Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1535 Volume 8
174. Palamedes Gontier to Admiral Chabot.
Was detained at Boulogne, as he wrote on Thursday night. Next day embarked at 4 a.m. Had a bad passage. The tide not serving to go up to Gravesend, went by Waterford (Canterbury?), and arrived on Sunday in London.
Passed the Thames near the house of Boidoval (Bridewell?), where he met Morette, who was very glad to see him, not daring to show himself to the King, who had spoken to him very sharply about the delay in Chabot's answer. He sent to tell Norfolk and Cromwell of Gontier's arrival, and he was straightway conducted to Westminster to the King. After reading the Admiral's letters and asking after his and the King's health, Henry drew him apart, and leaning on the sideboard heard what he had to say. Said that the Admiral had not forgotten since his return to declare to Francis what Henry had charged him with, especially his entire good-will to preserve and increase the friendship and alliance between them, at which Francis was much rejoiced. As to the proposed marriage between the Princess and Mons. d'Angoulesme, Francis doubts not that having given her that name, Henry will assure it to her and treat her as his only heiress, so that the Crown of England may come to her on his death. The Admiral says that his king thinks some means ought to be found to deprive lady Mary of any occasion or means of claiming the Crown.
Here the King explained to him what had been done by Parliament since the Admiral's departure; that the Princess had been proclaimed and an oath taken throughout the kingdom; that everyone takes Mary for the bastard she is, and he will have no other heir but the Princess, with whom, and in his power (en sa main), now is and will be the said Mary; there is no chance of her becoming queen or claiming any right to the Crown. He went on to say that it was only required for Francis to cause the Pope to annul the invalid dispensation given for the first marriage, and then all doubts would cease. Went on to the other points of his instruction. He is willing to give up the title of France, to take away all occasion of ancient enmities, and declared to Chabot the means to bring it to pass. Spoke about the 50,000 cr. for the pension for life, and 10,000 cr. of salt, saowing him how obliged the King and the kingdom would be if he were to give them up, without mentioning that that would be enough to break off the interview of the two Queens. Henry took this ill, saying that he had done so much for Francis, his children and his kingdom, that it is not fair to ask him to give this up, which he knows is unwillingly paid and odious; it is an honour to his kingdom to have them; it was a strange recompense when he offered the heiress of a kingdom to a younger son; they ought rather to give him something than ask; that it made him think there was a practise going on elsewhere, considering the delay in giving him an answer. Said to him that he ought to take this proposal differently, as it was founded on an overture he had himself made to the Admiral; he would put the French king under the greatest obligation to him, and it would be more to his glory and profit in the future than the payment. As to the perpetual pension, he did not object to what was proposed. He objected to the idea of being included if a treaty were made between Francis and the Emperor; there must be no hope of a treaty. The Emperor had already offered to accept what had been done in England, both the second marriage and other things, and even that the Princess should be heiress and Mary succeed in case of her death. With regard to the article excusing Francis from commencing war against the Emperor, unless he declares himself in aid of Piedmont, Savona or Genoa, on which side he will be very glad to begin the war on account of the quarrels which he has, Henry asked him when he wished to begin. Replied that he had the authority to hasten or delay, as he wished, for Francis would act according to the answer sent back by Gontier. Meanwhile he was not losing a single hour in putting his forces in readiness.
He approved of the aid of 50,000 cr. for Ireland and Denmark. What he hoped to do in Denmark was more for Francis' advantage than his own, but he did not make much answer about a like recompense for the side of Piedmont, Savona or Genoa, and similarly for the other aid for the enterprise of Milan and the county of Ast, asking what Francis would do if the Emperor did not declare himself or go to help these places. Replied that this could be settled by the deputies from both sides. He asked when Francis wished them to meet, and who they would be. Said it was for him to speak first of that.
This conversation lasted two hours, and it being past supper time, he dismissed Gontier till the morrow, asking if he had anything in writing from the King, which he said he had not. He then called Cromwell, and retired, bidding good evening to Morette.
Sends the King's answers to each point.
On the Monday following at 8 a.m. declared his charge to Cromwell; the Admiral's hope that he would help to bring matters to a good issue, and Francis' satisfaction on hearing that such a virtuous and wise person had the ear of the King. To this Cromwell replied with thanks and expressions of affection that I cannot write. He alone has more influence with his master than any other; the late cardinal of York had not more. He spoke much of his master's prosperity and authority and the quiet of the kingdom. He has increased his revenue by 500,000 cr., for since the Admiral's departure Parliament has given him the ordinary tenths, besides which he will take this year the annates of bishopries, abbeys, and other benefices, of which the possessors are bound to take from the King new bulls and provisions, and give up those from the Pope as null, and to swear to hold their benefices of the King. He showed me a copy of the oath sworn by the bishops. He says that by a little writing, from himself alone, he can be obeyed and summon all princes and lords for his master's service.
Cromwell then took him to Westminster, where he presented his letters to Norfolk. He asked much about the Admiral, as did "Messieurs de Suffolck et Fischer" (Fitzwilliam?). After dinner, was taken by Cromwell to the King in the matted gallery, where the Admiral spoke with the King the first time. He asked a copy in writing of what Gontier had said to him, and put it in his sleeve without looking at it. He then began to walk about, and talked for three hours.
He complained of the practises on the side of Spain for the marriage of the Emperor's daughter with the Dauphin, and not long ago the Imperial ambassador had been for a long time shut up with the French queen; that three despatches had been made towards Spain since the Admiral's return, and he saw now that the delay in Gontier's coming was to wait for a reply. He said they wished to accomplish (joindre) the marriage of the Dauphin and also at the same time that of his daughter the Princess, so as to be supported on both sides. Unless these practises are broken he must be careful of speaking, showing that he has great suspicions, for this was not the language that Francis used both by mouth and in writing. He remembered also one day Francis saying to his children that they must never forget the inhuman treatment of the Emperor to him and to them, and if they did not avenge it after his death, if he could not himself, as he hoped, he gave them his curse.
He accused the Emperor of deceit and breaches of faith, and of trying to disturb by false offers the friendship between them, repeating what he had said the previous evening, that he had made him offers, and he could be on good terms with him if he liked, but any reconciliation on this side would be too dangerous. He had kept his promise, and never been engaged in any practises, and he complained of what had been done at Marseilles, of which he had no knowledge nor participation till afterwards. He said the French Council governed as if their only object was to lose good friends, and he wished Francis would take the management of his affairs more into his own hands. In consequence of having supported France he had lost the Emperor's friendship, who called him son bon pere, and had often written and promised that he would do nothing contrary to what he ought as a son. France would find herself deceived, whatever promises he had made; even the surrender of Milan would not be accomplished when the time came. His only intention was to show to England and others that there was no reliance upon Francis' friendship. He would find himself cut out in Italy if he did not advance soon, for the Emperor would be there first, speaking also of the league agreed to by all the potentates and signories of Italy. As to the Pope, Francis ought to act quite differently, and get out of him what he had.
The King then called Cromwell, and used the same language as Cromwell had done about the augmentation of his revenue, the union of his kingdom, and the peace of conscience he enjoys in having thrown off subjection to Rome. He said if Francis would do the like, he would gain more than 2,000,000. He repeated what he had said before about the pensions and the salt, saying that he had already done enough for his good brother, and that Francis should not presume he had any need whatever to contract the Princess his daughter to a third son. He hoped the money he sent to Bavaria would be repaid, especially as he had delivered it on condition of Ferdinand not being received as king of the Romans. Francis might perhaps be deceived about the duke of Wurtemburg and the Landgrave. He knows how Mons. de Gueldres is behaving, and that he has coined money inscribed with these words "cette fois et non plus."
Spoke to the King soberly, in accordance with his instructions and what the Admiral had commanded him. Told him of the desire of Francis to remain firm to him for ever and treat of an inviolable alliance, and repeated the reasons for his accepting Francis's overtures, not forgetting to say that he had been marvellously pressed, but would never condescend to agree with the Emperor to anything contrary to his relations with Henry, even if he were obliged to listen to such proposals.
He spoke much of his trust in Francis, and finally said he would consider what Gontier had given to him, and bade him discuss these matters fully with Cromwell.
On Tuesday last, the day of the Purification, one of the greatest solemnities celebrated during the year by the King, Morette went to Westminster with Gontier.
During divine service the King sent for him by Cromwell, being in a little oratory. He spoke of the interview, approving of the queen of Navarre and other ladies being there. Said what the Admiral had ordered him on this head, especially about the Queen, who has no inclination apart from the King, without setting her affection on brother, aunt or sister. He approved of the voyage of Normandy to be made this Lent. Presented the letter in favor of the "Grand Escuyer" of England, (fn. 3) to which he replied that the said place of the Chancellor of the Order was filled by the king of Scotland, and the number of 24 could not be excceded. On the first vacancy he would remember the said Grand Escuyer.
In the afternoon Cromwell took him to the Queen, to whom he delivered the Admiral's letters and charge. She complained of his long delay, which had caused her husband many doubts. She said the Admiral must think of applying some remedy, and act towards the King so that she may not be ruined and lost, for she sees herself very near that, and in more grief and trouble than before her marriage. She charged him to beg the Admiral to consider her affairs, of which she could not speak as fully as she wished, on account of her fears, and the eyes which were looking at her, her husband's and the lords' present. She said she could not write, nor see him again, nor stay longer. She then left him, the King going to the next room, where the dance was beginning without the said Lady going thither.
As far as he can judge, she is not at her ease on account of the doubts and suspicions of the King, which he has mentioned before.
During the dance, Norfolk, Suffolk, "Fischer Chancelier," Cromwell and others assembled in Council, he thinks to consider his charge. Norfolk said he intended to do all he could to send him back content; he was at his house a month ago, not expecting his coming: the King intended to have spent the carnival (ces jours gras) at Windsor, but now would not leave till he was despatched. Has since seen Cromwell twice, who says he will do all he can. May be despatched next week.
Many lords have inquired about the procession and harangue at Paris in honor of the Sacrament and for the punishment of the Lutherans, for which they praise the King. Norfolk, Suffolk, Ovaston, (fn. 4) Borgouny (Abergavenny), all knights of the Garter, and others, who were entertained by Morette yesterday, took much pleasure in hearing Gontier's account of it, as he had seen it the day before he left. London, 5 Feb
Anne living in fear of ruin below