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he tells them *,“ That after the interview at Marseilles, he had heard, both by Bonner and Sir Gregory, that the pope had in a lively manner spoken to the emperor in favour of the king's cause, and seemed more inclined than formerly to do him justice. He had proposed that the king should send a mandate, desiring his cause might be tried in an indifferent place: upon which he would send a legate and two auditors to form the process; reserving the judgment to himself: or, that the king of France and he would concur to procure a general council, by concluding a truce for three or four years, upon which he would call one, and leave the king's cause to be judged in it. The same overtures were made to the king by the pope's nuncio. He pretended that Sir Gregory had made them to the pope in the king's name; and that the pope had agreed to them: yet the king had never sent any such orders to Sir Gregory, but rather to the contrary. Yet since the pope, in these overtures, showed better inclinations than formerly, which indeed he was out of hope of, he ordered thanks to be given him in his name.
The king asked nothing in return for all the service he had done him and the see, but justice, according to the laws of God and the ordinances of the holy councils; which, if he would now do speedily, setting aside all delays, he might be sure that he and his kingdom would be as loving to him and his see as they had been formerly accustomed to be : but for the truce, how desirous soever he was of outward quiet, yet he could not set himself to procure it, till he had first peace in his own conscience, which the pope might give him; and then he would use his best endeavours for a general peace with the king of France ; from whom he would never separate himself. He therefore charges them to press the pope to remit the fact, to be tried within the kingdom, according to the old sanctions of general councils. If the pope would grant his desire, he would dispose all his allies to concur in the service of that see. He could not consent to let his cause be tried out of the realm ; it was contrary both to his prerogative, and to the laws of his kingdom: and by his coronation oath he was bound to maintain those. So, without the consent of his parliament, he could not agree to it; and he was sure they would never consent to that. He hoped the pope would not compel him to do things prejudicial to the papal dignity, as it was then exercised, which, unless he were forced to it by the pope's conduct towards him, he had no mind to do. The pope had said to Sir Gregory,
that by their laws the pope could not dispense in such a marriage, unless there was an urgent cause pressing it: and the clearing this point, he thought, would more certainly advance the king's cause than the opinion of lawyers and divines, that the pope could not dispense with it. The emperor had said to the pope, that there was an extreme bloody war at that time between England and Spain; for the pacifying which, the dispensation allowing the marriage was granted : whereas, in the league signed by his father, and by Ferdinand and Isabella, upon which the dispensation was obtained, no such thing was pretended; the marriage was agreed to for the continuance and augmentation of their amity; and upon the account of the good qualities of the queen: it was also plainly expressed in that league, that her former marriage was consummated. So the dispensation was granted without any urgent cause. And therefore by the pope's own concession, it could not be valid: he sent to Rome an attested transcript of that leag'le : so, if the pope would refer the judging in this matter to the church of England, and ratify the sentence given in it, he will not only acquire the obedience of us and of our people, but pacify the disputes that have been raised, to the quiet of all Christendom. He concludes, that if the pope seemed disposed to be benevolent to the king, they were not to declare all this as his final answer, but to assure him that he would study, by all honourable ways, to concur with the pope's towardly mind, if he will earnestly apply himself and persevere in such opinion as may be for the acceleration of the said cause." This is all that I can find of the submission that he offered; but how much further his promises sent by the bishop of Paris went, does not appear to me.
To quicken the court of France to interpose effectually with the pope, to bring this matter to the conclusion that all the papists of England laboured earnestly for, the duke of Norfolk wrote, on the 27th of January, a very full letter on the subject to Montmorency*. “ He was glad that the bishop of Paris was sent to Rome, with instructions expressing the entire union that was between the two kings. He wished he might succeed ; for if the pope would persist in his obstinacy to favour the emperor, and to oppress the king in his most just cause, an opposition to his authority would be unavoidable ; and it would give occasions to many questions, greatly to his prejudice, and against his usurpations. It began to be believed, that the pope had no authority out of Rome, any more than any other bishop has
** Le Grand, !. 588.
out of his diocese : and that this usurped authority grew by the permission of princes, blinded by popes; who, contrary to the laws of God, and the good of the church, had maintained it. To support this, many clear texts of Scripture were brought, with reasons founded on them : and many histories were alleged, to prove, that popes themselves were made by the emperors; and that their authority was only suffered, but not granted, nor confirmed, by emperors or kings, Of all this, the bishops, and other doctors, had made such discoveries, that he himself and other noblemen, as well as the body of the people, were so convinced of it, that if the king would give way to it (which, if no interposition saves it, probably he will do), this present parliament will withdraw from ihe pope's obedience; and then every thing that depenus on it will be hated and abhorred by the whole nation : and other states and kingdoms may from thence be moved to do the same. He, out of the friendship that was between them, gave him this advertisement. He apprehended some ill effects from the readiness the king of France had expressed to favour the pope, even to the prejudice of his own authority. For he had taken a bull, to do justice in his own kingdom; as if he had not full authority to do that without a bull. The pope and his successors might make this a precedent for usurping on the royal authority. He also complains, that though their king had promised to the earl of Rochford, that Beda, who had calumniated the king so much, and was his enemy in his just cause, should be banished not only from Paris, but out of his kingdom; yet he was now suddenly recalled. He wishes these things may be considered in time: he does not propose that the king of France should turn the pope's enemy; but if there came a rupture between the king and the pope, that he would not so favour the pope as to give him more boldness in executing his malice against the king or his subjects: and that they might not be deceived by his promises, as if he would enable Francis to recover his dominions in Italy, if he should be thereby engaged to lose the friendship of the king, and his allies.”
This came in time to quicken the court of France : for, by a letter writ from Rome* on the 20th of February, it appears, that the pope was at that time in great anxiety. He was pressed hard by the imperialists, on the one hand; and he saw the danger of losing England, on the other hand. To some about him, he expressed a great inclination to be reconciled to the king : be sent secretly for some great law
* Cotton Lib Vitell. B. 14.
yers; they were positive that the king's cause was just, and that his second marriage was good. But now the matter being brought to a crisis, I shall give it in the words of Du Bellay*, who, no doubt, had his information from his brother. King Henry, upon the remonstrances that the bishop of Paris made to him, condescended, that if the pope would supersede the sentence, till he sent judges to hear his matter, he would supersede the executing that which he was resolved to do; which was, to separate himself entirely from obedience to the see of Rome. And the bishop of Paris offering to undertake the journey to Rome, he assured him, that when he obtained that which he went to demand there, he would immediately send him sufficient powers to confirm that which he had promised ; trusting in him, by reason of the great friendship that he had for so long a time borne him; for he had been ambassador in his court for two years.
It was a very severe winter; but the bishop thought the trouble was small, so he might accomplish that which he went upon.
So he came in good time to Rome, before any thing was done ; and in an audience in the consistory, he gave an account of that which he had obtained of the king of England, for the good of the church. The proposition was judged reasonable, and a time was assigned him for getting the king's answer: so he dispatched a courier to the king, with a charge to use such diligence, that he might return within the time limited.
“ The day that was set for the return of the messenger being come, and the courier not come back, the imperialists pressed in consistory, that the pope should give sentence. The bishop, on the other hand, pressed both the pope in particular, and all the cardinals, that they would continue the time only for six days; alleging that some accident might have happened to the courier; the sea might not be passable, or the wind contrary, so that either in going or coming the courier might be delayed : and since the king had patience for six years, they might well grant him a delay for six days. He made these remonstrances in full consistory; to which many of those who saw the clearest, and judged the best of things, condescended : but the greater number prevailed over the lesser number of those, who considered well the prejudice that was like to happen to the church by it; and they went on with that precipitation, that they did, in one consistory, that which could not be done in three consistories; and so the sentence was fulminated.
* Mem. Du Balay, p. 414, 415, 416. Vol. III, PART I.
“ Two days had not passed, when the courier came with the powers and declarations from the king of England ; of which the bishop had assured them. This did much confound those who had been for the precipitating the matter. They met often, to see if they could redress that which they had spoiled ; but they found no remedy. The king of England seeing with what indignity he was used, and that they showed as little regard to him as if he had been the meanest person in Christendom, did immediately withdraw himself, and his kingdom, from the obedience of the church of Rome; and declared himself to be, under God, the head of the church of England.”
We have a further account of this transaction in the letters that M. Le Grand has published *. On the 22d of February, Raince, the French ambasador, wrote from Rome a letter full of good hopes: and it seems the bishop of Paris wrote in the same strain ; but his letter of the 23d of March is very different from that : it was on the same day that the consistory was held. “ There were two-and-twenty cardinals present when sentence was given : by which King Henry's marriage with Queen Katherine was declared good and valid, and the issue by it lawful. Upon hearing the news of this, he went and asked the pope about it, who toiu' bim it was true; but that though some would have had it immediately intimated, he had delayed the ordering that till after Easter. He with the other French ambassadors made no answer to the pope, only the bishop of Paris told him he had no other business there ; so he must return home again. They did not put the pope in mind of the promises and assurances he had given them to the contrary, when they saw it was to rid purpose ; and it was not easy to say such things as the occasion required: but the bishop intended to speak more plainly to the pope, when he should take his leave of him, which would be within three or four days. He adds, that for some reasons, which he would te}} the French king, they were in doubt whether that which was done was not conform to a secret intention of the king's, that was not made known to them. He apprehended, if he stayed longer there, it might give the king of England cause of suspicion : for he had by his last letters to him given him assurances, upon which perhaps he had dismissed his parliament; for which he would be much displeased with the bishop. He desires the king will give advice ofthis with all diligence to King Henry, and then all the world would see, that the king had done all that was possible for him to do, both
* Le Grand, p. 630, 631.