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A History of England Principally in the Seventeent

The negociations here took the opposite direction


before this in England, and just afterwards on the continent, Henry VIII met Charles V also, with less show but greater intimacy; the negociations here took the opposite direction.

In 1521, when war had already broken out between the two great powers, the cardinal in his King's name undertook the part of mediator. There in Calais he sat to a certain degree in judgment on the European powers. The plenipotentiaries of both sovereigns laid their cases before him: with apparent zeal and much bustle he tried at least to conclude a truce: he complained once of the Emperor, that he disregarded his good advice though weighty and to the point: on which the latter did come a step nearer him. It was a magnificent position if he understood and maintained it. The more powerful both princes became, the more dangerous to the world their enmity should be, the more need there was of a mediating authority between them. But the purity of intention which is required to carry out such a task is seldom given to men, and did not exist in Wolsey. His ambition suggested plans to him which reached far beyond a peace arbitration.

When he promoted that first interview with Francis I against the will of the great men and of the Queen of England, the Emperor's ambassadors, who were thrown into consternation by it, remarked that the French King must have promised him the Papacy, which however, they add, is rather in the Imperial than in the

royal gift. It does not appear that the Emperor went quite so far at once, he only warned the cardinal against the untrustworthy promises of the French, and sought to bring him to the conviction--while making him the most advantageous offers--that he could expect everything from him.[82] Clear details he reserved till they met in person; and then he in fact drew him over completely to his side. Under Wolsey's influence King Henry, immediately on the outbreak of the war, gave out his intention of making common cause with the Emperor. For he had not, he said, so little understanding as not to see that the opportunity was thus offered him of carrying out his predecessors' claims and his own, and he wished to use it. Only he preferred not to commence war at once, since he was not yet armed, and since a broader alliance should be first formed. The cardinal hoped to be able to draw the Pope, the Swiss, and the Duke of Savoy, as well as the Kings of Portugal, Denmark, and Hungary, into it. What an impression then it must have made on him, when Pope Leo X, without being pressed, at once allied himself with the Emperor! Wolsey's attempt at mediation--no room for doubt about it is left by the documents that lie before us--was only meant as a means of gaining time. At Calais Wolsey had already given the imperial ambassadors, in the presence of the Papal Nuncio, the most definite assurances as to the resolution of his King to take part in the war against France. Before he returned to England to call the Parliament together, which was to vote the necessary ways and means, he visited the Emperor at Bruges. At the last negociations, being at times doubtful about his trustworthiness, Charles V held it doubly necessary to bind him by every tie to himself. He then spoke to him of the Papacy, and gave him his word that he would advance him to that dignity.[83]

The opportunity for this came almost too soon. When Leo X died, just at this moment, Wolsey's hopes rose in stormy impatience. When the Emperor renewed his assurance to him, he demanded of him in plain terms to advance his then victorious troops to Rome, and put down by main force any resistance to the choice proposed. Before anything could be done, before the ambassador whom Henry VIII despatched at once to Italy reached it, the cardinals had already elected, and elected moreover the Emperor's former tutor, Hadrian. But was not this a proof of his irresistible authority? Hadrian's advanced age made it clear that there would be an early vacancy: and to this Wolsey now directed his hopes. He gave assurance that he would administer the Papacy for the sole advantage of the King and the Emperor: he thought then to overpower the French, and after completing this work he already saw himself in spirit directing his weapons to the East, to put an end to the Turkish rule. At his second visit to England the Emperor renewed his promise at Windsor castle; he spoke of it in his conferences with the King.[84] Altogether the closest alliance was concluded. The Emperor promised to marry Henry's daughter Mary, assuming that the Pope would grant him the necessary dispensation. Their claims to French territories they would carry out by a combined war. Should a difficulty occur between them, Cardinal Wolsey was fixed on as umpire.

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