Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/59

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Cardinal Wolsey and the Monasteries

gerous "If the king forsakes the pope," he added, "he will be in greater danger on this day two years than ever was Pope Julius."[1] A few days later he again wrote to Silvester de Gigliis, the bishop of Worcester and the king's ambassador to the pope. In this despatch he enclosed a communication, which was not to be handed to the pope till his nomination as cardinal was secure. The note thus sent made a further demand on the Holy See; it was that the Holy Father should appoint him legate as well as create him cardinal. Should this demand be refused, the agent's instructions were to press for special faculties empowering Wolsey to visit all monasteries in England; powers which were to apply even to such as were by law exempt from all except papal authority. If this last request were skilfully put, Wolsey considered that the pope could not refuse it. No pope, he added, ever had a better friend than Henry "if he comply with his desires." The letter concluded by saying that the cardinal was sending his agent 1O,OOO ducats propter liberalia, and with promises of great generosity to whomsoever brought him the cardinal's hat.[2] Leo X., however, was not to be coerced. He refused either to appoint the newly-created cardinal his legate in England, or to bestow upon him the extensive spiritual jurisdiction he desired.[3]

Two years later, in March 1518, the subject of the coveted legateship was revived. The king's secretary, Pace, informed Wolsey that his master had received a communication from the pope. To ask aid against the Turk four legates had been appointed to the European powers, and Cardinal Campeggio was accredited for that purpose to England. To this communication no reply was given for a long time. The English agent wrote to say that the pope was annoyed and astonished, and asked him "ten times a day" when he might expect an answer to his letters. At length Wolsey, after consultation with Henry, wrote to de Gigliis in an imperious tone. It was not customary in England, he said, to admit any foreign cardinal to exercise legatine powers in the country; still the king was willing, under two conditions, to receive Campeggio as papal envoy. Of these two conditions the first was that all the ordinary

  1. Calendar, ii. No. 763.
  2. Ibid., No. 780, Aug. i.
  3. Ibid., Nos. 967-8.