Page images

“spake in another style, and did in princely manner signify “their detestation of popular attentates upon the person or "authority of Princes. But, my lords ambassadors, the

“King leaveth these two actions thus : that on the one side 5 “he hath not received any manner of satisfaction from you “concerning them; and on the other, that he doth not ap

prehend them so deeply, as in respect of them to refuse to “ treat of peace, if other things may go hand in hand. As

“for the war of Naples, and the design against the Turk ; 10 “the King hath commanded me expressly to say, that he

“doth wish with all his heart to his good brother the “French King, that his fortunes may succeed according to “his hopes and honourable intentions. And whensoever

“he shall hear that he is prepared for Græcia, as your 15"master is pleased now to say that he beggeth a peace of

"the King, so the King will then beg of him a part in

6 that war.


“But now, my lords ambassadors, I am to propound unto you somewhat on the King's part: The King your

master hath taught our King what to say and demand. “You say, my lord prior, that your King is resolved to “recover his right to Naples, wrongfully detained from him. “ And that if he should not thus do, he could not acquit his

“honour, nor answer it to his people. Think, my lords, 25 “ that the King our master saith the same thing over again

“to you touching Normandy, Guienne, Anjou, yea, and the “ kingdom of France itself. I cannot express it better than “ in your own words : If therefore the French King shall

consent, that the King our master's title to France, at least 30 tribute for the same, be handled in the treaty, the King is

content to go on with the rest, otherwise he refuseth to «« treat."

| The ambassadors, being somewhat abashed with this

demand, answered in some heat; That they doubted not, but the King their sovereign's sword would be able to maintain his sceptre: and they assured themselves, he neither could nor would yield to any diminution of the crown of France, either in territory or regality : but, howsoever, they 5 were too great matters for them to speak of, having no commission. It was replied, that the King looked for no other answer from them, but would forthwith send his own ambassadors to the French King. There was a question also asked at the table; whether the French King would agree to have 10 the disposing of the marriage of Britain with an exception and exclusion, that he should not marry her himself? To which the ambassadors answered; That it was so far out of their King's thoughts, as they had received no instructions touching the same. Thus were the ambassadors dismissed, 15 all save the prior; and were followed immediately by Thomas earl of Ormond, and Thomas Goldenston prior of Christ-Church in Canterbury, who were presently sent over into France. In the mean space Lionel bishop of Concordia was sent as nuncio from Pope Alexander the sixth to both 20 Kings, to move a peace between them. For Pope Alexander, finding himself pent and locked up by a league and association of the principal states of Italy, that he could not make his way for the advancement of his own house, which he immoderately thirsted after, was desirous to trouble the 25 waters in Italy, that he might fish the better; casting the net, not out of Saint Peter's, but out of Borgia's bark. And doubting lest the fears from England might stay the French King's voyage into Italy, despatched this bishop, to compose all matters between the two Kings, if he could : who first

30 repaired to the French King, and finding him well inclined, as he conceived, took on his journey towards England, and found the English ambassadors at Calais, on their way

towards the French King. After some conference with them, he was in honourable manner transported over into England, where he had audience of the King. But not

withstanding he had a good ominous name to have made a 5 peace, nothing followed : for in the mean time the purpose

of the French King to marry the duchess, could be no longer dissembled. Wherefore the English ambassadors, finding how things went, tock their leave, and returned.

And the prior also was warned from hence to depart out of 10 England. Who when he turned his back, more like a

pedant than an ambassador, dispersed a bitter libel, in Latin verse, against the King; unto which the King, though he had nothing of a pedant, yet was content to cause an answer

to be made in like verse ; and that as speaking in his own 15 person, but in a style of scorn and sport. About this time

also was born the King's second son Henry, who afterwards reigned. And soon after followed the solemnization of the marriage between Charles and Anne duchess of Britain, with

whom he received the duchy of Britain as her dowry, the 20 daughter of Maximilian being a little before sent home.

Which when it came to the ears of Maximilian, who would never believe it till it was done, being ever the principal in deceiving himself, though in this the French King did very

handsomely second it, in tumbling it over and over in his 25 thoughts, that he should at one blow, with such a double

scorn, be defeated, both of the marriage of his daughter and his own, upon both which he had fixed high imaginations, he lost all patience, and casting off the respects fit to be con

tinued between great Kings, even when their blood is 30 hottest, and most risen, fell to bitter invectives against the

person and actions of the French King. And, by how much he was the less able to do, talking so much the more, spake all the injuries he could devise of Charles, saying; That he was the most perfidious man upon the earth, and that he had made a marriage compounded between an advowtry and a rape; which was done, he said, by the just judgment of God; to the end that, the nullity thereof being so apparent to all the world, the race of so unworthy a 5 person might not reign in France. And forthwith he sent ambassadors as well to the King of England as to the King of Spain, to incite them to war, and to treat a league offensive against France, promising to concur with great forces of his own. Hereupon the King of England, going nevertheless 10 his own way, called a parliament, it being the seventh year of his reign; and the first day of opening thereof, sitting under his cloth of estate, spake himself unto his lords and commons in this manner :

“MY lords, and you the commons, when I purposed to 15 “make a war in Britain by my lieutenant, I made declara“tion thereof to you by my Chancellor. But now that “I mean to make a war upon France in person, I will “ declare it to you myself. That war was

to defend “ another man's right, but this is to recover our own; 20 "and that ended by accident, but we hope this shall end “in victory.

“ The French King troubles the Christian world : that “ which he hath is not his own, and yet he seeketh more. “He hath invested himself of Britain : he maintaineth the 25 “rebels in Flanders : and he threateneth Italy. For our“selves, he hath proceeded from dissimulation to neglect; “and from neglect to contumely. He hath assailed our “ confederates : he denieth our tribute : in a word, he seeks

war: so did not his father, but sought peace at our hands; “and so perhaps will he, when good counsel or time shall “ make him see as much his father did.

“Mean while, let us make his ambition our advantage;


[ocr errors]




66 on.

“and let us not stand upon a few crowns of tribute or

acknowledgement, but, by the favour of Almighty God, try

our right for the crown of France itself; remembering that “there hath been a French King prisoner in England, and 5 a King of England crowned in France. Our confederates

are not diminished. Burgundy is in a mightier hand than

ever, and never more provoked. Britain cannot help us, “but it may hurt them. New acquests are more burden “than strength. The malcontents of his own kingdom

. 10“ have not been base, popular, nor titulary impostors, but

“of an higher nature. The King of Spain, doubt ye not, “ will join with us, not knowing where the French King's " ambition will stay. Our holy father the Pope likes no

“ Tramontanes in Italy. But howsoever it be, this matter 15“ of confederates is rather to be thought on than reckoned

For God forbid but England should be able to get reason of France without a second.

“At the battles of Cressy, Poictiers, Agincourt, we were “ of ourselves. France hath much people, and few soldiers. 20 “ They have no stable bands of foot. Some good horse

they have; but those are forces which are least fit for a “ defensive war, where the actions are in the assailant's “ choice. It was our discords only that lost France; and,

“ by the power of God, it is the good peace which we now 25 “enjoy, that will recover it. God hath hitherto blessed my

“sword. I have, in this time that I have reigned, weeded “out my bad subjects, and tried my good. My people and I “ know one another, which breeds confidence: and if there

“should be any bad blood left in the kingdom, an honour30 “able foreign war will vent it or purify it. In this great “ business, let me have your advice and aid. If any of you

were to make his son knight, you might have aid of your tenants by law. This concerns the knighthood and spurs

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »