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THE LIFE OF CARDINAL WOLSEY ***




Produced by MWS, Christopher Wright and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)






[Illustration: QUEEN ANNE BOLEYN.

ENGRAVED BY E. SCRIVEN, AFTER

THE ORIGINAL PICTURE BY HOLBEIN.

_London, Published Jan. 1, 1825, by Harding, Triphook & Lepard._]




THE

LIFE

OF

CARDINAL WOLSEY.

BY

GEORGE CAVENDISH,

HIS GENTLEMAN USHER.

FROM THE ORIGINAL AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT.

WITH

NOTES AND OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS,

BY

SAMUEL WELLER SINGER, F.S.A.

[Illustration]

_SECOND EDITION._

LONDON:

PRINTED BY THOMAS DAVISON,

FOR HARDING AND LEPARD, PALL MALL EAST.

MDCCCXXVII.




[Illustration]


TO HIS GRACE

THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE,

THIS REVIVAL OF A MOST INTERESTING

SPECIMEN OF COTEMPORARY BIOGRAPHY,

BY HIS COLLATERAL ANCESTOR

GEORGE CAVENDISH,

IS WITH PERMISSION DEDICATED

BY HIS GRACE'S OBLIGED AND

OBEDIENT HUMBLE SERVANT,

S. W. SINGER.




PREFACE.


Perhaps few periods of English history are more remarkable than that
which comprised the fortunes of Wolsey; a period which had to boast
the most illustrious potentates who have ever filled the thrones of
Europe. The age of Henry was also that of Leo, of Charles, and of
Francis: - a period big with political events of singular interest: - the
captivity of the French monarch and of the Roman Pontiff, - the
sacking of Rome, - the divorce of Queen Katherine, - and the train of
circumstances which led the way to the Reformation, - Events in which
Wolsey's hand may be often traced, and in some of which he was a
principal actor. The record of his life and its vicissitudes, - his
humble origin - his towering fortunes, and his sudden fall, - could not
well fail of interesting even in ordinary hands: - But he has been
extremely fortunate in his biographer. The narrative contained in the
following pages, of course, only affords a glance at these events; it
is not the work of a professed historiographer, but the production
of a simple-hearted and honest eyewitness of what he relates. George
Cavendish was the faithful attendant of this princely prelate in his
triumphant as well as in his declining fortunes: - One who failed him
not in his adversity, but shed over his fallen master the tears of
affection, performed for him the last sad offices of humanity, and then
in his retirement sat down with honest indignation to vindicate him
from slander, and to transmit to future ages a faithful picture of his
life, with a sacred regard to truth.

It is this circumstance which renders his work so much more interesting
than any thing of a similar kind with which I am acquainted. We are
here occasionally introduced to the secret recesses of the private
life of one of the most distinguished statesmen the world ever saw; of
one who not only divided the sway of empire with his monarch, but who
governed or influenced the conduct alternately of France and Spain;
whose power for a time was almost unlimited, and whose magnificence has
never been exceeded.

There is a sincere and impartial adherence to truth, a reality in
Cavendish's narrative, which bespeaks the confidence of his reader, and
very much increases his pleasure. It is a work without pretension, but
full of natural eloquence, devoid of the formality of a set rhetorical
composition, unspoiled by the affectation of that _classical manner_
in which all biography and history of old time was prescribed to be
written, and which often divests such records of the attraction to be
found in the conversational style of Cavendish. There is an unspeakable
charm in the naïveté of his language - his occasional appeals to his
reader - and the dramatic form of his narration, in which he gives the
very words of the interlocutors, and a lively picture of their actions,
making us as it were spectators of the scenes he describes. Indeed
our great poet has literally followed him in several passages of his
King Henry VIII. merely putting his language into verse. Add to this
the historical importance of the work, as the only sure and authentic
source of information upon many of the most interesting events of
that reign; from which all historians have largely drawn, (through
the secondary medium of Holinshed and Stowe, who adopted Cavendish's
narrative,) and its intrinsic value need not be more fully expressed.

Upon the death of the Cardinal his master, Cavendish relates that the
king gave him the same appointment, of Gentleman Usher, in his service,
which he had filled in the household of Wolsey: yet at the close of
his work he tells us that he returned to his own home in the country.
Whether his retirement was only temporary, or whether he then took his
final leave of the court, we have no exact means of ascertaining. In
his poems he does not mention having served the king, yet dwells upon
his faithful services to the Cardinal; but the information he displays
upon the principal subsequent events of the reign of Henry, and that
of Edward VI. seems to lead to the conclusion that he was a spectator
of them. In retirement he would have hardly been able to obtain
the acquaintance with public affairs which his poems show that he
possessed. The circumstance of his sitting down to write in the reign
of Philip and Mary[1], "to eschewe all ociosite," would seem to point
to that as the period of his retirement, or otherwise his conscience
had long slumbered before it accused him that his "tyme he spent in
idelnes."

The fate of this Life of Wolsey has been indeed singularly unfortunate;
after remaining in manuscript nearly a century, it was first printed in
1641, for party purposes, but in such a garbled form as to be hardly
recognized for the same work, abridgment and interpolation having
been used with an unsparing hand. Its author too had been robbed of
his literary honours, which were bestowed upon his younger and more
fortunate brother Sir William Cavendish, until the year 1814, when
his cause was ably advocated in a Dissertation by the Rev. Joseph
Hunter, F.A.S. author of the History of Hallamshire. I am indebted
to the kind intervention of my friend J. H. Markland, Esq. for the
privilege of reprinting that Dissertation, which the reader will find
at the commencement of the volume, and will, I doubt not, be gratified
in the perusal. It affords the best example of clear argumentative
solution of a literary paradox from circumstantial evidence with which
I am acquainted, at the same time it is so skilfully interwoven with
curious matter bearing upon the question, as not only to divest it of
the sterile character with which disquisitions of the same kind from
less able hands have been marked, but to render it very interesting. I
owe Mr. Hunter my best acknowledgements for the ready manner in which
the favour was conferred, and I look to have the thanks of those, who
are yet unacquainted with it, for uniting this tract with the work of
George Cavendish, from which it should never again be disjoined. For
all that relates to the Life of Wolsey and its author, therefore, I
shall beg leave to refer to this source of information; and it will
only remain for me to give an account of the present edition.

Having purchased two valuable ancient manuscript copies of the work,
one of them from among the duplicates of the late Duke of Norfolk's
library[2], I conceived that the text might be very much improved
by collation of these and the several manuscripts in private and
public libraries. Upon naming the design to my friend Mr. Douce, he
mentioned to me a very curious copy in the possession of Mr. Lloyd,
which contained some verses apparently by the same author, and which
from this circumstance might have some claim to be considered the
author's original autograph. Upon application to that gentleman, he,
with a liberality which calls for my warmest thanks, immediately
placed the manuscript in my hands. I at once saw that its pretensions
were undoubted, and that it contained not only a more valuable text
of the Life, but a series of poems, evidently in the hand writing of
the author, with occasional corrections and interlineations, and thus
attested: - "_per le Auctor_ G. C." in numerous places. On the first
blank leaf is written in the same hand with the body of the manuscript,
"_Vincit qui patitur_ q^d G. C. _Maxima vindicta paciencia_;" and then
"Cavendysh de Cavendysh in Com. Suff. gent." and beneath, "I began
this booke the 4. day of Novemb^r." On the reverse of the same leaf is
another Latin sentence and the motto of Cavendish, _Cavendo tutus_.
On a succeeding blank leaf is the name of a former possessor, C.
Rossington[3], under which is written in another hand, "i. e. Clement
Rossington of Dronfield, Gent. whose son Mr. James Rossington gave
me this MS." It is remarkable that it should have passed into the
possession of a person in Derbyshire. Those who have made Sir William
Cavendish the author would have seized upon this circumstance with
avidity as lending colour to their assertion, and would probably have
argued that the initials G. C. by which _George_ Cavendish has attested
it as his production in so many places, were intended to designate
_Gulielmus_ Cavendish. Mr. Hunter has, however, settled the question
beyond the possibility of dispute; it is sufficient to remark here that
Sir William Cavendish died in 1557, and that this manuscript affords
unequivocal evidence that the writer survived Queen Mary, who died at
the close of 1558. Unfortunately the first leaf of the text of the Life
is wanting. At the end of the Author's Address to his Book, with which
the poems conclude, is the date of the completion of the manuscript,
which will be found on the plate of fac-similes:

_Finie et compilé le xxiiij jour de Junij._

_A^o. Regnor. Philippi Rex & Regine Marie iiij^{to}. & v^{to}._

_Per le Auctor G. C._

Novus Rex, nova lex, Nova sola Regina, probz. pene ruina.

This invaluable acquisition made me at once change my plan, and
proceed earnestly to the work of transcription; feeling convinced
that all other manuscripts were, in comparison, of little authority,
I determined to follow this, as most entitled to confidence. Upon
comparing it with my own manuscript copies and the text of Dr.
Wordsworth, I found that it supplied the chasm which, for some unknown
reason, is found in all the manuscripts that have come under my notice.
The suppressed passages contain the description of a boar hunt, and
an account of the libels written against Wolsey by the French[4]; the
imperfection is generally indicated by a blank space being left, which
in Mr. Douce's MS. is accompanied by a note saying, "in this vacante
place there wanteth copy." It was at first my intention to give various
readings, but upon closer comparison I found this would have
been impracticable, because the text, as it appears in Dr. Wordsworth's
edition and in the common manuscript copies, has been almost entirely
rewritten; changes in the structure of the phrase and verbal
discrepancies occur in almost every line. Under such circumstances
I was obliged to content myself with indicating the most important
variations, I mean such as in any way affected the meaning of the text.
I have however availed myself of my own manuscript copies, or of Dr.
Wordsworth's edition, to supply an occasional word or phrase which
seemed necessary to the sense of a passage, but have always carefully
distinguished these additions, by enclosing them in brackets.

It is not easy to account for the extraordinary difference in the
language of the original autograph copy and the later manuscripts, by
any other means than a supposition that the copyist thought he could
improve the style of Cavendish, which is indeed sometimes involved and
obscure, but many of the discrepancies have clearly arisen from the
difficulty of reading his hand-writing, and the substitutions most
frequently occur where the original manuscript is the most illegible.
It is scarcely probable that Cavendish wrote another copy, for he was
already, as he himself says, old, and probably did not survive the date
of the completion of this MS. above a year. There are no additions of
the least importance in the more recent copies; the few which occur
have been carefully noted.

Of the Poems, to which I have given the title of METRICAL VISIONS, no
other copy is known to exist. They have little or no merit as verses,
being deficient in all the essential points of invention, expression
and rhythm, and it is to be regretted that Cavendish, who knew so well
how to interest us by his artless narration of facts in prose, should
have invoked the muse in vain. He seems to have been sensible of his
deficiency, and says very truly

"I must write plain, colours I have none to paint."

In the former limited impression these Metrical Visions were printed,
but as they have little in them to interest the general reader, it has
been deemed advisable to give only a specimen in the Appendix to the
present edition; the omission enabling the publishers to compress the
work into one volume, and thereby to make it more generally accessible.

I have ventured to take the spelling and pointing into my own hands;
but in no instance have I presumed to alter the disposition of the
text. I have reason to think that the judicious reader will not be
displeased at what is done in this respect; it is no more than what
has been effected for Shakspeare and other of our ancient classics.
The orthography of Cavendish, as the specimen given from his poems
will evince, was exceedingly uncouth and unsettled; retaining it could
have answered no good end; those who wish to have recourse to the work
for philological purposes would most assuredly prefer the authority of
manuscripts; and the disguise of old spelling might have deterred many
from reading this interesting narrative, to whom it will now afford
pleasure.

The remaining portion of the volume comprises a very curious Memoir
of Queen Anne Boleyn by George Wyatt, grandson of Sir Thomas Wyatt,
the poet, containing some particulars relating to that unfortunate
lady not elsewhere noted. It must be considered a valuable supplement
to the notice of her contained in the Life of Wolsey. In the Appendix
is also given a Parallel between Wolsey and Laud, written at the time
when Cavendish's work first issued from the press; though its purpose
was to excite prejudice against Laud, it is not deficient in interest,
and is conducted with tolerable temper. The original being of extreme
rarity, and of sufficient brevity, I have thought that it would be an
agreeable addition to this work. The few letters and papers which are
added were necessary illustrations of passages in the text and notes,
and though some of them are to be found in books readily accessible,
they are not placed in connexion with the work to which they relate
without sufficient reasons, which the reader will find stated in the
preliminary notices; it is therefore unnecessary to repeat them in
this place. A few notes on the Life of Wolsey which have been adopted
from Dr. Wordsworth's edition are distinguished by the letter W.

It is not generally known that a very curious edition of this Life was
printed by the zealous biographer of Wolsey, Mr. Grove of Richmond,
as long since as the year 1761. He had first adopted the old spurious
copy, which he printed in the form of notes to his own work in 1742-4;
but afterwards meeting with a manuscript, he was so indignant upon
finding by comparison the forgeries and scandalous interpolations of
the old editions, that he printed off a small impression with a preface
and notes; but it is one of the rarest of English books. For the loan
of this curious volume[5] I am indebted to the kindness of Richard
Heber, Esq. M.P. for the University of Oxford, whose liberality,
in imparting the inexhaustible treasures of the richest and most
comprehensive library ever formed by one individual, it has been my
good fortune frequently to experience.

My excellent and highly valued friend Francis Douce, Esq. with his
accustomed kindness, threw open to me his valuable library, and placed
in my hands a very curious manuscript[6] of this Life, embellished with
spirited drawings in outline of some of the principal occurrences,
from which three prints have been accurately copied as appropriate
embellishments of the book. With these advantages, I have reason to
hope that this edition will be found in all respects worthy of the
singular merit of the work, and of the auspices under which it goes
forth to the world.

BOX HILL,

_June_ 1, 1825.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] See the Life of Wolsey, page 102, where he speaks of King Philip
_now_ our sovereign lord.

[2] The Norfolk MS. is defective at the beginning, one leaf being lost,
which contained a portion of the prologue; there is consequently no
title to the work. It has a blank leaf at the place where the _lacunæ_
usually occur in the manuscript copies. The hand-writing is of the
reign of Elizabeth, and the text corresponds very nearly with that of
Dr. Wordsworth: the orthography is not the same. This MS. is in its
original binding, and has the name of its ancient possessor, _Henrie
Farleigh_, stamped on each cover. The other manuscript copy in my
possession is carefully written, but apparently of more recent date; it
has the following title in German text hand prefixed:

The Life of Master
Thomas Wolsey
Archbishoppe of Yorke
and Cardinall
written by
George Cavendish
his Gentleman Usher.

The same chasm is marked in this MS. as in the former, two pages and
a half being left blank, but the imperfect passages at the conclusion
of the hunt, and at the commencement of the relation concerning the
libels on Wolsey, are completed by a few words as they now stand in
Dr. Wordsworth's text. The variations between these copies are chiefly
literal; the orthography is in many respects different.

[3] Mr Hunter informs me that Clement Rossington the elder, who must
be here alluded to, died in 1737. He acquired the manor of Dronfield
by his marriage with Sarah Burton, sister and co-heir of Ralph Burton,
of Dronfield, Esq. who died in 1714. The father of Ralph and Sarah
Burton was Francis Burton, also of Dronfield, who was aged twenty-five
at the visitation of Derbyshire, 1662, and the mother, Helen, daughter
and heir of Cassibelan Burton, son of William Burton the distinguished
antiquary and historian of Leicestershire. There is good reason to
believe that the Rossingtons were not likely to _purchase_ a book of
this curiosity, and it is therefore more than probable that it once
formed part of the library of William Burton, other books which had
been his having descended to them.

[4] Vide pp. 181, 182, 183, and for another addition pp. 166, 167, 168;
in the present edition the passages are included in brackets.

[5] Bound up in the same volume with the Life of Wolsey, in Mr. Heber's
copy, are the following tracts bearing upon the subject; of which a
very limited impression appears to have been made, as they are all
equally rare.

Two Dialogues in the Elysian Fields between Cardinal Wolsey and
Cardinal Ximenes, by Mr. Grove of Richmond. London, Printed for the
Author by D. Leach, 1761.

A Short Historical Account of Sir William Cavendish, Gentleman Usher
to Cardinal Wolsey, and of his Lady Elizabeth (afterwards Countess
of Shrewsbury) and their descendants. This has no title page. The
Observations and Appendix to the Life of Wolsey appear to have been
annexed, as the paging is continued.

Six Appendices to a Short History of King Henry VIII. which he had
previously published. These have no general title, and are separately
paged.

A Short Examination into some Reflections cast on the Memory of
Cardinal Wolsey, by the Author of the Life of Sir Thomas More, in the
Biographia Britannica. 1761.

The Life of Robert Wolsey, of Ipswich, Gentleman, Father of the famous
Cardinal. 1761.

Grove has divided his edition into sections for the purpose of
reference. His text has now nothing to recommend it, though it was then
a laudable undertaking: he occasionally shows that he could not very
well decipher his MS.; he puts _hinnocrisse_ for _hippocrass_ at p. 71,
and at p. 76 _peeres_ for _speres_, with many other palpable mistakes.
Grove's ingenuity, though not his ingenuousness, may be admired; for
finding in his manuscript the work attributed to _George_ Cavendish, he
converts it to _Gu._ Cavendish, Gent. not to disturb his own historical
account of Sir William Cavendish, in which he gives a circumstantial
relation of the intimacy between Wolsey and Thomas Cavendish of the
Exchequer, the father of Sir William, who, he says, placed him in the
service of Wolsey, and of the growth of his fortunes in consequence,
with a confidence and detail which is truly amusing.

[6] This manuscript is carefully written in a volume with other curious
transcripts, and has marginal notes by the transcriber, who appears to
have been a puritan, from his exclamations against pomp and ceremony.
At the end he writes, "Copied forth by S. B. anno 1578, the first day
of September."




CONTENTS.


Page

THE EDITOR'S PREFACE vii

WHO WROTE CAVENDISH'S LIFE OF WOLSEY? A
Dissertation. By THE REV. JOSEPH HUNTER,
F. S. A. 1

THE LIFE OF WOLSEY BY GEORGE CAVENDISH 16


APPENDIX.

EXTRACTS FROM THE LIFE OF ANNE BOLEIGNE, BY
GEORGE WYATT, ESQ. SON OF SIR THOMAS
WYATT THE YOUNGER 417

SIX LETTERS, supplementary to the above Memoir;
containing Particulars of the Arrest of Queen Anne
Boleyn, and her Behaviour while in the Tower.


LETTER I.

_Sir William Kingston to Secretary Cromwell._ - Upon
Queen Anne's Committal to the Tower 451


LETTER II.

_Sir William Kingston to Secretary Cromwell._ - On
Queen Anne's Behaviour in Prison 453


LETTER III.

_Sir William Kingston to Secretary Cromwell._ - Further
Particulars 456


LETTER IV.

_Edward Baynton to the Lord Treasurer._ - Declaring
that only Mark will confess any Thing against
Queen Anne 458


LETTER V.

_Sir William Kingston to Secretary Cromwell, May 16,
1536._ - Upon the Preparations for the Execution
of Lord Rochford and Queen Anne 459


LETTER VI.

_Sir William Kingston to the same._ - Upon the same
Subject 460


ORIGINAL LETTERS,

ILLUSTRATIVE OF PASSAGES IN THE LIFE OF WOLSEY.


LETTER VII.

_Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, to his Bedfellow
and Cosyn Thomas Arundel._ - Complains of Injuries
received at the Hands of Cardinal Wolsey.
Humble Solicitations for his Favour in certain
Matters 462


LETTER VIII.

_The same to Secretary Cromwell._ - Denying a Contract,
or Promise of Marriage, having ever existed between
Anne Boleyn and himself 464


LETTER IX.

_Queen Catherine of Arragon and King Henry VIII. to
Cardinal Wolsey._ - A joint Letter, about the coming
of the Legate, and Expressions of Kindness 465


LETTER X.

_Anne Boleyn to Cardinal Wolsey._ - Thanking him for
his diligent Pains in the Affair of the Divorce 467


LETTER XI.

_The same to the same._ - The same Subject; and the
coming of the Legate 468


LETTER XII.

_Cardinal Wolsey, in his Distress, to Thomas Cromwell_ 469


LETTER XIII.

_Cardinal Wolsey to Secretary Gardener_ 471


LETTER XIV.

_The same to the same._ - The miserable Condition he is
in, his Decay of Health, and Poverty, and desiring



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