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never consent to the marriage between the said Lord and me, with many other sayings concerning the same marriage; so that I verily thought that the said friars would never have offered to have made me like overture unless they might have had charge from some of your Council; the which put me in such consternation, fear, and doubt of the obtaining of the thing which I desired most in this world, that I rather chose to put me in your mercy by accomplishing this marriage, than to put me in the order of your Council, knowing them to be otherwise minded. Whereupon, Sir, I put my lord of Suffolk in choice whether he would accomplish the marriage within four days, or else that he should never have enjoyed me; whereby I know well that I constrained him to break such promises he made your Grace, as well for fear of losing me, as also that I ascertained him that by their consent I would never come into England. And now that your Grace knoweth the both offences of the which I have been the only occasion I most humbly, and as your most sorrowful sister, requiring you to have compassion upon us both, and to pardon our offences, and that it will please your Grace to write to me and my Lord of Suffolk some comfortable words, for it shall be the greatest comfort for us both.
By your loving and most humble sister,
The powerful aid of Wolsey was now earnestly invoked. Suffolk announced to him what he had done and, with something of the Adam-like meanness which gives all the blame to the woman for the act that has been committed, says, 'the Queen would never let me be in rest till I had granted her to be married, and so, to be plain with you, I have married her heartily.' He feared the King's displeasure, and begged the prelate to assist him. 'Let me not be undone now,' he entreats,' 'the which I fear me shall be without the help of you. Me Lor, think not that ever you shall make any friend that shall be more obliged to you.' The better to soften the King he forwarded Wolsey a diamond with a great pearl- a dymond wyet a greth pryell'—which he desired him to give Henry.
Ryguyer hem [he writes in his awful orthography], 'to take et aworth, asuarryng hes Grace yt whan soo ewar sche [Mary] schall have the possesseun of the resedeu yt he schall have the chowse of them accordyng unto her formar wrettyng. Me Lord sche and I bowth rymyttys thes mattar holle to your dysskraseun, tresting yt in hall hast possebbyll wye schall her from you some good tydynges tocheng howar afyeres.
But good tidings he did not hear. None knew better than Wolsey how sternly Henry resented any independence of action on the part of those who were subject to him, and the prelate did not attempt to conceal the anxiety which the conduct of the rash pair had occasioned him. It was with a sorrowful heart, he said to the Duke, that he wrote to him; for he had heard with no little discomfort and inward heaviness' how that 'you be secretly married unto the King's sister, and have accompanied together as man and wife.' He had felt it his duty to communicate this matter at once to the King,
who at the first hearing could scarcely believe the same to be true: No. 610 (No. cxxx. N. s.)
but after I had showed to his Grace that by your own writing I had knowledge thereof, his Grace, giving credence thereunto, took the same grievously and displeasantly, not only for that ye durst presume to marry his sister without his knowledge, but also for breaking of your promise made to his Grace, in his hand, I being present, at Eltham : having also such an assured affiance in your truth, that for all the world, and to have been torn with wild horses, ye would not have broken your oath, promise, and assurance, made to his Grace, who doth well perceive that he is deceived of the constant and assured trust that he thought to have found in you, and so his Grace would I should expressly write unto you.
As for Wolsey himself, he feels so encumbered therewith' that he cannot devise nor study the remedy thereof. 'Cursed be the blind affection and counsel,' he cries, 'that hath brought you hereunto! fearing that such sudden and unadvised dealing shall have sudden repentance." He knows not what remedy to suggest whereby they can make their peace, but as what has been done cannot be undone, he thinks that perhaps the best course to pursue is to appeal to the avarice of the King. He therefore advises Mary to agree to pay yearly 4,000l. out of her dower to her brother, and also to hand over to him 'the plate of gold and jewels which the late French King had,' together with the whole of the dote that shall be restored to her by France.
This [he concludes] is the way to make your peace: whereat if ye deeply consider what danger ye be and shall be in, having the King's displeasure, I doubt not both the Queen and you will not stick, but with all effectual diligence endeavour yourselves to recover the King's favour, as well by this mean as by other substantial true ways which by mine advice ye shall use, and none other, towards his Grace, whom by corbobyll drifts and ways you cannot abuse. Now I have told you my opinion, hardily follow the same, and trust not too much to your own wit, nor follow not the counsel of them that hath not more deeply considered the dangers of this matter than they have hitherto done.
The position of Suffolk was one of extreme embarrassment. His marriage was still a secret, yet he felt from the natural condition into which his wife had fallen, that it was a secret that must soon be divulged. He had incurred the heavy displeasure of his sovereign, and the only measures that had been suggested to him whereby he could once more bask in the royal favour, he felt himself powerless to accomplish. Willingly would he have given the gems and fortune of his wife to Henry, but as yet in his negotiations with the French he had been unable to obtain either. He did not know, he wrote to Wolsey, though he had done his best in the matter, whether Mary 'had her right or had been outwitted by the subtlety of the French ministers. The unhappy man knew not what plan to adopt to extricate himself from his dilemma. He begged some word of comfort from Henry,' but still the King maintained the sternest silence. When the marriage became known to the Council in Eng
the enemies of Suffolk loudly called for vengeance upon the man dared to unite himself to the sister of his sovereign without
first having obtained the royal consent. Affairs were now at a deadlock, Suffolk could neither treat with the King of England nor with. the King of France. His position was intolerable. His intimacy with his wife whilst his marriage was as yet unknown greatly compromised Mary in the eyes of the Parisian world. The husband was most anxious that a second marriage ceremony should be gone through, and this time with all publicity. My Lord,' he implores Wolsey,' at the reverence of God help that I may be married as I go out of France, openly, for many things of which I will advertise you by mine next letters. Give me your advice whether the French King and his mother shall write again to the King for this open marriage; seeing that this privy marriage is done, and that I think none otherwise but that she is with child.' It was, however, Lent, and no licence could be obtained without a dispensation, and such a course it was considered would offend many of the rigid Catholics in England. Foiled in this effort, both husband and wife now begged permission to return to England. For a whole month no notice was taken of their prayer; then early in the April of 1515 leave was given to the couple, whose honeymoon had been clouded with such anxieties, to depart.
The future that awaited the wedded pair was uncertain. Would Henry greet his sister? She was not returning empty-handed; but had she sufficient to purchase the affection of her money-grubbing brother? What would be the fate of her idolised husband? Would the King be mindful of the old friendship that had so warmly existed between him and the Duke, or would his anger and outraged authority gain the mastery over the Royal heart? Was the influence of Wolsey strong enough to defeat the animosity of the Council? These were the questions that were freely discussed by the agitated couple as they journeyed from Montreuil to Calais. Arrived at the seaport, they took up their quarters at the King of England's house.' Here Suffolk experienced a foretaste of the feeling that he had excited by his rash step, for we learn from a Paper of Intelligence' among the State Papers that the Duke of Suffolk did not dare leave the King of England's house, as he would have been killed by the people for marrying Queen Mary.' This incident awoke all the former fears of both husband and wife, and Mary, now in great terror and in deep humility, bethought herself of occupying the hours of her enforced seclusion by again appealing to the King.
My most dear and most entirely beloved Brother [she writes], in most humble manner I recommend me to your Grace. Dearest brother, I doubt not but ye have in your good remembrance, that whereas for the good peace and for the furtherance of your affairs ye moved me to marry with my lord and late husband, King Lewis, of France, whose soul God pardon, though I understood that he was very aged and sickly, yet for the advancement of the said peace, and for the furtherance of your causes, I was contented to conform myself to your said motion, so that if I should fortune to survive the said late King, I might with your good will marry myself
at my liberty without your displeasure. Whereunto, good brother, ye condescended and granted, as ye well know promising unto me that in such case ye would never provoke or move me but as mine own heart and mind should be best pleased, and that wheresoever I should dispose myself ye would wholly be contented with the same. And upon that your good comfort and faithful promise I assented to the said marriage; else I would never have granted to, as at the same time I showed unto you more at large. Now that God hath called my said late husband to His mercy and that I am at my liberty, dearest brother, remembering the great virtues which I have seen and perceived heretofore in my Lord of Suffolk, to whom I have always been of good mind, as ye well know, I have affixed and clearly determined myself to marry with him; and the same I assure you hath proceeded only of mine own mind, without any request or labour of my said Lord of Suffolk, or of any other person. And to be plain with your Grace, I have so bound myself unto him, that for no cause earthly I will or may vary or change from the same. Wherefore my good and most kind brother I now beseech your Grace to take this matter in good part, and to give unto me and to my said Lord of Suffolk your goodwill herein; ascertaining you, that upon the trust and comfort which I have for that you have always honourably regarded your promise, I am now comen out of the realm of France, and have put myself within your jurisdiction, in this your town of Calais, where I intend to remain till such time as I shall have answer from you of your good and loving mind herein; which I would not have done but upon the faithful trust that I have in your said promise. Humbly beseeching your Grace for the great and tender love, which ever hath been, and shall be between you and me, to bear your gracious mind and show yourself to be agreeable hereunto, and to certify me by your most loving letters of the same; till which time I will make mine abode here, and no further enter your realm.
She concludes by appealing to her brother's weak point:
And to the intent [she continues], it may please you the rather to condescend to this my most hearty desire, I am contented, and expressly promise and bind me to you by these presents to give you all the whole dote which was delivered with me, and also all such plate of gold and jewels as I shall have of my said late husband's. Over and besides this I shall, rather than fail, give you as much yearly part of my dower to as great a sum as shall stand with your will and pleasure. And of all the premises I promise upon knowledge of your good mind, to make unto you sufficient bonds.
It would be difficult to find in the whole history of correspondence a letter in which sisterly affection, unblushing calculation, and unselfish devotion to a husband are more strangely blended.
Two days before the despatch of this appeal, Suffolk, whilst at Montreuil, had again written to the King to show him mercy, and not to let him fall into the hands of the enemy.
Most gracious Sovereign Lord [he begins], so it is that I am informed divers ways that all your whole Council, my Lord of York excepted, with many other, are clearly determined to 'tympe' your Grace, that I may either be put to death or be put in prison and so to be destroyed. Alas, Sir! I
may say that I have had a hard fortune seeing that there was never none of them in trouble but I was glad to help them to my power, and that your Grace knows best. And now that I am in this none little trouble and sorrow, now they are ready to help to destroy me. But, Sir, I can no more but God forgive them whatsoever comes on me: for I am determined. For Sir, your Grace is he that is my sovereign lord and master, and he that has brought me up out of nought; and I am your subject and servant, and he that has offended your Grace in breaking my promise that I made your Grace touching the Queen, your sister: for the which I, with most humble heart, I will yield myself unto your Grace's hands to do with my poor body your gracious pleasure, not fearing the malice of them; for I know your Grace of such nature that it cannot lie in their powers to cause you to destroy me for their malice. But what punishment I have I shall thank God and your Grace of it, and think that I have well deserved it, both to God and your Grace; as knows howar' Lord, who send your Grace your most honourable heart's desire with long life, and me most sorrowful wretch your gracious favour, what sorrows soever I endure therefore.
These appeals were not in vain. The anxious pair were informed that they had nothing further to fear, and on receiving the welcome news at once took their departure for England.
The end of this romantic love-match is soon told. The Queen and the Duke were publicly married at Greenwich amid much rejoicing. The story of their secret marriage in France was never divulged to the nation at large, but confined only to the few of the Council who had heard of it; whilst Sir William Sidney was despatched to Paris to beg Francis, in the name of the King of England, that for the honour of the French Queen and for avoiding all evil bruits' he would keep the fact of the private marriage at the Hôtel de Clugny 'hereafter secret to himself, without making any creature privy thereunto, like as the King shall do for his part.' Suffolk had, however, to pay pretty dearly for the honour of being brother-in-law to a sovereign. A formal document had been drawn up between Henry on the one side, and Mary and Suffolk on the other, in which it was stipulated that Mary was to pay over to her brother the sum of 24,000l. out of her French rents, by annual payments of 2,000l., together with the dowry of 200,000 crowns which Francis pledged himself to return to her, and all the plate and jewels which she had received on her first marriage, as well as all those gems which Lewis 'at divers times,' for her kisses and thanks,' had enriched her with. By this generous and fraternal arrangement Henry avoided not only making any settlement upon his sister, but received instead a handsome addition to his income and to his regalia. Well might the old chronicler Hall write:—
Against this marriage many men grudged, and said that it was a great loss to the realm that she was not married to the Prince of Castile: but the wisest sort was content, considering that if she had been married again out of the realm, she should have carried much riches with her; and now she brought every year into the realm 9,000 or 10,000 marks.
The wisest sort' had every reason to be content.