Henry VIII, the Reign
Letters & Papers: 1539 Volume 14
1261. MARILLAC to MONTMORENCY.
[London], 13 July :—Finding by his last dispatch by the bearer, whom he sends back at once, that disquieting information has been received likely to put the King to great expense, has written to the King, as Montmorency will see, that this King has no intention but to preserve the amity, which he is really afraid to lose, knowing it to be more necessary for him than ever. Montmorency will also see the mode he has followed in communicating news from Francis, thinking it undesirable to cause unpleasantness at present, especially as matters are quite otherwise than M. was informed.
This King never made any proposition for a war with France on pretext of the pension, unless it was in secret at the Privy Council, and it is unlikely that such a thing could have been resolved in such an assembly without people having some knowledge of it, as they had of everything which was concluded. The chief matter put forward by this King was to complain of the Pope, who tried to recall the Emperor and king of France from his alliance to make war on him, under pretext that the English were all heretics and infidels ; and to prove the contrary he asked that the opinions which one ought to hold in religion should be determined, in order that each should know what to believe, and that the Christian princes might know what the Holy Father put forth against him was not true : nevertheless, to oppose the attempts of His Holiness and his adherents, he demanded money to provide for the safety and liberty of his subjects, and that as an example justice should be done on those who had plotted treason to the Crown.
As to religion, they have determined according to old opinions, except as to obedience to the Holy See and restoration of abbeys ; as to aid in money they have passed with great difficulty the article mentioned in his last ; and as to the punishment of rebels and traitors they do as his letter to the King will show. It is true that the common people, seeing this great preparation, and having already arms in their hands, said that if the French did not come to attack them they would cross into, France, and also that they did not pay them their due.
Such vain words did not seem worth writing, proceeding as they did from ignorant people who, as hereditary enemies, think when they take up arms it can only be to invade France. Was recently speaking with Cromwell of the amity of the two Kings, when Cromwell said that the Emperor and Pope had indeed tried hard to move this King against Francis under pretext of the pensions, but he would never consent. Observed that the people, however, commonly said their master was going to make war in France on account of the pensions, and that so it had been determined by Parliament. He replied with a great oath that such a proposal had never even been mooted. This has been confirmed by others who have given Marillac minute information of what has passed in Parliament, and he believes those who have reported otherwise either followed the vulgar rumour or did it, "pour faire entrer de bonne heure le Roy en jeu."
As to the invasion of France by Germans subsidised by this King, the more he examines the matter the less he believes it, seeing the discontent in which the ambassadors left and the manner of the English, who are not to be tapped unless under absolute compulsion (qui ne sont pour foncer silz n'en sont de ce faire entierement contrainctz). Although this King is said to be in parley for a marriage with the duke of Cleves, and other proposals might have been put forward ; still, the writer cannot see that he is about to execute anything against France at present. These preparations were for defence, not attack, for which also it is not the season.
As to the sports and follies against the Pope made on land ; there is not a village feast nor pastime anywhere in which there is not something inserted in derision of the Holy Father ; and it seems, under correction, superfluous to write of them. Of the combat of the galleys, because it was in presence of the King and got up by his Household, Marillac said a passing word.
As Montmorency asks him to report the progress of the fortifications, mentioning the preparations in France for defence and attack, everyone who has seen the ramparts now being made testifies to their rapid progress. Knows that 90 ships of war were assembled at Portsmouth, and 10,000 men to man them, who have since been dismissed, but may be easily reassembled, as it is likely they will be when it is known that Francis does the like on the coast of Normandy. As to Rochepot's affair, after several subterfuges on the part of our adversaries, both parties have put their reasons in writing, and these were presented to the Council the day before yesterday ; so he expects a brief expedition of it ; which being had, Marillac will send back Dampont fully instructed.