Home  -  Tutor Videos / Shows   -  Queen Victoria   -  Queen Elizabeth   -  Queen Mary   -  Queen Adelaide   -  Catherine of Aragon   -  King Henry the VIII   -  Windsor Castle

Most Viewed

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

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



Least Viewed

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

Henry Advised To Marry Without Waiting For Sentence

Coronation Of Anne Boleyn






Illness Of The Princess Mary








England, to all appearance, was now on the eve of a bloody and desperate
war. The conspirators were confident of success; but conspirators
associate exclusively with persons of their own opinions, and therefore
seldom judge accurately of the strength of their opponents. Chapuys and
his friends had been equally confident about Ireland. Fitzgerald was now a
fugitive, and the insurrection was burning down; yet the struggle before
Henry would have been at least as severe as had been encountered by his
grandfather Edward, and the country itself would have been torn to pieces;
one notable difference only there was in the situation--that the factions
of the Roses had begun the battle of themselves, without waiting for help
from abroad; the reactionaries under Henry VIII., confessedly, were afraid
to stir without the avowed support of the Emperor; and Charles, when the
question came seriously before him, could not have failed to ask himself
why, if they were as strong as they pretended, and the King's party as
weak as they said it was, they endured what they could easily prevent.

These reflections naturally presented themselves both to the Emperor and
to the Spanish Council when they had to decide on the part which they
would take. If what Chapuys represented as a mere demonstration should
turn into serious war, England and France would then unite in earnest;
they would combine with Germany; and Europe would be shaken with a
convulsion of which it was impossible to foresee the end. The decision was
momentous, and Charles paused before coming to a resolution. Weeks passed,
and Chapuys could have no positive answer, save that he was to give
general encouragement to the Queen's friends, and let them know that the
Emperor valued their fidelity. Weary of his hesitation, and hoping to
quicken his resolution, Catherine sent Chapuys word that the Princess was
to be forced to swear to the Act of Supremacy, and that, on her refusal,
she was to be executed or imprisoned for life. Catherine wrote what she,
perhaps, believed, but could not know. But the suspense was trying, and
the worst was naturally looked for. News came that English sailors had
been burnt by the Inquisition at Seville as heretics. Cromwell observed to
Chapuys that "he had heard the Emperor was going to make a conquest of the
realm." The Ambassador had the coolness to assure him that he was
dreaming; and that such an enterprise had never been thought of. Cromwell
knew better. He had learnt, for one thing, of the plans for Mary's escape.
He knew what that would mean, and he had, perhaps, prevented it. The
project had been abandoned for the moment. Instead of escaping, she had
shown symptoms of the same dangerous illness by which she had been
attacked before. There was the utmost alarm, and, as a pregnant evidence
of the condition of men's minds, the physicians refused to prescribe for
her, lest, if she died, they should be suspected of having poisoned her.
The King's physician declined. Queen Catherine's physician
declined--unless others were called in to assist--and the unfortunate girl
was left without medical help, in imminent likelihood of death, because
every one felt that her dying at such a time would be set down to foul
play. The King sent for Chapuys and begged that he would select a doctor,
or two doctors, of eminence to act with his own. Chapuys, with polite
irony, replied that it was not for him to make a selection; the King must
be better acquainted than he could be with the reputation of the London
physicians; and the Emperor would be displeased if he showed distrust of
his Majesty's care for his child. Cromwell, who was present, desired that
if the Princess grew worse Chapuys would allow one of his own people to be
with her. Henry continued to express his grief at her sufferings. Some
members of the Council "had not been ashamed to say" that as men could
find no means of reconciling the King with the Emperor, God might open a
door by taking the Princess to himself. It was a very natural thought.
Clement had said the same about Catherine. But the aspiration would have
been better left unexpressed. Chapuys's suspicions were not removed.
He perceived the King's anxiety to be unfeigned; but he detested him too
sincerely to believe that in anything he could mean well. The Princess
recovered. Catherine took advantage of the attack to entreat again that
her daughter might be under her own charge. It was cruel to be obliged to
refuse.

Chapuys presented the Queen's request. The King, he said, heard him
patiently and graciously, and, instead of the usual answer that he knew
best how to provide for his daughter, replied, gently, that he would do
his utmost for the health of the Princess, and, since her mother's
physician would not assist, he would find others. But to let Chapuys
understand that he was not ignorant of his secret dealings, he said he
could not forget what was due to his own honour. The Princess might be
carried out of the kingdom, or might herself escape. She could easily do
it if she was left in her mother's charge. He had perceived some
indications, he added significantly, that the Emperor wished to have her
in his hands.

Ambassadors have a privilege of lying. Chapuys boldly declared that there
was no probability of the Emperor attempting to carry off the Princess.
The controversy had lasted five years, and there had been no indication of
any such purpose. The King said that it was Catherine who had made the
Princess so obstinate. Daughters owed some obedience to their mothers, but
their first duty was to the father. This Chapuys did not dispute, but
proposed as an alternative that she should reside with her old governess,
Lady Salisbury. The King said the Countess was a foolish woman, and of no
experience.

The difficulty was very great. To refuse so natural a request was to
appear hard and unfeeling; yet to allow Catherine and Mary to be together
was to furnish a head to the disaffection, of the extent of which the King
was perfectly aware. He knew Catherine, and his words about her are a key
to much of their relations to one another. "She was of such high
courage," he said, "that, with her daughter at her side, she might raise
an army and take the field against him with as much spirit as her mother
Isabella."

Catherine of Aragon had qualities with which history has not credited her.
She was no patient, suffering saint, but a bold and daring woman, capable,
if the opportunity was offered her, of making Henry repent of what he had
done. But would the opportunity ever come? Charles was still silent.
Chapuys continued to feed the fire with promises. Granvelle, Charles's
Minister, might be more persuasive than himself. To Granvelle the
Ambassador wrote "that the Concubine had bribed some one to pretend a
revelation from God that she was not to conceive children while the Queen
and the Princess were alive. The Concubine had sent the man with the
message to the King, and never ceased [Wolsey had called Anne 'the night
crow'] to exclaim that the ladies were rebels and traitresses, and
deserved to die."

Norfolk, irritated at Anne's insolence to him, withdrew from court in
ill-humour. He complained to Reginald Pole's brother, Lord Montague, that
his advice was not attended to, and that his niece was intolerable. The
Marquis of Exeter regretted to Chapuys that the chance had not been
allowed him so far to shed his blood for the Queen and Princess. "Let the
movement begin, and he would not be the last to join." Mary,
notwithstanding the precautions taken to keep her safe, had not parted
with her hope of escape. If she could not be with her mother she thought
the Emperor might, perhaps, intercede with the King to remove her from
under Mrs. Shelton's charge. The King might be brought to consent; and
then, Chapuys said, with a pinnace and two ships in the river, she might
still be carried off when again at Greenwich, as he could find means to
get her out of the house at any hour of the night.

At length the suspense was at an end, and the long-waited-for decision of
the Emperor arrived. He had considered, he said, the communications of
Lord Darcy and Lord Sandys; he admitted that the disorders of England
required a remedy; but an armed interference was at the present time
impossible. It was a poor consolation to the English Peers and
clergy; and there was worse behind. Not only the Emperor did not mean to
declare war against Henry, but, spite of Catherine, spite of
excommunication, spite of heresy, he intended, if possible, to renew the
old alliance between England and the House of Burgundy. Politics are the
religion of princes, and if they are wise the peace of the world weighs
more with them than orthodoxy and family contentions. Honour, pride,
Catholic obligations recommended a desperate stroke. Prudence and a higher
duty commanded Charles to abstain. Sir John Wallop, the English
representative at Paris, was a sincere friend of Queen Catherine, but was
unwilling, for her sake, to see her plunge into an insurrectionary
whirlpool. Viscount Hannart, a Flemish nobleman with English connections,
was Charles's Minister at the same Court. Together they discussed the
situation of their respective countries. Both agreed that a war between
Henry and the Emperor would be a calamity to mankind; while in alliance
they might hold in check the impatient ambition of France. Wallop
suggested that they might agree by mutual consent to suspend their
differences on the divorce; might let the divorce pass in silence for
future settlement, and be again friends.

The proposal was submitted to the Spanish Council of State. The objections
to it were the wrongs done, and still being done, to the Queen and
Princess in the face of the Pope's sentence, and the obligations of the
Emperor to see that sentence enforced. An arrangement between the Emperor
and the King of England on the terms suggested would be ill received in
Christendom, would dispirit the two ladies, and their friends in England
who had hitherto supported the claims of the Princess Mary to the
succession; while it might, further, encourage other princes to divorce
their wives on similar grounds. In favour of a treaty, on the other hand,
were the notorious designs of the French King. France was relying on the
support of England. If nothing was done to compose the existing
differences the King of England might be driven to desperate courses. The
Faith of the Church would suffer. The General Council, so anxiously looked
for, would be unable to meet. The French King would be encouraged to go to
war. Both he and the King of England would support the German schism, and
the lives of the Princess and her mother would probably be sacrificed. A
provisional agreement might modify the King of England's action, the
Church might be saved, the ladies' lives be secured, and doubt and
distrust be introduced between England and France. The Emperor could then
deal with the Turks, and other difficulties could be tided over till a
Council could meet and settle everything.

Chapuys had written so confidently on the strength of the insurrectionary
party that it was doubted whether choice between the alternative courses
might not better be left for him to decide. Charles, who could better
estimate the value of the promises of disaffected subjects, determined
otherwise. The Ambassador, therefore, was informed that war would be
inconvenient. Lord Darcy's sword must remain in the scabbard, and an
attempt be made for reconciliation on the lines suggested by Sir John
Wallop. Meanwhile, directions were given to the Inquisitors at Seville to
be less precipitate in their dealings with English seamen.

From the first it had been Cromwell's hope and conviction that an open
quarrel would be escaped. The French party in the English Council--Anne
Boleyn, her family, and friends--had been urging the alliance with France,
and a general attack on Charles's scattered dominions. Cromwell, though a
Protestant in religion, distrusted an associate who, when England was once
committed, might make his own terms and leave Henry to his fate. In
politics Cromwell had been consistently Imperialist. He had already
persuaded the King to allow the Princess to move nearer to Kimbolton,
where her mother's physician could have charge of her. He sent thanks to
Charles in the King's name for his interference with the Holy Office. He
left nothing undone to soften the friction and prepare for a
reconciliation. Catherine and Mary he perceived to be the only obstacle to
a return to active friendship. If the broken health of one, and the acute
illness of the other, should have a fatal termination, as a politician he
could not but feel that it would be an obstacle happily removed.

Chapuys's intrigue with the confederate Peers had been continued to the
latest moment. All arrangements had been made for their security when the
rising should break out. Darcy himself was daily looking for the signal,
and begged only for timely notice of the issue of the Emperor's manifesto
to escape to his castle in the north. The Ambassador had now to trim
his sails on the other tack. The Emperor was ready to allow the execution
of Clement's sentence to stand over till the General Council, without
prejudice to the rights of parties, provided an engagement was made for
the respectful treatment of the Queen and Princess, and a promise given
that their friends should be unmolested. To Catherine the disappointment
was hard to bear. The talk of a treaty was the death-knell of the hopes on
which she had been feeding. A close and confidential intercourse was
established between Chapuys and Cromwell to discuss the preliminary
conditions, Chapuys, ill liking his work, desiring to fail, and on the
watch for any point on which to raise a suspicion.

The Princess was the first difficulty. Cromwell had promised that she
should be moved to her mother's neighbourhood. She had been sent no nearer
than Ampthill. Cromwell said that he would do what he could, but the
subject was disagreeable to the King, and he could say no more. He entered
at once, however, on the King's desire to be again on good terms with the
Emperor. The King had instructed him to discuss the whole situation with
Chapuys, and it would be unfortunate, he said, if the interests of two
women were allowed to interfere with weighty matters of State. The Queen
had been more than once seriously ill, and her life was not likely to be
prolonged. The Princess was not likely to live either; and it did not
appear that either in Spain or France there was much anxiety for material
alteration in their present position. Meanwhile, the French were
passionately importuning the King to join in a war against the Emperor.
Cromwell said that he had been himself opposed to it, and the present
moment, when the Emperor was engaged with the Turks, was the last which
the King would choose for such a purpose. The object to be arrived at was
the pacification of Christendom and the general union of all the leading
Powers. The King desired it as much as he, and had, so far, prevented war
from being declared by France.

It was true that the peace of the world was of more importance than the
complaints of Catherine and Mary. Catherine had rejected a compromise when
the Emperor himself recommended it, and Mary had defied her father and had
defied Parliament at her mother's bidding. There were limits to the
sacrifices which they were entitled to demand. Chapuys protested against
Cromwell's impression that the European Powers were indifferent. The
strongest interest was felt in their fate, he said, and many
inconveniences would follow should harm befall them. The world would
certainly believe that they had met with foul play. The Emperor would be
charged with having caused it by neglecting to execute the Pope's
sentence, and it would be said also that, but for the expectations which
the Emperor had held out to them of defending their cause, they would
themselves have conformed to the King's wishes; they would then have been
treated with due regard and have escaped their present miseries. Cromwell
undertook that the utmost care and vigilance should be observed that hurt
should not befall them. The Princess, he said, he loved as much as Chapuys
himself could love her, and nothing that he could do for them should be
neglected; but the Ambassador and the Emperor's other agents were like
hawks who soared high to stoop more swiftly on their prey. Their object
was to have the Princess declared next in succession to the crown, and
that was impossible owing to the late statutes.

Chapuys reported what had passed to his master, but scarcely concealed his
contempt for the business in which he was engaged. "I cannot tell," he
wrote, "what sort of a treaty could be made with this King as long as he
refuses to restore the Queen and Princess, or repair the hurts of the
Church and the Faith, which grow worse every day. No later than Sunday
last a preacher raised a question whether the body of Christ was
contained, or not, in the consecrated wafer. Your Majesty may consider
whither such propositions are tending."

A still more important conversation followed a few days later. It can
hardly be doubted, in the face of Chapuys's repeated declaration that both
Catherine and her daughter were in personal danger, that Anne Boleyn felt
her position always precarious as long as they were alive, and refused to
acknowledge her marriage. She perhaps felt that it would go hard with
herself in the event of a successful insurrection. She had urged, as far
as she dared, that they should be tried under the statute; but Henry would
not allow such a proposal to be so much as named to him. Other means,
however, might be found to make away with them, and Sir Arthur Darcy,
Lord Darcy's son, thought they would be safer in the King's hands in the
Tower than in their present residence. "The devil of a Concubine would
never rest till she had gained her object."

The air was thick with these rumours when Chapuys and Cromwell again met.
The overtures had been commenced by the Emperor. Cromwell said the King
had given him a statement in writing that he was willing to renew his old
friendship with the Emperor and make a new treaty with him, if proper
safeguards could be provided for his honour and reputation; but it was to
be understood distinctly that he would not permit the divorce question to
be reopened; he would rather forfeit his crown and his life than consent
to it, or place himself in subjection to any foreign authority; this was
his firm resolution, which he desired Chapuys to make known to the
Emperor.

The Spanish Ministry had been willing that the Pope's sentence should be
revised by a General Council. Why, Chapuys asked, might not the King
consent also to refer the case to the Council? The King knew that he was
right. He had once been willing--why should he now refuse? A Council, it
had been said, would be called by the Pope, and would be composed of
clergy who were not his friends; but Chapuys would undertake that there
should be no unfair dealing. Were the Pope and clergy to intend harm, all
the Princes of Christendom would interfere. The Emperor would recommend
nothing to which the King would not be willing to subscribe. The
favourable verdict of a Council would restore peace in England, and would
acquit the Emperor's conscience. The Emperor, as matters stood, was bound
to execute the sentence which had been delivered, and could not hold back
longer without a hope of the King's submission.

Cromwell admitted the reasonableness of Chapuys's suggestion. The Emperor
was showing by the advances which he had commenced that he desired a
reconciliation. A Council controlled by the princes of Europe might
perhaps be a useful instrument. Cromwell promised an answer in two days.

Then, after a pause, he returned to the subject of which he had spoken
before:--In a matter of so much consequence to the world as the good
intelligence of himself and the King of England, he said that the Emperor
ought not to hesitate on account of the Queen and the Princess. They were
but mortal. If the Princess was to die, her death would be no great
misfortune, when the result of it would be the union and friendship of the
two Princes. He begged Chapuys to think it over when alone and at
leisure. He then went on to inquire (for Chapuys had not informed him that
the Emperor had already made up his mind to an arrangement) whether the
ladies' business might not be passed over silently in the new treaty, and
be left in suspense for the King's life. A General Council might meet to
consider the other disorders of Christendom, or a congress might be held,
previously appointed jointly by the King and the Emperor, when the ladies'
rights might be arranged without mystery. Then once more, and, as Chapuys
thought, with marked emphasis, he asked again what harm need be feared if
the Princess were to die. The world might mutter, but why should it be
resented by the Emperor?

Chapuys says that he replied that he would not dwell on the trouble which
might arise if the Princess suddenly died in a manner so suspicious. God
forbid that such a thing should be! How could the Emperor submit to the
reproach of having consented to the death of his cousin, and sold her for
the sake of a peace?

Chapuys professed to believe, and evidently wished the Emperor to believe,
that Cromwell was seriously proposing that the Princess Mary should be
made away with. A single version of a secret conversation is an
insufficient evidence of an intended monstrous crime. We do not know in
what language it was carried on. Cromwell spoke no language but English
with exactness, and Chapuys understood English imperfectly. The recent and
alarming illness of the Princess, occasioned by restraint, fear, and
irritation, had made her condition a constant subject of Chapuys's
complaints, and Cromwell may have been thinking and speaking only of her
dying under the natural consequences of prolonged confinement. Chapuys's
unvarying object was to impress on the Emperor that her life was in
danger. But Cromwell he admitted had been uniformly friendly to Mary, and,
had foul play been really contemplated, the Emperor's Ambassador was the
last person to whom the intention would have been communicated.

The conversation did not end with Chapuys's answer. Cromwell went on, he
said (still dwelling on points most likely to wound Charles), to rage
against popes and cardinals, saying that he hoped the race would soon be
extinct, and that the world would be rid of their abomination and tyranny.
Then he spoke again of France, and of the pressure laid on Henry to join
with the French in a war. Always, he said, he had dissuaded his master
from expeditions on the Continent. He had himself refused a large pension
which the French Government had offered him, and he intended at the next
Parliament to introduce a Bill prohibiting English Ministers from taking
pensions from foreign princes on pain of death.

Men who have been proposing to commit murders do not lightly turn to
topics of less perilous interest.

Some days passed before Chapuys saw Cromwell again; but he continued to
learn from him the various intrigues which were going on. Until the King
was sure of his ground with Charles, the French faction at the court
continued their correspondence with Francis. The price of an Anglo-French
alliance was to be a promise from the French King to support Henry in his
quarrel with Rome at the expected Council, and Chapuys advised his master
not to show too much eagerness for the treaty, as he would make the King
more intractable.

The Emperor's way of remedying the affairs of England could not be better
conceived, he said, provided the English Government met him with an honest
response, provided they would forward the meeting of the Council, and
treat the Queen and Princess better, who were in great personal danger.
This, however, he believed they would never do. The Queen had instructed
him to complain to the Emperor that her daughter was still left in the
hands of her enemies, and that if she was to die it would be attributed to
the manner in which she had been dealt with; the Queen, however, was
satisfied that the danger would disappear if the King and the Emperor came
to an understanding; and, if she could be assured that matters would be
conducted as the Emperor proposed, he would be able to persuade her to
approve of the whole plan.

Chapuys never repeated his suspicion that danger threatened Mary from
Cromwell, and, if he had really believed it, he would hardly have failed
to make further mention of so dark a suggestion. He was not scrupulous
about truth: diplomatists with strong personal convictions seldom are. He
had assured the King that a thought had never been entertained of an armed
interference in England, while his letters for many months had been full
of schemes for insurrection and invasion. He was eager for the work to
begin. He was incredulous of any other remedy, and, if he dared, would
have forced the Emperor's hand. He depended for his information of what
passed at the court upon Anne Boleyn's bitterest enemies, and he put the
worst interpretation upon every story which was brought to him. Cromwell,
he said, had spoken like Caiaphas. It is hardly credible that Cromwell
would have ventured to insult the Emperor with a supposition that he would
make himself an accomplice in a crime. But though I think it more likely
that Chapuys misunderstood or misrepresented Cromwell than that he
accurately recorded his words, yet it is certain that there were members
of Henry's Council who did seriously desire to try and to execute both
Mary and her mother. Both of them were actively dangerous. Their friends
were engaged in a conspiracy for open rebellion in their names, and,
under the Tudor princes, nearness of blood or station to the Crown was
rather a danger than a protection. Royal pretenders were not gently dealt
with, even when no immediate peril was feared from them. Henry VII. had
nothing to fear from the Earl of Warwick, yet Warwick lay in a bloody
grave. Mary herself executed her cousin Jane Grey, and was hardly
prevented from executing her sister Elizabeth. Elizabeth, in turn,
imprisoned Catherine Grey, and let her die as Chapuys feared that Mary was
now about to die. The dread of another war of succession lay like a
nightmare on the generations which carried with them an ever-present
memory of the Wars of the Roses.





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

Previous: Intended Escape Of The Princess Mary Out Of England



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK


Viewed 1167