Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/62

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Henry VIII. and the English Monasteries

gious orders to greater fervour. Unfortunately his ambitious schemes soon involved him in a conflict with them. Those who might tolerate criticism, and even welcome wholesome correction, could hardly be expected to look with approval, or even indifference, on total extinction.

At the close of 1523 the cardinal had determined to rival other great churchmen as a founder of an Oxford college. The example of Waynfleet and Wykeham, and the more recent establishment at Cambridge, through the exertions of the venerable Bishop Fisher, impelled him to add the glory of "founder" to the titles he already possessed. At this time he was engaged on the erection of magnificent palaces, and he had as much difficulty in supplying funds for these ambitious undertakings as in keeping his master, the king, from constant beggary.

To the other emoluments, ecclesiastical and lay, which Wolsey possessed, and in addition to the pensions he received from foreign countries in 1521, he added the revenues of the abbatial office of St. Albans. He was away from England when Abbot Ramridge died in November. On the 12th of that month the monks appeared before the king at Windsor to request permission to proceed to the election of a successor. Henry made them a speech, about which, on account of "its princely and godly motion," Secretary Pace wrote to Wolsey the following day. Whilst actually engaged on this letter a communication was brought to him from the cardinal "touching the monastery of St. Albans." "And after I had perused," writes Pace, "and diligently debated with myself the contents of the same, I went straight to the king's grace, with your grace's letters, to him directed, in the same matter. And I found him ready to go out a shooting; and yet, that notwithstanding, his grace happily commanded me to go down with him by his secret way into the park; whereby I had as good commodity as I could desire to advance your grace's petition as much as the case required. And the king read your grace's letters himself, and made me privy to the contents of the same. And the few words his Highness spoke to me in this cause were these: 'By God! my lord cardinal hath sustained many charges in this his voyage and expended £1O,OOO,' which I did affirm and show his grace of good congruence, he oweth you some recompence. Whereunto his grace answered