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BOUT this time also was born the King’s second son Henry, who afterwards reigned. And soon after followed the solemnisation of the marriage between Charles and Anne Duchess of Britaine, with whom he received the duchy of Brittaine as her dowry; the daughter of Maximilian being a little before sent home. Which when it came to the ears of Maximilian (who would never believe it till it was done, being ever the principal in deceiving himself; though in this the French King did very handsomely second it) and tumbling it over and over in his thoughts, that he should at one blow (with such a double scorn) be defeated both of the marriage of his daughter and his own (upon both which he had fixed high imaginations), he lost all patience; and casting off the respects fit to be continued between great Kings (even when their blood is hottest and most risen), fell to bitter invectives against the person and actions of the French King; and (by how much he was the less able to do, talking so much the more) spake all the injuries he could devise of Charles; saying that he was the most perfidious man upon the earth; and that he had made a marriage compounded between an advoultry [adultery] and a rape; which was done (he said) by the just judgment of God to the end that (the nullity thereof being so apparent to all the world) the race of so unworthy a person might not reign in France. And forthwith he sent ambassadors as well to the King of England as to the King of Spain, to incite them to war and to treat a league offensive against France, promising to concur with great forces of his own. Hereupon the King of England (going nevertheless his own way) called a Parliament, it being the seventh year of his reign; and the first day of opening thereof (sitting under his cloth of estate) spake himself unto his Lords and Commons in this manner:
2. “My Lords and you the Commons; when I purposed to make a war in Brittaine by my lieutenant, I made declaration thereof to you by my Chancellor. But now that I mean to make a war upon France in person, I will declare it to you myself. That war was to defend another man’s right, but this is to recover our own; and that ended by accident, but we hope this shall end in victory.
3. “The French King troubles the Christian world. That which he hath is not his own, and yet he seeketh more. He hath invested himself of Brittaine. He maintaineth the rebels in Flanders: and he threateneth Italy. For ourselves, he hath proceeded from dissimulation to neglect, and from neglect to contumely. He hath assailed our confederates: he denieth our tribute: in a word, he seeks war. So did not his father; but sought peace at our hands; and so perhaps will he, when good counsel or time shall make him see as much as his father did.
4. “Meanwhile, let us make his ambition our advantage, and let us not stand upon a crowns of tribute or acknowledgement, but by the favour of Almighty God try our right for the crown of France itself; remembering that there hath been a French King prisoner in England, and a King of England crowned in France. Our confederates are not diminished. Burgundy is in a mightier hand than ever, and never more provoked. Britainne cannot help us, but it may hurt them. New acquests [acquisitions] are more burden than strength. The malcontents of his own kingdom have not been base populace nor titulary impostors; but of an higher nature. The King of Spain (doubt ye not) will join with us, not knowing where the French King’s ambition will stay. Our holy father (the Pope) likes no Tramontanes [northern Europeans] in Italy. But howsoever it be, this matter of confederates is rather to be thought on than reckoned on; for God forbid but England should be able to get reason of France without a second.
5. “At the battles of Cressy, Poictiers, Agent-Court, we were of ourselves. France hath much people, and few soldiers: they have no stable bands of foot. Some good horse they have, but those are forces which are least fit for a defensive war, where the actions are in the assailant’s choice. It was our discords only that lost France; and (by the power of God) it is the good peace which we now enjoy that will recover it. God hath hitherto blessed my sword. I have in this time that I have reigned, weeded out my bad subjects, and tried my good. My people and I know one another; which breeds confidence. And if there should be any bad blood left in the kingdom, an honourable foreign war will vent it or purify it. In this great business let me have your advice and aid. If any of you were to make his son knight, you might have aids of your tenants by law. This concerns the knighthood and spurs of the kingdom, whereof I am after; and bound not only to seek to maintain it, but to advance it. But for matter of treasure let it not be taken from the poorest sort, but from those to whom the benefit of the war may redound. France is no wilderness and I that profess good husbandry hope to make the war (after the beginnings) to pay itself. Go together in God’s name, and lose no time, for I have called this Parliament wholly for this cause.”
6. Thus spake the King. But for all this, though he shewed great forwardness for war, not only to his Parliament and court, but to his privy counsel likewise (except the two bishops and a few more), yet nevertheless in his secret intentions he had no purpose to go through with any war upon France. But the truth was, that he did but traffic with that war, to make his return in money. He knew well that France was now entire and at unity with itself, and never so mighty many years before. He saw by the taste he had of his forces sent into Brittaine that the French knew well enough how to make war with the English; by not putting things to the hazard of a battle, but wearying them by long sieges of towns, and strong fortified encampings. James the Third of Scotland, his true friend and confederate, gone; and James the Fourth (that had succeeded) wholly at the devotion of France, and ill-affected towards him. As for the conjunctions of Ferdinando of Spain and Maximilian, he could make no foundation upon them. For the one had power and not will; and the other had will and not power. Besides that Ferdinando had but newly taken breath from the war with the Moors; and merchanded [ negotiated] at this time with France for the restoring of the counties of Russignon and Perpignian, oppignorated [used as collateral for a loan] to the French. Neither was he out of fear of the discontents and ill blood within the realm; which having used always to repress and appease in person, he was loth they should find him at a distance beyond the sea, and engaged in war. Finding therefore the inconveniencies and difficulties in the prosecution of a war, he cast with himself how to compass two things. The one, how by the declaration and inchoation [commencement] of a war to make his profit. The other, how to come off from the war with saving of his honour. For profit, it was to be made two ways; upon his subjects for the war, and upon his enemies for the peace; like a good merchant that maketh his gain both upon the commodities exported and imported back again. For the point of honour, wherein he might suffer for giving over the war, he considered well, that as he could not trust upon the aids of Ferdinando and Maximilian for supports of war, so the impuissance [powerlessness] of the one, and the double proceeding of the other, lay fair for him for occasions to accept of peace. These things he did wisely foresee, and did as artificially conduct, whereby all things fell into his lap as he desired.
7. For as for the Parliament, it presently took fire, being affectionate (of old) to the war of France, and desirous (afresh) to repair the dishonour they thought the King sustained by the loss of Brittaine. Therefore they advised the King (with great alacrity) to undertake the war of France. And although the Parliament consisted of the first and second nobility (together with principal citizens and townsmen), yet worthily and justly respecting more the people (whose deputies they were) than their own private persons; and finding, by the Lord Chancellor’s speech, the King’s inclination that way; they consented that commissioners should go forth for the gathering and levying of a Benevolence from the more able sort. This tax (called a Benevolence) was devised by Edward the Fourth, for which he sustained much envy. It was abolished by Richard the Third by act of Parliament, to ingratiate himself with the people; and it was no revived by the King; but with consent of Parliament; for so it was not in the time of King Edward the Fourth. But by this way he raised exceedingly great sums. Insomuch as the city of London (in those days) contributed nine thousand pounds and better; and that chiefly levied upon the wealthier sort. There is a tradition of a dilemma that Bishop Morton (the Chancellor) used, to raise up the Benevolence to higher rates; and some called it his fork, and some his crotch. For he had couched an article in the intructions to the commissioners who were to levy the Benevolence, That if they met with any that were sparing, they should tell them that they must needs have, because they laid up; and if they were spenders, they must needs have, because it was seen in their port [style] and manner of living; so neither kind came amiss.
8. This Parliament was merely a Parliament of war; for it was in substance but a declaration of war against France and Scotland, with some statutes conducing thereunto; as the severe punishing of mort-pays and keeping back soldiers’ wages in captains; the like severity for the departure of soldiers without licence; strengthening of the common law in favour of protections for those that were in the King’s service; and the setting the gate open and wide, for men to sell or mortage their lands without fines for alienation, to furnish themselves with money for the war; and lastly the voiding of all Scotchmen out of England.
There was also a statute for the dispersing of the standard of the exchequer throughout England, thereby to size weights and measures; and two or three more of less importance.
9. After the Parliament was broken up (which lasted not long) the King went on with his preparations for war of France; yet neglected not in the mean time the affairs of Maximilian, for the quieting of Flanders and restoring him to his authority amongst his subjects. For at that time the Lord of Ravenstein, being not only a subject rebelled but a servant revolted (and so much the more malicious and violent), by the aid of Bruges and Gaunt had taken the town and both the castles of Sluice (as we said before); and having by the commodity of the haven gotten together certain ships and barks, fell to a kind of piratical trade; robbing and spoiling and taking prisoners the ships and vessels of all nations that passed alongst that coast towards the mart of Antwerp, or into any part of Brabant, Zealand, or Friezeland; being ever well victualled from Picardy, besides the commodity of victuals from Sluice and the country adjacent, and the avails of his own prizes. The French assisted him still under-hand; and he likewise (as all men do that have been on both sides) thought himself not safe, except he depended on a third person.
[10.] There was a small town some two miles from Bruges towards the sea, called Dam; which was a fort and approach to Bruges, and had a relation also to Sluice. This town the King of the Romans had attempted often (not for any worth of the town in itself, but because it might choke Bruges, and cut it off from the sea); and ever failed. But therewith the Duke of Saxony came down into Flanders, taking upon him the person of an umpire, to compose things between Maximilian and his subjects; but being (indeed) fast and assured to Maximilian. Upon this pretext of neutrality and treaty, he repaired to Bruges, desiring of the the states of Bruges to enter peacably into their town, with a retinue of some number of men of arms fit for his estate, being somewhat the more (as he said) the better to guard him in a country that was up in arms; and bearing them in hand that he was to communicate with them of divers matters of great importance for their good; which having obtained of them, he sent his carriages and harbingers before him to provide his lodging; so that his men of war entered the city in good array, but in peaceable manner, and he followed. They that went before inquired still for inns and lodgings, as if they would have rested there all night; and so went on till they came to the gate that leadeth directly towards Dam; and they of Bruges only gazed upon them, and gave them passage. The captains and inhabitants of Dam also suspected no harm from any that passed through Bruges; and discovering forces afar off, supposed they had been some succours that were come from their friends, knowing some dangers towards them: and so perceiving nothing but well till it was too late, suffered them to enter the town. By which kind of slight, rather than stratagem, the town of Dam was taken, and the town of Bruges shrewdly blocked up, whereby they took great discouragement.
[11.] The Duke of Saxony, having won the town of Dam, sent immediately to the King to let him know that it was Sluice chiefly and the Lord Ravenstein that kept the rebellion of Flanders in life; and that if it pleased the King to besiege it by sea, he also would besiege it by land, and so cut out the core of those wars.
[12.] The King, willing to uphold the authority of Maximilian (the better to hold France in awe) and being likewise sued unto by his merchants, for that the seas were much infested by the barks of the Lord Ravenstein, sent straightways Sir Edward Poynings, a valiant man and of good service, with twelve ships, will furnished with soldiers and artillery, to clear the seas, and to besiege Sluice on that part. The Englishmen did not only coop up the Lord Ravenstein, that he stirred not, and likewise hold in straight siege the maritime part of the town, but also assailed one of the castles, and renewed the assault so for twenty days’ space (issuing still out of their ships at the ebb), as they made great slaughter of them of the castle, who continually fought with them to repulse them; though of the English part also were slain a brother of the Earl of Oxford’s, and some fifty more.
[13.] But the siege still continuing more and more straight; and both the castles (which were the principal strength of the town) being distressed, the one by the Duke of Saxony, and the other by the English; and a bridge of boats, which the Lord Ravenstein had made between both castles, whereby succours and relief might pass from the one to the other, being on a night set on fire by the English, he despairing to hold the town, yielded (at the last) the castles to the English, and the town to the Duke of Saxony, by composition. Which done, the Duke of Saxony and Sir Edward Poynings treated with them of Bruges to submit themselves to Maximilian their lord; which after some time they did, paying (in some good part) the charge of the war, whereby the Almains [Gemans] and foreign succours were dismissed. The example of Bruges other of the revolted towns followed; so that Maximilian grew to be out of danger, but (as was his manner to handle matters) never out of necessity. And Sir Edward Poynigns (after he had continued at Sluice some good while till all things were settled) returned unto the King, being then before Bulloigne.
14. Somewhat about this time came letters from Ferdinando and Isabella, King and Queen of Spain, signifying the final conquest of Grenada from the Moors; which action, in itself so worthy, King Ferdinando (whose manner was never to lose any virtue for the shewing) had expressed and displayed in his letters at large; with all the particularities and religious punctos [punctiliousness] and ceremonies, that were observed in the reception of the city and kingdom: shewing amongst other things, that the King would not by any means in person enter the city, until he had first aloof [from a distance] seen the cross set up upon the greater tower of Grenada, whereby it became Christian ground; that likewise before he would enter he did homage to God above, pronouncing by a herald from the height of that tower, that he did acknowledge to have recovered that kingdom by the help of God Almighty, and the glorious Virgin, and the virtuous Apostle Saint James, and the holy father Innocent the Eighth, together with the aids and services of his prelates, nobles, and commons: that yet he stirred not from his camp, till he had seen a little army of martyrs, to the number of seven hundred and more Christians (that had lived in bonds and servitutde as slaves to the Moors), pass before his eyes, singing a psalm for their redemption; and that he had given tribute unto God, by alms and relif extended to them all, for his admission into the city. These things were in the letters, with many more ceremonies of a kind of holy ostentation.
15. The King, ever willing to put himself into the consort or quire of all religious actions, and naturally affecting [having affection for] much the King of Spain (as far as one King can affect another), partly for his virtue and partly for a counterpoise to France; upon the receipt of these letters sent all his nobles and prelates that were about the court, together with the mayor and aldermen of London, in great solemnity to the Chuch of Paul’s; there to hear a declaration from the Lord Chancellor, now Cardinal. When they were assembled, the Cardinal, standing upon the uppermost step or haf-pace before the quire, and all the nobles, prelates, and governors of the City at the foot of the stairs, made a speech to them; letting them know, that they were assembled in that consecrated place to sing unto God a new song. For that (said he) these many years the Christians have not gained new ground or territory upon the Infidels, nor enlarged and set further the bounds of the Christian world. But this is now done by the prowess and devotion of Ferdinando and Isabella, Kings of Spain; who have to their immortal honour recovered the great and rich kingdom of Granada and the populous and mighty city of the same name from the Moors, having been in possession thereof by the space of seven hundred years and more; for which this assembly and all Christians are to render all laud and thanks unto God, and to celebrate this noble act of the King of Spain, who in this is not only victorious but apostolical, in the gaining of new provinces to the Christian faith; and the rather for that this victory and conquest is obtained without much effusion of blood; whereby it is to be hoped that there shall be gained not only new territory, but infinite souls to the church of Christ; whom the Almighty (as it seems) would have live to be converted. Wherewithal he did relate some of the most memorable particulars of the war and victory. And after his speech ended, the whole assembly went solemnly in procession, and Te Deum was sung.
16. Immediately after the solemnity, the King kept his May-day of his palace at Shine (now Richmond); where to warm the blood of his nobility and gallants against the war, he kept great triumphs of justing and tourney during all that month. In which space it so fell out, that Sir James Parker and Hugh Vaughan one of the King’s gentlemen ushers, having had a controversy touching certain arms that the King-at-Arms had given Vaughan, were appointed to run some courses one against another; and by accident of a faulty helmet that Parker had on, he was stricken into the mouth at the first course, so that his tongue was borne into the hinder part of his head, in such sort that he died presentliy upon the place; which because of the controversy precedent, and the death that followed, was accounted amongst the vulgar as a combat or trial of right.
The King towards the end of this summer, having put his forces wherewith he meant to invade France in readiness (but so as they were not yet met or mustered together), sent Urswick, now made his almoner, and Sir John Risley to Maximilian, to let him know that he was in arms, ready to pass the seas into France, and did but expect to hear from him when and where he did appoint to join with him, according to his promise made unto him by Countebalt his ambassador.
17. The English ambassadors having repaired to Maximilian did find his power and promise at a very great distance; he being utterly unprovided of men, money, and arms, for any such enterprise. For Maximilian having neither wing to fly on, for that his patrimony of Austria was not in his hands (his father being then living), on the other side his matrimonial territories of Flanders were partly in dower to his mother-in-law, and partliy not serviceable in respect of the late rebellions, was thereby destitute of means to enter into war. The ambassadors saw this well, but wisely thought fit to adverstise the King thereof, rather than to return themselves, till the King’s further pleasure were known; the rather, for that Maximilian himself spake as great as ever he did before, and entertained them with dilatory answers; so as the formal part of their ambassage might well warrant and require their further stay. The King hereupon, who doubted as much before, and saw through his business from the beginning, wrote back to the ambassadors, commending their discretion in not returning, and willing them to keep the state wherein the found Maximilian as a secret, till they heard further from him; and meanwhile went on with his voyage royal for France; suppressing for a time this advertisement touching Maximilian’s poverty and disability.
18. By this time was drawn together a great and puissant army unto the City of London; in which were Thomas Marquis Dorset, Thomas Earl of Arundel, Thomas Earl of Derby, George Earl of Shrewsbury, Edmond Earl of Suffolk, Edward Earl of Devonshire, George Earl of Kent, the Earl of Essex, Thomas Earl of Ormond, with a great number of barons, knights, and principal gentlemen; and amongst them Richard Thomas, much noted for the brave troops that he brought out of Wales; the army rising in the whole to the number of five and twenty thousand foot, and sixteen hundred horsse; over which the King (constant with his accustomed trust and employment) made Jasper Duke of Bedford and John Earl of Oxford generals under his own person. The ninth of September, in the eighth year of his reign, he departed from Greenwich towards the sea; all men wondering that he took that season (being so near winter) to begin the war, and some thereupon gathering it was a sign that the war would not be long. Nevertheless the King gave out the contrary, thus; That he intending not to make a summer business of it, but a resolute war (without terms prefixed) until he had recovered France, it skilled [mattered] not much when he began it; especially having Calais at this back, where he might winter, if the reason of the war so required. The sixth of October he embarked at Sandwich; and the same day took land at Calais, which as the rendezvous where all his forces were assigned to meet. But in this his journey towards the sea-side (wherein for the cause that we shall now speak of he hovered so much the longer), he had received letters from the Lord Cordes (who the hotter he was against the English in time of war had the more credit in a negotiation of peace, and besides was held a man open and of good faith); in which letters there was made an overture of peace from the French King, with such conditions as were somewhat to the King’s taste; but this was carried at the first with wonderful secrecy. The King was no sooner come to Calais, but the calm winds of peace began to blow. For first the English ambassadors returned out of Flanders from Maximilian, and certified the King that he was not to hope for any aid from Maximilian, for that he was altogether unprovided. His will was good, but he lacked money. And this was made known and spread throughout the army. And although the English were therewithal nothing dismayed, and that it be the manner of soldiers upon bad news to speak the more bravely; yet nevertheless it was a kind of preparative to a peace. Instantly in the neck of this (as the King had laid it) came news that Ferdinando and Isabella, Kings of Spain, had concluded a peace with King Charles, and that Charles had restored unto them the counties of Ruscignon and Perpignian, which formerly were mortgaged by John King of Arragon, Ferdinando’s father, unto France, for three hundred thousand crowns: which debt was also upon this peace by Charles clearly released. This came also handsomely to put on the peace, both because so potent a confederate was fallen off, and because it was a fair example of a peace bought; so as the King should not be the sole merchant in this peace. Upon these airs of peace, the King was content that the Bishop of Exeter and the Lord Daubigny (Governor of Calais) should give a meeting unto the Lord Cordes, for the treaty of a peace: but himself nevertheless and his army, the fifteenth of October, removed from Calais, and in four days’ march sat him down before Bulloigne.
19. During this siege of Bulloigne (which continued near a month) there passed no memorable action nor accident of war. Only Sir John Savage, a valiant captain, was slain, riding about the walls of the town to take a view. The town was both well fortified and well manned; yet it was distressed, and ready for an an assault; which if it had been given (as was thought) would have cost much blood; but yet the town would have been carried in the end. Meanwhile a peace was concluded by the commissioners, to continue for both the Kings’ lives. Where there was no article of importance; being in effect rather a bargain than a treaty. For all things remained as they were, save that there should be paid to the King seven hundred forty-five thousand ducats in present, for his charges in that journey; and five and twenty thousand crowns yearly, for his charges sustained in the aids of the Britons. For which annual, though he had Maximilian bound before for those charges, yet he counted the alteration of the hand as much as the principal debt; and besides it was left somewhat indefinitely when it should determine or expire; which made the English esteem it as a tribute carried under fair terms. And the truth is, it was paid both to the King and his son Henry the Eighth, longer than it could continue upon any computation of charges. There was also assigned by the French King unto all the King’s principal counsellors great pensions, besides rich gifts for the present, which whether the king did permit, to save his own purse from rewards, or to communicate the envy a business that was displeasing to his people, was diversely interpreted: for certainly the King had no great fancy to own this peace; and therefore a little before it was concluded, he had under-hand procured some of his best captains and men of war to advise him to a peace under their hands, in an earnest manner, in the nature of a supplication. But the truth is, this peace was welcome to both Kings; to Charles, for that it assured unto him the possession of Brittaine, and freed the enterprise of Naples; to Henry, for that it filled his coffers; and that he foresaw at that time a storm of inward troubles coming upon, which presently after brake forth. But it gave no less discontent to the nobility and principal persons of the army, who had many of them sold or engaged their estates upon the hopes of the war. They stuck not to say, That the King cared not to plume his nobility and people, to feather himself. And some made themselves merry with that the King had said in Parliament; That after this war once begun, he doubted not but to make it pay itself; saying he had kept his promise.
20. Having risen from Bulloigne, he went to Calais, were he stayed some time: from whence also he writ letters (which was a courtesy that he sometimes used) to the Mayor of London and the Aldermen his brethren; half bragging what great sums he had obtained for the peace; knowing well that full coffers of the King is ever good news to London; and better news it would have been, if their benevolence had been but a loan. And upon the seventeenth of September following he returned to Westminster, where he kept his Christmas.
21. Soon after the King’s return, he sent the Order of the Garter to Alphonso Duke of Calabria, eldest son to Ferdinando King of Naples. An honour sought by that Prince to hold him up in the eyes of the Italians; who expecting the arms of Charles, made great account of the amity of England for a bridle to France. It was received by Alphonso with all the ceremony and pomp that could be devised; as things use to be carried that are intended for opinion. It was sent by Urswick; upon whom the King bestowed this ambassage, to help him after many dry employments.
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