Henry VIII,the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1520 Volume 3
Has already told him what Wolsey had said, that after the two sovereigns had met they might conclude for another interview beyond the sea after the meeting with France, at which Henry would be glad that Madame should be present, in the hope that they might all persuade her to go to Spain, which would be very desirable, and keep all Charles's dominions in peace, and so prevent the diminution of Chievres' influence when the Emperor went to Germany. Said he thought whenever Chievres wanted rest, which might be after the King was crowned at Aix, he would not accept any office, and that if he wished to continue at his post he would not like to be away from the Emperor, or supplant Madame, whom Charles would not wish to remove.
Wolsey said, No; but affairs required that she should go to Spain and change places with Chievres.
"Certes, Monsieur," I replied; "if she went she would be welcome, but the King would not send her against her will; and as for Chievres I am certain he will not like any other charge when he has retired from his present one."
He answered in Latin: "Ah! Master Secretary, if you think that, I see well you do not perfectly understand the nature of men in authority."
He supposes every one is like himself, for he would be very sorry, I think, to be stripped of the authority which he holds. Moreover, I wonder at his folly in thinking that if my master wished that Madame should go she would do so more readily at their persuasion than his.
Excuses himself for telling Chievres what he thinks touching the interview; but these things must be considered:
1. The time when Charles shall arrive, and how long he can stay in England before Henry leaves for France.
2. Whether the time they can be together will be long enough to discuss all matters touching their common weal.
3. Whether it would be better to conclude everything while they are together, before the French interview, or to defer everything until the latter has taken place, and then conclude for a second interview beyond sea, proposing nothing for the present except making good cheer. The fear might be, if no serious business were discussed, whether this course would not create suspicion and cause them to treat with France to our prejudice, as they would then be free to do.
4. What articles it would be safe to propose to prevent England making profit out of them with France at the approaching interview. It must be well considered beforehand what points ought to be communicated by our master to the king of England to make a show of confidence, without touching on the principal points in dispute between the Emperor and France, but on such only as will make them open their mouths and show how the land lies. They will then probably speak of themselves of the matters of which they made overtures to us when Helna came over with La Sauch and found Hesdin; on which, as you know, I went to the King and you: in which case it will be necessary to have an answer ready, that they may not suspect any distrust in us. Proposes to thank them for their overtures, and say that as they will have understood from Charles his wishes on several subjects, and as they wish to make further overtures, it would be well to have a meeting, that the two might treat freely of everything; but as they might not quite agree on all points, they shall promise each other upon oath to keep everything secret. This will prevent their treating with France, it being resolved that a second interview should take place beyond sea, when more might be got out of them. The fame of these two interviews would be much to the credit of Charles, cause people to think that he had England at his beck, and quite efface the impression made by the French interview.
Moreover, two objects might be effected by the first interview: First, the breaking off of the French interview, though that would be very difficult, seeing how much Wolsey is set upon it, notwithstanding that it is very unpopular with all the nobility and people of England; or, secondly, they might cause it to grow cold, that little love should come of it. Thinks, therefore, that an interview between Charles and Henry is very necessary, provided it can be held before the interview with France; and if that cannot be, Charles has agreed it shall take place after his arrival in Flanders, to secure his passage. He can afterwards break it off if he dislikes it. If there be any fear that they cannot come to an agreement before parting, Charles's departure might be deferred until the king of England has crossed; for, to pass without speaking to him, would be to lose everything, and make him entirely devoted to France, which would be very awkward, considering that they do not know what terms they are on with the Pope, and they would also be abandoned by the Swiss and Venetians. It would be well also to think what answer should be made if Wolsey proposes a meeting of all three; also whether it would not be well to inform the English of the matters in dispute with France, so that they might give a right answer if Francis touched upon them at their meeting; also to consider how Wolsey might be won, for he leans decidedly to the opposite party. When we deal with men (quant nous avons affaire des gens) we give good words, and promise wonders; but, having attained our object, there is an end of it. The French do not act in this way; for they talk and give at the same time, and make large promises besides. If any preferment fall vacant before the Emperor's coming, it should be given to Wolsey, but it should not be less than 5,000 or 6,000 ducats a year, or it will not be esteemed. If there be nothing, Charles should make letters patent promising to give him the first vacant benefice of that value. Defers a statement of some other things which should be given them. "If you think they will labour for us, 'et pour nos beaux yeux,' and turn a deaf ear to others, certes, Monsieur, you will find yourself much mistaken." Advises him to have his wits about him. If they can agree with the master they need not mind the servants; but everything must be well determined beforehand, for the time of the meeting may chance to be too short to settle everything. Understands that the bishop of Elna has made some promise to Wolsey on the part of Charles, to be fulfilled in reversion, after he has kept the promises he has made to other great personages who have done him great services. Imagine how Wolsey values it! He did not say a word in reply, any more than if he had been dumb. This is not the way to use such personages. It would have been much better had the Bishop held his tongue. They think we take them "pour beste," and expect them to do what we want, on a promise to be kept ten years hence. That is the old song, "Faictes moy ung chandeau quant je suis mort; ou, sy je puis vivre longhement assez, je seray des enffans de crocque meure, j'en auray, s'il en demeure."
Chievres must also consider what instructions are to be given to Helna when he goes with the king of England to the French interview, and how he shall conduct himself with the Domprévot, for he will need to have his eyes open. They must turn their own arts against the French, and not spare promises, or Francis will make them drink his aurum potabile, and they will tipple à la bouteille, while our ambassadors look on with folded arms, and understand nothing till they get the cudgel over the ears; and then, no matter what it costs, things will have to be set right again. If this had been looked to three or four months ago, the French interview would never have been concluded, while our own would have been arranged more to our honor, and the Pope would have been more tractable. If Wolsey be not gained, their affairs will go no better.
Wolsey had given them hopes that the interview with France should have been deferred till the end of June if Charles could have come before the middle of that month; but the French king has refused, as we have seen by letters from the French admiral to the Cardinal, on the ground of the Queen being with child. Since that answer arrived they have ordered Buckingham and others to make ready with all diligence. They have answered that they cannot be ready on so short a notice, but they require three months to prepare, as the time was fixed without consulting them. Another obstacle has occurred from the workmen, whom the king of England sent over to prepare his lodging at Calais, and especially at Guisnes. They have sent word that it is impossible to complete the preparations by the end of May; in consequence of which the Cardinal has written again to the French admiral, making such representations that he is sure they will not refuse a little longer delay. As soon as he hears that the answer has come, will inform Chievres of it, in order that if Charles cannot come before the middle of May, he may consider what is to be done after.
Has heard of another obstacle. Some days ago the Queen assembled her council to confer about this interview, and while she was holding it the King arrived. On his asking what was going on, the Queen told him why she had called them, and finally they said that she had made such representations, and shown such reasons against the voyage, as one would not have supposed she would have dared to do, or even to imagine. On this account she is held in greater esteem by the King and his council than ever she was. Has not been able to find out, however, what answer the King made to her. There is no doubt that the voyage is against the will of the Queen and all the nobles, though some may already have drunk of the bottle. The whole people say they are leaving their old friends for their old enemies, and that there is no help for it unless the Emperor come, in which case they hope the interview will be broken off. So you may be sure that you have only Wolsey to gain, which will now be very difficult; for, no doubt, besides the great gifts he has had from France, they have promised, what we might have done much better, to make him Pope. I see quite well he will be very glad if the Emperor do not come, for whenever we have opposed his opinion he has given us our congé, saying, "Bien! ne le faictes point; allez vous en;" or something very much like it. Wishes he were in the Emperor's council to advise him.
La Roche and the Audiencer arrived on Tuesday. Hopes before Wednesday or Thursday next everything will be arranged, and that Charles will be informed of it by the end of the month, so as to leave, if the wind be favourable, at the beginning of May. If his colleagues had come along with him, they would have gained three weeks or a month. The mistake has been in waiting for De Berghes, also in sending ample powers to conclude the interview and confirm past treaties, which has made the English wish to treat with them about the intercourse, while in fact their power is limited. La Roche and the Audiencer have been very well received, especially by the King. They made the recommendations of De Berghes, informing the King of his illness, who expressed regret to hear it, knowing him to be a good servant of Charles. The bishop of Elna then made the recommendations of Chievres; on which the King answered, "God shield him. He is one that I love well, both for his virtues and prudence, and for the good service he has done to the King my good brother and nephew, though it is true that in the past his wisdom was not known to me, and I did not hold him in great favor; but since I have known the ends at which he is aiming, I love and esteem him with all my heart." Chievres is under great obligations to Elna, both for his daily services to the Emperor, and for his good will to himself. Regrets that he has let two great vacancies slip without rewarding him. Chievres' cousin, the Marquis, is here, who writes to him for some favor. Thinks he should be gratified, as he is high in favour with the King his master. As the king of England has arranged for a tourney beyond the sea, recommends that Charles should send him some fine horses. He has a large number of fine ones, so they should be specially good. Hochstrate told him, before he left Malines, that he should like to meet the Emperor before his landing. Are about to conclude for the interview at Sandwich, where he might be present. London, Easter eve, 7 April.