OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued) page 8

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 <8> 9

A court was formed for his trial, consisting of the Duke of Norfolk, as lord high steward, and seventeen other peers. On the 13th of May, 1521, he was brought to trial, and accused of having entertained traitorous designs against the king's crown and life; of having induced, by solicitations and promises, Hopkins to prophesy iii his favour; of debauching the minds of the king's yeoman of the guard, and his servants, by bribes and hopes of benefit; of even threatening the king with death. Buckingham denied all the charges with great indignation, and declared nothing whatever in the indictment amounted to an overt act; but Fineux, the chief justice, replied that the crime consisted m imagining the king's death, and that the words he had spoken were evidence of such imagining. The duke proceeded, however, to examine and refute the charges, one after another, with great eloquence and vehemence of denial, and demanded that his own servants should be called to confront him. This was done at once. Hopkins, Delacourt, and Perk were made to witness against him; but Knevet was the most fatal of his opponents. He declared that, on the 14th of November, at East Greenwich, he had said to him that when the king had reproved him for retaining Sir William Bulmer in his service, if he had perceived that lie could idc sent to the Tower, as he once suspected, he would have requested an audience of the king, and, when admitted, would have run him through the body with his dagger, as his father intended to have done to Richard III., at Salisbury, if he had come into his presence. It was added, that had ho succeeded in killing the king, he would have cut off the head of the cardinal, and of some others, and then seized the throne.

Words on such trials were useless; the seventeen peers found him guilty of everything, as they knew they were expected to do; and the Duke of Norfolk, deeply affected, and shedding many tears, for that dirty work was wofully unbefitting the brave victor of Flodden, pronounced sentence against him. Buckingham replied in the same manly manner which had marked him through the whole trial: - "My Lord of Norfolk, you have said to me as a traitor should be said unto; but I was never none. Still, my lords, I nothing malign you for that you have done auto me. May the eternal God forgive you my death, as I do! I shall never sue the king for life; howbeit, he is a gracious prince, and more grace may come from him than I desire. I entreat you, my lords, and all my fellows, to pray for me."

The edge of the axe was then turned towards him, as was the custom towards condemned traitors, and he was conducted by Sir Thomas Lovell to his barge. Sir Thomas requested him to take his seat on the cushions and the carpet prepared for him in the boat, but he declined, saying, "When I came to Westminster I was the Duke of Buckingham, but now I am nothing but Edward Stafford, and the poorest man alive." Persisting in his resolution not to solicit the king's mercy, for, no doubt, he was well convinced that he had an enemy who meant to have his blood, he was brought out of his dungeon to a scaffold on Tower Hill, on the 17th of May, four days after Ms trial, and there beheaded. His behaviour at the place of execution was of the same lofty character, but more sedate;

lie died like a brave and an innocent man, and when his head fell the people gave a groan. "God have mercy on his soul!" says the reporter of his trial, "for he was a most wise and noble prince, and the mirror of all courtesy."

The various causes of antipathy betwixt Francis I. and Charles V., which had been long fomenting, now reached that degree of activity when they must burst all restraint, "War was inevitable. The first breach was made by Francis. He empowered the Marshal de Fleuranges to raise a small force, and march to the assistance of his father, the Prince of Sedan, who complained of injuries from the emperor, and had sent him a defiance. By the treaty of 1518 betwixt France, England, the Emperor Maximilian, and Charles, then King of Spain, it was stipulated that in case any one of the parties made war on another, the rest of the confederates should call upon him to desist, and if he refused, to declare hostilities against him. Charles now, therefore, appealed to Henry, who sent an ambassador to Francis to admonish him not to break the league by aiding the enemies of the emperor. Francis, who was afraid of giving cause for Henry to join the emperor, at once complied, and ordered Fleuranges to disband his army. But this concession did not prevent Charles from sending a powerful force to chastise the Prince of Sedan, which again roused Francis to oppose this aggression; and to take more effectual means of checking Charles, lie seized the opportunity of an insurrection in his Spanish territories to unite with the expelled King of Navarre, Henry D'Albret, for the recovery of his patrimony. The French army rushed across the Pyrenees, and in fifteen days they were in possession of the whole of Navarre. The Spanish insurgents took no part in this invasion, but, on the contrary, when the French, not content with the liberation of Navarre, passed the frontiers of Castile, and were approaching Logrono, Spaniards of all parties united to repel the invaders with such impetuosity, that they not only drove them back from Castile, but expelled them again from Navarre in less time than it had taken to win it.

Whilst Francis made this sudden attack in the south, ho had induced De La Marque, Duke of Bouillon, to revolt from Charles, and to invade the Netherlands at the head of a French army. At this crisis Charles appealed to Henry to act as mediator, according to the provisions of the treaty of 1518. Henry at once accepted the office, and entered upon it with high professions of impartiality and of his sincere desire to promote justice and amity, but really with about the same amount of sincerity as was displayed by each of the contending parties. Francis had certainly been the aggressor, and Charles having intercepted some of his letters, had already convinced Henry, to whom he had shown them, that the invasion of both Spain and Flanders was planned in the French cabinet. Henry's mind, therefore, was already made up before he assumed the duty of deciding; and Charles, from being aware of this, proposed his arbitration. Henry, moreover, was anxious to invade France on his own account, spite of treaties and the dallyings of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, but he had not yet the funds necessary. With these feelings and secrets in his own heart, Henry opened his proposal of arbitration to Francis by declarations of the extraordinary affection which he had contracted for him at the late interview.

There was no alternative for the French king but to acquiesce in the proposal; the place of negotiations was appointed to be Calais, and, of course, Wolsey was named as the only man able and fitting to decide betwixt two such great monarchs - Wolsey, who was bound hand and foot to the emperor by the hope of the Popedom. It was a clear case that Francis must be victimised, or the negotiation must prove abortive. Wolsey set out with the state of something more than a king to decide betwixt the kings. In addition to his dignity of Papal legate a latere, he received the extraordinary powers of creating fifty counts-palatine, fifty knights, fifty chaplains, and fifty notaries; of legitimising bastards, and conferring the degree of doctor in medicine, law, and divinity. By another bull, he was empowered to grant licences to such as he thought proper, to read the heretical works of Martin Luther, in order that some able man, having read them, might refute them. This was to pave the way for a royal champion of the Catholic Church against Luther and the devil, and that such a champion was already at work we shall shortly have occasion to show. Such were the pomp and splendour of the great cardinal, that when Wolsey continued his journey into the Netherlands, with his troops of gentlemen attending him, clad in scarlet coats, with borders of velvet of a full hand's breadth, and with massive gold chains; when they saw him served on the knee by these attendants, and expending money with the most marvellous profusion, Christian, King of Denmark, and other princes then at the Court of the Emperor of Bruges, were overwhelmed with astonishment, for such slavish homage was not known in Germany.

Wolsey landed at Calais on the 2nd of July, 1521, and was received with great reverence. The ambassadors of the emperor had taken care to be there first, that with Wolsey they might secretly settle all the points to be insisted upon. The French embassy arrived the next day, and the discussions were at once entered upon with all that air of solemn impartiality and careful weighing of propositions which such conferences assume, when the real points at issue have been determined upon privately beforehand by the parties who mean to carry out their own views. The French plenipotentiaries alleged that the emperor had broken the treaty of Noyon of 1516, by retaining possession of Navarre, and by neglecting to do homage for Flanders and Artois, fiefs of the French crown. On the other hand, the imperial representatives retorted the breach of the treaty of Noyon on the French, and denounced in strong terms the late invasion of Spain and the clandestine support given to the Duke of Bouillon. The cardinal laboured to bring the fiery litigants to terms, but the demands of the emperor were purposely pitched so high that it was impossible. The differences only became the more inflamed; and on the imperial chancellor, Gattinara, declaring that he could not concede a single demand made by his master, and that he came there to obtain them through the aid of the King of England, who was bound to afford it by the late treaty. Wolsey said that there, of necessity, all his endeavours must end, unless the emperor could be induced to modify his expectations; and that, as his ambassador had no power to grant such modification, rather than all hope of accommodation should fail, he would himself take the trouble to make a journey to the Imperial Court, and endeavour to procure better terms. Nothing could appear more disinterested on the part of the cardinal, but the French ambassadors were struck with consternation at the proposal. They were too well aware of the cardinal's leaning towards Charles; they did not forget the coqueting of the English and the emperor both before and after the meeting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold: and they opposed this proposal of Wolsey with all their power. But their opposition was useless. There can be no doubt that the primal object of Wolsey in his embassy was to make this visit to Charles for his own purpose, and that it had been agreed upon betwixt himself and Charles before lie left London. In vain the French protested that such a visit-, made by the umpire in the midst of the conference, to one of the parties concerned, was contrary to all ideas of the impartiality essential to a mediator; and they declared that, if the thing was persisted in, they would break off the negotiation and retire. But Wolsey told them that, if they did not remain at Calais till his return, he would pronounce them in the wrong, as the real aggressors in the war, and the enemies to peace and to the King of England. There was nothing for it but to submit.

The cardinal set out on his progress to Bruges on the 12th of August, attended by the imperial ambassadors and a splendid retinue of prelates, nobles, knights, and gentlemen, amounting altogether to 400 horsemen. The emperor met him a mile out of Bruges, and conducted him into the city in a kind of triumph. Thirteen days - a greater number than had been occupied at Calais - were spent in the pretended conferences for reducing the emperor's demands on France, but in reality in strengthening Wolsey's interest with Charles for the Popedom, and in settling the actual terms of a treaty betwixt Charles, the Pope, and the King of England, for a war against Franco, So deep was the hypocrisy of these parties, that before Wolsey had quitted the shores of England ho had received a commission from. Henry investing him. with full authority to make a treaty of confederacy with the Pope, the Emperor, the King of France, or any other potentate, offensive or defensive, which the king bound himself to ratify; the words "King of France, or other king, prince, or state," being clearly inserted to cover with an air of generality the particular design. The proposed marriage betwixt the dauphin and the Princess Mary was secretly determined to be set aside, and a marriage betwixt Charles and that princess was agreed upon; and, moreover, it was settled that Charles should pay another visit to England on his voyage to Spain. Writing from Bruges to Henry, Wolsey told him all this, and added that it was to be kept a profound secret till Charles came to England, so that, adds Wolsey, "convenient time may be had to put yourself in good readiness for war."

After all this scandalous treachery, called in state language diplomacy, Wolsey returned to Calais, and resumed the conferences, as if he were the most honest man in the world, and was serving two kings about as honest as himself. He proposed to the plenipotentiaries a plan of a pacification, the conditions of which he knew the French would never accept. All this time hostilities were going on betwixt Francis and the emperor. The emperor had taken Mouzon and laid siege to Mezieres, and Francis, advancing, raised the siege, but was checked In his further pursuit of the enemy by the Count of Nassau. At this crisis Wolsey interposed, insisting that the belligerents should lay down their arms, and abide the award of King Henry; but this was by no means likely on the part of the French, after what had been going on at Bruges, and therefore Wolsey pronounced

Francis the aggressor, and that Henry was bound by the treaty to aid the emperor.

This was but a very thin varnish for the proceedings which immediately took place at Calais, and revealed the result of the interview at Bruges, in an avowed treaty betwixt the Pope, the emperor, and Henry, by which they bound themselves, in order to promote an intended demonstration against the Turks, and to restrain the ambition of Francis, that the three combined powers should, in the spring of 1523, invade France simultaneously from as many different quarters; that, if Francis would not conclude a peace with the emperor on the arrival of Charles in England, Henry should declare war against France, and should break off the proposed marriage betwixt the dauphin and the Princess Mary.

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 <8> 9

Pictures for Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued) page 8

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About