Coronation Of Anne Boleyn

If circumstances can be imagined to justify the use of the dispensing

power claimed and exercised by the Papacy, Henry VIII. had been entitled

to demand assistance from Clement VII. in the situation in which he had

found himself with Catherine of Aragon. He had been committed when little

more than a boy, for political reasons, to a marriage of dubious legality.

In the prime of his life he found himself fastened to a woman eight yea

older than himself; the children whom she had borne to him all dead,

except one daughter; his wife past the age when she could hope to be again

a mother; the kingdom with the certainty of civil war before it should the

King die without a male heir. In hereditary monarchies, where the

sovereign is the centre of the State, the interests of the nation have to

be considered in the arrangements of his family. Henry had been married

irregularly to Catherine to strengthen the alliance between England and

Spain. When, as a result, a disputed succession and a renewal of the civil

wars was seen to be inevitable, the King had a distinct right to ask to be

relieved of the connection by the same irregular methods. The causa

urgentissima, for which the dispensing power was allowed, was present in

the highest degree, and that power ought to have been made use of. That it

was not made use of was due to a control exerted upon the Pope by the

Emperor, whose pride had been offended; and that such an influence could

be employed for such a purpose vitiated the tribunal which had been

trusted with a peculiar and exceptional authority. The Pope had not

concealed his conviction that the demand was legitimate in itself, or

that, in refusing, he was yielding to intimidation, and the inevitable

consequences had followed. Royal persons who receive from birth and

station remarkable favours of fortune occasionally have to submit to

inconveniences attaching to their rank; and, when the occasion rises, they

generally meet with little ceremony. At the outset the utmost efforts had

been made to spare Catherine's feelings. Both the King and the Pope

desired to avoid a judgment on the validity of her marriage. An heir to

the crown was needed, and from her there was no hope of further issue. If

at the beginning she had been found incapable of bearing a child, the

marriage would have been dissolved of itself. Essentially the condition

was the same. Technical difficulties could be disposed of by a Papal

dispensation. She would have remained queen, her honour unaffected, the

legitimacy of Mary unimpugned, the relations between the Holy See and the

Crown and Church of England undisturbed. The obstinacy of Catherine

herself, the Emperor's determination to support her, and the Pope's

cowardice, prevented a reasonable arrangement; and thus the right of the

Pope himself to the spiritual sovereignty of Europe came necessarily under

question, when it implied the subjugation of independent princes to

another power by which the Court of Rome was dominated.

Such a question once raised could have but one answer from the English

nation. Every resource had been tried to the extreme limit of forbearance,

and all had failed before the indomitable will of a single woman. A

request admitted to be just had been met by excommunication and threats of

force. With entire fitness, the King and Parliament had replied by

withdrawing their recognition of a corrupt tribunal, and determining

thenceforward to try and to judge their own suits in their own courts.

Thus, on the 10th of May, Cranmer, with three Bishops as assessors, sate

at Dunstable under the Royal licence to hear the cause which had so long

been the talk of Europe, and Catherine, who was at Ampthill, was cited to

appear. She consulted Chapuys on the answer which she was to make. Chapuys

advised her not to notice the summons. "Nothing done by such a Court could

prejudice her," he said, "unless she renounced her appeal to Rome." As she

made no plea, judgment was promptly given. The divorce was complete

so far as English law could decide it, and it was doubtful to the last

whether the Pope was not at heart a consenting party. The sentence had

been, of course, anticipated. On the 27th of April Chapuys informed the

Emperor how matters then stood.

"Had his Holiness done as he was advised, and inserted a clause in the

Archbishop's Bulls forbidding the Archbishop to meddle in the case, he

would have prevented much mischief. He chose to take his own way, and thus

the English repeat what they have said all along: that in the end the Pope

would deceive your Majesty.... The thing now to be done is to force from

the Pope a quick and sudden decision of the case, so as to silence those

who affirm that he is only procrastinating till he can decide in favour of

the King, or who think that your Majesty will then acquiesce and that

there will be no danger of war.... I have often tried to ascertain from

the Queen what alternative she is looking to, seeing that gentleness

produces no effect. I have found her hitherto so scrupulous in her

profession of respect and affection for the King that she thinks she will

be damned eternally if she takes a step which may lead to war. Latterly,

however, she has let me know that she would like to see some other remedy

tried, though she refers everything to me."

The proceedings at Dunstable may have added to Catherine's growing

willingness for the "other remedy." She was no longer an English subject

in the eye of the law, and might hold herself free to act as she pleased.

Simultaneously, however, a consultation was going forward about her and

her affairs in the Spanish Cabinet which was not promising for Chapuys's

views. The Spanish Ambassador in London, it was said, was urging for war

with England. The history of the divorce case was briefly stated. The

delay of judgment had been caused by the King's protest that he could not

appear at Rome. That point had been decided against the King. The Pope

had promised the Emperor that he would proceed at once to sentence, but

had not done it. Brief on brief had been presented to the King, ordering

him to separate from Anne Boleyn pendente lite, but the King had paid no

attention to them--had married the Lady and divorced the Queen. The

Emperor was the Queen's nearest relation. What was he to do? There were

three expedients before him: legal process, force, and law and force

combined. The first was the best; but the King and the realm would refuse

the tribunal, and the Pope always had been, and still was, very cold and

indifferent in the matter, and most tolerant to the English King. Open

force, in the existing state of Christendom, was dangerous. To begin an

aggression was always a questionable step. Although the King had married

"Anne de Bulans," he had used no violence against the Queen, or done

anything to justify an armed attack upon him. The question was "a private

one," and the Emperor must consider what he owed to the public welfare.

Should the third course be adopted, the Pope would have to pronounce

judgment and call in the secular arm. All Christian princes would then be

bound to help him, and the Emperor, as the first among them, would have to

place himself at the head of the enterprise. "But would it not be better

and more convenient to avoid, for the present, harsh measures, which might

bring on war and injure trade, and insist only on further censures and a

sentence of deposition against the King? Should the Pope require to know

beforehand what the Emperor would do to enforce the execution, it would be

enough to tell the Pope that he must do his part first; any further

engagement would imply that the sentence on the principal cause had been

decided beforehand. Finally, it would have to be determined whether the

Queen was to remain in England or to leave it."

These were the questions before the Cabinet. A Privy Councillor, perhaps

Granvelle (the name is not mentioned), gave his own opinion, which was

seemingly adopted.

All these ways were to be tried. The Pope must proceed with the suit.

Force must be suspended for the present, the cause being a personal one,

and having already begun when peace was made at Cambray. The Pope must

conclude the principal matter, or at least insist on the revocation of

what had been done since the suit commenced, and then, perhaps, force

would not be required at all. The advice of the Consulta on the answer to

be given to the Pope, should he require to know the Emperor's intentions,

was exactly right. Nothing more need be said than that the Emperor would

not forget the obligations which devolved on him, as an obedient son of

the Church. The Queen, meanwhile, must remain in England. If she came

away, a rupture would be inevitable.

The speaker advised further that a special embassy should be sent to

England to remonstrate with the King.

This, however, if unsuccessful, it was felt would lead to war; and

opposite to the words the Emperor himself wrote on the margin an emphatic


The mention of the peace of Cambray is important. The divorce had reached

an acute stage before the peace was concluded. It had not been spoken of

there, and the Emperor was diplomatically precluded from producing it as a

fresh injury. Both he and the Council were evidently unwilling to act. The

Pope knew their reluctance, and did not mean, if he could help it, to

flourish his spiritual weapons without a sword to support them.

The King wrote to inform Charles of his marriage. "In the face of the

Scotch pretensions to the succession," he said, "other heirs of his body

were required for the security of the Crown. The thing was done, and the

Pope must make the best of it." This was precisely what the Pope was

inclined to do. Cifuentes thought that, though he seemed troubled, "he was

really pleased." "He said positively that, if he was to declare the

King of England deprived of his crown, the Emperor must bind himself to

see the sentence executed." Charles had no intention of binding

himself, nor would his Cabinet advise him to bind himself. The time was

passed when Most Catholic Princes could put armies in motion to execute

the decrees of the Bishop of Rome. The theory might linger, but the facts

were changed. Philip II. tried the experiment half a century later, but it

did not answer to him. A fresh order of things had risen in Europe, and

passionate Catholics could not understand it. Dr. Ortiz shrieked that "the

King, by his marriage, was guilty of heresy and schism;" the Emperor ought

to use the opportunity, without waiting for further declarations from the

Pope, and unsheath the sword which God had placed in his hands.

English Peers and Prelates, impatient of the rising strength of the

Commons and of the growth of Lutheranism, besieged Chapuys with entreaties

for an Imperial force to be landed. They told him that Richard III. was

not so hated by the people as Henry; but that, without help from abroad,

they dared not declare themselves. Why could they not dare? The King

had no janissaries about his throne. Why could they not stand up in the

House of Lords and refuse to sanction the measures which they disapproved?

Why, except that they were not the people. Numbers might still be on

their side, but the daring, the intellect, the fighting-strength of

England was against them, and the fresh air of dawning freedom chilled

their blood. The modern creed is that majorities have a right to rule. If,

out of every hundred men, four-fifths will vote on one side, but will not

fight without help from the sword of the stranger; and the remaining fifth

will both vote and fight--fight domestic cowards and foreign foes

combined--which has the right to rule? The theory may be imperfect; but it

is easy to foresee which will rule in fact. The marriage with Anne was

formally communicated in the House of Lords. There were some murmurs. The

King rose from the throne and said it had been necessary for the welfare

of the realm. Peers and Commons acquiesced, and no more was said. The

coronation of the new Queen was fixed for the 19th of May.

If the great men who had been so eager with Chapuys were poltroons,

Chapuys himself was none. Rumours were flying that the Emperor was coming

to waste England, destroy the Royal family, and place a foreign Prince on

the throne. The Ambassador addressed a letter to Henry, saying that he

held powers to take action for the preservation of the Queen's rights; and

he gave him notice that he intended to enter immediately on the duties of

his office. Henry showed no displeasure at so bold a communication,

but sent Thomas Cromwell to him, who was now fast rising into consequence,

to remind him that, large as was the latitude allowed to Ambassadors, he

must not violate the rights of the Crown, and to warn him to be careful.

He was then summoned before the Privy Council. Norfolk had previously

cautioned him against introducing briefs or letters from the Pope, telling

him that if he did he would be torn in pieces by the people. The Council

demanded to see the powers which he said that he possessed. He produced

directions which he had received to watch over the Queen's rights, and he

then remarked on the several briefs by which the King was virtually

excommunicated. Lord Wiltshire told him that if any subject had so acted

he would have found himself in the Tower. The King wished him well; but if

he wore two faces, and meddled with what did not concern him, he might

fall into trouble.

Chapuys replied that the Council were like the eels of Melun, which cried

out before they were skinned. He had done nothing, so far. He had not

presented any "Apostolic letters." As to two faces, the Earl meant, he

supposed, that he was about to act as the Queen's Proctor as well as

Ambassador; he was not a lawyer; he had no such ambition. Then, speaking

in Latin, because part of the Council did not understand French, he dwelt

on the old friendship between the Emperor and the King. He said that the

part which the Emperor had taken about the divorce was as much for the

sake of the King and the realm as for the sake of the Queen, although the

Queen and Princess were as a mother and a sister to him. He went through

the case; he said their statutes were void in themselves, and, even if

valid, could not be retrospective. The Archbishop had been just sworn to

the Pope. He had broken his oath, and was under excommunication, and

was, therefore, disqualified to act. He reminded the Council of the Wars

of the Roses, and told them they were sharpening the thorns for fresh


Doctor Foxe (the King's Almoner, afterwards bishop) replied that the King

could not live with his brother's wife without sin, and therefore left

her. It was a fact accomplished, and no longer to be argued. To challenge

the action of the Archbishop was to challenge the law of the land, and was

not to be allowed. The Pope had no authority in England, spiritual or

temporal. The introduction of bulls or briefs from Rome was unlawful, and

could not be sheltered behind immunities of ambassadors. Chapuys was the

representative of the Emperor, not of the Pope, and Foxe cautioned him

against creating disturbances in the realm.

To this Chapuys quietly answered that he would do his duty, let the

consequences be what they might. Being again warned, he said he would wait

for two or three days, within which he looked for a satisfactory reply

from the King.

In leaving the council-room, he said, in imperious fashion, as if he was

addressing a set of criminals, that reports were current about the Emperor

which he desired to notice. Some declared that he had consented to the

marriage with the Lady Anne. Others that he meant to make war. Both

allegations alike were false and malicious. So far from wishing to injure

England, the Emperor wished to help and support it, and could not believe

that he would ever be obliged to act otherwise; and as to consenting to

the divorce, if the Pope declared for it he would submit to the Pope's

judgment; otherwise the world would not turn him from the path which he

meant to follow. He was acting as the King's best friend, as the King

would acknowledge if he could forget his passion for the Lady and consider

seriously his relations with the Emperor. He begged the Council,

therefore, to prevent such rumours from being circulated if they did not

wish Chapuys to contradict them himself.

The Ambassador was keeping within the truth when he said that Charles was

not meditating war. Chapuys's instructions when first sent to England had

been not to make matters worse than they were, not to threaten war, nor to

imply in any way that there was danger of war. He had himself,

however, insisted that there was no alternative. He had encouraged

Catherine's friends with hope of eventual help, and continued to convey to

the Emperor their passionate wish that "his Majesty's hand would soon

reach England," before "the accursed woman" made an end of the Queen and

of them--to tell him that, were his forces once on land, they might raise

as many men as they pleased, and the London citizens would stand by, "keep

the enlistment money," and wait to see which party won. As long, however,

as his master was undecided he would not, he said, take measures which

would do no good, and only lead to inconvenience. He had merely given the

Council "a piece of his mind," and had said what no one else would say,

for fear of Lady Anne.

The answer to his letter which he expected from the King did not arrive,

but instead of it an invitation to dinner from the Duke of Norfolk, which

he refused lest his consent should be misconstrued. Ultimately, however,

Cromwell came to him with the King's permission. Cromwell, strange to say,

had been a strong advocate for the Imperial alliance, in opposition to the

French, and with Cromwell the Ambassador's relations were more easy than

with the Duke. Their conversations were intimate and confidential. Chapuys

professed a hope that the King's affection for the Lady would pass off,

and promised, for himself, to pour no more oil on the fire till he

received fresh orders. If they wished for peace, however, he said they

must be careful of their behaviour to the Queen, and he complained of the

removal of her arms from her barge in the river. Such petty acts of

persecution ought to be avoided. The removal of the arms was the work of

some too zealous friend of Anne. Cromwell had not heard of it, and said

that the King would be greatly displeased. Meanwhile he trusted that

Spanish notions of honour would not interfere with a friendship so useful

to both countries. If it came to war, England would not be found an easy

conquest. He defended the King's action. The Pope would not do him

justice, so he had slapped the Pope in the face. No doubt he had been

influenced by love for the Lady. Neither the King himself, nor all the

Preachers in the world, would convince him that love had nothing to do

with it. But the King was well read in the canon law, and if his

conscience was satisfied it was enough.

As Cromwell was so frank, Chapuys asked him when and where the marriage

with Anne had been concluded. Cromwell either would not or could not tell

him, saying merely that Norfolk had not been present at the ceremony, but

others of the Council had, and there was no doubt that it had really taken


So matters stood in England, every one waiting to learn how the Emperor

would act. Anne Boleyn was duly crowned at Whitsuntide--a splendid

official pageant compensating for the secrecy of her marriage. The streets

were thronged with curious spectators, but there was no enthusiasm. The

procession was like a funeral. The Pope was about to meet the King of

France at Nice. Norfolk was commissioned to attend the interview, and, as

Henry still hoped that the Duke would bring back an acquiescence in his

wishes from Clement, Chapuys saw him before his departure. The Duke said

the peace of the world now depended on the Emperor. He repeated that his

niece's marriage had been no work of his. Her father and he had always

been against it, and, but for them, it would have happened a year before.

She had been furious with both of them. She was now enceinte, and had

told her father and himself and Suffolk that she was in better plight than

they wished her to be. To attempt to persuade the King to take Catherine

back either by threat or argument would be labour thrown away, such "were

his scruples of conscience and his despair of having male succession by


At Cromwell's intercession, the Bishop of Rochester was now released from

confinement, and politics were quiet, till the effect was seen of the Nice

conference. Anxious consultations were held at Rome before the Pope set

out. The Cardinals met in consistory. Henry's belief had been that Francis

was prepared to stand by him to the uttermost, and would carry Clement

with him. He was now to find, either that he had been misled or had

wilfully deceived himself. Cardinal Tournon, who was supposed to have

carried an ultimatum from the meeting at Calais, had required the Pope to

suspend the process against Henry: if the Pope replied that the

offence was too great, and that he must deprive him, Francis did not say

that he would risk excommunication himself by taking an open part, but had

directed the Cardinal to urge the removal of the suit to a neutral place,

as had been often proposed. The Pope told the Count de Cifuentes that this

suggestion had been already discussed with the Emperor, and that the

Emperor had not entirely disapproved; but the cunning and treacherous

Clement had formed a plan of his own by which he thought he could save

England and punish Henry. Francis being less firm than he had feared, he

thought that, by working on French ambition, he could detach Francis

completely from his English ally. The French were known to be eager to

recover Calais. What if Calais could be offered them as a bait? They might

turn their coats as they had so often done before. Cunning and

weakness generally go together. It was an ingenious proposal, and throws a

new light on Clement's character. Nothing came of it, for the Emperor,

with a view to the safety of Flanders and the eventual recovery of the

English alliance, declined to sanction a change of ownership on his own

frontier. Finding no encouragement, Clement relapsed into his usual

attitude. The Imperialists continued to press for the delivery of

sentence before the Pope should leave Rome. The Pope continued to insist

on knowing the Emperor's intentions.

A Spanish lawyer, Rodrigo Davalos, had been sent to Rome to dissuade the

Pope from the Nice interview, and to quicken the action of the Rota.

"Queen Catherine's suit," he said, "had been carried on as if it were that

of the poorest woman in the world. Since Cifuentes and he had been there

the process had been pushed on, but the Advocates and Proctors had not

received a real. Their hands required anointing to make them stick to

their business. The Cardinals were at sixes and sevens, and refused to

pull together, do what Davalos would."

Davalos, being a skilful manipulator and going the right way to work,

pressed the process forward in the Rota without telling the Pope what he

was doing, since Clement would have stopped it had he not been kept in

ignorance. But, "God helping, no excuse was left." The forms were all

concluded, and nothing remained but to pass the long-talked-of sentence.

The Pope was so "importuned" by the French and English Ambassadors to

suspend it till after the meeting at Nice that Davalos could not say

whether he would get it, after all; but he told the Pope that further

hesitation would be regarded by the Emperor as an outrage, and would raise

suspicion through the whole world. The Pope promised, but where goodwill

was wanting trifles were obstacles. Davalos confessed that he had no faith

in his promise. He feared the Pope must have issued some secret brief,

which stood in his way.

Clement, however, was driven on in spite of himself. Judgment on the

principal cause could not be wrung from him. Cardinal Salviati was of

opinion that they would never give it till the Emperor would promise that

it should be executed. But a Brief super Attentatis, which was said

to be an equivalent, Clement was required to sign, and did sign--a Bull on

which Charles could act if occasion served, the Pope himself swearing

great oaths that Henry had used him ill, and that he would bribe Francis

to forsake him by the promise of Calais.

One more touch must be added to complete the comedy of distraction. A

proposal of the Spanish Council to send a special embassy to London to

remonstrate with the King had been definitely rejected by the Emperor. It

was revived by Chapuys, with whom it had probably originated. He imagined

that the most distinguished representatives of the Spanish nation might

appear at the English Court and protest against the ill-usage of the

daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. If the King refused them satisfaction,

they might demand to be heard in Parliament. The King would then be placed

in the wrong before his own people. The nobles of Aragon and Castile would

offer their persons and their property to maintain the Queen's right; and

Chapuys said, "Not a Spaniard would hesitate if they were privately

assured first that they would not be taken at their word."

Leaving the Catholic Powers in confusion and uncertainty, we return to

England. Catherine had rejected every proposal which had been made to

her. There could not be two queens in the same country, and, after Anne's

coronation, a deputation waited upon her to intimate that her style must

be changed. She must now consent to be termed Princess Dowager, when an

establishment would be provided for her as the widow of the King's

brother. Her magnificent refusal is well known to history. Cromwell spoke

with unbounded admiration of it. Yet it was inconvenient, and increased

the difficulty of providing for her, since she declined to accept any

grants which might be made to her under the new title, or to be attended

by any person who did not treat her and address her as queen. It would

have been better if she had required to be allowed to return to Castile;

but both the Spanish Council and the Emperor had decided that she must

remain in England. The Princess had been allowed to rejoin her. The mother

and daughter had made short expeditions together, and had been received

with so much enthusiasm that it was found necessary again to part them.

Stories were current of insulting messages which Catherine had received

from the Lady Anne, false probably, and meant only to create exasperation.

The popular feeling was warmly in her favour. She was personally liked as

much as Anne was hated; and the King himself was not spared. As a specimen

of the licence of language, "a Mrs. Amadas, witch and prophetess, was

indicted for having said that 'the Lady Anne should be burned, for she was

a harlot. Master Norris (Sir Henry Norris, Equerry to Henry) was bawd

between her and the King. The King had kept both the mother and the

daughter, and Lord Wiltshire was bawd to his wife and to his two

daughters.'" In July the news arrived from Rome of the Brief de

Attentatis, and with it the unpleasant intelligence that Francis could

not be depended on, and that the hopes expected from the meeting at Nice

would not be realised. The disappointment was concealed from Anne, for

fear of endangering the expected child. Norfolk, who had waited in Paris

to proceed in the French King's train, was ordered to return to England.

Henry was not afraid, but he was discovering that he had nothing to rely

upon but himself and the nation. The terms on which France and the Empire

stood towards each other were so critical that he did not expect the

Emperor to quarrel with England if he could help it. Chapuys seemed

studiously to seek Cromwell. Of Cromwell's fidelity to himself Henry was

too well assured to feel uneasy about their intimacy, and therefore they

met often and as freely exchanged their thoughts. Chapuys found Cromwell

"a man of sense, well versed in affairs of State, and able to judge

soundly," with not too good an opinion of the Lady Anne, who returned his

dislike. Anne was French; Cromwell was Imperialist beyond all the rest of

the Council.

"I told him," wrote the Ambassador to Charles, after one of these

conversations, "I often regretted your Majesty had not known him in

Wolsey's time. He would have been a greater man than the Cardinal, and the

King's affairs would have gone much better. He seemed pleased, so I

continued. Now was the time for him to do his master better service than

ever man did before. Sentence had been given in Rome against the King, and

there was no further hope that your Majesty and the Pope would agree to

the divorce. I presumed that the King being so reasonable, virtuous, and

humane a prince, would not persist longer and blemish the many gifts which

God had bestowed on him. I prayed him to move the King. He could do more

with him than any other man. He was not in the Council when the accursed

business was first mooted. The Queen trusted him, and, when reinstated,

would not forget his service. Cromwell took what I said in good part. He

assured me that all the Council desired your Majesty's friendship. He

would do his best, and hoped that things would turn out well. If I can

believe what he says there is still a hope that the King may change. I

will set the net again and try if I can catch him; but one cannot be too

cautious. The King is disturbed by what has passed at Rome. He fears the

Pope will seduce the French King from him."

"Who was this Cromwell that had grown to such importance?" Granvelle had

asked. "He is the son," replied Chapuys, "of a farrier in Chelsea, who is

buried in the parish church there. His uncle, father of Richard Cromwell,

was cook to the Archbishop of Canterbury. This Thomas Cromwell was wild in

his youth, and had to leave the country. He went to Flanders and to Rome.

Returning thence he married the daughter of a wool merchant, and worked at

his father-in-law's business. After that he became a solicitor. Wolsey,

finding him diligent and a man of ability for good or ill, took him into

service and employed him in the suppression of religious houses. When

Wolsey fell he behaved extremely well. The King took him into his secret

Council. Now he is above everyone, except the Lady, and is supposed to

have more credit than ever the Cardinal had. He is hospitable and liberal,

speaks English well, and Latin, French, and Italian tolerably."

The intimacy increased. Cromwell, though Imperial in politics and no

admirer of Anne Boleyn, was notoriously Henry's chief adviser in the

reform of the clergy; but to this aspect of him Chapuys had no objection.

Neither the Ambassador nor Charles, nor any secular statesman in Europe,

was blind to the enormities of Churchmen or disposed to lift a finger for

them, if reform did not take the shape of Lutheranism. Charles himself had

said that, if Henry had no objects beyond the correction of the

spiritualty, he would rather aid than obstruct him. Between Chapuys and

Cromwell there was thus common ground; and Cromwell's hint that the King

might perhaps reconsider his position may not have been wholly groundless.

The action of the Rota, pressed through by Davalos, had taken Henry by

surprise. He had not expected that the Pope would give a distinct judgment

against him. He had been equally disappointed in the support which he

expected from Francis. That he should now hesitate for an instant was

natural and inevitable; but the irresolution, if real, did not last.

Norfolk wrote to the King from Paris "to care nothing for the Pope:" there

were men "enough at his side in England to defend his right with the

sword." Henry appealed to a General Council, when a Council could be

held which should be more than a Papal delegacy. The revenues of the

English sees which were occupied by Campeggio and Ghinucci he

sequestrated, as a sign of the abandonment of a detestable system.

His own mind, meanwhile, was fastened on the approaching confinement of

Anne. With the birth of a male heir to the Crown he knew that his

difficulties would vanish. Nurses and doctors had assured him of a son,

and the event was expected both by him and by others with passionate

expectation. A Prince of Wales would quiet the national uncertainty. It

would be the answer of Heaven to Pope and Emperor, and a Divine sanction

of his revolt. There is danger in interpreting Providence before the

event. If the anticipation is disappointed the weight of the sentence may

be thrown into the opposing scale.

To the bitter "mortification of the King and the Lady, to the reproach of

physicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and sorceresses who affirmed that the

child would be a male," to the delight of Chapuys and the perplexity

of a large section of the English people who were waiting for Providence

to speak, on the 7th of September the girl who was afterwards to be Queen

Elizabeth was brought into the world.

This was the worst blow which Henry had received. He was less given to

superstition than most of his subjects, but there had been too much of

appeals to Heaven through the whole of the controversy. The need of a male

heir had been paraded before Christendom as the ground of his action. He

had already discovered that Anne was not what his blindness to her faults

had allowed him to believe; he was fond of the Princess Mary, and Anne had

threatened to make a waiting-maid of her. The new Queen had made herself

detested in the Court by her insolence; there had been "lover's

quarrels," from which Catherine's friends had gathered hopes, and

much must have passed behind the scenes of which no record survives. A

lady of the bed-chamber had heard Henry say he would "rather beg from

door to door than forsake her;" on the other hand, Anne acknowledged

afterwards that his love had not been returned, and she could hardly have

failed to let him see it. Could she be the mother of a prince she was

safe, but on this she might well think her security depended. All Henry's

male children, except the Duke of Richmond, had died at the birth or in

infancy; and words which she let fall to her sister-in-law, Lady Rochford,

implied a suspicion that the fault was in the King. It is not without

significance that in the subsequent indictment of Sir Henry Norris it was

alleged that on the 6th of October, 1533, less than a month after Anne's

confinement, she solicited Norris to have criminal intercourse with her,

and that on the 12th the act was committed. But to this subject I shall

return hereafter.

Anyway, the King made the best of his misfortune. If the first adventure

had failed, a second might be more successful. The unwelcome daughter was

christened amidst general indifference, without either bonfires or

rejoicings. She was proclaimed Princess, and the title was taken away from

her sister Mary. Chapuys, after what Cromwell had said to him, trusted

naturally that the King's mind would be affected by his disappointment.

They met again. Chapuys urged that it would be easier to set things

straight than at an earlier stage. The King, being of a proud temper,

would have felt humiliated if he had been baffled. He might now listen to

reason. It was said of Englishmen that when they had made a mistake they

were more ready to confess it than other people; and, so far from losing

in public esteem, he would only gain, if he now admitted that he had been

wrong. The Emperor would send an embassy requesting him affectionately to

take Catherine back; his compliance would thus lose all appearance of

compulsion. The expectation was reasonable. Cromwell, however, had to tell

him in earnest language that it could not be; and the Catholic party in

England, who had hoped as Chapuys hoped, and found themselves only further

embittered by the exclusion of Mary from the succession, became desperate

in turn. From this period their incipient treason developed into definite

conspiracy, the leader among the disaffected and the most influential from

his reputed piety and learning being Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, whose

subsequent punishment has been the text for so many eloquent invectives.

Writing on the 27th of September to the Emperor, Chapuys says: "The good

Bishop of Rochester has sent to me to notify that the arms of the Pope

against these obstinate men are softer than lead, and that your Majesty

must set your hand to it, in which you will do a work as agreeable to God

as a war against the Turk." This was not all. The Bishop had gone on

to advise a measure which would lead immediately and intentionally to a

revival of the Wars of the Roses. "If matters come to a rupture, the

Bishop said it would be well for your Majesty to attach to yourself the

son of the Princess Mary's governess [the Countess of Salisbury, mother

of Reginald Pole], daughter of the Duke of Clarence, to whom, according to

the opinion of many, the kingdom would belong. He is now studying at

Padua. On account of the pretensions which he and his brother would have

to the crown, the Queen would like to bestow the Princess on him in

marriage, and the Princess would not refuse. He and his brothers have many

kinsmen and allies, of whose services your Majesty might make use and gain

the greater part of the realm."

The Bishop of Rochester might plead a higher allegiance as an excuse for

conspiring to dethrone his Sovereign. But those who play such desperate

games stake their lives upon the issue, and if they fail must pay the

forfeit. The Bishop was not the only person who thus advised Chapuys.

Rebellion and invasion became the settled thought of the King's opponents,

and Catherine was expected to lend her countenance. The Regent's Council

at Brussels, bolder than the Spanish, were for immediate war. A German

force might be thrown across the Channel. The Flemish nobles might

hesitate, but would allow ships to carry an army to Scotland. The army

might then march south; Catherine would join it, and appear in the

field. Catherine herself bade Chapuys charge the Pope in her name to

proceed to the execution of the sentence "in the most rigorous terms

of justice possible;" the King, she said, would then be brought to reason

when he felt the bit. She did not advocate violence in words, though what

she did advocate implied violence and made it inevitable. Fisher was

prepared for any extremity. "The good and holy Bishop of Rochester,"

Chapuys repeated, "would like your Majesty to take active measures

immediately, as I wrote in my last, which advice he has sent to me again

lately to repeat. Without this they fear disorder. The smallest force

would suffice."

Knowing Charles's unwillingness, the Ambassador added a further

incitement. Among the preachers, he said, there was one who spread worse

errors than Luther. The Prelates all desired to have him punished, but the

Archbishop of Canterbury held him up, the King would not listen to them;

and, were it not that he feared the people, would long since have

professed Lutheranism himself.