Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1535 Volume 8
341. Henry VIII. to De Brion.
Both by the King our brother's letters and yours we feel assured of his desire to preserve the amity between us to our successors; and though we cannot agree to the propositions made by the treasurer Palamedes, our reasons for declining them are such as you yourself will see to be right. As to the marriage proposed, as we were the first inventor of that knot, we purpose to send shortly to Calais deputies for our part, the duke of Norfolk. Fitzwilliam and Cromwell, to arrange the conditions. The most convenient time for the meeting at Calais is about Whitsuntide next, not sooner, that Francis may have an opportunity of using his great influence with the bishop of Rome that he may revoke the sentence of his predecessor Clement about the pretended marriage with the lady Katharine. and declare it naught; which should be easy, as we find the opinion of the learned men about the Pope agrees with ours, and that he himself is somewhat disposed that way. But if the said Bishop follow the steps of his predecessor, we trust our good brother, considering the decision of his own universities and of Christendom, will adhere to us; and, meantime, that he will not practise either by marriage or otherwise with the Emperor or the king of Portugal. When we know our good brother's determination on these points, we shall send our said deputies at Whitsuntide.
The four following fragments seem to belong to the preceding despatch:--
(1.) "And whereas we perceive by the relation of our said Councillors" that to avoid unkindness our good brother desires that we will not press him at the meeting to execute such laws in his realm as we have done in ours, unless the bishop of Rome give him occasion, either by interdicting him and his realm, or otherwise, you may assure him that we shall attempt nothing at the meeting against his wishes in that respect.
Draft in Wriothesley's hand, with corrections by the King.
(2.) —"but also how the same bishops of Rome have used themselves to all other princes," whereby it may appear by a multitude of histories what dissensions and effusion of Christian blood have ensued thereof, besides the breach of the bishop of Rome's promise made at this time to our good brother, which ought to alienate both him and all other princes.
Also you may show our good brother that he may easily perceive wherein the great part of the said bishop of Rome's usurped authority consisteth, by the declaration of the laws made in our realm against it. For you may say what kingdom can be united in which two heads have the governance, or a foreign potentate has jurisdiction? And you may say what dishonour and dissension has been in times past between the bishops of Rome and his progenitors kings of France because the said bishop claimed to give away all the benefices in France; and that whoever reads the chronicles, ancient laws and pragmatics of France may easily see what, in course of time, the said Bishop has usurped in that realm, "and what"——.
In Wriothesley's hand
(3.) You may also represent to our good brother that the said bishop [of Rome], not content with usurping upon the regality of princes and sucking out their riches "as he were lord of their bodies and goods," claims also to be lord of their souls, and to dictate what they shall believe and what not, and that every man is bound to his interpretation of Scripture, though it be never so carnal. He also pretends power to dispense with the law of God, as in the case of the unlawful marriage with the lady Katharine. These injuries done to Christian princes concerning their souls far exceed all the damage done to their worldly dignities; and we suppose it to be the duty of a Christian prince to renounce the amity of such an enemy to God and man.
In Wriothesley's hand,
(4.) Also you shall not omit to tell our good brother that the said bishop would have been deprived of his usurped authority long before this but for the maintenance of the French kings his predecessors, so that his usurpations are owing to them, else "the pestilent see of the said idol the bishop of Rome had been subverted and he that sitteth therein." And if our good brother will abandon him as the capital enemy of all kings and commonwealths he will do well.
You are to say that we do not send these messages only for displeasure at the sentence pronounced against us by the said Bishop, for, if he had given sentence with us, we would have labored as diligently for his reformation as we will now, and, if he resist, we would labor for his subversion, in which all Christian kings should help.
In Wriothesley's hand.