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T is very difficult not to bring to completion something you began with high hopes, especially if you have not destroyed your mind by your efforts. I am speaking of myself, to show that my ship has now sailed its course, which so far has employed a steersman not wholly ignorant, nor idle. I has been a long time since I began my English history, which could scarcely be finished in a short space time. Meanwhile old age, which is wont to diminish men’s minds and powers, has gradually crept upon me, and yet I have decided not to leave my history unfinished. For from the time William the Norman established a monarchy among the English down to our day there have been twenty-six kings whose lives I have written in their proper order. Then followed Henry VIII, the twenty-seventh, whose accomplishments I have described down to the thirtieth year of his reign. He reigned eight more, at a time when I was recalled to Italy for reasons of business, and remained there a long time. By the time I returned to England, the series of public events which I was previously accustomed to set forth day by day had been interrupted, and poor health prevented me from adhering to my usual plan. Therefore the greatest part of Henry’s foreign achievements is given here, together with the rest of what Henry accomplished as an ally of the Emperor Charles in his Italian war against the French. In setting these things forth, I have not wished to appear long-winded, if everything could be dispatched with brevity. And what remains is collected in its chronological order, in order to bring this history to its completion, so that this Book, like its predecessors, can be ended with the death of the king.


S soon as Prince Henry of Wales had performed the funeral of his father, he married Catherine, the widow of his dead brother Arthur, and in doing so he obtained papal absolution from legal restrictions, for the sake of removing every scruple. This was permissible by right and law, since Arthur had fathered no children by the girl. For Moses gave the people a law, recorded in chapter 25 of Deuteronomy, where we read If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel. The Christian Church subsequently adopted this law for the sake of making peace between our sovereigns. But an unexpected development is said to have intervened, as if to bear witness that Catherine’s virginity was preserved, because, thanks to the impotence of her very young husband she was still permitted to enjoy her status as a virgo intacta, as she herself solemnly swore, and as was attested by the very proper ladies to whom she was accustomed to divulge her intimate secrets. Afterwards a day was appointed for a parliament, that he might be created king in the traditional way. Henry was eighteen years of age, and so was inexperienced, having previously devoted himself to his education. And so he particularly chose for his Privy Council intimates of his father, William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury the Chancellor, Richard Bishop of Winchester, Thomas Howard Earl of Surrey the Treasurer, George Talbot the Master of the Royal Household, Charles Somerset the Chamberlain, Thomas Lovell, Henry Wyatt, Thomas Rutall, Edward Poinings, and entrusted them with the government. They were afraid lest abundance and wealth might corrupt the young man’s character (for no previous king had inherited so much money and moveable property), and so industriously made a point of summoning Henry to their meetings and accustoming him to the transaction of business, so that he might gradually become accustomed to the management of affairs. For, like a tender young calf, he seemed to baulk at the yoke of responsibility. But first of all they attended to the will of the dead Henry, I mean to the enactment of his wishes. Therefore an edict was published throughout England that, if any man had been violated or deprived of his goods by the fiscal judges, for restitution of his property he should apply to the king, who was ready to make good all wrongs. When this edict had been published, all men who had lost anything, rightly or wrongly, came flocking to the palace, and each man claimed he had the more just grounds for a recovery, described his injury, lodged his complaint, and lamented. The Council reviewed these claims, and ordered money to be repaid to those found to have been manifestly wronged. When this was noised abroad, good God, with what energy those who had been legitimately punished came forth, argued, and insisted, confusing and inventing many things so that they could recover their money by any means in the world! For this sake they offered bribes, employed their friends’ help, and left no stone unturned. This vehement zeal and greed inflicted harm on the fiscal judges and claimants alike. For the Council, despairing of being able to control the desire of the people and satisfy its demands, decided to give no more hearings to these suitors, but to imprison the fiscal judges Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley together with their accusers and tattle-tales, on the grounds they were pernicious men, as a means of soothing the public mind and expectation, for the people were particularly calling for their punishment. But after a few days the judges, grave men and leaned in the law, steadfastly pleaded their case before the Council, and Richard, the younger of the two, spoke in his defense as follows: “I know you are not unaware, good sirs, how proper and useful laws are for human life. Without them, no household or society can endure. Among us these laws are partly weakened by the careless and negligence of magistrates, and partly obsolete. King Henry VII very wisely wished to put a stop to this evil, which was daily growing, and gave us the task of ensuring that laws in use retained their full force, that obsolete laws be revived, and that men who broke them would pay their deserved punishment. Therefore we performed our duty as faithfully as we could, to the great good of the commonwealth. So we humbly beseech you that, mindful of your probity, humanity, and justice, you pronounce no heavy sentence on us, but rather that you express your gratitude.” These words struck many members of the Council as well said, but more, who thought that review of the laws to have been motivated by avarice (as I have shown in my life of Henry), and who themselves had been sharply mulcted a littler earlier, so that they were ill-disposed, pronounced that the judges who had sat on those cases and fined other men should themselves be fined by death, and so they were soon beheaded. And the accusers and tattle-tales were branded with infamy throughout the city. Many died of chagrin, and others were fined, or cast in the perpetual darkness of prison.
2. Now the day of the parliament at Westminster came around, on which Henry and his wife Catherine were crowned and anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, on June 24 of the year of human salvation 1509 (the year of his father’s death), and he was called Henry VIII. While the public joy was being celebrated, sadness (always the companion of happiness) accompanied it. For Henry’s grandmother Margaret died, and her death caused the commonwealth no small loss, for she was a most prudent and pious woman. When she saw that because of his age Henry could not perform his kingly function, she began to take precautions, give counsel, and have forethought that the reins of government would at the outset be in the hands of excellent men, so that the republic would receive no harm. For a number of months it was ruled by the common counsel of many men, but in the end the administration devolved on two, Richard Bishop of Winchester and Earl Thomas of Surrey. These men had secret grudges against each other, which their competition for authority daily increased. They had different aims. Winchester, content with his ample property, only sought the advantage of king and commonwealth. But the earl, who for the most part had previously lost his patrimony because of civil wars and seditious factions, was compelled to have consideration for his private welfare. Therefore he assiduously clung to the king’s side and received many favors from him, which he would then give, donate, and convey to his kinsmen or others as he saw fit. Winchester saw that matters were coming to such a pass that the earl would soon hold first place in the king’s eyes, unless he acted quickly to counter his strivings, and this he decided he must by all means do. A third man enter joined in the fray, William Conton, the First Gentleman of the Bedchamber, but he was more interested in increasing his fortune than in gaining power. Meanwhile Christopher Bainbridge, Archbishop of York, was sent as an ambassador to Pope Julius, and Thomas Ruthall was designated Bishop of Durham.
3. While these things were happening in England, elsewhere Pope Julius, the Emperor Maximilian, King Louis of France, and King Ferdinand of Spain had leagued together and decided to make war on the Venetians. The reason for this association was that, while Italy was ablaze with war, they had gained control of many cities and castles which belonged to the Pope or to these sovereigns. They therefore took up arms against them, each bent on recovering his places. Louis, who held Milan at the time, was the first to enter the field, and with his army came to blows with them and defeated them in a single battle, capturing their Doge Bartolommeo d’ Alviano. It is wonderful to tell how greatly Venetian affairs were effected by that battle, since, other than Venice itself, they lost virtually all their possessions on the Continent. Then the Venetians had a taste of Gallic faith, or rather they received the punishment they deserved, for a little earlier they had helped them against Lodovico Sforza, Duke of Milan. At a single stroke the Pope recovered Rimini, Ravenna. and Faenza, Maximilian Verona, Vicenza, and Padua (although these two latter cities came back under Venetian government a while later, because their citizens revolted), Louis Cremona, Breschia, Bergamo, and Ferdinand Brindisi, Trani, and Otranto, towns which had been pawned to the Venetians a few years previously by King Ferrante of Naples, the son of Alfonso. Thus the prizes of this war were divided. Beginning at this time, discord arise between those allies. For the French king, seeking rule over all Italy, thought that the nearly prostrate Venetians should be wholly destroyed, on the grounds that they never had domestic strife and were always vigilant for their affairs, and would soon have a force able to do harm, so he thought they were the sole impediment to his designs. Therefore he made an alliance with Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, and was going to march against the Venetians as soon as he could, when Pope Julius and Ferdinand penetrated his plans and thought that this deed would openly violate their treaty. So they were obliged to make their peace with the Venetians and all at the same time turned their arms against the French. Subsequently they all fought with varying fortunes, until in the end (as will be told more fully at the appropriate point below) the fortune of war put an end to the controversy. Next the Pope went to Bologna, and decided he must make war on Duke Alfonso. They give another reason for this quarrel, that when Julius had decided on ejecting the French king as a means of pacifying Italy, he wished to employ the duke’s help (for he was a beneficiary of the Pope), and the duke, distrusting the Pope’s strength and also his life, for he seemed to be at an age when he would soon die, flatly refused to end his friendship with Louis, by whom he was afterwards openly assisted. At the same time the French king provoked Bernardino Cardinal St. Croce, a Spaniard, so that he joined Cardinals Francesco Borgia, Federico Sanseverino, and Carlo Finale in fleeing to Rome, where together with some French Cardinals they acted against Julius. Therefore Julius’ forces fought a battle with the French in the Bolognese territory and suffered defeat, and Julius returned to Rome after losing Bologna. Arriving there, he sent messengers in all directions requesting the protection of friendly sovereigns, and particularly of King Ferdinand, because it was his situation which was most greatly at stake. Ferdinand, who regarded nothing as more important than the constant support of Christianity, was off fighting the Moors, and his son-in-law Henry had given help, sending Sir Thomas Darcy, a skilled soldier, together with 1,500 bowmen. But when he heard his affairs in Italy were endangered, he immediately broke off this Crusade and was obliged to send all his forces to Italy running to the help of his affairs and those of the Pope, under the leadership of Ramón de Cardona and Pedro Navarra, a very brave man, his commander of infantry. Thus our internecine wars have always been harmful to Christendom. Then, his mission unaccomplished, Thomas returned to Henry. And, not awaiting any memorable outcome, Edward Poinings, who had been sent to assist Prince Charles of Castile in his fight against Duke Charles of Guelders, returned at about the same time, because the terrain was unsuitable for fighting. At the same time, too, Christopher Archbishop of York arrived at Rome as Henry’s ambassador, and received a very warm welcome from Pope Julius. To gain greater favor with King Henry, the Pope made him a Cardinal, and, using him as an intermediary, began to lure the king into a military alliance, so the King of France would be beset on all sides.
4. Not many months had passed before Ferdinand’s forces arrived in Italy and joined themselves with the papal army, which was then encamped in the Bolognese territory, commanded by Francesco Maria Duke of Urbino, Julius’ nephew by his brother, a man of high spirits and great martial ability, and they both went to besiege Bologna. The Venetian forces were also present to share the common peril and to participate in the fight. But those in the city put up a stout defense, and a after a little while the French army, which had been at Reggio, moved the enemy away from the city, fighting daily battles. Pope Julius, fearing this attempt might come to naught, hired a great company of Swiss as soon as he could, and attached to them Matthew of Sitten, himself a Swiss, as his legate, a man he had raised to the cardinalate a few days previously. At the same time he adopted a Swiss bodyguard, so as to bind that nation to himself by such a friendly gesture. Meanwhile the French king summoned his friends from all quarters and took pains to retain their loyalty, above all the King of England, and contrived new schemes against Julius, whose hatred he feared. Therefore at his instigation the Cardinals who were in France chose Bernardino as their President, and on his own authority he promptly convened a council at Pisa, where he went soon thereafter with a number of the clergy. At the Council of Pisa Julius was first stripped of all authority, many laws against him being passed, and then by a published edict the rest of the Cardinals were summoned to deliberate about the choice of a new Pope. For his part, Julius, in order to use a nail to drive out a nail, as the saying goes, started his own council at Rome, which was called the Lateran Council. And thus both sides did a fine job of feeding the schism they had created, and this greatly troubled all good men’s minds, for the Christian religion was very much weakened thereby. The year in which these things were done was the year of human salvation 1511.
5. Meanwhile Cardinal Christopher, the English legate, indicated to Henry by letters and messengers that Pope Julius expected help from England, and since he was conscious that he owed the Pope this in exchange for the honor of cardinalate bestowed on him, he besought Henry all the more urgently, and asked the king that he consider his safety and by no means allow the Pope, who had deserved so well by fighting for Christian liberty, to be oppressed by evil men, and particularly requested his friends to devote their resources to this war. Henry was so moved by Christopher’s zeal that the matter was brought before the Privy Council. Many and varied opinions were pronounced on both sides. The king, in the flower of his youth and abounding in wealth and power, thought the war should be undertaken. Some denied this would serve the commonwealth’s interest, arguing that it could easily come to pass that in the end the King of France would be driven out of all Italy and the entire burden of the war would fall on England, while her distant friends were enjoying peace and quiet. Others did not think this was something to fear, maintaining that in the future the French king would never keep his hands off Italy, even if in he wasted his effort in its occupation, not without loss, like a moth circling a burning candle which in the end has its wings set afire. But it was best to wait and form a counsel based on the outcome of events. A goodly number were of this opinion, thing Julius was free of all danger, since he had several very powerful allies. And yet in the end the king’s view prevailed, approved by the councilors, partly so the king’s keenness for warfare might not be destroyed, for at the time he placed more value on military science than on the other arts, and partly so England would not be stigmatized for ingratitude because she refused to give her protection to the common prelate of the Christian community. Therefore it was voted to undertake the war. Afterwards there was a discussion of how to wage this war, and after a lengthy debate they voted to join arms with King Ferdinand, since he held places bordering on France, from which they could attack the enemy with no trouble. It was agreed between Henry and Ferdinand’s ambassador Luiz Caroz that Ferdinand would engage the French near Aquitaine with 8,000 foot and 5,000 horse, and Henry would send the like number of archers and provide part of the pay for the horsemen, and the places taken from the French would belong to Ferdinand or Henry, depending on whose ancestors had possessed them. These things thus done, then a general tax was imposed on the people. And so Henry could not be said to have involved himself in so great a war without a just cause, as soon as he could he sent John Young, a priest and a lawyer, to King Louis to urge him on Henry’s behalf to make peace with the Pope on reasonable terms. And these terms were that Bologna should be restored, that he should break up the Council of Pisa, that seed-bed of evil schism, and that the case of Duke Alfonso of Ferrara should be adjudged by impartial umpires. Undoubtedly the French king would have agreed to these honorable conditions, had he not been forewarned by his ambassador to Henry, Sir Antoine de Pierrepont, that war against himself had already been agreed upon, and, angry at this, he thought the words of the English ambassador were not to be trusted. Geronimo Bonvisio, an Italian from Lucca, participated in discussions about war against the French king, who had been sent a few days previously as Julius’ ambassador to Henry, by the intervention of Cardinal Christopher, to keep the king steadfast in his friendship. In the course of his journey he had already been corrupted by the French, and after his arrival at London he began to have secret conversations with Antoine the ambassador, and what he reported Antoine would duly report to his king. But this thing only hurt its author. Quickly coming to light, it almost destroyed Geronimo, who came close to losing his head. After this strategy for the war was adopted, Henry had no greater concern than to prepare an army and a fleet and to bring over the Emperor Maximilian, who sided with the French, to his side. Therefore he sent Sir Robert Wingfield to him as his ambassador, and by frequent letters dealt so as to detach him from friendship to Louis. But Maximilian acted in his usual way by being dilatory, both because he could thus do what he believed to suit his interest more honorably, and because he was indignant at the Venetians belonging to the confederacy, because they had recently taken Padua and Vicenzia away from himself. But the Pope settled this quarrel between Maximilian and the Venetians for a while, and yearly truces were made between Maximilian and the Venetians so that some manner of peace could be achieved for that little space of time. Meanwhile John Young returned from France and reported to Henry and the Council the results of his embassy, the gist of which was that Louis was so far removed from giving any indication he would make peace that he even gave a rude reply. When this was heard, there was scarcely a man who had any doubt that war could deservedly be waged against the French king, who abhorred peace, so war was quickly declared.
6. While these things were happening elsewhere, the Venetians turned their attention to the recovery of Breschia, as if having no doubt that this was the time they could risk this safely, because the French had their hands full resisting the enemies besieging their camp in the territory of Bologna. And do, having attempted to induce the citizenry to revolt, they attacked Breschia under the command of Andrea Gritti, a citizen of theirs, and got within its walls, with the members of the French garrison either killed or driven within the castle. Then they suddenly summoned their forces, which I have previously shown to have been in the papal camp, and when Gaston Count of Foix and Duke of Nemours, the general of the army, learned of it, he thought that at that moment nothing mattered more than this, and, taking a company of soldiers selected from his entire multitude, who were far better than the enemy, began to follow the Venetian forces, who were two days away. Catching up with them on the march, he defeated them, and then, using the same speed he had when he left the army, he went to Breschia bringing aid to his fellow countrymen. In the middle of the night he came to the castle and was admitted by its postern gate. Early in the morning on the following day he burst upon the Venetian garrison and destroyed it, after men were killed on both sides and Andrea Gritti and others were taken prisoner. Then Gaston, made fiercer by his success, punished the citizens for the defection with such cruelty that he spared neither age nor sex, and afterwards sacked the city horribly, distributing their goods to his soldiers as a reward for their great effort. When these matters had been completed in a trice, he returned to the army in the Bolognese region without delay, and on the basis of this success he decided that the enemy should be confronted everywhere and drawn into battle even against his will, which he quickly did. Therefore Breschia was captured twice within twenty days. Andrea Gritti was taken to France as a captive, where Bartolommaeo Alviani, the Venetian Doge, had already been sent. Meanwhile the army of Ferdinand and the Pope learned of this Venetian defeat and retired to the Adriatic coast, there to encamp and wait until either the Pope sent reinforcements or the Swiss invaded the dukedom of Milan. But thanks to French speed, neither of these things could be done. For Gaston followed the enemy, and forced them to a set battle three miles from Ravenna, even on the high holiday of Easter. And so a sharp battle was joined here, and they fought from dawn until noon, with more than 10,000 men and pack animals killed by shots from so-called bombards even before they came to grips. When Ramón, the commander of the Spanish forces, a man with no prior military experience, finally fell back, the French gained an unhoped-for victory, which only gave them a moment of joy, as will be recounted below. That day more than 20,000 men were died, among whom were Gaston, together with many other captains, so he paid a just penalty for the cruelty and wrath be had inflicted on the poor citizens of Breschia, the worst in human memory. The principal captives were Cardinal Giovanni de Medici, the pontifical legate to the army, Fabrizio Colonna, Pedro Navarra, and other captains of companies. When the news of this defeat spread through the neighboring peoples, from all quarters they immediately sent ambassadors w to the French commanders, promising to do as they ordered. There was even a panic at Rome. But the French, aware of the wounds they themselves had suffered, did not dare go further, since they foresaw the coming storm, and a little later returned to Milan. They had scarcely arrived there when the Swiss descended on Italy. First coming to Verona, they dismissed the French garrison in disgrace which was holding that city on a pretext of friendship, against the will of Maximilian, the lord of the place. Then they marched through the territory of Breschia and joined with forces recently raised by the Venetian senate, and chased the fleeing French as far as the Alps. A goodly part of these were killed by peasants as they fled. The massacre was so great that scarcely a tenth of that great army escaped unscathed. Therefore most recently in our times the French made Italy famous for their catastrophes, as they had often done before. While this storm was impending, Bernardino, the President of the council, abandoned Pisa with his priests and fled to Lyon. On the way he lost Cardinal Giovanni de Medici, who was carelessly guarded like a prize of little value, and seized and set free by the peasants. These things were done in the beginning of the year of human salvation 1513, the third of Henry’s reign.
7. Now having become involved in this social war, Henry had recruited a very large army from the flower of English youth, together with a fleet outfitted with arms and all the things necessary for a naval expedition. At the approach of spring he chose some men, both brave and prudent, to manage his martial affairs, setting over his land forces Marquis Thomas of Dorset, an energetic man, and over his navy Edward Howard, the son of Earl Thomas of Surrey, a man of supreme fortitude. These men, eager and full of confidence, sailed over to Cantabria, and landed at a coastal town called Fuenterrabia. Immediately afterwards some of Ferdinand’s knights arrived to discuss strategy with them. First they gave their greeting, and then, turning to the business at hand, decided to attack Bayonne, the nearest city of Aquitaine, which was about twenty-two miles distant from that town. They gave assurances that the forces sent by Ferdinand would come there quickly, but this failed to happen, so nothing worthwhile was accomplished by the English army in that land. The English took this all the harder because all their minds were set on accomplishing some great feat in the course of that expedition. The reason for this was the unreliability of King John of Navarre, which I think requires explanation. For Blanche, the daughter and heiress of King Charles of Navarre, married John, subsequently the King of Navarre and father of Ferdinand, whom I have just mentioned, by his second wife. And by her he fathered Charles, who died without issue, and Eleanor. Count Gaston of Foix married this girl, and by her he fathered four sons and the like number of daughters, but I only need to mention the two eldest, Gaston and John. For Gaston, who succeeded his father, married Mary, sister of Duke Louis of Orléans, the present King Louis XII, and by her sired Duke Gaston of Nemours, and I have already related how he was killed at the Battle of Ravenna. He was married to Madeleine, the sister of Louis XI of France, and had two children, Phébus and Catherine. Phébus inherited the kingdom, but died childless after having reigned a few years. And he was succeeded on the throne by Jean, the son of Alain d’Albret, the husband of his sister Catherine. But since he had more support in might than in right, Gaston, King Louis’ nephew by his sister, relying particularly on this thing, began to seek the kingdom of Navarre as his due, because he was the sole surviving male of the line of Gaston, the husband of Queen Eleanor of Navarre. Jean for his part vigorously defended his cause in the presence of the king, saying right was on his sight because he was the husband of Phébus’ wife Catherine, to whom the kingdom should have come by hereditary right. Nor did the Salic law observed among his French subjects debarring women from succession apply, since Spain did not observe this law, and Navarre was within Spanish territory. And so the controversy about the kingdom of Navarre became a matter subject to legal judgment. King Jean, fearing for his fortunes, put himself under the protection of Ferdinand. And to keep himself from being harmed by King Louis, he joined in the treaty made between Ferdinand and Henry. And this seemed to be a stroke of luck, because it would be very advantageous to make new inroads on the French by passing through his lands, which bordered on Gascony. But while Jean was preparing to go to war against Louis with his allies, behold, the news arrived that Gaston’s adversary had been killed. Being thus freed of all fear and care he changed his mind and did not remain loyal. To curry favor with Louis, he sent ambassadors to him declaring that Jean was siding with him. The French king gladly gave his ambassadors and audience, and, since this thing was greatly to his advantage, he immediately made peace with Jean. This quickly arranged, John, who was greatly ashamed of what he had done, now began to consider in what way he could repudiate Ferdinand’s friendship without incurring any blame. Meanwhile the the Spanish king, urged, insisted, and demanded that he come to camp with his promised forces, so that they entire army could go together to the siege of Bayonne. He first replied that he was prevented by the time of year, and then that he had not yet raised his army, and used many inconveniences an excuse why he was not doing this in a timely manner. He easily raised Ferdinand’s suspicions, when he saw him dragging his heels beyond all imagination, and so, to test the man’s faith, he demanded hostages be given, in whose number was Jean’s son. Jean, compelled to do everything by trickery, refused to comply, only promising the Spanish safe conduct through his kingdom. Then Ferdinand, seeing the fraud was quite evident, ordered his commander Fadrique de Toledo, Duke of Alba, to launch a quick attack on Jean, a man ill-disposed towards himself. Fadrique, quite ready to do as he was ordered, marched against Navarre, encamped in their territory, and sent out squadrons of horse in all directions to find Jean, so that by this unexpected attack he might gain control of Jean. But the King of Navarre did not await the duke’s approach. When he understood he was coming against himself, the very first moment he was caught in that savage bind he gathered what part of his fortune he could carry with him and fled to France with his wife and children. Thus of his own free will he deprived himself of the kingdom he was vigorously attempting not lose by force. Hearing of their king’s flight, all his people surrendered and gave hostages. Afterwards the duke, who had already wasted very many places, quickly passed throughout the province without inflicting any harm or mischief, placing garrisons all over by which the people could more readily be kept in their loyalty.
8. When that affair had been happily concluded Ferdinand was overjoyed that he had suddenly gained that kingdom without any soldier suffering a scratch. This gave him safe access from Spain to Gascony, and likewise a safe line of retreat from Gascony to his own subjects. He promptly sent messengers to the English camp to describe his diligence to the marquis, and to tell him of the end of Navarre. In consequence, it was necessary to change their strategy: just as they had originally decided to begin their campaign at Bayonne, now it was better to invade the inland Gascons, since it would be possibly to wage war on them with no difficulties concerning either provisions or the difficulty of the terrain. Therefore he should come as quickly as possible to his own camp, so that they could join arms and move against the enemy together. The messengers sent to the marquis explained about the victory in their grasp: how according to the previous plan they were obliged to depend on the help of King Jean, but now, with him put to rout, they could rely with confidence on their own virtue, in the sure hope of conquering their enemy. So they advised him, greatly urging to come to the royal camp. The marquis called a council of war and deliberated about the entire situation. Some were in agreement with this view, for, if some reversal should occur, they had a safe sanctuary in Navarre. But more were of the opposite opinion, thinking that no development having to do with place, time, or the outcome of events, constituted grounds for acting against the orders of Henry their sovereign, who had ordered them to attack Bayonne first. None of the others disapproved of this view, as if one could know for sure what to do at home as well as in the field, or in martial affairs, which are the most uncertain of all, should not be allowed to do this or that, as fresh situations require. But when the entire army saw what was afoot, spiritedly shouting and cursing the Spanish, and exclaiming it would not move a finger’s breadth from the royal will, the captains despaired that their soldiers would obey them, and were less reluctant to give the signals for departure. Therefore the marquis replied to the messengers that he had no mandate from king to go anywhere else until Bayonne had been taken, and therefore he requested that King Ferdinand, mindful of his promise, would send his forces to himself as soon as possible, so that the war might be started where it had originally been decided to begin it. For their part, the messengers offered many reasons why it would be perilous to abandon the kingdom of Navarre, now within their control, and make war elsewhere, where the French could effortlessly cut their supply lines and bar their way, if Jean should happen to recover his kingdom. And if nothing moved him, then he should be moved by this, that Jean of Navarre was a friend when this strategy of attacking Bayonne first of all was designed. But now that he was considered to be an enemy, another plan must of necessity be adopted. Even if he had been driven from his kingdom, he was still to be feared, since it was self-evident that he would exert himself all the more to recover it. But the marquis’ response to such arguments was, “Granted that this is so, it is still in our best interest to maintain and observe the strategy decided upon by our sovereign.” In the end the marquis was so far from being capable of being persuaded to move his camp that he flatly replied he had to consult with his king about this thing before making any choice on his own authority. Thus the messengers were dismissed and returned to Ferdinand, and he, receiving this answer, immediately wrote to Louis, his ambassador in England, to negotiate the manner of waging war with Henry. And the marquis wrote to the Privy Council in such a way that everybody began to like Ferdinand’s strategy. So Henry quickly instructed the marquis in a letter that he should join himself to the Spanish army forthwith. But meanwhile, since the English soldiers were by now just as homesick as they had originally been eager for a fight, gaving lost all their enthusiasm and hope for success, and since winter was approaching, the marquis was compelled to return to England before receiving the king’s letter. Henry was wonderfully incensed, and gave the marquis and his captains of companies a hard treatment for having come home without his command, and started to conduct an inquest so he might punish the guilty. But when he found out that the majority had a share in the guilt, at the request of all his councilors he forgave them. Not long thereafter Edward Howard returned with a portion of the fleet, who had won a kind of victory. For while he was sailing along the coast of Aquitaine he had landed a company of soldiers and, after burning some villages, brought off immense plunder. After the departure of the English the full weight of the war rested on Ferdinand, and he put up a stout resistance everywhere so as not to lose what he had gained.
9. James King of Scots was also up in arms, always a great friend of the French, and when he heard Aquitaine was ablaze with war he did not hesitate to seize the opportunity. But learning that the English had attempted nothing, he shrunk back to conceal his deed from Henry. But Henry, suspecting the truth, sent to him Nicholas West, a priest and a lawyer, as his ambassador, to probe his will and learn his counsels. The king replied that he had received equal benefits from Henry and Louis, and was obliged to be similarly well-disposed towards both, and so he intended to do. Nicholas finally requested that he set out his view in a letter to Henry, so that all suspicion would be removed from his mind for the future. This James refused to do, saying it was not fit for him to disclose his counsels in a letter, which could be intercepted, since it was in his best interest to maintain his friendship, association, and familiarity with the King of France, and so he dismissed the ambassadors. But he was unable to hoodwink the English king, who, thinking he needed to be on his guard against everything, immediately sent Earl Thomas of Surrey to Yorkshire so that he could recruit an army, arm and drill the multitude of citizenry, and be ready at hand to offer resistance if any sudden storm of violence should brew up in the north. He diligently did as he had been ordered, but afterwards, discovering that the borderland was entirely quiet, he stationed garrisons at strategic points and returned to London. At the beginning of summer spies reported that the King of France had a fleet readied on the coast of Britanny, and this was going to set sail any day now to harry the sea and savage England’s maritime parts. Hearing this, Henry commanded Edward Howard, his Admiral, to sail quickly to confront it by patrolling the English coast and turning the French fleet from its course, if it were bound for England, or to fight it, if a convenient opportunity were offered. In the fleet there were two great ships, one commanded by Sir Charles Brandon, and the other by Thomas Knyvet, a man of greater spirit than military experience. These men, who were particularly inspired to courage by their desire for glory, sailed ahead, rivals for fame and glory, steering straight for Britanny. But Charles, sailing faster, espied from mid-ocean a monstrous ship as large as a castle riding at anchor before Brest. Thinking that an opportunity for performing a notable feat was offered, he made no communication with his admiral, but bore down on her with great speed. The French saw the English ship coming on and cleared their decks, and received her with a broadside against her bow. Charles did the same, boldly coming on, and came alongside for a close fight. But he was compelled to retire when a mast was shattered, and this was his salvation. Seeing him turn away, Thomas greatly rejoiced, as if a great chance were given him and he was being summoned to victory. So he made his attack, accompanied by a single small ship, and sailed at the French ship with more courage than common sense. This was a dangerous maneuver, not to be attempted rashly. since it was already certain that the enemy was not unprepared for a defense. He threw his grappling irons, and a savage battle was joined, fought with great contention. It was not just a sea battle, but almost a land-battle, since it was now possible to cross over from one ship to the other. A goodly number of fighting men were either killed immediately or wretchedly cast overboard, while the second English ship circled the French ship and so holed her with cannon fire that she was taking water in several places. Now the enemy had suffered no small amount of damage, and the English were not far removed from coming out on top, when in the middle of the fight, either because the despairing enemy did not wish to die unavenged, or because of some mischance, a great fire broke out on the French ship and spread to the English one. Then the fighters were surrounded by flames and quickly turned from fighting to putting out the fire. But since the ships were chained together, the fire could not be extinguished by any human power before it consumed both ships, together with their crews. This was the most piteous sight in human memory, as the fire consumed men and the water swallowed them. But most plunged into the latter to avoid the former, and a number were rescued by their mates. So the fight was equally fatal and deadly to both sides, and nobody gained the victory. More than six hundred Englishmen perished, including Thomas the ship’s captain. The French losses were greater, and it is said that more than 1,000 men were lost. The reason for this great catastrophe was that because of the all-consuming flames the battle was almost ended before it began, and so neither side could come to the aid of their doomed men.
10. At this same time in Italy, men’s various strivings produced various disturbances. So far the Florentines were confederated with King Louis of France, and his friendship was particularly advantageous to those citizens who governed the city, who were particularly involved in trade with France, and for this reason were not deterred by fear, nor persuaded by admonitions to abandon their resolve, even if Pope Julius constantly admonished, urged, and asked that they provide for their affairs while there was still time, nor wait until they were prevented from following their policy by force of arms. The Genovese could serve as an example for them, for, although they traded with the French, when they heard of the defection of the Milanese they broke off relations with the French for the good of the peace of Italy. Julius was more insistent on this because he was certain this would soon be harmful for the Florentines, since he had already begun to give power to the de Medici family, so that, by their means, he could separate the city from the French when he chose. For this reason he had a little early made Cardinal Giovanni Medici the legate to his army, since, being an exile, he was regarded as being of no account by his fellow citizens, this being his means of reconciling him to the good will of the citizenry. For the de Medici family had been punished with exile a few years previously, after being stripped of all its fortunes, because the Cardinal’s brother Piero had, with no authority from the people, surrendered Pisa and certain other important towns to King Charles VIII of France when he was marching through Tuscany on his way to Naples. Since, therefore, the Florentines’ minds could not be cured by any admonitions, by the mandate of Julius and King Ferdinand, Ramón, the commander of the Spanish army, at the time encamped at Mutina, came into Tuscany together with the legate Cardinal Giovanni, working great devastation on homes and fields, and then besieged Prato, the next town to Florence, which he captured and sacked within two days, killing all its garrison so that the news of his cruelty would terrify the Florentines. Meanwhile the people of Florence, learning that Prato had been taken, began to riot, exclaiming that it was not prudent to expose their most wealthy city to extreme danger and to love the French king, who had now been expelled from nearly all of Italy, more than their fatherland, than their children, than their wives. The nobles of the opposing faction fed this popular outcry and arranged for the de Medici family to be taken back into the city. While its people were thus in a state of upheaval and fear, Piero Soderini, the head of their senate or gonfaliere (a title of high honor) abdicated his magistracy and left the city to save his life. Then the city sent ambassadors to Cardinal Giovanni and Ramón to tell them they would obey their commands, if they would inflict no damage as they entered the city. And so Florence finally surrendered, and, settling its affairs as Julius wished, Giovanni and his brother Giulio were placed in charge (for their older brother Piero had died earlier, when the French army was routed at the Battle of the Garigliano). He quickly altered the city’s constitution and returned it to its former condition as a republic. Ramón and his victorious army, laden down with spoils, hastened to retake Breschia, which was still held by the French although the Venetians had vainly expended a few days on its siege. He took it at his first assault, granting the French leave to depart. The King of Spain gained the city, although for a long time thereafter the Venetians exclaimed that he had acquired it contrary to the terms of their treaty. No consideration was more important to him than the money with which the the Venetian senate eventually redeemed their lost property from him, as will be recounted more fully below. During those same days Matthew Bishop of Gurk, Maximilian’s legate, brought Lodovico Sforza’s son Massimiliano to Milan and installed him in his ancestral principality thirteen years after his father Lodovico had been deposed from his possession of that city. This done, Gurk began peace negotiations with the Venetians, which he could not obtain since the Venetians scorned the conditions offered by Massimiliano, and so began to be regarded as enemies by the members of the league. Next Massimiliano went to Rome and entered into a new treaty with Julius, the gist of which was that Massimiliano would use his authority to ratify the Lateran Council and decree that of Pisa to be null and void. Gurk arranged both these things in Massimiliano’s name, and was rewarded for his effort by being made a Cardinal. These were the things done in Italy while Bernardino presided at Lyon and contended with Julius, fighting back with the same weapons, and throwing everything into confusion by exercising his own authority.
11. While these things were being done abroad by Henry’s friends in the alliance, at home one concern preoccupied Richard Bishop of Winchester and Earl Thomas of Surrey, as each asked himself how he might deprive the other of his fortune. But Winchester did this more anxiously, now thinking the earl’s power was to be feared because he was daily heaping honors on his friends and relatives, and so he was looking for a man to set up in opposition to the earl, who might eventually cast him down from his high position. There was in the royal household a priest named Thomas Wolsey, one of the number of royal chaplains, not unlearned in Scripture, a clever fellow, and most ready for any undertaking. Although he did not know him well, Winchester (as is reasonable to believe) thought him suitable to attach to the royal side. First he began to praise him to the skies in the king’s hearing, and then to confer with him, revealing his thoughts, and urging and exhorting him to think hard about acquiring the reins of government. He had already taken a step in that direction, and, if he would apply himself, he had the ability to attain to supreme dignity and become the equal of the highest in the land. Wolsey did not turn a deaf ear to these things, and quickly came to be optimistic that he would employ certain methods to achieve that which Winchester wanted, the removal of the earl from all responsibility and power, if only he could obtain a place with the king where he could gain the royal ear and tell him the things he was prepared to say directly, and not through an intermediary. These things having been arranged, a few days later Winchester managed to have Wolsey made the royal almoner and given a seat on the Privy Council, and gave him much credit, publicly and in private, for his prudence, vigilance, and industry. The earl was not unaware why Winchester was favoring this upstart, but thus far he thought it best to dissimulate until Thomas, like a novice sailor setting forth on the sea, would run his ship onto some reefs. But Wolsey, gaining this office, now began to cling to the royal side, and it is wonderful how quickly he made himself welcome and pleasing to the company of young men who were Henry’s favorites. For he was a witty fellow who would often cast aside his priestly personage, abandon his gravity, and strum the lute, dance, indulge in pleasant conversation, smile, joke, and play. But in all seriousness he would promise the king great things. And do so more effectively in the absence of all onlookers, he turned his own house into a shrine of all the pleasures, and would take the king there frequently, where he would inculcate, instill, and drum into his ears that the commonwealth was in a bad state because of its many governors, since each one was serving his own interest. But if the supreme administration of affairs were entrusted to himself, undoubtedly he would deal much better with public affairs without bothering his prince. For, since he was in the flower of his young manhood, it was much more fitting for him to devote himself to learning, and occasionally to honest pleasures, rather than be bothered by cares. By saying this and similar things over and over, he brought the young man to such a pitch of hope that he persuaded himself that the government of the realm would be more safely entrusted to one than to many, and that it was permissible to commit it to somebody other than himself until he attained maturity of years, when he himself could manage things. Having by this means obtained great power, Wolsey began to rule the commonwealth as he wished, and to do much in his own right and as he saw fit, relying most of all on Winchester’s help, who preferred his protegé above all others. And because Winchester was held in bad repute by many good men, although he was virtuous, he gradually retired from public affairs. Wolsey, having gained power, was above all mindful of the old proverb, he who is not wise to his own advantage is not wise at all, and decided that his very slender fortune needed to be increased. For we should not ignore our interests, when we are in need. In a brief while he so abounded in wealth and throve in authority that he became so puffed-up and arrogant that he did not even hold noblemen in any great esteem, nor did he value his friends, especially old his old ones, who came flocking to him (and indeed a great many did come a-flocking), partly to congratulate him on his newly-gained honor, and partly to further their own affairs. He spoke to some of these grudgingly, and did not even want to look at others, although from boyhood he had been most close to them in familiarity, use, and habit. For not only his mind, but even his ears quailed at being reminded of his previous life, for he had for a father who was an upright man, but a butcher, which he did not like to remember, as something unworthy of his station. For all day long he would think about what he was, not where he had come from, although in truth he should have gloried and boasted that he had risen to greatness from such a state. So it came about that no man dared remind him of their old friendship. Soon thereafter he gave a greater and clearer sign by which his arrogance could easily be marked. As far as I am aware, he was both the first the first and the last of the entire priesthood, including bishops and Cardinals, to wear an outer garment made of silk, also rashly adopted by those priests who wished to curry his favor. And indeed this mannerism, silly as it was, created great hostility among the priesthood. Charles Brandon also held great authority in the king’s eyes, although he avoided competing for this with Wolsey, so they were harmonious in thought and in word. Others, too, enjoyed the royal favor, each one acting so as to serve his private interest. And so the result of the quarrel between Winchester and the earl was that Henry let Wolsey bear a share of his burden. Relieved of this as he was, since Henry was a man of good character, well raised, and born to govern, he did not entirely shirk his duty, but so that he might pass his time honorably and usefully he took the time to devote himself attentively to his studies, for relaxation he played music, and he carefully pored over the books of St. Thomas Aquinas. This he did at Wolsey’s urging, who was a dedicated Thomist. Likewise, being avid for glory, he was deeply involved in military matters, for he knew its glory surpasses all the others.
12. Meanwhile Pope Julius was compelled to prefer war to peace, and at his instigation Cardinal Christopher daily employed letters and messengers to call his fellow Englishmen to arms, telling them that the Pope was pinning all his hope on English resources, although until that day they had done little to assist him. But he dealt much more by means of his friends, who in those days occupied positions of great authority. Therefore the matter was referred to the Privy Council once more, so that this great controversy, which could not otherwise be settled, could be ended by arms. Henry, being a high-spirited man, tried to make some of his leading men agree that the character of the English people was such a character that they usually fought well under no other leader than their king, as was shown by many examples, so they would openly declare that the war, which was started under the king’s auspices, should be finished by his generalship. Then too, were the French king to learn that the King of England was coming against him, he could much more readily be induced to accept some condition of peace. Very few men approved of this opinion, thinking that war was a much more serious matter than for the king (who had not yet witnessed a battle or bloodshed) to expose himself to danger, and therefore they maintained that it was better for this business to be delegated to commanders deemed to be skilled at war, since such men were not lacking. This counsel was much more pleasing to many others than to the king, who, hungry for glory, was eager to begin his military career with a display of virtue, and having just grounds for war. While the matter was under discussion, behold, a letter came from Maximilian, who at the urging of Pope Julius wrote that Henry, who so far had spent so much effort in defense of the Pope, should now agree to come over to the Continent to fight the French as soon as possible, and promised to be his ally with a company of armed men. Learning this, all went over to the opinion first stated by Henry, thinking that, since at his young age he needed to learn the art of war, he could not do so more happily under any teacher other than Maximilian, a veteran commander. So war was decreed by vote of the Privy Council. While everything was being readied for that expedition, Henry sent sent Edward Poinings, Thomas Boleyn, and John Young as his ambassadors to Maximilian, to make a treaty on behalf of himself and King Ferdinand, and this was speedily done. Meanwhile a fleet was outfitted and Admiral Edward Howard was sent forth to gain control of the sea, so that the French could not lie in wait for the army as it crossed. Therefore after the fleet had been sent on before, Henry was preparing to bring over his army when he received news of the death of Pope Julius (he had died about February 21). He took this hard, fearing lest his preparations for war would be in vain, should a new Pope chance to prefer peace to war. But a few days later Cardinal Giovanni de Medici was made Pope under the name of Leo X. He toiled no differently than had Julius, deciding to continue the war, and quickly renewed the treaty with Henry and Julius’ friends. And he particularly commended Henry for undertaking his war, a commendation which had so much weight that supplications for Leo’s happy prosperity were decreed throughout the realm, and Henry wrote that he would stoutly defend his cause. Part of the reason for this display of good will was so that for the future Leo would more supportive of Thomas Wolsey’s hunt for honors, for most things were done by his will and authority. Amidst these things the English fleet caught sight of some French galleys under the command of the Gascon John Prégent, a Knight of the Order of St. John of Rhodes, and chased them as far as the coast of Britanny. But when they took up station so close to land that larger ships could not approach, Edward, thinking that if he should attack them with flyboats, a sea-battle within sight of land would excite his men to a display of virtue, either out of their desire for glory or their fear of disgrace, decided to risk it. Therefore, quickly arming some flyboats whose small size which would not be baffled by shallow water, he launched a vigorous attack on the galleys. The French, surprised at their enemies’ boldness, were not eager for a fight but strove might and main to loosen the grappling irons and disengage themselves from the enemy ships. When this was done, Edward, surrounded by a multitude with his few shipmates, died fighting. The other flyboats, seeing their leader’s death, made no further endeavor, but left the battle and retired to the fleet, which went straight home, having lost its commander. Henry placed over it Thomas Howard, Edward’s brother, a man of fierce spirit and skilled at fighting.
13. Meanwhile among the Italians, the Venetians began to throw everything into confusion once more. Andrea Gritti was held captive at King Louis’ court together with their general Bartolommaeo d’ Alviano, as I have mentioned above, and when he heard that the confederated sovereigns were seeking their own advantage more than having any consideration for observing the pledges they had given, did not cease urging his senate to enter into a new friendship with the French, as a means of gaining his liberty. The senate decided to do this for a number of reasons, particularly because the King of Spain was refusing to return Breschia to them, and Maximilian would not give them back Verona. Thus by this new treaty the Venetians and the French sounded the bugle of war once more in Italy. When news of this began to spread, many men were utterly amazed, since they had inflicted many injuries on each other in the past and seemed beyond all hope of concord, and so they quoted that trite proverb against both nations, Pilate and Herod have become friends. And the allies began to regard the Venetians as their enemies. So Ferdinand, now knowing for sure that the Venetians would give him no peace, so as deal with his affairs in Italy and Navarre at a single stroke, was obliged to make a twelve months’ truce with the French on the condition that he would abstain from arms outside of Italy. The English king hated that truce with all his heart, and was no little angry at his father-in-law for being deserted by his allies while having an army in the field, which was contrary to what his situation required. And, in a manner, Pope Leo began to develop an enthusiasm for peace, being less ill-disposed towards the French. He publicly promised to forgive Bernardino, the President of the Council of Pisa, and his confederates, if they would return to their right senses, as they did a little later. King Louis, pleased with his Venetian alliance, since he had the opportunity for success he had been hoping for, lost no time in sending new forces under the command of Louis Sieur de Trémouille, Robert de la Mark, and Giacomo Trivulzio, a Milanese who was very hostile to the Sforzas, induced by the sure hope of regaining Milan. Arriving, they marched on Novara, a strongly fortified place in the territory belonging to the principality of Milan, because they were confident they would have no trouble in recovering Milan if they took that city. Before the arrival of the French, Duke Massimiliano had entered Novara with a small company of Swiss, bent on defending it until a greater number of Swiss mercenaries came up, and began to resist the attacking French with such confidence that, in accordance with the wish of the Swiss, he declined to shut the gates. Meanwhile those of the Milanese who favored the French started up a riot and ejected from the city Andrea del Borgo, its governor, so that nothing came closer than for a defection of the entire city to ensue. But then a Swiss army numbering about 8,000 came up and encamped by the village of Oleggio, about eight miles from Novara, sending messengers to the duke to advise him of their arrival. But all the roads were blocked by the enemy and the messengers could not reach him. But he finally learned of the entire matter from his enemy, since the French, discovering that the enemy was approaching, pretended they wanted to renew the siege, but retired about three miles and encamped on marshy ground, defending the place as best they could. Then the duke came out of the city, joined himself to the new army, and launched a spirited attack on the enemy. At his first assault the French cavalry abandoned all hope of victory and fled, abandoning the infantry, which numbered more than 10,000, in the jaws of their enemy. All were either killed or captured. When news reached Milan that the duke had conquered the enemy, those who had revealed themselves to be friends of the French by their recent rioting were massacred. In another quarter the Spaniards at Breschia attacked the Venetian forces, which had come to support the French under the leadership of d’ Alviano, and defeated them instantly.
14. While these things were being done by his allies elsewhere, King Henry had raised an army about 30,000 strong, and was just about to go over to the Continent when he learned from his money-men that the inhabitants of Yorkshire and County Durham were refusing to pay the newly-imposed head tax, because they always hated that form of exaction worse than anything else. For two reasons the Privy Council elected to spare them, one of which that they were suspicious of fidelity of James Kings of Scots, and feared that unless this rising were quickly settled, it would give him the hope of undertaking something against Henry in his absence. The second was lest the kings, who was striving to bind his subjects’ minds to himself by every show of humanity and kindness, could be called harsh. Therefore the money was forgiven these people, but not the suspicion of wishing to start some urban uprising, which can never be removed save by the application of hard-handed measures. For Edmund de la Pole was in prison, who styled himself Duke of Suffolk after the death of his father, who, as said above, had come into the power of Henry VII. Some members of the Council thought he should be put to death, since there was a danger lest in Henry’s absence he be freed by a popular rebellion. This sentence was pronounced by a few men, approved by a few men, and Edmund was beheaded. Thus vacancy was created, which destiny had reserved for Charles Brandon. But allow me to return to my narrative. Henry crossed over to Calais about July 1 of that same year of human salvation 1513. Here he distributed responsibilities and commands. He placed Richard Thomas over his light horse, Edward Poinings over his archers, and set George Talbot and Charles Somerset in command of his foot. Then he sent ahead these last two to the nearby town of Thérouanne with orders to seize a place suitable for a camp and set siege to it. They therefore left with a goodly part of their forces and encamped near the town on the bank of a river which the locals call the Lys, from which rise up two hills of equal height. On one of these, to the north, the town itself is situated, and it is watered by the Lys. They dug a ditch around this place and fortified it with earthworks, bombarding the town with their guns day and night. The English did not find this place free of a garrison. For King Louis, predicting his enemy would begin his war at Thérouanne, had already reinforced it with provisions and soldiers, under the command of Antoine de Crequy and François Theligny, two lords famed for their martial glory. Furthermore, Louis Hellevin Sieur de Piennes was nearby with a large force of cavalry to prevent the enemy from foraging or receiving provisions, and to make sudden attacks on him at the times and places of his choosing. He frequently raided the area of the camp, and strove to close the roads by setting ambushes now here, now there, and some wagons bringing up provisions from Calais happened to fall into these. Meanwhile the forces at Calais were increased by the addition of more than 5,000 German footmen and some squadrons of Burgundian horse. Likewise help was being furnished from all sides. For Maximilian sent ambassadors to confirm the recent treaty formally, and delegations of nearby cities came flocking to Henry, promising foodstuffs and everything else necessary for the army, if only his soldiers would hold their hand from mischiefmaking. The king thanked them and replied his soldiers would never harm anyone, but rather that this would work to everybody’s advantage, since he would purchase everything from his friends and steal nothing. Immediately thereafter he entered camp in battle array. All along his march the French cavalry harassed his rear guard, but they came no closer than a bowshot, lest they be compelled to fight. The king’s arrival gave his soldiers such hope and encouragement that each man burned to bring up the ladders and attempt to storm the walls, such was their ardor for lending a hand in the war. Maximilian made his appearance a little later, having sacked and burned the town of Ardres and some villages along the way. There they discussed their strategy. Maximilian thought it best if the king would take part of the army, cross the river, and pitch his camp by the walls in front of the gate, to prevent provisions or reinforcements from being brought in. Not everybody approved of this idea, fearing they might be cut off if at the same moment the garrison launched a sally and the cavalry attacked them in the rear. And the river would pose an obstacle, which was impassable by foot or horse at that place, and neither part of the army could come to the aid of the other. But in the end that view prevailed. The king drew his army out in a battle line and brought it across the river. On that selfsame day would could see the power of unexpected happenstance in war. For it chanced that the French and the English crossed the river at the same time, the one for the sake of bringing food and reinforcements into the city, the other to surround the town with a siege. Hence a suspicious fear arose that each of these did so because he had foreknowledge of the other’s intentions, and so they had decided to entrap each other, although in fact neither of these things was true. So when he received the news that the French had come to the town, the king immediately ordered his men to ready themselves for battle and to go meet them. The French, learning by scouts that the English king was approaching, decided that they could not come to blows without infantry, which they lacked. So they first stopped to gave their baggage wagons a chance to return to camp, as they were ordered. Then they began to retreat, and finally they fled. The English cavalry gave pursuit for several miles and captured more than 200 horsemen, together with six standards. Among these was Duke Louis of Longueville and René Sieur de Claremont, a town in Anjou. Having thus defeated the enemy, the king returned, encamped near the town, and shut the garrison and soldiers within the walls. Now they began to despair both of support and defense, because the walls, which were being battered on all sides, appeared ready to collapse. And so they decided they must surrender, which was negotiated on conditions that they would not be harmed, and they entrusted themselves to Henry’s power. First of all the king dismissed their garrison, and then entered the city, where he discussed strategy with Maximilian and his own captains. After a lengthy discussion they decided not to retain the city, but to demolish its walls and leave it guarded by a small garrison until an avenue had been opened for greater accomplishments elsewhere. And this was that the way to Burgundy should be opened, which was primarily blocked by Tournai, a very strong city defended by dependents of the French. They therefore decided that by all means they should quickly gain power over it. Therefore, after Thérouanne had been stripped bare of its walls, many of its buildings fired, and all the men and cattle outside the walls driven off as plunder, they marched on Tournai. Meanwhile frequent supplications were held in London, as all men prayed God that Henry would make a happy beginning of his military education. And when they heard of the victory at Thérouanne, then redoubled prayers and acts of grace were offered up, that the rest would match such a great beginning. When they came to Tournai, the king began by adopting a very opportune strategy for besieging it and, having made his preparations, surrounded its walls with his soldiers, instructing each of his captains what he should do, and he himself held the camp. Before the camp was stationed Duke Edward of Buckingham, a man of ancient lineage and outstanding in war, with the bulk of the troops. Then he gave the signal and attacked the city. Being an unforeseen evil, this development greatly terrified the townsmen, who least of all things expected they would have to fight the English. But a little after they shook off their fear, armed themselves, relying on their strength, and put up a stout defense. And they sent many messengers to King Louis asking his help. But when their blood cooled, the measured their strength more realistically, for they recognized that inside the walls there was only food sufficient for a few days, and no hope of bringing in more, since the enemy was blocking every road. So it seemed best to send peace-ambassadors to the enemy before minds on both sides, angered by harsh words and steel, could grow implacable. And so they sent the leading men of the city to Henry to ask for peace on fair terms. Their delegation was given a hearing, and peace was granted on condition that the citizens would suffer an English garrison to exist among them as long as the king saw fit, that they would furnish an annual contribution of 10,000 crowns, and that they would pay him 50,000 at the present time. These things having been accomplished, the burghers of Tournai surrendered to Henry, and on the following day he entered the city in triumph. Two days later Maximilian, together with Prince Charles of Castile and his daughter Margaret, came to Henry to offer his congratulations. Here Maximilian and the king began to discuss the war’s overall strategy. Maximilian, seeing that the French affairs were obviously very weak, vehemently urged Henry to follow up on his victory. For his part Henry, a young man of peaceful temperament who had undertaken the war to avenge injuries committed against the Pope rather than himself, thought that the King of France had been sufficiently taught to acknowledge the error of his ways, so they should cease this war. This opinion prevailed, because winter was coming on. And so the king, fortifying the city with a garrison of about 8,000 Englishmen under the command of Edward Poinings, went home as the victor in this great war, having first put the city and order and rewarded his well-deserving soldiers and others. Among these was Thomas Wolsey, who was assigned the income of the Bishop of Tournai so that the bishop, a Frenchman, would no longer enjoy it. But Maximilian, regretful that the English king had neglected an opportunity for achieving success, soon returned to his Germany. This is important evidence that England is very moderate in her affairs and content with her own wealth. For if Henry had wanted to damage French affairs at a time they were frequently being troubled both by the Italians and the Spanish, he doubtless could have done this, enhancing his wealth at their expense. But he preferred to adhere to his own custom, as a Christian sovereign should.
15. Meanwhile James King of Scots, who had already made up his mind to aid the French, as I have said above, not only as far as the altar (as the saying goes), but even a little farther, if necessity should so demand, hearing that Henry was bound for France, gradually assembled an army to bring help to his friend. Learning this by his spies, the English king reminded James of the law of friendship and affinity, and likewise of the oath he had taken, both by his own letters, and by those of Pope Leo, and he asked that he finally reveal whether he was a friend or an enemy. James still claimed to be a friend of the English: he was partly bound by treaty, and partly by the awareness of the good daily conferred on his nation by the French, and therefore did not wish to disclose his thinking about such a great matter without due cause, and he hoped he would never have to act to contrary either to his treaty obligations or his advantage. Hearing this, Henry felt a little freer to devote himself to the war he was undertaking. But he was so far from trusting James’ word that he quickly sent Earl Thomas of Surrey to Yorkshire, who was to rule that district and protect it from harm until the French war had been completed. After the English king had crossed over to France and begun his attack on Thérouanne, King Louis, who distrusted his own strength, began to send many messengers to urge, exhort, and as James to attack the English on his border, thus diverting the enemy from harming his affairs and compelling him to return home. James was moved by his friend’s request, so that he first took counsel how he might undertake an unjust war. He promptly sent a messenger at Henry to tell him that he, James, was the offended party, since Henry was troubling the territory of King Louis of France, with whom the Scots enjoyed an ancient friendship. Therefore, unless Henry would immediately stay his hand, he would visit equal slaughter on Henry’s kingdom as soon as he could. Henry replied that hitherto James had made no complaint about any injuries received, and so could not justly complain now if he were campaigning now for the sake of relieving the Pope of some part of his troubles. And he bade the messenger tell King James on his behalf that he was acting in accordance with his faith, as a Christian sovereign should, and if he should act contrary to religion he could not escape the punishment for such a sin. The messenger received these mandates and went flying home, carefully repeating the message. But no reasoning sufficed to avert destiny, which was hostile to James. He could not refrain from doing what he had in mind. And when he saw that he was achieving nothing by diplomacy, he decided that he must resort to arms and declare on England a war much more just than he had originally imagined. Therefore he speedily mustered an army of about 60,000 armed men, readied everything needful, and then he hastened into English territory with plunder in mind. On his first arrival he took the castle of Norham and leveled most of it. Then he went on about six miles and occupied the top of a hill called Flodden, where he encamped and ravaged the region in all directions. Rumor of the coming of the Scots quickly reached all the towns and villages of the district, and when it grew more definite the call was repeated through the country side and came to the noblemen’s encampments which Earl Thomas had strewn along the border in profusion. For from the outset Henry had entrusted him with this campaign, being a most excellent commander. And when he received the news he went to Newcastle, where his son Thomas, the admiral, quickly put in with about a thousand armed men. Cheered to no small extent, without delay he marched to the village of Alnwick, and from there he sent messengers to summon his nobles. These messengers hastened with such diligence that a number of excellent captains quickly assembled there: Lord Thomas Dacres, Lord Henry Clifford, Richard Neville Lord Lattimore, Lord Henry Scrope, Lord William Conyers, Sir William Bulmer, Sir Philip Tilne, Sir Edward Stanley, Sir Nicholas Appleyard, Sir Edmund Howard, the earl’s second son, and Sir Thomas Butler, all very doughty knights, and many other men, since the entire region was in a fearful state and each one led a number of armed men on behalf of himself and his fortune. And so they held a council of war, and after they had shared out their responsibilities and deliberated about strategy, the earl exhorted each by the name to take up arms and follow himself for the sake of their common safety.
16. This done, he drew up his battle-line and marched against the enemy, encamping a mile away on the other side of a river which the locals call the Till. And since he had small provisions in the camp, he thought he was obliged to fight, and on the dawn of September 9 he came to the river and began to cross. When King James realized the enemy were coming to the river, he suspected they were hastening to plant a garrison on another hill which interposed between the two camps. So early in the morning he built great fires, that the smoke would obstruct the enemies’ view of the roads. Then he broke camp in marched in square formation so as to be the first to take that hill, as if certain the enemy were seeking a place suitable for an encampment, and not a battle. What shall we say of the fact that, seeing the small number of the English, he had it in mind that either they would not join battle, or, if they should, they would quickly take to their heels, a thing often fatal for commanders who have neither respected nor feared the strength of their enemy? Meanwhile the English got over the river and came to the base of Flodden hill, which was a double advantage to them: they could not be shot at by their enemies’ guns, which could not be sufficiently depressed, and they could fire uphill with good effect. Now both armies approached the foot of the hill and the signal for battle was given on both sides. Edward Howard led the way on the right wing with about 3,000 infantry, and was the first to be attacked by the Scots. Edmund pressed on bravely until his men suddenly panicked, broke, and fled, and he was obliged to follow. Can anybody believe that this unhappy beginning of the fight worked to the advantage of the English and the ruin of the Scots? For when James saw the leading Englishmen turn tail he imagined the entire English army was in flight, and dismounted, ordered his men to follow him, and prepared to give pursuit to the fleeing enemy. His captains very vehemently tried to dissuade him, they begged and pleaded, arguing that no impending peril was obliging him to forego his duty as a commander, which was to take care for the safety of them all, to chastise the idle, to exhort the brave, to replace weary soldiers with fresh ones, to order the recall to be sounded, and responsibilities of that sort, but not to fight unless obliged by necessity. For then he had no more strength than a single man, but if he would perform the responsibility that came with his rank, he would be as valuable to the army as a hundred thousand. Unmoved by these entreaties and abandoning his station, the king ran to the front with a company of nobles, where he performed the duty of a footman and discovered that the English were not fleeing, but rather putting up a stiff resistance. So he was killed by them, together with the entire front rank which had been the first to come to grips with the enemy. Although the remainder of the army, under the command of the king’s chamberlain Alexander Hume, saw their comrades dying in front and surrounded in the rear, were nevertheless so far from going to the aid of their comrades that no man moved a step from where he was standing. For because of their king’s folly, who had wished to run towards his death, a kind of strange paralysis gripped their limbs, and they could only look at each other, despairing that after the loss of their king they could achieve a glorious victory, which had slipped through their hands by this unheard-of misfortune. Yet men were not lacking who placed the blame exclusively on Alexander for failing to give the signal for attack. But you should cease to be surprised. Thus it pleased God that James should soon be punished, either for his recent violation of his oath, or for his impiety. For as a very young leader of the enemy in the civil war, as I have explained in my preceding Book, he bore arms against his father, albeit unwillingly, and participated in the battle in which that man was killed. If we would keep such examples before our eyes, we should sin less, since no guilty man fails to pay the price sooner or later. And this was a very happy development for the English. For if James had fought with caution, or if after his death a rage to avenge him had overcome the Scots nobles, as might reasonably have happened, doubtless they would have won the day. For how could a few exhausted soldiers have prevailed against men who were numerous and stronger? And so the English, mindful of this divine bounty, even now thank God for that victory. The fight lasted longer than three hours, and 15,000 men fell, only a third of whom were English. On the following night the Scots army went home the along the way it had come, ravaging as it went, and when it had set foot within its own territory it began to be criticized by all men everywhere, as being cowardly and impious, so that it cared nothing for avenging the king or going to the aid of its doomed men, and thus it had branded its nation with an enduring mark of shame. But everybody went much further in condemning Alexander of a crime, for having done the enemy’s work, not that of a Scottish captain. Amidst the enemy spoils was discovered James’ lifeless body, wounded in two places, which still bore the look of royalty. It was subsequently brought to London to the Carthusian monastery of Bethlehem. But afterwards the belief stuck in the common mind that James was still alive, but wandered about for the sake of atoning for his sins. The Flemish absurdly say the same thing about their Duke Charles, for even after death praiseworthy men can be said to survive by means of their reputation. King James left behind a son named James by his wife Margaret, who had also presented him with a second one, but he died soon thereafter, so his sole survivor was James V, a young boy. A parliament of nobles was held at once, and James Beaton Archbishop of Glasgow was made the king’s tutor, a man of great virtue and counsel. As councilors he was given Alexander Hume and his brother William, Alexander Gordon Earl of Huntley, Gavin Dunbar Bishop of Aberdeen, and Earl John of Arran, and these had full authority to govern. Not long thereafter Queen Margaret married Archibald Douglas Earl of Angus, a man of most high degree endowed with singular goodness and modesty. For the woman thought this was in the best interest of herself and her son, fearing that if she married some other foreign prince she would not be allowed to keep possession of the boy.
17. This war, begun by Henry and thus far conducted with happy success, was of great use to Christianity. For at last the King of France, fearing because his affairs were faring badly, began to negotiate with Pope Leo about a composition of peace, concord, and friendship. First of all he sent back to him Cardinal Bernardino and his associates, whom the Pope restored to their former ranks of honor. Then he made a truce with the Emperor Maximilian. Finally, through the mediation of their friends he dealt with Henry about peacemaking. Since during those days he lost his sister Anne, his friends began to send signals that he desired an English wife. Meanwhile Henry waited until Leo should come to a decision about the overall situation. At the same time he held a parliament at Westminster, in which the first thing considered was laws that would impose restraints on men’s present manners. Then they turned to money, which was exacted from the laity and clergy alike in the traditional way. Finally Earl Thomas of Surrey was created Duke of Norfolk, a dignity previously enjoyed by his father John. They chose to confer this status on Thomas because a little earlier he had done excellent service for the commonwealth in the Scottish war. Likewise his son Thomas was made Earl of Surrey in his place, Charles Somerset was made Earl of Worcester, and Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk. Many were surprised that Charles was held in such honor that he should be made a duke, but the reason for this, as later became evident, was that he could thus more honorably become a kinsman of the king, something on which Henry had already decided. But something delayed this thing for the present, since there as a rumor that the French king was about to seek a new marriage along with peace, which brought it about that in his conversation King Henry thereafter appeared to prefer a foreigner to a homegrown man when it came to the bestowal of the hand of his sister Mary. These things easily came to the ears of King Louis, and he, thinking this to be advantageous, by means of a letter from Pope Leo requested peace and marriage to Henry’s sister, which things he obtained. For when Leo, who had been the leader in the war, recommended in his letters that peace should be granted, this was something no man could refuse, especially since Prince Charles of Castile, to whom Mary had been betrothed, was not yet of marriageable age. And peace was made on the condition that King Louis should increase Mary’s dowry by bestowing on her territories from which, after her husband’s death, she could receive an income of 302,000 crowns a year and pay 100,000 to Henry annually for a period of five years. About October 11 in the year of human salvation 1514 the bride was brought to her husband at Ponthieu, where a wedding ceremony full of concord, full of honor, tranquility, and pious peace was performed at Abbeville. When the marriage had been celebrated, Louis, an elderly man in poor health, went to Paris, because he intended to march into Italy for the sake of recovering Milan with an army he had already prepared. But he was prevented from waging this new war by his death, which occurred immediately thereafter. And so the girl Marry was widowed on the eightieth day of her marriage. As the common folk believed, this had been portended by a bad storm that suddenly brewed up by land and sea during her crossing, and which raged greatly for more than twenty days, so much so that the girl’s entire escort was greatly storm-tossed and scattered, so that its members were variously blown here and there and took a long time to rejoin her. This affinity, accompanied by a peace, acted wonderfully to revive French spirits, because they did not know how to moderate themselves. Since they had King François as Louis’ successor, a young man in the flower of his age, and possessed great forces readied for an Italian war, they threatened everybody equally. They boasted they were even a terror to the King of England, for he had lately repudiated his friendship with Prince Charles and refused to join with him in peace and affinity. But the price for which France had purchased peace gave the lie to these claims. In this way English affairs continued to thrive daily, a prosperity on which Thomas Wolsey preened himself, as if he were the single man responsible for such great happiness because he enjoyed supreme authority with the king. But he became more hated, both because of his insolence and bad reputation for probity, and also for being a parvenu. At this time he was made Bishop of Lincoln, and was very eager to erect some monument to these honors and dignities. So he asked Henry to allow him to build a magnificent manor in that region where the king himself lived, and this was quickly done. The name of the place is Bridewell, lying low-down by the Thameside, in the parish of St. Bride’s, where only the south wind blows. For which reason the house itself is unhealthy and for the most part uninhabited. Therefore, in the manner of an unskilled architect, he constructed such a fine work to perpetuate his memory.
18. King François, partly relying on his resources, and partly on those of the Milanese exiles, invaded Italy at the beginning of spring, hot for recovering the principality of Milan. Learning of his enemy’s arrival, Duke Massimiliano sent Prospero Colonna with a spur-of-the-moment army in to the territory of Turin, so that he could be the first to seize a place suitable for an encampment and fend off, or at least delay, the enemy, until some company of Swiss could come up by the help of Cardinal Matthew of Sitten. Prospero marched and cut off all useful roads, so that even a swift courier would be able to get through only with difficulty. Not long thereafter a goodly number of Swiss made their appearance, under the command of Albrecht vom Stein, a man of great authority among the Swiss. Cardinal Matthew was also present, to aid his fellow countrymen with his counsel and authority. when Prospero saw the enemy approaching, he drew nearer to the mountains and decided to frustrate their descent. But since he wished to perform all the military tasks by himself, he chanced to stray a little from his army and was captured by French cavalry. Having the enemy general in their power, the French tried to bribe Albrecht to retire and send home a portion of his forces, laden down with gold. Albrecht’s hopes for gaining the money were fired and he began to deal secretly and craftily with Matthew about moving their camp, and he described many difficulties which made him think that best. For his part the Cardinal showed how everything would be easy, if only they resisted from the very start. But his protests were of no avail. Albrecht sent off part of his men to forage, for the crops were ripe, and moved back. The Italian soldiers did the same. Then the French, finding no enemy standing in their way, went straight to Milan and entered the city. But when they appreciated that a great part of the citizenry sided with the duke, who had retired within the castle, they left as quickly as they had arrived, went into the countryside, and encamped less than six miles away. The burghers followed their retreating enemy as far as their camp,and tried to bring them to a battle. But the French remained within it, placing guns along their ditch, and purposefully delayed the battle, both because they were expecting the Venetian forces to arrive any hour, and because the sun was setting and it would be a moonless night. In the end, when they saw that the enemy were jumping the ditch into their camp and the time could not be drawn out any longer, they came to blows. They fought energetically until evening, and afterwards in the night it was as if everybody was fighting against shadows, their ranks thrown into disarray. They struggled cruelly against each other for a while, and then grew quiet of their own volition. Meanwhile the ears of those listening were filled with the sound, by far the most piteous in human history, of shouting, intermixed with the groans of the wounded and dying. Then the sky began to grow light, and each captain of a company hurried to rally his men together and ordered them to return to the battle. Almost despairing of their lives, the French positioned all their guns in front of the camp to protect themselves, by the advice and art of Giacomo Trivulzio. The fierce enemy came close and rashly hurled himself at the cannon, and here about 300 men were miserably torn to shreds. This slaughter ended the battle, since the townsmen thought they should wait until the duke sent reinforcements. But behold, the Venetian forces arrived. Seeing this, the Milanese immediately retreated to their city, since the enemy was now superior in numbers. Six days later they came up to the city in battle array and received its surrender. In that battle more than 17,000 men were killed, of whom the majority were French. Afterwards the French attacked the castle, with the aid and assistance of Pedro Navarra, and now they had started to level one of its towers when the terrified Duke Massimiliano surrendered himself into their power, at length suffering the same fate as had his father Lodovico. Having recovered Milan in this way, the king went to Pope Leo at Bologna, and after discussing the future government of Italy with him, he returned to France. Henceforth he regarded nothing as of greater importance than retaining the friendship of the Swiss, knowing for sure that he could not long keep his Italian possessions without their help. For the the Swiss for the most part inhabit the Alps, near the sources of the Rhine, and in Italy they possess territories that border on the principality of Milan. This as a fierce and very warlike people, for beginning in boyhood they exercise themselves in military matters exclusively. They are at the service of the French at all times and places, attracted by their generosity. When the news of the French victory, and of the conference between Leo and their king, reached Spain, it renewed Ferdinand’s concern for being on his guard. Thinking he need to be careful in looking out for his interests, he began to assemble an army, particularly to protect the Kingdom of Naples. And when heard that King François had come home, without delay Henry sent to him as ambassadors Duke Charles of Suffolk, Richard Wingfield the governor of Calais, and Nicholas West. They were first to congratulate him on his victory, and then to ask him whether or not it was his pleasure to maintain the treaty he had formerly made with Louis, and finally to fetch home his sister Mary, together with her dowry. The ambassadors went to Paris and explained their mandate from Henry to King François, who professed he was eager to do everything, but he gave no small indications that he would dislike to see the girl depart. Henry had expected this and bid Charles Brandon marry her, as had been his choice before she wed the King of France, as said above. This was very agreeable to François, who had feared she might be bestowed on Prince Charles of Castile. Thus Mary, having lost her previous husband, came home as a bride.
19. At the same time a disturbance arose at London, which proved the death of the man who started it. A certain townsman named Richard Hunne, a tailor, lost his infant son, and so his parish priest asked him for the linen cloth in which the baby had been swaddled at his baptism, a customary gift. For his part Richard denied that he owed the priest anything, since the baby had owned nothing of his own at home. Thus in their quarrelling both men itched to start a lawsuit, and were swept on from a suit to mischiefmaking when Richard accused the priest of violating that fearful law of praemunire, and the priest retaliated by charging Richard with heresy, and for that crime of impiety was cast in prison by Richard Fitzjames, the Bishop of London. Here he stayed only a little while, for soon thereafter he was found by the head jailor hanging from a noose. When this event became public knowledge and spread throughout the city, it is wonderful to say what things the people uttered, what lamentations it made, exclaiming that the impious and cruel servants of the bishop had strangled an innocent man, the unique champion of the poor (for he had been accustomed to help the needy). And this thing struck the king as not unimportant, and he immediately ordered William Horsey, the bishop’s suffragan, together with the jailor and the apparitor of the bishop’s court to be imprisoned, and an inquest to be held over the man’s death. When this had been done, the dead man’s body was cremated and in the end William and his colleagues were freed from imprisonment. I have digressed enough from my narrative.
20. Not long thereafter Christopher Cardinal of York died at Rome, and Wolsey, the Bishop of Lincoln, became Archbishop of York. Soon he also became Lord Chancellor of England, when William Warham Archbishop of Canterbury voluntarily resigned that position. This abundance of fortune is to be accounted most laudable if it befalls men who are grave, modest, and temperate, who do not boast of their power, nor become insolent in money-matters, and who do not advance themselves in other good things. None of these things was true of Wolsey, who beginning almost at the very moment he gained this dignity became so arrogant that, imagining himself the equal of sovereigns, quickly started using a gold throne and cushion, to use a cloth-of-gold tablecloth, and to have his cardinal’s hat, the badge of his rank, held up aloft by a servant who walked before him, as if it were some kind of idol. And this same hat was placed on the altar of the Chapel Royal during divine services. Thus by his insolence and ambition Wolsey sought and earned the dislike of the entire people, since he was hated by Peerage and Commons alike, because they were very indignant at his vainglory. He was a universal loathing of hate because he imagined he could undertake any responsibility at all. And it was a sight worth seeing to see this man, ignorant of the law, sitting on the bench and pronouncing justice. Although in the beginning he was assisted by lawyers served as traditional assessors, he started by hearing and disposing of many cases which were unfinished or not properly settled, and forbidding others, where the law did not come into question, from being brought to court, setting limits on controversies, severely punishing litigants who had brought false accusations before judges, and at the same time severely rebuking those judges who had heard these cases and failed to assess fair damages. And so Wolsey’s administration originally had a shadow of justice in public esteem, but because it was a shadow it quickly disappeared, as Wolsey began doing everything according to his own whim, since nobody enjoyed more favor with the king. And so it came about that some of the leading members of the Privy Council, seeing that one man had garnered so much power, began to drift away from court. This was particularly true of Canterbury and Winchester, who went off to their sees. But before doing so, being excellent fathers of the commonwealth, they earnestly besought the king not to allow any servant to become greater than his master, taking this statement from Christ, Who said to his disciples in John, Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. Henry was not unaware this was said against Wolsey, and replied that he would first of all carefully take care that every servant should obey, and not command. Then Duke Thomas of Norfolk returned to his dukedom, and finely Duke Charles of Suffolk followed the others. For he had spent a great deal on his French embassy, his marriage, and his new household, having borrowed the money from the king. And he hoped this debt would be forgiven him, but Wolsey had not wished for this to be done, so that Charles, burdened debt, would be more obedient to his word. For, just as great wealth puffs up men’s minds, so poverty deflates them. This was the sixth year of Henry’s reign, the year of human salvation 1515.
21. Not very many days had passed before King Henry, very concerned about the inspection, reformation, and ordering of all parts of the commonwealth, convened a parliament on the recommendation of the Privy Council, in which many statutes were passed concerning the condition of the realm, so that it was impossible to hope for its further improvement. Since all of these public acts have been recorded in a published book, I think it is not my task to repeat them, either here or elsewhere. Therefore, dismissing the parliament, the king made it his business to free Tournai from all French title and governance, and he communicated his counsel to Wolsey. He bade him concentrate and fix his mind on this, which he was not slow or careless to do, and so a reason for a new war was invented. For, as I have shown above, Wolsey was receiving the income of the diocese of Tournai, and subsequently, in accordance with the royal will, he dealt assiduously with King François that, for the sake of the affinity he enjoyed with Henry, that he should give Bishop Louis Guillart the bishopric of some other city, so that he himself should possess the see of Tournai in its entirety. But François did not give Wolsey any explicit answer, believing it it was in his interest to have a French Bishop of Tournai, for he was confident that sooner or later Tournai would either become his dependency or come wholly within his power. His artfulness did not long escape Wolsey’s notice. Impatient of delay, he readily ascertained upon inquiry that a trick was being played on himself, and so he thought he should make some trouble for the French king such as would bitterly vex him for a long time. While he pondered, it came to his mind to make war on him by means of a third party. So he arranged for an anonymous rumor to be brought to the Emperor Maximilian that now the English king was ill-disposed to the King of France for many reasons, so that would raise the hopes of both Duke Massimiliano and his bother Francesco Sforza, and also of the Milanese exiles, for receiving assistance. The turned out just as Wolsey had thought. For as soon as Massimiliano found out that the English were aggrieved at the French, he thought that some war would soon arise between them, and without delay he first sounded out Wolsey by letters and messengers. When he learned that Henry would perhaps pay some wages for his soldiers, if he would prevent the French from gaining such great power in Italy, he then sent Anchise Visconti, a Milanese, to England to ask aid on behalf of himself and the exiles. Anchise came to Henry and carefully repeated Massimiliano’s instructions. Wolsey, learning his counsel, urge Henry that by some means he should prevent the French king from occupying Italy, since the risk existed that, enhanced by such power, he would also seek to lord it over his neighbors. Henry, who regarded all of Wolsey’s suggestions as just and proper, and who thought this was was a matter of deep concern, decided to summon his old familiars to court and consult about the matter. So a few days later William Archbishop of Canterbury, Richard Bishop of Winchester, Duke Thomas of Norfolk, Sir Thomas Lovell, and a number of others were sent for and gave their opinions about what should be done. Wolsey was the first to speak, and employed many arguments to show that King François had broken their treated, for favoring Richard de la Pole, for troubling their friends with war, and for striving to gain an Italian empire, so that in the end he might subdue all neighboring peoples, or at least forever compete with them for power, and this would soon come to pass unless it were dealt with immediately. And there was a means of countering it at no cost in English lives, if the Emperor Maximilian were armed against him. For Maximilian would hinder his endeavors, just as he was always ready to disturb and impede other men’s affairs and advantages. This view of Wolsey was praised, admired, and approved particularly by Bishop Thomas of Durham, who lauded it to the skies lest he receive a thrashing for doing otherwise, since he had already become Wolsey’s devotee and therefore depended wholly on his good will. For their part the grave men, who were not unaware that Wolsey’s hatred of the French king was motivated by private interest rather than concern for the public good, said they saw no reason or imminent peril why Henry should take the lead in breaking his faith and involving himself in a great war that would do him no good. And as for the French king’s project of gaining domination over Italy, Italy was not in the habit of enhancing French power, but rather of diminishing it. Therefore it was better not to enter into a war in which Henry could not be called the victor, but only the aggressor, and this would be to play the part of a villain and a madman. The king chose a view midway between these diverse opinions, for he thought that François’ endeavors should be discouraged in such a way that there would be no mention of a war.
22.After these matters had been decided, Wolsey did not think he should act by secret schemes but openly, as soon as he could sent the king’s secretary Richard Pace to Germany with a goodly sum of money, first to inform Maximilian and Francesco Sforza, whose affairs were very much at stake, about the counsel that had been adopted, and to discuss the conduct of the war and subsidies: namely, if he were to recover Milan with Henry’s aid and assistance, he would publicly pay him a certain annual tribute, and assign Wolsey a pension of 180,000 crowns. Then he was to go to Switzerland and arm Maximilian with a large number of their hired mercenaries. Pace quickly went to Maximilian and set forth his instructions from King Henry. Afterwards they dealt with the means of managing the war, and easily came to an agreement. These arrangements settled, Pace betook himself to the Swiss, whose arrival filled that nation with great hope and good will, since they saw it would be to their advantage if a powerful sovereign were to start a new war. Therefore a goodly part of them accepted their payment and immediately prepared to help the Emperor Maximilian. The Milanese exiles were also at hand to serve in the war. With such a great army thus assembled in a moment, Maximilian descended on Italy, encountering no opposition, and encamped before the gates of Milan. Meanwhile the French, learning their enemies’ counsel, hated the English with all their hearts as disturbers of the peace. But those Frenchmen who had been left at Milan, learning that the enemy were superior in number, quickly sent messengers to King François asking for help. And so as not to be drawn into a battle, before Maximilian’s arrival they had erected suitable fortresses around the castle and prepared provisions for many days. But while they were fortifying themselves here, they saw that the enemy was hot for a battle and gradually lost heart, and now everybody was only concerned with flight. Then, behold, Maximilian broke off his attempt and suddenly began to retreat and went back to Trent, from which he had just come. They say he feared the loyalty of the Swiss. And this departure of their enemy so encouraged the French that immediately thereafter they marched to attack Breschia, which the Venetians were currently besieging. After a few days they made an arrangement with the Spanish to give them the city in exchange for money and their lives, and handed it over to their Venetian allies. After this affair had been settled happily, both armies attacked Verona. But here their fortune was very different, for they were driven off with much loss of life. When these two armies had been routed, Maximilian was once more enthusiastic for renewing the war, and he sent Cardinal Matthew of Sitten with all haste to Henry in England, asking for aid and excusing his soldier’s lack of confidence. Before Matthew’s arrival, learning of Maximilian’s departure from before the gates of Milan (which more was like a flight than a departure), Wolsey was in the dumps because this war, begun by his will and instigation more than Henry’s, had come to naught. When Maximilian arrived, he performed his mission expertly and obtained an annual pension for himself, and immediately went back to Maximilian. But soon thereafter the Emperor Maximilian himself removed the occasion and grounds for the war, because, constantly pressed by warfare, he entered into a truce with his enemies and restored the city of Verona to the Venetians, and not for a great price at that, since only 200,000 crowns changed hands. Another reason for a cessation of arms was the death of King Ferdinand at the end of the year, which was the year of human salvation 1516, the most famous king in human memory for the glory of his deeds. And then, this internal European war being of necessity abandoned in exchange for discord, a new treaty was made between Henry, Maximilian, Charles of Castile, and François.
23. In that same year the Scottish commonwealth was troubled by a great quarrel among its nobility. For at the time the governor of the realm was Archbishop James Beaton. And, as I have said, others also participated in the government, who nursed secret grudges and did not get along well together. This competition was hateful to James Beaton. For, being a lover of peace, he should have done everything according more in accordance with the will of Alexander Hume and his brother William, who were preeminent for their wealth. But he was afraid lest, because of their boldness, things would come to such a pass that they would want to manage the commonwealth in accordance with their own dictates, and so he decided to choose some one individual to counterbalance their authority. Thus, because of him, the would be less able to make decisions as they saw fit. It therefore entered his mind to recall home John Stewart Duke of Albany the cousin of James IV, the father of James V, born in France of his father Alexander, a man equally endowed with prudence and modesty, who could oppose the brothers Alexander and William and at all times fight against them with might and main, when doing so was expedient. First he discussed this plan with his friends, and then, at their urging, he began to tell John that, after his lengthy exile, the time had at last come when he could come home safely and obtain some position of honor. When the duke, who had no greater hope than someday to return to his ancestral home, learned that the way to his homecoming was open, he persuaded King François of France to write to the Scots nobility without delay, and employ many arguments to show that it would be advantageous for their commonwealth for them to take back Duke John. When the royal letter had been received, the matter was brought before the Scots parliament, and after a lengthy argument this was obtained, very much against the wish of Alexander Hume. For it did not escape his attention that all of this was aimed at himself, so that he would be toppled from the administration of the commonwealth, together with his brother William. Then the duke, thus recalled, came home quickly and, Ulysses-like, was recognized by nobody. In a parliament of the Scots nobility supreme authority was given to him, together with the tutorship of King James. Not all men took this well, knowing full well what a lust of power lurks within every man, particularly since the duke was a kinsman of the king, and, were James to die, he would inherit the throne, so there was great danger that in his blind desire for rule he would contrive the death of the royal boy. Alexander, seizing on this as grounds for slandering him, began to drum into the ears of Queen Margaret and her friends how the king’s life was endangered, who had been entrusted to man ambitious for the crown, like a lamb to a wolf. And this was sufficiently clear that first his father Alexander, and afterwards he himself from the cradle had been exiled. So there was need to take swift provisions for the safety of the king and his friends before something violent occurred. Such speeches delivered to his friends quickly came to the duke’s ears, and were the reason why afterwards both of them burned with mutual hatred against each other, so much so that Alexander decided he must decamp elsewhere. To create greater dislike of the duke, he thought he should take the queen as the companion in his flight. So he went to the woman, threw a scare into her, disturbed her, and convinced her there was only one means of escape, for both of them to take to their heels with all speed. The queen, who now had been forbidden by the duke to care for her son James, a thing very dear to her heart, was not unwilling to hear this talk about flight, for she was also very afraid for her husband Archibald Douglas Earl of Angus. Therefore Margaret, having first learned the will of her brother Henry, followed the brothers Alexander and William, together with her husband Archibald, and quickly betook herself to England. John was deeply disturbed by this, because he wished all men to exist in a concord of the orders, and feared lest he would be regarded by both his own countrymen and also foreigners as an author of commotions and seditions. Without delay he sent ambassadors to Henry to deny that he had given the queen, Henry’s sister, or her companions any reason for their departure. The ambassadors should therefore ask that, since John had even taken an oath, he should send them back, and promised to keep his word punctually. Learning John’s mind, Henry began to urge Alexander and his companions that they should moderate their hatreds and return into the duke’s good graces to spare their commonwealth from seditions, with King James’ majesty and the nobles’ dignity both preserved. The duke did the same, for he was deeply concerned, and so by many letters and messengers he continually indicated they should think they would achieve nothing else by civil discords but the destruction of their nation, which for the present, because of the king’s young age, demanded peace, tranquility, and quiet. In the end Alexander came to believe his words, and went home with his brother William and Archibald. He received a very kindly welcome from the duke, who proclaimed an amnesty for injuries suffered, although their grudge was by no means abandoned. But the queen, sick in both mind and body out of fear lest the life of her son James be endangered, and also pregnant, remained with her brother Henry. Not much later she gave birth to a daughter whom she named Margaret after herself, and after recovering her health she returned to her husband in Scotland. Meanwhile the duke and Alexander competed to depose each other from authority, and by taking precautions to free himself from fear each one made himself fearful to the other, so much so that the duke determined to end his anxiety by any means necessary. And so, waiting for a suitable time and place, he soon arranged for Alexander and William to be denounced before the judges. As soon as they were accused of having recruited a very large band of robbers they were convicted and beheaded. For many this development was more of a cause for surprise than regret, because in the eyes of the common people Alexander had long since been very tainted by the blot of treachery, because during the English war he had failed to go to the aid of those struggling and dying in front of the camp he commanded. Henceforth the Scottish situation was somewhat more placid, being in such a condition at the time.
24. Now it was 1517 A. D. when there were great riots in London, caused by the apprentices (i. e., by townsmen’s temporary servants, whom I have mentioned above in Book XIV, in my life of Richard, when I discussed the origin of all the social orders in the city). These apprentices often quarreled with foreign artisans and merchants, since they were jealous of those men’s skill at buying and selling, although neither side could complain about this without greatly sinning, as can be seen from Plato and the Stoics, on the showing of Cicero, who in Book I of De Officiis writes, “But since, as Plato excellently says, we are not born only for ourselves, but our nation, our parents, and our friends have a share in our birth., and also, as the Stoics think, all the things of the earth are created for Man’s use, but men are created for the sake of other men, so they can be of use to each other, in this we should take nature for our guide and serve the common good by an exchange of duties, binding together human society by giving, by receiving, by our arts, by our help, and by our abilities.” So much for Cicero. These things and similar ones are sometimes forestalled even by those who should be teaching the people God’s Law, for in preaching from their pulpits they speak words full of sedition, especially at London, deploring the common people’s sufferings and the injuries by which they are constantly troubled, because foreign merchants and artisans come flying here from distant climes, snatching a goodly part of their livelihood and profits out of the hands of the citizenry. And thus these uncouth folk ruin commerce. By this means it comes about that whatever exists anywhere appears to be native to all peoples. For example, wine is not produced in England, but England greatly abounds in wine. Two of out of the number of such preachers were monks, one a Dominican and the other a Regular Canon, who at this time wished to do their nation a service so roused the rabble by their sermons, and armed it with rashness once it had been excited, that they vied in frequently exclaiming that such insults and losses should be tolerated no longer, nor should the manifold other mischiefs of foreign men, so that the apprentices’ ears were readily open to their teachings and to advice of this kind. So not long thereafter, at the instigation of one John Lincoln, they entered into a sworn compact against foreign workmen and merchants. They decided that, to avoid raising any suspicion, they would attack them on May Day, when their habit was to pour out into the countryside early in the morning and return bearing green branches, killing some, giving others a thrashing, and despoiling yet others of their fortunes. But since they bawled and boasted in the streets and market place that it would soon come to pass that with their own hands they would avenge the wrongs suffered from the foreigners who had snatched away their livelihood, their plans came to light and the foreign traders begged help of the king, asking him to protect themselves from harm. The king summoned the Lord Mayor and the entire city council and ordered them to keep the apprentices in good order, and to provide and take care lest there be any rioting. The city council immediately forbade all citizens from letting their servants outdoors before 9 A. M. on the next May Day, and thus the intended riot appeared to have been suppressed. But at the dawn of that day a great crew of apprentices and watermen who managed river craft suddenly burst into the parish of St. Martin, where there is an asylum and where many craftsmen have their cobblers’ shops, and everywhere they began to destroy and despoil everything, and to kill the cobblers who offered resistance. Hearing a rumor of this, the Lord Mayor quickly appeared to settle the growing sedition, and hard on his heels Thomas Howard the Admiral ran up, with a great number of armed men. When the furious hubbub spread through the city, the other foreigners, even if they had fortified themselves in their homes, were nevertheless in a great panic since they imagined everything had to be feared. but Howard’s arrival freed them from every anxiety. For the apprentices, stricken with sudden panic and scattered, just like sheep when they catch sight of a wolf, and in a trice they hid, concealed, and kept themselves in their individual lairs. Meanwhile there arrived Duke Thomas of Norfolk, George Talbot Earl of Worcester, Thomas Docwra, a Knight of Rhodes and Prior of the Order of St. John, and George Neville, Lord Bergavenny. They blocked all the roads quicker than you can describe it, and captured many people. An inquest was held, and they discovered that John Lincoln had inspired this criminal enterprise. He was presently staying in the countryside so it would appear he had played no part in the conspiracy, but they ordered him to be brought in chains forthwith. Afterwards the rioting was suppressed and the guilty were placed on trial. Since no life had been lost in that commotion, they chose to set an example by punishing a few individuals (either those whose guilt was more, or whose luck was less), but to forgive the rest. And luck indeed was worse for certain parties who had fallen in with that rabble of ne’er-do-wells more by chance than any deliberation, for they had a share of the punishment. Therefore John Lincoln was put to death together with four accomplices, their bodies were quartered, and their limbs hung up before the various city gates. Likewise ten others were hanged at various places around the city. This was a sight unseen in all previous ages, to see so many gallows erected at the same time throughout the city, and it distressed the townsmen’s minds so much that these were removed two weeks later. The remaining throng of mischiefmakers, being unpunished, were subjected to a disgrace of the following kind. Each man placed a noose around his neck, and, wearing this badge of dishonor, they were brought to Westminster, where the king, sitting on his seat of judgment, granted them pardon when they humbly stretched forth their hands. The monks who had stirred up the common people were likewise spared punishment, surely for religion’s sale, and they were thrown in prison, and thereafter lay in darkness a long time so as to learn to display wisdom in their preaching, and to serve as an example to others that discord should not be introduced into the city. Finally, whatever had been stolen in that rioting which was in the possession of the apprentices was restored to those who had lost these things. Nevertheless many of these resident aliens were filled with fear voluntarily went home, fearing lest they get another taste of the apprentices’ clubs (which they used instead of swords). In those days the sweating sickness I have mentioned in my life of Henry VIII began to attack men again, and took away many.
25. Meanwhile, now that he had settled his affairs in Italy, King François of France was full of anger that the English king had armed Maximilian against himself, for thanks to him nothing came closer than for him to lose Milan, and he was wonderfully hot for avenging the injury. But a while later, when his anger subsided, he reflected that fighting against the King of England would bring him more loss than profit, and easily stayed his hand. And he thought he should dissimulate, since he was nearly certain that the war had cost Henry more than it did himself. So he was so far removed from thinking any more about waging a war that he even decided he should by all means offer Henry his friendship. His hopes for this were particularly raised by Thomas Wolsey’s great ambition and avarice. For he was extremely confident he could make a supporter out of the man. And so as soon as he could, by his ambassadors he began to mollify Wolsey with gifts and magnificent addresses, and quickly brought him over to his side, so that, just as he had originally been the most vehement opponent of the French, so now he was made their most energetic champion, which he regarded as both profitable and tending to enhance his glory. He immediately went to Henry and revealed that the French king now greatly wished to regain his friendship, and promised he would remain in this. At the same time, he shared with Henry some of the gifts given him by François. For he would bring some little present, such as a dish of fine workmanship, or a jewel, a ring, or something of the kind, and while the king closely examined and admired it, he would artfully bring up what he had in mind. Henry was very happy that this new intimacy with the French king had been established, and greatly commended Wolsey’s wisdom, with the result that after a few days he said in public, in all seriousness, that Wolsey desired to rule both himself and François, implying that by performing services for them both he was their equal, and now the French king would be doing everything at his dictation. But François, seeing Wolsey to be ensnared by his largesse just as he had hoped, immediately set his mind on the recovery of Tournai with Wolsey’s help. But since this was a matter of some difficulty, he thought he should wait until this friendship had become more deeply rooted. Meanwhile, to feed the man’s vanity yet more (for this was his steady diet), he pretended to make a great fuss over him, now calling him Master and Father in his daily letters and messages, and now consulting his opinion about some weighty matter, at other times praising him to the skies as if he had discovered some new oracle. By means of these courtesies François gained the opportunity of pursuing his project, and began dealing with Wolsey so he would be allowed to redeem Tournai, long a dependant on his ancestors. The French king had no need for employing many arguments, for thanks to his presents Wolsey was not inclined to deny anything that was in his power to give. But since Henry had constructed a very costly castle in that city, lest he gain any unpopularity, they decided this matters needed to be transacted under some show of kinship, so the city could be said to have been returned as a dowry, not as a purchase. Therefore Wolsey first approached Henry and told him the price for the redemption of the city, persuading him to do as he wished, and then brought the matter before the Privy Council, where he set forth arguments why it would be in the commonwealth’s interest to dispose of a place far from English territory, which could at no time be used by the king save by permission of Prince Charles of Flanders, so that could be said to be held on a kind of sufferance. Finally, he said it would be advantageous for Henry’s daughter Mary to be affianced to François, the infant Dauphin. Nobody disapproved of what Wolsey said, and it was particularly liked by Thomas Bishop of Durham as an act of dutifulness, for, as I have said above, he was under the obligation to ingratiate himself with Wolsey. And the others followed Durham, so as not to waste their effort in vain. Therefore a few days later an embassy was sent to England by François and on October 11 of the year of human salvation 1518, the tenth of Henry’s reign, Mary was betrothed to the infant François in St. Paul’s cathedral at London, and the treaty was renewed with the condition that François would recover Tournai by way of a dowry, and would pay to Henry 600,000 crowns within a space of twelve years, i. e. 50,000 per annum, as compensation for the castle erected there, and give hostages to guarantee that, if for any good reason Mary should not marry her betrothed François, Tournai would return to English control. Likewise the French king would pay Wolsey an annual pension of 1,000 marks in exchange for his vacating the bishopric of Tournai, and he gave a certain sum to be distributed to the members of Henry’s Privy Council, in accordance with his ancestors’ custom. In the same way he would promptly recall Duke John of Albany and henceforth forbid him to return home to consult for King James’ affairs, so that the English would have no reason to fear hostilities. Furthermore, it pleased François that King James would be made a party to this same treaty with Henry. When news of this betrothal spread through the neighboring nations, what had previously been a rumor now immediately became a joke, that François had died as soon as he was born, or that he had not yet been born. This was the reason why Nicholas Bishop of Ely and Earl Charles of Worcester, the king’s chamberlain, went to France, who first arranged for King François to ratify the treaty that had been made, and then went to Ambois, where the queen then was, to pay a visit to the infant, whom they saw and lovingly embraced and kissed. But I do not think that a current saying should be disregarded, which predicted that this betrothal would soon turn out to be nothing. Thus the princes of our time are accustomed to pledge each other a loyalty they very rarely observe, afterwards giving many reasons to excuse themselves. But four months after these marriage-arrangements had been made, and hostages exchanged, the possession of Tournai was handed over to the King of France, to the unhappy distress of a goodly portion of its citizenry, because they were compelled to be come under French power. Previously they had obeyed the French, commended to them in friendship and with their liberty preserved intact, but had not been French subjects. They were also distressed because they were obliged to lose their English commerce, which had garnered the city no mean profit. And doubtless this did no little to tarnish the English name, because this city, all but voluntarily surrendered to them, fell under French rule with such a great loss of its liberty, although it had been prepared to remain loyal to the English Crown, as its senate had announced by its ambassadors. But this did not disturb anyone’s mind as much as it did that of Prince Charles. Just as at first he had rejoiced to have a friendly neighbor, England, as the possessor of Tournai, so he was ultimately aggrieved to have his friend replaced by the French, not always so friendly. But if the completion of this business was troublesome to others, it was not such to the King of France, who rejoiced that this had turned out luckily, happily, and prosperously. What shall we say about the fact that he was inspired by this prize to hunger for the town of Calais as well? For he had now become so optimistic that he was confident he could someday purchase that too. He seems to have had no hesitation in communicating his plan with Wolsey, for henceforth Wolsey was greatly intent on accomplishing this business. For in the varied conversations that arose at lunch or dinner, he would purposefully bring up the subject of overseas affairs, frequently saying, “Why is it that we attach such great importance to Calais, a little town on the Continent, which costs us more than it profits us? So God grant that we can make do without the place!” Wolsey would say things of this kind, so as to gain an idea of what men in general would say or do if he would ever sell or give the place away. But this wicked crime was averted by the authority Prince Charles, who thought it in his best interest to try every means to make Wolsey abandon his French friendship and turn to him instead, and a little later he achieved this with no difficulty. For after his recovery of Tournai the French king thought he needed to cultivate the King of England by all dutifulness, and daily sent Henry, Wolsey, and the girl Mary messengers bearing new and lavish gifts for the sake of strengthening their association, which nevertheless did not long flourish. For immediately thereafter, when James King of Scots was supposed to swear his adherence to the treaty made between Henry and the French king, but refused to do so, a suspicion arose among the English that this was François’ artifice, so that he could harm them by means of the Scots king whenever he wished. Henceforth there were only truces between the Scotch and the English, and very brief ones at that.
26. While these things were happening, Pope Leo, hearing that once upon a time fear of the Turks had been profitable to his predecessors, began to be afraid of them himself, and pondered inciting a war against them. So he sent some Cardinals to Christian sovereigns asking their aid. They set out quickly but, since by now this artifice was known everywhere, they came home without having empty-handed. Lorenzo Campeggio came to England, a Bolognese and a lawyer among lawyers, and a ready, well-considered man, who was given to Wolsey as a colleague. For at the same time Wolsey had been appointed papal legate to England, partly by Henry’s persistence in asking for this, and partly by the authority of King François. When Campeggio arrived at Calais, either accidentally or on purpose Wolsey advised him to wait there a few days, and meanwhile by making many promises he began to work on him to deal with Pope Leo by his letters that Cardinal Adriano of Bath would be deprived of his see, which he himself was ready to seize. Among his promises was the see of Salisbury, which fell vacant soon thereafter and was occupied by Campeggio, and he was permitted to receive its income until, not long thereafter, a law was enacted that absentees should not possess Church positions in England. Now I come to a thing which requires me that I go back in time, as is my custom, in order to make things clearer. For a few years previously Leo accepted the citizenry of the very noble city of Sienna as his is dependants, and had so arranged matters there that Cardinal Alfonso, the son of Pandolfo Petrucci, a leading citizen long deceased, together with his House of Petrucci, should not only be deprived of the government they had long possessed, but should also be debarred from the city. The Pope gave out that he had done this to weaken and undermine partisanship and to uproot all factionalism in the city. And so Alfonso, fierce because of his youth and spirits, took this all the harder because he had previously deserved well of Leo (for he had greatly helped him in canvassing for the papacy), and was aroused to employ an unbridled tongue and mind, having been schooled in Roman freedom of speech. So he openly complained to his friends about this insult, railing at Leo’s ungrateful attitude towards himself, and prayed he would suffer a thousand deaths. As he raged so madly, it came about that he said such angry and intemperate stuff in the hearing of Cardinals Adriano and Francesco Volterra, who sharply rebuked the man. But since it was well known that his rages had come to the ears of Pope Leo, they saw no reason to denounce him. These things being so, Alfonso was so driven by anger that he voluntarily left the city and, having been given a public pledge of safe conduct, returned a little later. Since his mind was no calmer, so that, with patience his teacher, he might learn to bear adversity, he was imprisoned, and there he died a little later. Meanwhile Leo, not forgetting their malfeasance (if such it was), fined Adriano and Francesco. Not content with that prize, he sent the captain of his bodyguard to Adrian’s palace to see if there was anything inside which could be confiscated. Adriano, very irate at the indignity of that wrong, betook himself to Venice, and there, as was his habit, he relaxed by devoting himself to Scripture and other goodly letters. Leo did not object. And then, behold, by the operation of his enemies he was deprived of his see, and Wolsey quickly achieved his intention by gobbling it up. Then he very carefully arranged for Cardinal Lorenzo at length to cross over to England, three months after his arrival at Calais, and from him he received his appointment as papal legate. As soon has he had received this honor, no man can believe how puffed-up he became, and how he began to strive to satiate his hubristic mind. For nothing delighted him so much as worldly trifles, in comparison which he set a small value on true glory. Therefore, seeing himself at the pinnacle of rank , the most important thing in his eyes was to adopt some symbol showing he surpassed other men in dignity. And, since there was almost no kind of ceremony that he did not appropriate, he finally decided to show the world his glory by means of sacred rites and the Cross of Christ. So within a few days he began to celebrate them more frequently than usual on every holiday, in the presence of the king and all his company, and to employ bishops and abbots, dukes and earls as his acolytes to pour water over his hands and hold his napkins. Likewise, dissatisfied with the single cross which he employed because he was Archbishop of York, he wanted a second one to borne before him by two tall priests riding great horses, who were to go bareheaded, no matter what the time of year. This thing, the most vain in human memory, aroused both indignation and amusement in all men. And so every one of his processionals were greeted with no acclamation or applause. For it annoyed the common folk that Wolsey carried himself so arrogantly amidst his good fortune. On the other hand, gentlemen of greater intelligent laughed at the man’s inconsistency, and used to say, not without wit, “Now it clear that Wolsey is conscious of his sin, for he has two crosses in his procession, because one would not suffice to atone for his transgressions.” While Wolsey, thus inflated with pride, rejoiced in his happiness and carried himself imprudently, it happened that William Archbishop of Canterbury wrote him a letter and signed at, as was his wont, Your brother William Canterbury. When he opened the letter and read that word brother (a word full of kindness, duty, and good will), Wolsey took offence and began to exclaim as if Canterbury had attacked him, and he said over and over that he would quickly bring it about that the fellow would learn he was not his equal, let alone his brother. But Canterbury, an upright and modest man, learning from his messenger that Wolsey had found a grave fault in his letter, and the messenger described this with great exasperation, replied with these words: “Hold your tongue. Don’t you know the man is mad with joy?” And in this way Wolsey, ignorant of the true path of glory, appeared to prefer being feared by the great men of the land rather than being loved by them. But let me return to Campeggio. After bestowing the office of legate on Wolsey, he began very enthusiastically to pursue the business of tithes assigned him by Leo, the chief reason he had come. But when he heard the news that the other legates had attempted this elsewhere with no good result, he abandoned the enterprise, and, very doubtful of his friends’ promises, went home. He had been treated affably and with generosity by King Henry, to whom he gave as a present the mansion which Cardinal Adriano of Bath had built on the Vatican Hill at Rome, dedicating it to his father Henry VII, as a gift which would serve as no mean monument of the English nation in the city. John Clark followed Campeggio to Rome, a grave man and an upright lawyer, as Henry’s ambassador to Pope Leo, from whom he obtained permission for his English legate to absolving those he wished from the laws, for the benefit of those who had been hindered by any legal obstruction, that which is commonly called dispensation. For Wolsey’s office as legate had lacked this function, which was by far the most profitable.
27. When Wolsey arrived at the apex of his dignity, then he opened a public court. What a Charybdis! What a Maelstrom! What a whirlpool of all manner of thefts! Over this new model court he set John Alleyn, a lawyer, a man who so shrank from law itself and the pursuit of justice that a little earlier he had been convicted of open crimes, and particularly of perjury, by the testimony of many men in his own presence as Lord Chancellor of England. So Alleyn was appointed a judge, supervisor of morals, and teacher of ancient discipline and severity. First he scrutinized the jurisdiction of the city as a whole, and inquired into the lives of individual citizens. If there were any men or women upon whom fell any suspicion of serious wrongdoing, he hounded them and heavily mulcted them, rightly or wrongly. But he dealt more gently with some, since one penalty was appointed for all, namely that they might buy their way out of judgment, buy their way out of trials, and buy their way out of guilt, which such purchasers did with less reluctance because that way they emerged without being branded with any mark of infamy. For some this form of theft was a great incitement to malfeasance. Alleyn’s deputies industriously followed, employed, and observed this scheme in the countryside. There was in additional crew of apparitors roaming the villages and city wards to sniff out the funerals of the dead, and they issued citations so that their executors would hasten to the court to prove their wills (as is the English custom), so that heirs or executors would give an accounting to a bishop or archdeacon of the property bequeathed, and swear in his presence that they would carry out the wishes of the deceased. And, based on the valuation of the property, the archbishops or archdeacons themselves often secured a fee, sometimes a great one, not without great losses to heirs. King Henry himself reduced this fee to a minimal sum, and indeed by this act, as pious and holy as it was just, he greatly consulted the utility of his people. As far as I am aware, other nations do not employ the custom. But let me return to the duties of these apparitors themselves, They likewise carefully recorded the names of vacant church livings, which by his authority the legate might confer and bestow on whomever he wished. Meanwhile at London Wolsey, who from the beginning had made up his mind to profit from his province, summoned monks of all orders. Feigning virtue, he reprehended them for many things as they lay prostrate at his feet, that they were leading a far different life than what they had originally professed, that they were not employing themselves in letters and the goodly arts, but were motivated by a wonderful zeal for money-making. He therefore claimed it was his duty to correct such faults, so that their religion would not entirely go to ruin. So that his words would have more credibility, he paid an unexpected visit to the monastery of Westminster, and there he conducted a severe investigation into the condition of the monks, doing everything intemperately, throwing everything into confusion and turmoil, so he might terrify the others, so that he might display his power, so that he might seem more fearsome. The point of this all was to the monks subjected to this censure would prefer to volunteer some money, rather than change their condition. His notion was not wrong. The monks readily divined why this physician toiled so much for other men’s health while neglecting his own, and at length they placated Wolsey with gifts. And just as these artifices were held against him, so they greatly hoped that someday he would be held responsible for them. But this power, which ought to depend wholly on piety, charity, and benevolence, was entirely uncontrolled and hateful, and it induced the Archbishop of Canterbury to inform the king of this matter. As soon as he learned of it, he responded, “I certainly know nothing about this. Nor is that surprising, for if something bad happens at home, the father of the family is the last to hear about. But I pray you, Father, go to Wolsey, tell him everything, so that something has been done amiss he may mend it.” Canterbury, bent on doing his duty and following the king’s instructions, met with Wolsey, and expostulated with him in a goodly and fraternal manner, that as the result of his being made legate nothing better had been done with things either divine or human, and he reminded him of the wrongs that had been done, and how the blight on true piety and religion was daily growing worse by means of punishments for sin being put up for sale. For such punishments ought not to serve the advantage of him who punishes or chastises a man, but that of the entire Christian people. And this would happen best if those who sinned were visited with proper punishment, so they would serve as an example for others not to do the same. Then human affairs would suffer lest damage at the hands of the men doing the castigation, since they frequently exacted sharp punishments from others for some offence, although themselves guilty of yet greater vices, against all equity of justice. It was not tolerable for somebody to punish another who himself was not free of fault, and such perversity on the part of a judge violated the standard of good morals and right living. Finally, that the wills of the dead were being probated under his legantine laws, a thing the Pope himself was nowhere said to do. And the benefices of the gentry (i. e. those which belonged to bishops and nobles, commonly called avowsons) were being bestowed by Wolsey himself, although this papal right had long been out of use in England. Wolsey heard this all calmly and did not give a straightforward answer, both because there was some truth on both sides, and because he had an inkling that rumor about this thing had already been wafted to the royal ears. But as a result of this service he became much more hostile towards Canterbury. Something else checked the man’s savagery a little. Since many men shuddered at such unfair censure, behold, John Alleyn, who presided over this court, was accused by John London, an upright priest and a learned one, of these crimes, and nothing came closer than for him to be publicly disgraced by condemnation. But he avoided the danger by his friends’ timely support, as the result of the behind-the-scenes machination of his master. But this accusation sufficiently proved the truth of Canterbury’s charges against Wolsey, so the king rebuked him with very harsh words, with the result that for a little while the legate stayed his hand from theft.
28. Above I have recorded the death of King Ferdinand, and so Charles crossed to Spain to rule that province. And not many months passed before he lost his other grandfather, his paternal one Maximilian, who had appointed him his heir, together with his brother Ferdinand, to whom Austria was bequeathed. Charles sent him there without delay, not because the business required haste, but lest Ferdinand obstruct his reorganization of Spain. For that young man, having been born there, was the apple of the Spaniards’ eye, and, had they been allowed the decision, they would have chosen him as their king. After Maximilian’s death the electors met, as was customary, at Frankfurt, and began to discuss whom to choose as the next emperor. Both Charles and King François of France sought this honor, striving for it with might and main. So by letters and messengers they begged Henry to help them with the electors. Henry, who was conjoined by recently-arranged kinship with François and very friendly to Charles, so that he might seem as zealous a supporter of one as of the other, quickly sent Richard Pace to Frankfurt to deal with his friends’ causes, so that he might receive the thanks of both. Finally, after great contention, Charles was designated emperor, which was a source of great pleasure to Henry, so that, thinking God should be thanked, he arranged for the Archbishop of Canterbury to have the Te Deum sung in churches throughout the land. These things were done in the month of June of the year of human salvation 1519.
29. In these days King François of France, eager to maintain his friendship with Henry, began to ask Wolsey that he might meet with him at some suitable place, so as Henry and he might make each other’s acquaintance. A probable story goes, however, that this was Wolsey’s doing, who, measuring what should be done according to the yardstick of his own will, thought it would be splendid for him to seen showing off his worldly vanity in a convention of nobles in France. And so he communicated with, urged, showed, and persuaded Henry that it was in his best interest to meet affably with his friend, at a meeting where the most consequential matters of state would be discussed, and at the same time cleverly informed him (as he chose) what those matters would be. For Henry was not a party to all his projects, but only to those which turned out well. Therefore out of his kindness Henry, likewise eager to meet his royal friend, decided to go to Calais, and thence to the French border, for the sake of conferring with François, and immediately wrote to his nobles in all quarters that on a certain day they should gather in London in all their finery, and meanwhile he commanded a magnificent wooden house to be built at Guines, where he would receive his guest. The nobles, receiving his letter, which gave no clear reason for their departure, were not able to refrain from grumbling that such a costly and serious business was not being done in accordance with a decree of the Privy Council. Duke Edward of Buckingham, a high-spirited man but not especially liberal, particularly regretted having to spend so much in preparing for the journey, repeatedly saying he did not know why he had to waste his money, if not for the future spectacle of silly speeches or conversations about trifles, and so he proclaimed that it was intolerable to obey a sordid, importunate fellow. These ill-advised statements by the duke easily came to Wolsey’s ears. Being a cruel man and forgetful of who he was, Wolsey thought they should not be neglected, and decided someday he must destroy the duke. First of all, for the sake of creating dislike of him with Henry, he looked for some fault. At that time Sir William Golmer had been taken into the duke’s household and sworn him his fealty. Wolsey summoned him, and after berating him for doing that he imprisoned him, since he had slavishly sworn homage to a private subject, in neglect of his sovereign. Henry for his part threateningly reprimanded the duke, and now began to like him less than hitherto, as being proud and arrogant. And since Wolsey had planned death for the duke someday, his sole concern was how this could be brought about without any suspicion of wrongdoing, but rather with a show of justice. And since Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey and Admiral of the Fleet, was married to the duke’s daughter, was a hot-tempered man, he thought it best to isolate him, or rather to send him somewhere else. For he was very hostile towards the earl, so that on another occasion Howard had come close to using his dagger on the man, and had dared hurl some insults. Finally, the arrival of Earl Gerald of Kildare, the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, gave him grounds to carry out his project. For since he was unmarried and desired an English wife, he came to Henry, and first of all paid his duty to Wolsey, who gave him a friendly reception. Then he began to devote himself to the business of finding a wife, and this gave Wolsey material for contriving a plague against the man. For Wolsey had heard that the earl was wealthy, so he sought some grounds for relieving him of his money. For a few days he avoided conversation with the fellow, made a show of being angry against him, and in Henry’s presence did not cease slandering, attacking, and accusing his reputation and honor. He particularly said that he had sought the hand of a certain widowed noblewoman, contrary to Henry’s will. Not to make a long story of it, the earl, being thus accused and harried, and making no offering of money at the shrine of Wolsey, was imprisoned. Then Wolsey, cleverly going about his business, arranged for Thomas Howard to be appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Thus Thomas obtained that providence, more because another man was hated than because he was liked, and knowing full well that he was being sent into exile more than to a province, as long as it this was in enemy’s power to manage. Wolsey also thought that Earl Henry of Northumbria might be an obstacle to his being able to punish the duke as he pleased, and he decided to arouse the king against him to the point he would be refused access to the royal person, being in disfavor. Therefore, since a little earlier the earl had ward of several children, in accordance with the national custom that a guardian of children receives the income of their estates until they grow to the age of twenty-one, Wolsey (who always regarded his own wish as law) claimed that this wardship belonged to the king, and demanded it back. The earl argued this was rightfully his, and, since he refused to give it over, he was haled into court and imprisoned, and the wardship was taken back in the name of the king. Afterwards Wolsey, having gained his prize, dealt with the earl in such a way that he was happy just to have escaped his clutches. Afterwards Wolsey, happily triumphant, boasted that it had now come to light that he had devoted all his watchfulness, care, and thoughts to the royal safety, for having for the present suppressed the duke and his friends, who were bound together by such a network of kinship that the threat hung over Henry’s head that they might suddenly seek the throne. Thus, step by step, this deadly man managed to make his sovereign think he needed to be on his guard against the duke, and finally that the duke should be put to death.
30. Meanwhile word of the coming conference came to Charles’ ears, and, foreseeing this would work to his great disadvantage, he decided that it should by all means be obstructed. And so by letters and ambassadors he asked Henry to bear in mind that a prince should please his subjects’ eyes as well as their minds, which would scarcely happen if he himself went to the French, not always friends to the English, and brought his nobles into their presence, because they would be required to see Frenchmen at home, and to converse, eat, and drink with men they had always disliked, because nature brings about that we love those who love us and shun those who hate us. Furthermore he advised that it was not very safe to make an enemy, reconciled again and again, a partner in his plans. Therefore he greatly urged Henry not to set foot out of English territory for the sake of such a congress, which could in no way profit him, nor for its sake create suspicion with his most loyal friends. Charles belabored this theme, which all good and men judged best to do with the exception of Wolsey, that boastful beggar, who desired, as it were, to display his peacock’s tail, I mean to extol his ornaments, in the land of France. But when Charles was told that there was no point in trying to end or change a plan that had already been made, since he thought this business more important than anything else, he decided to make his proposed trip to Flanders more quickly, and not long thereafter set sail from Spain with a few ships.
31. Amidst these things the Peers of the realm and their retinues had gathered at London, particularly the Duke of Buckingham, the most resplendent of them all. Wolsey dissimulated the great hatred he had conceived for him and openly treated him with kindness. He left before Henry, and spent a few days at his Kentish estate, where there was not a single tenant who did not complain of the thefts and injuries of his estate agent Charles Knyvett. The duke, disturbed by these things, conducted an inquiry in to the losses suffered by his farmers. Finding their complaints to be just, he removed Charles from his duties, ignorant that by doing so he was manufacturing the weapon for his own destruction, as will be told at the appropriate place elsewhere. Now they had come to Canterbury when, behold, the Emperor Charles arrived at Dover, to whom Wolsey immediately went flying, and brought him into the town until Henry could come up. He arrived early the next morning, and embraced Charles with great kindness and favor, and at evening took him to Canterbury, where they had many conversations. Charles, striving with all the care, effort, and counsel he could muster, left nothing undone would tend to separate the English from the French. And since he had by now learned from experience that Wolsey could be caught by a preferment like a fish by a baited hook (as they say), he bent all his strength to entice, ensnare, and capture him by promising honors, by promising rewards, by giving presents for the moment. Wolsey’s corrupt mind did not wait until the final assault (which is often the most violent), for the hope of profit suddenly gripped the man, so he promised his help in gradually detaching Henry from his association with François. So he asked Charles to do nothing to discredit the conference. For thus Wolsey feared losing his opportunity, for he so burned with desire to cross over to France and flaunt his loftiness. These arrangements made, Charles also turned from seriousness to entertainments, but was not always devoted to these, being a youth endowed with great gravity and could in no way be induced to join the other nobles in their dancing and music-making, for he was only willing to be a spectator. Perhaps the sight of the young Mary was not entirely pleasing to Charles, for he had loved her from the beginning but fate decreed he could not marry her. Very happy with Wolsey’s promises, Charles left for Flanders three days after he had come, and two days after his departure Henry crossed over to Calais, sending Wolsey to François ar Ardres to decide the day for their congress. Meanwhile he himself came to Guines, where a temporary house of royal splendor had been built. King François went out to meet Wolsey, and, after receiving him with all kindness, he expressed his thanks because it was by his very welcome effort that he was conjoined with Henry in the friendship he had desired. Thus, conversing much, they appointed the day for the meeting, which as June 7, the solemn feast of Corpus Christi, on which the kings would meet between Guines and Ardres. And when the day arrived, on both sides a great crowd gathered to cheer their sovereigns, and the kings with a few of their followers entered a pavilion set up in intervening space. They first greeted each other as if wholeheartedly sincere, and then with great satisfaction conversed amicably until nightfall. With the foundation for friendship thus laid, on the following day François came to pay his respects to the Queen of England, and Henry did likewise for the Queen of France, and, having dined, they returned home but met each other on the way. Afterwards the kings spent much time in each other’s company on very close terms, now at Ardres and now at Guines, as most befits the life and manners of Christian sovereigns in accordance with that saying of Christ, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you. That congress was particularly praiseworthy in this one respect, but not in others, because there they competed in their display of luxuries and elegant banquets, and the women of England adopted a new manner of dress from the more wanton ladies of France, not very fitting for their modesty, which they employ even today, having for the most part abandoned the very honorable style of their ancestors that I mentioned at the beginning of this volume, And Wolsey, who was preeminent amidst the pomp of the clergy, celebrated Mass again and again in pontifical style, as the kings confirmed their treaty by taking their oaths. And so for many days everything resounded with the voices of merrymakers, but it was possible to see that not all Englishman were looking on the French with happy eyes. What are we to say of the fact that there were some freer spirits who could not even control their words? And so the French king easily saw that he and his subjects were being held in bad odor, and, taking a suitable occasion to expostulate, is said to have addressed Henry and Wolsey: “I am eternally grateful you you Henry, for I can read in your face (as they say) that you match my affection with your own. And I confess to you, excellent prelate, that I am greatly in your debt, since you uniquely love me and by your work you have made Henry my friend and close intimate. For the rest of the English, as I can see with my eyes and mind, are so far from loving us that they cannot even look upon us gladly. But I think that nature’s faults must be forgiven. For I have chosen to mention this, not because I want you to regard your subjects as less dear and beloved for this, but lest you imagine I am unaware of how kind you are being to me.” Henry aptly excused this thing by a joke, since in the absence of humor he could not have done so. Soon thereafter they departed the congress, as François returned to Paris and Henry to Calais. As soon as this was related to Charles, he immediately came flying to Henry at Calais and with many entreaties begged him to visit his Flanders. Henry said he was obliged to him for his kindness, but that he would do this some other time. But Charles had more business with Wolsey, whom he desired to retain as a friendship, and so he put him in hopes of receiving very generous rewards. Having concluded this business, he returned to Flanders, and Henry to England, This was the twelfth year of Henry’s reign, the year of human salvation 1520.
32. When Charles came to Flanders he gathered his councilors and consulted about accepting the insignia of the Empire, about going to Italy for this reason, and about gathering wages for his soldiers. They all voted that he should assemble a Diet of the German nobility at Worms, and meanwhile go to Aachen to for his customary first coronation. For the emperor habitually wears a triple crown. After deciding these things, he summoned his council, assembled an army, and as soon as he could he went to Aachen, where he was crowned with a crown of iron on October 20. Next he went to Worms, where all the nobles of Germany were arriving, and began to hold his Diet. First of all they dealt with organizing the affairs of the empire, and about restoring its majesty, which had been greatly undermined, both by the negligence of emperors and by their weakness at home. And finally they discussed arming Charles to wage war insofar as was required. For the rest of the German nobility is supposed to supply money, foot and horse for the emperor as he conducts the business of state, and particularly when he goes for his coronations. While these things were happening in Germany, a commotion arose in Spain between the royal governors and the common folk, supported by the power of certain noblemen ill-disposed towards Charles because it grieved them to see foreigners being preferred in honors. For by the advice of Guillaume de Chièvres, a shrewd man who enjoyed great authority with him, Charles had bestowed nearly all the lieutenancies of Spain on his own Flemish subjects a little while before, and these men, unfamiliar with the local laws, customs, and manners, sold these offices to other men who, since they had spent their money on these purchases, were obliged to put up all trials, legal inquisitions, and indeed all laws for sale. A twofold disgrace for the commonwealth followed from these things: one was that incompetent judges were put on the bench, and the other that men could be harmed with impunity. Therefore when Charles had demanded a certain sum of money a little before his departure, the people had refused to pay it, and, defending their action by a show of honesty, started to exclaim that it was not in the best interest of their commonwealth to spend money for a war waged elsewhere, and thus for their nation to be robbed of its money. When they refused to pay and force was applied, things came to blows and much killing was committed by both sides until the fighting was suppressed by the intervention of the nobility, and the anger of the people subsided without wholly leaving their minds. When these things were reported to Charles, he suddenly changed his plans. For in his council it was debated whether he should travel to Italy at present, or go to Spain to settle these recent turmoils. In the end, those who thought that, above all else, Spain needed to be pacified brought the rest around to their opinion, persuading them by the argument that in the future Charles could accomplish the great martial feats he already had in mind. without Spanish soldiers. Thus a delay was made for their dissention, but its cause was not removed. Yet in accordance with the will of the council each one was commanded to supply a certain number of soldiers who would be ready when Charles went for his other coronations.
32. While these things were happening, Guillaume de Chièvres died, and they say his death was no bad thing for Charles, both because he inherited a large portion of his estate, and also since after his death Charles began to become more frequently in government, whereas previously he had entrusted and committed everything to Guillaume, so much so that there was danger lest he would have taken over the helm of state while ignorant of its management, or at least would not easily have learned how to govern well. Charles, dismissing his council, returned to Flanders, bent on taking provision lest his enemies harm him. Meanwhile King François, thinking how much danger Charles would pose to his Italian affairs should he attack Italy, decided to hasten to Milan now, but when he heard of Charles’ return, he thought he could spare himself such great effort, and began to concern himself with other things which seemed pertinent to the present state of affairs. And Pope Leo, who had been depressed a little earlier by the death of his nephew Lorenzo, the sole surviving member of his family, as much as he had been stimulated to new enterprises in Lorenzo’s lifetime, was now eager for tranquility, and so he was happy that Charles had changed his plan of coming to Italy, and to remove all reason for him to do that he said he was ready to send legates to crown him at home. But Charles refused, writing back that he would attain those honors at the time and place of his own choosing, since he suspected that Leo made this kindly offer this more at the behest of King François than of his own volition. And as soon as Charles returned to Flanders Henry sent Cuthbert Tunstall as his representative, to deal with him in his name concerning achieving peace with François, for this was a matter of supreme concern to Wolsey. For he had started taking gifts from both princes, as said above, and he thought it was of no small importance to keep them both as his friends, which he scarcely thought he could do unless some treaty were quickly made between them. But Charles wholly despaired of any concord, for when he had sought to regain his Belgian towns which the French were holding, and they were not only not handed back, but indeed he was always given unreasonable replies, he thought he should take another tack. After he had started mollifying Wolsey with his presents, he regarded this as tantamount to having separated King Henry from François, so much so that he only thought it necessary to detach Pope Leo as well and join him to himself. And so, thinking he should apply himself to this project with diligence, by ambassadors, by messengers, by letters he requested Leo to have regard for honor, for his nation, and for religion, and held before his eyes, as it were, two written tables, one full of evils, the other of arguments. On the first was as follows: To its great injury, or many years Italy had borne the domination of the French, not just harsh but also arrogant. And on the other: It is the business of the Pope, who calls himself the common father of all men, not to have dealings with a man who does evil to other men, but to come bearing an iron rod (as they say) for the preservation of religion and protection of the nation. And all these things would be accomplished by him with vigor, if by his authority, zeal, and wealth he were to aid the Roman Emperor, who both intends and hopes without delay, and with no great effort, to employ his arms to drive Italy’s enemy far away and restore her to her former condition, and to bring back her exiled nobles to their nation, since that excellent young man Francesco Sforza would be at his side, and nobody is unaware that the principality of Milan rightly belongs to him. He should believe that God has given him this goodly intention, Who will next give him the power and ability to overcome his enemies. This was being negotiated with Leo, when the ambassadors much more vehemently urged Cardinal Giulio de Medici, who had great authority with Leo (who did almost everything according to his will) to arrange that the Pope become estranged from the French king. Not to make a long story of it, from the beginning Leo had decided to make his nephew Lorenzo prince of Tuscany by François’ aid, and since his death he had abandoned his wish to acquire kingdoms for his kinsmen, and had grown more enthusiastic about the common liberty of Italy, especially when he saw Charles laboring to replace Francesco Sforza in his ancestral principality, having ejected the French from Italy, a principality his unhappy brother Massimilano had abdicated when pressed, cheated, and wheedled by the French. Therefore, quickly adopting a plan for war, he promised to stand by Charles for the sake of freeing his nation from French servitude. But he did not think he should reveal his intention before an occasion was offered for honorably withdrawing from his alliance with his friend the King of France.
33. At that time the Lutheran doctrine burst upon all parts of Christendom. I have written about its beginning in Book VIII of De Rerum Inventoribus, and in a wonderful way it began to seep into men’s minds. For the novelty of opinions readily comprehended easily bends and twists weak minds, so that the intellect thus incited appears almost insane. And so King Henry, who possessed the most pious of all kingdoms and feared lest it acquire some taint to its religion, first ordered that Lutheran books (of which a great number had come into the hands of his English) should be burned, and then wrote an elegant pamphlet against that doctrine and sent it to Pope Leo. This work greatly delighted Leo, partly because it was filled with a defense of his own cause, and partly because he had acquired such an advocate. By his authority he approved the book and decreed it should be read, and, so that the memory of such a welcome kindness might be perpetuated by a name, he then named Henry the Defender of the Faith, a title he has henceforth employed.
34. After these things the king turned his eyes to the well-being of the commonwealth. More than fifty years previously rural nobles had invented a means of increasing the annual profit of their fields, which inflicted no small loss on farmers. For they, in a manner that recalls the Arabs, were concerned with fodder for their sheep more than for growing crops, and began to employ far fewer yeomen, level cottages, create vast wastelands, and to allow the land to lie fallow for their multitude of herds and flocks. Likewise they began to enclose all pastureland, and to appropriate common land as private property, thus claiming a right to create monopolies over wool, sheep, and cattle. This inflicted a threefold evil on the commonwealth: first, that the size of the yeomanry was reduced, and the sovereign principally relied on these for fighting his wars; second, that a goodly number of villages and towns were emptied of their inhabitants and lay desolate; third, that the wool and cloth thus produced, as well as all the kinds of meat men eat, became more dear, so that even nowadays are they not very much cheaper. Since these evils were not nipped in the bud, they subsequently became ingrained and much stronger, so that later they could not easily be eradicated. And so in an edict published throughout England the king ordered commissioners for his various districts to report the wrongdoings of this kind perpetrated over the past fifty years. These commissioners performed their duty with diligence. Then a public order was issued to rebuild ruined homes, reintroduce farmers, demolish fences, and heavy punishments were established for those who failed to comply. But for the most part these decrees soon lost their value. For when the nobility, who for the sake of both pleasure and profit had enclosed common land and begrudged returning to that old way of life, began to purchase immunity from this nuisance by giving money to Wolsey, and immediately many were permitted to keep all they desired. So the great hope of many men was frustrated, although the yeomen gained a slight advantage from this thing. For since they were allowed to pull down fences, they did so before Queen Money impeded them, and began to use common land for its intended purpose.
35. This agrarian business was followed quickly by another and very fatal one, by the instigation of Wolsey. For although he was a member of the company of bishops, and among us bishops serve in lieu of the Apostles, as is explained in my book De Rerum Inventoribus, men whom Christ greatly desired to be perfect, when He issued the injunction in Matthew, Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and concluded, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect not even a spark of this perfection ever shone in Wolsey. For he not only did not do good for his enemies, even unwitting and harmless ones, but he burned with hatred and, thirsting for human blood, decided to encompass the downfall of Duke Edward of Buckingham, as he had already made up his mind to do, as said above. And he chose to use Charles Knyvett as his instrument for doing this deed, whom the duke had previously dismissed from his service for his wrongdoing. Under Wolsey’s questioning, he revealed all the details of the duke’s life, and above all he said that in his conversation he said he would seek to gain the throne, should it happen that Henry died childless, and that he had sometimes discussed this subject with George Lord Bergavenny, to whom he had given his daughter in marriage. Likewise he had threatened someday to inflict punishment on that rascally Wolsey, who was hostile to him for no good reason. Having gained the material necessary to destroy the duke, he aroused, provoked, and inflamed Charles by his words and promises so he agreed to confront the duke with all these things at a time of Wolsey’s choosing, should the need arise, and to reveal anything else he happened to know. He, partly burning with a desire for revenge, and partly induced by a reward, made it plain that the duke had once decided to encompass the death of King Henry, because he was given the sure hope of gaining the crown by a certain prophetic Carthusian monk who used to be his confessor. Having learned these things, Wolsey went to the king and told him his life was in danger, accused the duke of treason, and said that evidence of this crime had now come to light. He urged him to protect himself and his family from this peril as soon as possible. To this Henry replied, “If the duke deserves punishment, let him be punished.” The duke was therefore immediately summoned to London, where Charles accused him of treason in open court. But he, a man most eloquent in his native tongue, gravely pleaded his cause, putting up a vigorous defense, but nevertheless he was condemned of the crime of seeking the throne and beheaded. Although Lord George was not condemned, yet, being tainted by guilt, was imprisoned, but released a few month later after his fortune had been somewhat diminished. And the prophetic Carthusian, having greatly repented, is said to have died and gone to heaven for very sorrow.
36. Meanwhile Pope Leo was seeking grounds for disassociating himself from the King of France, as stated above, when the French king himself provided a suitable one. For at that time he took in a number of Milanese exiles at Reggio, although Thomas de Foix, who at Milan, was the deputy of his brother Odet de Lautrec, the royal governor, had been seeking to get his hands on them. For his part, Francesco Guicciardini, the governor of Reggio, a man of great gravity and prudence, asserted that the terms of the treaty allowed him to take them in and offer them his protection. A quarrel arose over this matter, and Foix decided to occupy Reggio under the pretext of recovering those exiles, not caring a fig that this could not be done without violating the treaty. So as soon as he could he ordered Alessandro de Trivulzio with a squadron of light horse to go there, and put his plan into effect. He departed immediately and halted not far from the town. Meanwhile Foix sent a messenger to Francesco to tell him on his behalf he desired a conference on a matter of importance. Francesco replied he would gladly admit him within the walls, if he were content to come with a small escort. When he refused to do this, it was agreed to meet outside the gates. Then Foix secretly instructed Trivulzio to hasten to the next gate by another route while he himself was engaged in the conference, to overthrow the garrison, and attempt to take the town. With the scheme thus arranged, Foix quickly went to Francesco, and asked, urged, and insisted that the exiles be handed over to him, and he deliberately drew out the time so his soldiers could execute their orders. But they were seen by the watchmen on the walls and slowed by a sudden rumor, and when the garrison launched a sally they were frightened and immediately took to their heels, abandoning all hope of success. Thus nothing was achieved. And there Trivulzio was struck by a bullet shot from a musket, and died two days later. Realizing he was being victimized by a fraud, Francesco placed Foix under arrest, killing a number of his retainers on the spot, and informed Pope Leo of what had transpired as quickly as he could. Leo was glad that the desired opportunity had presented itself, praised Francesco, and commanded him to let Foix go lest he be said to have been taken prisoner during a conference. Thus released, he came to his brother, who had now come back to Milan from France, safe and sound, both ruining his failed enterprise and saddened by the fate of his friend Trivulzio, a man famed for his martial glory and reputation. Therefore Leo, who in his mind had already repudiated his French friendship, and was also annoyed at having been verbally requested and all but compelled by King François’ threats to grant France an apostolic legate and restore the Bentivogli to their native land, openly broke with François and, aligning himself with Charles, began to prepare for war. Learning this, François thought he should make no delay in preparing the things necessary for this reborn tumult, and immediately sent reinforcements to Milan, stationed garrisons at strategic places, and outfitted a fleet, lest he be caught unprepared. Hearing of these things, Charles also saw that speed was of the essence, and sent Prospero Colonna and the troops he had at Naples toward northern Italy, where the war would begin. Within a few says Leo had enrolled a very large and powerful army, over whom he put Fedrigo Marquis of Mantua, a young man flourishing both in age and spirits, giving him as a colleague Vitello Vitelli, equally distinguished by his virtue and martial skill. But first of all they chose to incite Genoa to defect from the French, by means of the faction of the exiled Adorni. So the fleet ready at Naples was joined to the Pope’s galleys and they sailed to Genoa, to see if their swift voyage and the opportunity of the times could avail them anything. When their fleet hove into sight and pretended to ready itself for action, they perceived that the city was prepared to offer resistance, so the fleet returned to where it had started, and thus their effort went for naught. Meanwhile the castle of Milan was stricken by lightning, with incredible loss of life, and beyond doubt this was a portent of the coming eviction of the French. Now their forces had arrived at Parma by a land march, around which Prospero had already constructed his fortifications. He was battering its walls mightily with his guns, and they skillfully divided themselves into two divisions. One remained to keep up the siege, and the other, under the command of Vitello, hastened to hinder Duke Alfonso of Ferrara from coming to the aid of the French. Alfonso encountered Vitello on the march and, rashly joining battle, was routed in a trice, not without great loss of his men. Thus that very serious war was started, and news easily came to the English that all of Italy was ablaze with a new commotion, which troubled Henry no little. For since had served as author of tranquility, peace, and concord between Charles and François, he had come to hope that now there would be an abundance of friendship, not discord. But this did much more to disturb Wolsey’s plans, since the rivalry and contention of those two sovereigns was profitable to him as long as they did not go to war, as both of them competed for his support by offering him their largesse. Now that both sides had resorted to arms, their mercenary friend was sadly grieved.
37. I come back to Henry. He was very desirous to placate the kings’ angry minds, both because he was bound by ties of kinship to the both of them, and also out of his kindly wishes, since he saw that if he could not make them both observe their treaty, he would be obliged to side with one party. Therefore he thought everything should be attempted before matters came to that pass. And so he immediately sent Wolsey to Calais. There, by means of messengers shuttling to and fro, he should see if he could transform this most dangerous war into peace and concord, or at least suppress it for a while, by pledging his loyalty now to this king, and now to that, and at the same time by promising, undertaking, and vowing many things. Wolsey performed this office as diligently as he could, but in the end, since in wartime the name of peace counts for nothing, his enthusiasm suddenly waned. This was mostly out of consideration for his profitable position as papal legate, so that he would do nothing against Pope Leo, and henceforth he had no regard for François. Wonderful to tell, Henry did the same, albeit with reason, and Wolsey was instructed to reveal what this was and confirm his friendship with Charles. Receiving these instructions, he began to expostulate with the French king, shrewdly and to the point, that his constant friends the Scots had not observed the promise which he himself had once made, as I have shown above. For François wanted the Scots to be bound by treaty to Henry, although they had afterwards scorned to ratify this. And so, since the King of Scots is never in the habit of deviating from French wishes by a finger’s breadth, the suspicion not unjustly arose that this was done by French artifice, so that the English would not lack fear of hostilities in any quarter. Therefore, as Henry’s representative Wolsey, renewed his treaty with Charles, since for the sake of this business he had gone to him at Brughes. Charles had already plumbed all of Wolsey’s inner workings and knew that nothing was dearer to him than public acclaim, so he went out to meet him in procession and received both him and his entourage with all hospitality. King Christian of Dacia was also at Charles’ court at the time, because he was married to his sister, and, being more dutiful, had arrived a little earlier. He was endowed with the same haughty character as was Wolsey, and not only refused to go and greet a papal legate, but even rebuked Charles for allowing his enthusiastic affability to make him forgetful of his dignity. After he had settled this treaty with Charles, his first order of business, in accordance with Henry’s instructions, was to arrange for Charles to pass through England on his way to Spain so that this matter could be settled properly. And he asked for this more urgently because Charles had promised to do so . In this way Wolsey did an excellent job of arranging Henry’s alliance with Charles and severing his one with King François. Laden down with great gifts, he returned to Calais.
38. When François learned these things had been done, he accused, blamed, recriminated against, and cursed Wolsey for his treachery, since it was by his doing that he could no longer enjoy Henry’s kinship. Because of this he decided that this man should always be hounded, and that henceforth no gifts should be given to any Englishman, thus much he regretted what he had already given. For in accordance with his ancestral custom François had given annual presents to those of Henry’s councilors who supported him. And since he had given Wolsey the most, with justice he was most angry at him, as the chief instigator of this insult. But who can deny that François’ anger was unreasonable and undeserved by Wolsey? For, had he understood the nature of the man (and he would have known, had Wolsey not dissimulated) he would have easily discovered he should put no trust in him. For he was not always in François’ power, nor always acting in his interest, usually being drawn in whatever direction was suggested by his greed for profit, or his madness, his wantonness, his fickleness. But François was not so driven by his anger that he openly spoke badly of Henry. Indeed, soon thereafter, even if acting by dissimulation, he wrote a letter showing he still remained friendly towards him, so that he would not be obliged to fight two enemies at once. This very dire war, fought both by land and sea, arose from the quarrel between the French king and Charles. So Charles sent Ugo de Moncada, a brave and prudent Spaniard, to Tournai with part of his forces to besiege the city. In accordance with his orders he marched immediately, catching many men unawares in the countryside, and pent up the citizens within their walls. Meanwhile Charles ordered the rest of the army, together with his light cavalry, suddenly to go off in all directions and barricade all the roads so that no help could be supplied to the citizenry of Tournai. For his part, François, sending some companies of soldiers at all speed, first wasted the Flemish countryside and captured a lot of men scattered in their flight, together with a great number of cattle, and ordered a strong army with wagons full of provisions to follow after them and bring aid to the townsmen of Tournai. This army, striving two or three times with all its might, was thrown back with no mean loss, although it inflicted wounds and death on the enemy, who lost a number of their captains. Learning this, the burghers of Tournai, who were overcome both by fighting and hunger, and had at the same time abandoned all hope of help, surrendered to Charles. But meanwhile much more serious fighting happened at sea, as both the French and the Spanish, together with the Flemish, harried all the coasts with their raiding. This proved more profitable to the French, who often captured enemy shipping with valuable cargos, and if they lost any themselves, and they occasionally did lose some, this cost them little, because for the most part theirs were carrying cheaper wares. Likewise, in exchange for Tournai they took away from Charles Fuenterrabia, a town on the Bay of Biscay. When they heard it was held by a small garrison, they flew there and energetically besieged it. The townsmen were terrified by the enemy’s sudden descent, and, despairing of their safety because of their shortage of provisions and defenders, surrendered. Gaining possession of the town, so they would not lose it in the same way they had gained it, the French reinforced it in all respects. Meanwhile in Italy, for a while there was neither armistice nor heavy fighting around Parma, the French stronghold, as they inflicted harm where their enemy was weak and fell back where they were strong, with the result that the allied army of Leo and Charles broke down the walls and entered the city. But out of fear of ambushes, since a goodly part of the enemy were said to have gone sallied forth from the walls looking for a fight, after committing no small amount of plundering and killing, they voluntarily went back to their camp. Thus they passed their days, until a huge company of Swiss, hired by the allies, descended into the Milanese territory. When the French garrison, distributed at strategic places to offer resistance, could not delay these men, the French were obliged to retire straight to Milan, marching in square formation. The enemies followed and, catching up with them while on the march, provoked them to a battle by sounding the attack. The French ended this as soon as it started by using their guns, and continued on their way. Henceforth the captains of the alliance thought they should not rashly join battle, but rather await the arrival of the Swiss, and so followed their enemies’ track at a distance. Meanwhile the forces of both sides were increased, when a Venetians sent an army led by Teodoro Trivulzio to aid the French, and the Swiss joined themselves to the captains of the confederacy. The nobility of Milan decided to side with the victor, but the supporters of Francesco Sforza thought the time was ripe for them to avenge the wrongs inflicted by the French with safety. Before coming to blows, they sent a trusty messenger to tell Girolamo Morone an excellent citizen and a great friend of right and truth, that they were very ready to take up arms against their great enemies the French and expel them from the city, if only he would consent to come promptly to the city with his forces and join in the fight against the enemy. Morone thought this proffered chance for success should by no means be ignored, and communicate the business to Giulio de Medice, the papal legate, and the imperial captains Prospero Colonna and Ferrando d’Avalos Marquis of Pescara, a man of great spirit and virtue. These captains agreed among themselves to follow this counsel, and d’Avalos himself went ahead to a nearby place called Vincentino, which was garrisoned by Teodoro, the general of the Venetian army. There a battle was joined and Teodoro captured, his men scattered in a rout. And Prospero hastened to Milan with the main body of the army and threw up fortifications around it. And when messengers told Lautrec that he was approaching he abandoned the city for the castle with part of his garrison, and immediately thereafter headed for Como. Meanwhile, after having driven out the French garrison they citizens admitted the legate and the imperial generals into the city and into their homes. After their reception, they had great difficulty in restraining their soldiers from sacking the place as they had anticipated. Afterward d’Avalos attacked and took Como, letting its garrison go on honorable terms. In the face of these disaster Lautrec retired to Cremona to winter there, and his enemies also sought winter quarters, since that season was coming on.
39. So the imperial captains took Milan, holding it in Charles’ name. Then Prospero took a part of the victorious army and went on to attack Genoa, which was defended by the forces of the Fregosi faction, whose leader was Ottaviano Fregoso, a man dear to all good men because of his modesty. When he came within sight of the city and pitched his camp at a suitable place, he began to negotiate with the citizenry for the speedy surrender of the city. This was prevented by the arrival of Pedro Navarra and a goodly number of Gascons, who sailed up at the same moment thanks to a favorable wind. His arrival was ill-starred both for himself and for the city. He wonderfully encouraged the city, which had been panic-stricken, and aroused it to resist. He stationed himself before all the rest in front of the gate, where the battle was to take place, and disposed his men at strategic points. It is wonderful to relate how much everybody began to regain hope of preserving their liberty because of Pedro’s intervention, for his reputation for virtue was so great that they imagined they could suffer no misfortune under such a captain. Therefore all talk of concord and surrender ended, and the entire population courageously responded to the messengers shuttling to and fro bearing terms that they would by all means defend their city, and were very ready to ward off the enemy with their arms and fortifications. Learning the citizens’ intentions, Prospero drew closer and urged his soldiers to attack this city, the richest of all Italy and the final reward of all their efforts, and told them that if they took it, it was theirs for the plundering. The soldiers, inspired by such hope for booty, immediately formed a so-called tortoise (by packing close together and entirely protecting themselves with their shields) and burst into the city, pushing aside the Gascons stationed at the gate. With great force they began to occupy the walls, although not without receiving heavy losses (for more than 3,000 died at this very beginning of the battle). With the help of the Adorni faction within, they conquered their enemy, taking captive the captains Ottavio Fregoso, the head man of the city, and Pedro Navarra. Then they turned to looting the houses of the nobles and penetrated further within the city, sacking it. More plunder was taken on that one day than was garnered from the principality of Milan in the course of an entire year. Nevertheless the Genoese dissimulated this catastrophe as best they could, since virtually all of their wealth consisted of merchandise, so that their merchants, who traded with all nations, would not at some point lose their credit. While Genoa was being taken, behold, news of the death of Pope Leo, which had occurred a little earlier, was suddenly brought, and one cannot doubt this either snatched the victory from the captains’ hands, or at least deferred it until later. Having lost his ally, Charles was in sole control and gained power over Milan. And out of the goodness of his heart and the greatness of his good counsel, both of his own free will and at the request of the Milanese, he gave the possession of the city to Francesco Sforza, an excellent young man, because his design was to return Italy to its former condition, not to consult his own self-interest and throw it into turmoil by his new rule. After these things, the French having spent several months fighting their enemy and suffering defeat, once more drenched Italian soil with their blood and were driven back to their own nation in confusion. But when Leo’s death became known, men’s enthusiasms easily changed. For Cardinals Giulio de Medici and Matthew of Sitten, who were at Milan, lost all interest in the war and went flying to Rome for the election of a new Pope. Charles and François both wanted to see a Pope selected who was friendly to them. The Venetians deliberately abstained from the war, bent only on preserving their fortunes. Duke Alfonso of Ferrara, freed from the fear in which he had existed, dealt with the College of Colleges so that Mutina and Reggio would be given back to himself. Francesco Maria, as soon as he heard of Leo’s passing, went to Urbino quicker than anybody thought possible, and recovered that principality by his own endeavor, knowing, as Cicero says, that after the removal of tyrants, it has always been lawful for those who have been robbed by tyrants to recover what was rightfully theirs.
40. When news came to the English that Leo had given up the ghost and that the Cardinals, squabbling amongst themselves, had given their vote for no one man, and for that reason nobody had as yet been elected Pope, Wolsey began (or rather pretended to begin) entertaining hopes of gaining the pontificate, and he sedulously dealt with Henry that, for the sake of attempting this, he would send Richard Pace to Rome to ask individual Cardinals on his behalf to support himself in the papal election. Given his instructions by the king, Pace departed without delay, and, riding on borrowed horses throughout his journey for the sake of speed, he was flying towards the city, when in Flanders he heard that Adrian VI had been elected Pope. Then, although he was not unaware that there was no further need for haste, he nevertheless went on to Rome, as instructed, where he remained idle for several months, until he was bidden go to Venice and negotiate a peace between Charles and the Venetians. But let me make clearer the purpose of this pointless mission. Pace, an upright man who gave good advice on the Privy Council, and likewise well-mannered, lettered, musical, and witty, incredibly pleased the king, and so he had access to the royal ear regarding more serious matters. But the dearer he became to his sovereign, the more hostile toward him grew Wolsey, who always wanted to be first with the king. Therefore he sent the man as far away from Henry, from his home, and from his nation, as he possibly could, under the pretext of performing diplomatic missions. Now it was the beginning of the year of human salvation 1521 and the fourteenth of Henry’s reign, when Henry observed that the peace obtaining between himself and King François was daily weakening, growing feeble, and failing, so he began to seek, hunt out, and look out for assistance. First he sent William Knight, a lawyer and a modest priest, to the Swiss, who at the time were holding a convention, so as to procure the friendship of some portion of them, so that they would not all be in French service. Then he sent Robert Wingfield as an ambassador to Charles, who advised him that all things were in motion. William went to the Swiss and returned with nearly the same speed, reporting he had made no headway, because the Swiss had already been paid to support the French. Meanwhile Wolsey greedily enjoyed his very profitable position of legate, and so daily gained a worse reputation. So it entered his head to spend some part of that profit for the salvation of the souls of the multitude, so as by that service to mollify it and removed the blot from his name. So when Lent drew near, he arranged for the preachers at St. Paul’s Cross to announce that during Lenten days one and all would be permitted to consume milk, cheese, and mutton, and that no man should baulk at this, for by his authority he promised absolution for the sins of those who ate these things, for he knew for certain that the people, scarcely negligent of religion, could not easily be induced to desecrate, violate, or deny the ancient custom of fasting. Nor was Wolsey’s suspicion wrong, since the people were so far from regarding Wolsey’s act of grace as being a good deed that it was received as a bad one, since it led few men (i. e., no good men at all) to abandon their traditional way of life.
41. Meanwhile between the English and French everything was full of offences, full of discords, fill of grudges, because of which war seemed to impend. Neither side actually wanted war, but they feared a war disguised by the name of peace. And so for a while they dissimulated, until at length Duke John of Albany provided a pretext for war by returning to Scotland, contrary to the terms of their treaty. And by conducting a levy, within a few days he had assembled an army of about 80,000 armed men. Finding this out, Henry was moved both by the peril of this sudden development and by just indignation, because he was unready and because the French king had acted in violation of his pledge. And both in a stinging letter and with sharp words he accused François of bad faith, he expostulated, he showed that it was the mark of thieves, not sovereigns, to break their words. To these reproaches François replied that the duke had left for Scotland without his knowledge, so that all the blame rested on him. The English king wrote back that these were mere words, and that it was a French habit to undertake one thing furtively while avowing another as a sham, and thus always to sabotage peace. Nor would he himself delay in the face of François’ action, although he was ashamed to have to mention this mockery of religion. And so very hateful war was revived in the place of peace. François was offended by Henry’s peevish expostulation and ordered all English men in his realm to be arrested, and obliged them to ransom themselves. And, above all others, he dealt unworthily with the merchants who came to Bordeaux at that time to buy wine. For after they had purchased the wine and paid their port duties, they were all arrested at the same time, robbed of their fortunes, and finally mulcted sharply, as if they had committed some serious crime so that they deserved such treatment. In the midst of these things one of the English captives was freed to raise the money to ransom the others, and he revealed to the king how much savagery was being used against his fellow Englishmen throughout France. Henry, irate at the atrocity of the thing, commanded that all Frenchmen in London likewise be arrested and mulcted. But they were dealt with more gently than the Englishmen in France. For ten days after their imprisonment they were freed on bail guaranteeing they would appear on an appointed day, either at the Lord Mayor’s court or before the Privy Council, and pay the fine imposed on them. And the fines imposed on the less wealthy of them were graciously and freely remitted by the king. But you would have said that the name of the French was not hated at all in comparison to that of the Scots, for not only those born in Scotland, but even a number of honest Englishmen who had been denounced as Scotsmen by their enemies were thrown in prison and fined, albeit some who were found by close inquiry to be Englishmen escaped having to pay that fine. Afterwards a levy of soldiers was diligently conducted everywhere, and because of their anger and hatred, nearly all of the soldiers recruited for the army were volunteers. Likewise a fleet was outfitted, and as soon as possible Sir William Fitzwilliam, a brave and energetic man, a lieutenant of Thomas the Admiral, was sent to sea with some well-manned ships to protect the English coast. Thus a beginning of war was made both by land and sea. But the maritime commotion started first, as pirates were circling and threatening all men’s fortunes. Hence those English merchants who were bolder and therefore imported more precious wares from foreign parts suffered great losses.
42. While these things were happening, Charles, having now made provision for his Flemish affairs, and delegated their management to his noblemen (with his aunt Margaret added to their council), started his journey to Spain, and on June 2 he came to England, where he was received by King Henry with great hospitality. His arrival was cause for public celebration, especially at London, and jousts were held in his honor. He waited several days at Henry’s court until his fleet arrived at Southampton. In the meantime they came to an agreement on a new treaty. First, it was appropriately explained to him, although in very moderate terms, how great a loss Henry and his councilors had suffered by abandoning their friendship with François, because he had promised a certain annual sum in exchange for being given Tournai, and also pensions for the councilors, and therefore reason demanded that Charles should undertake these payments at his responsibility, since it was for his sake that the French association had been repudiated. Charles, who thought there was no concession he should not make, in view of the times and of his condition, promised to give 24,000 gold crowns a year, of which half would go to Henry, and half to his councilors, as determined by Wolsey. For Wolsey was especially concerned not to lose money because of hostilities with the French. In the second place, they agreed that each of them would have in readiness 15,000 foot and 3,000 horses, so as to be ready to march against the enemy. So a treaty was forged on these conditions, and Charles, not very well funded at the time, borrowed money for his expenses from Henry and sailed for Spain. Landing there, he swiftly held an inquest in which he inflicted deserved punishment upon the authors of the uprisings I have described, and pacified the realm. Thomas Howard, Admiral of the Fleet, accompanied Charles as far as the Bay of Biscay, having returned a few days previously from Ireland, where he had been Lord Lieutenant. Then he sailed for home, and in the course of his return voyage, obtaining suitable weather, he changed his course for Britanny, where he set ashore a goodly part of his soldiers and stormed and sacked Morlaix, a very wealthy coastal town. But not all of the plunder was taken from his enemies, since a number of English kept their wares there under safe conduct, which they were used to selling throughout Britanny under contractual arrangements, and in this way they became prizes for the English. Thus Thomas Howard brought home a fleet laden partly with the spoils of the enemy, and partly of his own countrymen. Afterwards it was decided to disband the fleet, keeping only a few well-outfitted ships at hand for coastal defense, under the command of William Fitzwilliam.
43. Meanwhile the army had assembled at Calais, with Thomas Howard its commander. Soon thereafter a large company of Burgundians arrived in the area of St. Omers, sent by Princess Margaret in accordance with the treaty, and they joined with the English on the march. Together they entered the territory of Vermandois and went straight to Hesdin, which they captured and sacked. They remained there for several days, firing their guns at the citadel from all sides. But when they saw that it was naturally defended so strongly that they could not take it within a few days, they departed and quickly came to the river Somme. Here they discussed strategy. Thomas Howard wanted to take his forces across the river, but, although some captains praised his opinion as being bold and courageous, others did not like it, because it was not timely and appeared to require greater forces. For winter was coming on, and all their forces amounted to scarcely 22,000 men. In accordance with this argument, they went no further but, dismissing the Burgundians, returning home, having ravaged with fire and destroyed buildings all that part of the land through which their hostile army marched. The French seem to have anticipated this quick return, for they had fortified their more strategic places so that their peasantry could deposit their property there before the English arrived, and they did not wish to confront their enemy and be forced to a battle. And the confrontation between the English and the Scots had no different outcome. For the Scots, even if they were superior in numbers thanks to their new conscripts, nevertheless delayed all summer and made no moves against the English, which surprised them and was to their advantage, for from the beginning of the war, since they had been very unprepared, it cannot be doubted that even a small undertaking by the enemy would have done them great damage. So throughout all that time, Thomas Dacre, responsible for the defense of that part of the realm, kept his soldiers under arms to that he could keep the enemy from his territory, should that prove necessary, until he could recruit a larger company of his countrymen, since levied for the war had been held everywhere. But the Duke of Albany delayed an invasion of the enemy out of distrust of his men, so that he dealt with the King of France to help him by sending him 6,000 Germans and frittered away his time awaiting their arrival. Then the summer ended and he asked and received from Henry a truce for several months. For, as I have said above, the duke had destroyed Alexander Hume and his brother, but had not done the same to his faction and the hatred many held for him, as soon became evident. For a number of reasons he was recalled to France, where he kept his wife and children, and left as his lieutenant a Frenchmen whom Hume’s adherents murdered a few days thereafter. Returning afterwards, the duke avenged the harm suffered by his followers, but, as I have said, did nothing to prepare for war against England. Thinking he was obliged to go back to France, he regarded nothing more important than in some plausible way to remove somewhere else Earl Archibald of Angus, Queen Margaret’s husband and a supporter of the opposite faction. He accused the earl of many malfeasances, so he would be entitled to fine him of all his goods, and meanwhile he dealt with James Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, to urge and exhort him to choose a temporary voluntary exile rather than lose all his patrimony. Frightened by these threats, in the end Archibald regarded it as a kindness to be permitted to be able to go where he pleased, and so he went to France with one of his brothers. They say this was not displeasing to the queen, since she could not be induced to love Archibald as a husband, even if he was a well-endowed and honorable man. Soon thereafter the duke too settled his Scottish affairs so they would at all times be managed to his satisfaction, and also retired to France. At this same time Henry sent Thomas Boleyn and Richard Sampson, a priest learned in the law, on an embassy to Spain, to tend to his affairs at the imperial court. While our Christian sovereigns were in this way caught up in their civil war, if I may call it such, the Turks, who never slept over their affairs for a minute, attacked Rhodes, and since nobody (oh good God!) came to their aid, they took it by surrender. Thus we were shamefully ejected from nearly all the East by the infidels. And these things were for the most part done at the beginning of that year, the fifteenth of Henry’s reign and the year of human salvation 1523.
44. While there was something like a cessation of arms abroad, the king conducted a census, partly to help him understand the condition of his people, and partly to learn from a census how much tax every man should pay for the common good of the state. When this assessment had be conducted, he readily perceived that his people were not poor and was gladdened, since what belongs to the people also belongs to the Crown when there is need to spend their goods for the advantage of the realm as a whole. And so, since he foresaw that the Scots and the French would not long hold their peace, he decided to test the benevolence and good will of the people towards himself. So he asked for a loan, particularly from the wealth, and received it, giving them all receipts pledging that he would repay what he had received from his subjects by a certain day. He did this in imitation of his father Henry, who received loans from his subjects when he was almost continually troubled by nobles of the opposing faction. But Wolsey took this census in a very different spirit, so that on its basis a great burden of tax could first be imposed on the people. Then too, he did not think that the money given, as it were, as a gift should ever be repaid. So when not very long thereafter the day rolled around on which the money which had been, as it were, deposited with the king was supposed to be returned, William of Canterbury, fearing Wolsey’s crooked dealing, asked the king if he intended to satisfy his creditors. To this he responded, “Why not? That is why I gave each man his receipt, so he might ask back what is his, and I might pay what I borrowed from him.” Perceiving the great goodness and concern for justice in the king, asked you, “I am aware, great prince, that there those who wish to ingratiate themselves with you by using other men’s money, in this business having no regard for law, right, or your dignity. And so I, as I should, have not hesitated to plead the cause of your people. And so that you might understand this is most true, behold, here is your receipt for the money you borrowed from me, which I earnestly ask and beseech you to take. And you may trust me, what I am doing many others will also do.” Henry greatly lauded Canterbury’s generosity and took the gift gratefully, and said that soon every man would have his property. But Wolsey prevented this from happening, proclaiming that no man should ask back what he had freely given his sovereign, who deserved well of all his subjects. Being an improvident man, he gave no thought to the offense sure to be taken by creditors nor to the blemish this could place on the royal name. And so scarcely any of this entrusted money found its way back to creditors. In the same year died Thomas Bishop of Durham, a very wealth man. He was not allowed to give or bequeath anything of such riches, for Wolsey quickly fell on his estate, and on his see as well, demitting that of Bath and Wells. By royal will this latter was given to John Clark, who for some time had served as an ambassador for Wolsey and for Henry himself, particularly at Rome. Likewise Wolsey appropriated the monastery of St. Albans, that most ancient home of Religion and Sanctity, in place of a so-called abbot, which two goddesses he promptly evicted. At the same time a parliament was held, and at the same time a synod of the clergy, as was customary. A little before this, Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, brother to the Emperor Charles, was made a Knight of the Garter, regarding it as a high honor to be induced into that noble knightly college, being a very noble and distinguished gentleman himself.
45. While these things were happening elsewhere. Pope Hadrian VI, Charles’ erstwhile tutor, who had been sent by him to govern the see of Cantabria, was called to the papal dignity, came to Rome and assumed the pontificate to the great anticipation of all men, for his integrity had been proven in many great matters. Wolsey sent him Thomas Hannibal, a priest and lawyer, and by his letters and also by means of Charles and (after Hadrian had reached Rome) by friendly cardinals asked, begged, and beseeched that the Pope would renew his office as legate. The Pope, wearied by so many entreaties, and, as it were, frightened of the trouble Wolsey’s friends could make for him should he refuse, yielded to necessity, humored his friends, and conceded to Wolsey that which he had so urgently clamored for, not without casting something of a blemish to his own reputation. For already a rumor was circulating among the English that the Pope was not as well endowed with goodness or wisdom as he claimed to be, or else he was wholly ignorant of Wolsey’s greed, since had granted him a jurisdiction he that he had already made very venal. At the same time died Richard Bishop of London, who was replaced by Cuthbert Tunstal, to the great pleasure and rejoicing of the citizens, for the city desired him because of his reputation for virtue.
46. Meanwhile the Lords of all ranks and the leading men of cities (the Members of the House of Commons) met in the monastery at Westminster, and the clergy four days later in St. Paul’s cathedral, and the parliament began. Wolsey had summoned the clergy of his province of York, and, because their sparse numbers did not appear to befit his pontifical dignity, he requested William Archbishop of York to allow the entire clerical congregation to join the parliament he had convened at the monastery of Westminster, there to consult on weighty matters. Canterbury, most shrewd at foretelling the future, readily agreed, knowing this would bring Wolsey unpopularity as well as honor. And so the fathers and the other clergy were present at Wolsey’s meeting for several days, where Wolsey himself, sitting on his gold throne, first promised much pertaining to religion. Then he began to treat of fiscal matters, for the sake of which that parliament was held. But when this man, headstrong and devious in all his counsels, realized soon thereafter that he was forbidden by law to meddle in the affairs of the province of Canterbury save by the authority of its archbishop, he sent the clergy back to St. Paul’s cathedral, and returned to his own convention.
47. Thus a parliament and a synod were held simultaneously, and only one item was on the agenda, the raising of money. When this was realized, no small controversy erupted. For the Peers steadfastly denied that the people could stand another tax, especially since its wealth had been drained by that loan of money that had so fattened the fisc, and did not appear destined to be returned. So there was no visible reason why the people should at present be oppressed by such a burden. After this Wolsey came to the parliament and delivered an oration in favor of the motion, showing that the Scots and the French, those constant enemies of the English, were now up in arms, as was well known to those Englishmen who lived near their borders, who feared them for the sake of life and property alike. He announced the recent steps toward war that had been taken, and told them this was the reason why the Emperor Charles had recently renewed the treaty with Henry, so that both could join in warding off the enemy assault. But this could scarcely be done without the people’s help. And so he demanded and urgently asked the parliament not to fail the nation, not to refuse the king that which was necessary for the protection of the realm, for its safety, and for its glory. Which would be dutifully done, if they would without any hesitation or delay ordain an annual tax of four shillings on the pound for a period of four years. Sir Thomas More, a man of singular virtue, the Speaker of the House of Commons, placed this motion before the House. And it was their near-unanimous view that it was both dishonest and harsh. They therefore sent a delegation of Members, grave men all, to Wolsey, to petition him urgently to agree to deal with the king so that the requested sum of money might be reduced. But he, a man of boorish character, exploded in anger and replied, “I would rather have my tongue ripped out than speak with the king about any reduction in that sum, contrary to what the House of Lords has deliberated, decreed, and granted.” But this was discovered to be a complete falsehood, and Wolsey was caught in a flat-out lie. And no wonder, for since childhood nothing was dearer to Wolsey’s heart than lying, the mark of your true rascal. The king chastised him for his great and impudent misrepresentations, and said that soon he would manage his own affairs without any lieutenant. It is wonderful to say how much Wolsey restrained himself as the result of that reprimand, how humbly he bore himself. From which we may learn that a master’s servant does much to curb a servant’s evil nature. But after some days had passed Wolsey proved to be no better than ever, having appeased Henry. But let me return to my narrative.
48. There was no less dissention in the clerical synod, where Wolsey dealt with them far more harshly, although they opposed him. And many did oppose him, especially Richard Bishop of Winchester and John Bishop of Rochester, and above all Roland Philips, a vicar of Croyden and canon of St. Paul’s, their Speaker. In mid-combat Wolsey summoned him and threw such a scare into him that henceforth he did not show his face at the synod, sacrificing much of his innocence over this matter. Therefore, their leader having abandoned the endless controversy, the rest threw up their hands and voted to grant half of their clerical revenues for one year as a great tax to support the war, amortized over the following five years so as to make the loss less burdensome. And the Lords deliberating in their chamber, though often divided in their opinions, in the end voted to tax the people for four years, in view of the accidents and uncertain outcome of war, in the following manner: those with an annual income of £50 would pay 3 s. on the pound; those who earned less would pay 2 s.; and those who earned less than £20 would pay 1 s.; finally, a head tax of fourpence would be collected from paupers. This novel and heavy tax brought as much joy to Wolsey as it did grief to the people, for he triumphant and gloried in his triumph, crowing that he knew all the ins and outs of money-making, since he was prepared to make everything a source of revenue. When these things had been done, some laws conducive to right living were passed, which were designed to heal the diseased parts of the commonwealth, and the parliament was dissolved.
49. The time now came when Earl Gerald of Kildare was restored to Wolsey’s good graces, whom I have previously said to have been imprisoned by him. He married Elizabeth Grey, sister to Thomas Marquis of Dorcester, and, returning to Ireland, regained his province. At the time the so-called Chancellor of the island was Hugh Inge Archbishop of Dublin, English and and an upright man. He was conjoined to the earl by many obligations and by friendship, and had put the commonwealth in as good a condition as the evil deeds of the wild Irish allowed. Likewise at this time Christian, the exiled King of Dacia, and his wife Elizabeth, sister to the Emperor Charles, came to visit Henry in England and were generously accepted, and public hospitality was given him. But a few days later his friends put him in hope of recovering his throne, and, returned to Flanders, whence he had come, bearing magnificent gifts.
50. While these things were being done at home, Henry sent to the Scottish war (if a war it was) Thomas Howard Earl of Surrey and Admiral of the Fleet, giving him power over Yorkshire and Country Durham for the sake of waging that war, and of commanding as he pleased arms, horses, wagons, ships, sailors, and the rest of the things needful for waging war. And he gave him as colleagues Thomas Marquis of Dorcester and William Compton. Wolsey had been exerting himself to eject, exclude, and evict this man alone from the royal court, because was Henry’s great favorite but he himself could not make a friend of him because of the dissimilarity of their manners. For William disapproved of Wolsey’s ruthless character: in order to lord it over men, he was always subtracting something from the royal authority which he added to his own. Therefore it was by Wolsey’s effort that William was sent to the war, so Henry might gradually be induced to dislike him. But this plan accomplished nothing, and after a few days Henry recalled William to the palace. Thomas Howard went there quickly and, gathering together the foot and horse as diligently as he could, hastened to the enemy’s border, where he made brief incursions so they would know they were facing a well-prepared army. The Scots nobility were equally well prepared for any eventuality, but kept within their fortifications, awaiting the return of Duke John of Albany, who wrote that he would arrive any day now. And so they spent the entire summer wondering about the reason for his delay.
51. At Queen Margaret’s urging, the opposing faction began to think of giving full power to King James and depriving the duke of all administration. When the queen indicated this to her brother Henry, he began to send letters and messengers to the Scots nobility urging them not to tolerate their king being kept under a tutor any longer, nor to be cheated out of rule, since he was now of an age when he was capable of action, deliberation, and decision, and promised them his help, should they be willing to sever their friendship with the French and abide by their treaty with him, so he could finally achieve his hope of embracing his nephew with amity, and helping him with his counsel, resources, and advice. When this business was brought to their council, the nobles spent several days consulting what was best to do, and since both sides were entertaining hopes that the two kingdoms might be conjoined into one single and very powerful one, if Henry’s sole daughter and heir Mary were to be married to the young James, there was nobody who from the very beginning did not think this would be advantageous for their republic. Afterwards the other faction, which supported the duke and therefore, perhaps, abhorred any improvement in the commonwealth’s condition, began to give many prudent reasons why nothing should be decided rashly. For they first described the benefits conferred by the French on the commonwealth in general, and its nobility in particular, and spoke of the ancient and inviolate special relationship that had obtained between the Scots and the French, and contrasted this with the near-endless hatred of the England. Likewise to be considered was the wound everyone was aware had been inflicted on the people of England, because Henry had given unreasonable power to Wolsey, a man of singular inconstancy, so his promises could not be trusted and no hope could be placed in his protection. It was also disgraceful to be deceived, cheated, and misled, and so the way of their ancestors ought not be abandoned. Hearing these warnings, a goodly part of the nobility immediately adopted the opinion that there should be no break with the French. And yet they were not far from arriving at some form of resolution when, behold, the news of the duke’s arrival (he had written he was coming) threw everything into confusion. So for the moment the Scots were less desirous of an English alliance, and so, with their truce renewed for a few days, everybody sounded the call to arms. During this interview King François had prepared a great mounted force and hired a goodly number of Swiss infantry, and was now on the march against Milan so as to maintain his friendship with Venice. Charles had made it his particular concern to detach the Venetians from this alliance, and likewise Pope Adrian had been working to pacify Italy and to gather his forces. King Henry lent a helping hand in this effort, having recently sent John Bishop of Bath to Rome as a second ambassador and maintained Pace as his ambassador at Venice, and at home had been urging Sir Antonio Surian, the ambassador of the Venetian senate, a man of great virtue, learning , and nobility. What should we say of the fact that he had detained three Venetian galleys in the harbor of Southampton as a lesson to the Venetians that his friendship could be of great advantage to them in many places, if they joined him in an alliance? Thus the Venetians were solicited on ever side, and in the end they broke with François and entered into a new treaty with Charles and Henry. Its terms were that Charles, together with Francesco Sforza Duke of Milan should lend them 6,000 infantry, 500 light horse, and 600 heavy horse as often as the need arose; the Venetians should contribute the like number, as well as fourteen armed galleys to guard the coast of Apulia, and pay Charles 200,000 gold crowns for some towns in Dalmatian they took back from Maximilian. At this time Duke Charles of Bourbon, angered at François over what he regarded as an insult (for he was being sued for a part of his patrimony) pretended he was staying at home at Moulins for reasons of health, so he would not be compelled to join in his Italian expedition. On his way to Lyon François visited him and gave him his greeting. A little later he sent him a letter commanding his appearance, so he sent ahead a litter with a large escort, in which he was reported to be riding, while he secretly betook himself to Burgundy, a territory ruled by Charles, and was taken into their alliance by the Caesar and by Henry. The duke had previously been induced by Henry to agree to submit to himself and Charles. For as soon as Henry had an inkling of a quarrel between him and King François, while he was at his home he immediately sent Sir John Russell, an energetic, prudent man, who did a fine job of arranging this business. In our day he is Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, an office granted no man who is not endowed with loyalty, steadfastness, and wisdom.
52. And so both kings were all the readier to take up arms against the French. When King François learned of this, he thought it was his personal responsibility to defend his nation, so halted at Lyon, having changed his travel plans, and placed Guillaume Gouffier, his Admiral, in charge of all his forces. He quickly descended on Italy and began to wage war with vigor. When King Henry learned from many men’s letters and messengers that the French were marching on Italy, without any delay he sent an army commanded by Duke Charles of Suffolk over to the Continent to impede the progress of the French. At the end of the summer the duke left went to Calais, there to form a strategy for attacking the enemy. William Fitzwilliam came to the Norman shore with some ships, landed, and unexpectedly attacked the town of Le Tréport. A battle was fought with the garrison. by the fortifications the townsmen had previously erected out of fear of a sudden enemy incursion. When the town proved too strong to be taken quickly, because a throng of peasants came running, he fired some suburban buildings and retired to his ships at the same speed with which he had arrived, not without suffering wounds and losses, as happens when one attacks somebody inadvisedly and finds him not unprepared. Meanwhile the duke moved from Calais in the direction of S. Omer, where the troops of the Emperor Charles were supposed to come. He vigorously assaulted the enemy fortress called Belle Castle. First he shattered its walls with his guns. Next, he was encircling it with his men, when the garrison, all but despairing of aid, surrendered. The duke leveled the castle and, even though winter was drawing on, in despite of the international rule that wars should cease in wintertime, marched into Picardy, the homeland of the ancient Veromandui. When rumor of the English approach spread, it is wonderful to tell how panic-stricken the locals suddenly became, taking their property and flying in all directions. The violence and fury of war fell especially on Bray, a town on the river Some, which the duke besieged and took, after its inhabitants had fired it so the enemy could gain no plunder. Then he brought his forces across the Somme and took a village called Cappy together with its castle, after it had been abandoned by its inhabitants. Here the Burgundian soldiers who sided with the emperor joined themselves to the English, and then they received the surrender of the town of Roye. After this they came to the town of Montdidier, where there was something of a battle, but finally it was reduced to English control. Here, since it was high winter, when the weather was cold and rainy, the duke planned on recrossing the river. This done, he occupied Bohain, located on the borders of the imperial territory. In this, both for the emperor’s advantage and for Henry’s, he stationed an imperial garrison and, leaving his bronze guns at the town of Vallenciennes, he went home with his army, greatly afflicted and weakened by the time of year. Not long after the duke’s return from Picardy, where a war had been waged for several months to which he had devoted much expense and effort, Wolsey, who is rumored to have originally promised the king this war would make him very wealthy, if he would be allowed to raise money by taxation or any other respectable means, took advantage of this opportunity. He created new money-men who would extract from the people one-sixth of the goods they possessed, and this was called a tax. All men regarded this as theft rather than a tax, and as a bold-faced one at that, and so everybody flatly refused to pay it. But the tax-collectors insisted, and this created some riots. Then the matter was referred to the Privy Council, where the authors of the riots advanced the arguments that it had long ago been conceded and observed by ancient kings that no tax should be imposed on the people save by authority of parliament, and so Wolsey had violated this law and custom. When Henry heard this complaint, he regarded it as just and honorable, and absolved, forgave, and pardoned the people whatever offence had been committed. Wolsey was highly outraged that he had fruitlessly devoted his efforts to pilling and polling the people. And this clever liar said he had consulted judges about his beforehand, and they had ruled it to be legal (a matter of indifference to this one man alone, who regarded right and wrong as all the same). Though he henceforth strove to turn a profit for the commonwealth, he was not in any way deprived of his personal fortune. So, turning his mind to great ambitious enterprises, he decided to found two colleges for students, one at Oxford, and another at Ipswich, his humble birthplace, and did so more out of vainglory than for the service of religion or learning. Since he was uninspired by piety or liberality, he wished to decorate one altar out of what he had stolen from another, as the proverb has it. He therefore obtained permission from Henry to pull down, level, and plunder a few small monasteries, then he arranged for this to be confirmed and approved by papal assent and authority, setting an example un-heard of in human memory. The result of this nefarious crime was that the Pope became gratuitously unpopular in England, but Wolsey far more so, for he was not ashamed to take responsibility for wrongly and impiously ruining the churches and shrines of the saints among his own people.
53. This appropriate place affords me the opportunity of pursuing affairs in Scotland. Duke John of Albany came home from Scotland and assembled a council, in which he told them of François’ gratitude towards all Scotsmen, and that he regarded the realms of France and Scotland as nothing other than a single body, each one being a limb of the other, as could be proved by the example of the two peoples’ friendship, none more enduring or more heartfelt in all Europe. Then he produced and read aloud a letter of the king himself, as all the nobles paid deep attention. He furthermore said he had brought with him a strong company of soldiers which would steadfastly oppose the enemy. Finally, he urged the members of the assembly to accept and preserve the good will and benevolence of such a great sovereign. Some write that in that assembly there were one or two who urged that they should particularly retain King Henry’s friendship, since he was King James’ uncle and their neighbor, who therefore could in his kindness be of great service to their nation in those most troublesome times. They did not linger over this long, but rather turned to military matters and, breaking up the meeting, collected army within a few days and went to besiege the castle called Wark, built on the river Tweed. There was a strong garrison within, under the command of Sir William Lisle, a vigorous man, and when he found out about the arrival of the enemy, he very energetically surrounded the castle with a new ditch and fortifications and placed his soldiers at places suitable for mounting a defense, and ordered others to keep watch at night. Then, behold, the Scots came up and began an assault, losing many to cannon fire but inflicting few casualties themselves. While this fighting was going on at the castle, Howard received the message that the enemy was harrying the borderland, so he hastened up from County Durham, bringing aid with his army and ready to avenge the insult. But when the rumor of his coming spread, the Scots quickly returned to their countrymen, in such a way that their departure should not look like a flight. Howard did not pursue them, since he had instructions from Henry his king that he should not allow the Scots to burst into England, nor should he himself attempt an invasion of Scotland. This was done while Henry was wholly preoccupied in his French war, together with Charles, and let my narrative return there. This was the year of human salvation 1524, the sixteenth of Henry’s reign.
54. As has already been said, the French, under the command of Guillaume Gouffier, burst into Italy once more, everywhere engaging in hot fights with the imperial soldiers. Good God, what battles, what slaughters they wrought! At this time Duke Charles of Bourbon came to Italy from Burgundy, and to show his great loyalty to the emperor, he strove with his other captains not to be behindhand in performing all his duties. After a few months the French, oppressed by the multitude of their enemies in a foreign land, were defeated and were compelled to retire home. Then the imperial captains, wanting to take provision for the future, held a conference in which a division of the army was given to Bourbon, and the rest to other commanders. At that time a letters were brought from the Emperor Charles and from Henry, and read aloud. They wrote that they were preparing a new war against the French. Charles likewise sent a great sum of money from Spain, and at the same time Richard Pace came from Venice as Henry’s ambassador. He contributed a great amount of money for the war on behalf of his king, and promised more. Hearing this news, they all thought it would be expedient for the French to be attacked elsewhere as well, and so the council decided that Bourbon should attack Marseilles in the province of Narbonne, most opportunely located for their purpose. Going there, he encamped as close to the wall as he could, and encircled it with a ditch and very thick earthworks. Then he continually bombarded its walls. When the citizens of Marseilles had heard that the enemy was coming, they fortified themselves with provisions and a stronger garrison furnished by King François so it could not easily be taken by siege, and so both sides, armed as they were, fought daily battles. This vigorous and toilsome siege had lasted four months when Bourbon realized he was getting nowhere, partly because of the courage of the French garrison, and partly because of the topography of the place, and broke off the siege. François, discovering that Bourbon had left Marseilles and the emperor was being kept in Spain by many items of business, and that the English were caught up in their Scottish war, did not hesitate to return to Italy, even if he had suffered so many defeats there. He relied on his great number of cavalry and the Italian and German infantry whom he had hired, and he wanted this army to have no commander other than himself, since within a few years his Italian enterprises had fared poorly thanks to his captains. Therefore at the beginning of spring, having readied everything necessary for the journey and the campaign, he crossed the Alps with such speed that he nearly reached Vercelli before his coming had been announced, and from there he went directly to Milan and took it. The loss of that city disturbed Sforza to the extent that he immediately betook himself to the stronghold of Cremona. But the imperial forces industriously fortified the city of Pavia on the river Ticino to defend themselves, employing it as their headquarters for the entire war, brought their guns there, and installed a garrison under the command of Antonio de Leyva, a very brave man and highly skilled in martial affairs. They did this with all the more care because they foresaw that King François would be coming to attack as soon as he could. Nor were they wrong. For the king made his appearance immediately thereafter, and in a set battle was taken prisoner and brought captive to the emperor in Spain.
55. After this there was no sovereign in Christendom who was not gripped by a great desire to hear that King François had been freed by the emperor. This was Henry’s fond hope, who thought it was the mark of a pious, kindly, and liberal mind to love even your enemy, just as Christ had wished. So he sent Cuthbert Bishop of London and Sir Richard Wingfield as his ambassadors to the emperor, who would plead François’ cause and bend all their effort to gain this single point, that in coming to any peace and concord he would keep Henry very much in mind, since just a little earlier the two sovereigns had been allies in the war, as described above. But François, seeing that he could not escape his enemy’s clutches and regain his liberty if he did not sacrifice many of the advantages of his fortune, agreed to a peace on these conditions, that he would renounce whatever rights he had in Italy, Burgundy, and Flanders, so that henceforth no Flemish man would be hailed before judges at Paris, nor would there there be any right of appeal from Flemish magistrates; that he would assist the emperor with a stated number of soldiers when he went to Rome for his coronation; that at his convenience he would give Henry 200,000 crowns on behalf of the emperor; and that he would give his two eldest sons as hostages, to remain at the emperor’s court until the treaty was duly ratified and his promises had been confirmed, enacted, and performed. These things done, the French king went home to France, and Henry sent Thomas Cheyney, a noble man, to congratulate him on his safe return. In response, Henry most kindly thanked Henry. This was the seventeenth year of Henry’s reign, the year of human salvation 1526, the thirteenth month of the French king’s captivity. As soon as the king came home, nothing was more important to him than to maintain and preserve his friendship with Henry intact, with no offence, just as he had said. So he sent Giovanni Gioachino, a far-seeing and wise Genoan, to England to request King Henry that their treaty be renewed The English king, who wished well for all men, did not scorn this, and so their good will was renewed. Then King François understood that the emperor had grown suspicious of Francesco Sforza Duke of Milan, though no fault of his own but only because of the envy of the imperial captains, so that the territory of Milan was ablaze because the Venetians and Pope Clement (who had succeeded the dead Adrian a little earlier), he took pity on the duke’s misfortune and undertook his defense, fearing lest the emperor would seek and gain the mastery of Italy.
56. And so the French king immediately set his heart on an Italian war, wholly forgetting all the promises he made on his oath. His only thought was how he might free himself from blame by using acute arguments. What of the fact that he had made a treaty with the Pope and Venetians, and had sent 4,000 Gascons with 500 heavy cavalry to the allied army in Italy, under the command of Marquis Michelantonio of Saluzzo? Meanwhile Bourbon launched a sudden attack against Clement with a select company of soldiers and took Rome. He barricaded Clement in Castle Santangelo, and then died of a wound inflicted by a musket ball. The imperial soldiers savagely sacked the city and compelled the Pope to surrender. Afterwards the French went to Naples under Lautrec’s command and besieged it for several months, and while they were awaiting its surrender, behold, they were affected by the bad midsummer climate and nearly of all of them died, together with their commander. All men thought this was done by the will of God Almighty, who thus wished to punish François’ deed with His divine hand. So the king sued the emperor for peace and obtained it. Meanwhile Henry was justly anger at the emperor because he had not yet repaid him the money he owed, even if François had promised to pay it on his behalf, as said above. So he sent Francis Poyntz as his ambassador to him in Spain, to request the money and Henry’s share of the spoils of Pavia, since he had been an ally in that war and had financed his share of it. Should the emperor refuse his rightful demand, then Poyntz was to declare war. Hearing these things, a little later the emperor summoned Francis and Edward Lee, another ambassador of Henry at his court, and gave his answer, “What my friend King Henry asks of me has great weight on either side, both for granting it and for refusing it. And so, as in my doubt I consider what is right to do, I have need of counsel, both so that my good will towards Henry may be maintained and so that François may be repaid tit for tat, as the saying goes, who broke his word almost before he gave it. Therefore I have decided to write a letter to Henry soon, giving my decision and meanwhile you must await my response.” The emperor thus dragged his heels so he would not be obliged to answer those most tedious complaints, as if he foresaw that soon the French king would gladly abide by the terms to which he had agreed, which he had freely granted at the beginning, as came to pass not long thereafter. In the interim such politeness on the part of the emperor could not calm Wolsey’s mischievous spirit, for although he paid him a great salary every year to keep him dutiful, since he could not attain the Archbishopric of Toledo, the wealthiest of all Spain, although he ardently desired it, Wolsey tried to have war declared against him in the king’s name. But the kings were fond of each other, and so the nascent war was quickly traded for peace, and Wolsey’s greed was sated by the bishopric of Winchester, which he gained upon the death of Richard Fox, demitting the see of Durham, which was obtained by Cuthbert Tunstall Bishop of London, who in turn was succeeded by John Stokesley. But I digress and should return to my thread.
57. Wolsey’s destined downfall now loomed, since he, like a wild horse, was unable to stay in one place. It entered his head to change mistresses, seeking another one whose life and morals would resemble his own. Although Queen Catherine had neither offended nor harmed the man, but had only, disliking his evil ways, given him kindly advice that he should exercise self-control. As soon as he had thought of this, having high hopes for its success, he had a friendly talk with John Longland Bishop of Lincoln about a future inquiry, for he was the king’s confessor. The bishop, who in his own opinion was doing nothing amiss and acting properly, had long though that the royal marriage should be annulled as being invalid, and had already held whispered conversations about this with his close friends. So he heard out Wolsey eagerly, so that quickly both began to discuss whether Henry’s marriage to Catherine was or was not legitimate. These men, taking too much upon themselves as if they were learned theologians, but in fact only looking for difficulties were none existed, easily came to the conclusion that the marriage was neither sound nor valid, because Catherine had once been married to Henry’s brother Arthur. Agreeing on this point, they decided that the precarious state of his marriage ought to be revealed to the king as quickly as possible, just as if that scruple concerning their affinity had never been removed from men’s minds. Since they decided upon this counsel, Wolsey took the responsibility upon himself, and at a time of his choosing he went to the king and, under a show of charity and justice, strongly urged him to remain no longer in such danger, since the salvation of his soul, the legitimacy of his heirs, and the honor of his life were very much at stake. Hearing these things, the king stood silent for a while, astonished that his marriage was being condemned, since it had originally been approved as just and legal by the Pope and by his most righteous and learned bishops. Then he said, “Good father, see what kind of stone you are trying to dislodge, as the proverb has it. I have for a wife a very noble woman, most choice and most pious, who can be accused of nothing that merits a divorce. As for what you say about her having been married to my brother, that poses no obstacle, since she has often affirmed upon her oath that she never slept with him.” That day the discussion of this thing went no further. But three days later Wolsey, armed with incredible audacity, meet with Lincoln and brought him to the king, to whom he said, “We are here before you, your majesty, to do our duty, and I especially. Since it does not escape your notice that the people have grown doubtful and uncertain concerning your marriage. We have investigated this matter, and since it is sufficiently clear that it is defective, therefore, as I am concerned for the welfare of your soul, I ask, urge, and exhort you to submit it for judgment, so that all men may agree on its soundness, and thus you may be said to pursue justice, as you always do.” This struck Henry as a fair, honorable and goodly argument, so he turned his mind toward conducting such an inquiry. Then Wolsey, thinking the thing was as good as done, urged the king to divorce as soon as he could. “There is a woman more worthy of marriage to yourself than others, the widowed sister of King François of France, the former wife of the Duke of Alençon, and she is in the flower of her youth and virtue.” Henry finally said, “These things require greater deliberation, and I think they should be put off to another time.” When word of the intended inquiry came to Catherine’s ears, she was reduced to complete sorrow and mourning, grieving and complaining that up to now she had only been being reserved for such great and sad misery. But the king tried to console her, asserting that the inquiry would bring all the truth to light.
58. During those same days the news was brought that Pope Clement had fallen into the hands of the imperial soldiers, and this devastated Wolsey most of all. For he feared for his position as legate and began to beseech the king to employ his resources and go to the aid of the father of all Christians. Seeing that the king was unconcerned, he argued as follows: “Excellent prince, since you are Defender of the Faith, it is very much in your interest to defend the ruler, guardian, and head of our faith, which is to say of our religion.” To this Henry replied, “If the Pope had been fighting for religion rather than for power, I would have thought I had to do so. But so that it may be plain to all men that I am concerned with the Pope’s welfare, you must immediately visit François and urge him on my behalf to send the army he has in readiness to Italy, to oblige the imperial forces to release the Pope. And you shall offer to pay part of the expenses on my behalf.” These plans having been agreed by the two of them, but being kept a secret, Wolsey hastened to ready himself for his desired mission. But word spread abroad that he was going to France to bring money to subsidize a war against the emperor, and to fetch the king’s sister for a marriage with Henry. They say that it was by his artifice and contrivance that these things became public knowledge, so that a rumor would arise that the marriage between the king and Catherine had already been annulled. And so Wolsey, after acquiring two associates for his negotiations with François, the Bishop of London, lately returned from Spain, and William Sandys, the Lord Chamberlain, crossed to Ambiens with great pomp. And there, good God, what a welcome he received from King François, not otherwise than if he himself were a king! He was likewise treated liberally with nearly the same respect by the king’s mother Louise. Afterwards they got down to business, and first of all discussed a strategy for the war, so that the imperial forces might be forced to let Pope Clement go, and for this no small amount of money changed hands. Then for several days they discussed making a treaty and more secret matters. Wolsey’s two colleagues scarcely participated in these negotiations, with the result that when they got back home they later said they were quite ignorant of what Wolsey had transacted with the French king. Hence the suspicion arose that the subject of discussion had been a new marriage with François’ sister, and that the business had been concluded just as Wolsey had said it would. In point of fact, the princess was an excellent woman and would have refused to hear about the marriage, since it could not take place without Catherine’s terrible downfall and even her destruction. But Wolsey returned to England having conducted his affairs with success, as he gave out, and gave the king a detailed report of his embassy, tailored to suit. Henry was happy to hear of what had been done and what would be done in the future, advantageous to himself and his friends. Likewise, to bind the kings’ friendship all the closer, at that same time François was inducted into the College of the Knights of the Garter, and Henry into the Order of St. Michael, the most sacred and honorable distinction among the French. It was the nineteenth year of Henry’s reign and the year of salvation 1526 when Pope Clement recovered his liberty with no help or aid from King François, who avariciously sequestered for his own profit the money he had previously received from Wolsey. Henry was very happy that Pope Clement had escaped his enemies’ clutches, and wrote a letter of congratulation. And since the fury of foreign war appeared to have subsided somewhat, the king at length turned his attention to grave and unpleasant domestic matters, as will be shown below. At this time he made the lawyer Stephen Gardiner, a man of fine intellect his secretary, and henceforth greatly relied on his help. Richard Pace had previously held this position, but he was sent off by Wolsey on frequent embassies (and sometimes unnecessary ones) to keep him away from the king’s side al the longer. This came close to being a form of banishment, that so troubled his mind that a little thereafter he began to suffer from spells of madness.
59. At the beginning of the following year, albeit against their wills, the king and queen entered into legal proceedings. This being brought to court and contested in a suit, both parties were given as their lawyers men most learned in law and theology, and at the same time experienced proctors and attorneys. Meanwhile the king, who did everything in good faith so that the truth of the matter would come to light, and out of concern for the legitimacy of his posterity, wrote a letter requesting the Pope to send a legate to England to judge the case. He likewise sent his procurators to all the universities of France and Italy to determine the views of their faculties of Divinity regarding his marriage, and to procure their individual views in writing. Not much later the papal legate Lorenzo Campeggio arrived, who was to have Wolsey as his colleague. On the appointed day they sat in the Dominican monastery at London, and King Henry first appeared before them, making this statement: “Excellent fathers, I shall speak briefly. I possess a wife, Catharine, who is well beloved to me both because of her singular virtues and the nobility of her stock. But inasmuch as I am king of a great realm, I am obliged to have a care that I am may live with her properly, legitimately, justly, and piously, and father children by her to whom the inheritance of this realm may descend by a right as good as the best. Both of these objects will be achieved if you adjudge our marriage to be legitimate. But if you see it to be in any way questionable, then I beg you to declare and remove this by your authority, so that my conscience and the mind of my people can be at rest forever.” Then the queen made her appearance, and publicly denounced Wolsey for his perfidy, trickery, iniquity, and improbity for creating dissent between herself and her husband, and she made this public declaration, “I accuse, abhor, and shun such a judge, being a most hostile enemy of right and justice, and I appeal to the Pope alone, and commit my cause to him alone for judgment.” As she tearfully said these words, you could see Wolsey receiving hard looks from nearly everybody. And so the hearing was suspended. But afterwards the judges often held sessions dealing with matters pertinent to their inquiry, and asking if by any means the queen could be induced to retract her appeal to the Pope, which she steadfastly refused to do. But since the legates were wasting their time, since they came to no conclusions, the king began to suspect that this was being done on purpose as their means of sabotaging the case. While things like this were being done, Wolsey, being a canny man, noticed that Henry was casting his eye on a certain girl named Anne, the daughter of Thomas Boleyn Viscount Rochford, a lady in waiting to the queen. Then he was deeply troubled, foreseeing that the king would marry her if he divorced. So he began with great zeal and all care and diligence to deal, provide, and consult so this would in no wise come to pass, since, because of the girl’s insolence, he thought it should be avoided more than death. Since matters thus stood and Catherine’s case was to be handled and judged at Rome, since her appeal, which had cut short the present proceedings, still stood, Wolsey dealt with Pope Clement by letters and secret messengers that he might draw out this judgment about the divorce until he had a chance to bring Henry around to his way of thinking. But none of his machinations escaped the royal notice, and so the king decided to degrade to the lowest of ranks this man who was forgetful of so many favors done him. First he most honorably dismissed Cardinal Campeggio. Then he bade Duke Thomas of Norfolk to go to Wolsey and strip him of all his dignity and fortune, and bring him to the episcopal palace at Winchester called Asher, where he lived a few months. In the end he was related to his see at York, so that he might learn to live better and more temperately. But he was so far from doing this that by no means could he moderate the lust of his corrupt mind, since the punishment for his sins now encompassed him. It entered his head to go to York and there to sit on his pontifical throne like a triumphant general, as was his habit, and pass that day and many others with ceremonies, banquets, and games, so that this man, who had begun to be pitied, was now courting hatred. And since he lacked the costly sacred vestments he desired to make him more conspicuous, he had no hesitation in writing Henry to send him the cope and miter he had worn at services before. Reading this letter, the king could not help being astonished by Wolsey’s boldness and insolence, saying, “Is this man still proud, when he is obviously overthrown?” But when there was such ceremonial display of things and men in his province that he deemed it no longer tolerable, he commanded Earl Henry of Northumbria to arrest Wolsey so that he would cease waxing proud in his madness. A short while thereafter, while being brought to London, he collapsed and died at the town of Leicester. Oh, the human condition, so uncertain at birth and weak during life! Wolsey was abounding in dignity and wealth when he undertook the business of the king’s marriage, which he fancied would bring him happiness, but it was his downfall. This was the year of human salvation 1530, the twenty-second of Henry’s reign. In this year Stephen Gardiner was made Bishop of Winchester, and gave himself over more to the study of Scripture, in which he soon made such progress that he came forth as an excellent preacher, and immediately thereafter served for a long time as ambassador to King François of France.
60. After this there followed the divorce of Henry and Catherine, in the following way. While Catherine was dealing with the Pope about the appeal I have mentioned above, the Archbishop of Canterbury with his company of bishops and crowd of advocates decided to reap another man’s harvest, as they say, and he came to the village of Dunstable, about six miles from the royal manor royal manner called Ampthill, where Catherine was staying. Here she was summoned every day, and when she had made no appearance after the fifteenth day, nor had responded to the judge (since he was extraordinary), behold, the divorce was suddenly effected. Henry abandoned Catherine and married Anne Boleyn, with whom he had fallen in love a little earlier, and by her he fathered a daughter named Elizabeth. Meanwhile a parliament was held at London, in which the English Church acquired a form of authority never before seen. For Henry was made head of his own Church, and because of his office he was assigned the incomes of all vacant livings and their annual tithes. Likewise a limit was set on legal cases, so that the convicted party should first appeal to a bishop, then to an archbishop, and lastly to the king himself, so that in this, as in all other matters of administration involving the Church, there would be no need for papal authority. At first not all men liked this decree, especially John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, a man of great learning, supreme integrity and innocence, and likewise Sir Thomas More, a man very well endowed both with letters and good morals. In the end both preferred to part with their lives rather than with their opinion, so that, as they hoped, they would enjoy eternity in heaven all the quicker. A number of others freely did the same. Furthermore, in that same parliament it was provided with great care and diligence that this power, which had now been assumed on the strength of Henry’s distinctive title, would be kept and maintained for the future. By this power Henry designed new rites religion, and introduced into his England very different ways of worshiping God. Likewise, as a means of preventing luxury from sprouting forth, he reduced the number of monastic brotherhoods and sisterhoods, and curtailed the wealth of the priesthood. And so, after it appeared that sufficient provision had been made for ratifying and confirming all these measures, laws were enacted and very heavy penalties appointed for those who acted contrary to the decree of the laws, or illegally disapproved the edicts of the Privy Council by word or deed. But let me return to Catherine. After her divorce from her husband was made final, she retired to Bedfordshire, to a royal manor called Kimbolton, a very unhealthy place, where, wonderfully armed with true patience, she lived a pious life. But afterwards, when her health was undermined by sorrow, she began to ail. As soon as Henry heard of this he arranged for Eustache Chapuys, the emperor’s ambassador, to visit her and greet her on his behalf. Eustache did his duty diligently and with speed. But six days thereafter Catherine’s health deteriorated and, having a presentiment of her impending death, she had an educated lady in waiting write two copies of the same letter, one to the king and the other to Eustache, which she dictated in the following words:
61. My most dear lord, king and husband, The hour of my death now drawing on, the tender love I owe you forceth me, my case being such, to commend myself to you, and to put you in remembrance with a few words of the health and safeguard of your soul which you ought to prefer before all worldly matters, and before the care and pampering of your body, for the which you have cast me into many calamities and yourself into many troubles. For my part, I pardon you everything, and I wish to devoutly pray God that He will pardon you also. For the rest, I commend unto you our daughter Mary, beseeching you to be a good father unto her, as I have heretofore desired. I entreat you also, on behalf of my maids, to give them marriage portions, which is not much, they being but three. For all my other servants I solicit the wages due them, and a year more, lest they be unprovided for. Lastly, I make this vow, that mine eyes desire you above all things.
62. In her letter to Eustache she added that, should Henry not honor her final request, he should ensure that the emperor would remind Henry of his duty. And on that selfsame day she departed this life, on January 6 in the year of salvation 1535. Reading her letter, the king wept lovingly. For who could have been so harsh and hard-hearted that he would not be moved by that pure and sincere expression of good will towards himself? The body of this excellent queen was taken to Peterborough and honorably buried in the Benedictine monastery there. Let me pursue Henry’s marital affairs. Upon Catherine’s death Queen Anne was gladdened by the passing of that royal consort, because the legitimacy of her marriage would no longer be in doubt. Likewise the king was in high hopes of fathering children, especially male ones, which was his greatest desire, since Anne was pregnant. But see how quickly good fortune can be turned back in its course. For a little later Anne was caught out in adultery and immediately beheaded, together with her lovers. Then Henry married Jane, the most upright daughter of Sir John Seymour, a woman most excellently endowed with beauty and manners, and by her he fathered his son Edward VI, who now reigns. This is a young man assuredly born to govern, born to virtue and prudence, who is endowed with an excellent character and wonderfully excites all peoples to good hopes. His mother died in childbirth, two days after he had been delivered. For she gave birth to him on October 13 in the thirtieth year of Henry’s reign, the year of human salvation 1537.


I wish you to be advised, good reader, that many Latin words have acquired new meanings by long usage, if not with good logic, in our daily conversation, so I am sometimes compelled to employ them willy-nilly. Examples of these are dux for “duke” and comes for “earl,” which were once only words employed to describe an office, but are now titles of rank. Likewise comitatus is used to designate a region and cancellarius for a master of government clerks, and abbas for the head of a monastery. When you encounter these few words in your reading (for I have easily avoided the rest), pray do not blame me, but rather our times, which have been made so barbarous that such blemishes cannot be eliminated altogether. Farewell.