Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/75

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Cardinal Wolsey and the Monasteries

done against heresy and for the Holy See," he granted him permission to suppress monasteries to the value of 8000 ducats, provided that there were not six religious in them and that the inmates found homes in other religious houses.[1]

At the same time also the king and cardinal told their agent, Casali, to suggest a measure of wholesale suppression, so that more cathedrals might be established with the monastic property. The question was mooted in the consistory, and, according to the agent, all present seemed ready to assent to the king's desire. "As it is a matter, however," he writes, "of the greatest importance, it should be granted with greater authority than could be done then. Power might be asked for the legates to decide which monasteries were best fitted to be erected into cathedrals, to arrange the revenues, &c., and then the whole referred to the pope for confirmation. Cardinal S. Quatuor and De Monte advise this, thinking it too important to be finally settled except in consistory, the pope being present, lest it should be thought that the legates were influenced by private interest." He concludes by asking to be informed of the exact nature of the king's requests.[2]

At the same time the writer of the above letter to the king sends another to the cardinal. He tells his master that he has "showed his Holiness the integrity of his intentions towards the Church." He has also pointed out the need of reformation in the English monasteries, "and the suitableness of the present time, when a legate had gone to England," so that Wolsey might not be suspected of acting for his own advantage. Casali thought that the pope was persuaded of the necessity of the erection of new cathedrals and the reform of monasteries; but "he considered for some time the alleged necessity of suppressing monasteries of any order." The writer added: "I am sure the matter will be managed with dexterity."[3] What this kind of "dexterity" was likely to be can be understood from a letter of Gregorio Casali, the brother of the former writer. In this he says that he "has told his brother the protonotary and Vincent (his nephew) that importunity is the only way to get anything from the pope."[4]

  1. Rymer, xiv. p. 249.
  2. Calendar, iv. No. 4886.
  3. Ibid., No. 4900.
  4. Ibid., No. 4956.