Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/70

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Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries

peradventure apud homines be a cloak, but not apud Deum.[1] In his reply the cardinal thanks his master "for the great zeal that (he) had for the purity and cleanness of my poor conscience, coveting and desiring that nothing should be by me committed or done, by the colour of my intended college or otherwise, that should not stand with God's pleasure and good conscience, or that thereby any just occasion might be given to any person to speak or judge ill of my doings. And albeit, as is contained in my other letters, I have acknowledged to have received of divers, my old lovers and friends, and other exempt religious persons, right loving and favourable aids towards the edifying of my said college, yet your majesty may be well assured that the same extendeth not to such a sum as some men doth untruly bruit and report, or that any part thereof, to my knowledge, thought, or judgment hath been corruptly or contrary to law taken or given." He then declares that henceforth he will take nothing "from any religious person being exempt or not exempt, so that thereby I trust, nor by any other thing hereafter unlawfully taken, your poor cardinal's conscience shall not be spotted, encumbered, or entangled." [2]

Notwithstanding Wolsey's excuses, Henry seems to have had just grounds for his suspicion that the cardinal had made use of his legatine authority to serve his own purposes. Popular report had spoken of immunities purchased by presents to the cardinal's colleges which were adverse to the king's interests, and which ought not to have been granted. The archbishop of Canterbury complained that, in raising the loan known as the "amicable grant," he had no power at all over the religious houses in his district.

  1. Lord Herbert, Henry VIII., p. 164; Fiddes, Wolsey, p. 379. Fuller, Church Hist., iii. p. 357, ed. 1845, says: "God's exemplary hand ought to be heeded in the signal fatality of such as by the cardinal were employed in this service. Five they were in number, two whereof challenging the field of each other, one was slain and the other hanged for it. A third throwing himself headlong into a well, perished wilfully. A fourth, formerly wealthy, grew so poor that he begged his bread. The fifth, Dr. Allen, one of especial note, afterwards archbishop of Dublin, was slain in Ireland. What became of the cardinal himself is notoriously known, and as for his two colleges, that in Ipswich (the emblem of its builder, soon up, soon down) presently vanished into private houses; whilst the other, Christchurch in Oxford, was fain to disclaim its founder."
  2. State Papers, i. p. 317.