Page:Divorce of Catherine of Aragon.djvu/106

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The Divorce of Catherine of Aragon

Casalis that a sentence given in virtue of the decretal woukl have no effect, but would only cause the Pope's deposition.[1] Visibly and unpleasantly it became now apparent to Henry to what issues the struggle was tending. He had not expected it. Wolsey had told him that the Pope would yield; and the Pope had promised what was asked; but his promises were turning to vapour. Wolsey had said that the Emperor could not afford to quarrel with him. The King found that war with the Emperor in earnest was likely enough unless he himself drew back, and draw back he would not. The poor Pope was as anxious as Henry. He had spoken of resigning. He was near being spared the trouble. Harassed beyond his strength, he fell ill, and was expected to die; and before Wolsey there was now apparently the strange alternative either of utter disgrace or of himself ascending the chair of St. Peter as Clement's successor. His election, perhaps, was really among the chances of the situation. The Cardinals had not forgiven the sack of Rome. A French or English candidate had a fair prospect of success, and Wolsey could command the French interest. He had boundless money, and money in the Sacred College was only not omnipotent. He undertook, if he was chosen, to resign his enormous English preferments and reside at Rome, and the vacancy of his three bishoprics and his abbey would pour a cataract of gold into the Cardinals' purses. The Bulls for English bishoprics had to be paid for on a scale which startled Wolsey himself. Already archbishop of York, bishop of Winchester, and abbot of St. Albans, he had just been presented to Durham. He had paid 8,000 ducats to "expedite"

  1. Knight and Benet to Wolsey, Jan. 8, 1529.—Calendar, Foreign and Domestic, vol. iv. part 3, p. 2262.