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Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued)


Plans of Louis to break up the League betwixt England and its Continental Allies - Perfidy of those Allies - Henry opens his Eyes and makes Peace with France - Marriage of Mary, the Princess of England, to Louis XII. - Death of Louis - Mary marries secretly Brandon, Duke of Suffolk - Story of the Rise and Greatness of Wolsey, now made Cardinal - Treaty with Francis I. of France - Birth of a Princess, Mary, and Death of Ferdinand of Spain - Treaty with Charles, Emperor of Germany, King of the Netherlands and of Spain - Wolsey 's grooving Power and Greatness - Visit of the Emperor Charles V. to England - Henry's Visit to Francis I. of France at Guisnes - The Field of the Cloth of Gold - Meetings of Charles V. and Henry at Gravelines and Calais - Buckingham beheaded - War betwixt the Emperor and France - Henry's Mediation - The pompous Embassy of Wolsey - Death of Leo X. - Second Visit from the Emperor - War with France.
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Henry VIII. had returned from the Continent as much inflated with the idea of his military greatness as if he had been Henry V.; his allies, in the meantime, were laughing in their sleeves at the success with which they had duped him. It was true that he had seriously distressed Louis, but it was for the benefit of those allies, who had all reaped singular advantages from Henry's campaign and heavy outlay. The Pope had got Italy freed from the French; Ferdinand of Spain had got Navarre, and leisure to fortify and make it safe; and Maximilian had got Terouenne, Tournay, and command of the French frontiers on the side of Flanders, with a fine pension from England. It was now the time to see what acknowledgment these allies were likely to make him for his expensive services, and they did not permit him to wait long. While he had been so essentially obliging to the Pope, his Holiness had sent four bulls into his kingdom, by every one of which he had violated the statutes of the realm, especially that of previsors, taking upon himself to nominate bishops and to command the persecution of heretics. The pontiff now went further, and made a secret treaty with Louis of France, by which he removed the excommunication from Louis and the interdict from his kingdom, on condition that Louis should withdraw his countenance from the schismatic council of cardinals; but knowing Henry's vain character, the Pope, to prevent his expressing any anger, sent him a consecrated sword and bonnet, with many fulsome compliments on his valour and royal greatness.

Henry's father-in-law, Ferdinand, was growing old, and having obtained all that he wanted - Navarre - was most ready to listen to Louis' proposals for peace. Louis tempted him by offering to marry his second daughter, Renee, to his grandson Charles, and to give her as her portion his claim on the duchy of Milan. Ferdinand not only accepted with alacrity these terms, without troubling himself about what Henry might think of such treachery, but engaged to bring over Maximilian, Henry's ally and paid agent, but still the grandfather of Charles. When the news of these transactions, on the part of his trusty confederates, reached Henry, he was for a while incredulous, and then broke into a fury of rage. He complained that his father-in-law had been the first to involve him with France by his great promises and professions, not one of which he had kept, and now, without a moment's warning, had not only sacrificed his interests for his own selfish purposes, but had drawn over the Emperor of Germany, who lay under such signal obligations to him. He vowed the most determined revenge. Here was Maximilian, for whom he had conquered Terouenne and Tournay, whom he had subsidised to the amount of 200,000 crowns, and whose grandson Charles was affianced to his sister Mary, who had in a moment forgotten all these benefits and his engagement. As the time was come for the marriage of Charles and the Princess Mary, Henry sent a demand for its completion; Maximilian, who had already agreed to Louis' offer of his daughter Renee, sent an evasive answer, and Henry's wrath knew no bounds. It was impossible for even his egregious vanity to blind him any longer to the extent to which he had been duped all round.

Louis, having thus destroyed Henry's confederacy of broken reeds, next took measures to secure a peace with him. The Duke of Longueville, who was one of the prisoners taken at the Battle of Spurs, was in London,

and, instructed by Louis, kept his ears open to Henry's angry denunciations of his perfidious allies. He represented to him that Anne, the Queen of France, being dead, there was a noble opportunity of avenging himself on these ungrateful princes, and of forming an alliance with Louis which would make them all tremble. Mary, the Princess of England, might become Queen of France, and thus a league established between England and France which should decide the fate of Europe.

Henry's resentment and wounded honour would of themselves have made him close eagerly with this proposal; but he saw in it the most substantial advantages, and in a moment made up his mind. He had the policy, however, to appear to demur, and said his people would never consent for him to renounce his hereditary claims in France, which must be the case if such an alliance took place. They would ask themselves what equivalent they should obtain for so great a surrender. The shrewd Frenchman understood the suggestion; he communicated what passed to his Government, and proposals were quickly sent to meet Henry's views. Louis agreed to pay Henry a million of crowns in discharge of all arrears due to Henry VII. from Charles VIII., &c.; and Henry engaged to give his sister a dower of 200,000 crowns, to pay the expenses of her journey, and to supply her with jewels - probably those of which he had defrauded the Scottish queen. The two kings agreed to assist each other, in case of any attack, by a force of 14,000 men, or, in case of any attack by either of them on another power, by half that number. This treaty was to continue for the lives of the two kings, and a year longer.

Thus was the Holy League, as it had been called, for the defence of the Pope and the church against the King of France, entirely done away with; and this great pretence was not so much as mentioned in any one of these treaties which put an end to it. The King of Franco strove hard to obtain Tournay again; but, though it was evidently Henry's interest to restore it, his favourite Wolsey, apprehensive of losing the profits of the bishopric, opposed its restoration, and succeeded. Wolsey and Fox of Durham, were Henry's plenipotentiaries for the management of the treaty, which was signed on the 7th of August, 1514.

By this treaty, Mary Tudor, Princess Royal of England, a remarkably handsome young woman of sixteen, and passionately attached to Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, the handsomest and most accomplished man of Henry's Court, was handed over to the worn-out Louis of France, who was fifty-three in years and much older m constitution.

Mary Tudor, as may be supposed, was in no hurry to proceed to France to complete the wedding; but Louis, who, though on the point of going out of the world altogether, was of an amorous disposition, and, impatient for the arrival of his blooming young bride, sent repeatedly to hasten her departure. On the 2nd of September he wrote to Wolsey, who was now all-powerful in the English Court, desiring that he would see that the queen was set forward on her journey, and the Duke of Orleans also wrote to Mary herself, entreating her to hasten her departure. It was, however, another month before she set out, when Henry and a brilliant party from the Court accompanied the princess to Dover. There

both he and Queen Catherine took an affectionate leave of her, and she embarked for Boulogne, attended by a distinguished suit, in which were the conqueror of Flodden, now Duke of Norfolk, and her lover Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Anne Boleyn, a girl of fourteen years of age, or thereabout, was one of her maids of honour. A splendid and numerous party of French nobility received their new queen on landing, and conducted her to Abbeville, where Louis met them, and the marriage was celebrated the next day, October 8th, in the cathedral. The ceremony was brilliant in all circumstances but the condition of the bridegroom. It was performed by a cardinal, and was attended by the whole French Court in all its splendour; but Louis himself was suffering all the horrors of a violent attack of gout during the whole of it. After the mass there was a grand banquet given, and Louis appeared highly delighted with his wife; but the very next day the scene changed, and, with a ruthlessness of which in such circumstances perhaps a gouty old gentleman only was capable, he dismissed all Queen Mary's English attendants, excepting three, of whom the little Boleyn was one. He would not concede to his bride's entreaties, accompanied by floods of tears, that at least her governess, Lady Guild-ford, to whom she was fondly attached, and whom she called "Mother Guildford," should remain with her. Brandon and Norfolk, however, proceeded to Paris as ambassadors. Mary, who did not want spirit, protested against this sweeping dismissal of her attendants, and entreated her ancient spouse; but all in vain. To her pleading for her "Mother Guildford," when she could not obtain leave of stay for the others, Louis replied that he was quite as able to entertain her as her governess. Indignant at this treatment, Mary wrote oil to her royal brother, and at the same time to Wolsey. She depicted her mortification in glowing terms, and exclaimed, "Would to God that my Lord of York had come with me in the room of Norfolk! for then I am. sure I should have been left much more at niy heart's ease than I am now." Mary shows in this who was the really influential man at the English Court now; and in addressing Wolsey, who was already Archbishop of York, she called him her loving friend, and, after describing to him her treatment, begged, as he loved her or her brother the king, he would find a means to return to her dear " Mother Guildford."

It does not appear, however, that the crabbed Louis indulged her in this respect. He replied to the Earl of Worcester, who ventured to remonstrate with him on this subject, that the queen was of sufficient age to take care of herself. Louis conducted her to St. Denis, where she was crowned on the 5th of November; the Count of Angouleme, afterwards Francis I., holding the crown over her head during a great part of the ceremony, to ease her of its oppressive weight. Francis, indeed, appears from the first to have been extremely kind and considerate to her. On Monday, the 6th, she made her triumphal entry into Paris, where the brilliant reception which she met with from all classes made some amends for the harshness of her husband. The people flocked in such crowds, and there was such a succession of deputations from the Parliament, the nobility, the university, the corporation,- the Chamber of Accounts, &c., that it took her nearly six hours to advance from the Porte St. Denis to the palace. Besides this, she had to witness a grand allegoric pageant, where the union of the lily and the rose of course figured prominently. Then followed jousts and tournaments, in which Brandon - Mary's husband that should have been - carried off nearly all the honours and prizes, whilst poor Louis - the husband that was- - sat or lay in a litter, an object of pitiable decay. The gallant Brandon is said, by his good looks and his chivalrous ascendancy, to have excited a great deal of jealousy amongst the French knights; and we may not be far wrong if we attribute the snappishness of Louis to the same cause, for the French writers of the period declare that the attachment betwixt the queen and Brandon was obvious to all eyes, though they conducted themselves with all honour and decorum.

But this unnatural political mesalliance was not destined to be of long duration. Louis wrote in the course of December to Henry, expressing his happiness in possessing so excellent and amiable a wife, and on the 1st of January he expired. The dissipation at Court, consequent on his marriage, is stated in the "Life of Bayard" to have precipitated his end. "For the good king, on account of his wife, had changed the whole manner of his life. He had been accustomed to dine at eight o'clock, now he had to dine at noon; he had been accustomed to retire to rest at six in the evening, and now he had often to sit up till midnight." Louis was greatly beloved by his subjects, who regarded him as a brave, upright, and wise prince, and gave him the honourable title of "the father of his people." His death was a misfortune, if not to his wife, at least to the nation, for it weakened again the alliance with England, and exposed France afresh to the machinations of Maximilian and Ferdinand, two of the greatest dissemblers of any age. These monarchs were extremely anxious to secure Mary now for their grandson Charles, though they had before suffered their original betrothal to be broken. But Francis I., now King of France, exerted himself successfully to defeat their object. There is little doubt that Francis would have liked to have made her his own, but he was recently married to the daughter of Louis and Anne of Brittany, the Princess Claude. That not being possible, he knew, however, where Mary's heart lay, and he did all in his power to strengthen her to follow its dictates.

Ten days after Louis' death, Mary wrote to Wolsey, desiring to know the pleasure of her royal brother regarding her, seeing that the King of France was dead, and giving herself credit for having conducted herself in a manner reflecting all honour on her royal brother and herself. This she followed by a fresh epistle to Henry himself, in which she implored him to recall her home, declaring that there was nothing that she longed for so much as to see his face. Henry dispatched of all others the most welcome messenger to bring her home - her ok lover, the Duke of Suffolk, accompanied by Sir Richard Wingfield and Dr. West. Mary, who had been not three months a wife, and now scarcely two months a widow, welcomed Brandon with all her heart, and privately said to him that he had dared once to address her, as desiring to make her his wife, did he now dare to repeat that wish? Brandon, who loved her passionately, was

yet deterred by his dread of Henry's resentment, and requested leave to ask Henry's permission; but Mary told him that it would be much easier to obtain Henry's forgiveness when the thing was done, than his leave to do it. Francis warmly seconded this royal wooing, and they were privately married, and set out on their way to England. Mary wrote to announce the marriage to Henry, saying she had once married to please him, and thought it now only reasonable to wed to please herself. Francis also wrote to mollify the royal brother; and though Henry either was, or pretended to be, very angry at first, he soon relented. The duke and duchess did not proceed at once to Court, but retired to their estate in Suffolk. But as Henry was not only greatly attached to his sister, but to Brandon, who had been brought up with them from boyhood, and was highly esteemed by Henry on account of his superiority in all martial and manly exercises, the storm soon blew over. Wolsey is said to have been in the secret from the first, and such was his influence now, that a much more difficult matter would have given way before it. The young couple were received into favour, and ordered by Henry to be re-married before him at Greenwich, an event which took place on the loth of May, 1515. So far was the part which Francis I. had taken in this matter from being resented, that he and Henry renewed all the engagements which existed betwixt Louis and Henry, and so satisfactorily that they boasted that they had made a peace which would last for ever.

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Pictures for Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued)

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