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Alarm Of Catherine And The Growth Of Lutheranism

Anger Of Anne Boleyn And The Duke Of Norfolk

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

Anne Boleyn Chosen By Henry To Succeed Catherine

The Court At Blackfriars

Unpopularity Of Anne Boleyn And Removal Of Catherine From The Court

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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

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Expectation That Henry Would Return To The Roman Communion

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Henry Advised To Marry Without Waiting For Sentence

Coronation Of Anne Boleyn






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








The unity of Christendom was not to be broken in pieces without an effort
to preserve it. Charles V. was attempting impossibilities in his own
dominions, labouring for terms on which the Lutheran States might return
to the Church. He had brought the Pope to consent to the "communion in
both kinds," and to the "marriage of priests"--a vast concession, which
had been extorted by Micer Mai in the intervals of the discussions on the
divorce. Efforts which fail are forgotten, but they represent endeavours
at least honourable. Catherine was absorbed in her own grievances. Charles
gave them as much attention as he could spare, but had other things to
think of. As long as he could prevent Clement from taking any fatal step,
he supposed that he had done enough. He had at least done all that he
could, and he had evidently allowed Chapuys to persuade him that Henry's
course would be arrested at the last extremity by his own subjects. He
left Mai to watch the Pope, and Ortiz to urge for sentence; but when the
pressure of his own hand relaxed his agents could effect but little. The
English Parliament was to open again in January. The King's Commissioners
at Rome informed the Consistory that if it was decided finally to try the
cause at Rome they were to take their leave, and the King would
thenceforward regard the Pope as his public enemy. The threat
"produced a great impression." The Pope had no wish to be Henry's enemy in
order to please the Emperor. Mai and Ortiz told him that the English
menaces were but words; he had but to speak and England would submit. The
Pope did not believe it, and became again "lax and procrastinating."

The English nobles made a last effort to move Catherine. Lord Sussex, Sir
William Fitzwilliam, and Lee, Archbishop of York, who had been her warm
supporter, waited on her at Moor Park to urge her, if she would not allow
the case to be tried at Cambray, to permit it to be settled by a
commission of bishops and lawyers. The Pope confessedly was not free to
give his own opinion, and English causes could not be ruled by the
Emperor. If Catherine had consented, it is by no means certain that Anne
Boleyn would have been any more heard of. A love which had waited for five
years could not have been unconquerable; and it was possible and even
probable in the existing state of opinion that some other arrangement
might have been made for the succession. The difficulty rose from
Catherine's determination to force the King before a tribunal where the
national pride would not permit him to plead. The independence of England
was threatened, and those who might have been her friends were disarmed
of their power to help her. Unfortunately for herself, perhaps fortunately
for the English race which was yet to be born, she remained still
inflexible. "The King's plea of conscience," she said, "was not honest. He
was acting on passion, pure and simple; and English judges would say black
was white." Sussex and Fitzwilliam knelt to entreat her to reconsider her
answer. She too knelt and prayed them for God's honour and glory to
persuade the King to return to her, as she was his lawful wife. All
present were in tears, but there was no remedy. Chapuys said that the
coldness and indifference with which the affair was treated at Rome was
paralysing her defenders. The question could not stand in debate for ever,
and, unless the Pope acted promptly and resolutely, he feared that some
strong act was not far distant.

She was destroying her own chance. She persisted in relying on a defence
which was itself fatal to her.

"God knows what I suffer from these people," she wrote to the Emperor,
"enough to kill ten men, much more a shattered woman who has done no harm.
I can do nothing but appeal to God and your Majesty, on whom alone my
remedy depends. For the love of God procure a final sentence from his
Holiness as soon as possible. The utmost diligence is required. May God
forgive him for the many delays which he has granted and which alone are
the cause of my extremity. I am the King's lawful wife, and while I live I
will say no other. The Pope's tardiness makes many on my side waver, and
those who would say the truth dare not. Speak out yourself, that my
friends may not think I am abandoned by all the world."

Well might Catherine despair of Clement. While she was expecting him to
excommunicate her husband, he was instructing his Nuncio to treat that
husband as his most trusted friend. He invited Henry to assist in the
Turkish war; he consulted him about the protection of Savoy from the Swiss
Protestants; he apologised to him for the language which he was obliged to
use on the great matter. Henry, contemptuous and cool, "not showing the
passion which he had shown at other times," replied that the Pope must be
jesting in inviting him, far off as he was, to go to war with the Turk. If
Christendom was in danger he would bear his part with the other Princes.
As to Savoy, the Duke had disregarded the wishes of France and must take
the consequences. For the rest, the message which he had sent through his
Ambassador at Rome was no more than the truth. "If," said he to the
Nuncio, "I ask a thing which I think right, the answer is 'The law
forbids.' If the Emperor ask a thing, law and rules are changed to please
him. The Pope has greatly wronged me. I have no particular animosity
against him. After all, he does not bear me much ill will. The fear of the
Emperor makes him do things which he would not otherwise do. Proceedings
may be taken against me at Rome. I care not. If sentence is given against
me, I know what to do."

The Pope never meant to give sentence if he could help it. Every day
brought Parliament nearer and he drove Mai distracted with his evasions.
"I have said all that I could to his Holiness and the Cardinals without
offending them," he reported to Charles. "Your Majesty may believe me when
I say that these devils are to a man against us. Some take side openly,
being of the French or English faction; others will be easily corrupted,
for every day I hear the English Ambassador receives bills for thousands
of ducats, which are said to go in bribery."

Promises were given in plenty, but no action followed, and Ortiz had the
same story to tell Catherine. "Your Ambassador at Rome," she wrote to her
nephew, "thinks the Pope as cold and indifferent as when the suit began. I
am amazed at his Holiness. How can he allow a suit so scandalous to remain
so long undecided? His conduct cuts me to the soul. You know who has
caused all this mischief. Were the King once free from the snare in which
he has been caught he would confess that God had restored his reason. His
misleaders goad him on like a bull in the arena. Pity that a man so good
and virtuous should be thus deceived. God enlighten his mind!"

To the Emperor himself, perhaps, the problem was growing more difficult
than he expected. He himself at last pressed for sentence, but sentence
was nothing unless followed by excommunication if it was disobeyed, and
the Pope did not choose to use his thunder if there was to be no
thunderbolt to accompany it. The Cardinal Legate in Spain assured him that
the Emperor would employ all his force in the execution of the censures.
The Pope said that he prized that promise as "a word from Heaven." But
though Charles might think the English King was doing what was wrong and
unjust, was it so wrong and so unjust that fire and sword were to be let
loose through Christendom? Chapuys and Catherine were convinced that there
would be no need of such fierce remedies. They might be right, but how if
they were not right? How if England supported the King? The Emperor could
not be certain that even his own subjects would approve of a war for such
an object. Three years later, when the moment for action had arrived, if
action was to be taken at all, it will be seen that the Spanish Council of
State took precisely this view of the matter, and saw no reason for
breaking the peace of Europe for what, after all, was but "a family
quarrel." The Pope was cautious. He knew better than his passionate
advisers how matters really stood. "The Pope may promise," Mai said, "but
as long as the world remains in its troubled state, these people will be
glad of any excuse to prolong the settlement." January came, when the
English Parliament was to meet, and the note was still the same. "The Pope
says," wrote Mai, "that we must not press the English too hard. I have
exhausted all that I could say without a rupture. I told him he was
discrediting the Queen's case and your Majesty's authority. I made him
understand that I should be obliged to apply elsewhere for the justice
that was denied me at Rome. He owns that I am right, but Consistory
follows Consistory and more delays are allowed. We can but press on as we
have always done, and urge your Majesty's displeasure."

If a sentence could not be had, Ortiz insisted on the issue of another
minatory brief. Anne Boleyn must be sent from the court. The King must be
made to confess his errors. The Pope assented; said loudly that he would
do justice; though England and France should revolt from the Holy See in
consequence, a brief should go, and, if it was disobeyed, he would proceed
to excommunicate: "the Kings of England and France were so bound together
that if he lost one he lost both, but he would venture notwithstanding."
But like the Cardinals who condemned Giordano Bruno, Clement was more
afraid of passing judgment than Henry of hearing it passed. The brief was
written and was sent, but it contained nothing but mild
expostulation. All the distractions of the world were laid at the
door of the well-meaning, uncertain, wavering Clement. La Pommeraye, the
French Ambassador in London, said (Chapuys vouches for the words) that
"nothing could have been so easy as to bring all Christian Princes to
agree had not that devil of a Pope embroiled and sown dissension through
Christendom."

In England alone was to be found clear purpose and steadiness of action.
The divorce in England was an important feature in the quarrel with the
Papacy, but it was but a single element in the great stream of
Reformation, and the main anxiety of King and people was not fixed on
Catherine, but on the mighty changes which were rushing forward. When a
Parliament was first summoned, on the fall of Wolsey, the Queen had
assumed that it was called for nothing else but to empower the King to
separate from her. So she thought at the beginning, so she continued to
think. Yet session had followed session, and the Legislature had found
other work to deal with. They had manacled the wrists of her friends, the
clergy; but that was all, and she was to have yet another year of respite.
The "blind passion" which is supposed to have governed Henry's conduct was
singularly deliberate. Seven years had passed since he had ceased
cohabitation with Catherine, and five since he had fallen under the
fascination of the impatient Anne; yet he went on as composedly with
public business as if Anne had never smiled on him, and he was still
content to wait for this particular satisfaction. As long as hope remained
of saving the unity of Christendom without degrading England into a vassal
State of the Empire, Henry did not mean to break it. He had occupied
himself, in concert with the Parliament, with reforming the internal
disorders and checking the audacious usurpations of the National Church.
He had, so far, been enthusiastically supported by the immense majority of
the laity, and was about to make a further advance in the same direction.

The third Session opened on 13th of January, Peers, Prelates, and Commons
being present in full number. By this time a small but active opposition
had been formed in the Lower House to resist measures too violently
anti-clerical. They met occasionally to concert operations at the Queen's
Head by Temple Bar. The Bishops, who had been stunned by the Praemunire,
were recovering heart and intending to show fight. Tunstal of Durham, who
had been reflecting on the Royal Supremacy during the recess, repented of
his consent, and had written his misgivings to the King. The King used the
opportunity to make a remarkable reply.

"People conceive," he said, "that we are minded to separate our Church of
England from the Church of Rome, and you think the consequences ought to
be considered. My Lord, as touching schism, we are informed by virtuous
and learned men that, considering what the Church of Rome is, it is no
schism to separate from her, and adhere to the Word of God. The lives of
Christ and the Pope are very opposite, and therefore to follow the Pope is
to forsake Christ. It is to be trusted the Papacy will shortly vanish
away, if it be not reformed; but, God willing, we shall never separate
from the Universal body of Christian men."

Archbishop Warham also had failed to realise the meaning of his consent to
the Royal Supremacy. He had consecrated the Bishop of St. Asaph on the
receipt of a nomination from Rome before the Bulls had been presented to
the King. He learnt that he was again under a Praemunire. The aged Primate,
fallen on evil times, drew the heads of a defence which he intended to
make, but never did make, in the House of Lords. Archbishops, he said,
were not bound to enquire whether Bishops had exhibited their Bulls or
not. It had not been the custom. If the Archbishop could not give the
spiritualities to one who was pronounced a bishop at Rome till the King
had granted him his temporalities, the spiritual powers of the Archbishops
would depend on the temporal power of the Prince, and would be of little
or no effect, which was against God's law. In consecrating the Bishop of
St. Asaph he had acted as the Pope's Commissary. The act itself was the
Pope's act. The point for which the King contended was one of the Articles
which Henry II. sought to extort at Clarendon, and which he was afterwards
compelled to abandon. The liberties of the Church were guaranteed by
Magna Charta, and the Sovereigns who had violated them, Henry II., Edward
III., Richard II., had come to an ill end. The lay Peers had threatened
that they would defend the matter with their swords. The lay Peers should
remember what befell the knights who slew St. Thomas. The Archbishop said
he would rather be hewn in pieces than confess this Article, for which St.
Thomas died, to be a Praemunire.

Warham was to learn that the spirit of Henry II. was alive again in the
present Henry, and that the Constitutions of Clarendon, then premature,
were to become the law of the land.

Fisher of Rochester had received no summons to attend the present
Parliament; but he sent word to the Imperial Ambassador that he would be
in his place, whether called up or not, that he might defend Catherine
should any measure be introduced which affected her. He begged Chapuys not
to mention his name in his despatches, except in cipher. If they met in
public Chapuys must not speak to him or appear to know him. He on his part
would pass Chapuys without notice till the present tyranny was overpast.
Bishop Fisher was entering upon dangerous courses, which were to lead him
into traitorous efforts to introduce an invading army into England and to
bring his own head to the block. History has only pity for these
unfortunate old men, and does not care to remember that, if they could
have had their way, a bloodier persecution than the Marian would have made
a swift end of the Reformation.

I need not repeat what I have written elsewhere on the acts of this
Session. A few details only deserve further notice. The privilege of
the clergy to commit felony without punishment was at last abolished.
Felonious clerks were thenceforward to suffer like secular criminals. An
accident provided an illustrative example. A priest was executed in London
for chipping the coin, having been first drawn through the streets in the
usual way. Thirty women sued in vain for his pardon. He was hanged in his
habit, without being degraded, against the protest of the Bishop--"a thing
never done before since the Island was Christian." The Constitutions
of Clarendon were to be enforced at last. The Arches court and the
Bishops' courts were reformed on similar lines, their methods and their
charges being brought within reasonable limits. Priests were no longer
allowed to evade the Mortmain Acts by working on death-bed terrors. The
exactions for mortuaries, legacy duties, and probate duties, long a
pleasant source of revenue, were abolished or cut down. The clergy in
their synods had passed what laws they pleased and enforced them with
spiritual terrors. The clergy were informed that they would no longer be
allowed to meet in synod without royal licence, and that their laws would
be revised by laymen. Chapuys wittily observed that the clergy were thus
being made of less account than cordwainers, who could at least enact
their own statutes.

A purpose of larger moment was announced by Henry for future execution.
More's chancellorship had been distinguished by heresy-prosecutions. The
stake in those three years had been more often lighted than under all the
administration of Wolsey. It was as if the Bishops had vented on those
poor victims their irritation at the rude treatment of their privileges.
The King said that the clergy's province was with souls, not with bodies.
They were not in future to arrest men on suspicion, imprison, examine, and
punish at their mere pleasure. There was an outcry, in which the
Chancellor joined. The King suspended his resolution for the moment, but
did not abandon it. He was specially displeased with More, from whom he
had expected better things. He intended to persist. "May God," exclaimed
the orthodox and shocked Chapuys, "send such a remedy as the intensity of
the evil requires." None of Henry's misdeeds shocked Chapuys so
deeply as the tolerating heresy.

The Royal Supremacy had been accepted by Convocation. It was not yet
confirmed by Parliament. Norfolk felt the pulses of the Peers. He called a
meeting at Norfolk House. He described the Pope's conduct. He insisted on
the usual topics--that matrimonial causes were of temporal jurisdiction,
not spiritual; that the King was sovereign in his own dominions, etc.,
etc., and he invited the Peers' opinions. The Peers were cold. Lord Darcy
had spoken freely against the Pope in his indictment of Wolsey. It seemed
his ardour was abating. He said the King and Council must manage matters
without letting loose a cat among the legs of the rest of them. The
meeting generally agreed with Darcy, and was not pressed further. Papal
privilege came before Parliament in a more welcome form when a bill was
introduced to withdraw annates or first fruits of benefices which had been
claimed and paid as a tribute to the Holy See. The imposition was a
grievance. There were no annates in Spain. The Papal collectors were
detested. The House of Commons made no difficulty. The Nuncio complained
to the King. The King told him that it was not he who brought forward
these measures. They were moved by the people, who hated the Pope
marvellously. In the Upper House the Bishops stood by their spiritual
chief this time unanimously. Among the mitred Abbots there was division of
opinion. The abbeys had been the chief sufferers from annates, and had
complained of the exaction for centuries. All the lay Peers, except Lord
Arundel, supported the Government. The bill was passed, but passed
conditionally, leaving power to the Crown to arrange a compromise if the
Pope would agree to treat. For the next year the annates were paid in
full, as usual, to give time for his Holiness to consider himself.

Thus steadily the Parliament moved on. Archbishop Warham, who was dying
broken-hearted, dictated a feeble protest from his bed against all which
had been done by it in derogation of the Pope or in limitation of the
privileges of the Church. More had fought through the session, but,
finding resistance useless, resigned the chancellorship. He saw what was
coming. He could not prevent it. If he retained his office he found that
he must either go against his conscience or increase the displeasure of
the King. He preferred to retire.

In this way, at least in England, the situation was clearing, and parties
and individuals were drifting into definite positions. Montfalconet,
writing to Charles in May, said that he had been in England and had seen
Queen Catherine, who was still clamouring for the Pope's sentence. "Every
one," he continued, speaking for the Catholic party, whom alone he had
seen, "was angry with the Pope, and angry with the Emperor for not
pressing him further. Peers, clergy, laity, all loved the Queen. She was
patient. She thought that if she could but see the King all might yet be
well. Were the sentence once delivered she was satisfied that he would
submit." The French Ambassador in London, on the other hand,
recommended Francis to force the Pope to hold his hand. He told Chapuys
that "France must and would take Henry's part if a rupture came. The
Emperor had no right to throw Europe into confusion for the sake of a
woman. If the King of England wished to marry again, he should do as Louis
XII. had done under the same circumstances--take the woman that he liked
and waste no more time and money."

At Rome the Pope had been fingering his briefs with hesitating heart. The
first, which he had issued under Charles's eye at Bologna, had been
comparatively firm. He had there ordered Henry to take Catherine back
under penalty of excommunication. The last, though so hardly extracted
from him, was meagre and insignificant. The King, when it was presented,
merely laughed at it. "The Pope," he said, "complains that I have sent the
Queen away. If his Holiness considers her as my wife, the right of
punishing her for the rudeness of her behaviour belongs to me and not to
him."

Ortiz, finding it hopeless to expect a decision on the marriage itself
from the Pope, demanded excommunication on the plea of disobedience to the
Bologna brief. He had succeeded, or thought he had succeeded, in bringing
the Pope to the point. The excommunication was drawn up, "but when it was
to be engrossed and sealed the enemy of mankind prevented its completion
in a manner only known to God." Ortiz continued to urge. The document
could be sent secretly to the Emperor, to be used at his discretion. "If
the Emperor thought fit to issue it, bearing, as it did, God's authority,
God in such cases would infallibly send his terrors upon earth and provide
that no ill should come of it." The Pope was less certain that God
would act as Ortiz undertook for him, and continued to offend the Lord by
delay. In vain Catherine's representative railed at him, in vain told him
that he would commit a great sin and offence against God if he did not
excommunicate a King who was, in mortal sin, keeping a mistress at his
Court. The Pope rationally answered that there was no evidence of mortal
sin. "It was the custom in England for Princes to converse intimately with
ladies. He could not prove that, in the present case, there was anything
worse, and the King might allege his conscience as a reason for not
treating the Queen as a husband." Ortiz insisted that the devil had
got hold of the King in the shape of that woman, and unless the Pope
obliged him to put her away, the Pope would be damned. But it was an
absurdity to excommunicate the King and declare him to have forfeited his
crown when the original cause of the quarrel was still undecided. The King
might prove after all to be right, as modern law and custom has in fact
declared him to have been.

Charles himself felt that such a position could not be maintained. Henry
was evidently not frightened. There was no sign that the English people
were turning against him. If a bull of excommunication was issued, Charles
himself would be called on to execute it, and it was necessary to be sure
of his ground.

Ortiz raged on. "I told his Holiness," he wrote, "that if he did not
excommunicate the King I would stand up at the day of judgment and accuse
him before God." Charles was obliged to tell Ortiz that he must be
more moderate. A further difficulty had risen in Rome itself. If the cause
was tried at Rome, was it to be tried before the Cardinals in consistory
or before the court of the Rota? The Cardinals were men of the world.
Micer Mai's opinion was that from the Rota only a judgment could be with
certainty expected in the Queen's favour. "The winds are against us,"
he wrote to Secretary Covos; "what is done one day is undone the next. The
Cardinals will not stir, but quietly pocket the ducats which come from
the Emperor, and the larger sums which come from the English, who are
lavish in spending. The Pope will not break with France. He says he has so
many ties with the Kings of France and England that he must pretend
goodwill to the latter for fear they both break off from the Church, as
they have threatened to do."





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