Necessity of the Reformation – Wolsey's Earnestness with Da Casale – An Audience with Clement VII – Cruel Position of the Pope – A Judas' Kiss – A New Brief – Bryan and Vannes Sent to Rome – Henry and Du Bellay – Wolsey's Reasons Against the Brief – Excitement in London – Metamorphosis – Wolsey's Decline – His Anguish
THE king and a part of his people still adhered to the popedom, and so long as these bonds were not broken the word of God could not have free course. But to induce England to renounce Rome, there must indeed be powerful motives: and these were not wanting.
Wolsey had never given such pressing orders to any of Henry's ambassadors: "The king," he wrote to Da Casale on the 1st of November 1528, "commits this business to your prudence, dexterity, and fidelity; and I conjure you to employ all the powers of your genius, and even to surpass them. Be very sure that you have done nothing and can do nothing that will be more agreeable to the king, more desirable by me, and more useful and glorious for you and your family."
Da Casale possessed a tenacity which justified the cardinal's confidence, and an active excitable mind: trembling at the thought of seeing Rome lose England, he immediately requested an audience of Clement VII. "What!" said he to the pope, "just as it was proposed to go on with the divorce, your nuncio endeavors to dissuade the king!... There is no hope that Catherine of Aragon will ever give an heir to the crown. Holy father, there must be an end of this. Order Campeggio to place the decretal in his majesty's hands."-"What say you?" exclaimed the pope. "I would gladly lose one of my fingers to recover it again, and you ask me to make it public... it would be my ruin." Da Casale insisted: "We have a duty to perform," he said; "we remind you at this last hour of the perils threatening the relations which unite Rome and England. The crisis is at hand. We knock at your door, we cry, we urge, we entreat, we lay before you the present and future dangers which threaten the papacy.... The world shall know that the king at least has fulfilled the duty of a devoted son of the church. If your holiness desires to keep England in St. Peter's fold, I repeat... now is the time... now is the time." At these words, Da Casale, unable to restrain his emotion, fell down at the pope's feet, and begged him to save the church in Great Britain. The pope was moved. "Rise," said he, with marks of unwonted grief, "I grant you all that is in my power; I am willing to confirm the judgment which the legates may think it their duty to pass; but I acquit myself of all responsibility as to the untold evils which this matter may bring with it.... If the king, after having defended the faith and the church, desires to ruin both, on him alone will rest the responsibility of so great a disaster." Clement granted nothing. Da Casale withdrew disheartened, and feeling convinced that the pontiff was about to treat with Charles V.
Wolsey desired to save the popedom; but the popedom resisted. Clement VII was about to lose that island which Gregory the Great had won with such difficulty. The pope was in the most cruel position. The English envoy had hardly left the palace before the emperor's ambassador entered breathing threats. The unhappy pontiff escaped the assaults of Henry only to be exposed to those of Charles; he was thrown backwards and forwards like a ball. "I shall assemble a general council," said the emperor through his ambassador, "and if you are found to have infringed the canons of the church in any point, you shall be proceeded against with every rigor. Do not forget," added his agent in a low tone, "that your birth is illegitimate, and consequently excludes you from the pontificate." The timid Clement, imagining that he saw the tiara falling from his head, swore to refuse Henry everything. "Alas!" he said to one of his dearest confidants, "I repent in dust and ashes that I ever granted this decretal bull. If the king of England so earnestly desires it to be given him, certainly it cannot be merely to know its contents. He is but too familiar with them. It is only to tie my hands in this matter of the divorce; I would rather die a thousand deaths." Clement, to calm his agitation, sent one of his ablest gentlemen of the bed-chamber, Francis Campana, apparently to feed the king with fresh promises, but in reality to cut the only thread on which Henry's hopes still hung. "We embrace your majesty," wrote the pope in the letter given to Campana, "with the paternal love your numerous merits deserve." Now Campana was sent to England to burn clandestinely the famous decretal;"" Clement concealed his blows by an embrace. Rome had granted many divorces not so well founded as that of Henry VIII; but a very different matter from a divorce was in question here; the pope, desirous of upraising in Italy his shattered power, was about to sacrifice the Tudor, and to prepare the triumph of the Reformation. Rome was separating herself from England.
All Clement's fear was, that Campana would arrive too late to burn the bull; he was soon reassured; a dead calm prevented the great matter from advancing. Campeggio, who took care to be in no hurry about his mission, gave himself up, like a skillful diplomatist, to his worldly tastes; and when he could not, due respect being had to the state of his legs, indulge in the chase, of which he was very fond, he passed his time in gambling, to which he was much addicted. Respectable historians assert that he indulged in still more illicit pleasures. But this could not last forever, and the nuncio sought some new means of delay, which offered itself in the most unexpected manner. One day an officer of the queen's presented to the Roman legate a brief of Julius II, bearing the same date as the bull of dispensation, signed too, like that, by the secretary Sigismond, and in which the pope expressed himself in such a manner, that Henry's objections fell of themselves. "The emperor," said Catherine's messenger, "has discovered this brief among the papers of Puebla, the Spanish ambassador in England, at the time of the marriage."-"It is impossible to go on," said Campeggio to Wolsey; "all your reasoning is now cut from under you. We must wait for fresh instructions." This was the cardinal's conclusion at every new incident, and the journey from London to the Vatican being very long (without reckoning the Roman dilatoriness), the expedient was infallible.
Thus there existed two acts of the same pope, signed on the same day-the one secret, the other public, in contradiction to each other. Henry determined to send a new mission to Rome. Anne proposed for this embassy one of the most accomplished gentlemen of the court, her cousin, Sir Francis Bryan. With him was joined an Italian, Peter Vannes, Henry's Latin secretary. "You will search all the registers of the time of Julius II," said Wolsey to them; "you will study the handwriting of Secretary Sigismond, and you will attentively examine the ring of the fisherman used by that pontiff. Moreover you will inform the pope that it is proposed to set a certain greyfriar, named De Angelis, in his place, to whom Charles would give the spiritual authority, reserving the temporal for himself. You will manage so that Clement takes alarm at the project, and you will then offer him a guard of 2000 men to protect him. You will ask whether, in case the queen should desire to embrace a religious life, on condition of the king's doing the same, and Henry should yield to this wish, he could have the assurance that the pope would afterward release him from his vows. And, finally, you will inquire whether, in case the queen should refuse to enter a convent, the pope would permit the king to have two wives, as we see in the Old Testament." The idea which has brought so much reproach on the landgrave of Hesse was not a new one; the honor of it belongs to a cardinal and legate of Rome, whatever Bossuet may say. "Lastly," continued Wolsey, "as the pope is of a timid disposition, you will not fail to season your remonstrances with threats. You, Peter, will take him aside and tell him that, as an Italian, having more at heart than anyone the glory of the holy see, it is your duty to warn him, that if he persists, the king, his realm, and many other princes, will forever separate from the papacy.”
It was not on the mind of the pope alone that it was necessary to act; the rumor that the emperor and the king of France were treating together disturbed Henry. Wolsey had vainly tried to sound Du Bellay; these two priests tried craft against craft. Besides, the Frenchman was not always seasonably informed by his court, letters taking ten days to come from Paris to London. Henry resolved to have a conference with the ambassador. He began by speaking to him of his matter, says Du Bellay, "and I promise you," he added, "that he needs no advocate, he understands the whole business so well." Henry next touched upon the wrongs of Francis I, "recalling so many things that the envoy knew not what to say."-"I pray you, Master Ambassador," said Henry in conclusion, "to beg the king, my brother, to give up a little of his amusements during a year only for the prompt despatch of his affairs. Warn those whom it concerns." Having given this spur to the king of France, Henry turned his thoughts towards Rome.
In truth, the fatal brief from Spain tormented him day and night, and the cardinal tortured his mind to find proofs of its non-authenticity; if he could do so, he would acquit the papacy of the charge of duplicity, and accuse the emperor of forgery. At last he thought he had succeeded. "In the first place," he said to the king, "the brief has the same date as the bull. Now, if the errors in the latter had been found out on the day it was drawn up, it would have been more natural to make another than to append a brief pointing out the errors. What! the same pope, the same day, at the petition of the same persons, give out two rescripts for one effect, one of which contradicts the other! Either the bull was good, and then, why the brief? or the bull was bad, and then, why deceive princes by a worthless bull? Many names are found in the brief incorrectly spelled, and these are faults which the pontifical secretary, whose accuracy is so well known, could not have committed. Lastly, no one in England ever heard mention of this brief; and yet it is here that it ought to be found." Henry charged Knight, his principal secretary, to join the other envoys with all speed, in order to prove to the pope the supposititious character of the document.
This important paper revived the irritation felt in England against Charles V, and it was resolved to come to extremities. Everyone discontented with Austria took refuge in London, particularly the Hungarians. The ambassador from Hungary proposed to Wolsey to adjudge the imperial crown of Germany to the elector of Saxony or the landgrave of Hesse, the two chiefs of Protestantism. Wolsey exclaimed in alarm: "It will be an inconvenience to Christendom, they are so Lutheran." But the Hungarian ambassador so satisfied him, that in the end he did not find the matter quite so inconvenient. These schemes were prospering in London, when suddenly a new metamorphosis took place under the eyes of Du Bellay. The king, the cardinal, and the ministers appeared in strange consternation. Vincent da Casale had just arrived from Rome with a letter from his cousin the prothonotary, informing Henry that the pope, seeing the triumph of Charles V, the indecision of Francis I, the isolation of the king of England, and the distress of his cardinal, had flung himself into the arms of the emperor. At Rome they went so far as to jest about Wolsey, and to say that since he could not be St. Peter they would make him St. Paul.
While they were ridiculing Wolsey at Rome, at St. Germain's they were joking about Henry. "I will make him get rid of the notions he has in his head," said Francis; and the Flemings, who were again sent out of the country, said as they left London, "that this year they would carry on the war so vigorously, that it would be really a sight worth seeing.”
Besides these public griefs, Wolsey had his private ones. Anne Boleyn, who had already begun to use her influence on behalf of the despotic cardinal's victims, gave herself no rest until Cheyney, a courtier disgraced by Wolsey, had been restored to the king's favor. Anne even gave utterance to several biting sarcasms against the cardinal, and the duke of Norfolk and his party began "to speak big," says Du Bellay. At the moment when the pope, scared by Charles V, was separating from England, Wolsey himself was tottering. Who shall uphold the papacy?... After Wolsey, nobody! Rome was on the point of losing the power which for nine centuries she had exercised in the bosom of this illustrious nation. The cardinal's anguish cannot be described; unceasingly pursued by gloomy images, he saw Anne on the throne causing the triumph of the Reformation: this nightmare was stifling him. "His grace, the legate, is in great trouble," wrote the bishop of Bayonne. "However... he is more cunning than they are.”
To still the tempest Wolsey had only one resource left: this was to render Clement favorable to his master's designs. The crafty Campana, who had burnt the decretal, conjured him not to believe all the reports transmitted to him concerning Rome. "To satisfy the king," said he to the cardinal, "the holy father will, if necessary, descend from the pontifical throne." Wolsey therefore resolved to send to Rome a more energetic agent than Vannes, Bryan, or Knight, and cast his eyes on Gardiner. His courage began to revive, when an unexpected event fanned once more his loftiest hopes.
The Pope's Illness – Wolsey's Desire – Conference About the Members of the Conclave – Wolsey's Instructions – The Pope Recovers – Speech of the English Envoys to the Pope – Clement Willing to Abandon England – The English Demand the Pope's Denial of the Brief s Wolsey's Alarm – Intrigues – Bryan's Clearsightedness – Henry's Threats – Wolsey's New Efforts – He Calls for an Appeal to Rome, and Retracts – Wolsey and Du Bellay at Richmond – The Ship of the State
ON the 6th of January 1529, the feast of Epiphany, just as the pope was performing mass, he was attacked by a sudden illness; he was taken to his room, apparently in a dying state. When this news reached London, the cardinal resolved to hasten to abandon England, where the soil trembled under his feet, and to climb boldly to the throne of the pontiffs. Bryan and Vannes, then at Florence, hurried on to Rome through roads infested with robbers. At Orvieto they were informed the pope was better; at Viterbo, no one knew whether he was alive or dead; at Ronciglione, they were assured that he had expired; and, finally, when they reached the metropolis of the popedom, they learned that Clement could not survive, and that the imperialists, supported by the Colonnas, were striving to have a pope devoted to Charles V.
But great as might be the agitation at Rome, it was greater still at Whitehall. If God caused De' Medici to descend from the pontifical throne, it could only be, thought Wolsey, to make him mount it. "It is expedient to have such a pope as may save the realm," said he to Gardiner. "And although it cannot but be incommodious to me in this mine old age to be the common father, yet, when all things be well pondered, the qualities of all the cardinals well considered, I am the only one, without boasting, that can and will remedy the king's secret matter. And were it not for the re-integration of the state of the church, and especially to relieve the king and his realm from their calamities, all the riches and honor of the world should not cause me to accept the said dignity. Nevertheless, I conform myself to the necessities of the times. Wherefore, Master Stephen, that this matter may succeed, I pray you to apply all your ingenuity, spare neither money nor labor. I give you the amplest powers, without restriction or limitation." Gardiner departed to win for his master the coveted tiara.
Henry VIII and Wolsey, who could hardly restrain their impatience, soon heard of the pontiff's death from different quarters. "The emperor has taken away Clement's life, said Wolsey, blinded by hatred. "Charles," rejoined the king, "will endeavor to obtain by force or fraud a pope according to his desires." "Yes, to make him his chaplain," replied Wolsey, “and to put an end by degrees both to pope and popedom.” “We must fly to the defense of the church,” resumed Henry, “ and with that view, my lord, make up your mind to be pope." "That alone," answered the cardinal, "can bring your Majesty's weighty matter to a happy termination, and by saving you, save the church... and myself also," he thought in his heart. "Let us see, let us count the voters.”
Henry and his minister then wrote down on a strip of parchment the names of all the cardinals, marking with the letter A those who were on the side of the kings of England and France, and with the letter B all who favored the emperor. "There was no C," says a chronicler sarcastically, "to signify any on Christ's side." The letter N designated the neutrals. "The cardinals present," said Wolsey, "will not exceed thirty-nine, and we must have two-thirds, that is, twenty-six. Now, there are twenty upon whom we can reckon; we must therefore, at any price, gain six of the neutrals.”
Wolsey, deeply sensible of the importance of an election that would decide whether England was to be reformed or not, carefully drew up the instructions, which Henry signed, and which history must register. "We desire and ordain," the ambassadors were informed in them, "that you secure the election of the cardinal of York; not forgetting that next to the salvation of his own soul, there is nothing the king desires more earnestly.
“To gain over the neutral cardinals you will employ two methods in particular. The first is, the cardinals being present, and having God and the Holy Ghost before them, you shall remind them that the cardinal of York alone can save Christendom.
“The second is, because human fragility suffereth not all things to be pondered and weighed in a just balance, it appertaineth in matter of so high importance, to the comfort and relief of all Christendom, to succor the infirmity that may chance... not for corruption, you will understand... but rather to help the lacks and defaults of human nature. And, therefore, it shall be expedient that you promise spiritual offices, dignities, rewards of money, or other things which shall seem meet to the purpose.
“Then shall you, with good dexterity, combine and knit those favorable to us in a perfect fastness and indissoluble knot. And that they may be the better animated to finish the election to the king's desire, you shall offer them a guard of 2,000 or 3,000 men from the kings of England and France, from the viscount of Turin, and the republic of Venice.
“If, notwithstanding all your exertions, the election should fail, then the cardinals of the king's shall repair to some sure place, and there proceed to such an election as may be to God's pleasure.
“And to win more friends for the king, you shall promise, on the one hand, to the Cardinal de' Medici and his party our special favor; and the Florentines, on the other hand, you shall put in comfort of the exclusion of the said family De' Medici. Likewise you shall put the cardinals in perfect hope of recovering the patrimony of the church; and you shall contain the Venetians in good trust of a reasonable way to be taken for Cervia and Ravenna (which formed part of the patrimony) to their contentment."
Such were the means by which the cardinal hoped to win the papal throne. To the right he said yes, to the left he said no. What would it matter that these perfidies were one day discovered, provided it were after the election. Christendom might be very certain that the choice of the future pontiff would be the work of the Holy Ghost. Alexander VI had been a poisoner; Julius II had given way to ambition, anger, and vice; the liberal Leo X had passed his life in worldly pursuits; the unhappy Clement VII had lived on stratagems and lies; Wolsey would be their worthy successor: “All the seven deadly sins have worn the triple crown.”
Wolsey found his excuse in the thought, that if he succeeded, the divorce was secured, and England enslaved forever to the court of Rome.
Success at first appeared probable. Many cardinals spoke openly in favor of the English prelate; one of them asked for a detailed account of his life, in order to present it as a model to the church; another worshipped him (so he said) as a divinity... Among the gods and popes adored at Rome there were some no better than he. But erelong alarming news reached England. What grief! the pope was getting better. "Conceal your instructions," wrote the cardinal, "and reserve them in omnem eventum.”
Wolsey not having obtained the tiara, it was necessary at least to gain the divorce. "God declares," said the English ambassadors to the pope, "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. Therefore, the king, taking God alone for his guide, requests of you, in the first place, an engagement to pronounce the divorce in the space of three months, and in the second the avocation to Rome."-"The promise first, and only after that the avocation," Wolsey had said; "for I fear that if the pope begins with the avocation, he will never pronounce the divorce."-"Besides," added the envoys, "the king's second marriage admits of no refusal, whatever bulls or briefs there may be. The only issue of this matter is the divorce; the divorce in one way or another must be procured.”
Wolsey had instructed his envoys to pronounce these words with a certain air of familiarity, and at the same time with a gravity calculated to produce an effect. His expectations were deceived: Clement was colder than ever. He had determined to abandon England in order that he might secure the States of the Church, of which Charles was then master, thus sacrificing the spiritual to the temporal. "The pope will not do the least thing for your majesty," wrote Bryan to the king; "your matter may well be in his Pater noster, but it certainly is not in his Credo." "Increase in importunity," answered the king; "the cardinal of Verona should remain about the pope's person and counterbalance the influence of De Angelis and the archbishop of Capua. I would rather lose my two crowns than be beaten by these two friars.”
Thus was the struggle about to become keener than ever, when Clement's relapse once more threw doubt on everything. He was always between life and death; and this perpetual alternation agitated the king and the impatient cardinal in every way. The latter considered that the pope had need of merits to enter the kingdom of heaven. "Procure an interview with the pope," he wrote to the envoys, "even though he be in the very agony of death; and represent to him that nothing will be more likely to save his soul than the bill of divorce." Henry's commissioners were not admitted; but towards the end of March, the deputies appearing in a body, the pope promised to examine the letter from Spain. Vannes began to fear this document; he represented that those who had fabricated it would have been able to give it an appearance of authenticity. "Rather declare immediately that this brief is not a brief," said he to the pope. "The king of England, who is your holiness's son, is not so like the rest of the world. We cannot put the same shoe on every foot." This rather vulgar argument did not touch Clement. "If to content your master in this business," said he, "I cannot employ my head, at least I will my finger." -"Be pleased to explain yourself," replied Vannes, who found the finger a very little matter.-"I mean," resumed the pontiff, "that I shall employ every means, provided they are honorable." Vannes withdrew disheartened.
He immediately conferred with his colleagues, and all together, alarmed at the idea of Henry's anger, returned to the pontiff; they thrust aside the lackeys, who endeavored to stop them, and made their way into his bedchamber. Clement opposed them with that resistance of inertia by which the popedom has gained its greatest victories: siluit, he remained silent. Of what consequence to the pontiff were Tudor, his island, and his church, when Charles of Austria was threatening him with his armies? Clement, less proud than Hildebrand, submitted willingly to the emperor's power, provided the emperor would protect him. "I had rather," he said, "be Caesar's servant, not only in a temple, but in a stable if necessary, than be exposed to the insults of rebels and vagabonds." At the same time he wrote to Campeggio: "Do not irritate the king, but spin out this matter as much as possible; the Spanish brief gives us the means.”
In fact, Charles V had twice shown Lee the original document, and Wolsey, after this ambassador's report, began to believe that it was not Charles who had forged the brief, but that Pope Julius II had really given two contradictory documents on the same day. Accordingly the cardinal now feared to see this letter in the pontiff's hands. "Do all you can to dissuade the pope from seeking the original in Spain," wrote he to one of his ambassadors; "it may exasperate the emperor." We know how cautious the cardinal was towards Charles. Intrigue attained its highest point at this epoch, and Englishmen and Romans encountered craft with craft. "In such ticklish negotiations," says Burnet, (who had had some little experience in diplomacy,) "ministers must say and unsay as they are instructed, which goes of course as a part of their business." Henry's envoys to the pope intercepted the letters sent from Rome, and had Campeggio's seized. On his part the pope indulged in flattering smiles and perfidious equivocations. Bryan wrote to Henry VIII: "Always your grace hath done for him in deeds, and he hath recompensed you with fair words and fair writings, of which both I think your grace shall lack none; but as for the deeds, I never believe to see them, and especially at this time." Bryan had comprehended the court of Rome better perhaps than many politicians. Finally, Clement himself, wishing to prepare the king for the blow he was about to inflict, wrote to him: "We have been able to find nothing that would satisfy your ambassadors."
Henry thought he knew what this message meant: that he had found nothing, and would find nothing; and accordingly this prince, who, if we may believe Wolsey, had hitherto shown incredible patience and gentleness, gave way to all his violence. "Very well then," said he; "my lords and I well know how to withdraw ourselves from the authority of the Roman see." Wolsey turned pale, and conjured his master not to rush into that fearful abyss; Campeggio, too, endeavored to revive the king's hopes. But it was all of no use. Henry recalled his ambassadors.
Henry, it is true, had not yet reached the age when violent characters become inflexible from the habit they have encouraged of yielding to their passions. But the cardinal, who knew his master, knew also that his inflexibility did not depend upon the number of his years; he thought Rome's power in England was lost, and, placed between Henry and Clement, he exclaimed: "How shall I avoid Scylla, and not fall into Charybdis?" He begged the king to make one last effort by sending Dr. Bennet to the pope with orders to support the avocation to Rome, and he gave him a letter in which he displayed all the resources of his eloquence. "How can it be imagined," he wrote, "that the persuasions of sense urge the king to break a union in which the ardent years of his youth were passed with such purity?... The matter is very different. I am on the spot, I know the state of men's minds... Pray, believe me... The divorce is the secondary question; the primary one is the fidelity of this realm to the papal see. The nobility, gentry, and citizens all exclaim with indignation: Must our fortunes, and even our lives, depend upon the nod of a foreigner? We must abolish, or at the very least diminish, the authority of the Roman pontiff.... Most holy father, we cannot mention such things without a shudder."... This new attempt was also unavailing. The pope demanded of Henry how he could doubt his good will, seeing that the king of England had done so much for the apostolic see. This appeared a cruel irony to Tudor; the king requested a favor of the pope, and the pope replied by calling to mind those which the papacy had received from his hands. "Is this the way," men asked in England, "in which Rome pays her debts?”
Wolsey had not reached the term of his misfortunes. Gardiner and Bryan had just returned to London: they declared that to demand an avocation to Rome was to lose their cause. Accordingly Wolsey, who turned to every wind, ordered Da Casale, in case Clement should pronounce the avocation, to appeal from the pope, the false head of the church, to the true vicar of Jesus Christ. This was almost in Luther's style. Who was this true vicar? Probably a pope nominated by the influence of England.
But this proceeding did not assure the cardinal: he was losing his judgment. A short time before this Du Bellay, who had just returned from Paris, whither he had gone to retain France on the side of England, had been invited to Richmond by Wolsey. As the two prelates were walking in the park, on that hill whence the eye ranges over the fertile and undulating fields through which the winding Thames pours its tranquil waters, the unhappy cardinal observed to the bishop: "My trouble is the greatest that ever was!... I have excited and carried on this matter of the divorce, to dissolve the union between the two houses of Spain and England, by sowing misunderstanding between them, as if I had no part in it.
You know it was in the interest of France; I therefore entreat the king your master and her majesty to do everything that may forward the divorce. I shall esteem such a favor more than if they made me pope; but if they refuse me, my ruin is inevitable." And then giving way to despair, he exclaimed: "Alas! would that I were going to be buried tomorrow!”
The wretched man was drinking the bitter cup his perfidies had prepared for him. All seemed to conspire against Henry, and Bennet was recalled shortly after. It was said at court and in the city: "Since the pope sacrifices us to the emperor, let us sacrifice the pope." Clement VII, intimidated by the threats of Charles V, and tottering upon his throne, madly repelled with his foot the bark of England. Europe was all attention, and began to think that the proud vessel of Albion, cutting the cable that bound her to the pontiffs, would boldly spread her canvas to the winds, and ever after sail the sea alone, wafted onwards by the breeze that comes from heaven.
The influence of Rome over Europe is in great measure political. It loses a kingdom by a royal quarrel, and might in this same way lose ten.
Discussion Between the Evangelicals and the Catholics – Union of Learning and Life – The Laity: Tewkesbury – His Appearance before the Bishop's Court – He is Tortured – Two Classes of Opponents – A Theological Duel – Scripture and the Church – Emancipation of the Mind – Mission to the Low Countries – Tyndale's Embarrassment – Tonstall Wishes to Buy the Books – Packington's Stratagem – Tyndale Departs for
Antwerp • His Shipwreck • Arrival at Hamburg • Meets Coverdale
OTHER circumstances from day to day rendered the emancipation of the church more necessary. If behind these political debates there had not been found a Christian people, resolved never to temporize with error, it is probable that England, after a few years of independence, would have fallen back into the bosom of Rome. The affair of the divorce was not the only one agitating men's minds; the religious controversies, which for some years filled the continent, were always more animated at Oxford and Cambridge. The Evangelicals and the Catholics (not very Catholic indeed) warmly discussed the great questions which the progress of events brought before the world. The former maintained that the primitive church of the apostles and the actual church of the papacy were not identical; the latter affirmed, on the contrary, the identity of popery and apostolic Christianity. Other Romish doctors in later times, finding this position somewhat embarrassing, have asserted that Catholicism existed only in the germ in the apostolic church, and had subsequently developed itself. But a thousand abuses, a thousand errors may creep into a church under cover of this theory. A plant springs from the seed and grows up in accordance with immutable laws; while a doctrine cannot be transformed in the mind of man without falling under the influence of sin. It is true that the disciples of popery have supposed a constant action of the Divine Spirit in the Catholic Church, which excludes every influence of error. To stamp on the development of the church the character of truth, they have stamped on the church itself the character of infallibility; quod erat demonstrandum. Their reasoning is a mere begging of the question. To know whether the Romish development is identical with the gospel, we must examine it by Scripture.
It was not university men alone who occupied themselves with Christian truth. The separation which has been remarked in other times between the opinions of the people and of the learned, did not now exist. What the doctors taught, the citizens practiced; Oxford and London embraced each other. The theologians knew that learning has need of life, and the citizens believed that life has need of that learning which derives the doctrine from the wells of the Scriptures of God. It was the harmony between these two elements, the one theological, the other practical, which constituted the strength of the English reformation.
The evangelical life in the capital alarmed the clergy more than the evangelical doctrine in the colleges. Since Monmouth had escaped, they must strike another. Among the London merchants was John Tewkesbury, one of the oldest friends of the Scriptures in England. As early as 1512 he had become possessor of a manuscript copy of the Bible, and had attentively studied it; when Tyndale's New Testament appeared, he read it with avidity; and, finally, The Wicked Mammon had completed the work of his conversion. Being a man of heart and understanding, clever in all he undertook, a ready and fluent speaker, and liking to get to the bottom of everything, Tewkesbury like Monmouth became very influential in the city, and one of the most learned in Scripture of any of the evangelicals. These generous Christians, being determined to consecrate to God the good things they had received from him, were the first among that long series of laymen who were destined to be more useful to the truth than many ministers and bishops. They found time to interest themselves about the most trifling details of the kingdom of God; and in the history of the Reformation in Britain their names should be inscribed beside those of Latimer and Tyndale.
The activity of these laymen could not escape the cardinal's notice. Clement VII was abandoning England: it was necessary for the English bishops, by crushing the heretics, to show that they would not abandon the popedom. We can understand the zeal of these prelates, and without excusing their persecutions, we are disposed to extenuate their crime. The bishops determined to ruin Tewkesbury. One day in April 1529, as he was busy among his peltries, the officers entered his warehouse, arrested him, and led him away to the bishop of London's chapel, where, besides the ordinary (Tonstall), the bishops of Ely, St. Asaph, Bath, and Lincoln, with the abbot of Westminster, were on the bench. The composition of this tribunal indicated the importance of his case. The emancipation of the laity, thought these judges, is perhaps a more dangerous heresy than justification by faith.
“John Tewkesbury," said the bishop of London, "I exhort you to trust less to your own wit and learning, and more unto the doctrine of the holy mother the church." Tewkesbury made answer, that in his judgment he held no other doctrine than that of the church of Christ. Tonstall then broached the principle charge, that of having read the Wicked Mammon, and after quoting several passages, he exclaimed: "Renounce these errors."-"I find no fault in the book," replied Tewkesbury. "It has enlightened my conscience and consoled my heart. But it is not my gospel. I have studied the Holy Scriptures these seventeen years, and as a man sees the spots of his face in a glass, so by reading them I have learned the faults of my soul. If there is a disagreement between you and the New Testament, put yourselves in harmony with it, rather than desire to put that in accord with you." The bishops were surprised that a leather-seller should speak so well, and quote Scripture so happily that they were unable to resist him. Annoyed at being catechized by a layman, the bishops of Bath, St. Asaph, and Lincoln thought they could conquer him more easily by the rack than by their arguments. He was taken to the Tower, where they ordered him to be put to the torture. His limbs were crushed, which was contrary to the laws of England, and the violence of the rack tore from him a cry of agony to which the priests replied by a shout of exultation. The inflexible merchant had promised at last to renounce Tyndale's Wicked Mammon. Tewkesbury left the Tower "almost a cripple," and returned to his house to lament the fatal word which the question had extorted from him, and to prepare in the silence of faith to confess in the burning pile the precious name of Christ Jesus.
We must, however, acknowledge that the "question" was not Rome's only argument. The gospel had two classes of opponents in the sixteenth century, as in the first ages of the church. Some attacked it with the torture, others with their writings. Sir Thomas More, a few years later, was to have recourse to the first of these arguments; but for the moment he took up his pen. He had first studied the writings of the Fathers of the church, and of the Reformers, but rather as an advocate than as a theologian; and then, armed at all points, he rushed into the arena of polemics, and in his attacks dealt those "technical convictions and that malevolent subtlety," says one of his greatest admirers, from which the honestest men of his profession are not free." Jests and sarcasms had fallen from his pen in his discussion with Tyndale, as in his controversy with Luther. Shortly after Tewkesbury affair (in June 1529) there appeared A Dialog of Sir Thomas More, Knt., touching the pestilent Sect of Luther and Tyndale, by the one begun in Saxony, and by the other labored to be brought into England.
Tyndale soon became informed of More's publication, and a remarkable combat ensued between these two representatives of the two doctrines that were destined to divide Christendom-Tyndale the champion of Scripture, and More the champion of the church. More having called his book a dialog, Tyndale adopted this form in his reply, and the two combatants valiantly crossed their swords, though wide seas lay between them. This theological duel is not without importance in the history of the Reformation. The struggles of diplomacy, of sacerdotalism, and of royalty were not enough; there must be struggles of doctrine. Rome had set the hierarchy above the faith; the Reformation was to restore faith to its place above the hierarchy.
MORE-Christ said not, the Holy Ghost shall write, but shall teach. Whatsoever the church says, it is the word of God, though it be not in Scripture.
TYNDALE-What! Christ and the apostles not spoken of Scriptures!... These are written, says St. John, that ye believe, and through belief have life (1 John 2:1; Romans 15:4; Matthew 22:29).
MORE-The apostles have taught by mouth many things they did not write, because they should not come into the hands of the heathen for mocking.
TYNDALE-I pray you what thing more to be mocked by the heathen could they teach than the resurrection; and that Christ was God and man, and died between two thieves? And yet all these things the apostles wrote. And again, purgatory, penance, and satisfaction for sin, and praying to saints, are marvelous agreeable unto the superstition of the heathen people, so that they need not to abstain from writing of them for fear lest the heathen should have mocked them.
MORE-We must not examine the teaching of the church by Scripture, but understand Scripture by means of what the church says.
TYNDALE-What! Does the air give light to the sun, or the sun to the air? Is the church before the gospel, or the gospel before the church? Is not the father older than the son? God begat us with his own will, with the word of truth, says St. James (1:18). If he who begetteth is before him who is begotten, the word is before the church, or, to speak more correctly, before the congregation.
MORE-Why do you say congregation and not church?
TYNDALE-Because by that word church, you understand nothing but a multitude of shorn and oiled, which we now call the spirituality or clergy; while the word of right is common unto all the congregation of them that believe in Christ.
MORE-The church is the pope and his sect or followers.
TYNDALE-The pope teacheth us to trust in holy works for salvation, as penance, saints' merits, and friars' coats. Now, he that hath no faith to be saved through Christ, is not of Christ's church.
MORE-The Romish church from which the Lutherans came out, was before them, and therefore is the right one.
TYNDALE-In like manner you may say, the church of the Pharisees, whence Christ and his apostles came out, was before them, and was therefore the right church, and consequently Christ and his disciples are heretics.
MORE-No: the apostles came out from the church of the Pharisees because they found not Christ there; but your priests in Germany and elsewhere have come out of our church because they wanted wives.
TYNDALE-Wrong... these priests were at first attached to what you call heresies, and then they took wives; but yours were first attached to the holy doctrine of the pope, and then they took harlots.
MORE-Luther's books be open, if ye will not believe us.
TYNDALE-Nay, ye have shut them up, and have even burnt them.
MORE-I marvel that you deny purgatory, Sir William, except it be a plain point with you to go straight to hell.
TYNDALE-I know no other purging but faith in the cross of Christ; while you, for a great or a sixpence, buy some secret pills [indulgences] which you take to purge yourselves of your sins.
MORE-Faith, then, is your purgatory, you say; there is no need, therefore, of works-a most immoral doctrine!
TYNDALE-It is faith alone that saves us, but not a bare faith. When a horse beareth a saddle and a man thereon, we may well say that the horse only and alone beareth the saddle, but we do not mean the saddle empty, and no man thereon.
In this manner did the Catholic and the evangelical carryon the discussion. According to Tyndale, what constitutes the true church is the work of the Holy Ghost within; according to More, the constitution of the papacy without. The spiritual character of the gospel is thus put in opposition to the formalist character of the Roman church. The Reformation restored to our belief the solid foundation of the word of God; for the sand it substituted the rock. In the discussion to which we have just been listening, the advantage remained not with the Catholic. Erasmus, a friend of More's, embarrassed by the course the latter was taking, wrote to Tonstall: "I cannot heartily congratulate More." Henry interrupted the celebrated knight in these contests to send him to Cambray, where a peace was negotiating between France and the empire. Wolsey would have been pleased to go himself; but his enemies suggested to the king, "that it was only that he might not expedite the matter of the divorce." Henry, therefore, despatched More, Knight, and Tonstall; but Wolsey had created so many delays that they did not arrive until after the conclusion of the Ladies' Peace (August 1529). The king's vexation was extreme. Du Bellay had in vain helped him to spend a good preparatory July to make him swallow the dose. Henry was angry with Wolsey, Wolsey threw the blame on the ambassador, and the ambassador defended himself, he tells us, "with tooth and nail."
By way of compensation, the English envoys concluded with the emperor a treaty prohibiting on both sides the printing and sale of "any Lutheran books." Some of them could have wished for a good persecution, for a few burning piles, it may be. A singular opportunity occurred. In the spring of 1529, Tyndale and Fryth had left Marburg for Antwerp, and were thus in the vicinity of the English envoys. What West had been unable to effect, it was thought the two most intelligent men in Britain could not fail to accomplish. "Tyndale must be captured," said More and Tonstall.-"You do not know what sort of a country you are in," replied Hackett. "Will you believe that on the 7th of April, Harman arrested me at Antwerp for damages, caused by his imprisonment? If you can lay anything to my charge as a private individual, I said to the officer, I am ready to answer for myself; but if you arrest me as ambassador, I know no judge but the emperor. Upon which the procurator had the audacity to reply, that I was arrested as ambassador; and the lords of Antwerp only set me at liberty on condition that I should appear again at the first summons. These merchants are so proud of their franchises, that they would resist even Charles himself." This anecdote was not at all calculated to encourage More; and not caring about a pursuit, which promised to be of little use, he returned to England. But the bishop of London, who was left behind, persisted in the project, and repaired to Antwerp to put it in execution.
Tyndale was at that time greatly embarrassed; considerable debts, incurred with his printers, compelled him to suspend his labors. Nor was this all: the prelate who had spurned him so harshly in London, had just arrived in the very city where he lay concealed... What would become of him?... A merchant, named Augustin Packington, a clever man, but somewhat inclined to dissimulation, happening to be at Antwerp on business, hastened to pay his respects to the bishop. The latter observed, in the course of conversation: "I should like to get hold of the books with which England is poisoned."-"I can perhaps serve you in that matter," replied the merchant. "I know the Flemings, who have bought Tyndale's books; so that if your lordship will be pleased to pay for them, I will make sure of them all."-"Oh, oh!" thought the bishop, "Now, as the proverb says, I shall have God by the toe. Gentle Master Packington," he added in a flattering tone, "I will pay for them whatsoever they cost you. I intend to burn them at St. Paul's cross." The bishop, having his hand already on Tyndale's Testaments, fancied himself on the point of seizing Tyndale himself.
Packington, being one of those men who love to conciliate all parties, ran off to Tyndale, with whom he was intimate, and said: -"William, I know you are a poor man, and have a heap of New Testaments and books by you, for which you have beggared yourself; and I have now found a merchant who will buy them all, and with ready money too."-"Who is the merchant?" said Tyndale.-"The bishop of London."-"Tonstall?... If he buys my books, it can only be to burn them” -"No doubt," answered Packington; "but what will he gain by it? The whole world will cry out against the priest who burns God's word, and the eyes of many will be opened. Come, make up your mind, William; the bishop shall have the books, you the money, and I the thanks."... Tyndale resisted the proposal; Packington became more pressing. "The question comes to this," he said; "shall the bishop pay for the books or shall he not? for, make up your mind... he will have them,"-"I consent," said the reformer at last; "I shall pay my debts, and bring out a new and more correct edition of the Testament." The bargain was made.
Erelong the danger thickened around Tyndale. Placards, posted at Antwerp and throughout the province, announced that the emperor, in conformity with the treaty of Cambray, was about to proceed against the reformers and their writings. Not an officer of justice appeared in the street but Tyndale's friends trembled for his liberty. Under such circumstances, how could he print his translation of Genesis and Deuteronomy? He made up his mind about the end of August to go to Hamburg, and took his passage in a vessel loading for that port. Embarking with his books, his manuscripts, and the rest of his money, he glided down the Scheldt, and soon found himself afloat on the German Ocean.
But one danger followed close upon another. He had scarcely passed the mouth of the Meuse when a tempest burst upon him, and his ship, like that of old which bore St. Paul, was almost swallowed up by the waves. -"Satan, envying the happy course and success of the gospel," says a chronicler, "set to his might how to hinder the blessed labors of this man." The seamen toiled, Tyndale prayed, all hope was lost. The reformer alone was full of courage, not doubting that God would preserve him for the accomplishment of his work. All the exertions of the crew proved useless; the vessel was dashed on the coast, and the passengers escaped with their lives. Tyndale gazed with sorrow upon that ocean which had swallowed up his beloved books and precious manuscripts, and deprived him of his resources. What labors, what perils! banishment, poverty, thirst, insults, watchings, persecution, imprisonment, the stake!... Like Paul, he was in perils by his own countrymen, in perils among strange people, in perils in the city, in perils in the sea. Recovering his spirits, however, he went on board another ship, entered the Elbe, and at last reached Hamburg.
Great joy was in store for him in that city. Coverdale, Foxe informs us, was waiting there to confer with him and to help him in his labors. It has been supposed that Coverdale went to Hamburg to invite Tyndale, in Cromwell's name, to return to England; but it is merely a conjecture, and requires confirmation. As early as 1527, Coverdale had made known to Cromwell his desire to translate the Scriptures. It was natural that, meeting with difficulties in this undertaking, he should desire to converse with Tyndale. The two friends lodged with a pious woman named Margaret van Emmersen, and spent some time together in the autumn of 1529, undisturbed by the sweating sickness which was making such cruel havoc all around them. Coverdale returned to England shortly after; the two reformers had, no doubt, discovered that it was better for each of them to translate the Scriptures separately.
Before Coverdale's return, Tonstall had gone back to London, exulting at carrying with him the books he had bought so dearly. But when he reached the capital, he thought he had better defer the meditated auto da ff until some striking event should give it increased importance. And besides, just at that moment, very different matters were engaging public attention on the banks of the Thames, and the liveliest emotions agitated every mind.
The Royal Session – Sitting of the 18th June; the Queen's Protest – Sitting of the 21st June – Summons to the King and Queen – Catherine's Speech – She retires – Impression on the Audience – The King's Declaration – Wolsey's Protest – Quarrel Between the Bishops – New Sitting – Apparition to the Maid of Kent – Wolsey Chafed by Henry – The Earl of Wiltshire at Wolsey's – Private Conference Between Catherine and the Two Legates
AFFAIRS had changed in England during the absence of Tonstall and More; and even before their departure, events of a certain importance had occurred. Henry, finding there was nothing more to hope from Rome, had turned to Wolsey and Campeggio. The Roman nuncio had succeeded in deceiving the king. "Campeggio is very different from what he is reported," said Henry to his friends; "he is not for the emperor as I was told; I have said somewhat to him which has changed his mind." No doubt he had made some brilliant promise.
Henry therefore, imagining himself sure of his two legates, desired them to proceed with the matter of the divorce without delay. There was no time to lose, for the king was informed that the pope was on the point of recalling the commission given to the two cardinals; and as early as the 19th of March, Salviati, the pope's uncle and secretary of state, wrote to Campeggio about it. Henry's process, once in the court of the pontifical chancery, it would have been long before it got out again. Accordingly, on the 31st of May, the king, by a warrant under the great seal, gave the legates leave to execute their commission, "without any regard to his own person, and having the fear of God only before their eyes." The legates themselves had suggested this formula to the king.
On the same day the commission was opened; but to begin the process was not to end it. Every letter which the nuncio received forbade him to do so in the most positive manner. "Advance slowly and never finish," were Clement's instructions. The trial was to be a farce, played by a pope and two cardinals.
The ecclesiastical court met in the great hall of the Blackfriars, commonly called the "parliament chamber." The two legates having successively taken the commission in their hands, devoutly declared that they were resolved to execute it (they should have said, to elude it), made the required oaths, and ordered a peremptory citation of the king and queen to appear on the 18th of June at nine in the morning. Campeggio was eager to proceed slowly; the session was adjourned for three weeks. The citation caused a great stir among the people. "What!" said they, "a king and a queen constrained to appear, in their own realm, before their own subjects." The papacy set an example which was to be strictly followed in after-years both in England and in France.
On the 18th of June, Catherine appeared before the commission in the parliament chamber, and stepping forward with dignity, said with a firm voice: "I protest against the legates as incompetent judges, and appeal to the pope." This proceeding of the queen's, her pride and firmness, troubled her enemies, and in their vexation they grew exasperated against her. "Instead of praying God to bring this matter to a good conclusion," they said, "she endeavors to turn away the people's affections from the king. Instead of showing Henry the love of a youthful wife, she keeps away from him night and day. There is even cause to fear," they added, "that she is in concert with certain individuals who have formed the horrible design of killing the king and the cardinal." But persons of generous heart, seeing only a queen, a wife, and a mother, attacked in her dearest affections, showed themselves full of sympathy for her.
On the 21st of June, the day to which the court adjourned, the two legates entered the parliament chamber with all the pomp belonging to their station, and took their seats on a raised platform. Near them sat the bishops of Bath and Lincoln, the abbot of Westminster, and Doctor Taylor, master of the Rolls, whom they had added to their commission. Below them were the secretaries, among whom the skillful Stephen Gardiner held the chief rank. On the right hung a cloth of estate where the king sat surrounded by his officers; and on the left, a little lower, was the queen, attended by her ladies. The archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops were seated between the legates and Henry VIII, and on both sides of the throne were stationed the counselors of the king and queen. The latter were Fisher, bishop of Rochester, Standish of St. Asaph, West of Ely, and Doctor Ridley. The people, when they saw this procession defile before them, were far from being dazzled by the pomp. "Less show and more virtue," they said, "would better become such judges.”
The pontifical commission having been read, the legates declared that they would judge without fear or favor, and would admit of neither recusation nor appeal. Then the usher cried: "Henry, king of England, come into court." The king, cited in his own capital to accept as judges two priests, his subjects, repressed the throbbing of his proud heart, and replied, in the hope that this strange trial would have a favorable issue: "Here I am." The usher continued: "Catherine, queen of England, come into court." The queen handed the cardinals a paper in which she protested against the legality of the court, as the judges were the subjects of her opponent, and appealed to Rome. The cardinals declared they could not admit this paper, and consequently Catherine was again called into court. At this second summons she rose, devoutly crossed herself, made the circuit of the court to where the king sat, bending with dignity as she passed in front of the legates, and fell on her knees before her husband. Every eye was turned upon her. Then speaking in English, but with a Spanish accent, which by recalling the distance she was from her native home, pleaded eloquently for her, Catherine said with tears in her eyes, and in a tone at once dignified and impassioned: “SIR, -I beseech you, for all the love that hath been between us, and for the love of God, let me have justice and right; take some pity on me, for I am a poor woman and a stranger, born out of your dominions. I have here no assured friends, much less impartial counsel, and I flee to you as to the head of justice within this realm. Alas! Sir, wherein have I offended you, or what occasion given you of displeasure, that you should wish to put me from you? I take God and all the world to witness, that I have been to you a true, humble, and obedient wife, ever conformable to your will and pleasure. Never have I said or done aught contrary thereto, being always well pleased and content with all things wherein you had delight; neither did I ever grudge in word or countenance, or show a visage or spark of discontent. I loved all those whom you loved, only for your sake. This twenty years I have been your true wife, and by me ye have had divers children, although it hath pleased God to call them out of this world, which yet hath been no default in me.”
The judges, and even the most servile of the courtiers, were touched when they heard these simple and eloquent words, and the queen's sorrow moved them almost to tears. Catherine continued:“SIR, -When ye married me at the first, I take God to be my judge I was a true maid; and whether it be true or not, I put it to your conscience.... If there be any just cause that ye can allege against me, I am contented to depart from your kingdom, albeit to my great shame and dishonor; and if there be none, then let me remain in my former estate until death. Who united us? The king, your father, who was called the second Solomon; and my father, Ferdinand, who was esteemed one of the wisest princes that, for many years before, had reigned in Spain. It is not, therefore, to be doubted that the marriage between you and me is good and lawful. Who are my judges? Is not one the man that has put sorrow between you and me?... a judge whom I refuse and abhor!-Who are the counselors assigned me? Are they not officers of the crown, who have made oath to you in your own council?... Sir, I conjure you not to call me before a court so formed. Yet, if you refuse me this favor... your will be done.... I shall be silent, I shall repress the emotions of my soul, and remit my just cause to the hands of God.”
Thus spoke Catherine through her tears; humbly bending, she seemed to embrace Henry's knees. She rose and made a low obeisance to the king. It was expected that she would return to her seat; but leaning on the arm of Griffiths, her receiver-general, she moved towards the door. The king, observing this, ordered her to be recalled; and the usher following her, thrice cried aloud: "Catherine, queen of England, come into court."-"Madam," said Griffiths, "you are called back."-"I hear it well enough," replied the queen, "but go you on, for this is no court wherein I can have justice: let us proceed." Catherine returned to the palace, and never again appeared before the court either by proxy or in person.
She had gained her cause in the minds of many. The dignity of her person, the quaint simplicity of her speech, the propriety with which, relying upon her innocence, she had spoken of the most delicate subjects, and the tears which betrayed her emotion, had created a deep impression. But "the sting in her speech," as an historian says, "" was her appeal to the king's conscience, and to the judgment of Almighty God, on the capital point in the cause. "How could a person so modest, so sober in her language," said many, "dare utter such a falsehood? Besides, the king did not contradict her.”
Henry was greatly embarrassed: Catherine's words had moved him. Catherine's defense, one of the most touching in history, had gained over the accuser himself. He therefore felt constrained to render this testimony to the accused: "Since the queen has withdrawn, I will, in her absence, declare to you all present, that she has been to me as true and obedient a wife as I could desire. She has all the virtues and good qualities that belong to a woman. She is as noble in character as in birth.”
But Wolsey was the most embarrassed of all. When the queen had said, without naming him, that one of her judges was the cause of all her misfortunes, looks of indignation were turned upon him. He was unwilling to remain under the weight of this accusation. As soon as the king had finished speaking, he said: "Sir, I humbly beg your majesty to declare before this audience, whether I was the first or chief mover in this business." Wolsey had formerly boasted to Du Bellay, "that the first project of the divorce was set on foot by himself, to create a perpetual separation between the houses of England and Spain; but now it suited him to affirm the contrary. The king, who needed his services, took care not to contradict him. "My lord cardinal," he said, "I can well excuse you herein. Marry, so far from being a mover, ye have been rather against me in attempting thereof. It was the bishop of Tarbes, the French ambassador, who begot the first scruples in my conscience by his doubts on the legitimacy of the Princess Mary." This was not correct. The bishop of Tarbes was not in England before the year 1527, and we have proofs that the king was meditating a divorce in 1526. "From that hour," he continued, "I was much troubled, and thought myself in danger of God's heavy displeasure, who, wishing to punish my incestuous marriage, had taken away all the sons my wife had borne me. I laid my grief before you, my lord of Lincoln, then being my ghostly father; and by your advice I asked counsel of the rest of the bishops, and you all informed me under your seals, that you shared in my scruples."-"That is the truth," said the archbishop of Canterbury. -"No, Sir, not so, under correction," quoth the bishop of Rochester, "you have not my hand and seal."-"No?" exclaimed the king, showing him a paper which he held in his hand; "is not this your hand and seal?"-"No, forsooth," he answered. Henry's surprise increased, and turning with a frown to the archbishop of Canterbury, he asked him: "What say you to that?" "Sir, it is his hand and seal," replied Warham.-"It is not," rejoined Rochester; "I told you I would never consent to any such act."-"You say the truth," responded the archbishop, "but you were fully resolved at the last, that I should subscribe your name and put your seal."-"All which is untrue," added Rochester, in a passion. The bishop was not very respectful to his primate. "Well, well," said the king, wishing to end the dispute, "we will not stand in argument with you; for you are but one man." The court adjourned. The day had been better for Catherine than for the prelates.
In proportion as the first sitting had been pathetic, so the discussions in the second between the lawyers and bishops were calculated to revolt a delicate mind. The advocates of the two parties vigorously debated pro and con respecting the consummation of Arthur's marriage with Catherine. "It is a very difficult question," said one of the counsel; "none can know the truth."-"But I know it," replied the bishop of Rochester. -"What do you mean?" asked Wolsey.-"My lord," he answered, "he was the very Truth who said: What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder: that is enough for me."-"So everybody thinks," rejoined Wolsey; "but whether it was God who united Henry of England and Catherine of Aragon, hoc restat probandum, that remains to be proved. The king's council decides that the marriage is unlawful, and consequently it was not God who joined them together." The two bishops then exchanged a few words less edifying than those of the preceding day. Several of the hearers expressed a sentiment of disgust. "It is a disgrace to the court," said Doctor Ridley with no little indignation, "that you dare discuss questions which fill every right-minded man with horror." This sharp reprimand put an end to the debate.
The agitations of the court spread to the convents; priests, monks, and nuns were everywhere in commotion. It was not long before astonishing revelations began to circulate through the cloisters. There was no talk then of an old portrait of the Virgin that winked its eyes; but other miracles were invented. "An angel," it was rumored, "has appeared to Elizabeth Barton, the maid of Kent, as he did formerly to Adam, to the patriarchs, and to Jesus Christ." At the epochs of the creation and of the redemption, and in the times which lead from one to the other, miracles are natural; God then appeared, and his coming without any signs of power, would be as surprising as the rising of the sun unattended by its rays of light. But the Romish Church does not stop there; it claims in every age, for its saints, the privilege of miraculous powers, and the miracles are multiplied in proportion to the ignorance of the people. And accordingly the angel said to the epileptic maid of Kent: "Go to the unfaithful king of England, and tell him there are three things he desires, which I forbid now and forever. The first is the power of the pope; the second the new doctrine; the third Anne Boleyn. If he takes her for his wife, God will visit him." The vision-seeing maid delivered the message to the king, whom nothing could now stop.
On the contrary, he began to find out that Wolsey proceeded too slowly, and the idea sometimes crossed his mind that he was betrayed by this minister. One fine summer's morning, Henry as soon as he rose summoned the cardinal to him at Bridewell. Wolsey hastened thither, and remained closeted with the king from eleven till twelve. The latter gave way to all the fury of his passion and the violence of his despotism. "We must finish this matter promptly," he said, "we must positively." Wolsey retired very uneasy, and returned by the Thames to Westminster. The sun darted his bright rays on the water. The bishop of Carlisle, who sat by the cardinal's side, remarked, as he wiped his forehead: "A very warm day, my lord."-"Yes," replied the unhappy Wolsey, "if you had been chafed for an hour as I have been, you would say it was a hot day." When he reached his palace, the cardinal lay down on his bed to seek repose; he was not quiet long.
Catherine had grown in Henry's eyes, as well as in those of the nation. The king shrank from a judgment; he even began to doubt of his success. He wished that the queen would consent to a separation. This idea occurred to his mind after Wolsey's departure, and the cardinal had hardly closed his eyes before the Earl of Wiltshire (Anne Boleyn's father) was announced to him with a message from the king. "It is his majesty's pleasure," said Wiltshire, "that you represent to the queen the shame that will accrue to her from a judicial condemnation, and persuade her to confide in his wisdom." Wolsey, commissioned to execute a task he knew to be impossible, exclaimed: "Why do you put such fancies in the king's head?" and then he spoke so reproachfully that Wiltshire, with tears in his eyes, fell on his knees beside the cardinal's bed. Boleyn, desirous of seeing his daughter queen of England, feared perhaps that he had taken a wrong course. "It is well," said the cardinal, recollecting that the message came from Henry VIII, "I am ready to do everything to please his majesty." He rose, went to Bath Place to fetch Campeggio, and together they waited on the queen.
The two legates found Catherine quietly at work with her maids of honor. Wolsey addressed the queen in Latin; "Nay, my lord," she said, "speak to me in English; I wish all the world could hear you."-"We desire, madam, to communicate to you alone our counsel and opinion."-"My lord," said the queen, "you are come to speak of things beyond my capacity;" and then, with noble simplicity, showing a skein of red silk hanging about her neck, she continued: "These are my occupations, and all that I am capable of. I am a poor woman, without friends in this foreign country, and lacking wit to answer persons of wisdom as ye be; and yet, my lords, to please you, let us go to my withdrawing room.”
At these words the queen rose, and Wolsey gave her his hand. Catherine earnestly maintained her rights as a woman and a queen. "We who were in the outer chamber," says Cavendish, "from time to time could hear the queen speaking very loud, but could not understand what she said." Catherine, instead of justifying herself, boldly accused her judge. "I know, Sir Cardinal," she said with noble candor, "I know who has given the king the advice he is following: it is you. I have not ministered to your pride-I have blamed your conduct-I have complained of your tyranny, and my nephew the emperor has not made you pope... Hence all my misfortunes. To revenge yourself you have kindled a war in Europe, and have stirred up against me this most wicked matter. God will be my judge... and yours!" Wolsey would have replied, but Catherine haughtily refused to hear him, and while treating Campeggio with great civility, declared that she would not acknowledge either of them as her judge. The cardinals withdrew, Wolsey full of vexation, and Campeggio beaming with joy, for the business was getting more complicated. Every hope of accommodation was lost: nothing remained now but to proceed judicially.