Page images

the right of their

are not bound to the

lawful matrimony, hath, in this his realm; yet, when outward parties shall con- Henry ceive any other or contrary opinion thereof, great trouble and vexation might V. ensue. Whereunto the king made answer again, declaring that he could not

A.D. but greatly marvel, that the king his brother, being so wise a prince, and thereto

1536. so well expert and learned in chronicles and histories, not only of his own realm, but also of all others, or any of his council, being men of such experience as they were taken to be, would think that the opinion and consent of other outward real were so highly to be considered and regarded of any prince or king, in establishing or in executing of things which might be lawfully done, and which touched the preservation of the rights, pre-eminences, dignity, and state of his realm, and did also notably confer unto the singular benefit and tranquillity of the same, so as the words both of the said king his brother, and of the great master, did pretend: who, furthermore, were not ignorant themselves, that many things have been, by his noble progenitors, kings of France, Kings in attempted and done, as well in cases of matrimony, as otherwise, which, in some part, in the opinion of the popes of Rome then being, and, in some part, in the realms opinion of divers other outward princes, states, seigniories, and common people, have been thought not perfectly good, nor yet much acceptable unto them; and yet, that notwithstanding, his said progenitors, knowing themselves the pro-agreesecuting of those causes to be beneficial to them and to the realm, have not ment of therefore desisted from their said purposes, but, diligently employing their own realms. strength and powers with the succours of their friends, have finally achieved their said enterprises without requiring, or greatly regarding, the opinion or agreement thereunto of outward princes.

Again, whereas the chancellor of France made this overture to the said The overbishop of Winchester, Whether the king would be contented to have indifferent fure of judges to be appointed by the authority of the pope, to determine his cause, cellor of with a commission decretal from the same, declaring, 'Quid juris,' &c. The France, king, by his ambassador thereunto answering, declared, " That the pope, having king, to done unto him such notable and evident injuries as he had done, it was his take inoffice and duty now to labour himself to end this matter, and to study how to make due satisfaction to God, and his justice, which he hath, ' tam indignis the pope's modis,' offended and violated, and to deliver himself out of the danger, and the authoperpetual infamy of the world, which he hath incurred by reason of these his rity. most ungodly doings; and not to look that the king should make any request or suit unto him there-for, or recompense for the same, &c.

Furthermore, whereas the pope, at the request of the French king, had in open consistory prorogued execution of his censures and excommunication against the king into the first day of November, and word thereof was sent to the king by his ambassadors, from the great master of France, that the king might have the said prorogation made authentically in writing, if he would; the king, answering thereunto, thought it not unprofitable, that his ambassadors resident in France should receive into their hands the possession of the said new prorogation, concei and written in authentic form and manner, according to the order of the laws.



by the

After this again came other letters to the king from France, namely, The king from the great master of France, tending to this end; that if the king would do nothing for the pope (meaning, by the revocation of such French acts of parliament as were made in the realm of England, to the relent to pope's prejudice), it were no reason, neither should it be possible, for the French king to induce the pope to any gratuity or pleasure for the king in his affairs. Whereunto the king answering again, sendeth word to the French king to this effect :



The King's Answer to the French King's Request. That he trusted and hoped well of the perfect friendship of the French king, his good brother, that he will never suffer any such persuasion to enter into his breast, whatsoever the great master, or any other shall say to the contrary thereof; nor that he will require any thing more of him to do for the pope,

not for

but his own lucre



Honry chancellor, or others, than his council hath already devised to be done in this viii. behalf; especially, considering the words of the said French king's promise

made before, as well to the duke of Norfolk, as to the other ambassadors, proA.D. 1536.

mising his friendship to the king simply, without requiring him to revocate, or

infringe, any such act or constitution made by the realm and parliament to the The pope contrary: persuading, moreover, and laying before the eyes as well of the pope,

as of the French king, how much it should redound to the pope's dishonour justice, and infamy, and to the slander also of his cause, if he should be seen so to pact

and covenant with the king upon such conditions, for the administration of that and come thing which he, in his own conscience, hath reputed and adjudged to be most modity. rightful, and agreeable to justice and equity; and ought of his office and duty

to do in this matter. simpliciter et gratis,' and without all worldly respects, either for the advancement of his private lucre and commodity, or for the preservation of his pretensed power and authority. For surely it is not to be doubted but that the pope, being minded and determined to give sentence for the invalidity and nullity of the king's first pretensed matrimony, hath conceived and established in his own conscience a firm and certain opinion and persuasion, that he ought of justice and equity so to do.

Then to see the pope to have this opinion indeed, and yet refuse to do this for

the king, unless he shall be content for his benefit and pleasure, 'cedere juri The pope suo,' and to do some things prejudicial unto his subjects contrary to his honour :

it is easy to be foreseen, what the world and posterity shall judge · De tam turpi justice.

nundinatione justitiæ, et illius tam fæda et sordida lucri et honoris ambitione.' against And as for the king's part, if he shall not attain justice now at the mediation of Science his good brother, knowing the pope to be of this disposition and determination

in his heart, to satisfy all his desires, being moved thereunto by justice, and that the let thereof is no default of justice in the cause, but only for that the king would not condescend to his request ; it is to the king matter sufficient enough for discharge of his conscience to God and to the world, although he never did execute indeed his said determination. For since his corrupt affection is the only impediment thereof, what need either the king to require him any further to do in the cause, or else his subjects to doubt any further in the justness of the same?

Albeit if respects to benefits and merits done towards the pope and see of getteth

Rome should be regarded in the attaining of justice in a cause of so high conbenefac sequence as this is, reason would, that if it would please the pope to consider tors and the former kindness of the king showed unto him in time past (whereof he is

very loth to enter the rehearsal, Ne videatur velle exprobrare quæ de aliis fecerit bene'), he should not now require of him any new benefit or gratuity to be

showed unto him ; but rather study to recompense him for the old graces, The bene- merits, pleasures, and benefits before received. Por surely he thinketh that the fits of the pope cannot forget, how that for the conservation of his person, his estate and king upon dignity, the king hath not heretofore spared for any respect, in using the office when he of a most perfect and steadfast friend, to relinquish the song continued good will was taken established between him and the emperor, and to declare openly to all the duke of world, that for the pope's sake, and in default of his deliverance, he would Bourbon. become enemy to the said emperor, and to make against him actual war.

Besides this, the king hath not failed him with right large and ample subventions of money, for the better supporting of his charges against the enterprises of the said emperor, combining and knitting himself with the French king, to procure the advancement of the said French king's army into Italy, to the charges whereof the king did bear little less than the one half; besides notable losses sustained as well in his customs, subsidies, and other duties, as also to the no little hinderance and damage of his subjects and merchants, occasioned by dis

continuance of the traffic and intercourse heretofore used with the emperor's All is lost subjects. In doing of all which things, the king hath not been thus respective,

as the pope now showeth himself towards him, but, like a perfect friend, hath been always contented frankly, liberally, and openly, to expone all his study, labour, travail, treasure, puissance, realm, and divers subjects, for the pope's aid, and maintenance of the state and dignity of the church and see of Rome. Which things although he doth not here rehearse .animo exprobrandi,' yet he doubteth not but the same, weighed in the balance of any indifferent man's judgment, shall be thought to be of that weight and value, as that he hath justly


bis old


that is done for a churl.


deserved to have some mutual correspondency of kindness to be showed unto Henty him at the pope's hands; especially in the ministration of justice, and in so reasonable and just cause as this is; and not thus to have his most rightful

A.D. petition rejected and denied, because he will not follow his desire and appetite 1536. in revoking of such acts, as be here made and passed for the weal and commodity of his realm and subjects.


Thus ye have heard how instantly the king had laboured, by the means of the French king, to the pope being then in France, for right and justice to be done for the dissolution and nullity of his first pretensed matrimony with his brother's wife : which when it could not be attained at the pope's hands, unless the king would recompense and requite the same, by revoking of such statutes as were made and enacted here in the high court of parliament, for the surety of succession and establishment of the realm ; what the king thereunto answered again, ye heard, declaring that to be a far unequal recompense and satisfaction for a thing which ought of right and justice to be ministered unto him, that a king therefore should revoke and undo the acts and statutes passed by a whole realm, contrary to his own honour and weal of his subjects, &c.

Here is moreover to be understood, how that the pope, with all his The papists, and the French king also, and peradventure Stephen Gar-pakin diner too, the king's own ambassador, had ever a special eye to of the disprove and disappoint the king's succession by queen Anne, whom they knew all to be a great enemy unto the pope ; thinking thereby that if that succession were diminished, the pope's kingdom might soon be restored again in England. But yet, for all their unjust and crafty packing, they were, through God's providence, frustrated of their desired purpose : for, although they so brought to pass the next year following, to annul the order of that succession bya contrary parliament, yet neither did they so annihilate it, but that both king Edward followed, yea, and also the same succession afterwards, by the said king, and other parliaments was restored again ; and yet, God be frustrated praised, hath hitherto reigned, and doth yet flourish in the realm of purpose. England.

Now, as we have declared the king's doings in the realm of Scotland and of France, proceeding further in the king's proceedings with other princes, let us see how the king defended himself and his cause before the emperor, sending his ambassador unto him, using these words before his majesty, as here followeth.

The papists

The Oration of the King's Ambassador before the Emperor, in

Defence of his Cause. Sir: the king my master, taking and reputing you as his perfect friend, confederate, and ally, and not doubting but you, remembering the mutual kindness between you in times past, will show yourself in all occurrents to be of such mind and disposition, as justice, truth, and equity do require, hath willed me, by his letters, to open and to declare unto you, what he hath done, and in what wise he hath proceeded, concerning such marriage as by many years was supposed to have been between your aunt and his grace: in which matter there Divisions being two principal points specially to be regarded and considered, that is to ing in two say, the justice of the cause, and the order of the process therein, his highness parts. hath so used him in both, as no man may right wisely complain of the same.

For as touching the justness of the cause, that is to say, of that marriage


ness of




Henry between him and your said aunt, to be nought, and of no moment, or effect,

but against the law of God, nature, and man, and indispensable by the pope, A.D.

and in no wise available; his highness hath done therein as much as becometh 1536.

him for discharge of his conscience, and hath found so certain, so evident, so

manifest, so open and approved truth, as whereunto his majesty ought of good The just- congruence to give place, and which by all others ought to be allowed and the king's

received, not as a matter doubtful, disputable, or depending in question and ambiguity ; but as a plain, determined, and discussed verity of the true understanding of God's word and law, which all christian men must follow and obey, and before all other worldly respects prefer and execute. In attaining the knowledge whereof, if his highness had used only his own particular judgment and sentence, or the mind only and opinion of his own natural subjects (although the same might in his conscience have sufficed), he would not much have repugned, if some others had made difficulty to assent to him in the same, till further discussion had been made thereupon. But now, forasmuch as besides his own certain understanding, and the agreement of his whole

clergy to the same in both provinces of this realm, his majesty hath also for him Universi- the determination of the most famous universities of Christendom, and most standing

indifferent to pronounce and give judgment in this case : and among them, the with the university of Bologna (all fear of the pope set apart), concluding against his king's

power, and also Padua (the Venetians' threats not regarded) giving their sentence for the truth and evident words of God's law; there should no man, as seemeth to him, gainsay or withstand, either in word or deed, the truth thus opened; but, for his honour and duty, to the observation of God's law, willingly embrace and receive the same. According whereunto his grace perceiveth also, as well in his realm, as elsewhere, a notable consent and agreement amongst all divines, and such as have studied for knowledge of God's law, without contradiction of any number, unless it be such as, applying their mind to the maintenance of worldly affections, do, either in defence of such laws as they have studied, or for satisfaction of their private appetite, forbear to agree unto the same; the number of whom is so small

, as, in the discerning of truth, it ought not to be regarded in a case so plainly described and determined by God's word as this is.

And if percase your majesty here, not regarding the number but the matter,

shall seem to consider, in this case, not so much who speaketh, as what is ter make spoken; to answer thereunto, I say, Sir! the king, my master, is of the same with the mind, for his own satisfaction, and taketh himself to be in the right, not because king:

so many say it, but because he being learned, knoweth the matter to be right. Nevertheless reason would, and enforceth also, that strangers to the cause, and not parties therein, should be induced to believe that to be truth which such a number of clerks do so constantly affirm; especially not being otherwise learned to be judges of their sayings, as your majesty is not. And if you were, then could your highness show such reasons, authorities, and grounds as cannot be taken away; and be so firm and stable, as they ought not of christian men in any part to be impugned, like as hath been partly heretofore showed by his sundry ambassadors to your imperial majesty, and should eftsoons be done, were it not too great an injury to that which is already passed in the realm, to dispute the same again in any other country: which, being contrarious to the laws and ordinances of his realm, he trusteth your prudency will not require, but take that which is past for a thing done, and justly done; and as for God's part, to leave his conscience to himself

, qui Domino suo stat aut cadit;' and for the world, (to pass over as a friend that which nothing toucheth you, and not to marvel though the said king my master, regarding the wealth of his soul principally, with the commodity of his person and so great benefit and quiet of his realm), have percase done that which he, for his private fantasy, would had not chanced ; like as his highness also would wish it had not happened, that such cause had been given unto him to compel him so to do.

But these things in their outward visage be but worldly, and inwardly touch cond part and concern the soul. «Quid autem prodest homini si universum mundum oration. lucretur, animæ vero suæ detrimentum patiatur? Primum quærite regnum

Dei,' &c. And yet neither is his highness ignorant what respect is to be had unto the world ; and how much he hath laboured and travailed therein, he hath sufficiently declared and showed to the world in his acts and proceedings. For

Both the number and mat

The se

if he had utterly contemned the order and process of the world, or the friend- Henry ship and amity of your majesty, he needed not to have sent so often and sundry VIII. embassades to the pope, and to you both, nor continued and spent his time in

A.D. delays, as he hath done hitherto, but might, many years past, have done what

1536. he hath done now, if it had so liked him, and with as little difficulty then as now, if without such respect he would have followed his pleasure in that behalf. How the But now I doubt not your majesty doth well remember how often the king, my lied with master, hath sent unto your highness, and that your majesty hath heard also the king. what suits he hath made to the pope, and how the said pope hath handled him again only in delay and dalliance; with open commission given to his legates to determine and give sentence for him by a commission decretal, and secretly to give them instructions, to suspend and put over the same. By which means, and others semblable, he perceived plainly himself to be brought into such a labyrinth, as going forward that way he were like to come to no end, and was therefore compelled to step right forth at once to the maze's end, there to quiet and repose himself at last.

And is it not time to have an end in seven years, or else to seek for it another way? The pope hath showed himself both unwilling to have an end, and also so ready and prone to do him injury, as well in citing him to Rome, as also sending forth certain briefs to his grace slanderous, and for the injustice and iniquity of them, to himself dishonourable ; as he gave his highness good and just cause to suspect, whether any end to be made at his hand (if any he would make) might be in his conscience received and followed. For the pope doing injury in some point, why should he be thought a convenient judge, not using himself indifferently in this matter (as many more particularities may be showed and declared), considering there is a general council, willing all matters to be determined where they first began, and that the whole body of our realm hath, for the wealth of the same, by a law established the determination of such causes? by reason whereof the bishop of Canterbury, as metropolitan of our realm, hath given sentence in due judgment for the king's party. It is not to be asked, nor questioned, whether that matter hath been determined after the common fashion, but whether it hath in it common justice, truth, and equity of God's law. For observation of the common order, his grace hath done what lay in him, and enforced by necessity, hath found the true order maintainable by God's word and general councils, which he hath in substance followed with effect, and hath done as becometh him, tendering either God's law, or his person, or the wealth of his realm, like as he doubteth not but your majesty (as a wise prince), remembering his cause from the beginning hitherto, will of yourself consider and think, that among mortal men nothing should be immortal, and suits must once have an end, 'Si possis recte, si non quocunque modo.' And if he cannot as he would, then must his highness do as he may; and he that hath a journey to be perfected, must, if he cannot go one way, essay another. Whatsoever hath been herein done, necessity hath enforced him (that is to say, God's law) in the matter, and such manner of dealing of the pope, as he hath showed unto him in the same, doing sundry injuries without effect of justice, wherein he promised the same. But as for the king's matter to the pope, he shall treat with him apart. As touching your majesty, he taketh you for his friend, and as to a friend he openeth these matters unto you, trusting to find your majesty no less friendly hereafter unto him, than he hath done heretofore.

By these matters thus passed and discoursed to and fro, between the king and these foreign princes above rehearsed, many things are to be understood of the reader, whoso is disposed to behold and consider the state and proceeding of public affairs, as well to the church

The appertaining, as to the commonwealth. First, how the king cleareth king's himself both justly and reasonably for his divorce made with the lady and his Katharine, the emperor's aunt. Secondly, how be proveth and de-warriage fendeth his marriage with queen Anne to be just and lawful, both by queen the authority of God's word, and the comprobation of the best and most lawful

. (1) This general council was the first council of Constantinople.

[merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »