Page images
PDF
EPUB

"master's part. And though the motives of it were sharp "and piquant as could be, yet did he make that war rather “with an olive-branch, than a laurel-branch in his hand,

more desiring peace than victory. Besides, from time to “time he sent, as it were, blank papers to your King, to 5 o write the conditions of peace. For though both his “honour and safety went upon it, he thought neither “of them too precious to put into the King of England's “hands. Neither doth our King on the other side make “any unfriendly interpretation of your King's sending of 10

succours to the duke of Britain; for the King knoweth “well, that many things must be done of Kings for satis“faction of their people; and it is not hard to discern what “is a King's own. But this matter of Britain, is

now, by “the act of God, ended and passed ; and, as the King 15 “hopeth, like the way of a ship in the sea, without leaving

any impression in either of the Kings' minds: as he is sure "for his part it hath not done in his.

“For the action of Flanders : as the former of Britain was a war of necessity, so this was a war of justice; which 20 with a good King is of equal necessity with danger of estate, for else he should leave to be a King. The sub“jects of Burgundy are subjects in chief to the crown of “ France, and their duke the homager and vassal of France. “They had wont to be good subjects, howsoever Maximilian 25 “hath of late distempered them. They fled to the King for "justice and deliverance from oppression. Justice he could “not deny; purchase he did not seek. This was good for “ Maximilian, if he could have seen it in people mutinied, “to arrest fury, and prevent despair. My lords, it may be 30 “this I have said is needless, save that the King our master “is tender in anything, that may but glance upon the friend“ship of England. The amity between the two Kings, no B. H,

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

doubt, stands entire and inviolate : and that their subjects' “swords have clashed, it is nothing unto the public peace of “the crowns; it being a thing very usual in auxiliary forces

“ of the best and straitest confederates to meet and draw 5"blood in the field. Nay, many times there be aids of the

same nation on both sides, and yet it is not, for all that, a “kingdom divided in itself.

“It resteth, my lords, that I impart unto you a matter, " that I know your lordships all will much rejoice to hear; 10"as that which importeth the Christian commonweal more,

“than any action that hath happened of long time. The

King our master hath a purpose and determination to “ make war upon the Kingdom of Naples; being now in the

possession of a bastard slip of Aragon, but appertaining 15"unto his Majesty by clear and undoubted right; which if

“he should not by just arms seek to recover, he could nei“ther acquit his honour nor answer it to his people. But “his noble and Christian thoughts rest not here : for his

"resolution and hope is, to make the reconquest of Naples, 20 “but as a bridge to transport his forces into Græcia; and

“not to spare blood or treasure, if it were to the impawning “of his crown, and dispeopling of France, till either he hath “overthrown the empire of the Ottomans, or taken it in his

way to paradise. The King knoweth well, that this is a 25“ design that could not arise in the mind of any King, that

“ did not stedfastly look up unto God, whose quarrel this is, 6 and from whom cometh both the will and the deed. But “yet it is agreeable to the person that he beareth, though

unworthy, of the thrice Christian King and the eldest son 30 “ of the church. Whereunto he is also invited by the ex

"ample, in more ancient time, of King Henry the fourth of

England, the first renowned King of the House of Lan“caster; ancestor, though not progenitor to your King,

[ocr errors]

“who had a purpose towards the end of his time, as you “know better, to make an expedition into the Holy Land; “and by the example, also, present before his eyes, of that “honourable and religious war which the King of Spain

now maketh, and hath almost brought to perfection, for 5 “the recovery of the realm of Granada from the Moors. “And although this enterprise may seem vast and unmea“sured, for the King to attempt that by his own forces, “ wherein heretofore a conjunction of most of the Christian “Princes hath found work enough; yet his Majesty wisely 10 “considereth, that sometimes smaller forces being united “under one command, are more effectual in proof, though “not so promising in opinion and fame, than much greater “ forces, variously compounded by associations and leagues, “which commonly in a short time after their beginnings 15 “ turn to dissociations and divisions. But, my lords, that “ which is as a voice from heaven, that calleth the King to “this enterprise, is a rent at this time in the house of the " Ottomans. I do not say but there hath been brother

against brother in that house before, but never any that 20 “had refuge to the arms of the Christians, as now hath Gemes, brother unto Bajazet that reigneth, the far braver

man of the two, the other being between a monk and a “philosopher, and better read in the Alcoran and Averroes, " than able to wield the sceptre of so warlike an empire. 25 “This therefore is the King our master's memorable and “ heroical resolution for an holy war. And because he car“rieth in this the person of a Christian soldier, as well as of “a great temporal monarch, he beginneth with humility, “and is content for this cause to beg peace at the hands of 30 “other Christian Kings. There remaineth only rather a “civil request than any essential part of our negotiation, “which the King maketh to the King your sovereign. The

“King, as all the world knoweth, is lord in chief of the

duchy of Britain. The marriage of the heir belongeth to “him as guardian. This is a private patrimonial right, and

“no business of estate : yet nevertheless, to run a fair 5 course with

your King, whom he desires to make another “himself, and to be one and the same thing with him, his “ request is, that with the King's favour and consent he may

dispose of her in marriage, as he thinketh good, and make “void the intruded and pretended marriage of Maximilian, 10 “according to justice. This, my lords, is all that I have

"to say, desiring your pardon for my weakness in the 'delivery.

Thus did the French ambassadors, with great shew of their King's affection and many sugared words, seek to ad15 dulce all matters between the two Kings, having two things

for their ends; the one to keep the King quiet till the marriage of Britain was past; and this was but a summer fruit, which they thought was almost ripe, and would soon be

gathered. The other was more lasting; and that was to put 20 him into such a temper, as he might be no disturbance or

impediment to the voyage for Italy. The lords of the coun-
cil were silent; and said only, “That they knew the ambas-
“sadors would look for no answer, till they had reported to
“the King;” and so they rose from council. The King
could not well tell what to think of the marriage of Britain.
He saw plainly the ambition of the French King was to im-
patronise himself of the duchy; but he wondered he would
bring into his house a litigious marriage, especially consider-

ing who was his successor. But weighing one thing with 30 another he gave Britain for lost; but resolved to make his profit of this business of Britain, as a quarrel for war;

and that of Naples, as a wrench and mean for peace; being well advertised, how strongly the King was bent upon that action.

[ocr errors]

25

Having therefore conferred divers times with his council, and keeping himself somewhat close, he gave a direction to the Chancellor, for a formal answer to the ambassadors, and that he did in the presence of his council. And after calling the Chancellor to him apart, bade him speak in such

5 language, as was fit for a treaty that was to end in a breach; and gave him also a special caveat, that he should not use any words to discourage the voyage of Italy. Soon after the ambassadors were sent for to the council, and the lord Chancellor spake to them in this sort :

“My lords ambassadors, I shall make answer by the “King's commandment, unto the eloquent declaration of you, my lord prior, in a brief and plain manner. The

King forgetteth not his former love and acquaintance with the King your master: but of this there needeth no repe- 15 “tition. For if it be between them as it was, it is well; if “there be any alteration, it is not words that will make

IO

66

- it up

“For the business of Britain, the King findeth it a little strange that the French King maketh mention of it as a 20 “matter of well deserving at his hand : for that deserving

was no more, but to make him his instrument to surprise

one of his best confederates. And for the marriage the “ King would not meddle with it, if your master would marry by the book, and not by the sword.

25 “For that of Flanders, if the subjects of Burgundy had “appealed to your King as their chief lord, at first by way of supplication, it might have had a shew of justice: but “it was a new form of process, for subjects to imprison “their Prince first, and to slay his officers, and then to be

30 complainants. The King saith, That sure he is, when “the French King and himself sent to the subjects of Scot“land, that had taken arms against their King, they both

« PreviousContinue »