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in-law, Katharine princess of Wales.* At length this period of uncertainty was closed by the death of king Henry in 1509.
In the meantime the duchess Margaret had been appointed by her father, in the year 1507, to be Regent of the Netherlands. In 1508 she was sent by Maximilian to Cambray, where she met the cardinal George d'Amboiae, sent on the part of France, and negociated with him a treaty of peace. The circumstance of her performing the like gracious part in the year 1529 has occurred in the present volume, p. 41.
A brief review may now be taken of the history of the other party concerned in the following letters.
Sir Charles Brandon, who up to that period had been distinguished only as one of the esquires of the king's body, was in May 1513 created viscount Lisle, in connexion with his obtaining the prospective marriage of the lady Elizabeth Grey, then styled viscountess Lisle, the sole daughter and heiress of John Grey, viscount and baron Lisle, but who was then not nine years of age.b
In July following, the new lord Lisle went with the king to the war in France, being marshal of the host, and captain of the fore-ward, with 3,000 men under him.6 After the successes of this campaign, the battle of Spours, and the reduction of Toumay and Therouenne, king Henry met the emperor Maximilian at Lille. Maximilian was attended by the duchess Margaret.
The following passage of Hall's Chronicle, where he notices the royal meeting at Tournay, is important ; for it proves at once that these letters are now assigned to their right author, and also that the duchess did not entertain imaginary fears respecting the public reports.
"Mondaye the xi. daye of October the kyng without the towne receyved the prynce of Cast el, the lady Margarete, and dyverse other nobles of their countreys, and them brought into Tornay with greate triumphe. The noyt went that the lord Lytle made request of manage to the lodge Margarete duches of Savoy, and doughter to themporour Maximilian, whiche before that tyme was departed from the kyng with manye riche giftes and money borowed ; but, whether he profered mariage or not, the favored him highly. There the prynce and duches sojorned with great solace by the space of x dayes. Duryng whiche tyme, the xviij. daye of October, began the justes ; the kyng and the lorde Lysle aunswered all commers ; uppon the kyng attended xxiiij. knyghtes on foote, in coates of purple velvet and cloth of gold. A tent of cloth of gold was sett in the place for the armoree and releve; the kyng had a base and a trapper of purple velvet both sett full of S.S. of fyne bullion, and the lord Lisle in the same suyte. Ther were many spores broken, and many a good buffet geven; the strangers, as the lord Walon and lorde Emery, and other, dyd right well. When the justes were done, the kyng and al the other unhelmed them, and rode about the tylt and dyd great reverence to the ladies, and then the herauldes cryed, To lodgyng.
* Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies, edited by M. A. E. Wood, 1846, i. 143. b She was only eight weeks old at the death of her fathor, 6th Sept. 20 Hen. VII. (1504.) See the Lisle Peerage Case, by Sir N. H. Nicolas. c Hall.
"This night the king made a sumpteous banket of a c. dishes to the prince of Castell and the lady Margarete, and to all other lordes and ladies, and after the banket the ladies daunsed; and then came in the kyng and a xi. in a maske, all richely appareled with bonettes of gold, and when they had passed the time at their pleasure, the garmentes of the maske were cast of amongest the ladies, take who could take.
"The xx. daye of October the prynce of Castell and the lady Margarete, with many great giftes to them geven, returned to Lyle with all their trayne."
A few months after this meeting the lord Lisle was advanced to the dignity of duke of Suffolk: and it appears not improbable that the circumstances now disclosed bora some relation to that advancement. It is difficult, from our present biographies of Charles Brandon, to assign an adequate reason for his great and sudden elevation. It is true that he appears as the personal favourite of his royal master, but that partiality was not so extravagant as in many other examples of favouritism, and might have been sufficiently gratified (at least for a time) by his promotion to the rank of an earl. The dignity of a duke was conferred upon him on the 1st Feb. 1514, the same day that the dukedom of Norfolk was restored to the Howards, and when there was only one other peerage of that grade, namely, Buckingham, existing in England. It had clearly no designed connection with his subsequent alliance to the blood royal ; but may we not suppose that it was conferred in order to further his suit with the duchess of Savoy ? and that king Henry, as well by this act as by his other exertions of his personal influence in this extraordinary affair, unwittingly paved the way to the duke's subsequent alliance with his sister, the dowager of France ; since he could not object that the same man was an unfit husband for a king's daughter whom he had himself endeavoured to promote to an alliance with the daughter of an emperor.
In the month of May following (when at home), "the kynge and the newe duke of Suffolk were defenders at the tilt against all commers," attired as white and black hermits. On their black staves was written with white letters, Who can hold that iryl away: " this poyse was jndged to be made for the duke of Suffolke and the duches of Savoy."*
The rumour affecting the duchess and lord Lisle is repeated by lord Herbert in his History of the reign of Henry VIII. and is also briefly noticed by Mr. Lodge in his memoir of the Duke of Suffolk; but the particulars contained in the following letters have remained entirely unknown until the present time. The papers containing them, though indorsed "Secret Matters of the Duke of Suffolk," were mysterious with respect to all the other parties mentioned ; and the compiler of the Catalogue of the Cottonian MSS. could only conjecture, "The personage appears to have been Margaret Nevile his first wife."
The papers are certainly in the hand-writing of Sir Richard Wingfield,b who was probably the English ambassador to whom the duchess addressed herself. They were evidently translated from the French, in which the originals were written: and were there
k Compare MS. Cotton. Calig. E. IiI. p. 28. Miss Wood, in her recent collection of "Letters of Royal and Illustrious Ladies," has pointed out the same fact; and it should be acknowledged that to that lady belongs the credit of discovering the passage in Hall, after the mystery of the letters had foiled the penetration of several able historical crities.
fore either translated by Sir Richard, or he transcribed the version, the matter being so secret, for his despatches home.
After any dreams that the duchess Margaret may have indnlged of a third and handsome husband in the person of the English favourite, had been finally dissipated by his marriage with the dowager of France,* she remained a widow for the residue of her days. She continued to administer the affairs of the Netherlands for many years, and the manuscripts in the British Museum abound with her letters to king Henry the Eighth, to Wolaey,b and to others, on grave political affairs; but they probably comprise no more that have so direct a reference to the affairs of her heart.
She was present with her nephew, then emperor elect, at the interview he had with king Henry VIII. at Calais in 1520, as related in p. 29 of the present volume. She died in the year 1530.
Several of her seals, exhibiting her armorial insignia, as well during her marriages as in her widowhood, are engraved by Olivier de Wree, plates 130, 131.
MS. Cotton. Titus, B. I. (Sheet marked A.)
My ladye began thys wrytyng before the komyng of Morroton,c who kame to Lovayne on sondaye last. My lorde the anbassadoure—
Sythe that I see that I may not have tydynges fro the themperour so soon, yt semethe me that I schulde do welle no longar for to tarye to depeche thys jentyllman. And for that by my lettres addressynge on to the kynge and to the dewke, off that I dare not aventure me to wrvt on to them so at lengthe of thys besynes be cawse that I fear my lettres to be evelle keptt, I me determyne to wryt to yow at lengthe to thend that off alle ye may the better theme advertyse of myn entent.
Ye may know, my lorde the anbassadour, that after sume dayes havynge been at Tornay, knowynge fro daye to daye the greatt love and trust that the kynge baare and hadd to the personage wyche ys no neede to name; also with the vertwe and grace of his person, the wyche me semyde that I have not myche seen jentyllman to aproche yt; also consyderynge the desyre the wyche allwaye he schewed me that he hadde to do me servyce; all thes thynges consydered by me, I have allwayes forced me to do unto hym alle honneur and plesure, the wyche to me semede to be welle agreable
* Mary Tudor was born in 1498, nearly twenty years after Margaret of Austria. This may have been one motive of Charles Brandon's preference.
b She was accustomed to address cardinal Wolsey as "votre bonne mere Marguerite," and even wrote in the superscriptions of her letters, " a Mons'. Ie Legat d'Angleterre, mon bon fils." Ellis's Orig. Letters, 2d Ser. ii. 16.
c Lewis Moreton: a letter to him from Th. Spindly, dated Malines, Jan. 9, 1512-13 is the first article in MS. Cotton, Galb. B. Iii.
unto the kynge hys good mastyr; who, as I may imagyne, seyinge the good cheere and wylle the wyche I baare hym, wythe the love wyche he berethe unto hyme, by many times spake unto me, for to knowe yff thys good wyll whyche I baare on to the sayd personage yt mytt streche on to sume effecte of promisse of maryage, seying that yt was the facion of the ladys off Ynglande, and thatt yt was not ther nollden for hevylle; whereunto many tymes I answered the most grasyoslye that was to me possyble, knowynge thys thynge not to proceed but off love wyche he baare hym, the severalle of raysons wherfor it was not to me possyble, onles I schulde fawlle in the evylle grace of my father and of alle thys contre. Also that yt was not heer the custome, and that I schuld be dyshonowred, and hollden for a foolle and lyett.* But alle my resons mytt not hellpe me, that withowt reste he spake theroff to me. That seyinge, and that he hadde yt so mych att the hartt, for hym not to angre, I fownd to hym oone other reson, to hym sayinge, that yff now I hadde welle the wylle so for to do, that 3ytt I ne wolde nor durst thynke, seynge hys retorne to be so nye, and that yt schulld be to me to myche grett dysplesure to loose so good compagnye ; of the wyche he contented hym sumewhatt better, and passed the thynge unto hys departyng, and thane begane to saye me that the departynge drewe nye, and that he knew welle that the ladyes schulld forgett them; and that he knew welle I schulld be pressyde for to marye me, and that I was 3yt to yonge for to abyde thws; and that the ladyes of hys contre dyd remarye at fyftye and threscore yeeres.
(Second Sheet.) Wherupon I answered that I hadd never hadde wylle so to do, and that I was to mych unhappye in hosbondes; but he wolde nott beleve me. And after, by two tymes, in presence of the personnage that 3e know, he retornyd to say the same wordes, saying mor, " I knowe welle, madame, and am sewre that my fellawe schalbe to you a trew servant, and that he ys alltogeder yowres, but whe feare that ye schalle not do in lyk wysse, for oon schalle force you to be agayne maryed ; and that 3e schalle not be fownd owt of thys contre b at my returne." That wyche I promysed to hym I schulde not do ; and for that he desyred gretly thereof to be more assured, he maad me to promyse in hys hand that howsoever I schulde be pressyde of my father, or otherwysse, I schulld not make alyance of maryage [with] prynce off the worlde, at the lest unto hys returne, or the end of the yeer. The wyche I dydde wyllynglye, for I thynk not to agayne never to putt me where I have hadde so myche of onhappe and infortune. And afterwards * t. €. light. b ». e. found in the country.
made his fellawe to do the semblable, who, as I beleve and semeth me, sayd of avanture, as hys mastyr me schewed agayne, that he schuld never do thynge, were yt of maryage, or to take ladye nor mastresse, withowt my commandment, but wollde contynew all hys lyff my rygthe humble servant; and that yt was to hyme I nowta honour, so myche honestlye, and off so good soortt, as was possyble. And thees wordes wher sayd at Tornaye in my chambre oon nytt after souper, welle laatt. The other tyme was at Lylle, the day befor that they schullde depart, that he spake to me longe at the head of a koppboorde, he and his fellawe, of the departyng, wyche was not withowt dysplesure welle greatt of all persones. And agayne, affter many devyses and regrettes, he maad me to reconferme in hys hand, and the same of hys fellawe, the lyke promesse aforsayde. And the sayd personnage in my hande, withowtt that I reqwyred hym, maad me the semblable, and that for allwayes he schullde be to me trewe and humble servant; and I to hyme promysedto be to hyme syche mastresse alle my ly ff as to hym who me semed desyred to do me most of servyce. And opon thys ther was no mo woordes of thys affayre, nor hathe not been sythe, yff not sume gracyewsse lettres, the wyche have been I nowb evelle keppt.
Ferther as to the woordes.
( Third Sheet.) And I promesse you, my lord the anbassadoure, that thys ys the trowthe, and I knowe not other thynge. I kannot telle yff the kynge, wyche was trwcheman,c by cawse off the love wyche he berethe hym, mytt have taken yt mor forwarde for to enterprett mor hys desyre, but the thynge ys suche, and trowthe.
My lorde the anbassadowrc, for that yt hathe been sayd unto me that he mytt have schewed oon rynge wher thear ys oo dyamant of myne, that wyche 1 kannot beleve, for I estyme hym myche a man of vertw and wysse, but allwayes I wylle welle schewe you the trowthe, to the ende to answers to alle. I tak non in thys affayr to wyttnesse but the kynge and hym ; and hymself fyrst: yt ys that oo nytt at Tournaye, beyng at the bankett, after the bankett he put hymselfe opon hys knees befor me, and in spekyng and hyme playng, he drew fro my fynger the rynge, and put yt upon hys, and sythe schewde yt me, and I tooke to lawhe, and to hym sayd that he was a theefe, and that I thowthe not that the kynge hadde with hym ledde theves owt of hys contre. Thys word laron he kowlde not understonde ; wherfor I