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UT howsoever the laws made in that Parliament did bear good and wholesome fruit; yet the subsidy granted at the same time bore a fruit that proved harsh and bitter. All was inned at last into the King’s barn; but it was after a storm. For when the commissioners entered into the taxation of the subsidy in Yorkshire and the bishoprick of Durham, the people upon a sudden grew into great mutiny, and said openly that they had endured of late years a thousand miseries, and niether could nor would pay the subsidy. This no doubt proceeded not simply of any present necessity, but much by reason of the old humour of those countries, where the memory of King Richard was so strong, that it lay like lees iin the bottom of men’s hearts, and if the vessel was but stirred it would come up; and no doubt it was partly also by the instigation of some factious malcontents that bare principal stroke amongst them. Hereupon the commissioners, being somewhat astonished, deferred the matter unto the Earl of Northumberland, who was the principal man in those parts. The Earl forthwith wrote unto the court, signifying to the King plainly enough in what flame he found the people of those countries, and praying the King’s direction. The King wrote back peremptorily that he would not have one penny abated of that which had been granted to him by Parliament; both because it might encourage other countries to pray the like release or mitigation; and chiefly because he would never endure that the base multitude should frustrate the authority of the Parliament, wherein their votes and consents were concluded. Upon this dispatch from court, the Earl assembled the principal justices and freeholders of the country; and speaking to them in the imperious language wherein the King had written to him, which needed not (save that an harsh business was unfortunately fallen into the hands of a harsh man), did not only irritate the people, but make them conceive by the stoutness and haughtiness of the King’s errand, that himself was the author or principal persuader of that counsel: whereupon the meaner sort routed together, and suddenly assailing the earl in his home, slew him and divers of his servants; and rested not there, but creating for thear leader Sir John Egremond, a factious person, and one that had of a long time borne an ill talent towards the King, and being animated also by a base fellow, called John a Chamber, a very boutefeu, who bore much sway amongst the vulgar and populace, entered into open rebellion, and gave out in flat terms that they would go against King Henry and fight with him for the maintenance of their liberties.
2. When the King was advertised of this new insurrection (being almost a fever that took him every year), after his manner little troubled therewith, he sent Thomas Earl of Surrey (whom he had a little before not only released out of the Tower and pardoned, but also received into especial favour) with a competent power against the rebels, who fought with the principal of them and defeated them, and took alive John a Chamber their firebrand. As for Sir John Egremond, he fled into Flanders to the Lady Margaret of Burgundy, whose palace was the sanctuary and receptacle of all traitors against the King. John a Chamber was executed at York in great state; for he was hanged upon a gibbet raised a stage higher in the midst of a square gallows, as a traitor paramount; and a number of his men that were his chief complices were hanged upon the lower storey round about him; and the rest were generally pardoned. Neither did the King himself omit his custom to be first or second in all his warlike exploits, making good his word which was usual with him when he heard of rebels (that he desired but to see them). For immediately after he had sent down the Ear of Surry, he marched towards them himself in person. And although in his journey he heard news of the victory, yet he went on as far as York, to pacify and settle those countries: and that done, returned to London, leaving the Earl of Surrey for his lieutenant in the northern parts, and Sir Richard Tunstal for his principal commissioner to levy the subsidy, whereof he did not remit a denier.
3. About the same time that the King lost so good a servant as the Earl of Northumberland, he lost likewise a faithful friend and ally of James the Third King of Scotland by a miserable disaster. For this unfortunate Prince, after a long smother of discontent and hatred of many of his nobility and people, breaking forth at times into seditions and alterations of court, was at last distressed by them, having taken arms and surprised the person of Prince James his son (partly by force, partly by threats that the would otherwise deliver up the kingdom to the King of England) to shadow their rebellion, and to be the titular and painted head of those arms. Whereupon the King (finding himself too weak) sought unto King Henry, as also unto the Pope and the King of France, to compose those troubles between him and his subjects. The Kings accordingly interposed their mediations in a round and princely manner, not only by way of request and persuasion, but also by way of protestation and menace, declaring that they thought it to be the common cause of all Kings, if subjects should be suffered to give laws unto their sovereign; and that tehy would accordingly resent it and revenge it. But the rebels that had shaken off the greater yoke of obedience, had likewise cast away the lesser tie of respect; and fury prevaling above fear, made answer, that there was no talking of peace except their King would resign his crown. Whereupon (treaty of accord taking no place) it came to a battle at Bannocks-bourn by Strivelin [Sterling]. In which battle the King transported with wrath and just indignation, inconsideratly fighting and precipating the charge before his whole numbers came up to him, was, notwithstanding the contrary express and straight commandment of the Prince his son, slain in the pursuit, being fled to a mill situate in the field where the battle was fought.
4. As for the Pope’s ambassy, which as went by Adrian de Castello an Italian legate, (and perhaps as those times were might have prevailed more,) it came too late for the ambassy, but not for the ambassador. For passing through England and being honourably entertained and received by King Henry (who ever applied himself with much respect to the see of Rome), he fell into great grace with the King, and great familiarity and friendship with Morton the Chancellor. Insomuch as the King taking a likeing to him and finding him to his mind, preferred him to the bishoprick of Hereford, and afterwards to that of Bath and Wells, and employed him in many of his affairs of state that had relation to Rome. He was a man of great learning, wisdom, and dexterity in business of state; and having not long after ascended to the degree of cardinal, payed the King large tribute of his gratitude in diligent and judicious advertisement of the occurrents of Italy. Nevertheless in the end of his time he was partaker of the conspiracy which cardinal Alphonso Petrucci and some other cardinals had plotted agains the life of Pope Leo. And this offence, in itself so hainous, was yet in him aggravated by the motive thereof; which was not malice or discontent, but an aspiring mind to the papacy. And in this height of impiety there wanted not an intermixture of levity and folly, for that (as was generally believed) he was animated to expect the papacy by a fatal mosckery; the prediction of a sooth-sayer; which was, That one should succeed Pope Leo, whose name should be Adrian, an aged man of mean birth and of great wisdom; by which character and figure he took himself to be described; thoiugh it were fulfilled of Adrian the Fleming, son to a Dutch brewer, cardinal of Tortosa, and preceptor unto Charles the Fifth; the same that, not changing his christen-name, was afterwards called Adrian the Sixth.
5. But these things happened in the year following, which was the fifth of this King. But in the end of the fourth year the King had called again his Parliament, not as it seemeth for any particular occasion of state: but the former Parliament being ended somewhat suddenly (in regard of the preparation for Brittaine), the King thought he had not remunerated his people sufficiently with good laws, (which evermore was his retribution for treasure): and finding by the insurrection in the north, there was discontentment abroad in respect of the subsidy, he thought it good for to give his subjects yet further contentment in that kind. Certainly his times for good commonwealths law did excel; so as he may justly be celebrated for the best lawgiver to this nation after King Edward the First. For his laws (whoso marks them well) are deep and not vulgar; not made upon the spur of a particular occasion for the present, but out of providence of the future; to make the estate of his people still more and more happy, after the manner of the legislators in ancient and heroical times.
6. First therefore he made a law suitable to his own acts and times. For as himself had in his person and marriage made a final concord in the great suit and title for the crown; so by this law he settled the like peace and quiet in the private possessions of the subjects: ordaining, That Fines thenceforth would be final to conclude all strangers’ rights; and that upon fines levied, and solemnly proclaimed, the subject should have his time of watch for five years after his title accrued; which if he forepassed, his right should be bound for ever after; which some exception nevertheless of minors, married women, and such incompetent persons. This statue did in effect but restore an ancient statute of the realm, which was itself also made but in affirmance of the common law. The alteration had been by a statute commonly called the statute of non-claim, made in the time of Edward the Third. And surely this law was a kind of prognostic of the good peace which since his time hath (for the most part) continued in this kingdom until this day. For statutes of non-claim are fit for times of war, when men’s heads are troubled, that they cannot intend their estate; but statutes that quiet possessions are fittest for times of peace, to extinguish suits and contentions; which is one of the banes of peace.
7. Another statute was made of singular policy; for the population apparently, and (if it be thoroughly considered) for the soldiery and militar forces of the realm. Inclosures at that time began to be more frequent, whereby arable land (which could not be manured without people and families) was turned into pasture, which was easily rid by a few herdsmen; and tenances for years, lives, and at will, (whereupon much of the yeomanry lived,) were turned into demenses. This bred a decay of people, and by consequence a decay of towns, churches, tithes, and the like. The King likewise knew full well, and in no wise forgot, that there ensued withal upon this a decay and diminution of subsides and taxes; for the more gentlemen ever the lower books of subsidies. In remedying of this inconvenience the King’s wisdom was admirable; and the Parliament’s at that time. Inclosures they would not forbid, for that had been to forbid the improvement of the patrimony of the kingdom; nor tillage they would not compel; for that was to strive with nature and utility: but they took a course to take away depopulating inclosures and depopulating pasturage, and yet not by that name, or by any impersious express prohibition, but by consequence. The ordinance was, That all houses of husbandry, that were used with twenty acres of ground and upwards, should be maintained and kept up for ever; together with a competent proportion of land to be used and occupied with them, and in no wise to be severed from them (as by another statute, made afterwards in his successor’s time, was more fully declared): this upon forfeiture to be taken, not by way of popular action, but by seizure of the land by the King and lords of the fee, as to half the profits, till the house and lands were restored. By this means the houses being kept up did of necessity enforce a dweller; and the proportion of land for occupation being kept up, did of necessity enforce that dweller not to be a beggar or cottager, but a man of some substance, that might keep hinds and servants, and set the plough on going. This did wonderfully concern the might and mannerhood of the kingdom, to have farms as if it were of a standard, sufficient to maintain an able body out of penury, and did in effect amortise a great part of the lands of the kingdom unto the hold and occupation of the yeomanry or middle people, of a condition between gentlemen and cottagers or peasants. Now how much this did advance the militar power of the kingdom, is apparent by the true principles of war and the examples of other kingdoms. For it hath been held by the general opinion of men of best judgment in the wars (howsoever some few have varied, and that it may receive some distinction of case) that the principal strength of an army consisteth in the infantry or foot. And to make good infantry, in requireth men bred not in a servile or indigent fashion, but in some free and plentiful manner. Therefore if a state run most to noblemen and gentlemen, and that the husbandmen and ploughmen be but as their workfolks or labourers, or else mere cottagers (which are but housed beggars), you may have a good cavalry, but never good stable bands of foot; like to coppice woods that if you leave in them staddles too thick, they will run to bushes and briars, and have little clean underwood. And this is to be seen in France and Italy (and some other parts abroad), where in effect all is noblesse or peasantry (I speak of people out of towns), and no middle people; and therefore no good forces of foot; insomuch as they are enforced to employ mercenary bands of Switzers (and the like) for their battalions of foot. Whereby also it comes to pass that those nations have much people and few soldiers. Whereas the King saw that contrariwise it would follow, that England, though much less in territory, yet should have infinitely more soldiers of the native forces than those other nations have. Thus did the King secretly sow Hydra’s teeth; whereupon (according to the poets’ fiction) should rise up armed men for the service of this kingdom.
8. The King also (having care to make his realm potent as well by sea as by land) for the better maintenance of the navy, ordained, that wines and woads from the parts of Gascoign and Languedoc, should not be brought in but in English bottoms; bowing the ancient policy of this estate from consideration of plenty to consideration of power; for that almost all the ancient statutes invite (by all means) merchants strangers to bring in all sorts of commodities; having for end cheapness, and not looking to the point of state concerning the naval power.
9. The King also made a statute in that Parliament monitory and minatory towards justices of peace, that the should duly execute their office, inviting complaints against them, first to their fellow-justices, then to the justices of assize, then to the King or Chancellor; and that a proclamation which he had published of that tenor should be read in open session four times a year, to keep them awake. Meaning also to have his laws executed, and thereby to reap either obedience or forfeitures, (wherein towards his later times he did decline too much to the left hand,) he did ordain remedy against the practice that was grown in use, to stop and damp informations upon penal laws, by procuring informations by collusion to be put in by the confederates of the delinquents, to be faintly prosecuted and let fall at pleasure, and pleading them in bar of the informations which were prosecuted with effect.
10. He made also laws for the correction of the mint, and counterfeiting of foreign coin current. And that no payment in gold should be made to any merchant stranger; the better to keep treasure within the realm; for that gold was the metal that lay in least room.
11. He made also statutes for the maintenance of drapery and the keeping of wools within the realm; and not only so, but for stinting and limiting the prices of cloth; one for the finer, and another for the coarser sort. Which I note, both because it was a rare thing to set prices by statute, especially upon our home commodities; and because of the wise model of the act; not prescribing prices, but stinting them not to exceed a rate; that the clothier might drape accordingly as he might afford.
12. Divers other good statutes were made that Parliament, but these were the principal. And here I do desire those into whose hands this work shall fall, that they do take in good part my long insisting upon the laws that were made in this King’s reign; whereof I have these reasons; both because it was the preeminent virtue and merit of this Kign, to whose memory I do honour; and because it hath some correspondence to my person; but chiefly because in my jugdment it is some defect even in the best writers of history, that they do not often enough summarily deliver and set down the most memorable laws that passed in the times whereof they write, being indeed the principal acts of peace. For though they may be had in original books of law themselves; yet that informeth not the judgment of kings and counsellors and persons of estate so well as to see them described and entered in the table and portrait of the times.
13. About the same time the King had a loan from the City of four thousand poiunds, which was double to that they lent before, and was duly and orderly paid back at the day, as the former likewise had been: the King ever choosing rather to borrow too soon than to pay too late, and so keeping up his credit.
14. Neither had the King yet cast off his cares and hopes touching Brittaine, but thought to master the occasion by policy, though his arms had been unfortunate, and to bereave the French King of the fruit of his victory. The sum of his design was to encourage Maximilan to go on with his suit for the marriage of Anne the heir of Brittaine, and to aid him to the consummation thereof. But the affairs of Maximilian were at that time in great trouble and combustion, by a rebellion of his subjects in Flanders, especially those of Bruges and Gaunt; whereof the town of Bruges (at such time as Maximilian was there in person) had suddenly armed in tumult, and slain some of his principal officers, and taken himself prisoner, and held him in durance till they had enforced him and some of his counsellors to take a solemn oath to pardon all their offences, and never to question and revenge the same in time to come. Nevertheless Frederick the Emperor would not suffer this reproach and indignity offered to his son to pass, but made sharp wars upon Flanders to reclaim and chastise the rebels. But the Lord Ravenstein a principal person about Maximilian and one that had taken the oath of abolition with his master, pretending the religion thereof, but indeed upon private ambition, and as it was thought instigated and corrupted from France, forsook the Emperor and Maximilian his lord, and made himself an head of the popular party, and seized upon the towns of Ipre and Sluce with both the castles; and forthwith sent to the Lord Cordes governor of Picardy under the French King, to desire aid, and to move him that he on the behalf of the French King would be protector of the united towns, and by force of arms reduce the rest. The Lord Cordes was ready to embrace the occasion, which was partly of his own setting, and sent forthwith greater forces than it had been possible for him to raise on the sudden if he had not looked for such a summons before, in aid of the Lord Ravenstein and the Flemings, with instructions to invest the towns between France and Bruges. The French forces besieged a little town called Dixmue, where part of the Flemish forces joined with them While they lay at this siege, the King of England, upon pretence of the safety of the English pale about Calais, but in truth being loth that Maximilian should become contemptible and thereby be shaken off by the states of Brittaine about his marriage, sent over the Lord Morley with a thousand men unto the Lord Daubigny, then deputy of Calais, with secret instructions to aid Maximilian and to raise the siege of Dixmue. The Lord Daubigny (giving it out that all was for the strengthening of the English marches) drew out of the garrisons of Calais, Hammes and Guines, to the number of a thousand men more; so that with the fresh succours that came under the conduct of the Lord Morley, they made up to the number of two thousand or better. Which forces joining with some companies of Almaynes [Germans], put themselves into Dixmue, not perceived by the enemies; and passing through the town (with some reinforcement from the forces that were in the town) assailed the enemies’ camp, negligently guarded as being out of fear, where there was a bloody fight, in which the English and their partakers obtained the victory, and slew to the number of eight thousand men, with the loss on the English part of a hundred or thereabouts; amongst whom was the Lord Morley. They took also their great ordnance, with much rich spoils, which they carried to Newport; whence the Lord Daubigny returned to Calais, leaving the hurt men and some other voluntaries in Newport. But the Lord Cordes being at Ipre with a great power of men, thinking to recover the loss and disgrace of the fight at Dixmue, came presently on and sat down before Newport and besieged it; and after some days siege, he resolved to try the fortune of an assault; which he did one day, and succeeded therein so far, that he had taken the principal tower and fort in that city, and planted upon it the French banner; whence nevertheless they were presently beaten forth by the English, by the help of some fresh succours of archers, arriving by good fortune (at the instant) in the haven of Newport. Whereupon the Lord Cordes, discouraged, and measuring the new succours which were small by the success which was great, left his siege. By this means matters grew more exasperate between the two Kings of England and France, for that in the war of Flanders the auxilary forces of French and English were much blooded one against another; which blood rankled the more, by the vain words of the Lord Cordes, that declared himself an open enemy of the English, beyond that that appertained to the present service; making it a common by-word of this, That he could be content to lie in hell seven years so he might win Calais from the English.
15. The King having thus upheld the reputation of Maximilian, advised him now to press on his marriage with Brittaine to a conclusion; which Maximilian accordingly did; and so far forth prevailed both with the young lady and with the principal persons about her, as the marriage was consummate by proxy with a ceremony at that time in these parts new. For she was not only publicly contracted, but stated as a bride, and solemnly bedded, and after she was laid, there came in Maximilian’s ambassador with letters of procuration, and in the presence of sundry noble personages, men and women, put his leg (stript naked to the knee) between the espousal sheets, to the end that the ceremony might be thought to amount to a consummation and actual knowledge. This done, Mximilian (whose property was to leave things then when they had almost comen to perfection, and to end them by imagination; like ill archers, that draw not their arrows up to the head; and who might as easily have bedded the lady himself as to have made a play and disguise of it,) thinking now all assured, neglected for a time his further proceeding, and intended his wars. Meanwhile the French King (consulting with his divines, and finding that this pretended consummation was rather an invention of court than any ways valid by the laws of the church,) went more really to work; and by secret instruments and cunning agents, as well matrons about the young lady as counsellors, first sought to remove the point of religion and honour out of the mind of the lady herself; wherein there was a double labour; for Maximilian was not only contracted unto the lady, but Maximilian’s daughter was likewise contracted to King Charles: also as the marriage halted upon both feet, and was not clear on either side. But for the contract with King Charles, the exception lay plain and fair; for that Maximilian’s daughter was under years of consent, and so not bound by law; but by a power of disagreement left to either part. But for the contract made by Maximilian with the lady herself, they were harder driven: having nothing to allege, but that it was done without the consent of her sovereign lord King Charles, whose ward and client she was, and he to her in place of a father; and therefore it was void and of no force, for want of such consent. Which defect (they said) thought it would not evacuate a marriage after cohabitation and actual consummation, yet it was enough to make void a contract. For as for the pretended consummation, they made sport with it, and said that it was an argument that Maximilian was a widower, and a cold wooer, that could content himself to be a bridegroom by deputy, and would not make a little journey to put all out of question. So instilled by such as the French King (who spared for no rewards or promises) had made on his side; and allured likewise by the present glory and greatness of King Charles (being also a young king and a bachelor); and loth to make her country the seat of a long and miserable war; secretly yielded to accept of King Charles. But during this secret treaty with the lady, the better to save it from blasts of opposition and interruption, King Charles resorting to his wonted arts, and thinking to carry the marriage as he had carried the wars, by entertaining the King of England in vain belief, sent a solemn ambassage by Francis Lord of Luxemburgh, Charles Marignian, and Robert Gagvien, general of the order of the bons-hommes of the Trinity, to treat a peace and league with the King; accoupling it with an article in the nature of a request, that the French King might with the King’s good will (according unto his right of seigniory and tutelage) dispose of the marriage of the young Duchess of Brittaine as he should think good, offering by a judicial proceeding to make void the marriage of Maximilian by proxy. Also all this while the better to amuse the world, he did continue in his court and custody the daughter of Maximilian, who formerly had been sent unto him to be bred and educated in France, not dismissing or renvoying her, but contrariwise professing and giving out strongly that he meant to proceed with that match; and that for the Duchess of Brittaine, he desired only to preserve his right of seigniory, and to give her in marriage to some such ally as might depend upon him.
16. When the three commissioners came to the court of England, they delivered their ambassage unto the King, who remitted them to his counsel; where some days after they had audience, and made their proposition by the Prior of the Trinity (who though he were third in place, yet was held the best speaker of them) to this effect:
17. “My lords, the King our master, the greatest and mightiest King that reigned in France since Charles the great whose name he beareth, hath nevertheless thought it no disparagement to his greatness at this time to propound a peace, yea and to pray a peace, with the King of England. For which purpose he hath sent us his commissioners, instructed and enabled with full and ample power to treat and conclude; giving us further in charge to open in some other business the secrets of his own intentions. These be indeed the precious love tokens between great Kings, to communicate one with another the true state of their affairs, and to pass by nice points of honour, which ought not to give law unto affection. This I do assure your lordships; it is not possible for you to imagine the true and cordial love that the King our master beareth to your sovereign, except you were near him as we are. He useth his name with so great respect, he remembereth their first acquaintance at Paris with so great contentment, nay he never speaks of him, but that presently he falls into discourse of the miseries of great Kings, in that they cannot converse with their equals, but with their servants. This affection to your King’s person and virtues God hath put into the heart of our master, no doubt for the good of Christendom, and for purpose yet unknown to us all; for other root it cannot have, since it was the same to the Earl of Richmond that it now is to the King of England. This is therefore the first motive that makes our King to desire peace and league with your sovereign; good affection, and somewhat that he finds in his own heart. This affection is also armed with reason of estate. For our King doth in all candour and frankness of dealing open himself unto you, that having an honourable, yea and holy purpose, to make a voyage and war in remote parts, he considereth that it will be of no small effect in point of reputation to his enterprise, if it be known abroad that he is in good peace with all his neighbour princes, and especially with the King of England, whom for good causes he esteemeth most.
18. “But now my lords give me leave to use a few words, to remove all scruples and misunderstandings between your sovereign and ours, concerning some late actions; which if they be not cleared, may perhaps hinder this peace; to the end that for matters past neither King may conceive unkindness of other, nor think the other conceiveth unkindness of him. The late actions are two; that of Brittaine, and that of Flanders. In both which it is true that the subjects’ swords of both Kings have encountered and stricken and the ways and inclinations also of the two Kings in respect of their confederates and allies have severed.
19. “For that of Brittaine; the King your sovereign knoweth best what hath passed. It was a war of necessity on our master’s part. And though the motives of it were sharp and piquant as could be, yet did he make that war rather with an olive-branch than a laurel-branch in his hand; more desiring peace than victory. Beside from time to time he sent as it were blank papers to your King, to write the conditions of peace. For though both his honour and safety went upon it, yet the thought neither of them too precious to put into the King of England’s hands. Neither doth our King on the other side make any unfriendly interpretation of your King’s sending of succours to the Duke of Brittaine; for the King knoweth well that many things must be done of Kings for satisfaction of their people; and it is not hard to discern what is a King’s own. But this matter of Brittaine is now by the act of God ended and passed; and, as the King hopeth, like the way of a ship in the sea, without leaving any impression in either of the King’s minds; as he is sure for his part it hath not done in his.
20. “For the action of Flanders; as the former of Brittaine was a war of necessity, so this was a war of justice; which with a good King is of equal necessity with danger of estate; for else he should leave to be a King. The subjects of Burgundy are subjects in chief to the crown of France, and their Duke the homager and vassal of France. They had wont to be good subjects, howsoever Maximilian hath of late distempered them. They fled to the King for justice and deliverance from oppression. This was good for Maximilian if he could have seen it: in people mutinied to arrest fury, and prevent despair. My lords, it may be this I have said is needless, save that the King our master is tender in any thing that may but glance upon the friendship of England. The amity between the two Kings no doubt stands entire and involate. And that their subjects’ swords have clashed, it is nothing unto the public peace of the crowns; it being a very thing usual in auxiliary forces of the best and straitest confederates to meet and draw blood in the field. Nay many times there be aids of the same nation on both sides, and yet it is not for all that a kingdom divided in itself.
21. “It resteth my lords that I impart unto you a matter that I know your lordships all will much rejoice to hear; as that which importeth the Christian commonweal more than any action that hath happened of long time. The King our master hath a purpose and determination to make war upon the kingdom of Naples, being now in the possession of a bastard slip of Arragon; but appertaining unto his majesty by clear and undoubted right; which if he should not by just arms seek to recover, he could neither acquit his honour nor answer it to his people. But his noble and christian thoughts rest not here: for his resolution and hope is, to make the reconquest of Naples but as a bridge to transport his forces into Grecia, and not to spare blood or treasure (if it were to the impawning his crown and dispeopling of France) till either he hath overthrown the empire of the Ottomans, or taken it in his way to paradise. The King knoweth well that this is a design that could not arise in the mind of any King that did not steadfastly look up unto God, whose quarrel this is, and from whom cometh both the will and the deed. But yet it is agreeable to the person that he beareth (though unworthy) of the Thrice Christian King, and the eldest son of the church; whereunto he is also invited by the example (in most ancient time) of King Henry the Fourth of England, (the first renowned King of the House of Lancaster; ancestor though not progenitor to your King;) who had a purpose towards the end of this time (as you know better) to make an expedition into the Holy-land; and by the example also (present before his eyes) of that honourable and religious war which the King of Spain now maketh and hath almost brought to perfection, for the recovery of the realm of Granada from the Moors. And although this enterprise may seem vast and unmeasured, for the King to attempt that by his own forces, wherein (heretofore) a conjunction of most of the Christian Princes hath found work enough; yet his Majesty wisely considereth, that sometime smaller forced being united under one command are more effectual in proof (though not so promising in opinion and fame) than much greater forces variously compounded by associations and leagues, which commonly in a short time after their beginnings turn to dissociations and divisions. But my lords that which is as a voice from heaven that calleth the King to this enterprise, is a rent at this time in the house of the Ottomans. I do not say but there hath been brother against brother in that house before, but never any that refuge to the arms of the Christians, as now hath Gemes (brother under Bajazet that reigneth,) the far braver man of the two; the other being between a monk and a philosopher; and better read in the Alcoran and Avorroes, than able <to> wield the scepter of so warlike an empire. This therefore is the King our master’s memorable and heroical resolution for an holy war. And because he carrieth in this the person of a Christian soldier as well as of a great temporal monarch, he beginneth with humility; and is content for this cause to beg peace at the hands of other Christian Kings.
“There remaineth only rather a civil request than any essential part of our negotiation, which the King maketh to the King your sovereign. The King (as all the world knoweth) is lord in chief of the duchy of Brittaine. The marriage of the heir belongeth to him as guardian. This is a private patrimonial right, and no business of estate. Yet nevertheless (to run a fair course with your King, whom he desires to make another himself, and to be one and the same thing with him,) his request is, that with the King’s favour and consent he may dispose of her marriage as he thinketh good, and make void the intruded and pretended marriage of Maximilian, according to justice. This, my lords, is all that I have to say, desiring your pardon for my weakness in the delivery.”
22. Thus did the French ambassadors, with great shew of their King’s affection and many sugared words, seek to addulce [sweeten] all matters between the two Kings; having two things for their ends; the one to keep the King quiet till the marriage of Brittaine was past (and this was but a summer fruit, which they thought was almost ripe, and would soon be gathered): The other was more lasting; and that was to put him into such a temper, as he might be no disturbance or impediment to the voyage for Italy.
The lords of the counsel were silent, and said only that they knew the ambassadors would look for no answer till they had reported to the King. And so they rose from counsel.
The King could not well tell what to think of the marriage of Brittaine. He saw plainly the ambition of the French King was to impatronise himself of the duchy; but he wondered he would bring into his house a litigous marriage, especially considering who was his successor. But weighing one thing with another, he gave Brittaine for lost; but resolved to make his profit of this business of Britaine, as a quarrel for war; and of that of Naples, as a wrench and mean for peace; being well advertised how strongly the King was bent upon that action. Having therefore conferred divers times with his counsel, and keeping himself somewhat close, he gave a direction to the Chancellor for a formal answer to the ambassadors; and that he did in the presence of his counsel. And after, calling the Chancellor to him apart, bad him speak in such language as was fit for a treaty that was to end in a breach; and gave him also a special caveat, that he should not use any words to discourage the voyage of Italy. Soon after the ambassadors were sent for to the counsel, and the Lord Chancellor spake to them in this sort:
23. “My lords ambassadors, I shall make answer by the King’s commandment unto the eloquent declaration of you my lord Prior, in a brief and plain manner. The King forgetteth not his former love and acquaintance with the King your master. But of this there needeth no repetition; for if it be between them as it was, it is well; if there be any alteration, it is not words will make it up. [24.] For the business of Brittaine, the King findeth it a little strange that the French King maketh mention of it as matter of well deserving at his hand. For that deserving was no more but to make him his instrument to surprise one of his best confederates. And for the marriage, the King would not meddle in it, if your master would marry by the book, and not by the sword. [25.] For that of Flanders, if the subjects of Burgundy had appealed to your King as their chief lord, at first, by way of supplication, it might have had a shew of justice. But it was a new form of process, for subjects to imprison their prince first, and to slay his officers, and then to be complainants. The King saith that sure he is, when the French King and himself sent to the subjects of Scotland (that had taken arms against their King), they both spake in another stile, and did in princely manner signify their detestation of popular attentates upon the person or authority <of> Princes. But, my lords ambassadors, the King leaveth these two actions thus. That on the one side he hath not received any manner of satisfaction from you concerning them; and on the other, that he doth not apprehend them so deeply, as in respect of them to refuse to treat of peace, if other things may go hand in hand. As for the war of Naples and the design against the Turk; the King hath commanded me expressly to say, that he doth wish with all his heart to his good brother the French King, that his fortunes may succeed according to his hopes and honourable intentions: and whensoever he shall hear that he is prepared for Grecia, — as you master is pleased now to say that the beggeth a peace of the King, so the King then will beg of him a part in that war. [26.]But now, my lords ambassadors, I am to propound to you somewhat on the King’s part. The King your master hath taught our King what to say and demand. You say (my lord Prior) that your King is resolved to recover his right to Naples, wrongfully detained from him; and that if he should not thus do, he could not acquit his honour, nor answer it to the people. Think my lords that the King our master saith the same thing over again to you, touching Normandy, Guienne, Anjou; yea and the kingdom of France itself. I cannot express it better than in your own words. If therefore the French King shall consent that the King our master’s title to France (or at least tribute for the same) be handled in the treaty, the King is content to go on with the rest, otherwise he refuseth to treat.”
27. The ambassadors being somewhat abashed with this demand, answered in some heat, that they doubted not but that the King their sovereign’s sword would be able to maintain his scepter; and they assured themselves he neither could nor would yield to any diminution of the crown of France, either in territory or regality. But howsoever, they were too great matters for them to speak of, having no commission. It was replied that the King looked for no other answer from them, but would forthwith send his own ambassadors to the French King. There was a question also asked at the table: Whether the French King would agree to have the disposing of the marriage of Brittaine, with an exception and exclusion that he should not marry her himself? To which the ambassadors answered, that it was so far out of their King’s thoughts as they had received no instructions touching the same. Thus were the ambassadors dismissed, all save the Prior; and were followed immediately by Thomas Earl of Ormond, and Thomas Goldenston Prior of Christ-Church in Canterbury, who were presently sent over into France. In the mean space Lionel Bishop of Concordia was sent as nuncio from Pope Alexander the Sixth to both Kings, to move a peace between them. For Pope Alexander, finding himself pent and locked up by a league and association of the principal states of Italy, that he could not make his way for the advancement of his own house (which he immoderately thirsted after), was desirous to trouble the waters in Italy, that he might fish the better; casting the net not out of St. Peter’s, but out of Borgia’s bark. And doubting lest the fears from England might stay the French King’s voyage into Italy, dispatched this bishop to compose all matters between these two Kings, if he could: who first repaired to the French King, and finding him well inclined (as he conceived), took on his journey towards England, and found the English ambassadors at Calais on their way towards the French King. After some conference with them, he was in honourable manner transported over into England, where he had audience of the King. But notwithstandinng he had a good ominous name to have made a peace, nothing followed. For in the mean time the purpose of the French King to marry the Duchess could be no longer dissembled. Wherefore the English ambassadors (finding how things went) took their leave and returned. And the Prior also was warned from hence, to depart out of England. Who when he turned his back, (more like a pedant than an ambassador) dispersed a bitter libel in Latin verse against the King; unto which the King (though he had nothing of a pedant) yet was content to cause an answer to be made in like verse; and that as speaking in his own person; but in a stile of scorn and sport.
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