Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: Volume 4
The King has received your letters by Thadeus, and I have received yours of the 28th and 29th March, and of the 8th, 19th, 20th and 21st of April, to myself, concerning your conferences, and thank you for your service and dexterity. The King, although your desires have not taken effect, receives your services with thankfulness, and does not attribute to you any blame. He perceives that whatever solicitations have been made to the Pope for the furtherance of his cause depend entirely upon the Emperor's will, whom the Pope dare not oppose. The Emperor, as appears by sundry letters, has interposed his power unfavuorably to the King. The King, finding the Pope's ingratitude, is resolved to dissemble with him, and to proceed here on his cause by virtue of the commission granted to me and Campeggio.
He is resolved to revoke all his ambassadors except Sir Gregory. Therefore Gardiner and Bryan are to return; and had it not been for Gardiner's absence, whose services are so much required, he would have commenced his process before this Whitsuntide. You are to obtain, as best you can, the amplification of the commission, using all possible dexterity, advertising the Pope how sorry the King is that whereas he expected to find in him a fast and loving friend, he studies more to please the Emperor, who is the common enemy of Christendom, than the King; which is not the way to preserve friendship. Still, as the King is willing to trust him to the utmost, he hopes that the Pope will prove the love he has always professed for him, and declare by his acts the uttermost of his intent and dispositions that you, Gardiner and Brian, may not return empty-handed.
You shall also urge the grief of myself and Campeggio in being thus disappointed, entreating the Pope as from myself to weigh well the great exigencies of the case. Leaving everything else, your whole efforts are to return to the security and amplification of the process to take place here.
I send you a copy of the pollicitation which you have transmitted, with notes in the margin showing where it is ineffectual, desiring you to get it devised anew and regranted with additions; telling the Pope that it was so much defaced and injured by wet and carriage as that it is detained by him to whom you directed it, and you are likely to be blamed unless you get another; and you, Mr. Stephen, shall promise to write it out afresh, according to the best of your remembrance, inserting "other pregnant, fat and available words as is possible."
I advertise you that the King has received fresh letters out of Spain in answer to those sent by Curzon for exhibition of the original breve. The letters are of sundry dates, the last of the 21st of April, when the Emperor was at Saragossa. He wishes to make a demonstration of his coming to Italy, but we hear that he is wholly unprepared. He is endeavoring to sow dissension between this Court and France; but you may tell the Pope he will not succeed, and that the French king is resolved on war with the Emperor, and he will be assisted by a body of men under the duke of Suffolk, who is now sent to France. This may possibly shake his confidence in the Emperor. The Emperor refuses to send the brief to England, but makes show of sending it to Rome, as he would have the cause decided there. I send you a copy of it, with some remarks indicating the manifest proof of forgery, especially in reference to the dates. This matter will require secresy.
The King hears that the Emperor's ambassador has an authentic copy of the brief, and that on the proof of any falsity the original might be altered and a new one forged; he desires them therefore to dissemble their knowledge of the error in the date, and to endeavour, either by the Pope, or some other secret means, to get a sight of the copy, and to get an authentic copy made, which Gardiner and Brian shall bring over with them. This would prevent the alteration of the original, or a new forgery. Gardiner and Brian are to bring with them everything they have obtained. Vannes will remain till their arrival in England, that he also may have a color to desire the Pope not to let him return vacuis manibus.
Meantime Vannes and Casale must take special care to prevent the advocation of the cause, the revocation of the commission, inhibition, recusation, or any other act that may delay proceedings here. They must consult the lawyers they have retained about the invalidation of the brief, putting the proofs thereof in an authentic form. The Emperor, knowing that the King is trying to prove the falsity of the brief, will probably, relying upon the Pope's friendship, send it to Rome, to have the matter decided there, by having a transumpt made by the Pope or other person by his command, and thus prevent the legates from giving sentence. They must look out for this, and tell the Pope that although he has refused to decree the brief false, the English ambassadors will not consent to such a transumpt, but will protest accordingly, by means of an authentic instrument.
Wishes Gardiner and Brian to bring back with them the bulls and expeditions for the King's colleges and his, unless obtaining them would cause much delay.