Warlike Resolution Of The Pope Restrained By The Cardinals

Cifuentes had been misinformed when he feared that Francis was again about

to interpose in Henry's behalf at Rome. The conference at Calais had

broken up without definite results. The policy of France was to draw Henry

off from his treaty with the Emperor; Henry preferred to play the two

great Catholic Powers one against the other, and commit himself to

neither; and Francis, knowing the indignation which Fisher's execution
/> would produce at Rome, was turning his thoughts on other means of

accomplishing his purpose. The Emperor's African campaign was splendidly

successful--too successful to be satisfactory at the Vatican. The Pope, as

the head of Christendom, was bound to express pleasure at the defeat of

the Infidels, but he feared that Charles, victorious by land and sea,

might give him trouble in his own dominions. A settled purpose,

however, remained to punish the English King, and Henry had need to be

careful. The French faction in the Council wished him to proceed at once

to extremities with the Princess, which would effectually end the hopes of

an Imperial alliance. Anne Boleyn was continually telling the King that

the Queen and Princess were his greatest danger. "They deserved death more

than those who had been lately executed, since they were the cause of all

the mischief." Chapuys found himself no longer able to communicate

with Mary, from the increased precaution in guarding her. It was alleged

that there was a fear of her being carried off by the French.

The Imperial party at Rome, not knowing what to do or to advise, drew a

curious memorandum for Charles's consideration. The Emperor, they said,

had been informed when the divorce case was being tried at Rome, that

England was a fief of the Church of Rome, and as the King had defied the

Apostolic See, he deserved to be deprived of his crown. The Emperor had

not approved of a step so severe. But the King had now beheaded the Bishop

of Rochester, whom the Pope had made a cardinal. On the news of the

execution the Pope and Cardinals had moved that he should be deprived at

once and without more delay for this and for his other crimes. Against

taking such action was the danger to the Queen of which they were greatly

afraid, and also the sense that if, after sentence, the crown of England

devolved on the Holy See, injury might be done to the prospects of the

Princess. It might be contrived that the Pope in depriving the King might

assign the crown to his daughter, or the Pope in consistory might declare

secretly that they were acting in favour of the Princess and without

prejudice to her claim. To this, however, there was the objection that

the King might hear of it through some of the Cardinals. Something at any

rate had to be done. All courses were dangerous. The Emperor was requested

to decide.

A new ingredient was now to be thrown into the political cauldron. So far

from wishing to reconcile England with the Papacy, the Pope informed

Cifuentes that Francis was now ready and willing to help the Apostolic See

in the execution of the sentence against the King of England. Francis

thought that the Emperor ought to begin, since the affair was his personal

concern; but when the first step was taken Francis himself would be at the

Pope's disposition. The meaning of this, in the opinion of Cifuentes, was

merely to entangle the Emperor in a war with England, and so to leave him.

The Pope himself thought so too. Francis had been heard to say that when

the Emperor had opened the campaign he would come next and do what was

most for his own interest. The Pope, however, said, as Clement had said

before him, that, if Charles and Francis would only act together against

England, the "execution" could be managed satisfactorily. Cifuentes

replied that he had no commission to enter into that question. He reported

what had passed to his master, and said that he would be in no haste to

urge the Pope to further measures.

Henry had expected nothing better from France. He had dared the Pope to do

his worst. He stood alone, with no protection save in the jealousy of the

rival Powers, and had nothing to trust to save his own ability to defend

his country and his crown. His chief anxiety was for the security of the

sea. A successful stoppage of trade would, as Cromwell admitted, lead to

confusion and insurrection. Ship after ship was built and launched in the

Thames. The busy note of preparation rang over the realm. The clergy, Lord

Darcy had said, were to furnish money for the rising. The King was taking

precautions to shorten their resources, and turn their revenues to the

protection of the realm. Cromwell's visitors were out over England

examining into the condition of the religious houses, exposing their

abuses and sequestrating their estates. These dishonoured institutions had

been found to be "very stews of unnatural crime" through the length and

breadth of England. Their means of mischief were taken away from such

worthless and treacherous communities. Crown officials were left in

charge, and their final fate was reserved for Parliament.

Henry, meanwhile, confident in his subjects, and taking lightly the

dangers which threatened him, went on progress along the Welsh borders,

hunting, visiting, showing himself everywhere, and received with apparent

enthusiasm. The behaviour of the people perplexed Chapuys. "I am told," he

wrote, "that in the districts where he has been, a good part of the

peasantry, after hearing the Court preachers, are abused into the belief

that he was inspired by God to separate himself from his brother's wife.

They are but idiots. They will return soon enough to the truth when there

are any signs of change." They would not return, nor were they the fools

he thought them. The clergy, Chapuys himself confessed it, had made

themselves detested by the English commons for their loose lives and the

tyranny of the ecclesiastical courts. The monasteries, too many of them,

were nests of infamy and fraud, and the King whom the Catholic world

called Antichrist appeared as a deliverer from an odious despotism.

At Rome there was still uncertainty. The Imperial memorandum explains the

cause of the hesitation. The Emperor was engaged in Africa, and could

decide nothing till his return. The great Powers were divided on the

partition of the bear's skin, while the bear was still unstricken. Why,

asked the impatient English Catholics, did not the Pope strike and make an

end of him when even Francis, who had so long stayed his hand, was now

urging him to proceed? Francis was probably as insincere as Cifuentes

believed him to be. But the mere hope of help from such a quarter gave

fresh life to the wearied Catherine and her agents.

"The Pope," wrote Dr. Ortiz to the Emperor, "has committed the deprivation

of the King of England and the adjudication of the realm to the Apostolic

See as a fief of the Church to Cardinals Campeggio, Simoneta, and Cesis.

The delay in granting the executorials in the principal cause is

wonderful. Although the deposition of the King was spoken of so hotly in

the Consistory, and they wrote about it to all the Princes, they will only

proceed with delay and with a monition to the King to be intimated in

neighbouring countries. This is needless. His heresy, schism, and other

crimes are notorious. He may be deprived without the delay of a monition.

If it is pressed, it is to be feared it will be on the side of France. It

is a wonderful revenge which the King of France has taken on the King of

England, to favour him until he has fallen into schism and heresy, and

then to forsake him in it, to delude him as far as the gallows, and to

leave him to hang. The blood of the saints whom that King has martyred

calls to God for justice."

Catherine, sick with hope deferred and tired of the Emperor's hesitation,

was catching at the new straw which was floating by her. Ortiz must have

kept her informed of the French overtures at the Vatican. She prayed the

Regent Mary to use her influence with the French Queen. Now was the time

for Francis to show himself a true friend of his brother of England, and

assist in delivering him from a state of sin.

Strange rumours were current in France and in England to explain the delay

of the censures. The Pope had confessed himself alarmed at the

completeness of Charles's success at Tunis. It was thought that the

Emperor, fresh from his victories, might act on the advice of men like

Lope de Soria, take his Holiness himself in hand and abolish the Temporal

Power; that the Pope knew it, and therefore feared to make matters worse

by provoking England further.

Pope and Princes might watch each other in distrust at a safe distance;

but to the English conspirators the long pause was life or death. Delays

are usually fatal with intended rebellion. The only safety is in immediate

action. Enthusiasm cools, and secrets are betrayed. Fisher's fate was a

fresh spur to them to move, but it also proved that the Government knew

too much and did not mean to flinch.

Chapuys tried Granvelle again. "Every man of position here," he said, "is

in despair at the Pope's inaction. If something is not done promptly there

will be no hope for the ladies, or for religion either, which is going

daily to destruction. Things are come to such a pass that at some places

men even preach against the Sacrament. The Emperor is bound to interfere.

What he has done in Africa he can do in England with far more ease and

with incomparably more political advantage."

Granvelle could but answer that Henry was a monster, and that God would

undoubtedly punish him; but that for himself he was so busy that he could

scarcely breathe, and that the Emperor continued to hope for some peaceful


Cifuentes meanwhile kept his hand on Paul. His task was difficult, for his

orders were to prevent the issue of the executorials for fear France

should act upon them, while Catholic Christendom would be shaken to its

base if it became known that it was the Emperor who was preventing the

Holy See from avenging itself. Even with the Pope Cifuentes could not be

candid, and Ortiz, working on Paul's jealousy and unable to comprehend the

obstacle, had persuaded his Holiness to draw up "the brief of execution"

and furnish a copy to himself.

"In the matter of the executory letters," Cifuentes wrote to Charles, "I

have strictly followed your Majesty's instructions. They have been kept

back for a year and a half without the least appearance that the delay

proceeded from us, but, on the contrary, as if we were disappointed that

they were not drawn when asked for. Besides his Holiness's wish to wait

for the result of the offers of France, another circumstance has served

your Majesty's purpose. There were certain clauses to which I could not

consent, in the draft shown to me, as detrimental to the right of the

Queen and Princess and to your Majesty's preeminence.

"Now that all hope has vanished of the return of the King of England to

obedience, Dr. Ortiz, not knowing that you wished the execution to be

delayed, has taken out the executory letters and almost despatched them

while I was absent at Perugia. The letters are ready, nothing being wanted

but the Pope's seal. I have detained them for a few days, pretending that

I must examine the wording. They will remain in my possession till you

inform me of your pleasure."

The issue of the Pope's censures either in the form of a letter of

execution or of a Bull of Deposition was to be the signal of the English

rising, with or without the Emperor. Darcy and his friends were ready and

resolved to begin. But without the Pope's direct sanction the movement

would lose its inspiration. The Irish rebellion had collapsed for the want

of it. Lord Thomas Fitzgerald had surrendered and was a prisoner in the


It was not the part of a child, however great her imagined wrongs,

deliberately to promote an insurrection against her father. Henry II.'s

sons had done it, but times were changed. The Princess Mary was determined

to justify such of Henry's Council as had recommended the harshest

measures against her. She wrote a letter to Chapuys which, if intercepted,

might have made it difficult for the King to save her.

"The condition of things," she said, "is worse than wretched. The realm

will fall to ruin unless his Majesty, for the service of God, the welfare

of Christendom, the honour of the King my father, and compassion for the

afflicted souls in this country, will take pity on us and apply the

remedy. This I hope and feel assured that he will do if he is rightly

informed of what is taking place. In the midst of his occupations in

Africa he will have been unable to realise our condition. The whole truth

cannot be conveyed in letters. I would, therefore, have you despatch one

of your own people to inform him of everything, and to supplicate him on

the part of the Queen my mother, and myself for the honour of God and for

other respects to attend to and provide for us. In so acting he will

accomplish a service most agreeable to Almighty God. Nor will he win less

fame and glory to himself than he has achieved in the conquest of Tunis or

in all his African expedition."

Catherine simultaneously addressed herself to the Pope in a letter

equally characteristic. The "brief of execution" was the natural close of

her process, which, after judgment in her favour, she was entitled to

demand. The Pope wished her to apply for it, that it might appear to be

granted at her instance and not on his own impulse.

"Most Holy and Blessed Father," she wrote, "I kiss your Holiness's hands.

My letters have been filled with complaints and importunities, and have

been more calculated to give you pain than pleasure. I have therefore for

some time ceased from writing to your Holiness, although my conscience has

reproached me for my silence. One only satisfaction I have in thinking of

the present state of things: I thank unceasingly our Lord Jesus Christ for

having appointed a vicar like your Holiness, of whom so much good is

spoken at a time when Christendom is in so great a strait. God in His

mercy has preserved you for this hour. Once more, therefore, as an

obedient child of the Holy See, I do entreat you to bear this realm in

special mind, to remember the King, my lord and husband, and my daughter.

Your Holiness knows, and all Christendom knows, what things are done here,

what great offence is given to God, what scandal to the world, what

reproach is thrown upon your Holiness. If a remedy be not applied shortly

there will be no end to ruined souls and martyred saints. The good will be

firm and will suffer. The lukewarm will fail if they find none to help

them, and the rest will stray out of the way like sheep that have lost

their shepherd. I place these facts before your Holiness because I know

not any one on whose conscience the deaths of these holy and good men and

the perdition of so many souls ought to weigh more heavily than on yours,

inasmuch as your Holiness neglects to encounter these evils which the

Devil, as we see, has sown among us.

"I write frankly to your Holiness, for the discharge of my own soul, as to

one who, I hope, can feel with me and my daughter for the martyrdoms of

these admirable persons. I have a mournful pleasure in expecting that we

shall follow them in the manner of their torments. And so I end, waiting

for the remedy from God and from your Holiness. May it come speedily. If

not, the time will be past. Our Lord preserve your Holiness's


On the same day and by the same messenger she wrote to Charles,

congratulating him on his African victory, and imploring him, now that he

was at liberty, to urge the Pope into activity. In other words, she was

desiring him to carry fire and sword through England, when if she herself

six years before would have allowed the Pope's predecessor to guide her

and had retired into "religion," there would have been no divorce, no

schism, no martyrs, no dangers of a European convulsion on her account.

Catherine, as other persons have done, had allowed herself to be governed

by her own wounded pride, and called it conscience.

Chapuys conveyed the Queen's arguments both to Charles and to Granvelle.

He again assured them that the Princess and her mother were in real danger

of death. If the Emperor continued to hesitate, he said, after his

splendid victories in Africa, there would be general despair. The

opportunity would be gone, and an enterprise now easy would then be

difficult, if not impossible.

Now was the time. The execution of More and Fisher, the suppression of the

monasteries, the spoliation of the Church, had filled clerical and

aristocratic England with fear and fury. The harvest had failed; and the

failure was interpreted as a judgment from Heaven on the King's conduct.

So sure Chapuys felt that the Emperor would now move that he sent positive

assurances to Catherine that his master would not return to Spain till he

had restored her to her rights. Even the Bishop of Tarbes, who was again

in London, believed that Henry was lost at last. The whole nation, he

said, Peers and commons, and even the King's own servants, were devoted to

the Princess and her mother, and would join any prince who would take up

their cause. The discontent was universal, partly because the Princess was

regarded as the right heir to the crown, partly for fear of war and the

ruin of trade. The autumn had been wet: half the corn was still in the

fields. Queen Anne was universally execrated, and even the King was losing

his love for her. If war was declared, the entire country would rise.

The Pope, it has been seen, had thought of declaring Mary to be Queen in

her father's place. Such a step, if ventured, would inevitably be fatal to

her. Her friends in England wished to see her married to some foreign

prince--if possible, to the Dauphin--that she might be safe and out of the

way. The Princess herself, and even the Emperor, were supposed to desire

the match with the Dauphin, because in such an alliance the disputes with

France might be forgotten, and Charles and the French king might unite to

coerce Henry into obedience.

The wildest charges against Henry were now printed and circulated in

Germany and the Low Countries. Cromwell complained to Chapuys. "Worse," he

said, "could not be said against Jew or Devil." Chapuys replied ironically

that he was sorry such things should be published. The Emperor would do

his best to stop them, but in the general disorder tongues could not be


So critical the situation had become in these autumn months that Cromwell,

of course with the King's consent, was obliged to take the unusual step of

interfering with the election of the Lord Mayor of London, alleging that,

with the State in so much peril, it was of the utmost consequence to have

a well-disposed man of influence and experience at the head of the City.

"Cromwell came to me this morning," Chapuys wrote to his master on the

13th of October; "he said the King was informed that the Emperor intended

to attack him in the Pope's name (he called his Holiness, 'bishop of

Rome,' but begged my pardon while he did so,) and that a Legate or Bishop

was coming to Flanders to stir the fire. The King could not believe that

the Emperor had any such real intention after the friendship which he had

shown him, especially when there was no cause. In breaking with the Pope

he had done nothing contrary to the law of God, and religion was nowhere

better regulated and reformed than it was now in England. The King would

send a special embassy to the Emperor, if I thought it would be favourably

received. I said I could not advise so great a Prince. I believed that, if

the object of such an embassy was one which your Majesty could grant in

honour and conscience, it would not only be well received but would be

successful. Otherwise, I could neither recommend nor dissuade."

By the same hand which carried this despatch Chapuys forwarded the letters

of Catherine and Mary, adding another of his own to Granvelle, in which he

said that "if the Emperor wished to give peace and union to Christendom,

he must begin in England. It would be easy, for everyone was irritated.

The King's treasure would pay for all, and would help, besides, for the

enterprise against the Turk. It was time to punish him for his folly and


Charles seemed to have arrived at the same conclusion. He had already

written from Messina, on his return from Tunis, both to Chapuys and to his

Ambassador in Paris, that, as long as Henry retained his concubine,

persisted in his divorce, and refused to recognise the Princess as his

heir, he could not honourably treat with him. The Pope, when

Catherine's letter reached him, was fuming with fresh anger at the fate of

the Irish rebellion. Lord Thomas, spite of Papal absolution and blessing,

was a prisoner in the Tower. He had surrendered to his uncle, Lord Leonard

Grey, under some promise of pardon. He had been carried before the King.

For a few days he was left at liberty, and might have been forgiven, if he

would have made a satisfactory submission; but he calculated that "a new

world" was not far off, and that he might hold out in safety. Such a wild

cat required stricter keeping. The Tower gates closed on him, and soon

after he paid for the Archbishop's life with his own.

Ortiz, when he heard that Fitzgerald was imprisoned, said that the choice

lay before him to die a martyr or else to be perverted. God, he hoped,

would permit the first. The spirit of one of the murdered Carthusians had

appeared to the brotherhood and informed them of the glorious crown which

had been bestowed on Fisher.

In this exalted humour Catherine's letter found Paul and the Roman clergy.

The Pope had already informed Cifuentes that he meant to proceed to

"deprivation." The letters of execution had been so drawn or re-drawn as

to involve the forfeiture of Henry's throne, and Ortiz considered

that Providence had so ordered it that the Pope was now acting motu

proprio and not at the Queen's solicitation. Cifuentes was of opinion,

however, that Paul meant to wait for the Queen's demand, that the

responsibility might be hers. Chapuys's courier was ordered to deliver

Catherine's letter into the Pope's own hands. Cifuentes took the liberty

of detaining it till the Emperor's pleasure was known. But no one any

longer doubted that the time was come. France and England were no longer

united, and the word for action was to be spoken at last.

At no period of his reign had Henry been in greater danger. At home the

public mind was unsettled. A large and powerful faction of peers and

clergy were prepared for revolt, and abroad he had no longer an ally.

England seemed on the eve of a conflict the issue of which no one could

foresee. At this moment Providence, or the good luck which had so long

befriended him, interposed to save the King and save the Reformation.

Sforza, Duke of Milan and husband of Christina of Denmark, died childless

on the 24th of October. Milan was the special subject of difference

between France and the Empire. The dispute had been suspended while the

Duke was alive. His death reopened the question, and the war long looked

for for the Milan succession became inevitable and immediately imminent.

The entire face of things was now changed. Francis had, perhaps, never

seriously meant to join in executing the Papal sentence against England;

but he had intended to encourage the Emperor to try, that he might fish

himself afterwards in the troubled waters, and probably snatch at Calais.

He now required Henry for a friend again, and the old difficulties and the

old jealousies were revived in the usual form. Both the great Catholic

Powers desired the suspension of the censures. The Emperor was again

unwilling to act as the Pope's champion while he was uncertain of the

French King. Francis wished to recover his position as Henry's defender.

The Pope was an Italian prince as well as sovereign of the Church, and his

secular interest was thought to be more French than Imperial.

No sooner was Sforza gone than the Cardinal Du Bellay and the Bishop of

Macon were despatched from Paris to see and talk with Paul. They found him

still too absorbed in the English question to attend to anything besides.

He was in the high exalted mood of Gregory VII., imagining that he was

about to reassert the ancient Papal prerogative, and again dispose of


The Pope, wrote the French Commissioners, having heard that there was

famine and plague in England, had made up his mind to act, and was

incredibly excited. The sentence was prepared and was to issue

unexpectedly like a bolt out of the blue sky. They enclosed a copy of it,

and waited for instructions from Francis as to the line which they were to

take. To set things straight again would, they said, be almost impossible;

but they would do their best to prevent extremities, and to show the King

of England that they had endeavoured to serve him. Nothing like the

sentence which Paul had constructed had been ever seen before. Some

articles had been inserted to force Francis to choose between the Pope and

the King. They were malicious, unjust, and terriblement enormes.

The new Hildebrand, applying to himself the words of Jeremiah, "Behold, I

have set thee over nations and kingdoms, that thou mayest root out and

destroy," had proceeded to root out Henry. He had cursed him; he cursed

his abettors. His body when he died was to lie unburied and his soul lie

in hell for ever. His subjects were ordered to renounce their allegiance,

and were to fall under interdict if they continued to obey him. No true

son of the Church was to hold intercourse or alliance with him or his

adherents, under pain of sharing his damnation; and the Princes of Europe

and the Peers and commons of England were required, on their allegiance to

the Holy See, to expel him from the throne.

This was the "remedy" for which Catherine had been so long entreating, out

of affection for her misguided lord, whose soul she wished to save. The

love which she professed was a love which her lord could have dispensed


The Papal Nuncio reported from Paris the attitude which France intended

to assume. He had been speaking with the Admiral Philip de Chabot about

England. The Admiral had admitted that the King had doubtless done violent

things, and that the Pope had a right to notice them. France did not wish

to defend him against the Pope, but, if he was attacked by the Emperor,

would certainly take his part. The Nuncio said that he had pointed out

that the King of England had God for an enemy; that he was, therefore,

going to total ruin; and that the Pope had hoped to find in Francis a

champion of the Church. The Admiral said that, of course, England ought to

return to the faith: the Pope could deal with him hereafter; but France

must take care of her own interests.

Charles, too, was uneasy and undecided. Until the Milan question had been

reopened the French had spoken as if they would no longer stand between

Henry and retribution, but he was now assured that they would return to

their old attitude. They had stood by Henry through the long controversy

of the divorce. Even when Fisher was sent to the scaffold they had not

broken their connection with him. The King, he knew, was frightened, and

would yield, if France was firm; but, unless the Pope had a promise from

the French King under his own hand to assist in executing the censures,

the Pope would find himself disappointed; and the fear was that Francis

would draw the Emperor into a war with England and then leave him to make

his own bargain.

Kings whose thrones and lives are threatened cannot afford to be lenient.

Surrounded by traitors, uncertain of France, with the danger in which he

stood immeasurably increased by the attitude of Catherine and her

daughter, the King, so the Marchioness of Exeter reported to Chapuys, had

been heard to say that they must bend or break. The anxiety which they

were causing was not to be endured any longer. Parliament was about to

meet, and their situation would have then to be considered.

The Marchioness entreated him to let the Emperor know of this, and tell

him that, if he waited longer, he would be too late to save them. Chapuys

took care that these alarming news should lose nothing in the relating.

Again, after a fortnight, Lady Exeter came to him, disguised, to renew the

warning. The "she-devil of a Concubine," she said, was thinking of nothing

save of how to get the ladies despatched. The Concubine ruled the Council,

and the King was afraid to contradict her. The fear was, as Chapuys said,

that he would make the Parliament a joint party with him in his cruelties,

and that, losing hope of pardon from the Emperor, they would be more

determined to defend themselves.

The danger, if danger there was, to Catherine and Mary, was Chapuys's own

creation. It was he who had encouraged them in defying the King, that they

might form a visible rallying-point to the rebellion. Charles was more

rational than the Ambassador, and less credulous of Henry's wickedness. "I

cannot believe what you tell me," he replied to his Ambassador's

frightful story. "The King cannot be so unnatural as to put to death his

own wife and daughter. The threats you speak of can only be designed to

terrify them. They must not give way, if it can be avoided; but, if they

are really in danger, and there is no alternative, you may tell them from

me that they must yield. A submission so made cannot prejudice their

rights. They can protest that they are acting under compulsion, in fear

for their lives. I will take care that their protestation is duly ratified

by their proctors at Rome." Chapuys was a politician, and obeyed his

orders. But that either Catherine or her daughter should give way was the

last wish either of him or of Ortiz, or any of the fanatical enthusiasts.

Martyrs were the seed of the Church. If Mary abandoned her claim to the

succession, her name could no longer be used as a battle-cry. The object

was a revolution which would shake Henry from his throne. On the scaffold,

as a victim to her fidelity to her mother and to the Holy See, she would

give an impulse to the insurrection which nothing could resist.

The croaks of the raven were each day louder. Lady Exeter declared that

the King had said that the Princess should be an example that no one

should disobey the law. There was a prophecy of him that at the beginning

of his reign he would be gentle as a lamb, and at the end worse than a

lion. That prophecy he meant to fulfil.

Ortiz, who had his information from Catherine herself, said that she was

preparing to die as the Bishop of Rochester and the others had died. She

regretted only that her life had not been as holy as theirs. The

"kitchen-wench"--as Ortiz named Anne--had often said of the Princess that

either Mary would be her death or she would be Mary's, and that she would

take care that Mary did not laugh at her after she was gone.

Stories flying at such a time were half of them the creation of rage and

panic, imperfectly believed by those who related them, and reported to

feed a fire which it was so hard to kindle; but they show the spirit of

which the air was full. At Rome there was still distrust. Francis had

shown the copy of the intended sentence to the different Ambassadors at

Paris. He had said that the Pope was claiming a position for the Apostolic

See which could not be allowed, and must be careful what he did. Paul

agreed with the Emperor that, before the sentence was delivered, pledges

to assist must be exacted from Francis, but had thought that he might

calculate with sufficient certainty on the hereditary enmity between

France and England. Cifuentes told him that he must judge of the future by

the past. The French were hankering after Italy, and other things were

nothing in comparison. The Pope hinted that the Emperor was said to be

treating privately with Henry. Cifuentes could give a flat denial to this,

for the treaty had been dropped. If the Emperor, however, resolved to

undertake the execution Francis was not to be allowed to hear of it, as he

would use the knowledge to set Henry on his guard.

Chapuys was a master of the art of conveying false impressions while

speaking literal truth.

Francis, who, in spite of Cifuentes, learnt what was being projected at

Rome, warned Henry that the Emperor was about to invade England. He even

said that the Emperor had promised that, if he would not interfere, the

English crown might be secured to a French prince by a marriage with Mary.

Cromwell questioned Chapuys on such "strange news." Lying cost Chapuys

nothing. The story was true, but he replied that it was wild nonsense. Not

only had the Emperor never said such a thing, but he had never even

thought of anything to the King's prejudice, and had always been

solicitous for the honour and tranquillity of England. The Emperor wished

to increase, not diminish, the power of the King, and even for the sake of

the Queen and Princess he would not wish the King to be expelled, knowing

the love they bore him. Cromwell said he had always told the King that the

Emperor would attempt nothing against him unless he was forced. Chapuys

agreed: so far, he said, from promoting hostilities against the King, the

Emperor, ever since the sentence on the divorce, had held back the

execution, and, if further measures were taken, they would be taken by the

Pope and Cardinals, not by the Emperor.

In this last intimation Chapuys was more correct than he was perhaps aware


The Pope, sick of the irresolutions and mutual animosities of the great

Catholic Powers, had determined to act for himself. Catherine's friends

had his ear. They at all events knew their own minds. On the 10th of

December he called a consistory, said that he had suffered enough in the

English cause, and would bear it no more. He required the opinions of the

Cardinals on the issue of the executorial brief. The scene is described

by Du Bellay, who was one of them, and was present. The Cardinals, who had

been debating and disagreeing for seven years, were still in favour of

further delays. They all felt that a brief or bull deposing the King was a

step from which there would be no retreat. The Great Powers, they were

well aware, would resent the Pope's assumption of an authority so

arrogant. All but one of them said that before the executory letters were

published a monition must first be sent to the King. The language of the

letters, besides, was too comprehensive. The King's subjects and the

King's allies were included in the censures, and, not being in fault,

ought not to suffer. Voices, too, were heard to say that kings were

privileged persons, and ought not to be treated with disrespect.

The Pope, before dissatisfied with their objections, now in high anger at

the last suggestion, declared that he would spare neither emperors, nor

kings, nor princes. God had placed him over them all; the Papal authority

was not diminished--it was greater than ever, and would be greater still

when there was a pope who dared to act without faction or cowardice. He

reproached the Cardinals with embroiling a clear matter. The brief, he

maintained, was a good brief, faulty perhaps in style, but right in

substance, and approved it was to be, and at once.

It hit all round--hit the English people who continued loyal to their

sovereign, hit the Continental Powers who had treaties with Henry which

they had not broken. The Cardinals thought the Pope would spoil

everything. Campeggio said such a Bull touched the French King, and must

not appear. The Archbishop of Capua went with the Pope: "Issue at once,"

he said, "or the King will be sending protests, as he did in Clement's

time." The Pope spoke in great anger, but to no purpose. The majority of

the Cardinals was against him, and the Bull was allowed to sleep till a

more favourable time. "It is long," said Du Bellay, "since there has been

a Pope less loved by the College, the Romans, and the world."