Page:Henry VIII and the English Monasteries.djvu/77

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Cardinal Wolsey and the Monasteries

already been dissolved on his own authority. "The cardinal further demands," writes Jacobo Salviati to Campeggio, "the union to his college of three monasteries, which are not mentioned in the other bulls. This, too, shall be granted, although his Holiness could have wished that it had not been requested of him. But as it is his most reverend lordship who makes the demand, and for such a purpose, he cannot refuse him, as the elect (bishop) of Bellun is to write to him at greater length, the elect being here and soliciting this 'expedition' with much importunity."[1]

In the beginning of the following year, 1529, Pope Clement VII. fell ill. It was reported, and for the time believed, that he was dead. Upon this the king determined once more to further, as far as he possibly could, the election of Wolsey to the popedom.[2] In this design he directed his agent to bribe the cardinals, and in his efforts he was seconded by Wolsey himself. The latter writes to Gardiner, his old secretary, on February 7th: "When all things be well considered—absit verbum jactantiœ—there shall be none found that can and will set remedy in the aforesaid things, but only the Cardinal Ebor." He adds, that he wishes his agent to spare no expense in this matter, but to use all his power, promises, and labour to bring it to pass.[3] It is certain also from the king's instructions that it was seriously contemplated, in the event of the electors refusing the cardinal of York, to set up an anti-pope and create a schism.[4] The emperor foresaw this, and when expressing his regret at the illness of Clement, added: "His death might create a schism in Christendom."[5]

The pope recovered. Henry and Wolsey were thus again disappointed in their plans. The bulls which had been obtained in the autumn of the previous year, through the persistent importunity of the English agents, had not been altogether according to Wolsey's liking. He desired the removal of the clause "de consensu quorum interest" in the permission for the union of various monasteries. The agent had deliberately, and on his own authority, changed "less than twelve monasteries" into "less or more

  1. Calendar, iv. No. 4920.
  2. Ibid., No. 5270.
  3. Ibid., No. 5272.
  4. Pocock, Records, ii. p. 598. See Lewis, ut supra, Introd., p. cxxxv. et seq.
  5. Calendar, iv. No. 5301.