Pace, Richard (DNB00)

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PACE, RICHARD (1482?–1536), diplomatist and dean of St. Paul's, is commonly said to have been born in or near Winchester about 1482. His epitaph, as given in Weever, which states that he died in 1532, aged about 40, is clearly wrong. The place and time of his birth can be only inferred from his ‘De Fructu.’ There he tells us that he was brought up under the superintendence of Thomas Langton [q. v.], bishop of Winchester, in a ‘domestica schola’ which the bishop had established; and that his skill in music, as a boy, attracted the bishop's notice. Langton, who was bishop of Winchester from 1493 till 1500, made him his amanuensis, and in due time sent him to study at that ‘nursery of arts,’ Padua. Wood thinks it probable that, before going abroad, he studied at Queen's College, Oxford, of which Langton had been provost. Pace passed from Padua to Ferrara, where Erasmus, writing in 1521, speaks of having met him (Ep. dlxxxix.); and he also spent some time at Bologna, where he was encouraged to continue his studies by a legacy of 10l. a year for seven years left him by his old patron (Kennett, Manuscript Collections, xlv. 102). On his return to England he is said to have entered, or re-entered, Queen's College, Oxford. It was probably about this time that he took holy orders; for on 1 May 1510 he was made prebendary of South Muskham, Southwell.

Towards the close of 1509 Pace went in the retinue of Cardinal Bainbridge [q. v.], archbishop of York, to Rome. Bainbridge, like Langton, had been provost of Queen's, and hence, probably, his selection of Pace. When the cardinal perished by the hand of an assassin, on 14 July 1514, his rival at the papal court, Silvestro Gigli [q. v.], bishop of Worcester, was strongly, though it would seem unjustly, suspected of having instigated the murder. Pace exerted himself to the utmost to trace out the author of the crime, and thus exposed himself to Gigli's enmity. But his loyalty to his master was noticed with favour by Pope Leo X, who recommended him to the English king. On his return to England in the spring of 1515, he also brought with him a recommendation to Wolsey from Sir Richard Wingfield, brother of the ambassador at the court of Maximilian. Henry VIII made him his secretary (Wharton, De Decanis, p. 237).

In October 1515 Pace was sent by Wolsey on a difficult and somewhat dangerous mission. Henry had become jealous of the growing power of France. Her prestige had been greatly increased by her unexpected victory over the Swiss at the battle of Marignano (14 Sept.) The Swiss, sore at their repulse, might possibly be induced to attack afresh the forces of Francis I on their side of the Alps. Pace was entrusted with a limited amount of English gold and unlimited promises. There is an interesting letter from the English envoy to Wolsey, November 1515, from Zurich, in Cotton MS. Vitell. B. xviii. (printed in Planta's History of the Helvetic Confederacy, ii. 424 sqq.; and partly reprinted in Gent. Mag. 1815, pt. i. pp. 308–309). Pace's extant letters graphically describe the incidents of his mission: the insatiable greed of the Swiss, the indiscretion of Sir Robert Wingfield, the caprices and embarrassments of Maximilian, which combined to render abortive the scheme of wresting Milan from the French. His negotiations with the Swiss led more than once to his imprisonment, but in the midst of his cares he found time to compose his treatise, ‘De Fructu.’ It was written, as he tells us in the preface, in a public bath (hypocausto) at Constance, far from books or learned society. His friend Erasmus was offended for a time by a passage which he interpreted as a reflection on his poverty, but the cloud soon passed away. The people of Constance also found fault with some remarks on the drunkenness prevailing among them. On the title-page the author describes himself as ‘primarius secretarius’ of the king, a term which seems rather to denote the king's chief personal secretary than what we should now call a secretary of state (see Brewer, ii. 64). His tact and untiring energy were duly appreciated at home, and on his return in 1516 he was appointed secretary of state (Brewer, i. 140), besides being rewarded with benefices in the church.

On Sunday 3 Oct. 1518, when a peace between England and France was about to be ratified by a marriage contract between the French infant heir and the almost equally infantine Princess Mary of England, Pace made, before a gorgeous throng in St. Paul's Cathedral, ‘a good and sufficiently long oration,’ ‘De Pace,’ on the blessings of peace. After the death of Maximilian, on 12 Jan. 1519, Henry, Francis I, and Charles (now king of Castile) were all regarded as candidates for the imperial throne. With a view to sounding the electors, without appearing too openly in the matter, Henry sent Pace into Germany. Pace obtained audiences in June and July of the electoral princes, but gained no support for his master, and attributed his failure to his late arrival on the field. He suffered a severe attack of fever in Germany, which recurred in November, a few months after his return. His sovereign and Wolsey were satisfied with his exertions, and the deanery of St. Paul's was one of many rewards conferred upon him (25 Oct. 1519). He was prebendary of Bugthorpe, York, 1514; archdeacon of Dorset, 20 May 1514; treasurer of Lichfield 1516, resigned 1522. He was also made archdeacon of Colchester on 16 Feb. 1518–19, resigned in October of the same year; prebendary of Exeter on 21 March 1519; vicar of St. Dunstan's, Stepney, on 12 May 1519, resigned in 1527; prebendary of Finsbury, London, on 22 Oct. 1519; vicar of Llangwrig, Montgomery (this Pace?) 1520; prebendary of Combe, Salisbury, on 16 Dec. 1521; rector of Bangor, Flintshire (this Pace?) 1522 to 1527; dean of Exeter, 1522, resigned 1527. It is doubtful whether he was also rector of Barwick in Elmet, near Leeds, a benefice which was resined by a Richard Pace in 1519 (see Cox, History of Heath School, 1879, p. 1). He was undoubtedly dean of Salisbury for some years (Cal. of Letters and Papers, Henry VIII, vol. iv. pt. iii. p. 2699, and v. No. 364, under 1529 and 1531 respectively).

In April 1520 he was made reader in Greek at Cambridge, with a yearly stipend of 10l. (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, iii. 1540). There seems no evidence of his having discharged this office; Richard Croke was the actual lecturer during that year. There is little doubt, however, that it was largely owing to the representations made to the king by Pace and More that Greek chairs were now founded both at Cambridge and Oxford. Erasmus has preserved for us a lively scene in which one of the Oxford ‘Trojans,’ who resented the introduction of the new learning into the university, was playfully confuted in argument in Henry's presence by those two congenial spirits (Ascham, Scholemaster, ed. Mayor, p. 245).

But events more exciting than academic lectures soon occupied Pace. In June 1520 he was in attendance on his sovereign at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and when all the jousts and feasting were over, he again preached there on the blessings of peace. The strain of incessant work and excitement told upon him, and he wrote to Wolsey that he was ill both in mind and body. In the following year Pace translated into Latin Fisher's sermon preached in support of the papal bull against Luther, which was promulgated in London on 12 May 1521.

On 2 Dec. 1521 Leo X died. Wolsey aimed at the papal throne, and the king entered cordially into the plans for his minister's advancement. Accordingly Pace was at once despatched to further Wolsey's interest with the powerful republic of Venice. Henry said that he was ‘sending his very heart.’ Pace was a favourite with the Venetian cabinet. Their ambassador in London, Giustinian, mentions that he ‘had already received [probably on his return from Switzerland, some five years before] greater honours’ from the republic ‘than became his private capacity; that he had been admitted into the bucintor on Ascension Day’ (RAWDON BROWN, ii. 142). But, with all his adroitness, Pace could not effect the object of his mission. On 9 Jan. 1522 Cardinal Tortosa was elected as Adrian VI. Pace continued some time in Rome, but in the intervals of business sought rest, as he had done before, at Constance, by translating into Latin some short treatises of Plutarch. The book was printed at Venice in January 1522 (i.e. 1522–3), and a second and corrected edition appeared in the same year. In the preface to the later edition, dedicated to Campeggio, he speaks of the pestilence at Rome, and of his own infirm health.

Pace remained in Italy for more than a year. On the death of Adrian VI, on 14 Sept. 1523, he was at Venice, but was ordered to Rome to support once more Wolsey's candidature for the papacy; but Clement VII was elected, and Pace went home. He was welcomed by an ode from his friend Leland. Pace had soon fresh employment abroad. He had been commissioned to detach the republic of Venice from the side of France, in the conflict in which it was expected Francis I would soon be engaged with his powerful vassal, Charles, constable of Bourbon. Pace's conduct in these transactions shows to less advantage than before. Vanity and presumption betray themselves. Wolsey was believed to be jealous of his influence with the king, and to be keeping him away from court. It is possible that he was conscious of Wolsey's secret dislike. More probably his health was failing, and his mind was sharing the weakness of the body. In October 1525 the doge himself urged Pace's recall, on the ground of his ill-health (Rymer, xiv. 96).

No permanent improvement followed his return to England. On 21 Aug. 1526 coadjutors were appointed for him in his deaneries, and his mental malady increased. In 1527 he removed from the deanery of St. Paul's to Sion, near Twickenham; and letters written by him from that retreat to a foster-brother, John Pace, refute any notion of ill-usage at the hands of Wolsey (Milman, quoting Rymer, xiv. 96). Equally unfounded, according to Brewer (ii. 388 n.), is the statement, in 1529, of the imperial ambassador, Chapuys, that Pace was kept for two years in imprisonment by Wolsey, partly at the Tower, partly at Sion House. He was probably under some restraint owing to the nature of his malady, and he seems to have had enemies who used him unkindly in his days of depression. His friend Robert Wakefield, writing to the Earl of Wiltshire, speaks of the ill-treatment Pace endured at the hands of ‘an enemy of his and mine, or rather a common enemy of all.’ The letter was written after 1532, and the oppressor may have been Gardiner (Milman, p. 185).

A false rumour of Pace's death was current in 1532, and was generally accepted. George Lily, a contemporary, says that he died ‘paulo post Lupsetum,’ who died about the end of 1530. The true date of his death is 1536. On 20 July in that year a dispensation was granted by Cranmer to Richard Sampson, bishop of Chichester, to hold the deanery of St. Paul's in commendam, ‘obeunte nunc Ricardo Paceo, nuper illius ecclesiæ Decano’ (Letters and Papers, xi. 54, ed. Gairdner). Pace was buried in the chancel of St. Dunstan's, Stepney, near the grave of Sir Henry Colet. His epitaph, preserved by Weever, was not to be seen there when Lysons wrote in 1795.

Pace was an amiable and accomplished man. His skill in the three learned languages is praised by his contemporaries. He was the friend of More and of Erasmus, and Erasmus in his extant correspondence addresses Pace more frequently than any other correspondent.

Pace wrote: 1. ‘Richardi Pacei, invictissimi Regis Angliæ primarii secretarii, eivsque apvd Elvetios oratoris, De Frvctv qui ex doctrina percipitvr, Liber. In inclyta Basilea.’ The colophon has ‘Basileæ apud Io. Frobenivm, mense viijBRI. An. M.D. xvii.’ It is in small 4to, pp. 114. There are several prefatory addresses. The dedication to Dean Colet is at pp. 12–16. 2. ‘Oratio Richardi Pacei in pace nvperime composita et fœdere percusso: inter inuictissimum Angliæ regem, et Francorum regem Christianissimum in æde diui Pauli Londini habita.’ The colophon has ‘Impressa Londini. Anno Verbi incarnati. M.D.xviij. Nonis Decembris per Richardum Pynson regium impressorem.’ It has ten leaves, not numbered (described in the British Museum Catalogue as a 12mo). This was translated into French, and published the same year by Jehan Gourmont at Paris, with the title: ‘Oraisõ en la louenge de la Paix … pnuncee par Messire Richard Pacee A Londres,’ &c. (a copy is in the Grenville Library of the British Museum). 3. ‘Plvtarchi Cheronæi Opvscvla De Garrulitate de Anarchia … etc. … per eximium Richardum Paceum Angliæ oratorem elegantissime versa.’ The colophon has ‘Venetiis per Bernadinum de Vitalibus Venetum mense Ianuario M.D.xxii.’ A corrected edition of this, or rather of the treatise ‘De Auaritia’ in it, was issued later in the same year by the same printers. Both are thin quartos. The dedication of the first is to Cuthbert [Tonstall], bishop of London. 4. Latin translation of Fisher's sermon against Luther, printed in ‘Ioannis Fischerii … Opera. Wircebvrgi,’ 1597, pp. 1372 sq.

From 1514 to 1524 the despatches of Pace form no inconsiderable part of the state papers of this country. He is also said to have written a preface to ‘Ecclesiastes.’

[Brewer's Reign of Henry VIII, i. 112 sqq.; Milman's St. Paul's, 1869, pp. 179 sqq.; Wood's Athenæ, ed. Bliss, vol. i. col. 64; Kennett's Manuscript Collections, vol. xlv. (Lansdowne MS. 979, f. 102); Le Neve's Fasti; Wakefield's Kotser Codicis (1528?) leaf O. iv verso and leaf P. iii.; Baker MS. No. 35, in Univ. Library, Cambridge; Lupset's Epistolæ aliqvot Ervditorum, 1520 (Lupset was Pace's secretary); Jortin's Erasmus, i. 136 sqq.; Lily's Elogia, prefixed to Pauli Iovii Descriptiones, 1561, p. 96; Wharton, De Decanis, p. 237; Rawdon Brown's Four Years at the Court of Henry VIII, ii. 142, &c.; Ellis's Original Letters, i. 100, 113; Wilson's Preface to Translation of Fisher's Sermon in Fischerii Opp. 1597, p. 1374; Stow's Survey, ed. Strype, 1720, vol. ii. App. i. p. 97; Elyot's The Governour, ed. Croft, i. 168 n.]

J. H. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.213
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
23 i 14 Pace, Richard: after same year; insert rector of Barwick in Elmet, near Leeds, 4 Feb. 1519 (Duchy of Lancaster Records, in Public Record Office, communicated by the Rev. F. S. Colman);
23-27  omit It is doubtful whether . . . 1879, p. 1).