OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Reign of Henry the Eighth - (Continued) page 12


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 <12> 13 14 15 16

Hampton Court Palace Wolsey had given to the king before; and the unavailing sacrifice which he now made amounted to 500,000 crowns, equal to half a million of our money.

Having delivered over his lordly abode, he descended, and entered his barge. He there found the Thames covered with boats full of people of all degrees, who were waiting to see him conveyed to the Tower, for such was the news which had flown from Court all over the city. But they were greatly disappointed to see his barge turn its prow up the river instead of downwards. He ascended to Putney, where he mounted his mule, and was sorrowfully riding up the hill when there came spurring after him Sir Henry Norris, one of the king's chamberlains, bringing him a ring which the king had taken from his own finger, and accompanied it by a comfortable message. Sir Henry delivered it, saying, "Therefore, take patience, for I trust to see you in a better estate than ever." At this unexpected and extraordinary occurrence, the cardinal, wholly overcome by his emotions, dismounted from his mule, fell on his knees in the road, and, pulling off his cap, fervently thanked God for such happy tidings. Then arising, he told Sir Henry that his message was worth half a kingdom; but that he had scarcely anything left but the clothes on his back, yet he found a small gold chain and crucifix, which he presented to him. He next lamented that he had no token of his gratitude to send to his sovereign, but recollecting himself, he said, "Stay, there is my fool that rides beside me. I beseech thee take him to Court, and give him to His Majesty. I assure you, for any nobleman's pleasure, he is worth a thousand pounds." But the poor fool was so attached to his master, that it required six stout yeomen to force him away, and carry him to the king.

On the 3rd of November, after the -long intermission of seven years, a Parliament was called together. The main object of this unusual occurrence was to complete the ruin of Wolsey, and place it beyond the power of the king to restore him to favour - a circumstance of which the courtiers were in constant dread. The committee of the House of Lords presented to the king a string of no less than forty-four articles against the fallen minister, enumerating and exaggerating all his offences, and calling upon the monarch to take such order with him "that he should never have any power, jurisdiction, or authority hereafter, to trouble, vex, and impoverish the Commonwealth of this your realm, as he hath done heretofore, to the great hurt and damage of almost every man, high or low." This address was carried to the Commons for their concurrence; but there Thomas Cromwell, who by the favour of Wolsey had risen from the very lowest condition to be his friend and steward, and was now advanced to the king's service by the particular recommendation of the cardinal, attacked the articles manfully, and caused the Commons to reject them, as the members were persuaded that Cromwell was acting by suggestion of the king; which is very probable, for so far from Henry showing Cromwell any dislike for this proceeding, he continued to promote him, till he became his prime minister, and was created Earl of Essex.

The conduct of the king, moreover, towards the fallen man continued in other respects to keep alive his hopes, and fill his rivals with terror, who felt that if he were returned to power there was no safety for them. Wolsey found the episcopal house at Esher large, but almost destitute of furniture, or of any means of comfort or convenience. He found that neither his accommodation nor his funds would permit him to retain his retinue of attendants, and on the 5th of November he dismissed the greater part of them, amid floods of tears shed both by himself and them; for, with all his pride and injustice out of doors, he had been a kind master at home, and was greatly beloved by his servants. Some of the gentlemen who could support themselves refused to leave him. But when his servants were dismissed, the solitude of Esher Place was no peace. The struggle at Court was going violently on betwixt the king's deep and lingering affection for the cardinal and the resolve of Anne Boleyn and her relatives to make themselves safe against him. This state of things, therefore, produced a constant oscillation of favour and disfavour, gleams of sunshine and then denser gloom, which kept the unhappy man in a murderous alternation of spirit. One day, the 6th of November, the day after he had parted with his servants, and was very low, Sir John Russell came in great secrecy from the king, at Greenwich, bringing a most comfortable assurance that Henry was really not offended with him; and a few days after came Judge Shelley, demanding a formal and perpetual surrender of York Place, which was the property of the See of York, and the alienation of it illegal. In vain he represented that it was a sacrilegious act: he was obliged to comply. "Thus," says Cavendish, "my lord continued at Esher, daily receiving messages from the Court, some good and some bad, but more ill than good."

The design of Wolsey's enemies, we are told, was to drive him to some rash act, by which he should commit himself irrevocably with the king, or to wear him out by anxiety; and in this they nearly succeeded, for at Christmas he fell so dangerously ill that all about him believed him to be dying. This news once more roused all the slumbering regard of Henry for the cardinal. He instantly dispatched Dr. Butts, his own physician, to ascertain his real state; and on Butts reporting that he was dangerously ill, and that if he did not receive some comfort from His Majesty, he would be a dead man in four days, "God forbid," exclaimed the king, "that he should die, for I would not lose him for twenty thousand pounds. Go immediately to him and do your best for him." Nothing, replied the physician, would do him any good if the king did not send him a gracious message. On this, Henry took a ring from his finger, charged with a ruby on which his own picture was engraved, commanding the doctor to deliver it to him, and assure him that he was not offended with him in his heart, adding many kind expressions. At his request, Anne Boleyn also took her tablet of gold that hung at her side and delivered it to the doctor, "with many gentle and loving words." When Butts arrived with these messages, the cardinal rose up in his bed, received the token with every sign of delight, thanked the doctor heartily, and in a few days was out of danger,

Henry having now seized upon all the cardinal's property, the incomes of his bishoprics, abbeys, and other benefices, his colleges at Ipswich and Oxford, with all their furniture and revenues, his pensions, clothes, and even his very tomb, seemed contented to leave him his life. He, therefore, on the 12th of February, 1530, granted him a full pardon for all his real and pretended crimes. He allowed him, moreover, to retain the revenues of York. He gave him also a pension of 1,000 marks a year out of the bishopric of Winchester, and soon after sent him a present of 3,000 in money; and in plate, furniture, &c., the value of 3,374 3s. 7d., and gave him leave to reside at Richmond.

This new flow of Royal favour wonderfully revived the cardinal's hopes, and as vividly excited the fears of the Boleyn party. To have this formidable man residing so near them as Richmond was too perilous to be thought of. Some fine morning the king might suddenly ride over there, and all be undone. Henry was, therefore, besieged with entreaties to remove him further from the Court, and to such a distance as should prevent the possibility of an interview. They prevailed, and Wolsey received an order through his friend Cromwell to go and reside in his archbishopric of York. To the cardinal, who felt a strong persuasion that if he could but obtain an interview with the king all would be set right, this was next to a death-warrant. He entreated Cromwell to obtain leave for him to reside at Winchester, but this was refused, and the Duke of Norfolk, Anne's uncle, sent Wolsey word that if he did not get away immediately into the North, he would come and tear him in pieces with his teeth. "Then," said Wolsey, "it is time for me to be gone."

Cromwell, faithful to the last, obtained a present of 1,000 marks from the king for him, and a most gracious message; and the great fallen man set out, with something of his old state, towards the scene of his true pastoral duties, but of exile to him as a statesman. He went progressing slowly on his way from stage to stage, riding on his mule in a grave sadness, and followed by 160 attendants, a long train of wagons containing his plate and furniture, and paused first at Peterborough, where he spent Easter. Prom the moment that he commenced this journey he seemed a new man - to have left the haughty minister of state behind, and brought only the Christian bishop; and in no part of his life did he appear to so much advantage. He seemed really to have adopted the spirit of the words which Shakespeare puts into his mouth -

"I feel my heart new opened."

Wherever he came, he immediately won the esteem and love of people of all ranks, by his hospitality and pleasant affability. He spent the summer and autumn at his diocesan houses of Scroby and Southwell, and arrived at his castle of Cawood, seven miles from York, only at Michaelmas. Both at Southwall, Scroby, and now at Cawood, he set about at once to put the houses of the diocese into perfect repair. His passion for building was as strong upon him as ever. He had soon 300 labourers and artisans engaged in the restoration of Cawood, As at Scroby, so there, he went to some neighbouring church every Sunday, where he performed mass, and one of his chaplains preached. After service, he invited the clergy and most respectable parishioners to dinner, and distributed alms to the poor. Everywhere on his journey he had shown the same unassuming regard to the people, who flocked to behold him. On a wild moor near Ferrybridge, on the last day of his journey, he had found upwards of 500 children brought together and assembled round a great stone cross, to seek his blessing and confirmation at his hands. He immediately alighted and confirmed them, all, so that it was late that night before he reached Cawood. He treated the clergy of his cathedral in the kindest manner, telling them he was come to live amongst them as a friend and brother.

Delighted with their metropolitan, the clergy waited upon him in a body, and begged that he would allow himself to be installed in his cathedral, according to the custom of his predecessors; and Wolsey, after taking time to consider of it, consented, on condition that it should be done with as little splendour as possible. No sooner, however, was this news divulged, than the noblemen, gentlemen, and clergy of the county sent into York great quantities of provisions, and made preparations for a most magnificent feast. But this was suddenly prevented by a very unexpected event. The accounts of the cardinal's doings, his buildings, his hospitality, and his great popularity, were all carried to London, and greatly exaggerated to the king, with every art to excite his jealousy. Cromwell gave him information of this, and warned him earnestly to keep himself as quiet and as much out of public view as possible, or his untiring enemies would bring mischief out of it for him. It was too late. On the 4th of November, only three days before the grand installation was to come off, the Earl of Northumberland, accompanied by Sir William Walsh and a number of horsemen, arrived at Cawood. Wolsey was sitting at dinner, and he rose, expressing a wish that the earl had come a little earlier; for he had been brought up in his household, and he therefore jumped at the conclusion that he had been selected to bear him good tidings. But this selection had probably been made more by the will of Anne Boleyn than of the king, and for a very different object. The Earl was Anne's old lover, who, as the young Lord Percy, had been torn from her by the hand of Wolsey, though at the dictation of the king; and the proud beauty showed that she had not yet forgotten or forgiven the circumstance. Wolsey, believing in good news, went out to receive the earl with a cheerful countenance; and, observing his numerous retinue, lie said, "Ah! my lord, I perceive that you observe the precepts and instructions which I gave you, when you were abiding with me in your youth, to cherish your father's old servants." He then took the earl affectionately by the hand, and led him into a bedchamber. There he no doubt expected to hear some good tidings; but the earl was observed to be much affected, and, with much embarrassment and hesitation, he at length laid his hand on the old man's shoulder, and said, "My lord, I arrest you of high treason." Wolsey was struck dumb, and stood motionless as a statue. He then bowed to the order, and prepared for his journey. On Sunday the earl set out with his prisoner, and on the 9th of November, on the third day, they arrived at Sheffield Park, the residence of the Earl of Shrewsbury, steward of the king's household. The earl, Lady Shrewsbury, and their family, received the cardinal with much kindness and respect, and he remained with them a fortnight, awaiting the further orders of the Court. During this anxious time his constitution gave way; he was seized with dysentery. "Whilst in this suffering state, Sir William Kingston, Constable of the Tower, arrived, with four-and-twenty of his guards, to conduct him to London. The Earl of Shrewsbury, fearing the effect of this news on the cardinal in his weak condition, requested Cavendish to communicate it to him in the best manner that he could. Cavendish, therefore, told him he brought him good news: the king had sent Sir William Kingston to conduct him to his royal presence. "Kingston!" cried the cardinal; and clapping his hand on his thigh, gave a great sigh. The Earl of Shrewsbury entered, and told him that he had letters from his friends at Court, who assured him that the king expressed the greatest friendship for him, and was determined to restore him to favour. Then followed Kingston himself, who fell on his knees, and refusing to move from that posture till he had delivered the royal message, he assured the cardinal of the king's great goodness towards him, and that he had commanded him to obey him in all things. But the cardinal, who was too well acquainted with the real meaning of such things, replied, "Rise, sir; I know what is designed for me. I thank you, sir, for your good news, I am a diseased man, but I will prepare to ride with you tomorrow."

In a state of great exhaustion, Wolsey set out, and on the third evening reached Leicester Abbey, where the abbot, at the head of a procession of the monks, with lighted torches, received him. He was completely worn out, and being lifted from his mule, said, "I am come, my brethren, to lay my bones amongst you." The monks carried him to his bed, where he swooned repeatedly; and the second morning his servants, who had watched him with anxious affection, saw that he was dying. He called to his bedside Sir "William Kingston, and, amongst others, addressed to him these remarkable words: - "Had I but served God as diligently as I have served the king, he would not have given me over in my grey hairs. But this is the just reward that I muse receive for my diligent pains and study, not regarding my service to God, but only to my prince. Let me advise you to take care what you put in the king's head, for you can never put it out again. I have often kneeled before him, sometimes three hours together, to persuade him from his will and appetite, but could not prevail. He is a prince of most royal courage, and hath a princely heart; for, rather than miss or want any part of his will, he will endanger one half of his kingdom."

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 <12> 13 14 15 16

Pictures for Reign of Henry the Eighth - (Continued) page 12

Old Greenwich
Old Greenwich >>>>
King Henry and his Council
King Henry and his Council >>>>
Francis I
Francis I >>>>
Louise reading of the Capture of the King
Louise reading of the Capture of the King >>>>
Rhodes in the Sixteenth Century
Rhodes in the Sixteenth Century >>>>
Boudoir of Anne Boleyn
Boudoir of Anne Boleyn >>>>
Residence of Anne Boleyn
Residence of Anne Boleyn >>>>
Entrance to Wolsey's College
Entrance to Wolsey's College >>>>
Queen Anne Boleyn
Queen Anne Boleyn >>>>
Entry of Anne Boleyn into London
Entry of Anne Boleyn into London >>>>
Henry VIII. dancing with Anne Boleyn.
Henry VIII. dancing with Anne Boleyn. >>>>
Antechamber in Hever Castle
Antechamber in Hever Castle >>>>
The Trial of Queen Catherine
The Trial of Queen Catherine >>>>
The Dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey
The Dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey >>>>
Wolsey at Leicester
Wolsey at Leicester >>>>
Ruins of Leicester Abbey
Ruins of Leicester Abbey >>>>
Thomas Cranmer
Thomas Cranmer >>>>
Private Marriage of Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII
Private Marriage of Anne Boleyn to Henry VIII >>>>
Cardinal Pole
Cardinal Pole >>>>
Place of Execution within the Tower of London
Place of Execution within the Tower of London >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About