Henry VIII,the Reign
Spanish Calendar : 1530 Volume 4 Part 1
1 Oct. 445. Eustace Chapuys to the Emperor.
Last Sunday the Papal Nuncio went to Court to complain of the edict (constitution) recently promulgated here, and of which I enclosed a copy in my last despatch. Before he was admitted to the Royal presence, he happened to meet the duke of Norfolk in the ante room, and began telling him the cause of his visit, &c. The Duke having requested him to communicate on the subject with the duke of Suffolk and the earl of Wiltshire, the Nuncio represented to them how the said edict had been promulgated to the visible prejudice and vilification (vilipeinne) of the Apostolic See, and how much better it would have been if the King had, through his ambassadors [at Rome], requested His Holiness to forbear from enforcing any measures at variance with the laws and customs of England. The Pope, he observed, had never done anything of the sort in times past, but had always striven to augment rather than diminish the privileges and prerogatives of the King and kingdom. Upon which the said gentlemen began to say that they cared neither for Pope or Popes in this kingdom, not even if St. Peter should come to life again; that the King was absolute both as Emperor and Pope in his own kingdom, and that His Holiness was doing all he possibly could to alienate the affection of the English, who had done him such good service, and shewed him incredible obedience, not, indeed, because they were bound to do so, but quite voluntarily. After a little more taunting (braveries) of a like nature, the Duke and the others restraining their anger somewhat, said that it now rested entirely with His Holiness to make this king and kingdom more devoted and obedient to him than any other nation in the world, and that would be by acceding to the request made by the King through his late ambassador. If he would not do this he must abide the consequences, for they would do wonders.
After a good deal of argument, the Nuncio took the duke of Norfolk aside, and said they all were greatly mistaken if they thought by such like edicts and statutes to intimidate His Holiness; that his greatness, authority, and magnanimity raised him above all sense of fear, and that they should consider that such disorderly proceedings would in the end redound rather to the discredit of this king and kingdom than of the Pope. The Duke listened for some time to the Nuncio's speech, and then went in to the King's cabinet, who was with his Council for more than an hour before the Nuncio was called in. Once introduced to the Royal presence, the King said to the Nuncio that he did not recollect having had any edict published to the Pope's prejudice, but that if he (the Nuncio) would point out wherein the offence lay, it should be set right. That by virtue of his prerogative and authority he had desired to guard against any opposition to the ordinances which he had already made, and was about to make, in Parliament for the reformation of the Clergy in his dominions, and had purposely avoided delay lest the Pope should in the meantime issue some contrary decretal, and excuse himself on the ground of the practices of the Roman court (sur le stille de la cort), as he did when his ambassadors were cited at Bologna.
Many other things did the King say on this occasion full of covert menaces, from which the Nuncio could clearly gather that the said edicts had been published solely to prevent any measures being taken against him on behalf of the Queen. Then the King complained that the Pope acquainted the Imperial agents [at Rome] with all that passed between himself and the English ambassadors, to whose representations he paid no attention whatever, and that he was greatly surprised at the delay in the return of the messenger he had recently sent to Rome, which could only be occasioned by the Pope's waiting till he could get an answer from Your Majesty. He also said that he had heard that his couriers had been attacked on the road, and was surprised that His Holiness should suffer this; but that he would have this stopped, for that he should lay his case before his good brother, the king of France, who would espouse it as if it were his own, since what concerned the one concerned the other also. At last the King inquired whether the Nuncio had yet spoken to me, and whether I had asked him about the cause of his coming over, and what answer he (the Nuncio) had given. The Nuncio replied that certainly I had put some questions to him about his charge, but that he had answered in general terms without specifying his principal object, at which the King seemed well pleased, telling the Nuncio to communicate as little as possible to me, for I was (he said) far too one-sided in this matter, as he had already stated at their first interview.
The Nuncio has shewn me a letter dated from Paris the 10th ult., in which the Vayvod's agent, who has now resided for some months at the court of France, writes word that having fulfilled the mission on which his master had sent him to the most Christian King, he was obliged to return at once. He was very sorry not to have seen him (the Nuncio) in Paris, as he had several important matters to communicate, and he begged he would send him tidings through the English ambassador at Venice. Now I have reasons to suspect this letter to have been written in England, and that the writer alludes to his departure from Paris merely in order to escape observation in this country. This is, after all, the safest route for him to take, and it is not probable that he could be here [in England] without first having an interview with the King, who has always been on good terms with his master. I will do my utmost to find out the truth of this matter. This man is the same one who, when Your Majesty was last at Bologna, came as far as Padua on his way to the Pope, but not having a safe-conduct he was obliged to leave, and went to the French court, where he has resided ever since.
The French ambassadors' servants have spread a report that Mons. d'Orleans is coming over here, and some of them have already petitioned Mons. de Norfolk, should he come, to allow them to enter his service. I have not been able to gain any certain information about this, but there seems to be little preparation at present for such an arrival.
The Queen has been rather uneasy at the publication of these prohibitory edicts (cries et prohibitions), as she thinks that if the King so despises the Papal authority, he will not obey any mandate or sentence given by His Holiness, and she is also much grieved at the general course of affairs in this country, which is certainly a very bad precedent, and must lead to dangerous consequences.
This morning a courier arrived, sent on the 20th ult. by the English ambassadors at Rome, by whom His Holiness writes to his Nuncio that in the hope of his succeeding in time in persuading the King to agree to the cause being decided at Rome, His Holiness had, at the special request of the English ambassadors, consented to delay proceedings until news came from the said Nuncio, whom the Pope most earnestly exhorts to do all he can to obtain the King's consent to the above measure. Notwithstanding the said directions, the Nuncio, seeing the King's obstinacy, has not returned to Court with the letters, but has written positively to the Pope, as the enclosed letters will shew, (fn. n3) that it is imperatively necessary for him to proceed at once to pass sentence, since there is no hope whatever of prevailing on the King to alter his course. Bogs that the letters be forwarded at once.
Jehan Jocquin, who accompanied the bishop of Bayonne to Dover on his departure [from this city], has remained in that town until his return here to-day. He stayed there on pretence of re-building a small hermitage on the sea coast near Dover, but probably some more important business detained him there, for though the King summoned him to Court three weeks ago, he has made no haste to come. Some think he is waiting for the arrears of his pensions here, or for the arrival of the Vayvod's agent above named; others say to maintain an appearance of offence at what passed between the King and the Bishop some time ago.—London, 1st October 1530.
Signed: "Eustace Chapuys."
Addressed: "To the Emperor."
Indorsed: "From the ambassador in England; October 1st. Received the 13th."