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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

Illness Of The Pope



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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

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The Pope's Authority Abolished In England

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Illness Of Queen Catherine

Coronation Of Anne Boleyn

Henry Advised To Marry Without Waiting For Sentence






Illness Of The Pope








Human pity is due to the unfortunate Pope--Vicar of Christ, supreme judge
in Europe, whose decrees were the inspirations of the Holy Ghost--spinning
like a whipped top under the alternate lashes of the King of England and
the Emperor. He had hoped that his decretal would not be known. It could
not be concealed from Mendoza, who discovered, putting the worst
interpretation upon it, "that the Pope and King had been endeavouring to
intimidate the Queen into retiring into a convent." Finding that he, too,
could put no faith in Clement, the Emperor's representative at Rome now
forced a new promise from him. The proceedings in England were not to be
opened without a fresh direct order from the Pope, and this the Pope was
to be forbidden to give. If the King was obstinate and the Queen demanded
it, Campeggio was to leave England, and, notwithstanding his engagements
to the contrary, Clement was to advocate the cause to Rome. The new brief
was sufficient plea. Without it the Legates could come to no conclusion,
"the whole right of the Queen being based upon its contents." The Emperor
had it in his hands, and by refusing to allow it to be examined, except at
Rome, might prevent them from moving.

There was little doubt that the brief had been forged for the occasion.
The Pope having sent a commission to England, the King considered that he
had a right to the production of documents essential to the case. He
required Catherine to write to Charles to ask for it. Catherine did as he
desired, and the messenger who carried her letter to the Spanish Court was
sworn to carry no private or separate missive from her. Mendoza dared not
write by the same hand himself, lest his despatches should be examined. He
made the messenger, therefore, learn a few words by heart, telling the
Emperor that the Queen's letter was not to be attended to. "We thought,"
he said, "that the man's oath was thus saved." Thus time drifted on.
The new year came, and no progress had been made, though Campeggio had
been three months in England. The Pope, more helpless than dishonest,
continued to assure the King that he would do all that by law could be
required of him, and as much as he could do ex plenitudine potestatis.
No peril should prevent him. "If the King thought his resigning the Papacy
would conduce to his purpose, he could be content, for the love he bore
his Highness, rather than fail to do the same."

If the Pope was so well disposed, the King could not see where the
difficulty lay. The Queen had refused his entreaty that she should enter
religion. Why should not the Pope, then, allow the decretal to be put in
execution? But Cardinal Salviati informed Casalis that a sentence given
in virtue of the decretal would have no effect, but would only cause the
Pope's deposition. Visibly and unpleasantly it became now apparent to
Henry to what issues the struggle was tending. He had not expected it.
Wolsey had told him that the Pope would yield; and the Pope had promised
what was asked; but his promises were turning to vapour. Wolsey had said
that the Emperor could not afford to quarrel with him. The King found that
war with the Emperor in earnest was likely enough unless he himself drew
back, and draw back he would not. The poor Pope was as anxious as Henry.
He had spoken of resigning. He was near being spared the trouble. Harassed
beyond his strength, he fell ill, and was expected to die; and before
Wolsey there was now apparently the strange alternative either of utter
disgrace or of himself ascending the chair of St. Peter as Clement's
successor. His election, perhaps, was really among the chances of the
situation. The Cardinals had not forgiven the sack of Rome. A French or
English candidate had a fair prospect of success, and Wolsey could command
the French interest. He had boundless money, and money in the Sacred
College was only not omnipotent. He undertook, if he was chosen, to resign
his enormous English preferments and reside at Rome, and the vacancy of
his three bishoprics and his abbey would pour a cataract of gold into the
Cardinals' purses. The Bulls for English bishoprics had to be paid for on
a scale which startled Wolsey himself. Already archbishop of York, bishop
of Winchester, and abbot of St. Albans, he had just been presented to
Durham. He had paid 8,000 ducats to "expedite" his Bulls for Winchester.
The Cardinals demanded 13,000 ducats for Durham. The ducat was worth five
shillings, and five shillings in 1528 were worth fifty shillings of modern
money. At such a rate were English preferments bled to support the College
of Cardinals; and if all these great benefices were again vacated there
would be a fine harvest to be gathered. For a week or two the splendid
vision suspended even the agitation over the divorce; but the Pope
revived, and the Legates and he had to resume their ungrateful burden.

It was still really uncertain what Clement would do. Weak, impulsive men
often leave their course to fate or chance to decide for them. Casalis,
when he was able to attend to business again, told him in Wolsey's name
that he must take warning from his late danger. "By the wilfully suffering
a thing of such high importance to be unreformed to the doing whereof
Almighty God worked so openly he would incur God's displeasure and peril
his soul." The Imperialists were as anxious as Wolsey, and equally
distrustful. In the Sacred College English gold was an influence not to be
despised, and Henry had more to give than Charles. Micer Mai, the Imperial
agent at Rome, found, as the spring came on, that the Italian Cardinals
were growing cold. Salviati insisted to him that Catherine must go into a
convent. Casalis denounced the new brief as a forgery, and the Sacred
College seemed to be of the same opinion. The fiery Mai complained in the
Pope's presence of the scant courtesy which the Ministers of the Emperor
were meeting with, while the insolent and overbearing were regaled like
the Prodigal Son. The Pope assured him that, come what might, he
would never authorise the divorce; but Mai only partially believed him. At
trying moments Mai was even inclining to take the same view of the Papacy
as Lope de Soria. "At other times," he said, "many things could be got out
of the Pope by sheer intimidation; but now that could not be tried, for he
would fall into despair, and the Imperialists would lose him altogether.
They owed him something for what he had done for them before, otherwise he
would be of opinion that it would be for God's service to reduce them to
their spiritual powers."

Occasionally Mai's temper broke through, and he used language worth
observing. One of the Cardinals had spoken slightingly of the Emperor.

"I did not call on his Holiness," he wrote to Charles, "but sent him a
message, adding that, if ever it came to my notice that the same Cardinal,
or any member of the College, had dared to speak in such an indecent
manner of the Emperor, I took my most solemn oath that I would have him
beheaded or burnt alive within his own apartment. I had this time
refrained out of respect for his Holiness; but should the insult be
repeated I would not hesitate. They might do as they would with their
Bulls and other rogueries--grant or refuse them as they liked; but they
were not to speak evil of princes, or make themselves judges in the
affairs of kingdoms."

This remarkable message was conveyed to the Pope, who seemed rather
pleased than otherwise. Mai, however, observed that the revolt of the
Lutherans was not to be wondered at, and in what they said of Rome he
considered that they were entirely right, except on points of faith.

Cardinals had been roughly handled in the sack of the Holy City at but a
year's distance. The possibility was extremely real. The Imperial
Minister, it appeared, could still command the services of the Spanish
garrisons in the Papal territories if severity was needed, and the members
of the Sacred College had good reason to be uneasy; but King Henry might
reasonably object to the trial of his cause in a country where the
assessors of the supreme judge were liable to summary execution if they
were insubordinate. That Charles could allow his representative to write
in such terms to him proves that he and Mai, and Henry himself, were in
tolerable agreement on Church questions. The Pope knew it; one of his
chief fears was that the Emperor, France, England, and the German Princes,
might come to an understanding to his own disadvantage. Perhaps it might
have been so had not the divorce kept Henry and Charles apart. Campeggio
wrote to Sanga on the 3rd of April that certain advances had been made by
the Lutherans to Henry, in which they promised to relinquish all heresies
on articles of faith, and to believe according to Divine law if he and the
King of France would reduce the ecclesiastical state to the condition of
the Primitive Church, taking from it all its temporalities. He had told
the King this was the Devil dressed in angel's clothing, a mere design
against the property of the Church; and that it had been ruled by councils
and theologians that it was right for the Church to hold temporal
property. The King said those rules had been made by Churchmen
themselves, and now the laity must interfere. He said also that Churchmen
were said to be leading wicked lives, especially about the Court of
Rome.

Growled at on both sides, in terror for himself, in terror for the Church,
the Pope drifted on, hoping for some accident to save him which never
came, and wishing perhaps that his illness had made an end of him.

The Emperor complained of Campeggio as partial to the King because he held
an English bishopric. "If the Pope leaves the succession undetermined,"
insisted Wolsey, on the other side, "no Prince would tolerate such an
injury." "Nothing was done," wrote the Pope's secretary to Campeggio, "and
nothing would be done. The Pope was in great trouble between the English
and Imperial Ambassadors. He wished to please the King, but the King and
Cardinal must not expect him to move till they had forced the Venetians to
restore the Papal territories." Stephen Gardiner, who knew Clement well
and watched him from day to day, said: "He was a man who never resolved
anything unless compelled by some violent affection. He was in great
perplexity, and seemed willing to gratify the King if he could, but when
it came to the point did nothing. He would be glad if the King's cause
could be determined in England by the Legates; and if the Emperor made any
suit against what should be done there, they would serve him as they now
served the King, and put off the time." So matters would go on, "unless
Campeggio would frankly promise to give sentence in the King's favour;
otherwise such delays would be found as the counterfeit Brief had
caused." Sir Francis Bryan, who was also at the Papal court, wrote to
the King that the Pope would do nothing for him, and whoever had told the
King that he would, had not done him the best service. "He was very sorry
to write thus, but the King must not be fed with their flattering
words."

To wait longer on the Pope's action was now seen in England to be useless.
The Pope dared not offend the Emperor further, and the Emperor had
interposed to prohibit future action. Clement had himself several times
suggested that the best way was to decide the case first in England in the
Legate's court, and leave Catherine to appeal; he had promised Charles
that no judgment should be given in England by the Legates; but he had
worn so double a face that no one could say which truly belonged to him.
Gardiner and Bryan were recalled. The King, finding the Pope's
ingratitude, "resolved to dissemble with him, and proceed on the
commission granted to Wolsey and Campeggio." The Cardinal of York
encouraged his brother Legate by assuring him that if the marriage was now
dissolved means would be found to satisfy the Emperor. Catherine would be
left with her state undiminished, would have anything that she desired
"except the person of the King." The Emperor's natural daughter might be
married to the Duke of Richmond, and all would be well.

So Wolsey wrote, but his mind was less easy than he pretended. Unless
Henry was supported actively by the French, he knew that the Pope would
fail him in the end; and Francis had been disappointed in the hope that
Henry would stand actively by him in the war. Without effectual help from
that quarter, Wolsey saw that he was himself undone. The French Ambassador
represented to his Court that Wolsey was sincerely attached to the French
alliance, that the King had only been induced to enterprise the affair by
the assurance which the Cardinal had always given that he had nothing to
fear from the Emperor; Wolsey had advanced the divorce as a "means to
break off for ever the alliance with the Emperor"; and Francis, by now
declaring himself, would confer a very great favour on the King, and would
oblige Wolsey as much as if he had made him pope. His master was not
only now concerned for the discharge of his conscience and his desire to
have issue, but the very safety and independence of England was at stake.
He could not have it said that he left the succession to the throne
uncleared for the threats of his enemy.

The Duke of Suffolk was despatched to Paris to bring Francis to the point.
Francis professed the warmest good-will to his brother of England. He
undertook to advise the Pope. He assured Suffolk that if the Emperor
attempted force Henry would find him at his side; but further he would not
pledge himself. The time was past for a Wolsey patriarchate, and Francis,
curiously enough, expressed doubts whether Wolsey was not after all
betraying Henry. "There are some," he said, "which the King my brother
doth trust in that matter that would it should never take effect.
Campeggio told me he did not think the divorce would be brought about, but
should be dissembled well enough. When the Cardinal of England was with
me, as far as I could perceive, he desired the divorce might take place,
for he loved not the Queen; but I advise my brother not to trust any man
too much, and to look to his own matters. The Cardinal has great
intelligence with the Pope, and Campeggio and they are not inclined to
it."

Things could not go on thus for ever. There would have been an excuse for
Clement, if with a consciousness of his high office he had refused to
anticipate a judgment till the case had been heard and considered. But
from the first the right or wrong of the cause itself had been disregarded
as of no moment. Nothing had been thought of but the alternate dangers to
be anticipated from the King or the Emperor. Had the French driven the
Imperialists out of Italy, the divorce would have been granted without
further question. The supreme tribunal in Christendom was transparently
influenced by no motive save interest or fear. Clement, in fact, had
anticipated judgment, though he dared not avow it. He had appointed a
commission, and by the secret decretal had ruled what the decision was to
be. The decretal could not be produced, but, with or without it, the King
insisted that the court should sit. Campeggio had been sent to try the
cause, and try it he should. Notice was given that the suit was to be
heard at the end of June. Wolsey perhaps had chosen a date not far from
the close of term, that the vacation might suspend the process, and give
time for further delay.

Since a trial of some kind could not be avoided, final instructions were
sent from Rome to Campeggio. "If," wrote Sanga to him, "the Pope was not
certain that he remembered the injunctions which he gave him by word of
mouth, and which had been written to him many times, he would be very
anxious. His Holiness had always desired that the cause should be
protracted in order to find some means by which he could satisfy the King
without proceeding to sentence. The citation of the cause to Rome, which
he had so often insisted on, had been deferred, not because it was doubted
whether the matter could be treated with less scandal at Rome than there,
but because His Holiness had ever shrunk from a step which would offend
the King. But, since Campeggio had not been able to prevent the
commencement of the proceedings, His Holiness warned him that the process
must be slow, and that no sentence must in any manner be pronounced. He
would not lack a thousand means and pretexts, if on no other point, at
least upon the brief which had been produced."

According to Casalis the view taken of the general situation at Rome was
this.

"The Pope would not declare openly for the Emperor till he saw how matters
went. He thought the Emperor would come to Italy, and if there was a war
would be victorious, so that it would be for His Holiness's advantage to
obtain his friendship beforehand. If peace was made the Emperor would
dictate terms, and more was to be hoped from his help than from the
French King. The Emperor was the enemy of the Allies, and sought to
recover the honour which he lost by the sack of Rome by making himself
protector of the Pope."

Wolsey's dream was over, and with it the dreams of Lope de Soria and Micer
Mai. The fine project to unite France and England in defence of the Papacy
was proving baseless as the sand on which it was built. Henry VIII. was to
lead the reform of the Church in England. Charles, instead of beheading
cardinals, was to become the champion of the Roman hierarchy. The air was
clearing. The parties in the great game were drifting into their natural
situations. The fate which lay before Wolsey himself, the fate which lay
before the Church of England, of the worst corruptions of which he was
himself the chief protector and example, his own conscience enabled him
too surely to foresee.

Mendoza was recalled, and before leaving had an interview with the King.
"The Emperor," he said, "was obliged to defend his aunt. It was a private
affair, which touched the honour of his family." The King answered that
the Emperor had no right to interfere. He did not meddle himself with the
private affairs of other princes. Mendoza was unable to guess what was
likely to happen. The suit was to go on. If a prohibitory mandate arrived
from the Pope, it was uncertain whether Wolsey would obey it, and it was
doubtful also whether any such mandate would be sent. He suspected Clement
of possible deliberate treachery. He believed that orders had been sent to
the Legate to proceed, and give sentence in virtue of the first
commission. In that case the sentence would certainly be against the
Queen, and not a moment must be lost in pressing an appeal to Rome.





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Previous: The Divorce



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