Henry VIII,the Reign
3844. CHARLES V.
In answer to what you, Clarencieux, have declared by word of mouth to the Emperor in the name of the king of England, as, after receiving a verbal answer from his Majesty, you have at his request delivered a writing signed with your name, desiring a more particular answer, his Majesty has ordered this reply to be made to you in writing.
1. The Emperor has hitherto regarded the king of England as a true mediator and common friend of himself and Francis, and therefore the most fitting minister to treat of a universal peace. The King and Wolsey themselves have acknowledged, after several discussions, that France was the first aggressor; and, in virtue of the treaty of London, Henry declared war against Francis; so that he ought to blame Francis, rather than the Emperor, as the cause of all the ills which have ensued by that war, both at Rhodes, in Hungary, in Germany, and at Rome. For all the world knows that it was not owing to his Majesty that provision was not made against the Turks, and that what has occurred at Rome has been without his consent; and that he has never been disinclined to an honorable peace, and has given up much of his right to satisfy the king of England. He even for Henry's sake abandoned much that the king of France of his own accord offered to the viceroy of Naples, and accepted conditions which he would not have done for any other Prince. Francis, on the other hand, cannot be said to have done anything for the sake of the king of England, except cut down by his means the offers he had already made to the Viceroy.
2. As to the deliverance of the Pope, his Majesty has already replied to you by mouth that he was free, and he has certain news that he left Rome without hindrance on 16 December. As to what was done against his Holiness his Majesty has written in his own justification to the king of England, desiring his counsel what should be done for the good of Christendom, and has had no answer. The king of England ought to know that the Emperor would not be unfaithful to the charge which God has given him for the protection of the Holy See, any more than the king of England.
3. The Emperor has never denied his debt, or refused to pay it. If payment has been delayed it has been because the English ambassadors, up to the point of the rupture, were treating to pay themselves from the monies of France, and after the rupture, which was only for lack of power, they demanded full payment in ready money, not only of the money lent, but of the indemnity for four years and four months at the rate of 133,305 crowns a year, and 500,000 crowns more as the penalty for the non-fulfilment of the marriage of the princess [Mary]. The Emperor made them answer that as to the money lent, seeing that they had not with them the original obligations or the jewels pledged for part payment, his Majesty, holding himself condemned (en soy en tenant pour condemné), offered to repay all the sums lent within the term given by law to those condemned, provided a suitable place were chosen for both parties where the payment should be made, and the king of England would send thither some one with sufficient power to give acquittance, and restore the pledges with the original obligations.
As to the demands of the indemnity and penalty, the ambassadors were told that as their commission only empowered them to demand debts in general, his Majesty did not think they would persist in such demands, and if they did he would send to the king of England to show him reasons why they should be forborne. And as the said reasons were not then delivered in writing to the ambassadors, although some of them were declared to them by mouth, his Majesty has ordered them to be stated here in writing, in order that if the King lay claim to the said indemnity and penalty, all the world may see that he has no just right to them. For as to the indemnity there were five strong reasons for refusing it, even if the ambassadors had had special powers to demand it.
(1.) The obligation is grounded upon the retention of the pensions and monies which were due by Francis to the king of England solely by virtue of treaties and obligations, and these were not shown.
(2.) The grounds for the said indemnity are not true, because the obligation was made in England before the Emperor passed into Spain, and the same day that the treaty of Windsor was made, so that it could not be for aid given to his Majesty in his passage to Spain, when he had not yet passed, nor yet for the passage from Calais to Dovor, for as to that it was settled by the treaty of Windsor that his Majesty should be bound to give equal aid to the King, when he wished to pass from England to France. Also as to the statement that it was for declaring himself enemy to the French king, the French king had already withheld payment of the said pensions for a whole year. And if he say that he took up arms by virtue of the treaty of Windsor, he cannot have lost anything, because the declaration was not to be made by virtue of that treaty till the end of May 1524. If he found his claim upon the declaration made before, which cannot have been a month before the treaty of Windsor, one of two things must be confessed;—either that the said declaration was made in virtue of the treaty of London against France;—in which case the obligation of that treaty being reciprocal it cannot be said that there was just cause to bind the Emperor to the indemnity;—or that the said declaration was made, as is more likely, because the French king had failed in the payment of what he owed, which in any case was not owing to the Emperor.
(3.) If Wolsey, who was the real author of the said indemnity, will confess the truth, he will remember that he told his Majesty, in presence of his Council, on the part of the king of England, that he should never pay anything of the said indemnity, and that it was only done to satisfy the King's subjects, and make them think that the King suffered no loss.
(4.) The French king has, by the treaty of Madrid, sworn that the king of England should be paid all his arrears, and taken upon him the burden of the said indemnity, which his ambassadors have accepted in his name, expressly agreeing that the treaty in this point should remain in force. (5.) Even if the obligation be valid, the King, by demanding for four years and four months what is only due for three years, may lawfully be denied the whole.
As to the penalty demanded by the ambassadors, there are three strong and evident reasons to show that it is not due.
(1.) According to both civil and canon law, penal stipulations to circumscribe the liberty of contracting marriage are null and void.
(2.) Even if it were not, the obligation cannot be founded on the treaty of Windsor, without the King proving that he has fulfilled the whole of that treaty himself, which he cannot do.
(3.) The Emperor, before his marriage, desired the King to send his daughter to Spain to satisfy his subjects, or else to consent that he should marry elsewhere, and Henry preferred to send power to his ambassadors to consent to another marriage, under certain conditions. Besides, the king of England had not fulfilled the treaty himself, but had contravened it in various ways; for it was discovered, by letters intercepted at sea, that he was treating for the marriage of his daughter with the Scotch king, his nephew, long before the Emperor's marriage with the Empress; and if the penalty was in force the King himself would have incurred it. The king of England, besides, in violation of the treaty of Windsor, had entertained for one year at his court one John Joachim, who treated secretly on the part of France, and he afterwards received publicly the president of Rouen; and when the Emperor's ambassador wrote the truth of what he had seen and heard he was threatened, maltreated, his letters to the Emperor taken and opened by the King's ministers. Worse still, since the taking of the king of France, the King being required, according to the said treaty, to make arrangements with the Emperor for a joint peace, and to send power to his ambassadors, and state his claims, would not listen to the proposal, thinking to make his advantage otherwise, which was the cause of all the troubles which have since followed. And all this was done before the Emperor married, or treated with the King of France; and the Emperor has borne with it all, rather than break with England.
4. The charges against the Emperor of disrespect to the Holy See, and breach of faith towards England, might be retorted upon others, but it does not seem fitting for princes to bandy words together; nor has the King any ground to accuse him for refusing the last terms offered to him, for it appears that Henry had determined to defy him without awaiting an answer whether the Emperor accepted them or not. If he had given him an opportunity, he would have found that his Majesty placed more confidence in the sole word of the king of England than in all other sureties, and that he would have complied with all the terms offered, except only that of the revocation of his army, and of the attempts made since the treaty of Madrid; that the same ambassadors had consented to the communications of Palencia (fn. 1) according to the second article of the said treaty, which defined the things to be done before the restitution of the children; and as to the security to be left, they wish to defer it till the deliverance of his children, which was not reasonable.
So that it is evident, whatever answer the Emperor might have given, their object was not peace, but greater war; for the writing delivered on the part of the French king was dated 11 November, and the said kings-of-arms remained in this city all the time of the communications of the said ambassadors, which were only meant to lull his Majesty to sleep, in the hope of peace, while they were arming on the other side.
5. His Majesty has already answered your threat of compelling him by force of arms, so virtuously by word of mouth, that no other answer can be made. Henry ought to keep faith, not only with Francis but with all others. His Majesty has also replied sufficiently to the declaration of war, and hopes Henry will not give him greater occasion for it than he has given to Henry. For if it be true, as is said both in England and France, that the King intends to separate from the Queen and marry another (which his Majesty cannot believe, seeing that he (Charles) has in his hands the dispensations, which he is ready to show, and which are so ample that they allow no subterfuge without impugning the power of the Pope), the Emperor would have a better cause to declare war against England than England against him. Such conduct would show by how little faith, honor or conscience Henry was guided, and would make intelligible enough his object in giving his daughter to his Majesty in marriage, if he tried to make her a bastard; although, as above said, he cannot believe Henry would commit such a scandal, except it were upon false information from the cardinal of York, who, because the Emperor would not employ his Italian army to make him Pope by force, as he had requested the Emperor to do by letters of his own, and by others which he had obtained from the King his master, has often boasted that he would involve the Emperor's affairs in such trouble as had not been seen these hundred years, and that the Emperor should repent it even if England went to ruin. No doubt, if Henry suffer himself to be led by the Cardinal, he will raise a storm which he will not be able afterwards to allay. But the Emperor commits his cause to God.
6. As to the last point,—the withdrawal of the merchants,—his Majesty replies as he has done to the last article put in by France, and adds that he knew that orders were given in England long ago, in expectation of this rupture, against conveying merchandise into his Majesty's dominions. So that it would not be just, one side only being warned to withdraw their goods; and on this point a convention ought to be made reciprocal on both sides.