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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 356



repined at her tediousness and peevishness. In truth, as her beauty declined, her health gave way, her gravity increased ; and although she affected to participate in her husband's favourite amusements of feasting, hunting, and tilting, her heart was no longer in unison with the scene ; and submission being a poor substitute for sympathy and animation, Henry, although he continued to dine and sup in the Queen's chamber, quitted the presence of his consort immediately tbe meal was dispatched, and, attended by Sir Edward Ν eville, Sir Francis Brian, and two or three others, went masked and disguised in the pursuit of pleasant adventures. In 1527, the King first made known his pretended scruples regarding the validity of his marriage. Wolsey, who, from the hour he had brought the Queen's old friend, Buckingham, to the block, had lost her friendship, advised the King to sue for a divorce—advice which too well accorded with the sentiments of the inconstant King, not to be adopted with all possible dispatch. As a pretext for opening the matter of the divorce, it was pretended that, during the conference respecting tho marriage of the Princess Mary, then in her eleventh year, to Francis the First, a hint had been thrown out by the Bishop of Tarbes, the French ambassador in London, that the young Princess might be illegitimate, bein^r the issue of a marriage of doubtful validity. This story, although a fiction, answered its intended purpose. The French embassy, of whom the Bishop of Tarbcs was one, arrived in England in March, 1527. In May, Henry gave them a magnificent entertainment at Greenwich, at which, after joining in the jousts and other martial exercises, and presiding at the princely banquet, he, in the disguise of a Venetian nobleman, joined in the dance, with Anne Boleyn for a partner. During the early part of these transactions, the situation of Wolsey induced him to play a perilous game. On the one hand, he disengaged Anno Bolcyn from young Percy j and through his agent, Pace, secretly procured aid to the King's suit from the venal pen of Wake field, Hebrew professor at Oxford, who had before declared for the validity of the marriage with Katherine. But, on the other hand, he was really desirous of wedding his master to a French princess, to forward his own designs on the Papacy, and to cover, by the popularity of a valuable and illustrious alliance, the odium which be foresaw would be the consequence ofajustlyobnoxious divorce. In fact, Wolsey, who, since 1518, had been invested with the dignity of Papal Legate, and whose sole ambition it was to be seated in the chair of Borne, equally dreaded offending his King, or ruining his own reputation by openly sanctioning Henry's base designs against his virtuous consort. However, after many private consultations, Wolsey was dispatched to the continent, to settle several important matters ; one of these being to break off the promised marriage of the Princess Mary with one of the royal family of France. From France Wolscy apprized Henry, by letter, of the many difficulties attending the divorce; and suggested several expedients, all tending to his owrn personal aggrandizement. That the King's distrust might be dispelled, he dispatched the Bishop of Bath, to explain what he stated to be the gist of the question ; but when the bishop urged the difficulties foreseen by the cardinal, the King sharply answered :—" I have studied the matter myself, and found the marriage to be unlawful, jure divino, and undispensable. As for delay, that is of little moment ; I have waited eighteen years, and, for that matter, can wait four or five more ; and with respect to the Queen's supposed appeal, it is not probable that she will appeal from the judgment of the prelates of Canterbury, Rochester, Ely, and London." " Might not she be induced to enter a convent, your Grace ?" asked Bath. "The bull is good," quickly replied Henry, " or it is naught. If it is naught, let it be so declared ; and if it be good, it shall never be broken by no byways by me." As Henry now~, more than ever, felt convinced of the selfish designs of the cardinal, he recalled him ; and in August dispatched his secretary, Knight, to Rome, to obtain a divorce.


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