that he could make no treaty at all with
him. He directed Chapuys, however, to continue to discuss the matter in a
friendly way, to gain time till it could be seen how events would
turn.

How events did turn is sufficiently well known. The war broke out--the
French invaded Italy; the Emperor, unable to expel them, turned upon
Provence, where he failed miserably with the loss of the greater part of
his army.

Henry took no part. The state of Europe was considered at length before
the English Council. Chapuys was heard, and the French Ambassador was
heard; and the result was a declaration of neutrality--the only honourable
and prudent course where the choice lay between two faithless friends who,
if the King had committed himself to either, would have made up their own
quarrels at England's expense.





Next: Expectation That Henry Would Return To The Roman Communion

Previous: Anne Sentenced To Die



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