The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 715 pages of information about The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3).
However great might be his own personal reluctance, it was not possible for him to remain passive; and if he declined to resort at once to the more extreme exercise of his power, the hesitation was merely until the emperor was prepared to enforce the censures of the church with the strong hand.  It stood not “with his honour to execute such censures,” he said, “and the same not to be regarded."[597] But there was no wish to spare Henry; and if Francis could be detached from his ally, and if the condition of the rest of Christendom became such as to favour the enterprise, England might evidently look for the worst which the pope, with the Catholic powers, could execute.  If the papal court was roused into so menacing a mood by the mere intimation of the secret marriage, it was easy to foresee what would ensue when the news arrived of the proceedings at Dunstable.  Bennet entreated that the process should be delayed till the interview; but the pope answered coldly that he had done his best and could do no more; the imperialists were urgent, and he saw no reason to refuse their petition.[598] This was Clement’s usual language, but there was something peculiar in his manner.  He had been often violent, but he had never shown resolution, and the English agents were perplexed.  The mystery was soon explained.  He had secured himself on the side of France; and Francis, who at Calais had told Henry that his negotiations with the see of Rome were solely for the interests of England, that for Henry’s sake he was marrying his son into a family beneath him in rank, that Henry’s divorce was to form the especial subject of his conference with the pope, had consented to allow these dangerous questions to sink into a secondary place, and had relinquished his intention, if he had ever seriously entertained it, of becoming an active party in the English quarrel.

The long-talked-of interview was still delayed.  First it was to have taken place in the winter, then in the spring; June was the date last fixed for it, and now Bennet had to inform the king that it would not take place before September; and that, from the terms of a communication which had just passed between the parties who were to meet, the subjects discussed at the conference would not be those which he had been led to expect.  Francis, in answer to a question from the pope, had specified three things which he proposed particularly to “intreat.”  The first concerned the defence of Christendom against the Turks, the second concerned the general council, and the third concerned “the extinction of the Lutheran sect."[599] These were the points which the Most Christian king was anxious to discuss with the pope.  For the latter good object especially, “he would devise and treat for the provision of an army.”  In the King of England’s cause, he trusted “some means might be found whereby it might be compounded;"[600] but if persuasion failed, there was no fear lest he should have recourse to any other method.

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The Reign of Henry the Eighth, Volume 1 (of 3) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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