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BOUT that time Isabella Queen of Castile deceased; a right noble lady, and an honour to her sex and times; and the cornerstone of the greatness of Spain that hath followed. This accident the King took not for news at large, but thought it had great relation to his own affairs; especially in two points: the one for example, the other for consequence. First he conceived that the case of Ferdinando of Arragon after the death of Queen Isabella, was his own case after the death of his own Queen; and the case of Joan the heir unto Castile, was the case of his own son Prince Henry. For if both of the Kings had their kingdoms in the right of their wives, they descended to the heirs and did not accrue to the husbands. And although his own case had both steel and parchment more than the other; that is to say, a conquest in the field and an act of Parliament; yet notwithstanding that natural title of descent in blood did (in the imagination even of a wise man) breed a doubt that the other two were not safe nor sufficient. Wherefore he was wonderful diligent to inquire and observe what became of the King of Arragon in holding and continuing the kingdom of Castile; and whether he did hold it in his own right, or as administrator to his daughter; and whether he were like to hold it in fact, or to be put out by his son-in-law. Secondly, he did revolve in his mind, that the state of Christendom might by this late accident have a turn. For whereas before time himself with the conjunction of Arragon and Castile (which then was one), and the amity of Maximilian and Philip his son the Archduke, was far too strong a party for France; he began to fear now the French King (who had great interest in the affections of Philip the young King of Castile), and Philip himself now King of Castile (who was in ill terms with his father-in-law about the present government of Castile), and thirdly Maximilian, Philip’s father, (who was ever variable, and upon whom the surest aim that could be taken was that he would not be long as he had been last before), would all three being potent Princes, enter into some strait league and confederation amongst themselves, whereby though he should not be endangered, yet he should be left to the poor amity of Arragon; and whereas he had been heretofore a kind of arbiter of Europe, he should now go less, and be over-topped by so great a conjunction. He had also (as it seems) an inclination to marry, and bethought himself of some fit conditions abroad. And amongst others he had heard of the beauty and virtuous behaviour of the young Queen of Naples, the widow of Ferdinando the younger, being then of matronal years of seven and twenty: by whose marriage he thought that the kingdom of Naples, having been a goal [object of contention] for a time between the King of Arragon and the French King, and being but newly settled, might in some part be deposited in his hands, who was so able to keep the stakes. Therefore he sent in ambassage or message three confident persons, Francis Marsin, James Braybrooke, and John Stile, upon two several inquisitions, rather than negotiations: the one touching the person and condition of the young Queen of Naples: the other touching all particulars of estate that concerned the fortunes and intentions of Ferdinando. And because they may observe best who themesleves are observed least, he sent them under colourable pretexts; giving them letters of kindness and compliment from Katherine the Princess to her aunt and niece, the old and young Queen of Naples; and delivering to them also a book of new articles of peace; which notwithstanding it had been delivered unto Doctor de Puebla, the lieger ambassador of Spain here in England, to be sent; yet for that the King had been long without hearing from Spain, he thought good those messengers, when they had been with the two Queens, should likewise pass on to the court of Ferdinando, and take a copy of the book with them. The instructions touching the Queen of Naples were so curious and exquisite, being as articles whereby to direct a survey or framing a particular of her person, for complexion, favour, feature, stature, health, age, customs, behaviour, conditions, and estate; as, if the King had been young, a man would have judged him to be amorous; but being ancient, it ought to be interpreted that sure he was very chaste, for that he meant to find all things in one woman, and so to settle his affections without ranging. But in this match he was soon cooled, when he heard from his ambassadors that this young Queen had had a a good jointure in the realm of Naples, well answered during the time of her uncle Frederick, yea and during the time of Lewis the French King, in whose division her revenue fell; but since the time that the kingdom was in Ferdinando’s hands, all was assigned to the army and garrisons there; and she received only a pension or exhibition out of the office.
2. The other part of the inquiry had a grave and diligent return; informing the King at full of the present state of King Ferdinando. By this report it appeared to the King that Ferdinando did continue the government of Castile as administrator unto his daughter Joan, by the title of Queen Isabella’s will, and partly by the custom of the kingdom (as he pretended); and that all mandates and grants were expedited in the name of Joan his daughter and himself as administrator, without mention of Philip her husband. And that King Ferdinando, howsoever he did dismiss himself of the name of King of Castile, yet meant to hold the kingdom without account and in absolute command.
3. It appeareth also that he flattered himself with hopes that King Philip would permit unto him the government of Castile during his life; which he had laid his plot to work him unto, both by some counsellors of his about him which Ferdinando had at his devotion, and chiefly by promise that in case Philip gave not way unto it he would marry some young lady, whereby to put him by the succession of Arragon and Granada, in case he should have a son; and lastly by representing unto him that the government of the Burgundians, till Philip were by continuance in Spain made as natural of Spain, would not be endured by the Spaniards. But in all those things, though wisely laid down and considered, Ferdinando failed; but that Pluto was better to him than Pallas.
4. In the same report also the ambassadors, being mean men and therefore the more free, did strike upon a string which was somewhat dangerous; for they declared plainly that the people of Spain both nobles and commons were better affected unto the part of Philip (so he brought his wife with him) than to Ferdinando; and expressed the reason to be, because he had imposed upon them many taxes and tallages [imposts and tolls]; which was the King’s own case between him and his son.
5. There was also in this report a declaration of an overture of marriage, which Amason the secretary of Ferdinando had made unto the ambassadors in great secret, between Charles Prince of Castile and Mary the King’s second daughter; assuring the King that the treaty of marriage then on foot for the said Prince and the daughter of France would break; and that she the said daughter of France should be married to Angolesme, that was the heir apparent of France.
6. There was a touch also of a speech of marriage between Ferdinando and Madame de Fois, a lady of the blood of France, which afterwards indeed succeeded. But this was reported as learnt in France, and silenced in Spain.
7. The King by the return of this ambassage, which gave great light unto his affairs, was well instructed and prepared how to carry himself between Ferdinando King of Arragon and Philip his son-in-law King of Castile; resolving with himself to do all that in him lay to keep them at one within themselves; but howsoever that succeeded, by a moderate carriage and bearing the person of a common friend to lose neither of their friendships; but yet to run a course more entire with the King of Arragon, but more laboured and officious with the King of Castile. But he was much taken with the overture of marriage with his daughter Mary; both because it was the greatest marriage of Christendom, and for that it took hold of both allies. [8.] But to corroborate his alliance with Philip, the winds gave him an interview. For Philip choosing the winter season the better to surprise the King of Arragon, set forth with a great navy out of Flanders for Spain in the month of January, the one and twentieth year of the King’s reign. But himself was surprised with a cruel tempest, that scattered his ships upon the several coasts of England; and the ship wherein the King and Queen were, with two other small barks only, torn and in great peril, to escape the fury of the weather thrust into Weymouth. King Philip, having not been used as it seems to sea, all wearied and extreme sick, would needs land to refresh his spirits; though it was against the opinion of his counsel, doubting it might breed delay, his occasions requiring celerity.
9. The rumour of the arrival of a puissant navy upon the coast made the country arm. And Sir Thomas Trenchard, with forces suddenly raised, not knowing what the matter might be, came to Weymouth; where understanding the accident, he did in all humbleness and humanity invite the King and Queen to his house; and forthwhith dispatched posts to the court. Soon after came Sir John Caroe likewise with a great troop of men well armed, using the like humbleness and respects towards the King, when he knew the case. King Philip doubting that they, being but subjects, durst not let him pass away again without the King’s notice and leave, yielded to their intreaties to stay till they heard from the court. The King, as soon as heard the news, commanded presently the Earl of Arundel to go to visit the King of Castile, and to let him understand that as he was very sorry for his mishap, so he was glad that he had escaped the danger of the seas, and likewise of the occasion himself had to do him honour; and desiring him to think himself as in his own land; and that the King made all haste possible to come and embrace him. The Earl came to him in great magnificence with a brave troop of three hundred horse; and for more state came by torch-light. After he had done the King’s message, King Philip seeing how the world went, the sooner to get away, went upon speed to the King at Windsor, and his Queen followed by easy journeys. The two Kings at their meeting used all the caresses and loving demonstrations that were possible. And the King of Castile said pleasantly to the King, that he was now punished for that he would not come within his walled town of Calais, when they met last. But the King answered, that walls and seas were nothing where hearts were open; and that he was here no otherwise but to be served. After a day or two’s refreshing, the Kings entered into speech of renewing the treaty; the King saying that though King Philip’s person were the same, yet his fortunes and state were raised; in which case a renovation of treaty was used amongst Princes. But while these things were in handling, the King choosing a fit time, and drawing the King of Castile into a room where they two only were private, and laying his hand civilly upon his arm, and changing his countenance a little from a countenance of entertainment, said to him, “Sir, you have been saved upon my coast, I hope you will not suffer me to wreck upon yours.” The King of Castile asked him what he meant by that speech? “I mean (saith the King) by that some harebrain wild fellow my subject the Earl of Suffolk, who is protected in your country, and begins to play the fool, when all others are weary of it.” The King of Castile answered, “I had thought, Sir, your felicity had been above these thoughts. But if it trouble you, I will banish him.” The King replied, those hornets were best in their nest, and worst then when they did fly abroad; and that his desire was to have him delivered to him. The King of Castile herewith a little confused, and in a study, said, “That can I not do with my honour, and less with yours; for you will be thought to have used me as a prisoner.” The King presently said, “Then the matter is at an end. For I will take that dishonour upon me, and so your honour is saved.” The King of Castile, who had the King in great estimation, and besides remembered where he was, and knew not what use he might have of the King’s amity; for that himself was new in his state of Spain, and unsettled both with his father-in-law and with his people; composing his countenance, said, “Sir, you give law to me; but so will I to you. You shall have him, but upon your honour you shall not take his life.” The King embracing him said, “Agreed.” Saith the King of Castile, “Neither shall it dislike you, if I send to him in such a fashion as he may partly come with his own good will.” The King said it was well thought of; and if it pleased him he would join with him in sending to the Earl a message to that purpose. They both sent severally; and mean while they continued feasting and pastimes; the King being on his part willing to have the Earl sure before the King of Castile went; and the King of Castile being as willing to seem to be enforced. The King also with many wise and excellent persuasions did advise the King of Castile to be ruled by the counsel of his father-in-law Ferdinando; a Prince so prudent, so experienced, so fortunate. The King of Castile (who was in no very good terms with his father-in-law) answered, that if his father-in-law would suffer him to govern his kingdoms, he should govern him.
10. There were immediately messengers sent from both Kings to recall the Earl of Suffolk; who upon gentle words used to him was soon charmed, and willing enough to return; assured of his life, and hoping of his liberty. He was brought through Flanders to Calais, and thence landed at Dover, and with sufficient guard delivered and received at the Tower of London. Meanwhile King Henry to draw out the time, continued his feastings and entertainments, and after he had received the King of Castile into the fraternity of the Garter, and for a reciprocal had his son the Prince admitted to the order of the Golden Fleece, he accompanied King Philip and his Queen to the City of London; where they were entertained with the greatest magnificence and triumph that could be upon no greater warning. And as soon as the Earl of Suffolk had been conveyed to the Tower (which was the serious part) the jollities had an end, and the Kings took leave. Nevertheless during their being here, they in substance concluded that treaty which the Flemings term intercursus malus, and bears date at Wndsor: for that be some things in it more to the advantage of the English than of them; especially for that the free fishing of the Dutch upon the coasts and seas of England, granted in the treaty of undecimo [the eleventh year of Henry’s reign], was not by this treaty confirmed; all articles that confirm former treaties being precisely and warily limited and confined to matter of commerce only, and not otherwise.
11. It was observed that the great tempest which drave Philip into England blew down the golden eagle from the spire of Paul’s, and in the fall it fell upon a sign of the black eagle which was in Paul’s church-yard in the place where the schoolhouse now standeth, and battered it and broke it down; which was a strange stooping of hawk upon a fowl. This the people interpreted to be an ominous prognistic upon the imperial house; which was by interpretation also fulfilled upon Philip the Emperor’s son; not only in the present disaster of the tempest, but in that that followed. For Philip arriving into Spain and attaining the possession of the kingdom of Castile without resistance, insomuch as Ferdinando who had spoke so great before was with difficulty admitted to the speech of his son-in-law, sickened soon after, and deceased; yet after such time as there was an observation by the wisest of that court, that if he had lived his father would have gained upon in that sort, as he would have governed his counsels and designs, if not his affections. By this all Spain returned into the power of Ferdinando in state as it was before; the rather in regard of the infirmity of Joan his daughter, who loving her husband (by whom she had many children) dearly well, and no less beloved of him (howsoever her father to make Philip ill-beloved of the people of Spain gave out that Philip used her not well), was unable in strength of mind to bear the grief of his decease, and fell distracted of her wits: of which malady her father was thought no ways to endeavour the cure, the better to hold his regal power in Castile. So that as the felicity of Charles the Eighth was said to be as a dream, so the adversity of Ferdinando was said likewise to be a dream, it passed over so soon.
12. About this time the King was desirous to bring into the house of Lancaster celestial honour; and became suitor to Pope Julius to canonise King Henry the Sixth for a saint; the rather in respect of that his famous prediction of the King’s own assumption of the crown. Julius referred the matter (as the manner is) to certain cardinals to take the verification of his holy acts and miracles: but it died under the reference. The general opinion was, that Pope Julius was too dear, and that the King would not come to his rates. But it is more probable, that the Pope, who was extremely jealous of the dignity of the see of Rome and of the acts thereof, knowing that King Henry Sixth was reputed in the world abroad but for a simple man, was afraid it would but dminish the estimation of that kind of honour, if there were not a distance kept between innocents and saints.
13. The same year likewise there proceeded a treaty of marriage between the King and the Lady Margaret Duchess Dowager of Savoy, only daughter to Maximilian and sister to the King of Castile; a lady wise and of great good fame. This matter had been in speech between the two Kings at their meeting; but was soon after resumed; and therein was employed for his first piece the King’s then chaplain, and after the great prelate, Thomas Wolsey. It was in the end concluded with great and ample conditions for the King, but with promise de futuro only. It may be the King was the rather induced unto it, for that he had heard more and more of the marriage to go on between his great friend and ally Ferdinando of Arragon and Madame de Fois; whereby that King began to piece with the French King, from whom he had always before severed. So fatal a thing is it for the greatest and straitest amities of Kings at one time or another to have a little of the wheel. Nay there is a further tradition (in Spain though not with us) that the King of Arragon (after he knew that the marriage between Charles the young Prince of Castile and Mary the King’s second daughter went roundly on, which though it was first moved by the King of Arragon, yet it was afterwards wholly advanced and brought to perfection by Maximilian and the friends on that side) entered into a jealousy that the King did aspire to the government of Castilia, as administrator during the minority to his son-in-law; as if there should have been a competition of three for that government; Ferdinando grandfather on the mother’s side; Maximilian grandfather on the father’s side; and King Henry father-in-law to the young Prince. Certainly it is not unlike but the King’s government (carrying the young Prince with him) would have been perhaps more welcome to the Spaniards than that of the other two. For the nobility of Castilia, that so lately put out the King of Arragon in favour of King Philip, and had discovered themselves so far, could not be but in a secret distrust and distaste of that King. And as for Maximilian, upon twenty respects he could not have been the man. But this purpose of the King’s seemeth to me (considering the King’s safe courses, never found to be enterprising or adventurous) not greatly probable; except he should have had a desire to breathe warmer, because he had ill lungs.
This marriage with Margaret was protracted from time to time, in respect of the infirmity of the King, who now in the two and twentieth of his reign began to be troubled with the gout: but the defluxion taking also into his breast, wasted his lungs, to that thrice in a year in a kind of return, and especialliy in the spring, he had great fits and labours of the tissick [phthisis]. Nevertheless he continued to intend business with as great diligence as before in his health; yet so, as upon this warning he did likewise now more seriously think of the world to come; and of making himself a saint, as well as King Henry the Sixth, by treasure better employed than to be given to Pope Julius. For this year he gave greater alms than accustomed, and discharged all prisoners about the City that lay for fees, or debts under forty shillings. He did also make haste with religious foundations. And in the year following, which was the three and twentieth, finished that of the Savoy. And hearing also of the bitter cries of his people against the oppressions of Dudley and Empson and their complilces, partly by devout persons about him and partly by public sermons (the preachers doing their duty therein) he was touched with great remorse for the same. Nevertheless Empson and Dudley though they could not but hear of these scruples in the King’s conscience, yet as if the King’s soul and his money were in several offices, that the one was not to intermeddle with the other, went on with as great rage as ever. For the same three and twentieth year was there a sharp prosecution against Sir William Capel (now the second time), and this was for matters of misgovernment in his mayorality: the great matter being, that in some payments he had taken knowledge of false moneys, and did not his diligence to examine and beat it out who were the offenders. For this and some other things laid to his charge, he was condemned to pay two thousand pounds; and being a man of stomach, and hardened by his former troubles, refused to pay a mite; and belike used some untoward speeches of the proceedings; for which he was sent to the Tower, and there remained till the King’s death. Knesworth likewise, that had been lately Mayor of London, and both his Sheriffs, were for abuses in their offices questioned, and imprisoned, and delivered upon one thousand four hundred pounds paid. Hawis, an Aldlerman of London, was put in trouble and died with thought and anguish before his business came to an end. Sir Laurence Ailmer, who had likewise been Mayoer of London, and his two Sheriffs, were put to the fine of one thousand pounds. And Sir Laurence for refusing to make payment was committed to prison, where he stayed till Empson himself was committed in his place.
14. It is no marvel (if the faults were so light and the rates so heavy) that the King’s treasure of store that he left at his death, most of it in secret places under his own key and keeping at Richmond, amounted (as by tradition it is reported to have done) unto the sum of near eighteen hundred thousand pounds sterling; a huge mass of money even for these times.
15. The last act of state that concluded this King’s temporal felicity, was the conclusion of a glorious match between his daughter Mary and Charles Prince of Castile, afterwards the great Emperor; both being of tender years: which treaty was perfected by Bishop Foxe and other his commissioners at Calais, the year before the King’s death. In which alliance it seemeth he himself took so high contentment, as in a letter which he wrote thereupon to the City of London, commanding all possible demonstrations of joy to be made for the same, he expresseth himself as if he thought he had built a wall of brass about his kingdom, when he had for his sons-in-law a King of Scotland and a Prince of Castile and Burgundy. So as now there was nothing to be added to this great King’s felicity, being at the top of all worldly bliss, in regard of the high marriages of his children, his great renown throughout Europe, and his scarce credible riches, and the perpetual constancy of his prosperous successes, but an opportune death, to withdraw him from any future blow of fortune; which certainly (in regard of the great hatred of his people, and the title of his son, being then come to eighteen years of age, and being a bold Prince and liberal, and that gained upon the people by his very aspect and presence) had not been impossible to have comen upon him.
16. To crown also the last year of his reign as well as his first, he did an act of piety, rare and worthy to be taken in imitation. For he granted forth a general pardon; as expecting a second coronation in a better kingdom. He did also declare in his will, that his mind was, that restitution should be made of those sums which had been unjustly taken by his officers.
17. And thus this Salomon of England (for Salomon also was too heavy upon his people in exactions) having lived two and fifty years, and thereof reigned three and twenty years and eight months, being in perfect memory and in a most blessed mind, in a great calm and of a consuming sickness, passed to a better world, the two and twentieth of April 1508, at his palace of Richmone which himself had built.
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