Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/71

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Cardinal Wolsey and the Monasteries

"They must be left," he writes, "to your grace (Wolsey), and unless they contribute to the loan according to the value of their benefices the clergy will complain. Had the religious houses not been exempted, but appeared before me, the loan derived from my diocese would be much greater."[1] The king likewise complains with much bitterness that among the religious are found the most strenuous and successful opponents of this enforced benevolence. "These same religious houses," he writes to the cardinal, "would not grant to their sovereign in his necessity, not by a great deal so much as they have to you for the building of your college. These things bear shrewd appearance, for, except they were accustomed to have some benefit, they, and no other I ever heard of, have used to show that kindness, tam enim est aliena ab eis ipsa humanitas." He concludes by urgently requiring Wolsey to look well into the conduct of those to whom he has entrusted this " meddling with religious houses."[2]

By 1527 Wolsey had conceived a desire to further emulate the example of Bishop Wykeham and establish a school, which should feed his foundation at Oxford, as that at Winchester had fed New College. For this purpose further funds were imperatively necessary. The success of his previous scheme having been secured by the dissolution of various monasteries, his agents, who had gone to Rome on the divorce question, were instructed to seek additional powers in the same direction. The cardinal at this time appears to have hesitated at nothing to carry out his designs. In the summer of this year, 1527, he had been in France, where he made three treaties with the king. It was agreed that, during the captivity of the pope, no bull or brief should be received in either country; that, with the consent of Henry, the cardinal of York should have control of all ecclesiastical affairs in England, and that Francis I. should take the like power in his dominions. Wolsey also proposed to ask Clement VII. to make him his vicar-general, as long as he was a prisoner, and to entrust him with supreme authority. In fact, according to the tenor of the bull, written ready for the pope's seal and signature, the cardinal

  1. Calendar, iv. p. 2010.
  2. Brewer, Henry VIII., ii. p. 283; Fiddes, Collect., p. 139.