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Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued) page 9


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The news of Leo's death travelled with all speed to England, and Wolsey, who, amid all his secret exertions to attain the Papal tiara, had declared with mock humility that he was too unworthy for so great and sacred a station, now threw off his garb of indifference, and dispatched Dr. Pace to Rome, with the utmost celerity, to promote his election; and he sent to put the emperor in mind of his promises. On the 27th of December the conclave commenced its sittings. Another of the Medici family, Cardinal Giulio, appeared to have the majority of votes, but for twenty-three days the election remained undecided. The French cardinals opposed Giulio with all the persevering virulence of enemies smarting under national defeat. Numbers of others were opposed to electing a second member of the same family, and Giulio, growing impatient of the stormy and interminable debates which kept him from attending to pressing affairs out of doors, suddenly nominated Cardinal Adrian, a Belgian. This extraordinary stroke was supposed to be intended merely to prolong the time, till Giulio could throw more force into his own party; but Cardinal Cajeton, a man of great art and eloquence, who know and admired the writings of Adrian, and had probably suggested his name to Giulio, advocated his election with such persuasive power, that Adrian, though a foreigner, and personally unknown, was carried almost by acclamation. And thus, as Dr. Lingard observes, within nine years from the time when Julius drove the barbarians out of Italy, a barbarian was seated as his successor on the Papal throne.

The cardinals had no sooner elected the new Pope than they appeared to wake from a dream, and wondered at their own work. The act appeared to be one of those sudden impulses which seize bodies of people in a condition of great and prolonged excitement, and they declared that it must have been the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. As for Wolsey, it does not appear that his sincere friend the emperor, who had protested that he would have him elected if it were at the head of his army, moved a finger in his behalf. The proud cardinal, however, was obliged to swallow his chagrin, and wait for the next change, Adrian being already an old man; and Dr. Pace remained at Borne to congratulate the new Pontiff on his arrival, and solicit a renewal of his legative authority.

Francis at this crisis made strenuous efforts to regain the friendship of Henry. Probably he thought that the disappointment of Wolsey might cool his friendship for the emperor, or, which was the same thing, diminish his confidence in his promises; whilst Charles was very well aware that Wolsey was much more serviceable to him as minister of England than he could be or would be as Pope. Francis attacked Henry on his weakest side - his vanity. He heaped compliments upon him, and entreated that if he could not be his fast and avowed friend, he would, at least, abstain from being his enemy. To give force to his flatteries, he held out hopes of increasing his annual payments to England, and when that did not produce the due effect, he stopped the disbursements of that which he hid been wont to remit. Finding that even this did not influence Henry, who was kept steady by Wolsey, he laid an embargo on the English shipping in his ports, and seized the property of the English merchants.

At this act of decided hostility, Henry was transported with one of those fits of rage which became habitual in after years. As if lie had not long been plotting against Francis, and preparing to make war upon him - as if he had not coolly and even, insolently repulsed all his

advances and offers of advantage and alliance - lie regarded Francis as an aggressor without any cause, ordered the French ambassador to be confined to his house, all Frenchmen in London to be arrested, and dispatched Clarenceaux king-at-arms to Paris with a mortal defiance. What particularly exasperated Henry was the news that a whole fleet, loaded with wine, had been seized at Bordeaux, and the merchants and seamen thrown into prison. The English were ordered to make reprisals, and this was the actual state of things when Sir Thomas Cheney, his ambassador, announced by despatch that Clarenceaux king-at-arms had declared war on the 21st of May at Lyons; to which the king had replied, "I looked for this a great while ago; for, since the cardinal was at Bruges, I looked for nothing else." The wily manoeuvres of Wolsey had deceived nobody.

On the 26th of May, only five days after the declaration of war with France, the Emperor Charles Y. landed at Dover. The passion of Henry had precipitated the outbreak of hostilities, for it was not intended that war should be declared till Charles was on the eye of departure from England, so that he might continue his voyage in safety to Spain. The king, however, received his illustrious guest with as much gaiety and splendour as if nothing but peace were in prospect. Wolsey waited on Charles at the landing-place, and, after embracing him, led him by the arm to the castle, where Henry soon welcomed him with great cordiality. Charles calculated much, in the approaching war, on the fleet of Henry; arid, to show him its extent and equipment, Henry conducted him to the Downs, and led him over all his ships, especially his great ship, "Henri, Grace a Dieu," which was considered one of the wonders of the world. He then conducted his imperial guest by easy journeys to Greenwich, where the Court was then residing, and introduced him to his aunt, the queen, and her infant daughter, whom it was arranged that he should marry.

At this period the Court of Henry was a scene of great splendour, outward prosperity, and festive enjoyment. Henry was in the flower of his life, being about thirty years of age. His portrait, as drawn by Sebastiano Gruistiniani, the Venetian ambassador, gives a very lively and striking idea of him: - "His majesty is as handsome as nature could form him, above any other Christian prince - handsomer by far than the King of France. He is exceedingly fair, and as well proportioned as possible. When he learned that the King of France wore a beard, he allowed his also to grow." This must have been after the Field of the Cloth of Gold, for we are assured that he appeared there with a smooth face. "His beard being somewhat red, has at present the appearance of being of gold. He is an excellent musician and composer, an admirable horseman and wrestler. He possesses a good knowledge of the French, Latin, and Spanish languages, and is very devout. On the days on which he goes to the chase, he hears mass three times, but on the other days as often as five. He has every day service in the queen's chamber at vespers and complin. He is uncommonly fond of the chase, and never indulges in this diversion without tiring eight or ten horses. These are stationed at the different places where he proposes to stop. When one is fatigued he mounts another, and by the time he returns home they have all been used. He takes great delight in bowling, and it is the pleasantest sight in the world to see him engaged in this exercise, with his fair skin covered with a beautiful fine shirt. He plays with the hostages of France, and it is said they sport from 6,000 to 8,000 ducats a day. Affable and benign, he offends no one. He has often said to the ambassador he wished that every one was satisfied with his condition, adding, 'We are content with our islands.'"

These certainly were the halcyon days of Henry and his Court. How little could any one see in the jolly monarch the furious despot of after years! But Henry was at this period as devout as he was jovial. Catherine, who was now about thirty-five, was of a serious and religious past, thoughtful and amiable. She was a comely woman in her prime, unlike Spanish ladies in general, with auburn hair and a fair complexion, generally dressing richly, often in dark blue velvet, with the hood of five corners, bordered with rich gems, a chain of pearls clustered with rubies round her neck, and a cordelier belt of the same jewels round her waist, hanging to her feet. Unlike her robustious husband, she was by no means fond of field sports, but rather of working embroidery with her maids of honour, and holding serious conversation with such men as Sir Thomas More, who now comes into notice, and the learned Erasmus, who passed some time in England about this period, and who said of her that she spent that time in reading the sacred volume which other princesses occupied in cards and dice. On the; throne she led the life of a religious devotee. She rose to prayers in the night at the same hours as the inmates of convents; she dressed for the day at five in the morning, and beneath her royal raiment she wore the habit of St. Francis, being a member of the third order of his community. She fasted on Fridays and Saturdays, and on the vigils of saints' days. She confessed at least once a week, and received the eucharist every Sunday. For two hours j after dinner one of her attendants read to her books of devotion.

Such was the Court of England - such the king and queen - at the time of the emperor's visit. Such a mixture of prosperity, of worldly enjoyment, and religious solemnity seemed little to bode the scenes and manner* which afterwards prevailed there. Erasmus was so struck by it that he declared that the royal residence ought rather to be called the Court of the Muses than a palace; and he asked, "What household is there, among the subjects of their realms, that can offer an example of such united wedlock? Where can a wife be found better matched with the best of husbands?"

But even now, beneath this fair surface, the elements of mischief and trouble were at work. With all the king's religious practices, the licentiousness of his nature was beginning to emerge to the light. Already, while on his campaign in France, Henry had formed a liaison with the wife of Sir Gilbert Tailbois, who, after her husband's death, bore him a son in 1519, whom he called Henry Fitzroy. Since then there had been a great scandal about Mary Boleyn, the elder sister of Anne Boleyn; and Catherine had made such a storm on the discovery, as compelled the king to consent to the lady's marriage

with a gentleman of the name of Carey; and now Anne Boleyn herself was just coming on the scene to scatter trouble and dissension through this well-regulated household.

For the time, however, all was mirth and jollity. On the 6th of June, Henry conducted the emperor with great state into London, where the inhabitants received him with a variety of shows and pageants. Sir Thomas More spoke the emperor's welcome in a learned oration, and there was a profusion of Latin verses in honour of the occasion. The two monarchs feasted, hunted, and rode at tournaments, whilst their ministers were busily employed in carrying out the terms agreed upon at Bruges into a treaty, which was signed on the 19th at Windsor. The subjects of this treaty were the marriage of Charles with the infant Princess Mary, which the two monarchs bound themselves to see completed, under a penalty, in case of breach of engagement, of 400,000 crowns. Charles also engaged to indemnify Henry for the sums of money due to him from. Francis; and, what was most extraordinary, both monarchs bound themselves to appear before Cardinal Wolsey in case of any dispute, and submit absolutely to his decision, thus making a subject the arbiter of monarchs.

The emperor also engaged to indemnify the cardinal for his losses in breaking with Francis, by a grant of 9,000 crowns annually; thus paying this proud priest for-being the author of this war. Yet, after all his courting and flattering of Wolsey, after again assuring him of his determination to set him in the Papal chair, it is certain that he hated the man, and only used him as a tool. His aunt, Queen Catherine, had deeply resented the cardinal's pursuit of the Duke of Buckingham to the death, for whom she entertained a high regard; and Wolsey was aware of it, and never forgave her. It was, probably, in reply to Catherine's relation of this tragic event that Charles, whilst on this visit, was overheard to say, "Then the butcher's dog has pulled down the fairest buck in Christendom" - a witticism which new all over the Court, and was never forgotten by the vindictive Wolsey.

Having agreed to bring each 40,000 men into the field, and to attack Prance simultaneously on the north and the south, and that Charles was to co-operate with the English for the re-conquest of Guienne, the emperor embarked on the 6th of July, and pursued his voyage to Spain.

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Pictures for Reign of Henry the Eighth. - (Continued) page 9

Thomas Wolsey
Thomas Wolsey >>>>
Scotch Peers demanding the Children of Queen Margaret
Scotch Peers demanding the Children of Queen Margaret >>>>
Henry VIII.  Catherine of Arragon. Thomas Wolsey.
Henry VIII. Catherine of Arragon. Thomas Wolsey. >>>>
King Henry VIII
King Henry VIII >>>>
Meeting of Henry VIII. and Francis I
Meeting of Henry VIII. and Francis I >>>>
The Field of the Cloth of Gold
The Field of the Cloth of Gold >>>>
Execution of the Duke of Buckingham
Execution of the Duke of Buckingham >>>>
The City of Bruges, - Palace of the Franks
The City of Bruges, - Palace of the Franks >>>>
Queen Catherine of Arragon
Queen Catherine of Arragon >>>>
Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace >>>>
Erasmus and Sir Thomas More
Erasmus and Sir Thomas More >>>>
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle >>>>

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