Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1539 Volume 14
1260. MARILLAC to FRANCIS I.
[London], 13 July :— Went to Hampton Court and spoke with the King, confining himself strictly to the instructions in Francis' letters of the 8th, especially as regards the continuance of amity between Francis and the Emperor, which Marillac has always confessed, always adding that Francis intended to treat of nothing against England. Henry showed no great satisfaction at this, believing, as he has found in the past, that his security would be greater if Francis were always in discord with the Emperor than if things succeed as intended ; for then he might have to fear a union of Francis and the Emperor against him, —the thing which had led him to make those preparations for war, from which he has now desisted.
As to the news of the Levant, was much questioned by the King, this point being the second maxim which seems the harder for him to digest, because, if things were pacified there no obstacle would remain to Francis and the Emperor executing their designs against him. Marillac replied that there had been no difficulty in proposing a general truce with the Christian powers, but it was not yet accorded by the Turk. Mentioned, en passant, the intention of Francis to visit Picardy to repair places damaged in the late war, but said nothing of the general musters or preparations by sea, feeling assured the news would arouse Henry's suspicions more than ever, when now he thinks himself in surety. It will be time enough to inform him when he hears of it otherwise. The mere mention of Francis' going into Picardy has made him alter his own intention of going north to the frontiers of Scotland, and he will not go more than 30 or 40 miles away from this town, going from place to place for the pleasure of the chase.
This King's replies have been always gracious and amicable, and the writer can trace in him no sign of any design against Francis, by whom he has far more fear of being abandoned than he has any desire to leave him. The best argument that he has now no intention of doing harm is that those who were lately in arms are returned home, the foreign ships in the King's pay delivered and the prohibition of export taken off. Also the lords of the kingdom have returned home from the Parliament, not to collect men as formerly, but to their pleasures and domestic affairs, having left here the King, their master, with scarce 100 horses in his train.
Besides it would be impossible for the English, who have now got out of the way of war, to levy men with complete secrecy. Concludes therefore that the assembly of ships at Portsmouth and the fortification of landing places was only for defence. To these considerations might now be added the distrust in which this King is still held by his people on account of religion, in which he makes daily changes. At this last Parliament, to repair past errors and satisfy the people and the Christian powers, who might take occasion to attack him, he has restored all the ancient opinions and constitutions, except obedience to the Pope, and the abbeys and churches, of which he has taken the revenues. Two bishops, principal authors of the new doctrines, for refusing to subscribe to edicts have been deprived of the bishoprics.
They have still time to revoke what they have preached if they wish to save their lives. This shows that the King proposes to provide for the security of his statés rather than make new enemies, much less attack France, the most united, the greatest and the strongest kingdom that ever was; this King being, as all the world knows, far from reckless. Writes thus that Francis may not incur useless expense for distrust of the English.