CHAPTER V. HENRY VIII (i), 1509-27 - EGO ET REX MEUS
During the winter, Wolsey - having no wish to plunge England into war - persuaded Maximilian (by means of a very able diplomatic agent, Richard Pace) to take up arms against Francis in Italy. As a rule, Maximilian took sides with any one whose gold he expected to divert into his own pocket; but Pace managed to keep the English subsidies, which were to pay the Swiss Mercenaries, out of the Emperor's hands; so the Emperor retired from the war in the spring. Early in this year, too, Ferdinand died, leaving Charles lord of all Spain as well as of the Netherlands. This left the young King to the guidance of advisers whose interests were mainly Flemish, and who were consequently anxious in the first place for the friendship of France. Hence in August the treaty of Noyon was contracted between Francis and Charles; in which the Emperor shortly afterwards joined when he found that England would not provide him with funds unless he earned them. Wolsey's real strength lay in the fact that neither Maximilian nor Charles could afford any serious expenditure without his financial support; Francis was waking up to the fact that as allies they were both broken reeds, though in active combination with Wolsey against him they would be dangerous; and as the year 1517 passed, the inclination for France and England to revert to amicable relations revived; becoming more marked in the following year when the birth of a dauphin suggested his betrothal to the little Princess Mary.
[1518-19 Wolsey's success]
During these two years, the reality of Wolsey's control of the situation was further demonstrated by his management of the Pope, who refused him the office of legate after having reluctantly made him Cardinal. Leo however, like other Princes, was in want of cash, and sent legates to the European Courts to raise funds under colour of a crusade: whereupon Henry declined to admit Cardinal Campeggio to England, on the ground that to receive a legate a latere was against the rule of the realm. Wolsey seized the opportunity to suggest that if he himself, being an English prelate, were placed on the same official footing as Campeggio, the objection might be withdrawn; and Leo had to agree.
In the result, an alliance was concluded with France under which the infants were betrothed, Tournai was restored to France. France was to pay 60,000 crowns and promise not to interfere in Scottish affairs to the detriment of England, and Wolsey was enabled to pose as the pacificator of Europe; the other Powers with more or less reluctance all finding themselves constrained to give their adherence to the new treaty of Universal Peace.
Thus when the year 1519 opened, Wolsey's policy was triumphant. France was bound to England; the young King of Spain wanted her friendship; Maximilian was still looking to her for money; and the Pope was obliged to applaud her for having usurped his official function as peacemaker. But in the days when war and peace and the movements of armies turned habitually on the personal predilections, quarrels, and amours of monarchs, the political atmosphere was liable to violent disturbances without warning. In January, 1519, Maximilian died suddenly; and his death in fact involved a complete rearrangement of ideas as to the positions of the Powers.
[Sidenote 1: 1519 Charles V.] [Sidenote 2: The Imperial election]
Ten years before, when Henry came to the throne, he was the only young man among the European sovereigns. The Emperor and the King of France were both more than middle-aged: so was the King of Aragon who was virtually King of Spain and the Sicilies. Before six years were out there was a youthful King of France; not much later, all Spain was under the dominion of a boy. These three Kings were now twenty-eight, twenty-four, and nineteen respectively, while the succession to the Empire lay with the Electoral Princes. Charles was an obvious candidate, since the Habsburgs had actually retained the office among themselves for three generations; yet the Electors were in no way bound to maintain the tradition. In ability and in character, one of their number was fit for the purple - Frederick of Saxony; but Saxony was only one among a number of German States, and Frederick himself had no mind to undertake the office. Thereupon ensued the somewhat curious spectacle of the French King entering the lists, he being the one possible rival of Charles. Of all the Continental Princes, these two alone were powerful enough to sustain the burden of the Empire: yet either of them, achieving it, would have his power dangerously expanded, and would become a serious menace to the Pope.