Meanwhile news of what was in contemplation was noised abroad. Many of the English merchants, fearing that hostility to the empire would lead to an interruption of their trade especially with the Netherlands, detested the new foreign policy of the king, while the great body of the people were so strongly on the side of Catharine that were a verdict to be given against her a popular rebellion seemed inevitable. So pronounced was this feeling even in the city of London itself, that Henry felt it necessary to summon the Lord Mayor and the Corporation to the royal palace, where he addressed them on the question that was then uppermost in men's minds. He spoke of Catharine in terms of the highest praise, assured them that the separation proceedings were begun, not because he was anxious to rid himself of a wife whom he still loved, but because his conscience was troubled with scruples regarding the validity of his marriage, and that the safety of the kingdom was endangered by doubts which had been raised by the French ambassador regarding the legitimacy of Princess Mary. To put an end to these doubts, and to save the country from the horror of a disputed succession, the Pope had appointed a commission to examine the validity of the marriage; and to the judgment of that commission whatever it might be he was prepared to yield a ready submission. He warned his hearers, however, that if any person failed to speak of him otherwise than became a loyal subject towards his sovereign condign punishment would await him. To give effect to these words a search was made for arms in the city, and strangers were commanded to depart from London.
Though the commission had been granted in April, Cardinal Campeggio was in no hurry to undertake the work that was assigned to him. He did not leave Rome till June, and he proceeded so leisurely on his journey through France that it was only in the first week of October that he arrived in London. In accordance with his instructions, he endeavoured to dissuade the king from proceeding further with the separation, but as Henry was determined to marry the lady of his choice even though it should prove the ruin of his kingdom, all the efforts of Campeggio in this direction were in vain. He next turned his attention to Catharine, in the hope of persuading her to enter a convent, only to discover that her refusal to take any step likely to cast doubts upon her own marriage and the legitimacy of her daughter was fixed and unalterable. At the queen's demand counsel was assigned to her to plead her cause. The situation was complicated by the fact that Julius II. appears to have issued two dispensations for Henry's marriage, one contained in the Bull sent to England, the other in a brief forwarded to Ferdinand in Spain. The queen produced a copy of the brief, which was drawn up in such a way as to elude most of the objections that were urged against the Bull on the ground that the marriage had been consummated. The original of the brief was in the hands of the Emperor, and various attempts were made to secure the original or to have it pronounced a forgery by the Pope; but the Emperor was too wily a diplomatist to be caught so easily, and the Pope refused either to order its production or to condemn it without evidence as a forgery. This question of the brief was seized upon by Cardinal Campeggio as a good opportunity for delaying the trial. At last on the 31st May 1529, the legates Wolsey and Campeggio opened the court at Blackfriars, and summoned Henry and Catharine to appear before them in person or by proxy on the 18th June. Both king and queen answered the summons, the latter, however, merely to demand justice publicly from the king, to protest against the competence and impartiality of the tribunal, and to lodge a formal appeal to Rome. Her appeal was disallowed, and on her refusal to take any further part in the trial she was condemned as contumacious; but even still she was not without brave and able defenders. Bishop Fisher of Rochester spoke out manfully against the unnatural and unlawful proceedings, and his protest found an echo not merely in the court itself but throughout the country. The friends of Henry, fearing that the Pope might revoke the power of the legates, clamoured for an immediate verdict; but this Campeggio was determined to prevent at all costs. By insisting upon all the formalities of law he took care to delay the proceedings till the 23rd July, when he announced that the legatine court should follow the rules of the Roman court, and should, therefore, adjourn to October. Already he was aware of the fact that Clement VII., yielding to the entreaties of Catharine and the demands of the Emperor, had reserved the decision of the case to Rome (19th July), and that the summons to the king and queen to proceed there to plead their cause was already on its way to England.
Henry, disguising his real feelings, pretended to be satisfied; but in reality his disappointment was extreme. Anne Boleyn and her friends threw the blame entirely on Wolsey. They suggested that the cardinal had acted a double part throughout the entire proceedings. For a time there was a conflict in the king's mind between the suggestions of his friends and the memory of Wolsey's years of loyal service; but at last Henry was won over to the party of Anne, and Wolsey was doomed to destruction. He was deprived of the office of Lord Chancellor which was entrusted to Sir Thomas More (Oct. 1529), accused of violating the statute of Praemunire by exercising legatine powers, a charge to which he pleaded guilty though he might have alleged in his defence the permission and authority of the king, indicted before Parliament as guilty of high treason, from the penalty of which he was saved by the spirited defence of his able follower Thomas Cromwell (Dec.), and ordered to withdraw to his diocese of York (1530). His conduct in these trying times soon won the admiration of both friends and foes. The deep piety and religion of the man, however much they might have been concealed by his fondness for pomp and display during the days of his glory, helped him to withstand manfully the onslaughts of his opponents. His time was spent in prayer and in the faithful discharge of his episcopal duties, but the enemies who had secured his downfall at court were not satisfied. They knew that he had still a strong hold on the affections of the king, and they feared that were any foreign complications to ensue he might be recalled to court and restored to his former dignities. They determined therefore to bring about his death. An order for his arrest and committal to the Tower was issued, but death intervened and saved him from the fate that was in store for him. Before reaching London he took suddenly ill, and died after having received the last consolations of religion (Nov. 1530).
Henry, having failed to obtain a favourable verdict from the legatine commission, determined to frighten the Pope into compliance with his wishes by showing him that behind the King of England stood the English Parliament. The most elaborate precautions were taken to secure that members likely to be friendly were elected. In many cases together with the writs the names of those whose return the court desired were forwarded to the sheriffs. The Parliament that was destined to play such a momentous part in English affairs met in 1529. It was opened by the king in person attended by Sir Thomas More as Lord Chancellor. At a hint from the proper quarter it directed its attention immediately to the alleged abuses of the clergy. The principal complaints put forward were the excessive fees and delays in connection with the probate of wills, plurality of benefices, and the agricultural and commercial activity of priests, bishops, and religious houses, an activity that was detrimental to themselves and unfair to their lay competitors. Measures were taken in the House of Commons to put an end to these exactions and abuses, but when the bills reached the House of Lords Bishop Fisher lodged an emphatic protest for which he was called to account by the king. When Parliament had done enough to show the bishops and the Roman court what might be expected in case Henry's wishes were not complied with it was prorogued (Dec. 1529), and in the following month a solemn embassy headed by the Earl of Wiltshire, Anne Boleyn's father, was dispatched to interview the Pope and Charles V. at Bologna. The envoys were instructed to endeavour to win over the Emperor to the king's plans, but Charles V. regarded their advances with indignation and refused to sacrifice the honour of his aunt to the friendship of England. The only result of the embassy was that a formal citation of Henry to appear at Rome was served on the Earl of Wiltshire, but at the request of the latter a delay of some weeks was granted. Unless some serious measures were taken immediately, Henry had every reason to expect that judgment might be given against him at Rome, and that he would find himself obliged either to submit unconditionally or to defend himself against the combined forces of the Emperor and the King of France.
To prevent or at least to delay such a result and to strengthen the hands of the English agents at Rome, he determined to follow the advice that had been given him by Thomas Cranmer, namely, to obtain for the separation from Catharine the approval of the universities and learned canonists of the world. Agents were dispatched to Cambridge and Oxford to obtain a verdict in favour of the king. Finding it impossible to secure a favourable verdict from the universities, the agents succeeded in having the case submitted to a small committee both in Cambridge and Oxford, and the judgment of the committees, though by no means unanimous, was registered as the judgment of the universities. Francis I. of France, who for political reasons was on Henry's side throughout the whole proceedings, brought pressure to bear upon the French universities, many of which declared that Henry's marriage to Catharine was null and void. In Italy the number of opinions obtained in favour of the king's desires depended entirely upon the amount of money at the disposal of his agents. To support the verdict of the learned world Henry determined to show Rome that the nobility and clergy of his kingdom were in complete sympathy with his action. A petition signed by a large number of laymen and a few of the bishops and abbots was forwarded to Clement VII. (13th July, 1530). It declared that the question of separation, involving as it did the freedom of the king to marry, was of supreme importance for the welfare of the English nation, that the learned world had pronounced already in the king's favour, and that if the Pope did not comply with this request England might be driven to adopt other means of securing redress even though it should be necessary to summon a General Council. To this Clement VII. sent a dignified reply (Sept.), in which he pointed out that throughout the whole proceedings he had shown the greatest regard for Henry, and that any delay that had occurred at arriving at a verdict was due to the fact that the king had appointed no legal representatives at the Roman courts. The French ambassador also took energetic measures to support the English agents threatening that his master might be forced to join hands with Henry if necessary; but even this threat was without result, and the king's agents were obliged to report that his case at Rome was practically hopeless, and that at any moment the Pope might insist in proceeding with the trial.
When Henry realised that marriage with Anne Boleyn meant defiance of Rome he was inclined to hesitate. Both from the point of view of religion and of public policy separation from the Holy See was decidedly objectionable. While he was in this frame of mind, a prey to passion and anxiety, it was suggested to him, probably by Thomas Cromwell, the former disciple of the fallen cardinal, that he should seize this opportunity to strengthen the royal power in England by challenging the authority of the Pope, and by taking into his own hands the control of the wealth and patronage of the Church. The prospect thus held out to him was so enticing that Henry determined to follow the advice, not indeed as yet with the intention of involving his kingdom in open schism, but in the hope that the Pope might be forced to yield to his demands. In December 1530 he addressed a strong letter to Clement VII. He demanded once more that the validity of his marriage should be submitted to an English tribunal, and warned the Pope to abstain from interfering with the rights of the king, if he wished that the prerogatives of the Holy See should be respected in England.
This letter of Henry VIII. was clearly an ultimatum, non-compliance with which meant open war. At the beginning of 1531 steps were taken to prepare the way for royal supremacy. For exercising legatine powers in England Cardinal Wolsey had been indicted and found guilty of the violation of the stature of Praemunire, and as the clergy had submitted to his legatine authority they were charged as a body with being participators in his guilt. The attorney-general filed an information against them to the court of King's Bench, but when Convocation met it was intimated to the clergy that they might procure pardon for the offence by granting a large contribution to the royal treasury and by due submission to the king. The Convocation of Canterbury offered a sum of ￡100,000, but the offer was refused unless the clergy were prepared to recognise the king as the sole protector and supreme head of the church and clergy in England. To such a novel proposal Convocation showed itself decidedly hostile, but at last after many consultations had been held Warham, the aged Archbishop of Canterbury, proposed that they should acknowledge the king as "their singular protector only, and supreme lord, and as far as the law of Christ allows even supreme head." "Whoever is silent," said the archbishop, "may be taken to consent," and in this way by the silence of the assembly the new formula was passed. At the Convocation of York, Bishop Tunstall of Durham, while agreeing to a money payment, made a spirited protest against the new title, to which protest Henry found it necessary to forward a reassuring reply. Parliament then ratified the pardon for which the clergy had paid so dearly, and to set at rest the fears of the laity a free pardon was issued to all those who had been involved in the guilt of the papal legate.
Clement VII. issued a brief in January 1531, forbidding Henry to marry again and warning the universities and the law courts against giving a decision in a case that had been reserved for the decision of the Holy See. When the case was opened at the Rota in the same month an excusator appeared to plead, but as he had no formal authority from the king he was not admitted. The case, however, was postponed from time to time in the hope that Henry might relent. In the meantime at the king's suggestion several deputations waited upon Catharine to induce her to recall her appeal to Rome. Annoyed by her obstinacy Henry sent her away from court, and separated from her her daughter. After November 1531, the king and queen never met again. Popular feeling in London and throughout England was running high against the divorce, and against any breach with the Emperor, who might close the Flemish markets to the English merchants. The clergy, who were indignant that their representatives should have paid such an immense sum to secure pardon for an offence of which they had not been more guilty than the king himself, remonstrated warmly against the taxation that had been levied on their revenues. Unmindful of the popular commotion, Henry proceeded to usurp the power of the Pope and of the bishops, and though he was outwardly stern in the repression of heresy, the friends of the Lutheran movement in England boasted publicly that the king was on their side.
Source of this article：http://anbjd.sflxhy.com/html/640f698946.html
Copyright statement: The content of this article was voluntarily contributed by internet users, and the views expressed in this article only represent the author themselves. This website only provides information storage space services and does not hold any ownership or legal responsibility. If you find any suspected plagiarism, infringement, or illegal content on this website, please send an email to report it. Once verified, this website will be immediately deleted.