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first, concentrated and almost wholly vested in the King: secondly, it was formidable from an organised and native infantry, which supplied the place of mercenaries. Francis, however, did not pursue the financial policy of his predecessor Louis XII., and thus impaired his resources.*
The pretexts for war on either side were as follows. On Pretexts for the part of Francis: the restoration of Navarre, the claims the war. upon Naples, the feud of Robert de la Mark, in which Francis, as his feudal sovereign, had taken an interest. On the part of Charles his claims upon Milan, as a fief of the empire; and on Burgundy, as unjustly taken possession of by Louis XI. Each strengthened himself by alliances; Charles with Henry VIII. and the Pope; Francis with Venice and the Swiss.†
16. Henry's position with regard to them. Henry possessed the advantage, both by the reputation of English arms, and the situation of his kingdom, of holding the balance between these two princes; and had he improved his position by policy and prudence, he might have been a greater monarch than either. But he was heedless, inconsiderate, capricious, and impolitic; guided by his passions or his favourite; vain and haughty, and actuated by resentment oftener than by his true interests, in his dealings with foreign powers; so that, though he exulted in the superiority of his situation, he never employed it to his own essential and durable advantage, or to that of his kingdom. The support which Henry had given to his nephew in the late competition for the imperial throne afforded Francis but slender hopes of success in obtaining the aid of England. He trusted, however, to his own address and eloquence, and to his intimate knowledge of Henry's character; and he therefore called upon the English King to perform an article in the last treaty, by which it was agreed that the two monarchs should meet each other on the borders of their respective dominions.
The intelligence of this proposal alarmed the jealousy of the Spanish cabinet, and Charles's ambassadors in England did all they could to set it aside. But Wolsey, who hoped in the presence of both courts to make parade of his riches and splendour, and of his influence over both monarchs, warmly seconded the proposal,§ and when Francis, who had liberally bribed him, appointed him umpire, he decreed (March 12th, 1519), with Henry's permission, that the interview should take place between Ardres and Guisnes, before the end of the following May; and that the two
* Heeren, 31. † Ibid; Hume, III., 120-121. Hume, III., 121.
See Knight's Pop. Hist., II., 281; § Ibid, 122.
kings should hold a grand tournament in celebration of their meeting. The instrument which published this decree was drawn up with a strict regard to the honour and dignity of the two kings; the equality of their personal merits was flatteringly asserted; both were declared to be "like in force corporal, beauty and gift of nature;" and their prowess and skill in arms were equally worthy of admiration.*
17. Interview between Henry and the Emperor at Canterbury. As the time approached, Henry removed with his Queen and court from Greenwich to Canterbury, where, to the surprise of all who had not been admitted into the secret, advice was received, that the Emperor, with a squadron of Spanish ships, had cast anchor in the harbour of Hythe (May 26th). Charles was then on his way from Spain to the Netherlands, previous to his coronation; and hearing, he said, as he sailed up the channel, that the English court was near the coast, he had landed to pay his respects to his uncle and aunt. But the truth was, that the visit had been concerted long before, between Charles and Wolsey, who had received a liberal pension from the Emperor in consideration of his good offices and friendship. Henry, who does not appear to have been in the secret, was highly pleased with an event so soothing to his vanity; he despatched Wolsey to receive his imperial guest on his landing, and then proceeded to Dover, to escort him to the court at Canterbury. Charles, to whom time was precious, stayed only four days; but, during that short space, he rooted himself in the affections of Henry, by his flattery and attentions; and by promises and presents secured the friendship of Wolsey. In return for the honour which Charles had thus done him, Henry promised to visit his nephew in the Netherlands, after the interview with Francis. The Emperor then re-embarked at Sandwich, well satisfied that he had thus anticipated and prevented the evil consequences, that might otherwise have arisen out of the approaching interview with Francis.
18. The Field of the Cloth of G ld. On the same day (May 30), Henry, with his court, crossed the Straits of Dover to Calais, and thence proceeded to Guisnes, on the frontier of the English territory; Francis and his court coming at the same time to Ardres, a few miles distant.
The interview which took place between these two towns is a remarkable specimen of the pomps and sports of the age. For several weeks, two thousand English and Flemish workmen had been employed in erecting a spacious palace of wood for Henry,
Knight's Pop. Hist., II., 281-282.
near the castle of Guisnes. No expense was spared; the furniture was of the most costly description; the ceilings were covered with silk; the walls were hung with arras representing "histories," devised by Barclay, the poet; and the outside was covered with sailcloth, painted so as to imitate masonry.
An immense tent of cloth of gold had been erected for Francis at Ardres, but it was overthrown by a storm, and the King compelled to make the old castle of Ardres his residence. The business of the meeting was begun by Wolsey passing over to the French quarters, where he spent two days in arranging a new treaty with Francis. The latter was bent upon completing his conquests in Italy; and, to secure the neutrality of England, he not only renewed his former engagement to pay a million crowns to Henry, but agreed, for himself and his heirs, to pay 100,000 crowns yearly in the event of the marriage of the Dauphin and the Princess Mary, and their issue being seated on the English throne. The affairs of Scotland were next arranged; after which preliminaries, the two kings met in the valley of Andern (June 7) on horseback; and the next fortnight was spent in feats of chivalry, in parties of gallantry, in banquets, and disguisings. For six days the two monarchs, with their associates, tilted and fought against all comers; the nobility of both countries were there arrayed in most gorgeous apparel, “every man that stood, showed like a mine;"* and the queens of England and France, with their retinue, in still greater magnificence, watched the jousts and tiltings from splendidly-adorned galleries. Yet, amidst all this grandeur, and this display of friendship, a secret jealousy divided the two nations. When the two princes met, every precaution was observed; the attendants on each side were scrupulously numbered; both kings departed from their respective quarters at the same instant; both visited the queens at the same hour; both met at the exact spot which had been previously fixed. At length the frank and generous temper of Francis broke through this tedious ceremonial, and early one morning he rode to Guisnes and surprised Henry in bed. The English King affected to imitate this freedom of gaiety of his royal brother; but the rumours of intended treachery were many, and he could not subdue his apprehensions; he, therefore, disguised himself and his attendants whenever he returned from Ardres. At length, the interview terminated, and the impression which Francis's engaging manners made, and the liberal and unsuspicious confidence with which he treated Henry, were soon effaced by Wolsey's artifices, and the * Henry VIII., Act 1, sc. i.
interview which now took place between Henry and the Emperor at Wael and Gravelines.
19. Second Meeting between Henry and the Emperor. This second royal meeting was a remarkable contrast to the first. It was conducted with no pomp or ceremony; matters of political utility were the sole subjects of consideration; and Charles accomplished far more by his profound sagacity than Francis by his generous frankness. Wolsey was propitiated by grants of larger pensions, and renewed promises of assistance in obtaining the papacy; while Henry was flattered by a studied deference to his superior wisdom; his desire of conquering the crown of France was encouraged by offers of aid; and he was appointed umpire in all the differences which should hereafter arise between Francis and Charles. The result of this interview was soon made known. When the commissioners of Charles and Francis met at Calais (August, 1521,) to submit their respective causes of dispute to the arbitration of Wolsey, the cardinal decided against the latter, and pronounced that Henry was bound to aid his imperial nephew; and this decision was immediately followed by Wolsey proceeding to Bruges, and there concluding, on behalf of England, an offensive alliance with the Pope and the Emperor against France. 20. Trial and Execution of the Duke of Buckingham. The ruinous and useless expense into which the nobility of both countries had been led, by the festivities and amusements of the field of the cloth of gold, did not escape disapprobation; and the old chronicler, Hall, in speaking of Henry's return to England, sarcastically observes, that he returned "all safe in body, but empty in purse.' Amongst the murmurers was Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, hereditary high-constable of England, and the first in rank and consequence, perhaps in riches, among the nobility.
"The line of his pedigree," says Mackintosh, "is marked in blood. His father was beheaded by Richard III.; his grandfather was killed at the battle of Northampton; and the father of this last at the battle of Shrewsbury. More than a century had elapsed since any chief of this great family had fallen by a natural death- -a pedigree which may be sufficient to characterise an
The chief cause of Buckingham's arrest and execution, seems to have been his vanity and imprudence. "He was," says Hallam, "too ambitious and arrogant for the age in which he was born," and he drew on himself the jealousy of the King, and the re
* History, II., 123.;
sentment of Wolsey." The first was exhibited so early as 1519, because Sir William Bulmer quitted the King's service to enter that of the duke; the latter was excited by Buckingham's dissatisfaction with the late pageants. Being descended from Edward III., both through John of Ghent, Duke of Lancaster, and Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester, he indulged a notion that he should one day ascend the throne; and was encouraged in it by one Hopkins, prior of the Charterhouse at Henton, who pretended to the gift of prophecy. The evidence on his trial for high treason, was almost confined to idle and vaunting language held with servants, who betrayed his confidence.+ Besides consulting the monk about the future, it was alleged that he had declared all the acts of Henry VII. to be wrongfully done; that he had told Knivett, his cousin, and formerly his steward, that if he had been sent to the Tower when he was in danger of being committed, he would have played the part which his father had intended to perform at Salisbury; where, if he could have obtained an audience, he would have stabbed Richard III.; and that he had told Lord Abergavenny, if the King died he would have the rule of the land.
All these supposed offences, if they could be blended together, did not amount to an overt act of high treason; and, "as we find no other persons charged as parties with him, it seems manifest that Buckingham was innocent of any real conspiracy."§
He was tried in the court of the Lord High-Steward by a jury of peers, who convicted him. "His condemnation not only gratified the cardinal's revenge, but answered a very constant purpose of the Tudor government, that of intimidating the great families from whom the preceding dynasty had experienced so much disquietude."
He was executed on Tower Hill (May 17, 1521), amidst the tears and lamentations of the spectators, who vented their indignation against Wolsey by loud cries of "the butcher's son." His office of constable was never afterwards revived in England.
20. Henry's attempts to raise money for the prosecution of the war. Before Henry could proceed to fulfil his treaty with Charles it was necessary that he should obtain supplies. All the treasures of Henry VII. were long ago dissipated; the King's habits of expense still remained, and his revenues were unequal even to the ordinary charge of government, much more to his military enterprises. Wolsey was now at the very height of his power, but
* Const. History, I., 27. + Ibid.
Mackintosh, II., 123. § Hallam's Const.
Hist., I. 27.