The Earlier Tudors, 1485-1558

By J. D. Mackie | Go to book overview

IV
FOREIGN POLICY

THE DIPLOMATIC SCENE

H ENRY VII has always been regarded as a pacific monarch, and that he really valued the good peace which his chancellor commended there is no reason to doubt. Whatever were his ethics in the matter, his abundant common sense must have shown him that a king seated uneasily upon a newly acquired and uncertain throne would be wise to keep out of war, and his first movements in the field of diplomacy prove that he tried to maintain good relations with all neighbours.

As early as 12 October 1485 he proclaimed a year's truce with the old enemy of France, and on 17 January 1486 this truce was extended to last for three years;1 to France's old ally, Scotland, he made pacific overtures; he concluded a commercial treaty with Brittany in July 1486;2 early in his reign he entertained ambassadors from Maximilian, king of the Romans, though he did not renew Edward IV's treaty till January 1487, and then for one year only;3 and in March 1488 he began negotiations for the marriage of his son Arthur with Katharine, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella.4 All promised peace; and yet within a few years he was at war.

It has been supposed that his hand was forced by a prevailing war-spirit in England -- he still claimed to be king of France and it was only some thirty years since Normandy and Guienne had been lost; this supposition has been rebutted on the ground that there was not, in fact, a great clamour for war on the part of his people, and that, however much England may have wished to vex France, she was most reluctant to pay for a fulldress war. The counter-suggestion that Henry was dragged into hostilities at the heels of his new ally, Spain, takes too little account of his native caution and of his diplomatic ability; granted that he did wish to please Ferdinand he could have found some way of doing so without waging a grand campaign on his behalf. The truth is that his action resulted, not from one

____________________
1
Till 17 January 1489. Rymer, Foedera, xii. 277, 281.
2
Foedera, xii. 303.
3
Ibid. xii. 318-21.
4
Pollard, Henry VII, iii. 2; Spanish Calendar, i.3,

-81-

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The Earlier Tudors, 1485-1558
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Maps xxii
  • I- The New Monarchy 1
  • II - The Face of England 25
  • III - The New King and His Rivals 46
  • IV - Foreign Policy 81
  • V - Perkin Warbeck 112
  • VI - Foreign Affairs 151
  • VII - The Achievement of Henry VII 189
  • VIII - Splendour of Youth 231
  • IX - The Cardinal 286
  • X - Royal Supremacy 335
  • XI - The Fall of the Monasteries 370
  • XII - Imperium Merum 402
  • XIII - Economic Development 444
  • XIV - The Young Josiah 478
  • XV - The Reign of Mary 526
  • XVI - The Achievement of the Age 562
  • Appendix - Tudor Coinage from Henry Vii. To Elizabeth 604
  • Bibliography 609
  • List of Holders of Offices 645
  • Key to Genealogical Table I 655
  • Index 659
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