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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

He opened a negociation about it


For

the King himself too, whose wife died in 1503, many negociations were entered into on both sides. The French offered him a lady of the house of Angouleme; he preferred Maximilian's daughter, Margaret of Austria, not indeed for her personal qualities, however praiseworthy they might be; he stipulated after his usual fashion for the surrender of the fugitive Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, who was regarded as the chief representative of the house of York, and (as once previously in France) had at that time found a refuge in the Netherlands. Philip, who after the death of his mother-in-law wished to take possession of his wife's kingdoms in Spain, was on his voyage from Flanders driven by a storm on the English coasts: he was Henry's guest at Windsor, Richmond, and London. Here then the King's marriage with Philip's sister was concerted, and with it the surrender of Suffolk. Philip strove long against this: when he yielded, he at least got a promise that Henry VII would spare the life of the earl, whom he accused of treason. He kept his word: the prisoner was not executed till after his death.

Margaret had no inclination to wed herself with the harsh and self-seeking King, who was growing old: he himself, when Philip shortly after his arrival in Castile was snatched away by an early death, formed the idea of marrying his widow Juana, though she was no longer in her right mind. He opened a negociation about it, which he pursued with zeal and

apparent earnestness. The Spaniards ascribe to him the project of marrying himself to Ferdinand's elder daughter, and his son to the younger, and making the latter marriage, which he was purposely always putting off, the price of his own. One should hardly ascribe such a folly to the prudent and wise sovereign at his years and with his failing strength. That he made the proposals admits of no doubt: but we must suppose that he wished purposely to oppose to the pressure of the Spaniards for the marriage of his son with the Infanta a demand which they could never grant. For how could they let the King of England share in Juana's immense claims of inheritance? Henry wished neither to break off nor to complete his son's marriage; for the one course would have made Spain hostile, while the second might have produced a quarrel with France. Between these two powers he maintained an independent position, without however mixing in earnest with their affairs, and only with the view of warding off their enmity and linking their interests with his own. His political relations were, as he said, to draw a brazen wall round England, within which he had gradually become complete lord and master. The crown he had won on the battlefield, and maintained as his own in the extremest dangers, he bequeathed to his son as an undoubted possession. The son succeeded the father without opposition, without a rival--a thing that had not happened for centuries. He had only to ascend the throne, in order to take the reins of government into his hand.

_Henry VIII and Cardinal Wolsey in their earlier years._

But that the political situation should continue as it was could not be expected. What has not seldom in the history of great kingdoms and states formed a decisive turning point now came to pass: to the father who had founded and maintained his power with foresight and by painful and continuous labour, succeeded a son full of life and energy, who wished to enjoy its possession, and feeling firm ground under his feet determined to live in a way more after his own mind. Henry VIII too felt the need of being popular, like most princes on their accession: he sacrificed the two chiefs of the fiscal commission, Empson and Dudley, to the universal hate. In general his father's point of view seemed to him too narrow-hearted, his proceedings too cautious.


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