Title:Cromwell to Chr. Mount and Thos. Paynell.
[Cromwell’s fears about Melanchthon and Charles signing a truce]
580. CROMWELL to CHR. MOUNT and THOS. PAYNELL. 22 March 1538 "After my right hearty commendations, I [have received your letters] dated at Frankfort the 5th of this m[onth] ... afore, I wrote unto you by Reyner W[olfe ... by] whom I think ye have received already ... receive them." The King has perused your letters, and desires me to thank you for your diligence. He m[arvels] that you have no answer as yet to the principal part of your instruction concerning the confederation against the persecutors of the Gospel, and that the proceedings about the other matter of alliance, on my behalf moved to Burgratus and afterwards to the Duke, are so cold and slaek, and that the Duke has put such long delay therein.
He also thinks it strange that princes so wise as the Evangelical princes should, as is reported, take a term of truce under the colour of pacification, which is probably put forward by the Papists and enemies of the word of God to undermine them, and wait for an opportunity to exercise their cruelty upon them. The King therefore charges you to resort again to the Duke and Landsgrave, and to say that he, thinking them to be the first who in those parts earnestly took up the Gospel, and whom the enemies of the same would first invade, sent you to know whether they would stick to it, as he doubts not they will, and to signify his readiness to enter into a league for mutual aid; that your mission thither was, after the respect of God, most for their love, profit, and defence, for the King feels his strength to be such that in so just a quarrel as the maintenance of God's word, he trusts Christ himself would be so good a protector and shield to him, that he doubts not but "to defend his own from the injury ... also to put them to such an afterd[eal that they shall have] cause to be ware at all times af[ter how they attempt] anything against his Majesty be ...
And therefore you shall require them that they [will] with mutual correspondence of kindness make [their] answer, as to your gentle sending thither and to [his] Majesty's good will it appertaineth;" further declaring unto them that the King would be very loath to see any of them trapped or harmed by the Papists, who study nothing so much as to disparple, divide, and dissever them, so that they may be destroyed one after the other. The King, however, remits the conclusion of their affairs with any ambassadors or pacificators, to their discretion, not doubting that they will foresee such practices wrought against them under colour of simplicity and good faith, to the detriment of themselves and of all others who profess the evangelical truth, whereunto the King has a special regard, seeing that after their overthrow as the beginners of the abolition of abuses, the Papists would afterwards attempt against his Grace, being of the kings the first that has banished out of his realm the usurped power of the bp. of Rome and his seat, and abolished his superstitious [customs], "requiring and pressing them therefore that [without] a]ny further protract or delays they will send [unto the K]ing's highness their resolute mind and intention, and to show themselves no less grateful and thankful to take and accept his good will and zeal towards them, than it hath proceeded of his Highness to have sent you thither," and so plainly to show his mind and induce them to give a resolute answer without delay, and send sufficiently instructed persons to conclude with the King, or else to give you full information of their purposes.
Also you shall show to Burgratus, or some trusty friend by whom it may come to the Duke's or Landisgrave's ears, that the King has heard that the bp. of Rome and his adherents have taken counsel together how utterly to abolish the maintainers of Christ's word, but that for diversity of opinion they could not resolve how to bring their purposes to pass. "Some of that counsaill, and the most, were of the opinion first to stop that well whence (as they say) the matter is sprung against them, meaning ... country and other Evangelical P[rinces] ... whom they thought quo jure ... by the means of some of th'archbishop [of Lunden's] adherents to rid and dispatch out of the [midst] of them; and specially such as were induced [by the] traitor Pole, cardinal, were of the opinion [that] forasmuch as the King's highness of England, bei[ng] one of the three principal princes, and [who] had most openly rejected the bishop of Rome's usurped authority and abolished it in his realm, and by whose means others might take example, as following his title of Defensor of the Faith, —and besides that, because they esteem his Majesty of such strength," —that if they could overthrow him, the rest of the Evangelical Princes would yield at the bp. of Rome's pleasure. To set forth their malice against him, they have grounded a bull upon the divorce, which is now of a long season out of question, the abolitiou of his usurped authority, and the execution of Fisher, the card. of St. Vitale, as they called him, [sometime] bp. of Rochester, their champion, containing fulminations and censures against the King and his subjects. They are looking for an opportunity to set upon one or the other, and study to keep the princes of their alliance at peace between themselves and with the Turks and others. What they meant against the princes of Almain, deeds do show, and what they intended against the King, has been rumoured, but as yet the princes' words purport rather to the contrary, that they will not meddle with his Majesty but rather keep their treaties, for otherwise they would be likely to have the worst end of the staff.
The bruit has been very sore that the Emperor will attack the King, and the French king also, at the bp. of Rome's intercession, for no cause but for "mesprising and avoiding of his abuses and maintaining of the word of God; f[or other cause]' there be none at all, ner for any ... question thereof cessing, ner for ... then Goddes own, and the fame and ... hath been extended to the farthest part of Christ[endom]. And the whole assembly at Frankeford hath ... and yet nevertheless they have made at that [diet] as though it had been nothing of importance, a[nd] winked at it," though well considered, it is their own matter, for the Papists' malice against the King is grounded only on their envy at the religion common to the princes of Almain and him.
You may as of yourself lament to some of your friends by whom it may come to the Duke's ears, or else show to the Duke and Landsgrave as of yourself, that the King sent you over before he knew of any practice against himself, for the zeal he bears to the Gospel, to declare to them that upon honest conditions he would not refuse to condescend to some mutual aid [for the de]fence of the Gospel; yet nevertheless as ... the time did nothing touch them, but as [it were] winking through their fingers, not only they have given no admonition to the King of the common rumours, as correspondence of gratuity required, nor offered him any manner of aid for the defence of the common army, which he would have taken very thankfully, but also they retain you there without any resolute answer. Although by the grace of God he will be able to defend his realm, and offend the invaders, yet they might have considered that virtus unita vincit, dispersa decrescit, and that nothing would be more fearful to the Papists, nor more encouraging to the Evangelical company, than to see all the professors of the same joined in an indissoluble knot; assuring them that if the King had heard that they were threatened, he would have given them advertisement and aid; "with such other good allegations besides those as ye m[ay think best to] conduce to have them somew[hat repent of their] oversight and slackness in showing [such lack of] gratuity, and by that for to prick th[em to] redubb the same, and give you more f[riendly] answer, for the recompense of it, with expeditio[n].
As for the matter of the alliances, whereof I ... the charge unto you touching Cleves sollicit ... ye to have an answer, and if ye shall perc[eive] in them any untowardness or long delays, that then, having your answer touching the other matter, ye shall no further press them for the matters of alliances," but return in diligence through the duke of Cleves' country, and communicate on your way with Dr. Owton (fn. 3) and Mr. Berde. London, 22 March. Signed.