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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

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

Anne Sentenced To Die

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The Pope's Authority Abolished In England

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Illness Of Queen Catherine

Henry Advised To Marry Without Waiting For Sentence

Coronation Of Anne Boleyn






The Divorce








The marriage with Anne Boleyn was now a fixed idea in Henry's mind. He had
become passionately attached to her, though not perhaps she to him. The
evidence of his feeling remains in a series of letters to her--how
preserved for public inspection no one knows. Some of them were said to
have been stolen by Campeggio. Perhaps they were sold to him; at any rate,
they survive. A critic in the "Edinburgh Review" described them as such as
"might have been written by a pot-boy to his girl." The pot-boy must have
been a singular specimen of his kind. One, at any rate, remains to show
that, though Henry was in love, he did not allow his love to blind him to
his duty as a prince. The lady, though obliged to wait for the full
gratification of her ambition, had been using her influence to advance her
friends, while Wolsey brought upon himself the rebuke of his master by
insufficient care in the distribution of Church patronage. The
correspondence throws an unexpected light upon the King's character.

The Abbess of Wilton had died. The situation was a pleasant one. Among
the sisters who aspired to the vacant office was a certain Eleanor Carey,
a near connection of Anne, and a favourite with her. The appointment
rested virtually with the Crown. The Lady Anne spoke to the King. The King
deputed Wolsey to inquire into the fitness of the various candidates, with
a favourable recommendation of Eleanor Carey's claims. The inquiry was
made, and the result gives us a glimpse into the habits of the devout
recluses in these sacred institutions.

"As for the matter of Wilton," wrote Henry to Anne, "my Lord Cardinal here
had the nuns before him, and examined them in the presence of Master Bell,
who assures me that she whom we would have had Abbess has confessed
herself to have had two children by two different priests, and has since
been kept not long ago by a servant of Lord Broke that was. Wherefore I
would not for all the gold in the world clog your conscience nor mine, to
make her ruler of a house which is of so ungodly demeanour, nor I trust
you would not that, neither for brother nor sister, I should so
distain mine honour or conscience. And as touching the Prioress [Isabella
Jordan] or Dame Eleanor's elder sister, though there is not any evident
cause proved against them, and the Prioress is so old that of many years
she could not be as she was named, yet notwithstanding, to do you pleasure
I have done that neither of them shall have it, but that some other good
and well-disposed woman shall have it, whereby the house shall be better
reformed, whereof I assure you it hath much need, and God much the better
served."

This letter is followed by another to the Cardinal. Wolsey, in whose hands
the King had left the matter, in a second letter which is lost, instead of
looking out for the "good and well-disposed woman," though Isabella
Jordan's reputation was doubtful, yet chose to appoint her, and the King's
observations upon this action of his are worth attending to, as addressed
by such a person as Henry is supposed to have been to a Cardinal
Archbishop and Legate of the Holy See. Many of the letters signed by the
King were the composition of his ministers and secretaries. This to Wolsey
was his own.

"The great affection and love I bear you, causeth me, using the doctrine
of my Master, quem diligo castigo, thus plainly as now ensueth to break
to you my mind, ensuring you that neither sinister report, affection to my
own pleasure, interest, nor mediation of any other body beareth part in
this case, wherefore whatsoever I do say, I pray you think it spoken of no
displeasure, but of him that would you as much good both of body and soul
as you would yourself.

"Methinks it is not the right train of a trusty loving friend and servant
when the matter is put by the master's consent into his arbitre and
judgement--especially in a matter wherein his master hath both royalty and
interest, to elect and choose a person who was by him defended. And yet
another thing which displeaseth me more. That is to cloke your offence
made by ignorance of my pleasure, saying that you expressly knew not my
determinate mind in that behalf. Alas, my lord, what can be more evident
or plainer than these words, specially to a wise man--'His Grace careth
not who, but referreth it all to you, so that none of those who either be
or have been spotted with incontinence, like as by report the Prioress
hath been in her youth, have it;' and also in another place in the letter,
'And therefore his Highness thinketh her not meet for that purpose;'
thirdly, in another place in the same letter by these words, 'And though
his Grace speaketh not of it so openly, yet meseemeth his pleasure is that
in no wise the Prioress have it, nor yet Dame Eleanor's eldest sister, for
many considerations the which your Grace can and will best consider.'

"Ah, my Lord, it is a double offence both to do ill and to colour it too;
but with men that have wit it cannot be accepted so. Wherefore, good my
Lord, use no more that way with me, for there is no man living that more
hateth it. These things having been thus committed, either I must have
reserved them in pectore, whereby more displeasure might happen to
breed, or else thus soundly and plainly to declare them to you, because I
do think that cum amico et familiari sincere semper est agendum, and
especially the master to his best beloved servant and friend, for in so
doing the one shall be more circumspect in his doing, the other shall
declare and show the lothness that is in him to have any occasion to be
displeased with him.

"And as touching the redress of Religion [convent discipline], if it be
observed and continued, undoubtedly it is a gracious act. Notwithstanding,
if all reports be true, ab imbecillis imbecilla expectantur. How be it,
Mr. Bell hath informed me that the Prioress's age, personage and manner,
prae se fert gravitatem. I pray God it be so indeed, seeing she is
preferred to that room. I understand furthermore, which is greatly to my
comfort, that you have ordered yourself to Godward as religiously and
virtuously as any Prelate or father of Christ's Church can do, where in
so doing and persevering there can be nothing more acceptable to God, more
honour to yourself, nor more desired of your friends, among the which I
reckon myself not the least....

"I pray you, my Lord, think it not that it is upon any displeasure that I
write this unto you. For surely it is for my discharge before God, being
in the room that I am in, and secondly for the great zeal I bear unto you,
not undeserved in your behalf. Wherefore I pray you take it so; and I
assure you, your fault acknowledged, there shall remain in me no spark of
displeasure, trusting hereafter you shall recompense that with a thing
much more acceptable to me. And thus fare you well; advertising you that,
thanked be God, I and all my folk be, and have been since we came to
Ampthill, which was on Saturday last, July 11, in marvellous good health
and clearness of air.

"Written with the hand of him that is, and shall be your loving Sovereign
Lord and friend,--HENRY R."

Campeggio meanwhile was loitering on his way as he had been directed,
pretending illness, pretending difficulties of the road. In sending him at
all the Pope had broken his promise to Charles. He engaged, however, that
no sentence should be given which had not been submitted first to
Charles's approval. The Emperor, anxious to avoid a complete rupture with
England, let the Legate go forward, but he directed Mendoza to inform
Wolsey that he must defend his aunt's honour; her cause was his and he
would hold it as such. Wolsey, though afraid of the consequence of
opposing the divorce to himself and the Church, yet at heart had ceased
to desire it. Mendoza reported that English opinion was still
unfavourable, and that he did not believe that the commission would have
any result. The Pope would interpose delays. Wolsey would allow and
recognise them. Both Legates would agree privately to keep the matter in
suspense. The English Cardinal appeared to be against the Queen, but every
one knew that secretly he was now on her side. Catherine only was
seriously frightened. She had doubtless been informed of the secret
decretal by which the Pope appeared to have prejudged her cause. She
supposed that the Pope meant it, and did not understand how lightly such
engagements sate upon him. The same Clement, when Benvenuto Cellini
reproached him for breaking his word, replied, smiling, that the Pope had
power to bind and to loose. Catherine came before long to know him better
and to understand the bearings of this singular privilege; but as yet she
thought that words meant what they seemed to say. When she heard that
Campeggio was actually coming, she wrote passionately to the Emperor,
flinging herself upon him for protection. Charles calmed her alarm. She
was not, he said, to be condemned without a hearing. The Pope had assured
him that the Legates should determine nothing to her detriment. The case
should be decided at Rome, as she had desired. Campeggio's orders were to
advise that it should be dropped. Apart from his present infatuation, the
King was a good Christian and would act as one. If he persisted, she might
rely on the Pope's protection. She must consent to nothing which would
imply the dissolution of her marriage. If the worst came, the King would
be made conscious of his duties.

In the middle of October the Legate arrived. He had been ill in earnest
from gout and was still suffering. He had to rest two days in Calais
before he could face the Channel. The passage was wild. A deputation of
Peers and Bishops waited to receive him at Dover. Respectful
demonstrations had been prepared at the towns through which he was to
pass, and a state ceremonial was to accompany his entrance into London.
But he was, or pretended to be, too sick to allow himself to be seen. He
was eight days on the road from the coast, and on reaching his destination
he was carried privately in a state barge to the house provided for his
residence. Wolsey called the next morning. The King was absent, but
returned two days later to the Bridewell palace. There Campeggio waited on
him, accompanied by Wolsey. The weather continued to frown. "I wish,"
wrote Gerardo Molza to the Marchioness of Mantua, "that you could have
seen the two Cardinals abreast, one on his mule, the other carried in his
chair, the rain falling fast so that we were all drenched." The King,
simple man, believed that the documents which he held secured him. The
Pope in sending the Legate had acted in the teeth of the Emperor's
prohibition, and no one guessed how the affair had been soothed down. The
farce was well played, and the language used was what Henry expected.
Messer Floriano, one of Campeggio's suit, made a grand oration, setting
out the storming of Rome, the perils of the Church, and the misery of
Italy, with moving eloquence. The crowd was so dense in the hall of
audience that some of the Italians lost their shoes, and had to step back
barefoot to their lodgings through the wet streets.

The Legate was exhausted by the exertion, but he was not allowed to rest,
and the serious part of the business began at once behind the scenes. He
had hoped, as the Emperor said, that the case might be dropped. He found
Henry immoveable. "An angel from heaven," he wrote on the 17th of
October, "would not be able to persuade the King that his marriage was
not invalid. The matter had come to such a pass that it could no longer be
borne with. The Cardinal of York and the whole kingdom insisted that the
question must be settled in some way." One road out of the difficulty
alone presented itself. The Emperor had insisted that the marriage should
not be dissolved by Catherine's consent, objecting reasonably that a
judgment invalidating it would shake other royal marriages besides hers.
But no such judgment would be necessary if Catherine could be induced to
enter "lax religion," to take vows of chastity which, at her age and under
her conditions of health, would be a mere form. The Pope could then allow
Henry to take another wife without offence to any one. The legitimacy of
the Princess would not be touched, and the King undertook that the
succession should be settled upon her if he had no male heir. The Queen in
consenting would lose nothing, for the King had for two years lived apart
from her, and would never return to cohabitation. The Emperor would be
delivered from an obligation infinitely inconvenient to him, and his own
honour and the honour of Spain would be equally untouched.

These arguments were laid before the Queen by both the Legates, and urged
with all their eloquence. In the interests of the realm, in the interests
of Europe, in the interests of the Church, in her own and her daughter's
interest as well, it would have been wiser if she had complied. Perhaps
she would have complied had the King's plea been confined, as at first, to
the political exigencies of the succession. But the open and premature
choice of the lady who was to take her place was an indignity not to be
borne. She had the pride of her race. Her obstinacy was a match for her
husband's. She was shaken for a moment by the impassioned entreaties of
Campeggio, and she did not at once absolutely refuse. The Legate postponed
the opening of his court. He referred to Rome for further instructions,
complaining of the responsibility which was thrown upon him. Being on the
spot he was able to measure the danger of disappointing the King after the
secret commission, the secret decretal, and the Pope's private letter
telling Henry that he was right. Campeggio wrote to Salviati, after his
first interview with Catherine, that he did not yet despair. Something
might be done if the Emperor would advise her to comply. He asked Fisher
to help him, and Fisher seemed not wholly unwilling; but, after a few
days' reflection, Catherine told him that before she would consent she
would be torn limb from limb; she would have an authoritative sentence
from the Pope, and would accept nothing else; nothing should make her
alter her opinion, and if after death she could return to life, she would
die over again rather than change it.

Wolsey was in equal anxiety. He had set the stone rolling, but he could
not stop it. If Clement failed the King now, after all that he had
promised, he might not only bring ruin on Wolsey himself, but might bring
on the overthrow of the temporal power of the Church of England. Catherine
was personally popular; but in the middle classes of the laity, among the
peers and gentlemen of England, the exactions of the Church courts, the
Pope's agents and collectors, the despotic tyranny of the Bishops, had
created a resentment the extent of which none knew better than he. The
entire gigantic system of clerical dominion, of which Wolsey was himself
the pillar and representative, was tottering to its fall. If the King was
driven to bay, the favour of a good-natured people for a suffering woman
would be a poor shelter either for the Church or for him. Campeggio turned
to Wolsey for advice on Catherine's final refusal. The Pope, he said, had
hoped that Wolsey would advise the King to yield. Wolsey had advised. He
told Cavendish that he had gone on his knees to the King, but he could
only say to Campeggio that "the King--fortified and justified by reasons,
writings, and counsels of many learned men who feared God--would never
yield." If he was to find that the Pope had been playing with him, and the
succession was to be left undetermined, "the Church would be ruined and
the realm would be in infinite peril."

How great, how real, was the dread of a disputed succession, appears from
an extraordinary expedient which had suggested itself to Campeggio
himself, and which he declares that some perplexed politicians had
seriously contemplated. "They have thought," he wrote on the 28th of
October, "of marrying the Princess Mary to the King's natural son [the
Duke of Richmond] if it could be done by dispensation from His Holiness."
The Legate said that at first he had himself thought of this as a means
of establishing the succession; but he did not believe it would satisfy
the King's desire. If anything could be more astonishing than a
proposal for the marriage of a brother and sister, it was the reception
which the suggestion met with at Rome. The Pope's secretary replied that
"with regard to the dispensation for marrying the son to the daughter of
the King, if on the succession being so established the King would abandon
the divorce, the Pope would be much more inclined to grant it."

Clement's estimate of the extent of the dispensing power was large. But
the situation was desperate. He had entangled himself in the meshes. He
had promised what he had no intention of performing. He was finding that
he had been trifling with a lion, and that the lion was beginning to rouse
himself. Again and again Wolsey urged the dangers upon him. He wrote on
the 1st of November to Casalis that "the King's honour was touched, having
been so great a benefactor to the Holy See. The Pope would alienate all
faith and devotion to the Apostolic See. The sparks of opposition which
had been extinguished with such care and vigilance would blaze out to the
utmost anger of all, both in England and elsewhere." Clement and his
Cardinals heard, but imperfectly believed. "He tells us," wrote Sanga,
"that if the divorce is not granted the authority of the Apostolic See in
England will be annihilated; he is eager to save it because his own
greatness is bound up with ours." The Curia was incredulous, and thought
that Wolsey was only alarmed for himself. Wolsey, however, was right.
Although opinions might have varied on the merits of the King's request,
people were beginning to ask what value as a supreme judge a pope could
have, who could not decide on a point of canon law.

The excitement was growing. Certain knowledge of what was going on was
confined to the few who had access to the secret correspondence, and they
knew only what was meant for their own eyes. All parties, English and
Imperial alike, distrusted the Pope. He had impartially lied to both, and
could be depended on by neither, except so far as they could influence his
fears. Catherine was still the favourite with the London citizens. She had
been seen accidentally in a gallery of the Palace, and had been
enthusiastically cheered. The King found it necessary to explain himself.
On the 8th of November he summoned the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, the Privy
Council, and a body of Peers, and laid the situation before them from his
own point of view. He spoke of his long friendship with the Emperor, and
of his hope that it would not be broken, and again of his alliance with
France, and of his desire to be at peace with all the world. "He had
wished," he said, "to attach France more closely to him by marrying his
daughter to a French prince, and the French Ambassador, in considering the
proposal, had raised the question of her legitimacy. His own mind had long
misgiven him on the lawfulness of his marriage. M. de Tarbes' words had
added to his uneasiness. The succession to the crown was uncertain; he had
consulted his bishops and lawyers, and they had assured him that he had
been living in mortal sin.... He meant only to do what was right, and he
warned his subjects to be careful of forming hasty judgments on their
Prince's actions."

Apart from the present question the King was extremely popular, and
reports arriving from Spain touched the national pride. There was a talk
of calling Parliament. Mendoza and Catherine again urged Charles to speak
plainly. The Pope must inhibit Parliament from interfering. The Nuncio in
London would present the order, and Parliament, they thought, would
submit. They were mistaking the national temper. Mendoza's letters had
persuaded the Spanish Council that the whole of England was in opposition
to the King. The Spanish Chancellor had said publicly that if the cause
was proceeded with there would be war, and "the King would be dethroned by
his own subjects." The words were reported to Wolsey, and were confirmed
by an English agent, Sylvester Darius, who had been sent to Valladolid on
business connected with the truce. Darius had spoken to the Chancellor
on the probability of England taking active part with France. "Why do you
talk of the King of England?" the Chancellor had answered; "if we wished,
we could expel him from his kingdom in three months. What force had the
King? his own subjects would expel him. He knew how matters were." It
was one thing for a free people to hold independent opinions on the
arrangements of their own royal family. It was another to be threatened
with civil war at the instigation of a foreign sovereign. Wolsey quoted
the dangerous language at a public meeting in London; and a voice
answered, "The Emperor has lost the hearts of a hundred thousand
Englishmen." A fresh firebrand was thrown into the flames immediately
after. The national pride was touched on a side where it was already
sensitive from interest. There were 15,000 Flemish artisans in London.
English workmen had been jealous of their skill, and had long looked
askance at them. The cry rose that they had an army of traitors in their
midst who must be instantly expelled. The Flemings' houses were searched
for arms, and watched by a guard, and the working city population,
traders, shopkeepers, mechanics, apprentices, came over to the King's
side, and remained there.

Meantime the cause itself hung fire. A new feature had been introduced to
enable Campeggio to decline to proceed and the Pope to withdraw decently
from his promises. The original Bull of Pope Julius permitting the
marriage had been found to contain irregularities of form which were
supposed fatal to it. The validity of the objection was not denied, but
was met by the production of a brief alleged to have been found in Spain,
and bearing the same date with the Bull, which exactly met that objection.
No trace of such a brief could be found in the Vatican Register. It had
informalities of its own, and its genuineness was justly suspected, but it
answered the purpose of a new circumstance. A copy only was sent to
England, which was shown by Catherine in triumph to Henry, but the
original was detained. It would be sent to Rome, but not to London;
without it Campeggio could pretend inability to move, and meanwhile he
could refuse to proceed on his commission. Subterfuges which answer for
the moment revenge themselves in the end. Having been once raised, it was
absolutely necessary that a question immediately affecting the succession
should be settled in some way, and many of the peers who had been
hitherto cool began to back the King's demands. An address was drawn up,
having among others the Duke of Norfolk's signature, telling the Pope that
the divorce must be conceded, and complaints were sent through Casalis
against Campeggio's dilatoriness. The King, he was to say, would not
submit to be deluded.

Casalis delivered his message, and describes the effect which it produced.
"The Pope," he wrote, "very angry, laid his hand on my arm and forbade me
to proceed, saying there was but too good ground for complaint, and he was
deluded by his own councillors. He had granted the decretal only to be
shown to the King, and then burnt. Wolsey now wished to divulge it. He saw
what would follow, and would gladly recall what had been done, even with
the loss of one of his fingers."

Casalis replied that Wolsey wished only to show it to a few persons whose
secrecy might be depended on. Was it not demanded for that purpose? Why
had the Pope changed his mind? The Pope, only the more excited, said he
saw the Bull would be the ruin of him, and he would make no more
concessions. Casalis prayed him to consider. Waving his arms violently,
Clement said, "I do consider. I consider the ruin which is hanging over
me. I repent what I have done. If heresies arise, is it my fault? I will
not violate my conscience. Let them, if they like, send the Legate back,
because he will not proceed. They can do as they please, provided they do
not make me responsible."

Did the Pope mean, then, Casalis asked, that the commission should not
proceed? The Pope could not say as much as that; he had told Campeggio, he
said, to dissuade the King and persuade the Queen. "What harm could there
be," Casalis inquired, "in showing the decretal, under oath, to a few of
the Privy Council?"

The Pope said the decretal ought to have been burnt, and refused to
discuss the matter further.





Next: Illness Of The Pope

Previous: Anxiety Of The Pope To Satisfy The King



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