Abbildungen der Seite

confessed whatever was laid to their charge, but revealed some other circumstances, which placed the guilt of the queen in a most heinous light. This account so affected the king, that he shed tears. It now came to light that the conduct of the queen had been loose before marriage. She was tried, found guilty, and beheaded on Tower-hill, about seventeen months after she had been married to the king. The queen confessed the miscarriages of her former life before marriage, which had brought her to this fatal end; but protested to Dr. White, afterwards bishop of Winchester, that she took God and his angels to be her witnesses, upon the salvation of her soul, that she was guiltless of the charge of defiling her sovereign's bed. CATHERINE PARR, sixth and last queen to Henry VIII., was the daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, and was married first to Edward Burke, and secondly to John Neville, lord Latimer, whose widow she was when Henry married her. She was early educated in polite literature, as was the fashion of noble women at that time in England, and in her riper years she applied herself much to the reading and the study of the Holy Scriptures. She favoured the reformed religion, and was well skilled in theological controversy. The king was not well pleased with her religious conversation, and observed, "A good hearing it is, when women become such clerks! and a thing much to my comfort, to come in mine old age to be taught by my wife!" The bishop of Winchester falsely accused the queen of treason and heresy; and the king was prevailed upon to give a warrant to draw up articles to touch her life. The day and hour was appointed, when she was to be seized; but the design being accidentally discovered to her, she waited upon the king, who received her kindly, and purposely began a discourse about religion. She answered, "that women by their creation at first, were made subject to men; that they, being made after the image of God, as the women were after their image, ought to instruct their wives, who were to learn of them; and she was much more to be taught of his majesty, who was a prince of such excellent learning and wisdom." "Not so, by St. Mai-y," said the king, "you have become a doctor, Kate, able to instruct us; and not to be instructed by us." To which she replied, "that it seemed he had much mistaken her freedom in arguing with him, since she did it to engage him in discourse, to amuse this painful time of his infirmity, and that she might receive profit by his learned discourse, in which last point she had not missed her aim, always referring herself in these matters, as she ought to do, to his majesty." "And is it even so, sweetheart?" said the king, "then we are perfect friends again." The day which had been appointed for carrying her to the Tower being fine, the king took a walk in the garden, and sent for the queen. As they were together, the lord .chancellor, who was ignorant of the reconciliation, came with the guards. The king stepped aside to him, and after a little discourse, was heard to call him, " Knave, aye, arrant knave, a fool, a beast;" and bid him presently avaunt out of his sight. The queen not knowing on what errand they came, endeavoured, with gentle words, to mollify the king's anger. "Ah ! poor soul," said the king, "thou little knowest how ill he deserves this at thy hands; on my word, sweet-heart, he has been toward thee an arrant knave; and so let him go." The king, as a mark of his affection, left her a legacy of 4000/. besides her jointure. She was afterwards married to Sir Thomas Seymour, lord admiral of England, and uncle to Edward VI., but she lived a very short time, and that unhappily, with this gentleman. She died in 1548, in child-bed; though, as some writers observe, not without a suspicion of poison, to make way for Seymour's marriage with the princess Elizabeth.' Queen Catherine Parr, was the authoress of several pious tracts.

THOMAS WOLSEY, was born at Ipswich in Suffolk, in 1471. He was not the son of a butcher as reported, but descended from a poor family, and he entered so early at Oxford, that he was Bachelor of Arts at fourteen, and consequently called the boy bachelor. He became fellow of Magdalen college, and exchanged the care of Magdalen scbool for the tuition of the sons of the Marquis of Dorset. He obtained the rectory of Lymington in Somersetshire, but here he was so irregular, that he was set in the stocks for being drunk on a Sunday, by Paulet, a punishment severely visited on the magistrate by a long imprisonment, when the offending clergyman was in power. After the death of Dorset he was noticed by Dean, archbishop of Canterbury, and became chaplain to the king, by whom he was entrusted with the negociation of his marriage with Margaret of Savoy. He used such despatch in this business, that he was rewarded with the deanery of Lincoln. The death of Henry VII., proved no obstacle to his further promotion; for Fox, bishop of Winchester, fearing to be supplanted in the favour of the new king, Henry VIII., by the earl of Surrey, introduced Wolsey to him, as a person well qualified to obtain his confidence. He acted his part so skilfully in this situation, enlivening by his unrestrained gaiety the young king's hours of pleasure, and introducing at proper times matters of business, in which he insinuated into his mind jealousies of the authority of his father's ministers, that he shortly acquired the first place in the royal favour, and became uncontroled minister. His advancement was rapid. He was brought, in 1510, into the privy council, was made reporter of the star-chamber, and registrar, and afterwards chancellor of the garter; ecclesiastical preferments were profusely accumulated upon him, of which the principal were the bishoprics of Tournay and Lincoln in 1518, and the archbishopric of York in 1514. In 1515, the pope, in order to secure in his interest a person so high in his master's good graces, elevated him to the dignity of cardinal. Naturally proud and ostentatious, it is no wonder that this tide of fortune carried him beyond the bounds of moderation. No English ecclesiastic ever took so much state upon himself. He had a train of 800 servants, many of whom were knights or gentlemen. Even some of the nobility sent their sons into his family for education, and did not disdain to pay their court by suffering them to act as his menials. His equipage and furniture were of the most costly kind; and he not only wore silk and gold in his own habits, but decorated his saddles and the trappings of his horses with them. A tall priest bore before him a silver pillar surmounted with a cross; and his cardinal's hat was carried by a person of rank, and in the king's chapel was reposited nowhere but upon the altar. It was the best part of his magnificence that he was a generous patron of men of letters, and a promoter of learning as well by public institutions, as by private bounties. His power and self-consequence, were much enhanced by being nominated the pope's legate a latere, which gave him legal pre-eminence over the archbishop of Canterbury, and supreme authority in all church aftairs. He had already usurped upon the primate Warham's dignity, by bearing his cross aloft in the province of Canterbury. He now complained of Warham's presumption for styling himself in a letter, " Your loving brother;" which offence being mentioned to that respectable prelate, he said, " Know ye not that this man is drunk with too much prosperity V Warham soon after, tired of contention, resigned his office of high chancellor, to which Wolsey was appointed in December, 1515. To these favours were added the confidence of the king, and consequently the disposal of all places of trust and power in the kingdom. Thus, at the head of affairs, he governed the nation at his pleasure, and that he might confirm more strongly his ascendancy over the king, he withdrew his attention from public affairs, and fanning his pleasures, administered liberally to the gratification of his most licentious desires. Absolute at home, where his expenses exceeded the revenues of the crown, he was flattered by foreign princes, and according to his caprice or avarice, the support of England promised to favour either the views of France, or of Germany, or of the pope. His disappointment in his application for the popedom after Leo X., in which he was deceived by the emperor, was followed by the displeasure of his master, who in the matter of his divorce, expected from him an obsequious assistant. The cardinal, afraid of the pope and the king, wished to stand neuter, but Henry, indignant at this, stripped him of his honours in 1529. At the same time he was ordered to quit York-place, a palace which he had built in London, and which afterwards became a royal residence under the name of Whitehall. All his rich furniture and plate was seized to the king's use, and he was directed to retire to Esher, where he possessed a seat as bishop of Winchester. Wolsey was stunned with the blow, which fell upon him as on one who had no resource of magnanimity within himself, and whose loftiness of mind was merely the result of high fortune; and on a gleam of returning favour, conveyed in a gracious message from the king, accompanied with a ring, he was so much transported with joy, that being on horseback when the messenger met him, he threw himself on his knees in the dirt, and in that posture received the tokens of his master's remembrance. But in that servile age such meanness was universal. Notwithstanding this fit of capricious fondness, the king ordered him to be indicted in the star-chamber; and then abandoned him to the rigour of the parliament. The House of Lords drew up an accusation against him, consisting of 44 articles, which being sent to the Commons, Thomas Cromwell, whom the cardinal, from a low condition in his service, had raised to an elevated station, defended him with so much vigour, that his enemies were baffled. They therefore adopted the measure of indicting him upon the statute of provisors, passed in the reign of Richard II., which forbade the procuring of bulls from Rome, and which he had violated by obtaining the legatine power; and though he had exercised it with full approbation of the king, it was made the ground of a sentence, putting him out of the king's protection, forfeiting all his lands and goods, and declaring him liable to imprisonment. After the intended effect was produced, of making him resign to the king, Yorkplace with all its furniture, a very full pardon was granted him for past offences of every kind, and the revenues of his archbishoprics, with part of his goods, were restored to him. In 1550, he was ordered to remove to his diocese of York, where he passed part of the year at his mansion of Cawood, exercising hospitality, and ingratiating himself by his assumed affability with the neighbouring gentry. For what reason the king renewed his hostility towards this humiliated minister, and resolved to proceed to extremities with him, is not very apparent; but his determination to keep no measures with the pope, and to remove every obstacle against an open breach with the see of Rome, is alleged as the most probable cause. The earl of Northumberland received an order to arrest the cardinal for high treason, and conduct him to London for trial. This waa executed in the end of October, and on November 1st, he set out under custody upon his final journey. Indisposition of body, conspiring with mental distress, reduced him to such a state of debility, that he was obliged to stop at Worcester, where he wa* honourably received in the abbey. The pathetic language of Shakspeare represents him as saying on entrance,

O father abbot,
An old man, broken with the storms of state,
Is come to lay his weary bones among ye,
Give him a little earth for charity!

His disorder gaining upon him, a few days brought him to his end, in the sixtieth year of his age. He expired 29th of Nov. 1530, and a few hours before his death he exclaimed in agony, "had I served my God with the same zeal that I have served the king, he would not have forsaken me thus in my old age." The history of Wolsey shows, in a striking degree, the vicissitudes of fortune. His private character was so depraved, that he deserved little of the favour of his master. It has been truly observed, that few ever fell from so high a station with less crimes objected against them. It must be acknowledged that he was a man of abilities, well acquainted with the learning of the times, sagacious as a politician, and well versed in the intrigues of courts. Notwithstanding, however, his vices and his ambition, his schemes for the promotion of literature were noble. He not only founded seven lectures at Oxford, but Christ-Church owes its greatness to his munificence. He also founded a school at Ipswich. Among his honours he possessed the commission of pope's legate, a latere, he was abbot of St. Alban's, bishop of Winchester and Durham, and he held in farm the dioceses of Bath, Worcester, and Hereford.—See Howard's "Wolsey and his Times."

WILLIAM PAULET, marquis of Winchester, one of the courtiers of Henry VIII. At a time when religious opinions were liable to persecution, he retained his places, and when asked how he had so securely weathered the storm, he replied, "By being a willow and not an oak." He died 1572, aged 97.

SIR ANTHONY DENNY, one of the gentlemen of the privy chamber, to king Henry VIII., was the second son of Thomas Denny, of Cheshunt in the county of Hertford, esquire, by Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Mannock. He was educated at St Paul's school, London, and at St. John's college, Cambridge. Henry VIII. made him one of the gentlemen of the bed chamber, groom of the stole, a privy counsellor, and likewise conferred on him the honour of knighthood. He also gave him many rich estates. When Henry VIII. was on his death bed, he faithfully reminded him of his approaching end, and exhorted him to raise his thoughts to Heaven, to repent of his sins and to beseech God for mercy through Jesus Christ. Henry appointed him one of the executors of his will, and one of the counsellors of his son and successor Edward

« ZurückWeiter »