Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1533 Volume 6
1479. Henry VIII. and Francis I.
Memorial drawn up by M. de Polizy, bailly of Troyes, concerning certain conversations which the king of England has held with him.
Henry complains that all Christian princes will think that the friendship between Francis and himself is not so sincere as at the beginning. As to the innovations which Francis had promised that Henry should not make, their honour is not injured, nor their promise broken ; for the Pope has commenced in three ways,by the censures which have been published in Flanders, by not accepting the "excusateur," &c. ; which [Henry] says he has notified, by his ambassadors, to the King his brother.
He complains that "procuration" is demanded of him, and that it is said the business would have been arranged to the satisfaction of him who had had it. He answers that the Pope, in the first instance, when he was at Marseilles, said that he had not got the process, so that at that time the procuration would have been of no use. But the Pope did not speak the truth, for it is certain that the process is with him. Moreover, the King (Francis) had told the duke of Norfolk, when procuration was talked of, that he himself should be his procurator. (fn. 2) Therefore Henry thinks it very strange that complaint should now be made about the procuration. For his own sake and that of all other princes he would never grant it ; if he did, it would be consenting to have no "excusateur," which he will not do. Nor will he unmake the laws which have been passed by the estates of his realm for the public weal, nor can he, as he says.
He says Francis has stated that the Pope himself has acknowledged the justness of his cause ; which is enough for him, because the Pope and Francis understand it, as also do the legists of France, especially with regard to the "excusateur." (fn. 3) He, therefore, wonders why Francis should speak of having procuration, which would be to abolish the "excusateur," contrary to the opinion of all [the legists] even of his realm.
If the Pope say that action has been taken against him over here, and that great injuries even have been done to the Holy See, [it may be answered that] the Pope has done the same to Henry. But he passes over the injuries done on either side ; for he does not ask, nor will he make, any reparation. He only asks that justice should be done him. If it be not done, he will not be concerned about it, for he has provided for his own affair. He is quite satisfied with having God and right on his side.
He complains of so much homage and footkissing, which is contrary to what had been said to him at Calais in reference to the Emperor. He had advised that the Pope should not be trusted, but his advice has not been observed. Nor has the promise touching the marriage been kept ; which was not to have been concluded if his affair was not settled. He is surprised that the clauses of the contract are kept from him. He says that if he [Francis] had pressed the Pope more, the latter would have complied ; but [Francis] has done him too much honour and good cheer.
He complains much of Francis' council, who have turned him from the good opinion which he used to have. He does not know if they wish to treat him after the old fashion of France, which is to entertain people as long as they have need of them, without coming to the point, and to use dissimulation. But they will not do so with him, for he has known the world too long. He speaks, and desires to be spoken to, plainly. When he is addressed frankly, he will be won over with his person and his substance, but not otherwise. His friendship can profit, and is worth as much as the Pope's.
He cannot think for what reasons an interview is spoken of between them two. If it is desired in order to induce him to undo anything which he has done, a great mistake is made, and the friendship will diminish instead of increasing. (fn. 4) It is two months since Henry has said a word to the Bailly touching the interview.
He says that he is not governed by, but governs, his Council ; otherwise the Council would be King, and not he. He desires their opinions, but decides for himself, as every King ought to do.
He commanded the Bailly to make his cordial recommendations to Francis, and to say that he trusted Francis would not doubt his friendship.
In such conversations, and in many others which the Bailly cannot remember, Henry accused him of ingratitude and breach of promise, and said he spoke plainly because the Bailly was about to depart. The Bailly answered that he would rather be the poorest gentleman in France than have to relate such conversations to Francis ; that he was not come hither to carry back words which would tend to diminish the friendly relations ; that there was no need they should be known ; that Francis took great trouble in Henry's affair, for his prison, and that of Messieurs [his children], caused him less anxiety not to speak of the expence, which Henry must be aware is not small ; and that it was to be feared lest, on hearing of such discourses, Francis in his turn should talk of ingratitude. Prayed him, therefore, to discontinue them.
Henry then left the Bailly, and went to M. de Castillon, who that day had done him reverence. His friendship has decidedly cooled, but he imputes no blame to Francis,only to his councillors. He says that he recognizes the Pope as bishop of Rome, or as Pope, according as he wishes to be named ; not that the Pope has any superiority over him or his subjects. He will not, in consequence of this, be less Christian, but more so ; for in everything and in every place he desires to cause Jesus Christ to be recognized, who alone is the patron of Christians ; and he will cause the Word to be preached, and not the decrees and canons of the Pope. His Ambassador with the Emperor has advertised him that, in consequence of the joy which the Spaniards have had on hearing of the revictualling of Coron, they have threatened to invade his realm. He says he is not afraid of it, and that they might perhaps come and not return. All the English Council is very sorry that their King is so bitter. He complains much that the [French] Cardinals did not leave the Consistory, and others would have followed them. The Treasurer is very sorry his master is so deeply moved, and gives the Bailly so to understand ; and he says that Francis should consider that Henry has done much for him by leaving the Emperor's party. The Bailly confessed this, but prayed him to tell his master and his Council that they ought to consider that Francis was well aware that if he had had Henry's friendship, "ce n'avoit est pour des prunes," and that it had cost him very dear. Often, after going into a passion, Henry has said that he trusted the Bailly would not say or write anything which would diminish the friendship between them ; and those of his Council have often done the same. When the King saw a letter from cardinal de Tournon, stating that he did not know what more he could do because of the innovations made over here, contrary to his promise to the Pope, he said it was not written after the manner of good servants desirous of fostering friendship.