Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/67

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Cardinal Wolsey and the Monasteries

be used by Dr. Allen and other my officers in the suppression of certain exile and smallmonasteries wherein neither God is served nor religion kept. These, with your gracious aid and assistance, converting the same to a far better use, I purpose," writes Wolsey to the king, "to annex unto your intended college of Oxford." He further assures Henry that he can disprove any such reports, saying, "I have not meant, intended, or gone about, nor also have willed mine officers to do anything concerning the said suppressions, but under such form and manner as is, and hath largely been, to the full satisfaction, recompense, and joyous contentation of any person, which hath had, or could pretend to have, right or interest in the same." [1]

Whatever may have been Wolsey's belief, at the time, in the integrity of his agents, there is little doubt that the reports about them were well founded. Subsequently, indeed, the cardinal practically admitted the truth of the charges suggested against those he employed in dealing with the religious. Fiddes in the "Life of Wolsey" says: "The revenues of the cardinal, from the privileges of his visitatorial power, of making abbots, of proving wills, granting faculties, licenses, and dispensations from his pensions and preferments, and other visible advantages, were thought by this time to be equal to the revenues of the crown. But in the methods of enriching him under the first article no one contributed so much as his chaplain, John Allen, LL.D., who, accompanied with a great train, and riding in a kind of perpetual progress from one religious house to another, is said to have drawn very large sums for his master's service from them."[2]

This Dr. Allen was, apparently, the object of great dread and intense dislike. He was an astute, hard man, and, like his fellow, Crumwell, had evidently been trained up in business habits to the detriment of his humanity or even honesty. He was afterwards made archbishop of Dublin, "where his imperiousness and rapacity brought him to a violent end."[3] The courtesy and consideration which the monks were likely to receive at the hands of Crumwell may be best

  1. State Papers, i. p. 154.
  2. Fiddes, Life of Wolsey, p. 351; Hall, ut sup., fol. 143.
  3. Brewer, Henry VIII., vol. ii. p. 270.