FRIEDMANN'S "ANNE BOLEYN."* [SECOND NOTICE.] MR. FRIED3I.INN'S position, as a foreigner writing of English affairs mainly from foreign archives, gives him some advantages and some disadvantages as compared with a native. His authorities in the sixteenth century were likely to see some things more clearly and some things less so than Englishmen of that day. So is Mr. Friedmann himself as compared with an English writer of our day. Mr. Friedmann's authorities show us how our forefathers and their King looked in the eyes of contemporary Europe. And, viewed in that light, they look otherwise than as they looked to themselves then, or as they look to us now. This consideration comes in whenever men of any nation write about men of any other nation, but it comes in with tenfold force whenever our insular selves are the nation spoken of. We may think the judgment of Mr. Friedmann or of Mr. Friedmann's authorities unjust ; but there it is, and its existence is a fact. Mr. Friedmann, like Ranke, tells us much that is new and important as to the external relations of England, and, as we have already hinted, he does it without falling into the strange mistakes into which Ranke falls about internal English matters. He teaches us to look on England and the King of England as being in the eyes of Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century much smaller objects than we had always fancied that they were. We kick a little ; we are still inclined to think that Henry and his kingdom must have counted for rather more with the world in general than Mr. Friedmann would have us think that they counted. But it is wholesome for us to have the case put as Mr. Friedmann puts it. And we are still more thankful to Mr. Friedmann when he opens to us a whole side of the foreign relations of England, of which English writers have commonly taken but scant notice. When we think of the foreign relations of England during the reign of Henry, we commonly mean France, or, at the outside, France and the Empire. The power of the Empire really means the power of Spain ; but a King of Castile who is also Emperor does not suggest the same kind of rivalry as his son who is not Emperor. The mention of Henry's dealings with Germany, as distinguished from the Empire, would commonly suggest little more than a theological episode, when he attempted an alliance with those who, like himself, had got rid of the Pope, but whose position had hardly anything else in common with his. We seldom think so much as Mr. Friedmann would rightly have us think of his relations with the North-German and Scandinavian powers, above all of his singular connexion with the internal affairs of the common wealth of Liibeck. A few whose studies bare specially led then) into that part of Europe may have heard of George Wullenwever, and the part he played in the affairs of his own city. Very few indeed have any notion how much he and many others in the Baltic lands, kings, princes, and lesser people, had to do with English affairs., Much of what Mr. Friedmann has to say is positively new ; all will be new to the great mass of English readers. And, as connecting internal and foreign affairs, come those entries of singular interest which set forth how near England was to an internal revolution ; at least how near to it she seemed to the Imperial Ambassador to be. Here again we do well to stop and think bow far the reports of Chapuis are to be trusted. We have no reason to think that he did otherwise than honestly report to his master how things seemed to him. But how far was his report likely to be a true representation of things as they were ? A foreign Minister is in this matter something like an exile ; he is likely to be in close intercourse with one set of people only, and to hear one side only. And he is likely to understand things as he would wish to understand them, and to colour them according to his hopes and wishes. Can we believe, for instance, that any appreciable number of people in England, however strongly they may have disliked Henry's doings, were ready to call in foreign help against him, and even to admit the Emperor as overlord of the kingdom ? That there was a good deal of disaffection towards Henry's policy is proved, if by nothing else, by the fact of the Pilgrimage of Grace ; but can we believe that it ever went to such a length as this ? But we should remember that, if Chapuis was likely to misunderstand the affairs of England by looking at them with foreign eyes, we are likely to misunderstand the affairs of the sixteenth century by looking at them with nineteenth-century eyes. We are apt to forget the long life of Imperial ideas, and the new life which they took when, for -a single reign, the traditional majesty of the Empire was backed by the real might of Castile, Burgundy, and Aragon. The events of 1804, 1806, and 1852, have made the central idea of earlier times unintelligible to most of us : we find it hard to believe how nearly Charles V.. stood in the position of Charles the Great, and how thoroughly Charles the Great inherited the position of the old Ctesars. It is hard to believe that, even in the sixteenth century, any Englishman would have been ready to admit an Imperial overlordship ; but we must not forget that such a thought was at least less monstrous then than it is now. It was at least needful in Henry's. days for the independent position of England, its position as itself an island Empire, to be again strongly asserted, as there had been no need to assert it for some ages.
We must not forget the strange way in which these high questions of European policy are mixed up with the personal scandals of Henry's Court. It always seems odd when zealous' and devout Prostestants made use of Katharine Sedley to keep James II. from going too rashly in the way of theJesuits. But Henry's court must have provided a sight far more wonderful about the year 1535. We have already mentioned the two ladies who are said to have been Henry's mistresses in the interval when he had ceased to care for Anne and had not yet begun to care for Jane. The rival mistresses were the champions of the rival wives, as the rival wives were the champions of great principles, ecclesiastical and political. Katharioe's deputy, so to speak, is nameless ; Anne's deputy, so to speak, is her cousin Margaret Shelton. During Margaret's reign, Anne, and all that Anne represents, gets a lift, till Margaret is routed by Jane Seymour, who represents mainly her own interests and those of her family. Henry is seeking means to get rid of Anne ; but he is made to understand that to get rid of Anne meant to recall Katharine. Whether therefore Anne had any hand or not in the death of Katharine, her joy at her death was altogether misplaced. The removal of Katharine from the scene was convenient for all parties all round, except Anne. It almost passes belief, yet the• evidence certainly tends that way, that the Emperor himself was not a little relieved by his aunt's death, even though he believed her to have been poisoned. As long as she lived, it was his business to stand up for her; when she was once dead, he was not bound to ask any questions. If both Charles and his sister Queen Mary of Hungary went on long after tormenting Henry by addressing him as "well-beloved uncle," that was only a little imperial and royal pleasantry. As we go on ,through Mr. Friedmann's pages, we cease to be startled at anything ; yet one does stand a little aghast when we find how near Henry is said to have been to at least attempting to get, as we have already hinted, an act of attainder for the death of Katharine and Mary. We may doubt whether even one of his Parliaments would have gone that length; we may be sure that a general revolt would have followed. If there was such a thought, it was doubtless the fear of such a revolt which hindered it from being more than a thought. And after all we are not quite sure that Chapuis' words do imply a bill of attainder ; and we must not forget that Chapuis' informant may have been mistaken, or may have coloured things according to her own wishes. For the story comes from Gertrude Marchioness of Exeter, a zealous partisan of Katharine, who, a few years later, herself very narrowly escaped the effects of a bill of attainder. But the whole of these revelations are so strange and ghastly that we hardly know where we are as we read them. How new they are we see when we turn to the tale as told by Lingard, whose sympathies, of course, go with Katharine and Mary against Henry and Anne.
He knows that Chapuis bad dealings with many persons in England ; he knows the story of the appeal made to him by several ladies of high rank ; be knows the curious dialogue between Anne and the French Minister Gontier early in 1535.
But he seems to know nothing of any widespread scheme for overthrowing Henry by Imperial help; be does not hint that Katharine came unfairly by her death at the hands of anybody ;
he knows nothing of the two mistresses playing champions for
the two wives, though of Margaret Shelton he has a passing notice in quite another character, and seems to divide her
into two people. If anybody cares to compare vol. v., p. 66
(ed. 1849), of Lingard with Friedmann, ii., 249, he will see that "Madge, one of her [Anne's] maids," and the "kinswoman of hers " spoken of directly after, are one and the same Margaret Shelton.
Of particular scenes, perhaps the strangest of all is where Henry is displaying a kind of frantic joy at the arrest of Anne. Mr. Friedmann tells us in his text :—
" Even his courtiers disapproved of his behaviour ; and although they vied with each other in providing amusement for him, they spoke contemptuously of his merriment. Among others, the Bishop of Carlisle gave a supper to Henry and to some of the ladies at Court. Here the king showed exuberant mirth. He spoke with the bishop of the arrest of Anne, and said ho bad long foreseen that such would be her end. He had even, written a tragedy on the subject ; and drawing a book out of his doublet, he showed it to the bishop. The latter went next day to see Chapuis, and told him of Henry's conduct, using expressions, it seems, not very flattering to the king." (ii., 267.)
The words in italics are fairly translated from Chapuis ; yet they kindle hopes which the context destroys. The king did not write a five-act play. There is no hope that we shall ever find in any manuscript store anything so curious as Shake speare's Henry VIII. forestalled by Henry VIII.'s own. Henry VIII. Tho word " tragedy " was often used very laxly, as may be found in several places in Percy's Relignes and in The Seven Champions of Christendom. There had, at an earlier stage (see Lingard, iv., 487), been " a short tragedy " between Henry and Katharine. The original French shows what the "tragedy " really was, and a " tragedy " even of that kind from the pen of Henry VIII., recording his own experiences, must have been eminently curious. The French runs :—
" II [Henry] by [the Bishop of Carlisle] diet qu'il y avoit desir longtemps quit presagissoit tissue de ces affaires, et que Bur ce yl avoit cy devant compose une tragedie quit pourtoit avec lay, at ce disant icelluy Roy tire de son sting ung petit livrct escript de sa main, male be diet evesque ne lit point dedans. Pent estre quo cestoit certaines ballades que le dict Roy a compose desquelles la putain et son frere, coinme de chose inepte et gouffe, se gaudissoient que leur feat objecte pour grand et grief crime."
The person whom Chapuis here speaks of by a coarse French name is no other than Anne Boleyn. Hitherto " la concubine," from her arrest onwards she gets the harsher name, which once at least is exchanged for " la Messaline." The words about the ballads appear again in p. 278, in Chapuis' account of the charges against Anne, in which, among graver matters, was mixed up (in Mr. Friedmann's summary) that " she and her brother had spoken contemptuously of the King, of his literary productions, and of the way in which he dressed, and that she had shown that she was tired of him." If, as Chapuis thought, the " tragedy " and the ballads were the same, what could it have been like Anne bad clearly seen the ballads ; the tragedy would seem to have been about herself, and to have foretold her arrest. What are we to make of the relations among these people? It is comforting to turn to such a point as to notice that the • Bishop of Carlisle is described as " levesque de Car/ion." Foreigners, to be sure, wrote English names anyhow ; but it is odd that Chapuis should have stumbled in this way on a name with which that cff Carlisle often got confounded in earlier times. On another point, it is curious that Chapuis in another place (ii., 291) speaks of Anne and her kinsfolk as "Lutherans," —"a cause que la dicte concubyne et toute sa race soot si habominablement lutheriens." This is coming round to the" Gospel light flashing from Boleyn's eyes." Yet nothing is more certain than that, whatever we make of the whole marvellous story, the tragedy or ballad of Henry and Anne can never come under the head of "the novel religious, wherein pretty Protestants do convert Roman Catholics.' There is nothing to show—there is much to show the contrary—that in any strictly theological point either Henry or Anne had departed iu the least from Chapuis' own standard of orthodoxy. By " Lutherans " Chapuis most likely meant any people who had cast off the authority of the Pope, and showed a tendency towards change. Anne and her father clearly went in zealously for many things to which her uncle the Duke of Norfolk, for instance, unwillingly assented. On one point alone they were all agreed, to get as much as they could out of the spoils of ecclesiastical bodies.
One of the most singular of the particular points brought out by Mr. Friedmann is the startling statement that Bishop Fisher was, in the spring of 1535, released for a while from his imprisonment, and actually appeared at Court. This matter is somewhat of a study in the nature of evidence. The only direct evidence, if it can be called so, is a statement of the French envoy Gontier, in which lie speaks of meeting at court " Messieurs of Suffolk and Fischer ;" and that presently " Messieurs of Norfolk, Suffolk, Fischer, the Chancellor, Crom
well, and others sat in council." It illustrates the chaotic spelling of the time, and specially the wonderful way in which French writers then (as before and since) mangled English names, that it is a question whether " Fischer " means the Bishop of Rochester or the Earl of Wiltshire, Queen Anne's father. This earl commonly appears in French as TVOchier, Vnlehier, and Wailchier. Mr. Friedmann inclines to think that the Bishop is meant, and that Gontier's statement shows that he was released, though he allows that Gontier must have been mistaken in thinking that Fisher actually took part in the Council. And there is some corroborative evidence also. There is no doubt that about this time the severity of Fisher's imprisonment was at least relaxed. There were reports that be had submitted, and had been received into the King's favour. The accounts of the Lieutenant of the Tower for Fisher's maintenance cover a smaller number of days than those that passed between his committal and his execution. On the other hand, it is odd that there should be nowhere any direct statement of his release ; it is odd that Gontier, if he really met the released prisoner at Court, should speak of him in this casual way without mentioning his release ; it is odd that he should speak of " Fischer," or " M. de Fischer," as among the lay peers and councillors, not as Bishop of Rochester. It is true that Fisher was technically held to have forfeited his bishopric ; but even his gaoler still sends in his accounts for " the Bishop of Rochester," and a foreign Minister would surely have so called him. It is allowed that, in any case, there is some mistake in the statement that " M. de Fischer" took part in the Council ; is not the mistake most likely in the name? Surely Wiltshire, already tortured into Vnlchier, has been further tortured by some scribe, printer, or editor, into Fischer, possibly in the hope of giving the name a meaning. The odd little points of corroborative evidence seem to us to go further towards proving Mr. Friedmann's point than the alleged direct statement of Gontier. Lastly, there is no piece in the book which comes borne to us with a more curious interest than that which shows how the expedition of the Emperor to Tunis bore on English affairs. One seems to be in the year 1877, when one finds Englishmen in high places mourning over the great blow dealt to the
Mussulman power. '• Le dict roy et Cremuel [Crom well] . out ester estonne de la bonne nouvelle comme chiens tumbants de fenestres et mesme Cremuel lequel a male peyne pouvoit parler." To be sure, it was possible that Imperial victory at Tunis might be followed by Imperial interference in England, and this time Pope and Turk were not on the same side. History never repeats itself without some change in detail, but the analogy is curious.
To wind up, we heartily thank Mr. Friedmann for what he has given us, and we shall he glad of some more, in some shape or other.