Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/69

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23
Cardinal Wolsey and the Monasteries

at Oxford for your favour towards his preferment."[1]Lastly, to allow him to illegally imprison some one who has offended him, Henry, earl of Northumberland, offers to give the cardinal "the chapel books of his late father," which he has been asked to bestow on the college. To induce him to make the bargain, the earl says he will let him have four antiphonals and graduals, "such as were not seen a great while," £200 in money, and a benefice of £100 for his college.[2]

At length, on the eve of the lord cardinal's fall, the king writes strongly as to the methods employed by Wolsey's agents and his own condemnation of them. The letters were called forth by a difference between Henry and his minister as to the appointment of an abbess to Wilton. The king had determined to favour the election, or what might be more truly called the appointment, of Dame Elinor Carey. She was supported by powerful friends, amongst whom was reckoned Anne Boleyn herself. The cardinal, probably with quite sufficient reason, and in distinct opposition to the royal wishes, approved of the choice of the former prioress, Dame Isabell Jordayn. Wolsey wrote to offer humble apologies on being informed of Henry's displeasure, and, in accepting the explanation, the king wrote: "As touching the help of religious houses to the building of your colleges, I would it were more, so it were lawfully; for my intent is none but that it should appear so to all the world, and the occasion of all their mumbling might be secluded and put away. For surely there is great murmuring of it throughout all the realm, both good and bad. They say not that all that is ill-gotten is bestowed on the college, but that the college is the cloak for covering all mischiefs. This grieveth me, I assure you, to hear it spoken of him whom I so entirely love. Wherefore methought I could do no less than thus friendly to admonish you. One thing more I perceive by your letter, which a little, methinks, toucheth conscience, and that is that you have received money of the exempts for having their old visitors. Surely this can hardly be with good conscience. For if they were good, why should you take money? and if they were ill, it were a sinful act. Howbeit, your legateship herein might

  1. Calendar, No. 3334.
  2. Ibid., No. 4603.