The Cambridge Modern History - Vol. 2

By A. W. Ward; G. W. Prothero et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIII.
HENRY VIII. 1519-1547.

ON his election to the Empire Charles became a much greater potentate in the eyes of all, and, as he was also the Queen of England's nephew, there were manifest reasons for England to desire his friendship. On the other hand, the close alliance of France, which Wolsey had twice succeeded in securing, however beneficial to England, was exceedingly unpopular. It had scarcely been contracted when efforts were made to undermine it; and soon a strong party at Court, headed by the Queen herself, endeavoured to prevent the French interview, which had been arranged for April 1, 1519, from taking effect. The new Emperor, equally desirous to counteract, if he could not prevent, the meeting, agreed to visit England on his way from Spain to Germany. Matters, however, had to be arranged beforehand, and though the anti-French party contrived to put off the visit to Francis till June, 1520, it was only in April of that year that the imperial ambassador in England succeeded in concluding a specific treaty. It was settled that the Emperor should, if possible, land at Sandwich in May just before the King went to France, or, if he failed to do so, should have a meeting with Henry at Gravelines after the French interview. He actually landed on May 26, at Dover, barely in time for a very hurried visit. Next day, which happened to be Whitsunday, the King conducted him to Canterbury, where he was introduced to the Queen, his aunt, and attended service in the Cathedral. On the 31st he had to embark again for Flanders, in order that Henry might fulfil his engagement with Francis. But a further meeting at Gravelines after the French interview was promised.

Wolsey meanwhile had taken care that this French interview should not be a failure. A great deal of negotiation, indeed, had been found necessary; but Francis, to facilitate matters, at last put all the arrangements under Wolsey's control, so that they advanced rapidly. The King crossed from Calais to Dover the same day that the Emperor embarked from Sandwich. At Guines on June 6 he signed a treaty

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