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termined to have fallen in and your grace un- ing to Henry the election of the Cardinal de doubtedly, unanimi consensu, had been chosen Medicis, he writes in the tone of a person pope. Three objections were made by those of who was sincerely pleased with the result, and too young secondly, that they had certain regarded it as matter of congratulation both knowledge that ye were determined to truth and to the king and himself. It is most natural the execution of justice ; et ita tanquam assucti in that the English government, whose office hôc liberiute et nimiâ vicendi licentiù, divers of was that of arbiter and peacemaker in the them were right sore afraid to come under your quarrels of Europe, should desire a person on discipline; thirdly, that ye favored not all the the papal throne who would support the hest the emperor.-- To the which objections the English policy; just as the French government Cardinal de Medici (afterwards Clement the desired à pope who would support Francis, Seventh), Campegius, and Sedunensis, shewed and the emperor a pope exclusively Imperial. unto me that they replied, declaring your grace's If there is one feature in the popular version merits and qualities, without omitting any part of this matter more absurd 'than that of thereof; assuring me if the king's pleasure had Wolsey's personal mortification at Charles's cepted the said room, the matter would have disappointing him of support, it is the idea taken effect. For the advancement whereof i that so shrewd-eyed a statesman could have did not greatly labor before their entry into the supposed Charles's consent to his election conclave, because your grace, at my departing, under any circumstances a possibility. His shewed me precisely that ye would not meddle letters, expressing an apparent unwillingness, therewith. And on my faith, ware not the king's have long been known; and shallow-brained persuasions, I should stand yet in great doubt historians have interpreted them as a young whether your grace would accept it or no, if it lady's verbal refusal of a proposal, or were offered you, the thing is in such disorder, bishop's “nolo episcopari.” It is a misfortune ruin, and decay, and every day shall be more and that such writers are so ready in explaining more, except God help and Christian princes set the actions of public men, as resulting so intheir hands.-It should be long to write unto your grace of the reported chiding, brawling, and variably from private and paltry motives
. If scolding between these cardinals, and of their they had considered the simple and obvious great schisms of dissentions, their malicious, un- points suggested by Dr. Clerke in the letters truthful, uncharitable demeanor, one of them which we quoted, they could bave seen that against the other, which every day increased even as a personal question of worldly inwhile they were together.”
terest the primate and prime minister of
England would have lost rather than gained So disappear the legends of the great car-by a change to the papacy. dinal, one after the other: the “heaped up There is nothing for a reasonable man to wealth,” “ to fee his friend in Rome and gain do, except to believe that, for once at least, the poredom,” the agony of mortified ambition, Wolsey was saying no more than the truth : Charles's promised help and broken word, and that the real bearings of the case were Wolsey's revengeful spleen, and the thousand those which were laid down by Clerke. The other historic fancies with which the story name of the papacy has a grand sound. It has been dressed up for us. They are all had been powerful in the earlier centuries: in gone, " like the baseless fabric of a vision;" the re-action against the Reformation it bewould that we could say we should never hear came powerful again. At the period at which them more.
It is true that, on the next va- it was within the reach of the English carcancy, Wolsey did actively offer himself as a dinal, it was at the lowest ebb of helpless candidate : there are letters extant from him decrepitude--as, indeed, this very poor Carto his agent in Rome, directing the manner in dinal de Medicis, his successful rival
, had to which the canvass should be conducted. The learn, to his bitter cost, when, shut up in his object was, to prevent the ascendency of castle of St. Angelo, he looked out upon his either the French or the Imperial parties; city of Rome in the hands of 50,000 brigands, and the election was to be secured either to his churches pillaged, his holy women polluted himself, or, if that proved impossible, to the on the altar, his bishops shamefully mutilated Cardinal de Medicis, who, it was then hoped, in the streets, and his own image (in default could be trusted as an independent person, of his most sacred person, which, if they could although the contrary was afterwards proved have caught, they would assuredly have treatso fatally. In the voluminous correspondence ed in the same manner) paraded, by a band in which this whole business is discussed, of drunken German, on a mule's back about Wolsey invariably represents himself as ready the city, with a damsel of doubtful reputation to undertake a position, on public conside- lashed fast to it. rations and because Henry desired it, to which Surely when such a fate was impending he was personally much disinclined: so he over the papacy, it was not so great an objec. writes to others, so he writes to the king, and of ambition. Rather, we will think, that when so the king to him; and again, in communicat- such a man as Wolsey gave his consent to be
placed in nomination for it, we can but place portion to the degree of power vested in the such consent as a large item on the credit side sovereign, is the necessity that such power of his account.
shall fall into the hands of a person not incomWe will leave this most foolish matter, for petent to exercise it; and the competency so one of infinitely graver significance.
much desired was found often in other memThroughout the length of Henry the bers of the royal family than in the immediate Eighth's much-questioned career, the one act and legitimate heir. Under the Saxon, it can for which he has been judged most heavily by be scarcely said that, even in theory, the faposterity, and as a penal retribution for which ther was succeeded by the son. his subsequent misfortunes are by many per- the youngest of four brothers who reigned all, sons thought to have followed, was his sepa- one after the other, though the second had ration from Catherine of Arragon. In the several children ; and questions of race, as early years of his reign he prospered in all between Harold and William, were often more which he undertook; he was generous, chi- important by far than consanguinity. Again, valric, and humane: no sooner was that one among the Normans, the same uncertainty false step taken than his entire nature is sup- prevailed ; and although under the later Planposed to have undergone a change, and he tagenets the succession descended, for five became a barbarous and cruel tyrant, un- generations, without a break in the line of the fortunate because tyrannical. We do not say eldest born, yet the custom had not yet so orthat this is what we ourselves believe, but it ganized itself into a law that an interruption is very generally believed by others, and wears, of it was regarded as a crime. Theoretically, it must be allowed, a strong ontward verisi- Henry IV. was a usurper, and so were his son militude: Undoubtedly, whatever was the and grandson ; and yet their usurpation only cause, Ilenry's actions and Ilenry's reign did, became a crime when the sceptre passed into from that period, assume an entirely altered hands too feeble to defend it; and we cannot complexion.
suppose that the terrible struggle between the There are, however, in that matter of the rival Roses was caused by an inability to trace divorce, a number of circumstances that have the steps of a very simple pedigree. It was not not received that consideration which they so clear that the right did really lie with the deserve; and the question is not so simple as representative of the elder born, that a quesat first sight it appears. Many things, seen tion might not be fairly raised upon it. Richby the light of their consequences, throw ard III. preferred his claims as lawful, and shadows where shadows ought not to fall; and Henry VII. refused to acknowledge that he our business is rather the aspect of affairs reigned in right of his wife. The law, howwhich was presented to the actors in them, ever it stood in words, was as yet unsettled in when that which is past to us was a dark and the judgments of the people, and it lay with uncertain future. The king's proceedings are them at any moment to suspend it by the interinterpreted for us in the usual way, by per- position of their will. sonal feeling: he is represented as weary of But the kingdom had suffered so fearfully in his wife, and entertaining a passion for another the wars of the Roses that a disputed succes
which he was unable to gratify by sion, after a quarter of a century of quietness less violent methods. The course which he pur- had enabled the nation to collect itself, was sued is considered, therefore, unmixedly evil thenceforward the one terrible evil on which
evil in its origin, and evil in its execution ; its wiser statesmen looked with greatest alarm. and all persons abetting him, Wolsey among Visions of new Towtons and Barnets rose bethe rest, so long as he remained on the king's fore them with every fresh hint of a rival side, are considered accomplices in his crime. claimant; and although in Henry VIII. the
Now without at this moment considering lines of the two houses centered, yet there how far this account be, or be not true, as re- were latent embers of faction smouldering on gards Henry, we must call attention to certain many sides, which an accidental combination facts in the existing condition of the kingdom of circumstances might at any time fan into a which place the conduct of his council in a civil war ; and we cannot but think that the light widely different. If we appear to be want of definite effort to realize the danger flying off upon irrelevant matters, we must and the responsibility of governing a people beg our readers to believe that it is not with- under such conditions as these, has betrayed us out reason ; and that what we are going to into exceedingly mistaken judgments on many say has a direct bearing upon the point at points of grave importance. We, to whom the issue.
uncertain future has become a fixed, unchangThe succession to the English crown had ing past, perceive clearly that no such
convulnever, from the period of the Heptarchy, been sions as were anticipated did actually take so distinctly settled in the line of primogeniture effect; we conceive that we can see good reaas to preclude repeated interruption of that sons in the condition of the country to satisfy line, by methods violent or peaceful. In pro- ' us that they could not have taken effect; and
we blame the severity of the Government that case, was James of Scotland ; and a techwhich alone, perhaps, prevented them. The nical difficulty instantly presented itself which execution of the Earl of Warwick by Henry only the sword could resolve :- according to VII., that of the Duke of Buckingham by Wol- the law of the constitution, no stranger born sey, and far more, those other terrible sen- out of the realm could succeed; but the validtences which darken the later years of Henry ity of that law was still open to question, and VIII., we do not hesitate to speak of as mur- James, with all the power of France at his back, ders : the idea of danger to the State being would not fail to try it. Again, setting aside utterly rejected, as a plea either of cowardice the point of law, it is also certain, on other trembling at imaginary dangers, or of false- grounds, that the English nation at that time hood stooping to conceal its cruelty behind would never have submitted to receive a king groundless and futile accusation. And surely from Scotland ; and that such a king, if he nothing but an absence of sympathy, a want had succeeded, would only have succeeded by of a genuine desire to understand, could have conquest. It is not easy for us, at this distance led us so wide of the real feelings which influ- of time, to realize the feelings with which the enced the actions of the State ; or we should two nations regarded each other when the have felt that, whether there was or was not a scars of Flodden Field were yet green, and real occasion for fear, the very dream of it the blackened granges on either side of the must have been enough to make strong men border kept alive a perennial hatred ; but tremble, within so few years of the close of the feelings did really exist which would have most dreadful civil war which bad ever deso- made the peaceful accession of James an imlated a country within the annals of human possibility. No accounts remain to us of the history.
discussion which passed upon the matter in And now let us turn to the year 1527, in Henry's reign ; but at the beginning of the which the question was first opened of the di- reign of Elizabeth, when the succession quesvorce between Henry and Queen Catherine. tion was debated in Parliament, a speech was So far, the admirable government of Henry; made by Sir Ralph Sadler which remarkably and his own noble qualities, had been rewarded illustrates the distempered jealousies which lay by the attached loyalty of the people. The in the way of the union of the kingdoms. Duke of Buckingham had conspired against Sadler had been a privy councillor for i wenty him at home, and Richard de la Pole had for years under Henry ; he had served and contwenty years intrigued against hiin at the for-tinued to serve almost till the close of the ceneign courts, levying forces, as opportunity of- tury, and his sentiments may be taken fairly to fered, to attempt an invasion ; but in neither represent what was felt by the great body of case had any serious impression been made the gentlemen of England. The debate was upon the country, and Henry's throne bad then whether Mary of Scotland should or been substantially safe from danger. But should not be nominated to succeed Elizabeth; statesmen cannot regard a government as and it must be remembered, that the obstacles established on a tolerable basis which depends raised against her nomination existed, in treon the continuance of a single life ; and the ble force, thirty-five years before. A peace of question which they asked themselves was, not three-quarters of a century, and the interests how long it would remain secure in the king's of a common faith which the English and the lifetime, but how it would be if he were to die. Scotch had to defend against the world, hardly And here, again, the same carelessness of which sufficed to heal over the old wounds. we have so much complained in later writers The speaker, after describing his unwilling has made them wholly blind to the situation ness, as a natural born Englishman, to submit of the kingdom. With ourselves it is a very to the dominion of a stranger, and declaring simple matter to find the heir to a vacant how much the nation had ever detested it, goes throne : it is but to arrange the various mem- on to relate the negotiations in which he had bers of the blood-royal by an easy calculation been employed by Henry for the marriage of in their degrees of approximation to the last Prince Edward with Mary Stuart. sovereign, and the question is instantly determined. And so it is supposed, in a loose way, “ While this matter was in treaty," he says, that it must always have been similarly easy, “and after it was agreed on, and before it was and never could have presented any real diffi- ratified, I had sundry conferences with diversa culty. At the time of which we speak, how- Scottislimen to understand their affections; and ever, nothing could be more difficult. The amongst others with one Otterbourn, Sir Adam loyalty which was felt for Henry might and Otterbourn, a knight, repared to be as wise a would be transferred to his legitimate children ; times ambassador here with King Henry the but if he died without children, or if fair Eighth from the last king of Scotland; and with ground existed of questioning their birth, con- hin I discoursed of the great benefit and quictsequences of the most dreadful kind could ness like to ensue of that marriage between those scarcely fail to ensue. The nearest heir, in itwo princes, whereby the two realms should be
anited and conjoined under one regiment. And my country as becometh a natural and a good in our talk it seemed to me that he could not Englishman." * choose, but broke ont in these words— Why think you,' said he, •that this treaty will be per
In these words, however the special cir. formed?' Why not ?' said I. I assure you,' cumstances under which they were delivered said he: it is not possible, for our people do not may appear to be different from the circumlike of it. Anıl though the governor and some stances of the period with which we are now of the nobility for certain respects have consent- engaged, and the point of objection to be ed to it, yet,' said he, • I know that few or none raised upon a matter which arose subsequent of them ilo like of it; and our common people to it, a thoughtful reader will nevertheless disdo utterly inislike of it.'—I told him it was very cover the presence of feelings which would strange to me to understand their affections to have soon risen into a storm if a Scotch king be such, considering the great wea! and benefit had been proposed as Henry's successor; and that must needs ensue of it; the opportunity and occasion thercof being offered as it were by God's
the support which James would have desired Providence, having left unto them a young
and obtained from France would have alienprincess and to ns a young prince, by the mar ated the slight favor which he might have riage of which two princes the two realms being looked for from the more calm and reasonable kint and conjoined in one, the subjects of the of the English statesmen. So it stood with same which have always been infested with the respect to the nearest claimant. Turning to wars miglic live in wealth and perpetual peace. the others, who would have presented them'I pray you,' said he, give me leave to ask you selves at home, all hope of a unanimous choice a question ;' and this was his question in these was at once lost in their number: nothing wordsIl. saill he, 'your lad were a lass. and could be looked for but a renewal of the civil our lass were a lad would you then,' said he, 'be
wars in all their horrors; the opportunity 80 earnest in this matter, and would you be content that onr lnd shonld marry your lass, and so would be eagerly seized for an invasion from be king of England ?' I answered, that, consid- France and Scotland; and with England torn ering the great good that might ensue of it, I by faction, and uncertain where her allegiance should not shew myself zealous to my country if was due, the result of a well-concerted attack I shoulıl not consent to it. . Well,' said he, If upon her would be doubtful indeed. The you had the lass and we the lad, we could be claims of the Duke of Buckingham had dewell content with it; but,' said he. 'I cannot be scended through his daughter to the Norfolk lieve that your nation would agree to a have Howards. The Duke of Norfolk would have Scot to be king of England, and likewise 1 claimed in right of his wife (as the Earl of assure you,' said he, that our nation, being a stout nation, will never agree to have an English. Surrey showed actual intention of doing
Richard de la Pole had man to be king over Scotland; and though the twenty years later). whole nobility of the realm would consent to it
, been killed at Pavia ; but his right was repreyet our cominon people and the stones in the sented by the fierce and haughty Countess of street would rise and rebel against it. This was Salisbury, and her sons, Reginald and Geofhis saying unto me, and others said to like frey Pole. The Duke of Suffolk, who had effect; whereby you may better understand the married Henry's sister, would unquestionably affection and disposition of these Scots in this have claimed in right of her; and there was case. And even as they said it followed: for not the slightest probability that either of bye and bre, after the treaty was ratified,
the these aspirants would have waived his pretengovernor and nobility of Scotland revolted from it, contrary to their onth, like false foreswornsions in favor of a rival. Scots; whereupon the wars ensued, whereof they
To such elements of faction, let us only add worthily feel the smart anto this day. Now if the powerful animosity of the Protestants, with these proud beggarly Scots did so much disdain whom one party or another would have unto yield to the superiority of England, that they questionably identified itself; and what a fuchose rather to be perjured and abide the ex- ture, in the judgment of any rational states tremity of the wars and force of England, than man, must have appeared to await England, they would consent to have an Englishman to it Henry's family failed! To this family he be their king by such lawful means of marriage would have turned as his only hope ; and the -why slonial we for any respect yield unto their condition in which it was standing must have Scottish superiority, or consent to establish a Scot in succession io the crown of this realm, been little calculated to reassure him. Henry, contrary to the laws of this realm; and thereby immediately on coming to the throne, had do so great an injury as to disinherit the nearest married his brother's wife. A connection with heir of our own nation? Surely, for my part, 1 England had been to anxiously desired by cannot consent to it: and I fear, lest I may say Ferdinand that, on the death of Prince Arwith the Scot. That though we do all agree to it, thur, when Henry was not yet fourteen, be yet our common people and the stones in the had sued at Rome for a dispensation which street would rebelngainst it. Thus I have de wou'd preserve it unbroken; and this dispenclared my affection (oncerning the regiment of sation had been granted by Julius the Second, a strange prince over ns, wherein, whatsoever may be gathered of my words, I mean as well to
* Sadler's Papers, vol. iii. p. 325–6, 22
although granted with great unwillingness. it without serious opposition. It was doubtful, When however, further pressed for the com- but it was not an impossibility. pletion of the marriage, the mind of Henry This precarious hope, however, appeared to the Seventh misgave him. A large party in be wholly destroyed when on the proposal to the English council, at the head of which was marry her, first to her cousin, Charles the the Archbishop of Canterbury, believed it to Fifth, and then to one or other of the sons of be incestuous, and the old king obliged his the French king, her legitimacy was openly son by a formal act, which is still extant, to called in question, both in the Cortes and in renounce an intention which might provoke the French Council. the anger of God. Unfortunately, Catherine Obviously as matters stood in the year was permitted to remain in England ; and on 1527, when, if this question of the succession the death of Henry the Seventh, the new could be decided, England, and England only, monarch being but a boy of eighteen at the of all the countries in Europe, seemed likely time, was persuaded by the majority of the to ride out the storm which was bursting privy council
. that his father's scruples were everywhere, England would lose her chance without foundation and that the marriage was also, if the stability of that succession dependfor the interests of the country:
ed on any assistance either from France, GerThe doubt, however, which had thus from many, or Spain ; obviously, the cloud which the first clung about the connection remained hung over Mary's birth would be made use of undispelled. Whether the dispensing power by any or by all of the foreign powers, if an of the Pope extended within the degrees of opportunity presented itself to wound or humprohibition laid down absolutely in the Leviti- ble England by its means. James of Scotland cal law, was a question as yet undecided ; and had his own hopes to maintain, and had Flodit was a matter the after judgment upon which den to revenge. France had been twice inwould depend upon the effects which followed vaded by Henry; in repeated engagements it. If the issue had been fortunate, if Cathe- by land and sea, the French had been derine's sons had lived, and the Tudor family feated; but two years before, it seemed as if had thus been confirmed upon the throne, it there might be another Agincourt, and Paris would have been thought that Providence had itself would fall and these scores remained pronounced in its favor, and all uncertainty to be paid. Of what Charles might do, so would have been removed. Unhappily the much only was certain, that his relationship issue was everything which was most unfortu- with Mary would cease to bind him to her, nate; and the deaths of three princes succes- when to support her bad ceased to be to his sively, within a few days of their birth, ap- advantage. peared as significantly to mark God's dis- In such a state of things, what was the duty pleasure, as their lives would have evidenced of an adviser of the English king, when it was his favor. The time was one in which the proposed that he should take another wife, direct government of God by special Provi- and thus, since it was not otherwise possible, dence was believed by everybody; and the to provide an heir whose legitimacy could not significance of these judgments as an ex- be challenged for the throne ? When the pression of the Divine will was in proportion sovereign power of a kingdom, either by to the importance of what depended on them. divine law, or from political necessity, deWe see no reason, therefore, to doubt Henry's scends in order of birth from father to child, word when, at the first opening of the ques- the marriages of princes on which so much tion, he stated that he had for seven years depends, have been ever determined by con(i. e. from 1520) been uneasy in conscience ; siderations beyond those which concern the that he had for all this period abstained from rest of us. A king the queen's bed, and that he had no intention of returning to it. It is not with Henry, how- May not as unvalued persons do ever, that we are at present concerned, but Carve for himself; for on his choice depends with the statesmen, and especially with Wol- The safety and the health of the whole state; sey, whose duty it was to advise him. Under
And therefore must bis choice be circumscribed such circumstances there was no prospect Whereof he is the head;
Unto the voice and yielding of that body (even if her age had not placed it out of the question on other grounds) that Catherine and the same respects which influence the first would bear any more children; and the hopes entrance into such connections remain in of the nation rested solely on the life of the force to affect the continuance of them, to Princess Mary. The right of a woman to loose as well as to bind, to dissolve as well as succeed being a novel feature in English his- to bring together. That dispensing, power of tory, would undoubtedly be challenged; but the popes to permit marriages within the forit was hoped, cspecially if her position could bidden degrees, or to dissolve the most unexbe strengthened by a well-chosen and popular ceptionable marriages when formed, was vestmarriage, that it would be possible to sustain !ed in them expressly to provide for the extra