Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership

Title: Henry VIII
Author: Helen Simpson
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0801191.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: October 2008
Date most recently updated: October 2008

Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg Australia License which may be viewed online at

To contact Project Gutenberg Australia go to


Title: Henry VIII
Author: Helen Simpson

[With a Frontispiece]

(From a miniature by an unknown artist in the possession of
the Duke of Buccleuch)

Peter Davies Limited
First published in March 1934

* * * * *



* * * * *


In a book of this length the writer must choose; he may record events or
interpret them. Either method has its pitfalls. For example, if the reign
of Henry VIII is told as a story, the central figure easily becomes an
ogre, moving through a succession of cruel caprices to an unregretted
end. This is to do a great King poor justice.

It is more interesting, I think, to try his character and rule by a
touchstone, which comes irresistibly to hand when we remember that
Machiavelli's _Prince_ reached European statesmen somewhere about
the year 1515. It is not my contention that Henry consciously took any
part of his policy from this book; but its brutally clear exposition of
the art of contemporary government allows a reader to understand by
comparison where, and why, he succeeded or failed.

Only the chief incidents of this life and reign, therefore, are given,
viewed from the political perspective of the Florentine Secretary.
Quotations from him are given in italics throughout.

I am glad to acknowledge here the kindness of the Duke of Buccleuch in
permitting the miniature of Henry VIII to be reproduced; and of Mr.
Francis Edwards, who lent me many necessary books.

* * * * *


Henry VIII, when he came to the throne of England, was a beautiful young
man, eighteen years old; tall, strong, the only morning star in this
Western orb.' The accounts of him given by the Venetians on their arrival
in England are well known, but bear retelling for the reason that they
were, so far as the King's person was concerned, disinterested. They
could, and did, speak sharply of the appearance and manners of other
rulers. The King of Hungary 'resembles a statue, and becomes incoherent
when he discusses state affairs'; the King of France is idle, and under
petticoat government'; and though they found Lucrezia Borgia 'bland and
gracious,' they were shrewd members of a merchant nobility, rarely
deceived to enthusiasm by any personal flattery. Pasqualigo's description
may come first:

'His majesty is the handsomest potentate I ever set eyes on; above the
usual height, with an extremely fine calf to his leg, his complexion very
fair and bright, with auburn hair combed straight and short in the French
fashion, and a round face so very beautiful that it would become a pretty
woman, his throat being rather long and thick. He speaks French, English
and Latin, and a little Italian, plays well on the lute and harpsichord,
sings from book at sight, draws the bow with greater strength than any
man in England, and jousts marvellously.'

Here is Giustiniani's picture:

'Nature could not have done more for him. He is much handsomer than any
other sovereign in Christendom, a great deal handsomer than the King of
France; very fair, and his whole frame admirably proportioned. On hearing
that Francis I wore a beard, he let his own grow, and as it is reddish,
his chin now looks like gold. He is very accomplished; a good musician;
composes well; is a most capital horseman; a fine jouster; speaks good
French, Latin, and Spanish; is very religious; hears three masses daily
when he hunts and sometimes five on other days...He is very fond of
hunting, and never takes this diversion without tiring eight or ten
horses...He is extremely fond of tennis, and it is the prettiest thing in
the world to see him play, his fair skin glowing through a shirt of the
finest texture.'

Sagudino saw him at the jousts of Tournai, and noted how he looked like
St. George in person on a horse caparisoned with cloth of gold, and
excelled all the other knights there for horsemanship and strength. In
his own country he showed himself to the same observer most affable,
courageous, and learned for his age and station; besides displaying an
innocent pleasure in splendour.

The English nation, of which he was the unquestioned and absolute master,
finds its characteristics displayed in an Italian relation of the King's
father's day:

'The English are, for the most part, both men and women of all ages,
handsome and well-proportioned...great lovers of themselves and of
everything belonging to them; they think there are no other men than
themselves, and no other world but England. Whenever they see a handsome
foreigner they say, "He looks like an Englishman," and "It is a great
pity he should not be an Englishman." They take great pleasure in having
a quantity of excellent victuals, and also in remaining a long time at
table, but they are very sparing of wine when they drink it at their own

They had been well and strictly ruled during the twenty-three years of
Henry VII's reign; they had enjoyed peace, and been diligent in trade,
and kept their riches together. No money, nor gold nor silver plate was
allowed to go out of England under a very heavy penalty. 'So there is no
innkeeper, however humble, that doth not serve his table with silver
dishes and drinking cups.' The Italian writer makes one more statement
which is not without relevance in any relation of the reign of Henry
VIII: 'But above all are their riches displayed in their church
treasures; for there is not a parish church in the kingdom so mean that
it has not crucifixes, candlesticks, censers, patens and cups of silver.'
As for the shrines, those of St. Thomas and the Confessor particularly,
'nothing I have ever seen can be put into any sort of comparison.' Gold
plates covered them, but were scarcely visible, being set so thickly and
curiously with precious stones, some 'of such a size that I do not dare
to mention it.'

A young and splendid King; a rich Church; a thriving people, respectful
of the law and conscious of nationality, so that over their exiles 'women
and children lamented, asking, How can they live out of England? adding,
moreover, that they had better have died than go out of the world, as if
England were the whole world!' This, at the opening of Henry VIII's
reign, was the state of his country.

Across the Channel a rival King had succeeded an elderly man without
children; he was, says Hall, who saw him close in 1520, a goodly Prince,
stately of countenance, merry of cheer, brown coloured, great eyes, high
nosed, big lipped, fair breasted and shoulders, small legs,[*] 'and long
feet.' Francis I was in effect that which tradition supposes Henry to
have been, a man who did none of his own governing, but left all
political matters to be settled by his ministers and women. His mother,
Louise of Savoy, had brought him up carefully and in poverty with an eye
on the throne; when Louis XII's third marriage had failed of its purpose,
and the King died childless, she continued to make her son's decisions
for him. Francis was glad enough to leave them on her shoulders. It is
she who rules all,' Suffolk wrote to Henry from France, 'and so may she
well; for I never saw a woman like to her, both for wit, honour, and
dignity.' Of her son, nevertheless, Guicciardini wrote that the world had
such a hope in his virtues, such an opinion of his magnanimity, and such
a conceit of his judgment and wit, that every one confessed that for a
very long time there was none raised up to the Crown with a greater
expectation; he was made the more agreeable to the fancies of men by the
consideration of his age, being then but 22 years, his excellent feature
and proportion of body, his great liberality and general humanity; but
specially he pleased greatly the nobility, to whom he transferred many
singular and great favours.'

[* Giustiniani gives this instance of Henry's curiosity concerning his
rival: 'His Majesty came into our arbour and addressing me in French
said, Talk with me awhile! The King of France, is he as tall as I am? I
told him there was but little difference. He continued, Is he as stout? I
said he was not; and he then enquired, What sort of legs has he? I
answered, Sparc. Whereupon he opened the front of his doublet, and
placing his hand on his thigh said, Look here! and I have also a good
calf to my leg.']

France was less prosperous than her neighbour. Though there had been no
civil wars, as in England, to impoverish and weaken the great feudal
lordships, and Louis XI's economics had not been wholly dissipated by his
successors, still there had been a great outpouring of money, and no long
period of peace. Charles VII had taken Florence, Louis XII had sacked
Milan and Naples. Francis I, when he succeeded to the throne of France in
1515, took upon him also the title of Duke of Milan. That Duchy was not
yet his; but 'there lived in him the same desire to recover it that died
with his predecessor; whereunto not only the working of his own
inclination, but the persuasion of all the noble young gentlemen of
France did induce him.' As soon as he could gather the money and the
mercenaries together--no nation save the English and Spaniards fought
with native troops--he was over the Alps into Italy, on a brilliant silly
raid. His title to the Duchy was indifferent, his friendship with the
Venetians not close enough to warrant him engaging in war for the
restoration of their stolen cities. The expedition's sole purpose and
sole result was to fix the eyes of Europe upon France's young King, who
in this manner sought to dazzle his contemporaries and outdo his
predecessors. Caesar,' his mother called him, writing fondly in her
diary; 'glorious and triumphant, my Caesar.'

It might be thought that a war of conquest pure and simple was a
dangerous opening gambit for any new ruler; but the French have always
valued highly the prestige which comes from victory, and forgive much to
any individual who affords them the luxury of triumph. Francis, brave
enough and with fighters at his back, Bayard among them, gained a
complete and unexpected success at Marignano, where for the first time
was seen the full power of artillery at work. 'The French,' Erasmus
wrote, 'would not politely allow themselves to be beaten on this
occasion, but sent many Swiss to the right about with their great guns.'
These were dragged with incredible labour over the Alps, their way
prepared by a force of pioneers to whom most of the credit for the
subsequent victory must be given. 'There were many of those labourers
that marched before whose service was ready, sometimes to break clown and
enlarge the straits, and sometimes to dig up the hillocks and lumps of
earth that gave impediment to the passage of the artilleries; from the
tops of those mountains they descended by broken cliffs whose only aspect
gave fear to the beholders, into most deep valleys...and fastening them
(the guns) to great cables they found a way to make them descend by the
hands of the footmen.' Foot-soldiers and artillery against spearmen; it
was an original and completely successful conception of war, one in which
may be found displayed the elasticity of a young commander, and the
persuasions of the noble young gentlemen of France. And though, as
Guicciardini points out, the number of killed in any battle must be
uncertain, 'men speaking diversely, some by passion and some by error,'
the lowest estimate allows that three thousand Swiss were left on the
field, most of them killed by gunfire. The French King returned to his
own country with Milan and Cremona for spoil, and the knowledge that he
had scotched for one generation at least the deadly sneer that Frenchmen
in the field were no better than hares in armour.'

The effect of this news upon the King of England may be judged from the
recital of the French envoy, de Bapaumc, who in October arrived in
England with a herald to present letters, proofs of victory.

'He took no great pleasure in reading them; for to look at him it seemed
as if tears would have burst from his eyes, so red were they from the
pain he suffered, hearing and understanding the good news and prosperity
of my master.'

The words that follow picture the King of England striding here and there
in rage, flinging out contradictions:

'He asked me about the arrangements with the Pope. I told him they were
made and concluded. He answered, It was not so, and the Pope had yet to
ratify, and he knew better than I...Then he asked me about the Emperor,
where he was, and what he did. I told him I had no news of him, only I
had learnt from certain private persons that he was seeking the
friendship of my master. His Majesty said he knew well where the Emperor
was, and what he was about, and as for seeking the friendship of the King
my master, the contrary was the truth. And there he stopped.'

It was bitter news. Henry, older, far richer, with a nation at his back
proud of his personal courage and eager to be led, had, to set against
this sounding exploit, only the capture two years before of a couple of
humdrum Flanders towns, and one complete victory over the Scots at
Flodden, in which he had had no part. Not only was Francis successful,
but his enterprise took on the appearance of a challenge. For months
rumours of his levies and his provisions of money had travelled about
Europe, giving rise to very uneasy reflections. His youth was suspect,
'and the facility he had (more than other Kings) to command all the
forces of the Kingdom of France, the love of his people opening a way and
readiness to all he could desire.' The King of Spain feared for his
dominions in Italy, the Pope for the safety of Rome. Only Henry had
refused to be alarmed by the rumours. Such an expedition, he pronounced
to dubious ambassadors, was out of the question; the French King would
not dare go out of his country for fear of an attack by England. 'If I
choose,' he told the Venetians, allies of Francis, who hoped to benefit
by such a raid, he will not cross the Alps; and again if I choose, he
will.' There had been flashes at the beginning of the interview--'What
this youth may be I know not, but he is a Frenchman, and it is not for me
to say how far you may trust him'--and one characteristic clap of rage:
'By God, he gives his people poor reason to love him, running thus at the
beginning of his reign into the toils and charges of war!' But Henry was
confident; France would not be left undefended. True, there was, as the
Venetians gently reminded him, a treaty of peace in existence whereby he
was bound not to attack his neighbour without cause; but as for that, the
King answered that any such arrangement was conditional, and that it was
the wish of his people to engage their national enemy once again. Venice
had chosen her ally too soon, and unwisely; France would not help her to
regain her lost towns; and the King was sorry, he said, that the Signory
should have put their trust in one who would certainly betray it. The
ambassadors answered smoothly, 'in the most bland and loving form of
exhortation,' that their chief trust was in God, and on this withdrew.
But the final paragraph of their despatch carried a warning:

'We became immediately aware of so great a rivalry of glory between these
two young Kings, that it would be a very easy matter for this metal'--the
official friendship--'to become rusted.'

That Francis had won the first count in this duel for glory appears by
the act of the Signory in sending an embassy to congratulate the French
King. It was composed of four patricians, with all appropriate servitors
and pomp, 'the like never having before been heard of or witnessed,' and
Queen Louise laid stress on the circumstance in her letters to England,
so that Giustiniani was put to some pains to make it appear nothing out
of the way. An even stronger proof that France now held the balance in
Europe came from the Emperor Maximilian and the Pope. The former, always
short of money, was willing for a consideration to join a league which
should include England, Spain, and the angry and humiliated Swiss; the
latter, in a personal interview, had granted Francis power to levy a
tenth of the Church revenues within his kingdom for the upkeep of an
army, and allowed him and his successors the right to dispose of French
sees and benefices without reference to Rome. To Henry was left what at
first sight might seem the poor satisfaction of purchasing allies, and
handing out money on the security of jewels. Charles the Bold's daughter
came to him to pledge her father's armour, the Venetians were considering
pawning the treasure of St. Mark, and Ferdinand of Aragon sent a jewelled
collar, ostensibly for Henry's personal acceptance, but 'there are not
wanting those who say that his aforesaid Catholic Majesty sent to pawn
the collar and obtain money thereon from this most serene King.' From all
this, one certainty emerged--only Henry had money to spend; and since to
the intellects of the time a rich Prince meant one who would sooner or
later trouble his neighbours, the question was: Would he go to war, and
if so, with whom?

The ambassadors of all countries, forgetting intrigue for once, became
alive to the fluctuations of bills of exchange as before they had
reckoned the goings and comings of tax-collectors and press-gangs. Ships
were most certainly building, and to the launching of one, the _Virgin
Mary_, which the King himself captained, wearing 'a sailor's trousers
and coat made of cloth of gold,' neither the French nor Spanish envoys
were bidden. But no umbrage was taken; movements of ships had diminished
in significance compared with the explorings and forays of gold. Monies
were pouring into Flanders, to Bruges and Antwerp, and it was the opinion
of English merchants, secretly consulted, that this boded a loan to the
Emperor, and was nothing in the ordinary way of trade. The Venetians,
alarmed, were driven to ask an open question. It was to them a question
of life and death, since the Emperor could have only one use for money,
to prosecute the war against the Signory; and if the loan had indeed been
made, 'it would be tantamount to putting a sword in his hand to destroy
us.' Mere rumour, interpreted, would no longer serve. They earnestly
required the truth from Wolsey.

That minister, who, while the French successes were not yet known, had
brandished the threat of sixty thousand men under arms ready for a raid
into France, now gave downright assurance that no such mischief was in
contemplation. The monies had not been sent, 'and those who gave me the
intelligence lied.' Or, if they had been sent, it was to no such amount
as Giustiniani supposed. The King, he said, was busy with the purchase of
rich inlaid armour for his own use, of which the best artificers were the
Germans, and the bills in question had been accepted for transmission to
tradesmen and merchants.

The Venetians did not believe him. They went to the Treasurer and the
Archbishop of Canterbury in turn, trying to discover how matters stood,
and found these lords' assurances of innocence contradicted by 'a
variation in the exchanges so great as to amount to 7 and 8 per cent.;
and in like manner, as the exchange has risen here, so has it fallen in
Flanders, in such wise that those who want bills thence for other places
obtain 12 and 14 per cent more than they would have done a month ago;
because all ready money has been withdrawn thence to be sent to the
Emperor.' The King was hunting, at 'an unusual residence a long way off,
and does not choose to endure further disturbance of any sort, a
proceeding out of the way extraordinary.'

But this mere uncertainty checked extravagance of political conduct all
over Europe, kept Francis at home, the Pope and Emperor quiescent. It was
an achievement less sounding, infinitely more subtle than Marignano.
There, Francis had perfected a new method of warfare, substituting cannon
for lances and nationals for mercenaries, to win a temporary ascendancy.
Henry used not cannons but gold, and not gold itself, but the mere chink
and legend of it, to gain his ends, perfectly understanding that money
withheld may be as effectual for power as money expended. And Wolsey, if
he was not the first to deceive by truth-telling, was that method's most
successful practitioner. When he denied, 'on the honour of the
Cardinalate,' that any harm was meant to Francis, 'for had His Majesty
chosen to act thus he would have done so at the moment when he could more
easily have injured him'; when he protested he did not intend to league
with the Emperor for the overthrow of Venice, upon whom, astounding as it
may seem, England wholly relied at that time to provide the yew-wood for
her foot-soldiers' long-bows; when, in short, he told the exact truth on
Henry's behalf he was not, and knew that he would not be, believed. His
new policy, and the King's, might seem inglorious as the Plantagenets
counted glory, but it was a more flexible, a more far-reaching instrument
even than the army of Agincourt. _'Men are so simple, and governed so
absolutely by their present needs, that he who wishes to deceive will
never fail in finding willing dupes.'_

In this manner the peace of Europe was kept precariously for the next
three years. Marriage arrangements, wherein infants in arms or not yet
born were pledged to each other with all ceremony, began to focus
intrigue. France and England, those sworn brothers, betrothed a daughter
to a son, an unpopular move deplored by the older lords of the English
Council in that it allowed some voice in their affairs to 'these
gentlemen of France (who) are very fresh.' The Archduke Charles,
Ferdinand of Aragon's successor, was betrothed twice, once to King
Henry's sister, once to the baby daughter of the King of France, and once
more to an English princess, King Henry's daughter, before at last he
married Isabella of Portugal. Other ceremonious linkings were sought;
every princely baby had godparents among foreign royalties whose future
goodwill and protection were thus bid for. There were gestures of amity.
King Henry swore not to shave his beard till he spoke with the King of
France and took his hand, but six months later was discovered, by the
gossip of a returned prisoner, to have shaved, a fact of which the Queen
Mother required explanation from the English ambassador in person. Sir
Thomas Boleyn answered, that 'it hath been by the Queen (Katherine) her
desire; for I told my lady, what here afore-time I have known, that when
the King's grace hath worn long his heard the Queen hath daily made great
instance, and desired him to put it off for her sake.' The Queen Mother
answered that after all the love between them dwelt not in their beards,
but in their hearts, and appeared satisfied. But such trifles, reported
solemnly by the embassies, swelled into portents by rumour, shifted this
way and that relationships between the powers. At a time when one man
might speak and stand for a people, kings' gestures were sensitive
indicators of national feeling, guides to probable action.

But marriages, money, and friendly oaths could only keep Europe in order
while no great prize or occasion of rivalry presented itself. In the year
1519 the Emperor Maximilian died; of whom it was said by Machiavelli that
what he did one day he undid the next, so that his wishes and designs
were never fully understood by those to whom they were entrusted, and
therefore never came to fruition. His secrecy and lies had no motive;
they were the result of natural shiftiness and an unwillingness to share
counsel. One aim, however, he had pursued with some consistency of
purpose, the aggrandisement of his family and in particular of his
grandson the Archduke Charles. The Empire was not an hereditary title,
but lay in the gift of seven Electors, whose goodwill it was not wholly
out of the power of money to procure. True, each one of these princes was
obliged to swear on the Gospels that his voice, vote, and suffrage should
be given unbiased by any pact, pledge, or engagement, on any pretence
whatsoever; but it appeared to Maximilian that money spent to acquire
their friendship need not be wholly unprofitable. He borrowed heavily
from German and Genoese bankers on his grandson's credit, meeting
remonstrance with the axiom: 'If you wish to gain mankind, you must play
high'; and within a year, by judicious promises, annuities, gifts of
tapestry and plate, had secured the support of four Electors for Charles
of Castile. The remaining three held out, and death, 'from a flux and
fever continual,' came upon Maximilian before he could persuade them. At
once the lists were open, the prize displayed to all corners, and the
three young Kings of England, France, and Castile, the former secretly,
the two latter with a fanfare of trumpets, put forward their claim to the
crown of the Romans.

It is a proof of the growing importance of England that such a plan
should ever have entered Henry's head. He was too shrewd, and too well
aware of the value of money, to venture his name had there been no chance
at all of success. Maximilian had indeed at an earlier date hinted that
Henry might very well become the imperial crown, and had suggested
abdicating in his favour; and though Wolsey and the ambassador who
treated of the matter had seen through the whole manoeuvre, whose purpose
was simply to borrow money on indifferent security, still the glamour of
the project lingered before Henry's eyes. 'It is but a castle made in the
air, and a vain thing, and peradventure an invention for to pluck money
from the King craftily,' wrote Richard Pace to the Cardinal, when this
proposition was first made in 1516; and it was to Pace's common sense
that Wolsey, ambitious for his master as for himself, entrusted these

He came late to his task. Maximilian died in January, and by May, when
Pace arrived in Germany, Francis and Charles had been pleading their
respective causes for a month. The French King made no secret of his
intentions; as early as February, taking the English ambassador aside,
and leaning out of a window with him not to be overheard, he had declared
himself a candidate, and summed up how much he would be willing to pay
for success; 'he would spend three millions of gold'--half the year's
revenue of France--'but he would be Emperor.' As for Charles, his way had
been made straight by the gifts and promises of his grandfather; but not
trusting wholly to the gratitude or memory of the Electors, he had
assembled a considerable force of Swabians, some 46,000 in all,
sufficiently near Frankfort, where the Diet sat, to ensure that his claim
should have due attention. Still, the very evenness of their rivalry was
something in Henry's favour, together with the discretion of the Pope,
who had been heard to say that the accession of either of these princes
would be disastrous for Christendom, and who would have supported the
King of Poland, 'an extremely able man, and one violently opposed to the
infidels,' had that ruler been put forward. Leo X had a good opinion of
the civil and pious King of England; and being himself a Medici, a
descendant of merchants, he had a very honest respect for the King's
money. Wolsey wrote to the English ambassador at Rome: 'When you have
clearly discovered the intentions of his Holiness, it might not come
amiss to remark that you think it would be highly conducive to the
interests of Christianity and the Holy See if his Majesty could be
prevailed on to undertake so responsible a dignity; for all the King's
endeavours would be concentrated upon universal tranquillity and the good
of mankind.' Whatever the Pope may have thought of this last
protestation, he could not but see that the weight of the crown of the
Romans would make Francis or Charles top-heavy, so that there would be a
temptation to fall upon and crush that small, intransigent and
independent power, the Papacy itself. Leo, servant of the servants of
God, had no wish to take orders from either of these princes; neither had
he the inclination to draw down wrath upon himself by meddling. He
returned no answer to Wolsey's hint, but he withheld from Henry's rivals
approval and blessing. The King's secretary went to Frankfort with
nothing but his country's treasury at his back, and very definite
instructions how to draw upon it. He was not to pay out money on chance,
for nothing, 'but only conditionally, that is to say, should the King's
highness be elected to that dignity, and really attain thereto, then to
pay such a sum as shall be agreed betwixt them': a sane and mercantile
manner of bribing.

But Pace, when he came to treat with the Electors, was astonished to see
how wildly and shamelessly the bidding went forward. Francis and Charles
made no conditional promises. They gave money with both hands; they
offered annuities, places, as well as gold. 'Here,' Pace wrote, 'is the
most dearest merchandise that ever was sold; and after mine opinion it
shall be the worst that ever was bought, to him that shall obtain it.'
The Electors were not to be bullied. Charles' Swabians had no terrors for
them, their princedoms were so rich in soldiers that these were exported,
and might be looked for all over Europe in any province where there was
trouble. No potentate, aspirant to the imperial crown, had ever attempted
seriously to gain it by arms; it was not a territorial prize but a
decoration, a sanction with the prestige of ten centuries behind it,
conferred by ceremonies, and without these worthless; as mystical a
splendour as the Papacy itself; towards which their chivalrous ambitions,
rather than any desire of enrichment, led the three princes. But there
was no mysticism in their representatives' manner of proceeding, nor in
the attitude of the Electors. These latter took from all parties what
money they could get; when the bids, though they still mounted in
quantity, declined in quality from cash to promissory notes, they
assembled in Diet to vote to the throne that candidate whose grandfather
had so royally prepared the way; thus Charles of Castile, aged nineteen,
became titular master of half the world, thereby succeeding to a heritage
anciently glorious, now encumbered with mortgages and wars.

Once more it might seem that Henry had suffered defeat; but Pace knew
better, and made the matter clear to Wolsey and the King on his return. A
later despairing cry of Francis, turned about, may sum up the situation,
for except honour, everything was gained. Charles was lay head of
Christendom, but to win the title he had antagonized his own sure kingdom
of Castile and stripped himself of money, putting into the hands of his
own vassals the very means of defiance should they choose not to obey.
_'They render obedience to the Emperor,'_ Machiavelli noted,
_'only when so disposed, fearing neither him nor any other neighbouring

The King of France was in still worse case. Charles, a dour, slow,
unwieldy Fleming, had little popularity with his subjects to lose. To his
scattered dominions he was no more than a name, unidentified as yet even
by his profile on their coins. Francis was known to all his compact
kingdom, and had been loved; but extravagance had led to extortions, and
though his mother, Louise of Savoy, took upon herself all the necessary
onus of taxation and economics, the Venetian embassy found the King at
this time 'more unpopular all over France than words can express.' There
were forced loans, mortgages, open thievings of Church plate; and when
resistance offered, hangings. Thousands of Swiss soldiers were kept and
paid against some hypothetical time when their help might be needed; the
towns of Tournai and Terouenne, of no great strategic or mercantile
importance, were bought back from England for a great yearly price of
gold. Money was squandered, dignity forsaken; the court of France, at the
very moment when its master was bidding for Empire, was loud with
follies. 'During this time remained in the French court...divers of the
young gentlemen of England, and they with the French King rode daily
disguised through Paris throwing eggs, stones, and other foolish trifles
at the people, which light demeanour of a King was much discommended and
gested at.'[*]

[* Henry too at this time was accused of having about him young men of
light and unbecoming behaviour. His Council's mild remonstrance he
answered by dismissing all those to whom exception had been taken, though
their pensions were not chargeable upon the State. (The King farmed out
to them his debts in Italy and elsewhere abroad, allowing them a
commission on such money as they collected.) It is a good example of his
early ability to avail himself of sound advice.]

But Henry was, in the year 1519, more popular and more powerful than
ever. The bid for Empire had been a gamble, kept secret from foreign
ambassadors, unsuspected by his Council. Pace went to the Diet officially
charged to press the cause of the King of Castile, by reason of his
relationship to Queen Katherine, and Charles' success was, to the English
people, only one more proof of the sagacity and power of their own King.
Henry had taken a chance, and lost by it nothing, neither money,
reputation, nor men. While the new Emperor gathered troops to enforce a
precarious obedience in Austria, Flanders, and Spain, while Francis
squandered in pleasure his treasure and health, Henry kept his usual
state, receiving and entertaining distinguished visitors, making music
and rich masques, hunting, shooting, and playing tennis, all as an
English gentleman should;[*] having become arbiter of Europe's fortune
without striking a blow, only by keeping his head and his money, and
leaving his rivals to exchange 'shrewd and terrible blows of their
purses, such as not Fortunatus' self might healthfully sustain.'

[* A letter from one Yorkshire gentleman, Sir Henry Savile, to his cousin
gives some notion of Henry's sports when he was at one of his country
houses. After a description of a cock-fight in which three counties match
their birds he goes on to beg William Plumpton's visit:

'And whensoever ye come, I require you take time to hunt with me for one
week; bring bows and greyhounds, and at the time of year, hounds. A
polard (stag which has lost its horns) is sweet now, and I love it best
now at this season; and by Whitsunday this year I shall have fat bucks.
And or (before) any red deer be fat, it will be July, as far as my
experience serves. Come when ye will, and such as I have ye shall see;
and bring good stuff, for I warn you they are wild about Tankerlay and
ill to catch; I make all these brags to cause you to come, for I never
yet did see you in these parts, and ye shall come no time wrong,
fence-time than other. I have tame plenty lieth out; I can make you game
at red and fallow, and stir no rascal. I beseech Jesus send us merry

Add to this such circumstances of dress and music as may make a pageant,
and the picture of King Henry's diversions is lively.]

These were the years and emergencies which showed the English King as a
statesman at his best. His actions were not always so well adapted to
circumstance, and indeed with the years his judgment of situations
weakened, though he never lost his eye for a man. His luck, too, changed,
and he lacked patience to wait, as Sancho Panza recommends, and shuffle
the cards till it turned. _'For if to one who conducts himself with
caution and patience time and circumstance are propitious, so that his
method of acting is good, he goes on prospering; but if these change he
is ruined, because he does not change his method of acting.'_


But no ship is timbered to withstand all stresses.

Henry, having resisted wisely the temptations of power, and kept his
money in his pouch against such slight probability of any return for it,
was now to squander, for the childish and dangerous gratification of
outshining a rival in display, a great part of his subjects' wealth and
his own. The Field of the Cloth of Gold is of importance only in so far
as it shows the tilting over of the English King's character, his natural
magnificence turning to prodigality.

Reasons for this meeting there were none; or none valid. The two young
men were too near in age and physical powers to meet without danger to
the concord between them. The peoples they governed were still
antagonistic, as might be expected after centuries of war. Personal
relationships had existed hitherto, safely, at second hand. The Dauphin
and the Princess of Wales were still betrothed; hostages, young men of
good family, amused the King of England and extolled to him the King of
France. The treaty of alliance was in itself a delicate defence, but with
these links strengthening it, and put to no such strain as the clash of
personalities might bring, it could be trusted to hold for a while. In
distance lay discretion. A departing ambassador, visiting the French
court on his way home to Venice, asked whether the King of England would
keep the peace, answered slyly that not only did his Majesty mean to keep
it, but would wage war with all his might on whoever should first violate
it. Upon the tempers and predilections of two men the balance hung, and
all wise statecraft worked to keep them apart.

But against the statesmen other forces, not inconsiderable for seeming
frivolous, were working. The four young Frenchmen, hostages held by
England until the ransom for Tournai and Terouenne was paid in full, were
instant in demanding that their host and their master should meet. They
enjoyed themselves very well in the English palaces, gambling with Henry
to the tune, some said, of six thousand ducats a day, but the alternative
English diversions of hunting and shooting were, after the splendours of
Francis' tournaments, not so much to their taste. 'Every time they moved,
(they) stirred and required the King's Grace to pass the sea, and to meet
with the French King their master, whom they praised highly, affirming
that if the King and he might once familiarly common together, that there
should be such a constant love rise and increase between them, which
afterward should never fail.'

'This request,' the chronicler goes on, 'was oft times heard, little
regarded.' Henry's common sense and his love of show were at odds with
one another; he was unwilling to trouble the present well-being by an
interview fruitful in problems of etiquette. Francis' was the elder
throne. But England had been France's overlord only a century before. To
cross the Channel would for Francis have been an act of faith quite
idiotic in his country's eyes; for Henry to put himself in Francis' power
on the faith of a parchment friendship was unthinkable. The plan of a
chivalrous meeting was put away out of practical consideration, and lived
only in the wishes of the younger courtiers and the secret calculations
of both Kings.

Their friendship, however, continued to be blazoned; others took it for
granted, and feared it, Charles of Castile in particular. Of his disjunct
possessions perhaps the most important, and at the moment the most
troubled, was Spain. Any union of the two Channel powers meant a closure
of the narrow seas, transport of soldiers, money and goods made difficult
or impossible. Charles considered uncomfortably the naked marches of
Flanders, defended by lords who for a handful of gold would turn coats
and make their charge their prey. His patrimony was mortgaged, his title
brought with it as yet no revenue. Sober and astute, he perceived that
superb gestures were not for him, the crown of the Romans allowed its
wearer no such luxury as false pride. Hitherto he had kept little
communication with the English court, but the bridge was there, Queen
Katherine's relationship to his mad mother, and the necessary advances
might be made as a matter not of politics but of family feeling. However,
he would not move until he was sure that the French-English alliance
rested upon some foundation less shifting than words. France was not
unsuspected of a renewal of machinations in Scotland. Legal authorities
of both countries bickered still concerning the late Queen's jewels.
(Henry's sister, left a widow soon after her wedding to Louis XII, had
taken home with her part of the French crown treasure, including that
great diamond known as the Mirror of Naples, the most famous stone in
Europe.) But at last it became known that all difficulties of etiquette
had been put aside, orders were going out for armour and tapestry to
Charles' own artificers of Flanders and Germany; the meeting was to take
place in France, but upon English soil, and 'the King wrote letters to
all such lords, ladies, gentlemen and gentlewomen as should give their
attendance on him and the Queen, which incontinent put themselves in
readiness after the most costliest fashion.'

One man, Wolsey, had the drafting of the agreement. He achieved it to
perfection, being in the confidence and knowing the suspicions of both
Kings. The place of meeting was appointed near Calais, between two
castles of the English pale; the manner of the first encounter was to be
informal, Francis and Henry riding to their meeting, to 'speak
familiarly, and common in that sort and manner, so long as shall seem to
them good.' Their Queens were to accompany them, and preside over the
jousts, wherein the rivals were not to challenge each other, but side by
side to hold the field against all other corners. The Kings were to visit
each other's castles on the same day at the same hour, so that Claude
received Henry, and Katherine Francis; each thus acting as hostage for
the other. The number of gentlemen and men-at-arms was on both sides to
be restricted, 'for so much as the castle and places where the said
interview shall be, be so little and narrow, that if entry and license be
given to all them that would go thither divers annoyances, troubles, and
impeachments should follow.' A mixed force of English and French was to
keep order, sending 'explorators and spies in the valleys, forests,
woods, towns, boroughs, villages, castles, passages, and ways; and if any
be found suspect, them to repulse and take away.' No men-at-arms of
either nation, except those of the retinues, were to approach the place
of meeting nearer than two days' journey. Against the main risk, that of
intensifying antipathy between two young and powerful men, there was no
safeguarding. The covenant was signed, and Henry made a move towards the
coast, halting at Canterbury to keep Pentecost on the twenty-fifth day of
May. 'Soon after which coming to Canterbury tidings were brought that
Charles Ernperor-elect was on the sea, in sight of the coast of England.'

It was a visit for which Henry and Wolsey had hardly dared to hope,
though their policy had been contrived to bring it about. Since
Constantine no Emperor of the West had set foot in England, that troubled
island of traders and seamen; now this tremendous prince, by the tribute
of his presence, acknowledged England's weight in the Council of Europe,
and gave the people hope. 'They to a man detest the French interview,'
wrote his ambassador, 'they say they arc leaving their old friends for
their old enemies.' Queen Katherine, that meekest of women, cried down
the French publicly, 'as one would not have supposed she dared to do';
she, pious and frugal, knowledgeable in her husband's character, foresaw
him pricked to new extravagances (already a weakness) by this rival of
whom she had heard little that a woman reckons good. The messenger
bringing news of the Emperor's ships lying off Dover received kind
welcome from her.

Charles landed in the evening, to a tempest of cheering, and a great show
of flags, banners, and streamers, while every ship loosed off ordnance
till the harbour seemed on fire, and 'marvellous was the noise of the
guns.' Wolsey welcomed him, going out in a barge to meet his galley as it
rowed in to Dover, and Henry travelled fast from Canterbury to greet his
nephew early in the morning. The Emperor stood upon no ceremony, unlike
his ambassadors, whose grave and stately pacing for position had allowed
the _entente_ between France and England to crystallize. Hearing
that the King of England was upon the stairs of Dover Castle he came out
and down, and was embracing Henry 'or he could come up.' They talked,
then took horse together for Canterbury, where the Queen was waiting.

If there were commitments, they were secret; if there was manoeuvring, it
left no trace upon Henry's determination. 'Although this Emperor was but
young and newly established yet was he wise, and well foresaw the hurt
that this amity with France would bring him, and therefore came in person
of purpose to dissuade the King's mind, and to stay his entrance with the
French if he could; but finding Henry so forward in those proceeds, he
baited his hooks with golden gifts to the Cardinal.'

The last part of the sentence may be disregarded. It is unlikely that
Charles at this state of his fortunes should have been able to pay a
price big enough to tempt Wolsey from his position--astonishing for any
single man, Church or lay--of arbiter between the crowned powers.
Giustiniani wrote of him during this year that his silver plate was
estimated at 150,000 ducats; from his bishoprics of Bath and York he drew
woo ducats yearly, with 5000 more from fees derived from the Great Seal,
and 15,000 in New Year gifts; besides the pension from his bishopric of
Tournai, once more in French hands, but for whose loss he received a
substantial yearly compensation. The Venetians were debating whether a
gift of a hundred Damascene carpets would induce the Cardinal merely to
accord them a hearing in some matter concerning Candy wine. He was as
rich as he needed to be, as rich as it was safe to be. The straight way
was for him also the safe and pleasant one; he could allow himself the
luxury of saying No to kings.

He therefore echoed Henry's No to Charles, but took note, as a statesman,
of the young man's popularity. An Emperor on his knee to their Queen
pleased the people for their own sake and hers; they had a great respect
for her, in which this gesture confirmed them. It was known that the
Princess Mary was destined for France, but among the commons other hopes
were born of this visit.

Arrived on Saturday, the Emperor departed on Thursday following, having
discovered for himself how the land lay with regard to the French
alliance; discouraged, but not entirely without hope. On the same day
that he set off for Flanders, Henry, with a good wind in his sails, made
for France. Calais was ready to salute him; he received homage there and
passed on to the new palace by Guisnes, on which workmen had been busy
since February.

The preposterous glories, the intertwined allegories of this palace,
afford the chroniclers much fine confused feeding. It was a castle such
as Amadis might have won from an enchanter, at whose gates and windows
stood sham men-at-arms, 'images of sore and terrible countenances.' Among
these Hercules and Alexander were portrayed, and a great fountain from
which flowed 'red, white, and claret wine' had Bacchus for its patron,
over whose head was written in gold, 'Faictes bonne chere qui
vouldra'--Good cheer for whoso wills. The ordinary hangings were of silk,
gilded and worked into the shape of roses, the state hangings of cloth of
gold; there were cushions, 'of the Turkey making,' chairs with pommels of
fine gold, windows curiously glassed. The chapel had for guardians twelve
images, 'the height of a child of four years,' once more in gold; the
copes and vestments all had been woven each in one piece by Florentine
craftsmen, of gold cloth powdered with the Tudors' crimson rose; the
commonest vessels of the altar were of gold, the Queen's missal was
jewelled and embroidered. The palace itself not being large enough--its
area, by Hall's assessment, was something like a hundred thousand square
feet--twenty-eight hundred tents were set up round about it, in which
lodged such noblemen as were not immediately about the King's person.

The French King's preparations were as elaborate, but not so well
contrived; since there was less money to ensure the workmen's skill and
expedition, his lodging when he came to the town of Ardres was
unfinished, so that he had to be content with a pavilion, magnificent in
itself, 'a house of solace and sport which was chiefly sustained by a
great mighty mast, all the roof of the said house hung on the same mast,
the colour of the same was all blue, set with stars of gold foil.' Under
this roof he received Wolsey, whose silver crosses and pillars, the hat
and mantle borne before him, and great following of grooms in scarlet
livery coming after, astonished the court, so that the French 'made
books, showing the triumphant doings of the Cardinal's royalty.' He came
with authority from Henry to approve and confirm, to bind and unbind, a
lay power as great as that which his archbishop's consecration allowed
over souls. Francis, astonished at this greatness, still was aware that
the negotiations could not be in better hands. His subsequent generosity
need not be seen as mere truckling, but as that recognition of rare
qualities which a personal encounter with Wolsey seems always to have
imposed. He gave into the Cardinal's hand letters patent by which Wolsey
might speak and sign for the crown of France as for the crown of England;
plenary and absolute power. Wolsey could not accept, without reference to
his master, so enormous a responsibility, but Henry, seeing in the
compliment to his servant goodwill to himself, gave full assent. The
Cardinal plenipotentiary held the destinies of two States in his hands
when he came to the castle of Guisnes.

The Kings kept to their programme and their bargain. In state they
visited to exchange protestations of regard. 'Sir,' said the King of
England, 'I never saw Prince with my eyen that might of my heart be more
loved. And for your love I have passed the seas, into the fardest
frontier of my realm to see you presently, which doing now gladdeth me.'
They set up trees of honour on a mountain made of green damask; the trees
were artificially wrought, the leaves of green damask like the mount, the
branches, boughs and withered leaves of cloth of gold. On these hung the
two royal shields, and by them stood the heralds, to receive challenges
from those who were to venture. Each day had its device and its colour
for the contestants to wear. Some notion of the astounding richness of
the clothing may be taken from a description of one of Henry's coats; it
was cut in cloth of silver damask, bordered with a motto in cloth of gold
letters--'Break not these sweet herbs of the rich mount.' Here and there
on the cloth were embroidered 'little mountains, and springing branches
of Basil wrought all of fine gold, and every branch leaf and stalk was
loose and wavering, that underneath was the cloth of silver seen.'
Marvellous fresh and fair this apparel looked, says Hall, yet in fact it
was one of the simplest of Henry's uniforms. (The gentlemen of each
King's party wore replicas of his dress.) The whole meeting went by
without unhappy incident, to the sound of trumpets; perfectly occupied
with sport and spectacle, the hotheads on both sides were left no
opportunity to quarrel.

Only three informalities marred the smooth course of events. Francis,
wrestling, gave Henry's superior strength a nasty fall; the incident was
private, but none the less dangerous for that. Again, the King of France,
eager as ever, paid the King of England a surprise visit at eight in the
morning as he sat at breakfast, and caused some little consternation by
greeting him affectionately as 'my prisoner.' The next is a pretty story
of indecorum at Mass. The Gospel was presented first to one King, then to
the other, each refusing, in the other's favour, the honour of being the
first to kiss. The missal swayed this way and that until at last it was
placed on the altar again, unsaluted; the pyx went to and fro in the same
manner at the Agnus Dei. The two Queens for some time solemnly repeated
after their husbands the figures in this dance of religious civility, but
at last, having duly waved aside the pyx some two or three times, broke
out laughing and kissed each other instead.

On Midsummer Day, June 24th, the Kings took friendly leave of each other
and departed, having been sixteen days in each other's company. _'With
contempt on the one side and distrust on the other, it is impossible that
men should work well together'_; but given these qualities they still
may good-temperedly play. There was an exchange of jewels by way of
remembrance, a collar and bracelet of the finest work changed hands.
Henry made his way through troops of sight-seeing drunkards, victims of
the conduit at his gate that ran wine night and day, to Calais, where
more preparations for expenditure at once were set on foot.

Charles the Emperor was waiting at Grave-lines, anxious for news. He had,
as ever, a good excuse to be where he was; another aunt, Margaret, his
regent in Flanders, was this time his hostess. Once more Charles, with
the whole security of his dominions at stake, gave etiquette the go-by,
and rather than wait for Henry to come to him, as his high condition upon
his own territory warranted, set out in person to encounter his uncle
halfway. At the court, when at last they came to it, both nobles and
commons of the King's train were more comfortable than among the
civilities and suspicions of the Field; 'the Emperor made such semblant
of love to all the court of England...and all sorts of Englishmen from
the highest to the lowest were so cheered and feasted, with so loving
manner, that much they praised the Emperor's court.'

Their praise, coming to the ears of Francis in a characteristic fashion
(by way of certain young Frenchmen who took part, disguised, in the
masques, 'through which means they saw and much more heard than they
should have done'), unsettled his too eager mind once more. True, the
Emperor was his ally; the meeting had no other ostensible object than to
ratify the agreement to which he was a party; but he was troubled, and
his messenger, sent with letters of credence to the Emperor, allowed
himself so many hints and threats that there was some alarm for Charles'
personal safety. Francis was aware of the young Emperor's quality, a kind
of humdrum capacity for the accumulation of power; it dismayed and
enraged him. He distrusted Henry; Charles he feared, and if bluster could
prevent the two going hand in glove he had no scruple against using it.

The manoeuvre succeeded, to all appearance. Henry, after a three days'
visit, 'departed, and in goodly haste shipped' from Calais, having spent
uncounted money, and gained only the esteem, which he might have had more
cheaply in his own country, of being an excellent dancer, horseman, and
breaker of spears. Five thousand eight hundred and four persons
accompanied him, most of whom, having obeyed his injunction to fit
themselves out in the costliest possible fashion, returned to bankruptcy
and selling of lands. 'The marvellous treasure of gold that was now in
chains and baldricks was so great, so weighty, that the gold was
innumerable, to my deeming, to be summed; Gentlemen, Squires, Knights,
and every honest officer of the King was richly apparelled and had chains
of gold, great and marvellous weighty; what should be said?' Only that
Henry, now twenty-eight years old and absolute, had allowed his natural
taste for splendour to make a fool of him, and thus laid himself open to
those dangers which beset any prince who has wasted his substance in
display: _'He must burden his subjects with taxes to recoup himself,
and so incur unpopularity; having by his liberaliy offended many and
obliged, few.'_


The treaty thus sealed amid jealousy, treachery, and folly, suffered the
same fate as previous pacts ratified in circumstances more auspicious.
Within two years the Duke of Albany, with Francis' connivance, was
troubling Scotland on pretence of assisting Henry's sister to rule;
French sailors pursued English merchant ships and sacked them off
Margate, 'even in the King's streams.' Henry wrote in anger to the
Estates of Scotland, to the effect that Albany was an adventurer, without
credit or backing; 'in order to accomplish his damnable purposes in
covert manner, he has come out of France without the cognizance,
assurance, or even knowledge of the said French King.' And he added a
significant paragraph reminding the lords, and the King of France through
them, that there had been an oath, sworn upon the four Evangelists, which
precluded all such French cognizanoe or assurance. Francis' answer was a
plea of ignorance, and an offer to make restitution for such damage as
his subjects had done. Neither money nor goods was forthcoming. The
yearly payments for redeeming Tournai were delayed, promised, abandoned.
Lawyers still were busy in dispute over the jewels and dowry of Henry's
sister.[*] The bad faith of France was evident. There was every excuse
for war, and preparations were made for it; ships were put in readiness,
and 'a general muster by commission was taken of all able men from
sixteen years and upward, of every hamlet, village, borough, city,
hundred, and shire throughout England, which seemed to many another
Domesday book; and yet was there neither peace nor war against France.'

[* She was married by this time to the Duke of Suffolk. Henry was angry,
for she had taken this step without consulting him, being completely in
love, and afraid that he would refuse consent. Suffolk wrote to Wolsey:
'The Queen would never let me be in rest till I had granted her to be
married; and so, to be plain with you, I have married her heartily and
have lain with her, insomuch as (I fear) that she be with child.' It is
from this hasty but never repented marriage that Lady Jane Grey

Many reasons for this hesitation may be found; only one satisfies. That
Henry considered himself bound by his word is unlikely: _'a prudent
Prince neither can nor ought to keep his word when to keep it is hurtful
to him, and the causes which led him to pledge it are removed'_: and
he was at this time feeing the Constable of Bourbon to rebel against his
master. Despite the extravagantly sworn friendship of the Field of the
Cloth of Gold, there was no lack of wealth or of enthusiasm for a French
war in England. Nor was Henry in two minds which side to take; his
predilection is put out of doubt by his throwing over the marriage with
the Dauphin. Charles was betrothed to the English heiress Mary in 1522,
and amid the pageants and feasts was one showing an allegory in the shape
of a 'proud horse that would not be tamed nor bridled, but amity sent
prudence and policy, which tamed him, and force and puissance bridled
him. This horse was meant by the French King, and amity by the King of
England and the Emperor.' Neither hesitancy, nor indolence, nor his word
on the Gospels kept Henry at this juncture out of war, but that matter
which was beginning to absorb his thoughts and shape his policy--the
business of the succession to the crown.

His only lawful living child was a daughter; it was unlikely that Queen
Katherine, after a series of miscarriages and children horn dead, would
be more fortunately fruitful. His throne, secure though it seemed in the
English devotion to his person, was new established. His father's right
to reign had been questioned by impostors such as rise up after any
mysterious death of a rightful claimant; and though these had been
shadowy figures, puppets, they had not been put down so easily; one,
even, was crowned King of Ireland before he failed. From these memories
and examples it was easy to see how on his death, or even before it, some
sprig of the red or white rose might find supporters. Henry VII had done
what he could to ensure that not many of these should remain. Still,
there were de la Poles in hiding abroad, and at home, magnificent and
defiant, Edward, Duke of Buckingham. This relative of the reigning house
had publicly deplored the new friendship with Francis, and the
extravagance of the Field. He 'sore repined that he should be at so great
charges for his furniture forth at this time, saying he knew not for what
cause so much money should be spent about the sight of a vain talk to be
had, and communication to be ministered, of things of no importance.' So
saying he voiced the feelings of the English people. Henry marked this
reluctance, and punished it only by refusing to allow the Duke, the
second nobleman in England and a noted horseman, to run with his team at
the jousts. But when England was reached, and the fantastic display which
was to bring about an undesired peace brought neither that nor war, but
only taxation, the Duke's protests and claims were remembered. Buckingham
was aware of danger. He had returned from France into a life wholly
retired and private, to make gardens; contriving, not political tangles,
but 'curious knots and summer bowers' of roses and sweet herbs at
Penshurst, where the King himself came to stay the following summer, and
won at tennis £14 of his host; a visit which, combined with the Duke's
withdrawal from public life, might seem to show him once more in favour.
But his offence was not in his behaviour, but his blood. The King
watched, and collected evidence; the Duke had been promised by an
astrologer that the King should have no male issue; he had attempted to
bribe the guard by presents of cloth of gold; he had been heard to say
that God punished usurpers, and so would not allow the King's issue to
prosper; and 'he hath said all that the King's father did was wrong and
naught.' Henry himself sat in judgment on his kinsman, whose descent from
Edward III, though it appeared nowhere in the indictment, was a
sufficient assurance that he would be found guilty. He returned from
Guildhall to the Tower with the blade of the axe turned towards him, and
the sole entry which Wriothesley sets down for this, the thirteenth year
of Henry's reign, runs as follows:

'This year, on Friday before White Sunday, being the 17 day of May,
Edward Duke of Buckingham was beheaded at Tower Hill.'

It was the signal for others with some tinge of the blood royal to be off
out of England; Reginald Pole, grandson of the Duke of Clarence, went
into exile, that hardest fate for any Englishman, and his mother, the
Countess of Salisbury, found herself in danger. The Earl of Devon, Edward
IV's grandson, was in no better case. But the King held his hand, having
in mind another solution to the problem.

The marriage of his daughter presented difficulties such as no one but a
prophet might surmount. A French alliance was unpopular, and by the year
1525 had ceased even to be profitable. Francis I, tempting his luok once
too often, fell into the hands of the Emperor's troops and went sadly to
imprisonment in Spain, while in London a Te Deum was sung for his
overthrow and bonfires were lit in all parts of the city, 'with vessels
of wine at every fire for the people to drink.' The Emperor, made by this
victory contemptuous of the English friendship, took no pains to
conciliate Henry; 'and never after that victory gotten subscribed his
letters to King Henry according to his accustomed manner, Your Son and
Cousin; but to the draft of his Secretaries infixed his hand with the
word Charles, and no more.'

But the King of England was at this time a strong and healthy man of
thirty-four. He could still have children, though not in conjunction with
the disordered blood of Spain. A disputed succession meant civil war, and
England sinking again in the west like some northern winter sun after a
glorious and too brief day. Accordingly there began to go about among the
canon lawyers an opinion that the King's marriage was unlawful, being
within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity.

It is customary to suppose that this convenient doubt came to birth
following upon the King's sudden infatuation for Anne Boleyn, one of the
Queen's own ladies; the matter was deeper rooted than this. Henry
possessed to a remarkable degree that power of self-deception native to
the English, against which the conscious deceits of foreign diplomacy do
battle in vain. For many months he considered, weighing objection against
advantage; the chance of a present foreign war--the Emperor was his
wife's nephew--against the certainty of a civil war after his death. He
plagued his confessor for advice, stirred to activity a conscience
hitherto tranquil, and by 1527 had securely established in his own mind a
genuine doubt of the lawfulness of his marriage. Thus a speech to the
nobles and councillors, given by Hall, need not be read with distaste as
an example of hypocrisy.

'If it be judged by the law of God that she is my lawful wife, there was
never thing more acceptable unto me in my life, both for the discharge
and clearing of my conscience, and also for the good qualities and
conditions the which I know to be in her...But if it be determined by
judgment that our marriage was against God's law and clearly void, then I
shall not only sorrow for the parting with so good a lady and loving
companion, but much more lament and bewail my unfortunate chance, that I
have so long lived in adultery to God's great displeasure, and have no
true heir of my body to inherit the realm.' From this Council men went
pitying the King to see him so perplexed.'

The Spanish author of the _Chronicle of King Henry VIII_, a
partisan, despite his nationality, of the King, puts the onus of first
proposing a divorce on Wolsey's shoulders; so does Roper, Sir Thomas
More's son-in-law; so does Charles the Emperor, in a letter to his envoy
in Portugal--'by the sinister persuasion of the Cardinal of York, who
bath prevailed upon the King, our good brother, in order that he may
marry with France, and thus avenge him, because we did not marry with his
daughter.' Always Wolsey is accused. But he denied responsibility
publicly before the Council; and it is strange to see Henry forgetting
statecraft for a moment in the conviction which by this time he had
imposed upon himself. 'Sir,' said the Cardinal, 'I must humbly beseech
your highness to declare to me, before all this audience, whether I have
been the chief inventor or first mover of this matter unto your majesty,
for I am greatly suspected of all men therein.' 'Marry,' the King
answered, 'ye have been rather against me in attempting or setting forth

Henry was responsible for the whole policy, and accepted that
responsibility fully. Politically it was a mistake to do so, and contrary
to his usual custom. He had insisted that his minister should answer to
the nobles for the distasteful friendship with France, and to the commons
for the subsequent and equally unpopular levy for prosecuting war against
that country, made in 1523. And though the Cardinal accepted at last the
task of negotiating with the Pope, the King it was who directed all moves
in the game, relying upon the excellence of his dynastic reasons,
together with the great desire of his people for a prince. The marriage
with Anne Boleyn was not his first or only compelling motive; indeed when
the question of another queen was first put forward, Francis I's sister,
Duchess of Alençon, was suggested as the most suitable match, and Anne's
own brother, Lord Rochford,[*] 'brought with him (out of France) a
picture of the said lady,' for the King's appraising. Anne's sister, Mary
Boleyn, had been the King's mistress, her mother was reputed the
daughter's predecessor; and it is not to be supposed that Henry would,
even at the height of a lover's folly, have risked a quarrel with the
powerful Emperor for the sake of one further link with so easy a family.
He was determined to marry; and it may well be that, having observed in
the course of his daughter's many betrothals how uncertain were foreign
fortunes and promises, he was determined to marry an Englishwoman, as his
father before him had done.

[* He was afterwards executed, on a charge of incest with his sister, the
King's wife. This charge was never proved, and Rochford denied it on the
scaffold, as did Anne herself.]

A brief of Pope Julius II stood between him and his wish. The degree of
consanguinity had been recognized when, after Prince Arthur's death,
England had the choice of providing his widow with another husband, or
letting her dowry return to Spain. But it was the opinion, even of such
dispassionate theologians as the Bishop of Rochester, that this bull of
dispensation was inadequate; Fisher found it 'slenderly couched,' and
agreed that 'many things might be objected against it.' But the
authorisation of one Pope could only be set aside by his successor; and
in 1527 the Pope was a Medici, Clement VII, with something of his
father's skill in bargaining, as his election in the teeth of stronger
candidates proved. He was in Henry's debt, however, for a defence of the
sacraments against Luther, and something might reasonably be hoped from a
pontiff who wrote thus civilly: 'We, therefore, which are ready always
(under God) to entertain and favourably grant the honest petitions of all
Kings, at least minding the safety of souls, but more especially your
Majesty's, for its manifold immeasurable benefits towards us and this
holy Seat.' But the armies of the Emperor were all about Rome, and
Clement did not dare commit himself in the matter of the Emperor's aunt.
He refused to pronounce one way or another upon Pope Julius' instrument.

Within whose jurisdiction, then, did the matter come? Evidently it was a
case for an ecclesiastical court, being one of canon law and conscience.
Various courses were suggested; none found favour, though it was agreed
that some kind of commission from Rome would be most acceptable. But how
to compose it? 'They praised the present flavour of the meat, but blamed
the cooking,' wrote Stephen Gardiner, after a bout of argument with the
Pope's lawyers. Wolsey, as Legate, was capable of trying the cause, but
was disliked and distrusted by the Queen; it was necessary to add some
other authority to his, a point at which the Pope and his advisers
baulked; they would take no responsibility for suggesting an arbitrator.
There was wrangling, and at last, on the Englishmen's part, something
like blackmail. Their King, they said, though staunch in doctrine, was
beginning to have doubts as to the validity of Papal authority; and
(which was true) the new ways of thinking were not without supporters in
their country. 'At these words the Pope's Holiness, casting his arm
abroad, in great agitation bade them put in the words contended for; and
therewith walked up and down the chamber, casting now and then his arms
abroad.' He was left with no choice but to name Wolsey's co-judge, and,
with some idea of still further delaying the issue, chose a Cardinal
crippled by gout; a man known to the English already from his coming with
the hat for Wolsey in 1518, renowned for sagacity and learning. Campeggio
was in fact in no condition to travel, and it was some months before he
landed in England, though Wolsey sent relays of horses and mules to
accommodate him through France, and even offered money. The Legate
refused it, and made his way painfully to London, whence he wrote to
Clement that the threat of secession was immediately shaken over him.
'He (Wolsey) often impresses upon me that if this divorce be not granted
the authority of the See Apostolic in this Kingdom will be at an end.'

Wolsey, it may be supposed, took his tone from the King; for the Legate
immediately afterwards speaks of the Chancellor's great services to the
Church, shrewdly conjecturing that he would do nothing to undermine an
authority from which he derived his own. But the Cardinal's power came
from a dual source, and though he valued the red hat, the silver pillars,
the ceremony to which his ecclesiastical rank entitled him and of which
his temporal master could not deprive him, yet there was danger that, if
Henry so willed, he might not live to enjoy them.

The Legate therefore went carefully, despite his fellow Cardinal's
urging. His instructions from the Pope were, not immediately to make
enquiry, but to work upon the King, and bring him to change his mind. In
any case, even if a reconciliation were to prove impossible, he was on no
account to give sentence without further application to Rome.

He found on his arrival that the omens were not good. The King's
impatience was already beginning to show itself. Anne Boleyn was
installed in the palace of Greenwich, and the French ambassador wrote
that already greater court was paid to her than to the Queen--by the
nobles, that is; to whom 'the King hath made his intention clearly known,
so that they speak more soberly than otherwise they might have done.' The
Legate had not long to wait before he heard from the King of England's
own mouth more about these same intentions. Henry came to Blackfriars,
and visited Campeggio privately; there was no long discussion. 'He told
me plainly he wanted nothing more than a declaration whether this
marriage were valid or not--he himself always assuming that it was not
so; and I believe if an angel came down from Heaven he would not be able
to persuade his Majesty to the contrary.'

So fixed, by this time, was the idea. The Legate gave up all hope of
persuading the plaintiff, and turned to discover the wishes of the
defendant. The King had suggested that the Queen might retire to a
religious house, and it was not wholly out of possibility that she should
consent; she was a pious woman. Campeggio, therefore, bearing this
suggestion in mind, visited Queen Katherine and gently proposed it; she
would satisfy God, her conscience and the King's, and retain her temporal
goods; besides, by not allowing the marriage to be called in question,
seouring her daughter in the succession. The Queen, who presently from
among her maids came forth unto them, having a skein of white thread
about her neck,' made no direct answer. She was alone, she said, 'a poor
woman lacking wit,' and a stranger among these laws. 'What think ye, my
Lords, that any English subjects will be for me against the King?
Forsooth, I know they will not.' She would ask for counsellors; the
Legate should have his answer when they had been consulted.

Whatever these counsellors advised--four English bishops, and three
advocates from Flanders--the Queen had made up her mind by the time
Campeggio next saw her. She had never been Prince Arthur's wife in fact;
'intact and incorrupt he left me, as I came from my mother's very womb.'
Her marriage was lawful, an honourable estate in which she chose to
remain. 'The King my father I am sure was not so ignorant but he asked
counsel of clerks and well-learned men before he married me the second
time; for'--a nice understanding of Ferdinand's character--'if he had any
doubt in my marriage he would not have disbursed so great a treasure as
he did.' She begged the Legate to reason with the King, and she for her
part would use such influence as she had to quiet the Emperor's anger;
for Charles was writing, insisting that she should be allowed good
Spanish counsellors, not suspect Englishmen, and that she should be
treated with all reverence; 'for if it were not so we should take such
conduct to be an affront to ourselves, in which our own honour was
concerned, and as such avenge it.'

Campeggio had reason to dread the Emperor's anger; he had been obliged to
ransom himself, at great cost, from the marauding Imperial soldiers who
sacked Rome. Henry, however, assessed the Emperor more truly, and
understood very well that a strong island and an undefended city were two
different matters. He insisted, and Wolsey was obliged to repeat his
insistence at the risk of alienating the Pope altogether. His letter to
Rome shows a man torn by two loyalties, trying hopelessly to reconcile
them; begging the Pope for the sake of the Church to deny the Church's
own authority, careless of precedent, seeing only ruin ahead whichever
way he turns.

'The King feels his honour touched by this (the refusal of Campeggio to
make any pronouncement), especially considering what a benefactor he has
been to the Church. I cannot reflect upon it and olose my eyes, for I see
ruin, infamy, and subversion of the whole dignity and honour of the See
Apostolic...without the Pope's compliance I cannot hear up against the

A second mission therefore was sent to the Pope, to enquire, among other
things, 'whether he will dispense the King to have two wives, whereof
some great reasons and precedents appear, especially in the Old
Testament'; which astonishing solution to the problem appeared to shock
none of the ecclesiastics concerned. But in case there should be found no
lawful means whereby the King of England might practise polygamy, there
was a subtler snare prepared. The Pope, who could not at this critical
moment of his See's history be expected to disavow his predecessors, on
whom, as the links from St. Peter, his whole power depended, was to be
invited to save his face in an ingenious manner. The original bull of
Pope Julius reposed in the archives of Spain; Queen Katherine, commanded
by her husband to produce it, had very prudently refused to do so, and
her nephew, though he threatened to send it to Clement direct, would
naturally be cautious in exposing such a document to the risks of that
long road between Toledo and Rome. The Pope therefore, in the absence of
the original, was to be invited to consider its non-production a proof
that it would not bear examination; in fact, that it was a forgery, and
as such might be set aside by Julius' successor without detriment to that
pontiff's authority, or to his own which derived from it.

Even this inducement failed to make up either of Clement's two minds. He
hesitated, raged, argued--'If heresies arise, is it my fault? My
conscience acquits me. Let them, if they please, send the Legate back
again, and then do as they please, so long as they do not make me
responsible for their injustices.' And in the end he refused.

The English envoys had known it all along. 'I think his Holiness will do
nothing,' one of them wrote, and you may tell Wolsey so, in the event of
his desiring my opinion.' Troubled, harassed, in uncertain health, still
the Pope would not yield on either of the two main points, though he had
been heard in his distress to say that he could wish the poor Queen were
'in her grave, for the health of Christendom; saying also that he
thought, like as the Emperor has destroyed the temporalities of the
Church, so shall she be the cause of the destruction of the
spiritualities.' Nothing was to be hoped from Clement.

The King therefore resolved to force his hand. He called a court together
at Blackfriars, the lawyers were busy with precedents, the people agog,
Anne Boleyn waiting for news which should set the crown of England on her
head; a whole kingdom was arrayed in expectation against the old and
weary Campeggio, with a vacillating Pope at his back. The King having
taken his seat and the court being set, silence cried, and the counsel at
the bar called, 'Campeggio upon his stiff gouty legs stood up, all men
expecting the sentence of divorce, but the Cardinal said flatly, "I will
not give judgment in this matter too high for us."'

Silence met this, broken by the Duke of Suffolk, Henry's brother-in-law;
who gave 'a great clap on the table with his hand, and said, "By the
Mass, now I see the old saw is true, it was never merry in England since
we had Cardinals among us."'

The King rose in anger. The Legates broke up their court, and Campeggio
set off, back to Rome, ostensibly to carry the cause back to the Pope,
actually to bring first news of the breaking away of England from
Catholic Christendom. Wolsey, his partner in failure, was dismissed by
Henry from favour. Hearing lawyers 'fall in discourse of the case, by
terms and strength of the civil law, Well, said Doctor Cranmer, if I
might be heard, I think much better it might be tried by God's law.' The
King sent for him, and giving him 'great provision of books' set the
Doctor to prove his words in writing; the result of which was a treatise
proving from the Fathers and the Scriptures that the Bishop of Rome had
no authority to dispense with the word of God.

It was enough. Like a man starting to run downhill, Henry launched
himself from foothold to foothold, each leap wider and more perilous than
the last, unable either to stop his course or to change its direction.
From lack of an heir to trouble of conscience; from trouble of conscience
to lawful means of relief; from these to means unlawful; from means
unlawful to the rejection of the whole code that condemned him--such was
the King's headlong progress during the years of delay. _'For no man is
found prudent enough to adapt himself to these changes,'_ comments the
Florentine Secretary on the shifts of Fortune, _'both because he cannot
deviate from the course to which nature impels him, and because, having
always prospered while pursuing one path, he cannot be persuaded that it
would be well for him to leave it.'_

But, much as he had sacrificed, alliance, good faith, his name in
Christendom as a defender of the Church and the Holy See, Henry, in 1533,
was in a fair way to obtain his desire, the chance of a legitimate son to
succeed him. _'A new Prince cannot observe all those rules of conduct
in respect whereof men are accounted good, being often forced, in order
to preserve his Princedom, to act in opposition to good faith.'_
Henry, forced to act thus in defence of his dynasty, preserved so far as
was possible all the decencies; did at first so conduct himself that, in
the words of the Secretary, _'to see and hear him one would think him
the embodiment of mercy, good faith, integrity, kindliness, and
religion.'_ And, he adds, _'there is no quality more necessary to
seem to possess than this last.'_ 'To see them together,' wrote the
French ambassador, speaking of Katherine and her husband, 'none could
have told anything was the matter.' Henry, though he abstained from her
bed, had continued to eat with the Queen, and showed her all courtesy,
besides speaking of her in publio assemblies with respect. He had very
fairly assessed the danger of intervention by the Emperor.[*] He had,
besides, chosen an excellent moment to approach the Pope, who, friendless
and in flight, was unlikely to stand against the strongly expressed wish
of one of the few friends left to his See. The meek character of Queen
Katherine was to be relied upon. And though theologians were divided in
their opinions--Luther and Melanchthon, among others, wrote against the
divorce--the King had judgment from many of the European universities in
his favour. _'Wherefore, if a Prince succeeds in establishing and
maintaining his authority the means will always be judged honourable and
be approved by everyone. For the vulgar are always taken by appearances
and by results, and the world is made up of the vulgar.'_

[* Two of his sisters had been turned out of their kingdoms without
protest from Charles. He was not likely to take up arms in the cause of
an aunt.]

His plan came to grief because the King had left out of reckoning three
matters, one by no means to be foreseen, the others calculable by a man
not wholly blinded by impatience and desire. The first and most important
may be expressed in the words of one of his own bishops, Tunstall; of
whom Erasmus said that he was too learned to be mistaken in judgment, and
too honest to be tempted to flatter. 'The King's Grace, ye say, shall
have another wife, and she shall bear him a prince...Who hath promised
him a prince?' It is not to be more forcefully or more briefly put. A
second marriage was no more certain than the first to provide an heir.

Next, the King's patience failed, and that failure undid any good that
his temperate first statement of the case had done. He was absolute
master; twenty years of power had offered few opportunities to practise
kicking his heels in waiting on the judgment of a superior. Six years is
a long time to keep up any deception, even one of self, and at last
Henry's growing infatuation for Anne Boleyn spurred him to force an
issue. He was mad for her, she for the crown. They wrote to each other
lamenting the passage of time, promising future delights. Both urged
Wolsey; and there is an interesting joint letter from them to the
Chancellor, asking for news. 'I do know,' Anne wrote, 'the great pains
and troubles you have taken for me, both day and night, is never like to
be recompensed on my part, but only in loving you, next to the King's
grace, above all creatures living.' She begged for news, and hoped it
might be good, 'for I am sure you desire it as much as I.' Henry wrote
the postscript with his own hand: 'The writer of this letter would not
cease, till she had caused me likewise to set my hand. I assure you there
is neither of us but that greatly desireth to see you...The not hearing
of the legate's arrival in France causeth us somewhat to muse;
notwithstanding we trust by your diligence and vigilancy (with the
assistance of Almighty God) shortly to be eased out of that trouble.' But
no such ease was forthcoming, and the discipline which Henry had imposed
upon himself, in the hope that a decision might be reached in a very few
months, began with the passing of years to lose its hold. He forgot his
respectful attitude to the Queen; was publicly seen with Anne, whom the
people hated; and, having submitted his cause to an impartial judge,
refused to accept the findings of the Pope's commissioner.

Last, and perhaps most dangerous to the whole project, comes a factor
which Machiavelli seems to disallow, since nowhere in his book does he
make mention of it as having a political bearing; the sheer goodness of
the woman against whom the opinions of bishops and universities, and her
husband's powerful will, were in turn arrayed.

Katherine of Aragon was greatly loved--'as though she had been herself
English,' Chapuys, the Spanish ambassador, wrote to his master; supreme
tribute from a people so jealous of its nationality and so suspicious of
foreigners. She was pious, humble, as her husband witnessed, despite her
great parentage; a woman content to sit among her ladies at work, to say
her prayers, and bring up her daughter in all good accomplishments. She
was not handsome, and made no very great figure in the masques and
pageants to which Henry as a young man was devoted; but she kept a brave
heart during the menace of a Scottish invasion, made speeches as well as
stitched banners, and stood out against the French friendship like an
Englishwoman born. 'The good Queen Katherine,' 'the blessed Queen,' 'that
good lady'; even chroniclers whose inclination and whose profit tilted
the King's way could find no worse words for her. Hall, grumbling, bears
witness to her popularity: 'Of the coming of this Legate (Campeggio) the
common people, being ignorant of the truth, and in especial women and
other that favoured the Queen, talked largely, and said that the King
would for his own pleasure have another wife...with many foolish words,
insomuch that whosoever spake against the marriage was of the common
people abhorred and reproved.' An address intended for the use of her
advocates, but bearing signs of its opposing origin, speaks in one
sentence of her light-heartedness, when she exhorted the young persons of
the King's court to dancing and pastimes, 'though it would be better for
her to exhort them to pray God to send some good end to this matter.'
Elsewhere the document complains that she showed herself too much to the
people, 'rejoicing greatly in their exclamations and ill obloquy, and by
beckoning with her head and smiling...rather encouraging them in their so
doing, than rebuking them as she should have done.'

One interpretation fits both behaviours. Katherine, a proud woman, would
not show her hurt; a dutiful daughter of her father and of the Church,
she would not suppose that these objections of consanguinity, which were
in fact raised at the time of her marriage, had not finally been met by
her parents' acquiescence and the Pope's Bull. She displayed, throughout
the difficult years of disputed status, no acrimony, no disobedience, and
let fall no word that might not become a subject and a true wife. If she
showed herself smiling to the crowd, as her opponent jealously noted, it
seems evident that her dignity would not admit an appeal to the people's
pity; and if she obliged her ladies to dance, it was in order that they,
and she, might not seem to deplore in advance the issue of her
cause--that issue which, so far as lawyers, Church and lay, could ensure
it, was hound to go against her.

Man proposes. When after six years of delay the divorce was pronounced;
when Anne had been married and crowned with such ceremony as that which
greeted the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella twenty years before; when
she was known to be with child, and the gunners at Greenwich stood ready
with their matches to touch off the salute for a son, a daughter was born
to her and the King. 'Who hath promised him a prince?' One daughter had
been bastardized to make way for another. Anne had failed and knew it,
but she took her destiny lightly, as ever. Eighteen months later, having
given birth to a second (still-born) child, she gave sufficient cause to
her enemies, was found guilty of an intrigue against the King's honour,
and went to her death smiling. 'Mr. Kingston,' she said to the Constable
of the Tower, 'I hear I shall not die before noon, and I am very sorry
therefor, for I thought to be dead by this time and past my pain.' He
told her that there would be no pain, or very little. 'And then she said,
"I heard say the executioner was very good, and I have a little neck,"
and put her hands about it laughing heartily.' 'She would not confess,
but showed a devilish spirit, and was as gay as if she were not going to
die,' the Spanish chronicler noted. She had been Queen in fact a little
over three years, but powerful for something nearer ten. The motto upon
her great-grandfather's tomb would have been fitting for her own, where
'upon a border of brass in many places these words are written, Now thus,
now thus, now thus.'

Anne gambled with life, and lost what she had, but Henry had more to
lose; he played for stakes higher than he knew, and the luck of the game
went against him from the beginning. A healthy young Englishwoman, a
commoner, might have been reckoned upon to bear him sons, and preserve
his dignity; Queen Katherine, a Spaniard and a recluse, seemed to lack
all dangerous charm for his people. Yet gay Anne made him a
laughingstock, the withdrawn Queen was loved. _'Its attainment_ (the
security of a Princedom) _depends not wholly on merit, nor wholly on
good fortune, but rather on a fortunate astuteness.'_ Sir Thomas
More's laughing quatrain on the student who quitted his books to marry
fits the royal plaintiff neatly, and may serve as a pendant to
Machiavelli's dictum:

'Now who hath played a feater cast
Since juggling first begun?
In knitting of himself so fast,
Himself he bath undone.'


The divorce, inevitably, brought about Wolsey's ruin; he had been thrust
into a situation which offered, at best, only a choice of evils, when
Henry, looking to the continuance of his dynasty, forswore the diplomacy
of fifteen years, and cut England off from the rest of Europe. Wolsey,
whose chief usefulness to his master and nation was thus denied, could no
longer stand against the pressure brought to bear upon him; the King's
will was, in effect, the will of a majority. It is one of the secrets of
Henry's constant hold upon English loyalty and affection that he was an
interpreter of the people. His dismissal of Wolsey came at a time when
public opinion was swaying against him, and it did much to set him right
in the eyes of men who deplored his behaviour to the rightful Queen.

The English people recognized that the Cardinal must go; hut, with their
eternal genius for arriving at the right conclusion by the wrong road,
they attributed the fall to his machinations in Anne's favour. The
Spanish chronicler, whose pages repeat the gossip of streets and taverns,
has a story which must have found wide belief. 'As he (Wolsey) rose from
base beginnings he rejoiced to have wise people in his train, and one of
them, an astrologer, said to him one day, My Lord, you will be destroyed
by a woman. At the time he had so much power the sainted Queen Katherine
was living, and she, sad that so low a man should have so great control,
showed but little love to him, and rather tried that the King should look
to his own business. The Cardinal, knowing this and remembering what the
astrologer had said, invented a diabolical thing'--(sowed doubts in the
King's mind concerning his marriage)--'thus fulfilling the prophecy that
he should be destroyed by a woman. The ill-fated man thought it would be
the blessed Queen Katherine, but instead it was the cursed Anne Boleyn.'

To look for a moment at Wolsey's career is not time wasted; it illumines
the oharacter of the King to whose greatness the supreme capacity of
this, his chosen minister, is witness. Such conjunctions do not come
about by chance. _'It is an unerring rule, and one of universal
application, that a Prince who is not wise himself cannot be well advised
by others.'_ Wolsey, the son of a butcher, was wholly without
recommendation other than his capacity. He entered the English scene on
the heels of a pair of lawyers [*] who had made justice a stench and
taxation a burden; one a paltry kind of gentleman, one the son of a
sieve-maker. 'These night-sprung Mushrumps that sucked the earth's
fatness from far better plants than themselves...left their riches to be
spent by others, and their names to remain on record for the Caterpillars
of those times.' The people, despite their hammering by lords during the
previous century, did profoundly distrust and detest upstarts. Henry knew
it. He executed his father's instruments for allowing a little of the
money they had collected to stick to their fingers, and at once set up in
their place a minister more magnificent, lavish, and spectacular than any
before or since; a commoner and a priest, distasteful alike to the
Council and the City. The King, a man of parts, and not afraid of parts
in other men, discerned greatness in the poor scholar, tutor to the
Marquess of Dorset's sons. He preferred him to the Deanery of Lincoln,
and at once set him to work upon the victualling of a war. In 1513
English ships, equipped by Wolsey's activity with all needful provision,
gained a victory over the French at sea which prepared the way for an
invasion, a casual war which soon ended, after the capture of two towns,
later to figure in the bargaining between Francis I and his neighbour
over the Channel. Wolsey accompanied Henry as his almoner, thereby losing
the chance of displaying further organizing energy in the repulse of a
Scottish invasion, but that he was already marked for favour shows in the
letters of Queen Katherine; already the butcher's son was advising and
warning--strange forecast of their future relation--Spain's daughter. By
next year he was Archbishop, and the King's sister, despatched into
France to marry an old man, wrote to Henry mourning the weakness of her
attendant Norfolk, who had permitted the dismissal of all her English
servants: 'Would God my Lord of York had come with me in his room, for
then I am sure I should have been much more at my heart's ease than I am
now.' By September 1515 the Venetian ambassador was writing in haste, to
inform his Signory of the arrival of a courier from Rome, bringing 'news
that the Right Reverend of York has been oreated Cardinal at the suit of
this most serene King, who is bent on aggrandizing him, with might and
main; perceiving which, we do our utmost to keep him on the most friendly
terms, both by reason of his extreme influence with the King, and also
because he is of a very active and assiduous mind in matters of
business.' In 1517 he was Lord Chancellor, Archbishop of York, Bishop of
Lincoln and Tournai, Cardinal, and Legate de latere, and Giustiniani
wrote: 'I perceive that the Right Reverend the Cardinal of York leads the

[* Henry VII's tax collectors, Empson and Dudley.]

The best description of his person and standing comes from this same
source. 'He is about forty-six years old (this report was read in 1519),
very handsome, learned, extremely eloquent, of vast ability, and
indefatigable. He alone transacts the same business which occupies all
the magistracies, offices and councils of Venice, both civil and
criminal; and all state affairs likewise arc managed by him, be their
nature what they may. He is pensive, and has the reputation of being
extremely just; he favours the people exceedingly, and especially the
poor.' This is worth noting. Most of the opposition to him, and the
triumphant clamour at his downfall, came from better-horn men who
resented his power with the King, and his integrity in taxing their order
as well as his own. 'He hears their suits, and seeks to despatch them
instantly; he makes the lawyers plead gratis for all paupers. He is in
very great repute--seven times more so than if he were Pope.'

Against this, to get a true picture, must he set the rattling mockery of
Skelton; himself, like the Cardinal, a man of the people and a priest.
Malicious, witty, and completely unafraid, his libellous rhymes present a
more lively view than the ambassador's discretion permits, of the strong
man in council:

'In the Chamber of Stars
All matters there he mars.
Clapping his rod on the Board,
No man dare speak a word;
For he hath all the saying
Without any renaying.'

And he goes on to a description of the Cardinal tossing down papers which
his colleagues have, presumably, had no opportunity to read, with the
curt question:

'How say you, my lords?
Is not my reason good?'

To which they, civil as a man must be to a robber, answer either Yes, or

His office of Chancellor was discharged with just such contempt of lesser
men, and impatience of argument. It is not to be supposed that the
lawyers whom he obliged to plead gratis on occasion should have much
stomach for him, nor that the Cardinal who sought to despatch suits
instantly should not chafe at their hair-splittings and delays:

'At the King's Bench
He wringeth them such a wrench
That all our learned men
Dare not set their pen
To plead a true trial
Within Westminster Hall.
In the Chancery where he sits
But such as he admits
None so hardy as to speak.
He saith, "Thou huddypeke,
Thy learning is too lewd--"'

This last may be an actual echo of the great Cardinal's voice in rage.
His own method of dealing with a problem was to let the words be plain,
the thought that directed them subtle; a clear case obfuscated with legal
phraseology may very well have brought him to such a mode of address.
Hall, his bitter antagonist, reports that he 'was not pityfull, and stood
affectionate in his own opinion.' For shrewd sense and political acumen
it was the best opinion, not excluding the King's, to be had at that time
in England. Chancellor, cardinal, legate, archbishop, the richest man in
England and the best equipped to hold power, the tangle of the divorce
proceedings held him impotent, and permitted the King, with his customary
right choice of moment, to strike.

It was Henry's practice to avoid all appearance of governing. (The
Spanish chronicler shows that the gossips had observed but did not
understand the reason for this apparent inaction.) He had other things to
do: to maintain his proficiency in the traditional royal sports, to
patronize scholars, to compose and read treatises on theological matters.
The mental energy of his first youth, when he would attend to documents
in person, and take pains with ambassadors, was gone. At no time of his
life did he deserve the sneer which Giustiniani, in his interview with
Francis I, gave by implication: 'When King Francis asked what kind of
statesman King Henry made, the ambassador avoided giving any answer, for
to bestow praise was impossible, and it was unbecoming that he should
seem to blame; but after a while, his Majesty questioning him repeatedly
on the subject, being unable to keep silence any longer, he at length
said that King Henry devoted himself to pleasure and solace, and left the
cares of state to the Cardinal; whereupon King Francis rejoined, By my
faith, the Cardinal must bear his King slight goodwill, for it is not the
office of a servant to filch his master's honour.'

This was not the case. Henry was master of England; the Cardinal knew it,
and obeyed even when obedience brought him to ruin and disgrace. He
maintained great state, but was sufficiently astute to keep it upon an
ecclesiastical footing, and to assume no honour which could seem even a
shadow of the kingly honour; his ceremonial was that of a prince of the
Church. 'At his mass he was served by Dukes and Earls...and indeed so
much overtopped the pomp of a spiritual function, as he seemed to the
humble to be mad for joy, and him doth Campian judge rather to be the
bastard of some Prince than the son of a butcher, so moulded for the one,
and so far mounting from the other.' But the splendours and humilities of
the Mass were a lawful privilege, considering his estate in Christendom;
ostensibly the dukes and earls knelt, not to Thomas Wolsey, but to the
King of Kings.

Henry's movement, therefore, in coming forward to make his
conscience-troubled speech at Blackfriars, was an astonishment to the
Cardinal; for, with bluffness, the King possessed the Tudor reticenoe and
love of secrecy. He was, knowing his Chancellor, perfectly aware that
there would be opposition to his plan; and yet he hoped, and indeed
ensured, by holding out a bribe to the Cardinal's mind, that the
opposition might be short-lived. The question itself was raised with a
skilful apparent spontaneity all Henry's own.

Princess Mary, whose matrimonial fortunes varied with those of her
suitors in their wars, was, at the age of eleven, finally betrothed to a
son of France, Henry, Duke of Orleans; one of the French bishops charged
with the negotiations, probably for the sake of obtaining a better
bargain, raised a doubt of the legitimacy of Mary's birth, and thence of
her right to the succession. Henry, who even five years before would
certainly have executed the man who made any such suggestion, privileged
or no, was stricken with such a convenient doubt 'in his melting
conscience as never after could be made solid; whereof Dr. Langland, his
confessor, is said to be the first man which told the King his marriage
was unlawful.' Wolsey, and this is as certain as any historical matter,
undocumented, can be, knew nothing of the King's mind, though he had
afterwards to bear the blame for it.

How could this be, when Henry himself had refuted those who would have
made the Cardinal responsible? The King's next move makes it clear. He
allowed Wolsey to suppose that the divorce was desirable as much for
political as for dynastic reasons; friendship with France was high at the
moment, Charles' incivilities and triumphs at arms the reason; and the
French King's sister, the Duchess of Alençon, was free to marry. 'These
rumours,' says Stow, 'King Henry himself forbad.' For all that, 'at this
time a bill was set up in London much contrary to the honour of the
Cardinal, in the which the Cardinal was warned that he should not counsel
the King to marry his daughter into France,' or have any other
friendships and alliances with France, 'for if he did he should show
himself enemy to the King and the realm, with many threatening words.'
The author of this bill was never found; but it made talk in the City,
and in fact spread all those rumours which Henry himself refused to allow
currency. There were murmurings against the Cardinal, and it becomes
clear that by this time the whole responsibility for the divorce and its
subsequent troubles was irrevocably his in the opinion of the English
people, by reason of this French alliance which he had so much at heart.

If further proof were needed in their eyes, it was the immediate setting
out of a great embassy, with Wolsey at its head, to treat with the French
King. Nine hundred lords and gentlemen accompanied him. The train halted
at Canterbury, where the Cardinal solemnly declared to the people the
sack of Rome and captivity of the Pope: 'and he exhorted the people to
fast and pray for his deliverance, which few did.' The fall of Rome had
seized the imagination of Europe; it appeared likely that soon a new
pontiff would be needed, and who but Wolsey had power to raise Peter's
chair from humiliation? That the French had some such notion is displayed
in the pageant set up in Wolsey's honour at the gate of Boulogne, where
the Pope was shown 'lying under, and the Emperor sitting in his majesty,
and a cardinal pulled down the Emperor, and set up the Pope. When wise
men heard this pageant, they smiled and said, Well can the French King
flatter.' (Wolsey, writing to the King, apologized for omitting
descriptions: 'I beseeoh you not to impart it to my negligence, but only
to the obstinacy of my mule, which by that terrible noise of the gunshot
was drawn to such a melancholy that I had enough ado to keep myself upon
her back.') The Cardinal's wishes may have been flatterers too. Election
to the Papacy would have meant for him surcease from the wearying labour
of playing two parts, dispensed him from that personal loyalty which the
King imperiously claimed. And though his responsibilities would have been
infinitely greater, and the danger of splitting Christendom no less,
still to escape from particular considerations to general is at times for
statesmen not unwelcome. The Spanish ambassador, coveting Wolsey's
influence to be used in Charles' favour, hinted that the Emperor had
power to raise him as high as he would. 'God forbid that such a motive
should influence me. It is enough if the Emperor does really intend to
restore the Pope to his rightful place,' was the Cardinal's answer. If he
did aspire to be the second English Pope, that ambition had powerful

But for the moment his preoccupations were with other questions.
Cavendish, his biographer and servant, was of opinion that he had been
sent out of England not for his honour, but that his enemies might 'get
him out of the King's daily presence, and deprave him so unto the King in
his absence that he should be in less estimation with his majesty.'

Once more the Cardinal was in a cleft stick; for the negotiations with
France were of a delicate nature, not to be undertaken by any other man,
since no other man so well knew the minds of both Kings. He had to
betroth the Princess Mary; but whether to Francis' son, or Francis' self,
was matter for tactful discussion. The Duke of Orleans was in captivity,
hostage for his father; the Princess was only eleven years old, and
neither she nor the Duke, her junior, could be considered fit for
marriage. Yet she was, in Francis' words, the _lapis angularis_ of
the new alliance; he was a widower; and if the King of England would
entrust the Princess to him, 'your Grace should have of him as humble and
obeisant a servant and son as any man should have in earth.' Wolsey, with
respect, pointed out to the King ('who received him informally and with
friendliness, lying upon a little couch, for staying of his leg ') that
such a measure was hardly possible. The King was betrothed to the
Emperor's sister; his two sons lay in the Emperor's prison--'Vous dictiz
vray, Monsieur Cardinal,' Francis answered, 'I pray you, therefore, show
me your advice.' Wolsey gave his opinion that matters should stand as at
first, to which the King and his mother agreed. It was a satisfactory

The more difficult of the two negotiations was now to be handled, a
proposal for the hand of the French King's sister. The divorce
proceedings had not yet begun; there was no assurance that they would
come to any successful issue, though from France Wolsey sent money and
messengers to men about the Pope's person, 'to the which, if they or any
of them may attain, there shall be all possible ways and practices set
forth for the obtaining of the Pope's consent.' He feared lest any
premature disclosure of Henry's intentions should spur the Emperor to
immediate and drastic action; and it was no easy matter to offer as
husband a man whose blameless wife was still living. He delayed,
therefore, to make any definite statement until the peace and the
betrothal had been signed; after which he proposed to make known his
master's wish, 'in such a cloudy and dark sort that he shall not know
your Grace's utter determination and intent in that behalf, till your
Highness shall see to what effect the same will be brought.'

There is a picture of Wolsey, during this difficult period, at work upon
despatches. About four in the morning he rose to write letters to the
King, 'commanding one of his chaplains to prepare him to mass; insomuch
that his said chaplain stood revested until four of the clock at
afternoon, all which season my Lord never rose eat any meat,
but continually wrote his letters with his own hand, having all that time
his nightcap and koverchief on his head.'

While he laboured, the King, advised by Anne Boleyn's family and
supporters, sent off to the Pope a messenger of his own. The Cardinal,
ever well-informed, learned of this embassy without satisfaction. It was
an ominous move, showing how his influence was failing; it was, besides,
unintelligent. How should an Englishman have admission to the Pope? He
had 'no colour or acquaintance there.' The Bishop of Worcester, an
Italian, was the obvious man; 'he shall find more feasible entrance to
his Holiness' presence than your secretary.' There is perfect hope, if
your Grace will take a little patience, suffering such things to be
experimented and done which be, and shall be, devised for that purpose,
by one way and another your intent shall honourably and lawfully take the
desired effect,' wrote Wolsey to his master.

The King thanked his Chancellor for his advice and service, 'which cannot
be by a kind master forgotten, of which fault I trust I shall never be
accused, especially to you-ward, which so laboriously do serve me.' This
written, he went his own way. Twenty years of absolute power had turned
strength of will to obstinacy, and prudence to something resembling
cunning. _'There are three scales of intelligence,'_ wrote
Machiavelli, _'one which understands by itself, a second which
understands what is shown by others, and a third which understands
neither by itself nor on the showing of others.'_ Henry, who when he
came to the throne had seemed to be possessed of the first of these
intelligences, was declining towards the third. He possessed still all
the technique of the statesman; but they were pitiful ends to which his
considerable energy and foresight were directed. His great minister and
he were in the year 1527 running upon political suicide, the one
despairingly, the other with hope. This embassy to France represented the
last flaring-up of Wolsey's power and of Henry's prestige abroad. Within
six years the Cardinal was dead in disgrace, his policy shattered, and
Henry's daughter, once sought in marriage by an Emperor and a King, was a
bastard, unacceptable to the shabbiest princeling.

Wolsey came home to find discontent brewing in the City, a bad harvest
threatening, and the old cry rising, that the French alliance had cut
England off from her old friends, and got her no good from her enemies.
The merchants of the German and Dutch ports, upon news of the famine,
immediately sent wheat; Francis, the new ally, protested that 'if he had
but three bushels of corn in all France England should have twain'; but
no corn ship came. The King, finding supplies from France delayed, mused
not a little,' and lent to the City of London a thousand quarters from
his own granaries. He was civil to the Cardinal, as was Anne, who sent
messages, and asked favours--'she was afraid you had forgotten her, as
you sent no token...she wished she had some meat from you (Wolsey had
fisheries at Norham), as carps, shrimps, or others.' But about the court
there began to grow an atmosphere of malignant anticipation such as had
been common among the people; the French ambassador translated it
shrewdly in a letter: 'What gives the Cardinal most anxiety is that those
who desire to catch him tripping are glad for the people to cry out
Murder! And some would be very glad if all went wrong that they might
say, See, these are the fruits of my Lord Legate's doings.' And he ends,
with some measure of sympathy: 'It is no small cost to have to support a
measure against the opposition of others, and yet suffer

The people did, in fact and in number, cry out Murder! Kent, always
yeasty, sent a petition that the King should pity the poverty of that
county, and repay the loan made to him two years before. The Archbishop
of Canterbury appeased them, but was not satisfied that they would remain
quiet: 'I hear that some spake unfitting words after they had drunk their
fill.' Norfolk begged Wolsey to use his influence with the King not to
press hardly upon these people. But the Cardinal's influence could not
bring about a good harvest, nor dissuade the King from a measure even
more unpopular than the loan, since it touched at once the sentiment of
the English people and their pockets--war with the Emperor. The
cloth-makers, who dealt exclusively with Flanders, lost their whole
market; the merchants, unable to export, would not buy. 'What manner of
men be you?' the Cardinal asked these latter. 'I tell you, the King
commandeth you to buy their cloths...upon pain of his high displeasure.'
And he threatened that the King himself would buy, if they would not, and
so put the merchants out of business.'

The weaver counties were angry. 'We will rise for the Cardinal's life,'
said one Kentish-man. 'When we have the Cardinal,' said another, 'we may
not slay him, for if we do the land shall be interdicted; therefore
we...will put him into a boat, in the which shall be bored four great
holes, and the holes shall be stopped with pins, and so that boat and he
shall be conveyed into the sea, and when it is there the pins shall be
pulled out and so sink him.'

In addition to want, or perhaps because of it, there was a visitation of
plague; the King kept moving from place to place to avoid it; Princess
Mary and Anne Boleyn took it lightly; Wolsey twice over. In London alone
two thousand people died of it. If the thing goes on,' wrote the French
ambassador grimly, 'corn will soon be cheap enough.' The King made his
will, and like a gracious prince, received his Maker at the Friars'; so
that he was 'armed against God and the world.' He prescribed for Wolsey;
'he should use only a small and clean company, use small suppers, drink
little wine'; himself, for fear of infection, Henry remained shut up in a
room or two with his physician Tuke to serve him, and ate alone. England
was dismayed and starving. There was no section of the community which
did not lay the blame for one or both calamities on the Cardinal's
shoulders. _'Princes should devolve on others those matters which
entail responsibility, and reserve to themselves those that relate to
grace and favour.'_

Henry yielded to the popular outcry and his own secret wish. The
Cardinal, sick, harassed by business, deprived of access to the King by
his constant shifting from the plague, was required by Anne Boleyn, and
promised, to recommend a relative of hers, Elinor Carey, as Abbess of
Wilton. This woman, it was discovered, had lived lightly, and the King,
when the fact was reported to him, wrote very firmly to Anne: 'I would
not for the world clog your conscience nor mine to make her ruler of a
house, which is of so ungodly a demeanour.' Her rival, the Prioress,
favoured by all the nuns, was 'ancient, wise, and discreet.' But in order
that Anne should not be humiliated by seeing her candidate defeated on
her own ground, the King wrote: 'I have done that neither of them shall
have it, but some other good and well disposed woman'--presumably from
another convent. Wolsey had promised Anne; he had received notice of the
King's wish. For reasons unknown he disregarded both promise and command,
and appointed the Prioress superior of Wilton.

The King had a right to be angry. Anne's wishes and his own both had been
slighted, and investigation proved that the newly named Abbess had, as a
young woman, deserved no better reputation than Madam Elinor. He wrote to
Wolsey a letter which shows him at his best, affectionate and rational.
The Cardinal's excuses arc brushed aside as unworthy. 'Ah, my Lord, it is
a double offence, both to do ill, and 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.' And he
goes on to say that he must keep his displeasure to himself, which breeds
unkindness, or else speak out, of which two courses he chooses the
latter: 'for in so doing the (servant) shall be more circumspect in his
doing, the (master) shall declare and show the lothness that is in him to
have any occasion to be displeased.' 'I dare be bolder with you than a
great many that mumble it abroad,' says the King, speaking frankly of the
Cardinal's unpopularity and its reasons: his suppression of small
monasteries, his extravagant projects for building, especially at Oxford.
The letter is frank, by no means ominous; a chastening of a loved servant
and friend 'for my discharge before God, being in the room that I am in.'

This was the Cardinal's first reproof. It was deserved, and it terrified
him. His letter in return was humble to abasement; 'your poor Cardinal,'
'your grace's most humble chaplain,' are the titles he chooses, above the
great 'T. Cardinalis Ebor' of the signature. He knew, however, that
humility would not save him. He had failed in the matter of the divorce,
as it seemed deliberately; he had offended by his riches; he was ill.
When the Great Seal was required of him his powers of body and mind were,
as he knew, none better, not able to hold it. The King's supreme ability
to judge character and command good service was once more displayed; Sir
Thomas More, that shrewd saint, stepped into Wolsey's shoes, amid the
applause of the court and the people; and the Cardinal, having given up
to the King his great houses, his plate, his tapestries, set off with no
great train to illustrious exile at York. He was arrested before he
reached it, and returned under guard to Leicester, in whose abbey he
died, with a last word of warning to his warder, Sir William Kingston.
'Be well advised and assured, what matter ye put in the King's head, ye
shall never get it out again.' He was in his sixtieth year, and had
served the King as minister since he was forty.

The words of an enemy show him as he appeared to the people of England:

'This Cardinal as you perceive in this story was of a great stomach, for
he counted himself equal with princes, and by crafty suggestion got into
his hands innumerable treasure. In open presence he would lie and say
untruth, and was double both in speech and meaning. He would promise much
and perform little. He was vicious of his body and gave the clergy evil

Now for the testimony of a dispassionate man, the ambassador du Bellay:

'Sometimes, walking with me, speaking of affairs and of the course of his
life up to that time, he has said to me that if God permitted him to see
the hatred of the two nations (France and England) extinguished, and firm
friendship established, as he hopes shortly it may be, with a reform of
the laws and customs of this country such as he would effect if peace
were made and the succession of the Kingdom assured (especially if this
marriage took place, and an heir male were born of it), he would at once
retire, and serve God for the rest of his life.'

Lastly, Wolsey's contemporary, Sir Thomas Wyat, lover of Wolsey's enemy,
Anne Boleyn, may put into words the despair of the Cardinal's last days:

'The longer life the more offence,
The more offence the greater pain,
The greater pain the less defence,
The less defence the lesser gain;
The loss of gain long ill doth try,
Wherefore come death, and let me die.'


'The authority of this cardinal set the clergy in such a pride that they
disdained all men, wherefore when he was fallen they followed after as
you shall hear.' But Hall for once overestimates the Cardinal's
influence, or rather misinterprets it. Among the clergy were to be found
some of Wolsey's most pitiless enemies; he had taxed his own order, a
disloyalty they never forgave; he had disbanded certain small and
ill-managed monasteries in a manner which, though perfectly justified,
was harsh; finally, he had taken no steps to stop the spread of heresy.
His splendour, too, went against him; in the hard times upon which
England had now fallen his great foundations for scholars seemed a
mockery of the people's poverty. 'Man doth not live by bread alone, but
he dies lacking it wholly.' His rituals, his embassies, his buildings,
all witnessed against him in the eyes of priests and laymen alike.

The pride of the clergy had always been a grievance. Hear Langland,
himself a monk, orying out upon Church abuses in the fourteenth century:

'And now is Religion a rider, a roamer about,
A leader of love-days and a land-buyer,
A pricker on palfrey from manor to manor,
A heap of hounds behind him as he a lord were...
Of the poor have they no pity; and that is their charity.'

And he goes on to prophecy:

'There shall come a King and confess you, religious,
And heat you as the Bible telleth, for breaking of your rule,
And amend monials, monks and canons,
And put them to their penance...
And then shall the Abbot of Abingdon and all his issue for ever
Have a knock of a King; and incurable the wound.'

Dunbar, a Franciscan friar, a century later writes whimsically but with

'I know not how the kirk is guided,
But benefices are not well divided,
Some men have seven, and I not ane,
Which to consider is a pain.'

Lastly, Skelton, himself well beneficed, once the King's tutor, later the
King's Laureate and Orator, called by Erasmus the sole light and ornament
of English letters, scourges the priesthood, high and low; the bishops
for haughtiness:

'They look so high
As they would fly
Above the starry sky.'

and the lesser clergy for ignorance and money-grubbing:

'Yet take they cure of souls
And woteth never what they read,
Paternoster, Ave, nor Creed;
Construe not worth a whistle
Neither Gospel nor 'Pistle;
Their matins madly said,
Nothing devoutly prayed;
Their learning is so small
Their primes and hours fall
And leap out of their lips
Like sawdust or dry chips.'

England had always been a fair soil for heretics. Skelton, an orthodox
honest Churchman, saw the danger and set down for a warning to his
superiors the sort of chatter he heard among the people; Luther's
heresy--this is thrice stressed--the teachings of Wiclif and Huss, all
were spread among the commons and voiced

'When the good ale-sop
Doth dance in their fore-top.'

One more characteristic he notes among the dissatisfied, common in every
age and where every privileged class is concerned; a suggestion for the
redistribution of riches, on the ground that

'The Church hath too mickle
And they have too little.'

Skelton's warning went unheard, and he died in sanctuary in Westminster;
the Cardinal, lampooned in most of his poems, was not a man to forgive.
But other voices, less loud, more acceptable, had been lifted, and the
entries in Wriothesley's Chronicle for two years following the Cardinal's
death are concerned solely with burnings for heresy.

For years the New Testament had been coming into England, 'which books
the common people read and used privily.' Henry himself in the Star
Chamber eondemned Tyndale's translation, in that it had 'prologues and
prefaces which sounded to heresy,' and prohibited its sale. The Bishop of
London caused copies to be burned publicly in Paul's churchyard.
Nevertheless, smuggled from Flanders, the books eontinued to be bought
and eagerly read.

The King, knowledgeable in theology, had always been one of the Church's
champions. His book on the Sacraments, against Luther, had earned him the
title of Defender of the Faith. A few years later he received from Pope
Clement, for a token that he was regarded with friendship and gratitude
by the Holy See, 'a tree forged of fine gold, and wrought with branches,
leaves, and flowers, resembling Roses.' He was, besides, a man of pious
practices, hearing his three Masses a day even on hunting mornings. His
jealousy for the good name and fame of convents may be seen in his
refusal to put the abbey of Wilton in the hands of an unworthy woman,
though she were of Anne's own family.

But once more care for his dynasty brought him conflict. It is
interesting (and quite useless) to speculate upon the fate of England had
the little boy lived who was born to Henry and Katherine and died in June
1511, and who was mourned at Westminster with 432 pounds' weight of wax
candles; or that other son, born prematurely three years later. The whole
coil has for origin the King's fear lest, his issue failing and the
pretenders loosed, England should go back to barbarism and eivil war.
Once more, implacably, each succeeding step follows the first. The
divorce was necessary that he might have another chance of a child. To
obtain the divorce it was necessary to set aside the Pope's brief;
defiance of Rome's authority led to an assumption that such authority was
not valid; if the Pope were not Christendom's overlord, then he need be
paid no tribute; with Peter's Pence and Peter's thunder equally out of
the way, what need had the Church of any head other than Henry himself?

His bishops in Convocation arrived at the same opinion without much
persuasion. They all of them perceived the dangers of a double loyalty,
such as had destroyed the Cardinal of York; were in fact to some extent
involved in his treason, and had been summoned to answer for it. Without
delay they sent to the King their humble submission, offering £100,000 as
a kind of ransom; and in their submission styled him, for the first time,
supreme head of the Church in England. A year later they took an oath,
swearing to regard him as the source from which their spiritual authority
was derived: 'Knowledging myself,' ran the words of it, 'to hold my
bishopric of you and truth I shall bear to you my sovereign
lord, and to your heirs, and diligently I shall be attendant to all your
needs and business after my wit and power.'

This was abject enough; too much for the stomach of Sir Thomas More, who
gave up the Great Seal, 'and was with the King's favour discharged.'
'This Act,' said he, 'is like a sword with two edges, for if a man answer
one way it will destroy the soul, and if he answer another it will
destroy the body.'

Sir Thomas was no lover of Churchmen. 'They have,' he wrote of his
Utopians, 'priests of exceeding holiness, and therefore very few.' His
friends were most of them of the same mind. Erasmus in his 'Praise of
Folly,' dedicated to More, had spoken of the monks: 'These curious
fellows, who by reason of their dirt, their ignorance, their boldness and
lewdness, set themselves up to be made in the likeness of the apostles.'
Educated and unbiased men recognized the need for some sort of reform of
the clergy throughout Europe. But nobody cared that it should begin in
this way, with bishops on their knees, purchasing life by denial of their
apostolic succession; that conversions should be coercions, and fear
bring inevitable dishonesty into the business of reforming. There is a
sad story of Queen Katherine, still living, under the style of Princess
Dowager, in strictest retirement, to whom commissioners came to demand
this same acknowledgment of the King's headship, and, more cruel still,
of Anne as Queen. 'The blessed lady, knowing that they would make all who
were with her that night take the oath, said to them, Dear children, you
can never swear that the King is head of the church; and to excuse them
she sent for one of her gentlemen, called Francisco Felipe, and said to
him, Tomorrow you must speak for all the rest, and you must say, El rey
se ha hecho cabeza de Iglesia.' To this he and all her servants swore,
thus deceiving the reverend commissioners by a play on words; 'se ha
hecho' sounds in pronouneing the same as 'sea hecho'; 'should be made'
becomes has made himself.' Katherine, though she was convinced that her
execution would follow, refused the oath; two English priests of her
household, who could not shelter behind the ambiguities of the Spanish
tongue, were at once thrown into prison, where one died; the other
survived to be hanged at Smithfield. The Princess Mary, too, would not
swear, and was banished to a remote country manor.

Next Kent, that uneasy county, brought forth a poor semblance of a
miracle, as who should try to check the tide by a net thrown into it. A
woman, Elizabeth Barton, in her trances before the rood at
Court-at-Street, rebuked the new doctrines 'in the ecstasy of her
sickness'; she prophesied in the presence of two thousand people, who
thus, by her apparent sanctity, were induced 'to murmur, grudge, and be
of evil opinion against the majesty of our sovereign lord.' She was
apprehended and executed; and on a charge of treasonable connivance and
contumacy the Bishop of Rochester went to the Tower, soon to be joined by
More; this latter for contempt of the oath. Both died piously, the
ex-Chancellor gaily as one of his own imaginary people, who lamented only
the death of such as were afraid to die; 'they think he shall not be
welcome to God, that when he is called runneth not to him gladly.'

The King would not look back for loss of a pair of good servants. Their
example had been pernicious, however, and he corrected it as far as might
be by a personal letter to the judges of England, urging that they should
'delate' to the people the King's reason for-this severity, 'as they may
be the better fixed, established, and satisfied in the truth.' They were
to give warning to all ecclesiastical persons within their assize that
the name of the Bishop of Rome must be instantly razed from 'all manner
of prayers, orisons, rubrics and canons'; and his memory 'for evermore
(except to his contumely and reproach) he extinct, suppressed, and
obscured.' Latin, in whose every sound echoed the memory of Rome, was
expelled from the Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Commandments.

But those who ran too fast after the new German doctrines, and would have
put away all ceremony, found that this was by no means to the mind of the
Church's new head. Abuse of the Mass served no other purpose than to
raise contention; the people were accustomed to Mass, the crown had
nothing to gain by denying it. Henry wrote again to his bishops
forbidding all 'contemptuous manner of speaking against honest, laudable
and tolerable usages, ceremonies and customs,' which were 'motions to
virtue and allurements to devotion'; by which talk 'can people lie much
more offended than they were before.' 'Chose who supported the Lutheran
practice of admitting the clergy to marriage found themselves as much
deceived; any priest who did so was to be apprehended and sent direct to
die King. Discipline must be maintained, under pain of deprivation, for
the King's own honour; and the bishops themselves should see to it, going
about their dioceses and preaching against intolerance 'as often as may
serve with your health.'

Of the rest of the year's activities Wriothesley gives such account as
may be necessary:

'This year Mr. Thomas Cromwell and Dr. Lees visited all the religious
places in England, being ordained by the King's grace for his high
visitors, and they took out of every religious house all religious
persons from the age of 24. years and under, and showed them how they
should use wilful poverty, and also he closed up all the residue of the
religious persons both men and women that would remain still, so that
they should not come out of their places...and also they took out of
divers churches of England certain relics that the people were wont to
worship, as Our Lady's milk, which was broken and found but a piece of
chalk, with other relics in divers places which they used for
covetousness in deceiving the people.'

These innovations were not introduced without trouble. In York there was
a riot, following upon an interlude that dealt with the life of St.
Thomas the Apostle, and the word 'papist' finds its way for the first
time into the King's own writings. In Lincolnshire there was discontent;
the people, 'noseled in sedition and Popery,' came together for defence
of the old faith to the number of about twenty thousand men, and made so
threatening a show that Henry himself moved in person against them, not
trusting to his judges or the spoken word. The nobles, hearing this, fell
away, so that the mob was left without leaders, and at last, instead of
giving battle, as had at first been so loudly preached, they presented a
petition to the King, lamenting the suppression of the religious houses;
the taxation recently imposed, 'whereby your Grace's subjects should be
constrained to pay 4d. for a beast and 12d. for a sheep, and that would
be an importunate charge to them'; lastly, the King's choice of bishops
and advisers, who served him, it seemed, 'only for their own singular
lucre and advantage.'

The King made such answer as might have been expected of a Tudor whose
choice of ministers had been criticized and whose call for money had been
refused. 'How presumptuous then are ye, the rude commons of one shire,
and that one of the most brute and beastly of the whole realm, and of the
least experience, to find fault with your Prince for the electing of his
counsellors and prelates, and to take upon ye, contrary to God's law and
man's law, to rule your Prince.' Religion, he told them, was better
served by the suppression of the monasteries, taxation was necessary for
purposes of defence. They were to give up to him instantly a hundred of
their ringleaders, and submit themselves utterly; otherwise justice would
be done upon them with fire and sword. The rebels yielded to the enormous
prestige of the King in person, and the weight of his hand. 'Even very
suddenly they began to shrink, and out of hand they were all divided, and
every man went at home in his own house in peace.'

It was a brief breathing space. The northerners, a very few weeks
afterwards, made proclamation for the Church and assembled themselves
under the banner of the Five Wounds of Christ. The Spanish chronicler,
once more playing upon a similarity of sound, gives as their device the
Five Plagues of Egypt (_llagas, plagas_); and in fact these northern
counties, never so rich as the Midlands and south, were suffering very
greatly by reason of the King's tax of a fifteenth, and the drying up of
all monastic charity. Nevertheless, the rebels set up as their aims the
maintenance of the Church, the preservation of the King's person, and the
expelling of bad counsellors; their oath obliged them not to regard their
own profit or safety, 'nor slay nor murder for no envy, but in your
hearts put away all fear and dread, and take upon you the cross of
Christ, and in your hearts his faith and the restitution of the Church.'
The King sent forces northwards. A battle, by the chance flooding of the
River Dun, was avoided, and a compromise reached between Norfolk, the
King's general, and Aske, the leader of the Pilgrimage of Grace. He was
to come to court with his petition; his followers were to be pardoned
provisionally, and to disperse. Henry wrote, with a kind of good-humoured
impatience, that their terms concerning the maintenance of the Faith were
too general to be answered thus. He would not believe that their
insurrection was 'done of malice, but rather by a lightness, and a
wondrous sudden surreption of gentlemen,' and therefore pardoned all the
undertakers of it. He would continue to manage the affairs of England for
their good and his own; and they might rely on his clemency if they
showed sorrow for their offence, and ceased to 'believe so lewd and
naughty tales of your most kind and loving Prince and his Council.'

Aske came to London, where the King was gracious to him, giving him money
and a gold chain, that he might report well of his reception. Yorkshire,
confident now of redress, remained calm through a hard winter. In May of
next year Aske, who had remained within reach of the King, daily
expecting answer to the petition, was arraigned, with the lords who had
been his captains, and taken north to be executed, with all necessary
circumstances of terror, in his own country. _'A Prince should
disregard the reproach of cruelty when it enables him to keep his
subjects united and faithful. For he who quells disorder by a very few
signal examples will in the end be more merciful than he who suffers
things to take their course.'_

These were the chief protestants against the new ways; their risings
served only to confirm the King in his supremacy. He had come by now to
consider himself as called to that eminence by God, an iconoclast
licensed, a prophet pulling down, to the glory of his Creator, idols of
Baal. 'For in that day shall every man cast away his idols of silver and
his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.'
The monasteries, from which only young religious, or those who chose to
return to the world, had previously been sent away, now, as 'the nest and
very receptacle of all traitorous attempts,' were completely broken and
dismissed. The most loved shrines were not spared. Walsingham, to which
Queen Katherine went in thanksgiving after Flodden; St. Thomas' tomb at
Canterbury, as rich in history as in jewels; these, with such lesser
marvels as the Boxley Rood, were publicly stripped. The gold and jewels
from Canterbury alone filled two great chests, and were of inestimable
value; they included the huge ruby, gift of King Louis of France, who had
prayed at this shrine that no French traveller between Dover and
Whitesand might perish by shipwreck. Henry caused the ruby to be set in a
ring, and henceforth wore it constantly on his thumb.

In all, according to Camden, 645 monasteries, 90 colleges (Oxford and
Cambridge not included), 110 hospitals, and over 2000 chantries were
dispossessed. Such houses as were not pulled down were given to courtiers
or persons to whom the King had obligation; the revenues by Act of
Parliament became the King's own. Some of these foundations had their
roots in Saxon times. The Abbot of Abingdon, threatened by Langland, held
his title from King Ethelred; in Windsor Forest was a charity of black
nuns founded by the Blaok Prince; the nuns of Armathwaite, in Cumberland,
had been given their land by William the Conqueror in the second year of
his reign; King Canute had founded the house of White Canons at St.
Edmunds, in Cambridgeshire. 'Whose wickedness being now full, the maul of
God's justice beat down the walls of their shelters, and the sword of his
wrath so cut the cords of their strength asunder as that Idol of Rome
bath had his crown crushed, and his authority lessened in all the
Christian world ever since.'

In May 1537 there was a great service at St. Paul's, at which a Te Deum
was sung for the quickening of Queen Jane, whom the King had married as
soon as Anne was dead. She was a quiet woman, kindly to the orphan
princesses, and especially to Mary, who, by reason of her defiance of the
King, and her persistence in the old faith, now tumbling, had been denied
access to her father's presence. Henry loved Jane Seymour while Anne was
alive; a last frantic letter from the Tower accuses him of murdering her,
his wife, 'so that your Grace is at liberty to follow your affections
settled on that party, for whose sake I am now as I am, whose name I
could some good while since have pointed to, your Grace not being
ignorant of my suspicions.' One chronicler says that her miscarriage (the
child was a boy) was brought about by the sudden realization that Henry
was tired of her. There is another phrase in the letter--'I always looked
for such an attraction as I now find'--which, together with that sentence
about her voiced suspicions, makes Anne's wretchedness suddenly poignant.
The King's predilection for her successor was as marked and public as his
passion for her had been; in a letter to Jane before their marriage he
speaks of 'a ballad made lately of great derision against us, which if it
go much abroad and is seen by you, I pray you pay no manner of regard to
it.' And he adds ominously: 'I am not at present informed who is the
setter forth of this malignant writing, but if he is found out he shall
be straitly punished for it.' But the people, Queen Katherine being dead,
had no resentment for Queen Jane. They wished her well, and there were
many to echo Wriothesley, who after his account of Latimer's preaching at
Paul's, ends with the heartfelt wish, 'I pray Jesus, an it be his will,
send us a prince!'

On the eleventh clay of October there was a procession, priests in copes,
and the City companies in their liveries, to pray for the safe delivery
of the Queen, then in labour. At two o'clock next morning, St. Edward's
Day, the child was born, a boy, who was named for the Saint. By eight all
the bells in London were sounding, all the clergy of London were standing
about St. Paul's with the 'best crosses and candlesticks out of every
parish church'; a Te Deum was sung. 'Then the King's waits and the waits
of London played with shawms,' and a peal of 2000 guns was shot off at
the Tower. The streets were alive with fires and people sitting by them
with fruit and wine; hogsheads of wine and beer were set about for poor
people to drink at as long as the liquor lasted; the mayor and aldermen
rode about thanking God, and the folk for their joy; the bells of every
parish sounded until ten at night.

Henry and England had their wish at last: a prince to ensure the
succession, the Pope's power no more than a memory, rebellion quieted,
the Church's 'mickle' in their pockets. All these desirable things had
come about as the result of carefully regarding a scruple of conscience,
and keeping one end in mind, the perpetuation of the dynasty. _'Fortune
is the mistress of half our actions, yet leaves the control of the other
half, or a little less, to ourselves.'_ The King had consistently
aided Fortune where he could, and it seemed as though now, in the
twenty-eighth year of his reign, he had overcome all his enemies and lost
only such friends as he could well do without. The whole policy was, by
the birth of this boy, justified. He foresaw a quiet kingdom and a rich
crown descending to his posterity. He was forty-six years old, and there
was hope of more princes yet, his wife being young and healthy.

Twelve days after the birth, however, Queen Jane died. She had taken
cold, and a letter to Cromwell shows something of the anxiety at Hampton
Court. 'Sir, the King was determined this day to have removed to Esher,
and because the Queen was very sick this night and this day he
tarried...For I assure you she hath been in great danger yesternight and
this day, but thanked be God she is somewhat mended, and if she scape
this night the physicians be in good hope she is past all danger.'

She was dead a few hours after Sir John Russell wrote. Henry took her
body for burial to Windsor, lying in a chariot covered with black velvet,
with 'a picture of the said Queen, richly apparelled with a rich crown of
gold on her head, lying above on the eoffin of the said corpse.' The
Princess Mary was chief mourner for her father's wife, who had showed her
much kindness; and in the City twelve hundred masses were said for the
repose of Queen Jane's soul. The King had his son, his link with the
future, frail as yet. As though to ensure that popery should give Edward
no trouble when he succeeded, the King set about his religious duties
with astonishing energy; the next two years record only destruction,
and--a strange turn considering that proclamations against it were only
ten years old--the licensing of the Bible in English.


Cromwell was not the man to succeed to the Great Seal. Henry, who found
him a useful fellow enough, would not prefer him to that office which the
humanity of More had graced and the strength of Wolsey dignified. He
allowed him, as Lord Privy Seal, just so much power as might serve for
the thankless and sometimes dangerous task of putting out of mind those
superstitions which might hold danger in their example. St. Thomas Becket
was cited by proclamation to appear before the King to answer charges of
rebellion and treason; he not appearing, counsel pleaded for him, without
any avail; the saint was stripped of his title, became plain Bishop
Becket, and the court made order that 'his pietures and images throughout
the whole realm should be put down and avoided out of all churches,
chapels, and other places, and that from henceforth the days used to be
festival in his name should not be observed, nor the service, office,
antiphons and prayers in his name read, but razed and put out of all
books.' Why this fury against a saint whose shrine had already been
plundered, and who stood first of all martyrs in the people's affection?
'Because he died like a traitor and a rebel to his Prince.' His bones
accordingly were burnt, 'so that there shall no more mention be made of
him never.'

Cromwell was in charge of this business, and pursued it with all possible
energy; 'for indeed he was a man that in all his doings seemed not to
favour any kind of Popery nor could not abide the snuffing pride of
prelates.' He was on sure ground; the King's views concerning images and
the riches of shrines were unlikely to change. But those pious Lutherans
who came into England to behold with edification the ending of all Romish
ceremony must have been astonished at the promulgation of the Six
Articles, in which, together with the Supremacy of the King, belief was
needful for salvation in this world and the next. The Defender of Faith
had not forgotten nor lessened his interest in the sacraments, and here
they were set forth, with no change beyond that implied in the use of
English rather than Latin by the priest: the bread and wine were indeed
Christ's body and blood; priests might not marry, nuns must keep their
vows of chastity, private masses were necessary and agreeable to the law
of God, confession was expedient to be retained. There was much burning
of heretics, Anabaptists, conspirators, and papists indifferently;
treason and heresy being now one thing. A very solemn Requiem was sung
for the soul of the Emperor's dead wife, with knells, and censing of the
pall by bishops in _pontificalibus_; nothing lacked in all this
funeral splendour that the most devout Catholic of ten years before might
miss; even, the officiating clergy made use of Latin, and the King's own
deputy, Audley the Chancellor, joined in the responses of _Libera me

Ten days afterwards, however, as though to disabuse the Emperor's people
of any notion that Rome might creep back, a great triumph was held on the
Thames, when two barges fought symbolically, one for the Pope and his
minions, one for the King's Grace. They coursed four times, rowing to and
fro in front of the Palace at Westminster, until at last the Pope's crew
yielded and leapt overboard; 'howbeit there were none drowned, for they
were persons chosen that could swim.' Henry watched from a dais raised
upon the water-stairs, adorned with green boughs and sweet with roses;
the month was June. Rose-water was sprinkled upon him and the courtiers
who lay in boats below; golden barges flying the pennant of St. George
drove up and down with music playing of 'sackbuts and waits.' It is the
first great display in which the King appears as a spectator. He was
forty-nine years of age, and his athlete's muscles were turning to fat
from lack of their customary violent exercise; an ulcer in his leg
prevented him from taking his usual pleasure in hunting, and is the
answer to his own gay question in that song called 'Pastime':

'For my pastance
Hunt, sing and dance
My mind is set.
All goodly sport
For my comfort
Who shall me let?'

He was, howeyer, still marriageable; and Cromwell, with some notion of
playing arbiter in Europe as his master Wolsey had clone for so long, set
about finding a princess for him. The limits of choice were narrow, lying
within the circle of those who no longer acknowledged the power of Rome;
but the Reformation had now been some twenty years in progress, families
of Lutheran princes were growing up who had never known the Mass. The
Duchess of Milan was proposed by the Emperor, with whom Henry was on such
terms as might be expected between two princes, one of whom had expelled
the Pope from his realm in the name of reform, and the other had sacked
the Pope's own city in the cause of unity. Henry, however, was willing to
be friendly: 'we have not only much suppressed all remembrance of such
old things as have interrupted of late days our amity, but also the same
hath revived in us such a love again towards him that we should be right
glad to embrace an occasion to declare and express the same.' To oblige
Charles, therefore, he was prepared to 'honour the said Duchess by
marriage, her virtues, qualities and behaviour being reported to be such
as is worthy to be much advanced.' But the suggestion was to come from
the ambassador, 'as it proceeded of your own head.' Henry was only at the
beginning of his Blue-beard legend, but the execution of a Queen was not
so common a thing in Europe; there had been comment, not friendly, among
the courts, of which the King of England was perfectly aware. He would
not risk the insult of a direct No. The little Duchess was reluctant, and
had, besides, a tang of popery about her which the zealous Cromwell would
not admit into England, now, after so many difficulties and rebellions,
purged of the old ways. The sister of the Duke of Cleves, a Lutheran, and
another of the Emperor's vassals, was more acceptable. She was well
endowed, and her portraits showed her not uncomely; it was arranged that
she should come without delay into England.

At Shooter's Hill Henry met her, wearing 'a coat of purple velvet,
somewhat made like a frock, all over embroidered with flat gold of damask
with small lace mixed between of the same gold, and laces of the same
going traverse-wise that the ground little appeared; about which garment
was a rich guard very curiously embroidered, the sleeves and breast were
cut, lined with cloth of gold, and tied together with great buttons of
diamonds, rubies and orient pearl.' This must be imagined together with
his huge size--'such a man has never been seen. Three of the biggest men
ever found could get inside his doublet'--and set beside the picture of
him playing Robin Hood on this same Shooter's Hill, on May morning 1515:
'he was dressed entirely in green velvet, cap, shoes, doublet,
everything...' the Venetian wrote, 'and performed such feats I fancied
myself looking at Mars.' 'A goodly sight to see,' says Hall of him then;
and of this meeting: 'His princely countenance, his goodly personage and
royal gesture so far exceeded all other creatures being present, that in
comparison of his person all his rich apparel was little esteemed.' Grace
and lissomness had gone; dignity stayed by him till his death.

Anne of Cleves was divorced by Henry within six months of their marriage,
despite the motto on her wedding ring: God send me well to keep. She was
distasteful to the King; there were rumours that she had been betrothed
before, and the failure of this match served as pretext to make an end of
Cromwell. He was not of the stuff for high politics; he had given such
seryice as he could; there were no more roods to pull down, and his
pockets were full. The charges were those of heresy, treason, felony and
extortion, but no details were made known. 'A stranger,' says Fuller,
'standing by did wonder, as well he might, of what religion the King was,
his sword cutting on both sides, Protestants being burnt for heretics,
and Papists hanged for traitors.' Henry was by now of the religion of his
dynasty and his own will, and Cromwell had gambled against both. He was,
like Wolsey, a commoner, son of a blacksmith, but he had not the
Cardinal's high-heartedness, which beat the lords of England at their own
game, and checked even the impetuousness of the King. Henry had no
friendship for him; there are no stories of him going arm-in-arm through
the gardens, laughing, as once he did with More; no intimate letters, as
to the Cardinal. He was a tool and a clerk, to whom was paid not even the
compliment of a public judgment.

Comparing this man with Wolsey, it is possible to see, as in a glass, the
lessening of Henry's own powers. _'When they_ (ministers) _are at
once capable and faithful, we may always account the Prince wise, since
he has known how to recognize their merit and to retain their fidelity.
But if they be otherwise, we must pronounce unfavourably of the Prince,
since he has already erred in making this selection.'_

Once more, as at the time of Wolsey's fall, there was much sickness in
England, and a great drought; salt water flowed above London Bridge, and
so dwindled was the stream that it could not repel the tide. But now
there were scapegoats in plenty; Cromwell himself; Lord Hungerford, and
half a dozen priests; lastly, after a poor small rebellion, once more in
the north, the old Countess of Salisbury, the King's daughter's friend
and governess, 'last of the right line and name of Plantagenet,' died for
a warning to conspirators. Her son, Reginald Pole, had been troubling the
chanceries; he was a Pope's man, a Cardinal, and for the moment safe
abroad. But the arrest of his mother, his brother, and all of his name
upon whom hands could be laid was a clear warranty of danger should he
ever choose to recall himself to the people of England, or bid for the

The throne was strong. Acceptance of the King's policy had been general
in the south, and though the north questioned it from time to time,
resistance was rather to a change of custom than a shifting of loyalty. A
later King boasted that he was the state; Henry was State and Church,
dispenser of the bread of bodily and spiritual life; his commons--the
Wars of the Roses had conyeniently thinned the nobles--discovered in him
their sole hope. In England a man might and did rise from the smithy or
the slaughter-yard to be the State's chief servant, an office of equal
danger and honour, invested with the irresistible glamour of nearness to
the King's person. Henry had at his command a regiment of great scholars,
soldiers, and poets such as England until his time had never known, whom
he handled like a true Renaissance prince, for his own glory. They
brought Ireland to heel for him, so that The O'Neil and Desmond came as
subjects to Greenwich, and 'King of Ireland' was added to his styles and
dignities. They upheld even such of his challenges as went against their
own inclination; the quarrel with the Emperor, for example. And they were
at his back when he threw out his final defiance to the Pope in a long
letter afterwards printed with the triumphant heading: 'Ride forth, O
Christian Reader, Truth is coming home, step forth and meet her by the

In 1538 the Pope had summoned him, with the Emperor, to attend a general
council of the Church to be held in Mantua, there to justify his
proceedings in matters of religion. Theological combat was a certain lure
to the King whose book Pope Leo X had received with delight and praise:
'We do receive this book with all alacrity; it is indeed such as there
could not be anything sent us, and our reverend brethren, more acceptable
than it is.' Henry, however, refused utterly to attend, in a document
whose plain speaking must have made his Englishmen slap their thighs.
'What other princes will do at such a time we cannot tell, but we will
neither leave our realm at this time, neither will we trust any proctor
with the handling of our cause.' In so many words he said that he could
not trust himself to the Emperor and the Pope; 'we be afraid to be at
such a host's table; we say--Better to rise a-hungered than to go thence
with our bellies full.' This was not the language of diplomacy; it was
not the language of religious controversy; but it was exactly how the
major part of his England felt that interfering foreigners should be
answered. The letter quibbles, wanders, is full of irrelevances and
quotations from St. Paul, then coming into his own as the hammer of
theologians; it is a perfect example of that maxim which from the first
had ruled Henry's foreign dealings, Beg the question and tell the truth:
and it is final. From this time until his daughter Mary began her reign
there was no more question of the papal authority in England; 'incurable
the wound.'

With Ireland quiescent, England bewildered but loyal,[*] and the Emperor
busy with his own tangled affairs, France found means to make hidden
trouble for Henry. Scotland was never a comfortable neighbour; 'jealous
in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,' the Scots, pricked by hunger or
pride, were for ever slipping over the border. While the memory of
Flodden Field persisted and Henry's own sister shared their King's
throne, there was less raiding; but James V had married a Frenchwoman,
Mary of Guise, and he chose to regard Henry's assumption of the crown of
Ireland as an insult, by reason of the great number of Scots liying there
in the north. Henry had answered many of his complaints with the
restraint due to a boy ill-advised, and a sister's son, but the murder of
his herald he could not let pass, and the letter concerning it is a brief
one and peremptory: 'Nephew, this slaughter is so cruel, so abominable,
and so barbarous, as howsoever other things stand between us we cannot
choose but most heartily wish and desire that it may appear both to us
that it hath been committed against your will, and that you do no less
detest and abhor it than the importance of the case requireth.' He
invited James to come into England; they were to meet at York and arrive
at some friendly understanding. It was no more than Henry himself had
done, when he put himself into Francis' power for the furthering of
alliance at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. But the King of Scots was no
politician. He refused, suspecting in this invitation some attempt on the
part of Henry to proselytize; 'his councillors moving the dangers, and
his clergy the fears, lest their religion be changed, to the offence of
his confederates, the Pope, the Emperor, and the French King.'

[* The King had married a fifth wife in 1540, who was executed, with
every justification for such severity, little more than a year later. It
is as well to remember that Katherine Howard, like Anne Boleyn, was his
own subject by birth; and to consider with what penalties the English law
at this time punished adultery.]

Henry, patient for once, sent a commission which, joined to a similar
commission from James, should settle the border-line between the two
countries; thereby depriving the Scots of their most favoured and most
artless excuse for pillage, that they had supposed the victims to be
their own people. The commissioners could not agree; there were
uncomfortable incidents. Henry, his patience at an end, made public
declaration of his wrongs, with one of his admirable bluff beginnings:
'It hath been very rarely and seldom seen before that a King of Scots
bath had in marriage a daughter of England: we cannot, we will not
reprehend the King our father's act therein, but lament and be sorry it
took no better effect.' Proof from history followed, showing how Scotland
had always stood to England in the relation of a younger kingdom, which
from time to time the elder was obliged to chastise; and, an insult which
it was certain that James would not swallow, the form of homage used by
James Stewart to Henry VI was set down and stated for an example.

This proclamation made, Henry sent an army north, 20,000 men under that
lucky general, the Duke of Norfolk, which paid the Scots in their own
coin, and went ravaging over the disputed borders. His display
succeeding, Norfolk returned, having lain in Scotland for so long as an
army might 'for hunger and cold, without any countenance of harm'; a
peaceful occupation of conquered territory, from which the invaders at
the coming of winter voluntarily retreated. James, young and angry,
gathered an equal power and came after the English over the Tweed
'boasting to tarry as long in England as the Duke did in Scotland,' and
strong in the promise of his clergy that he should haye heaven in
exchange for the destruction of the English.

But the pride which lost the Scots as many battles as it won them here
brought disgrace. The great lords, Maxwell, Fleming, Cassilis, Oliphant,
Erskine, would not take their orders from a man whom they despised, 'the
King's minion, and no servant of Mars,' Oliyer Sinclair. They fought, but
incoherently, without direction, at Solway Moss, and were beaten
hopelessly, so that common soldiers of the English army, 'yes, and
women,' had each three or four prisoners.

James fled, when his lords gave themselves up and went south as prisoners
and hostages; on December 22nd, 1542, news came to London that he was
dead--of grief, some said, for this defeat; 'he took such a thought and
sickness that he died thereof. And the Queen of Scots being with child,
for sorrow travailed, and was brought to bed of a maiden child'; Mary,
born seven days before her father's death. James, whose two sons had died
as infants the year before, could take no comfort from this girl, and the
tradition says that he prophesied of his crown: 'It came with a lass, it
will go with a lass'; as though he had had some vision of the future of
his daughter, a queen foiled and fooled by her womanhood. His poem of the
_Gaberlunzie_ Man was written with no thought for her, but it
presages her courage and folly, and bad taste in men:

'And O, quo' he, an ye were as black
As e'er the crown of my daddy's hat,
'Tis I wad lay thee by my back
And awa wi' me tha should gang.
And O, quo' she, an I were as white
As e'er the snaw lay on the dike,
I'd cleed me braw and ladylike
And awa' wi' thee I would gang.'

The taken Scottish lords, going through London to the Tower, and
meditating upon the expected fate of prisoners, found themselves released
after two days, and kindly received (after a characteristic rating) by
the King of England at Hampton Court; where 'they were so well
entertained, both of the King and his nobles, that they said, they never
saw King but him.'

Henry had given up hope of amity with France. Her King was too shifty,
her people too much hated by his own. But the policy which had failed
with one ancient enemy had not yet been tried with the other; and as his
own daughter Mary, with her dowry of the succession, had been used in the
one case as a bribe, so now her cousin, the month-old Queen of Scots,
came to take her place in the pattern of politics. Edward, the baby
Prince of Wales, and Mary in her cradle, were to be the new hostages for
peace, 'their years suiting a consent for marriage, the whole Island
offering both jointure and dowry; and that which most moved, their chief
nobility in his own hands to be moulded for this design, as if Heaven
itself had bid the banns.'

Henry's generosity here is worth noting; compared with the Emperor's
treatment of his French prisoners after Pavia, it appears unpolitic and
imprudent. At a time when he was taxing his own people mercilessly to pay
for this northern war, and when he had in his hands, as the chronicler
notes, all the nobles of the enemy country, he let them go north without
ransom. It must have seemed to him that such a marriage, with the
consequent union of two countries long at war, was a conception worth
much immediate sacrifice.

The lords went home, and did their best, so that the Estates of Scotland
confirmed the marriage, and peace was agreed. It was not an arrangement
to the liking of Francis, and intrigues were soon beginning, with the
Queen Mother for centre. French money poured into Scotland; the Pope's
sanction was not lacking when it came to a question of breaking faith
with English infidels. French ships roved as pirates through the Channel,
stopping merchants and ambassadors alike. Provocation of the most
unbearable kind was offered constantly. Henry held his hand, and would
not fight; would not endanger negotiations with Scotland. He wrote,
however, in the name of England, to Lord Arran, Governor of Scotland,
charging him with treachery, in that he, though bound by a solemn
promise, had not publicly spoken for the marriage when Cardinal Beaton
began to cry it down. 'If you could then, without contradiction in a
public audience keep must much more be content to hear from
us your blame on the other part, and so much the rather that we speak to
you the truth, which you ought to consider, and the Cardinal powdered his
talk with lies which you ought to have therein repelled, if truth, if
honour, if nobleness had been regarded of you.' He suggested that the
young Queen should be delivered into England, where she should be cared
for and brought up in the manner of the country where she was to rule.
(It is strange to find Henry making this demand, which some twenty years
before, when the Emperor Charles claimed Princess Mary, his betrothed,
'to be brought up after the manner of Spain,' he had so angrily and
bluntly refused.) The Scots would have none of this dictation, eyen
though it ran with their own interest. They stood by Arran and crowned
their little Queen; and though the released lords honourably did what
they could, against French threats and Church angers they were powerless.
Henry would not take no in a matter so near his heart, but he amended his
offer. Mary should be guarded, if she came to England, by noblemen of her
own country, until she came to years of consent. Francis capped this by
sending into Scotland fifty thousand crowns and two generals, and a brawl
began between English and French partisans. It was hopeless to canvass
the cause of union longer. Henry assembled two armies, and struck
simultaneously north and east, by land and sea.

Shrewsbury crossed the border, burned Edinburgh with Holyroodhouse, and
retreated on Berwick. The King himself, Norfolk, Suffolk, and the best
soldiers of England, at last answered the French challenge, and laid
siege to Boulogne. That city had fought well in the past; its great walls
had resisted English batterings for centuries; but the new warfare which
could toss great weights of stone into the town itself was powerful to
meet just such defiance. Henry wrote to his new Queen Katherine [*] at
the beginning of the siege:--

'At the closing up of our letters this day, the castle aforenamed with
the dyke is at our commandment, and not like to be recovered by the
Frenchmen again; as we trust, not doubting with God's grace but that the
castle and town shall shortly follow the same trade, for as this day,
which is the 8th day of September, we began 3 batteries, and have three
mines doing, besides one which hath done his execution in shaking and
tearing off one of their greatest bulwarks. No more to you at this time,
sweetheart, for lack of time and great occupation of business, saving we
pray you to give in our name our hearty blessings to all our children.'

[* Katherine Parr, widow of Lord Latimer: 'This lady,' says the Spanish
chronicler, 'was quieter than any of the young wives the King had had,
and as she knew more of the world, she always got on pleasantly with the
King, and had no caprices, and paid much honour to Madam Mary (the
Princess). But she kept her ladies very strictly.']

Boulogne yielded, after a short siege, and Henry rode through the gate
with his sword borne before him to receive the keys. He was in no mind to
part with or lose a conquest which brought with it such prestige:
Boulogne was a fortress, very different from the market towns he had
taken in his first foray into France, thirty years ago. The Church of St.
Marie was razed, and on its ruins artillery planted to repel any attempt
at recapture; the means of offence were quickly adapted to defend. Then,
leaving Lord Lisle as Governor, Henry went home by way of Dover.

Francis, after a determined effort to wrest back Boulogne, took up the
King of England's own tactics, and sent raiders out by sea, to land,
burn, and depart. 'From the 18th day of July till the 23rd day of August
the French King's navy and galleys rowed up and clown the narrow seas, so
that no passage came from Boulogne and Calais but by stealth in the
night.' 'The Isle of Wight and certain more exposed' parts of the Sussex
coast suffered. But these were no more than gadfly attacks, swept off as
soon as made, while Boulogne was the key to the Channel, and, like a
robber baron's castle, meant riches to whosoever could hold it. There
were great losses on both sides; the Emperor made an individual peace;
and at last was ended the scandal of three Christian Kings at war while
the Turk advanced into Europe. Terms were arrived at. Boulogne was to
remain in English hands for eight years until a ransom of eight hundred
thousand crowns was paid for it; the King of England should stand
godfather to the Dauphin's new-horn daughter; all the old methods of
buying off defeat with money, and securing peace by relationships and
protestations, neither authentic, were put into practice. On
Bartholomew's Day the King welcomed the Admiral of France, and swore to a
peace; the Lord Mayor dined the French envoy magnificently; to welcome
him there sounded from the Tower 'such terrible shot as heaven and earth
should have gone together'; and Prince Edward, making his first public
appearance, rode out three miles from Hampton Court to meet him with a
thousand yeomen all in new liveries, so that 'the bystanders,' says Hall,
'much marvelled at his wit and audacity.'

In July the Lord High Admiral of England repaid this compliment, going
into France, where Francis received him 'very richly.' The jealousy of
two Kings ended as it had begun, in splendour, with ill-will cancelling
out fine promises. This is almost the last burst of pageantry, and it
ends the reign. Henry was sick, but he still had spirit to resent and
punish breaches of privilege or the peace. The French, coveting
Boulogne--'that the eye seeth, the heart rueth'--built a great fort in
their own territory, menacing to the new English possession, as was their
right, though it bore an unfriendly significance. Henry at the Council
table admitted that no exception could legally be taken, and a message to
this effect was sent in writing to Lord Grey, then in command of the
garrison, who had asked for instructions. Henry, however, privately
conveyed quite opposite orders, which were obeyed; the fort, which had
been three months in building, was in as many hours cast down. The
Council, when the King came to them with the news, looked grave, and one
of them opined that such a breach of faith was treasonable; 'the doer
thereof was worthy to lose his head. I had rather (said the King) lose a
dozen such heads as thine is, than his that had done the deed.' The
answer and the proceeding both are in character. _'In the actions of
all men, and most of all of Princes, where there is no tribunal to which
we can appeal, we look to results.'_ But the last considerable action
of his reign shows the sick Henry savagely resenting an encroachment no
more than half proven upon the privilege of his now established family.
The Earl of Surrey, son to the Duke of Norfolk, as braye a soldier as his
father, though less successful, a poet and scholar, was arraigned at the
Guildhall for high treason. His temper had led him on one preyious
occasion to the Fleet prison, [*] but this new charge was quite other.
Surrey was accused of having borne the royal arms, and of causing to be
written on his Garter, in place of the usual motto, words of ominous
significance: Till then thus; as who should say, Until the right to use
the royal motto shall be mine. The true crime lay in the power of his
family, and in its shadowy nearness to the throne. His sister had married
the King's bastard son, Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, and the Duke was
long since dead, but pretenders had set up their standards on lesser
claims before now: the King, dying, would leave his boy no such legacy of
trouble. Surrey was popular, and 'it was fearful to see the number of
people in the streets about Guildhall.' The crown prosecutor accused
treason; Surrey answered violently: 'I never sought to usurp the King's
arms. Go to the church in Norfolk, you will see them there, they have
been ours five hundred years.' Asked why he had put the inscription on
his Garter: 'I did not put the King's motto, and you have no cause to
blame me for using the words, Till then thus, for you all know the great
services my father has rendered, and I had hoped, in recognition, that
the King would return the arms to me.' (The Howards had been attainted,
and their right to bear arms withdrawn.) Paget then put the true
accusation: 'As the King is old, you thought to become King.' 'Ah,
Catchpole, what dost thou know of it? The Kingdom was never well since
the King put low fellows like thee into goyernment.'

[* The offence was breaking citizens' windows with a crossbow, the
defence that in this manner he hoped to awaken dissolute persons to
repentance by reminding them how sudden were God's judgments.]

He was found guilty, and died by the axe. His father, that great soldier,
went to the Tower, whence Queen Mary released him ten years later to make
him her general against Thomas Wyat, son to his son's friend. The King
had given a last example of determination; he was aware of death
approaching, and of dangers that might come to the dynasty from ambitions
which his son was not old enough to check. He made a will leaving the
crown to Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth, in that order, should each fail in
issue, and appointed sixteen executors to see it brought to effect.
Cranmer headed the list; the rest were grave persons, bishops, and lords
of the household. He restored--a flash of penitence? an attempt to buy
pardon?--the church of the Grey Friars in London, giving its former
revenues towards the relief of the poor of that parish. He directed that
none of his servants were to be discharged from their offices, gave his
daughters [*] his blessing, and left orders for the making of his tomb at
Windsor, which his own effigy on horseback should crown, 'lively in
armour like a King, after the antique manner.' On the 28th day of January
1547, in the fifty-sixth year of his age, Henry Tudor died, leaving his
succession assured, and his country at peace with Europe. On the same day
Edward his son was proclaimed, no voice disputing his right, 'King of
England, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Churches
of England and Ireland on earth the supreme head, he being then but ix
years of age.'

[* The Spanish chronicler makes a touching story of his parting with
Mary. '"Oh daughter, fortune has been hard against thee, and I grieve I
did not have thee married as I wished. Try to be a mother to thy brother,
for look, he is very little yet." The good lady at first could not answer
for weeping, but then made an effort, and said, "I hope to God your
Majesty will live many days yet, and will not do me so much harm as to
leave me an orphan so soon." And as the King could not bear to see the
good lady weeping, he made signs with his hand that she should go away,
for he could not say it in words.']


Machiavelli counts that Prince successful, or at any rate adequate to his
task, who is able to use the methods of his time, but also to look
forward and adapt himself to changes; _'for Time, driving all things
before it, may bring with it evil as well as good.'_

The two great innovations of Henry's period were so important that
something more than the fate of kingdoms turned upon them; whole systems
were their prey; and it is of interest to consider how Henry's policy
allowed for them, used them, and profited by them.

Gunpowder killed the sport of war. From the moment when a cretin with a
match in his hand became the equal of a six-foot man, horsed and in
armour, war as the ploy of kings was ended. Not all of them perceived
this. Francis I tried to combine chivalry with artillery, and came to
grief; James V of Scotland, another glamorous fool, was no more
successful. Henry, apart from that first raid into France at the age of
twenty, did what he could to keep out of war, perceiving that it had
ceased to pay; he made his muster, 'like another Domesday book,' and was
dependent on no goodwill other than his own to bring all the able-bodied
ploughmen and weavers in England into the field. But while these were
opposing other ploughmen and weavers in foreign lands the product of
their labour ceased, by which the King lived; the spoils he and they
might take as conquerors could not equal the pennies they and he gathered
by minding their own business. This policy of peace was his own, for the
people themselves were bellicose. 'We are content with our dominion,' he
told the Venetian, 'and have no wish to disturb other potentates in
theirs.' The foremost jouster in Europe was aware that the battlefield
had become no place for spears.

As gunpowder changed war from a King's gamble to a nation's effort, so
printing brought knowledge down like rain out of the chill high
theological airs. While texts of the Bible echoed only in a few scholar's
heads, the weight of heretical opinion was never cumbersome, and could be
controlled from Rome. Latin preserved the Word of God unchanging, and
restrained all general discussion of it. But when from the presses
translations began to pour, the Bible was split into as many different
books as there were living tongues to receive and spread it. Religion
was, by the labour of translators, nationalized, and from that moment
began a dwindling of the Pope's authority, for which the story of Babel
may serve as symbol. 'Behold, the people is one, and they have all one
language, and now nothing will be restrained from them that they have
imagined to do. Go to, let us go down and there confound their language,
that they may not understand one another's speech.' The people thus
sundered, 'left off to build the city'; Christendom abandoned, amid the
new confusion of shades of meanings, all effort to be one.

Henry, a wayward thinker, yet kept a certain rational consistency in
action. While he held to the Pope he burned Tyndale's Bible; when he had
done with the Pope he chained an English Bible in every parish church and
obliged the clergy by statute to read from it. His quarrel with Rome was
over sharply and soon, each step forced upon him by the logic of
circumstance. Aware that the two could not co-exist in power, he cast off
the Pope, and made England free to the printing press.

The Renaissance may be seen, in brief, as a parting of ways, its rulers
as persons balancing, obliged to look forward and to choose. _'Never
let it be supposed that a State can forecast for itself a perfectly safe
line of conduct. On the contrary, it must reckon on every course it may
take being doubtful; for it happens in all human a airs that we never
seek to escape one mischief without falling into another. Prudence
therefore consists in knowing how to distinguish degrees of disadvantage,
and in accepting a less evil as a good.'_

That the circumstances of Henry's choosing were unhappy is not to be
denied; that he made a choice which the general will of his people
endorsed is proved by that affection which, until his dynasty and his
century ended together, hung about his memory. In this, as in all his
doings except the divorce, he brought to a statement the uncertain wishes
and stirrings of the English, and translated these into action. It is
difficult, despite the portraits and the legends, to see Henry Tudor as a
man; he is the quintessence of his country and period; he stands like a
vast shadow thrown on the screen of history by England's self--easy to
recognize, hard to know. As a King, Speed's lament for him may stand:

'This magnificent Monarch was of presence Majesticall, and of personage
more than ordinary tall, fair of complexion and corpulent of body, very
wise and very well learned, of a sudden and ready speech, in youth very
prodigal, in his age very liberal, pleasant and affable but not to be
dallied with, bold in attempting, and ever thirsty of potent glory; an
active soldier, favouring such as were active or serviceable, according
to the then usual saying--King Henry loves a man. And indeed loving
somewhat too well the delights of women.'

But the man remains inscrutable, and Sir Thomas Wyat's words are as near
to him as we may come:

'I am as I am, and so will I be,
But how that I am, none knoweth truly,
Be it evil, be it well, be I bond, be I free,
I am as I am, and so will I be.'


Brewer. _Reign of Henry VIII._
Camden. _Britaine._
Chronicles: Grafton.
            _King Henry VIII._ (Spanish, anonymous.)
Erasmus: _Letters._
         _Praise of Folly._
Fox. _Acts and Monuments._
Giustiniani. _Four Years at the Court of Henry VIII._
Guicciardini. _History of Florence._
King Henry VIII. _Letters._
Machiavelli. _The Prince._
More. _Utopia._
_Oxford Book of 16th Century Verse._
_Plumpton Letters._
Roper. _Life of Sir Thomas More._
_Rutland Papers._
Skelton. _Poems._
Speed. _Succession of England's Monarchs._
Trevisan. _Relation of the Island of England._


_Page numbers have been omitted from this ebook. Use the 'search'
function to find references in the text._

Albany, Duke of,
Anne of Cleves
Arran, Lord
Arthur, Prince

Bapaume, de
Barton, Elizabeth
Beaton, Cardinal
Becket, St. Thomas
Bellay, du
Boleyn, Anne
Boleyn, Mary
Boleyn, Sir Thomas
Borgia, Lucrezia
Bourbon, Constable of
Buckingham, Edward, Duke of

Campeggio, Cardinal
Canterbury, Archbishop of
Carey, Elinor
Castile, Kingdom of
Charles V, Emperor
Charles VII
Charles the Bold
_Chronicle of King Henry VIII_
Cromwell, Thomas

d'Alençon, Duchesse
Dauphin (Henry, Duke of Orleans)
Devon, Earl of
Diet, the
Dorset, Marquess of

Edward III
Edward IV
Edward VI
England, wealth of
English people, character of
Ethelred, King

Felipe, Francisco
Ferdinand of Aragon
Field of Cloth of Gold
Fitzroy, Henry
France, Queen of
Francis I, King of France
French hostages in England

Gardiner, Stephen
Grey, Lady Jane
Grey, Lord

Hampton Court
Henry VI
Henry VII
Henry VIII:--
 physical appearance
 and the French victories
 capture of Flanders towns
 rivalry with Francis I
 as captain of the _Virgin Mary_
 claims to become Emperor
 dismissal of unpopular members of his court
 sports and entertainments
 as a statesman
 and Field of Cloth of Gold
 reception of Emperor Charles at Dover
 and Scotland
 and Buckingham
 and divorce of Katherine
 and dismissal of Wolsey
 and the Church
 and birth of son
 and Anne of Cleves
 takes title of King of Ireland
 and siege of Boulogne
 and peace with France
 illness and death
Henry, Duke of Orleans. See Dauphin
Howard, Katherine
Hungary, King of
Hungerford, Lord

Isabella of Aragon
Isabella of Portugal

James V of Scotland

Katherine, Queen of England
Kingston, Constable of the Tower
Kingston, Sir William

Langland, Dr.
Lisle, Lord
London, Bishop of
Louis XI
Louis XII
Louise of Savoy

Margaret, Regent of Flanders
Mary of Guise
Mary, Princess of Wales
Mary of Scots
Maximilian, Emperor
Milan, Duchess of
Mirror of Naples
More, Sir Thomas

Norfolk, Duke of


Pace, Richard
Panza, Sancho
Plumpton, William
Poland, King of
Pole, Reginald
Pope Clement VII
Pope Julius II
Pope Leo X
Prince (Machiavelli)

Rochester, Bishop of
Rochford, Lord
Russell, Sir John

St. Mark (Venice)
Salisbury, Countess of
Smile, Sir Henry
Seymour, Jane
Shrewsbury, Lord
Signory, the
Sinclair, Oliver
Solway Moss
Spain, King of
Star Chamber
Stewart, James
Suffolk, Duke of
Surrey, Earl of


_Virgin Mary_ (ship)

Worcester, Bishop of
Wyat, Sir Thomas



This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia