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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

In both relations Wolsey was completely successful


It

was no contradiction of the fundamental ideas of English policy, when Henry VIII again formed a connexion with Louis XII, who was now no longer formidable. He even gave him his younger sister to wife, and concluded a treaty with him, by which he secured himself a money payment, as his predecessors had so often done before. Yet he did not for this break at all with Ferdinand the Catholic, though he had reason to complain of him: rather he concluded a new alliance with him, only in a less close and binding manner. He would not have endured that the successor of Louis XII (who died immediately after his marriage), the youthful and warlike Francis I, after he had possessed himself of Milan, should have also advanced to Naples. For a moment, in consequence of these apprehensions, their relations became less close: but when the alarm proved to be unfounded, the alliance was renewed, and even Tournay restored for a compensation in money. Many personal motives may have contributed to this, but on the whole there was sense and system in such a policy. The reconquest of Milan did not make the King of France so strong that he would become dangerous, particularly as on the other side the monarchy which had been prepared by the Spanish-Netherlands' connexions now came into existence, and the grandson of Ferdinand and Maximilian united the Spanish kingdoms with Naples and the lordship over the Netherlands.

To this position between the two powers it would have

lent new weight and great splendour if the German princes could have been induced to transfer to the King of England the peaceful dignity of a Roman-German Emperor. He bestirred himself about this for a moment, but did not feel it much when it was refused him.

But now since the empire too was added to the possessions in Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands, and hence redoubled jealousy awakened in King Francis I, which held out an immediate prospect of war, the old question came up again before King Henry, which side England was to take between them, and that in a more pressing form than ever. A special complication arose from the fact that yet another person with separate points of view now took part in the politics of the age.

In another point Henry VIII departed from his father's tactics and habits; he no longer sat so regularly with his Privy Council and deliberated with them. He had been persuaded that he would best secure himself against prejudicial results from the discords that reigned among them, by taking affairs more into his own hand. A young ecclesiastic, his Almoner Thomas Wolsey, had then gained the greatest influence over him; he had been introduced alike into business and into intimacy with the King by Fox, Bishop of Winchester, who wished to oppose a more youthful ability to his rivals in the Privy Council. In both relations Wolsey was completely successful. It stood him in


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