The negotiations of Thomas Woolsey, the great Cardinall of England containing his life and death, viz. (1) the originall of his promotion, (2) the continuance in his magnificence, (3) his fall, death, and buriall
Cavendish, George, 1500-1561?, Cavendish, William, Sir, 1505?-1557.
Page  61

CHAP. 16. A new Court erected to determine the Kings case, two Cardinals being Iudges, having power to convent the King and Queene, the issue thereof.

IT is a wonderfull thing to consider the strength of Princes Wils when they are bent to have their pleasure fulfilled, wher∣in no reasonable perswasions wil serve the turne; how little doe they regard the dan∣gerous sequels that may ensue aswell to themselves as to their Subjects. And amongst all things there is no∣thing that makes them more wilful then Carnall Love, and various affecting of voluptuous desires, wherein nothing could be of greater experience then to see what inventions were furnished, what Lawes were enacted, what costly Edifices of noble and ancient Monasteries were there over-throwne, what diversi∣ties of opinions then arose, what extortions were then cōmitted, how many learned and good men were then put to Death, and what alterations of good ancient Lawes, Customes, and Charitable foundations were turned from the reliefe of the poore, to the utter de∣struction and desolation, almost to the subversion of this noble Realme.

It is a thousand pitties to understand the things that since have hapned to this Land, the proofe whereof hath taught all us English-men lamentable experience. If mens eyes be not blind they may see, and if their eares be not stopped they may heare; and if pitty bee not exiled, their hearts may relent and lament at the sequell of this inordinate Love, although it lasted but a while. O Lord God with-hold thine indignation from us.

Page  62 You shall understand as I sayd before, that there was a Court erected at Black-Fryers London, where these two Cardinals sate as Judges: Now will I de∣scribe unto you the order of the Court.

First, there were many tables and benches set in manner of a Consistory, one seate beeing higher than another for the Judges aloft, above them three degrees high was a Cloth of Estate hanged, and a Chaire Roy∣all under the same, wherein sate the King, and some di∣stance off sate the Queene, and at the Iudges feete sate the Scribes and Officers for the execution of the Processe; the chiefe Scribe was Doctor Stevens after Bishop of Winchester, and the Apparatour who was cal∣led Doctor of the Court, who was one Cooke of West∣minster. Then before the King, and the Iudges sate the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury Doctor Warham, and all other Bishops, there stood at both ends within, Counsellors Learned in the Spirituall Lawes, as well on the Kings side, as the Queenes side. Doctor Samp∣son,* afterwards Bishop of Chichester, and Doctor Hall after Bishop of Worcester, with divers others, and Proctors in the same Law, were Doctor Peter, who was afterwards chiefe Secretarie, and Doctor Tre∣gunmill with divers others. *

Now on the other side, there were Counsell for the Queene, Doctor Fisher Bishop of Rochester, and Dr. Standish, Bishop of St. Asaph in Wales, two brave Noble Divines, especially the Bishop of Rochester a very Godly man, whose death many Noble men and * many worthy Divines much lamented, who lost his head about this cause ere it was ended upon Tower hill, as also another ancient Doctor called Doctor Ridley, a little man but a great Divine. The Court being thus or∣dred as is before expressed, the Iudges commanded the cryer to proclaim silence, whilst the commission was both read to the Court & to the people there assembled: Page  63 that done, and silence beeing agayne proclaimed, the Scribes commaunded the Cryer to call King Henry of*England, whereunto the King answered and sayd, here; Then called he agayne the Queene of England, by the name of Katherine Queene of England, come into the Court, &c. Who made no answer thereunto, but rose immediately out of her Chayre where she sate: and because shee could not come to the King directly, by reason of the distance, therefore shee came round a∣bout the Court to the King, and kneeled downe at his feete saying these words in broken English as followeth: viz.

Sir, quoth shee, I beseech you doe mee Iustice and * right, and take some pitty upon mee for I am a poore woman and a stranger, borne out of your Dominions, having here no indifferent Counsell, and lesse assurance of friendship: alas Sir how have I offended you, what offence have I given you, intending to abridge me of life in this sort, I take God to witnes, I have been to you a true and loyall wife, ever conformable to your will and Pleasure, never did I contrary or gainsay your minde, but alwayes submitted my selfe in all things, wherein you had any delight or dalliance, whether it were little or much, without grudging or any signe of discontent: I have loved for your sake all men whom you have loved, whether I had cause or not, were they friends or foes, I have beene your wife this twen∣ty yeares, by whom you had many Children: And when I first came to your Bed, I take God to witnesse, I was a Virgin, whether it were true or no, I put it to your Conscience, if there bee any cause that you can alleadge, either of dishonesty, or of any other matter, lawfull to put mee from you, I am willing to depart with shame and rebuke, but if there bee none, then I pray you let me have Iu∣stice at your hands.

Page  64The King your Father was a man of such an excellent*wit in his time, that he was accounted a second Salomon, and the King of Spaine my father Ferdinand, was taken for one of the wisest Kings that raigned in Spaine these many yeares. So they were both wise men and noble Prin∣ces; and it is no question but they had wise Counsellours of eyther Realme, as be now at this day, who thought at the marriage of you and me, to heare what new devises are now invented against me, to cause me to stand to the order of this Court. And I conceive you doe mee much wrong, may you condemne me for not answering, having no Coun∣cell but such as you have assigned me: You must consider that they cannot be indifferent on my part, being your owne Subjects, and such as you have made choyce of out off your owne Councell whereunto they are privy, and dare not disclose your pleasure.

Therefore I most humbly beseech you to spare me untill I know how my friends in Spaine will advise me: But if you will not, then let your pleasure be done.

And with that she rose, making a low Curtesie to the King, and departed from thence: all the people thin∣king she would have returned againe to her former Seate; but she went presently out of the Court leaning upon the arme of one of her Servants, who was her ge∣nerall receiver, one Mr. Griffith.

The King seeing that we was ready to goe out of the Court, commaunded the Cryer to call her againe by these words, Katherine Queene of England, come into the Court. Loe, quoth M. Griffith, you are called again: Goe on, quoth she, it is no matter, It is no indifferent * Court for me, therefore I will not tarry; goe on your way; and so they departed without any further answer at that time, or any appearance in any other Court after that.

The King seeing she was departed thus, and consider∣ing her words, sayd to the Audience these few words in effect.

Page  65 Forasmuch, quoth hee as the Queene is gone, I wil * in her absence declare unto you all: shee hath beene to me a true obedient wife, and as comfortable as I could wish or desire, shee hath all the virtues and good qua∣lities that belong to a woman of her Dignity, or in any of meaner estate, her conditions will well declare the same.

Then quoth my Lord Cardinal, I humbly beseech your Highnesse to declare unto this Audience whether I have been the first and chiefe moover of this matter unto your Highnesse, or no, for I am much suspected of all men.

My Lord Cardinall quoth the King, you have rather * advised me to the contrary then been any mover of the same. The speciall cause that moved me in this matter, is a certaine scruple that pricked my conscience, upon certaine words spoken by the Bishop of Bayon the French Ambassadour, who came hither to consult of a Marriage between the Princesse our daughter the Lady Mary and the Duke of Orleans, second Sonne to the King of Fraunce, and upon resolution, and determi∣nation, hee desired respite to advertise the King his Master thereof, whether our daughter Mary should be legitimate in respect of my marriage with this woman beeing sometimes my Brothers wife, which words (I pondering) begot such a scruple in my conscience that I was much troubled at it, whereby I thought my selfe in danger of Gods heavie displeasure, and indig∣nation, and the rather because he sent us no issue Male, for all the issue Male that I have had by my wife dyed * incontinently after they came into the world, which caused me to feare Gods displeasure in the particular. Thus my conscience being tossed in that waves of trou∣blesome doubts, and partly in despaire to have any o∣ther issue, then I had already by this Lady my now wife: It behooved mee to consider the estate of this Page  66 Realme and the danger it stands in for lack of a Prince to succeed mee, I thought it therefore good, in release of this mighty burthen on my Conscience, as also for the quiet estate of this Realme, to attempt a tryall in * the Law herein: Whether I might lawfully take ano∣ther wife without staine of carnal concupiscence, by which God may send more issue, in case this my first copulation was not good: I not having any displeasure in the person, or age of the Queen, with whom I could bee well contented to continue, (if our Marriage may stand with the Law of God) as with any woman alive, * in which point consisteth all the doubt that wee goe about, now to know by the Learned wisedome of you our Prelates and Pastors, of this Realm and Dominion now here assembled for that purpose, to whose Con∣sciences and learning I have committed the care and Judgement, according to which I will (God willing) bee well contented to submit my selfe, and obey the same: And when my Conscience was so troubled, I mo∣ved it to you my Lord of Lincolne in confession, then beeing my Ghostly Father: And forasmuch, as you were then in some doubt, you moved me to aske Coun∣sell of the rest of the Bishops, whereupon I moved it to you my Lord Cardinall to have your licence, foras∣much as you are Metropolitan, to put this matter in question, and so I did to all you my Lords, to which you all granted under your Seales, which is heere to * shew, that is truth quoth the Bishop of Canterbury, and I doubt not but my Brothers will acknowledge the same. No Sir, not so, under correction, quoth the Bishop of Rochester, for you have not my hand and Seale, no quoth the King, is not this your hand and Seale, and shewed it to him in the Instrument with Seales? no forsooth quoth the Bishop, how say you to that, quoth the King, to the Bishop of Canterburie? Sir, It is his hand and Seale, quoth the Bishop of Canter∣bury.Page  67 No my Lord quoth the Bishop of Rochester, in∣deed you were in hand with mee to have both my hand and Seale, as other of the Lords had done, but I an∣swered * that I would never consent to any such act, for it was much against my Conscience. And therefore my hand and Seale shall never bee set to such an instru∣ment (God willing) with many other words to that purpose: You say truth quoth the Bishop of Cantorbury, such words you used, but you were fully resolved at the last that I should subscribe your name, and put to your seale, and you would allow of the same, all which quoth the Bishop of Rochester, under correction my Lord is untrue: Well quoth the King, wee will not stand in argument with you, you are but one: And so the King arose up, and the Court was adjourned until * the next day, at which time the Cardinalls sate again, and the Counsell on both sides were there present to answere.

The Kings Counsell alleadge the matrimonie not good,*nor lawful at the beginning: Because of the Carnall copu∣lation that Prince Arthur had with the Queene: This matter was very narrowly scanned on that side, and to prove the Carnall Copulation they had many Reasons and fimilitudes of truth, and beeing answered negatively a∣gaine on the other side, it seemed that al their former alle∣gations, were doubtfull to bee tryed, and that no man knew. Yes quoth the Bishop of Rochester, I know the truth, how can you know the truth quoth the Cardinall, more*than any other person: Yes forsooth my Lord quoth hee, I know that God is the Truth it selfe, and never saith but*truth, and he saith thus. Quos Deus conjunxit, homo non separet. And for as much as this marriage was joyned and made by God to a good intent, therefore I sayd I knew the truth and that man cannot breake upon any wilfull action that which God hath made and constituted: So much doe all faithfullmen know, quoth my Lord Cardinall, as∣wellPage  68as you, therefore this reason is not sufficient in this case, for the Kings Counsell doe alleadge many presump∣tions to prove that it was not lawfull at the beginning Er∣go it was not ordained by God, for God doth nothing without a good end, Therefore it is not to be doubted, but if the presumptions be true which they alleadge to be most true, then the Conjunction neither was nor could bee of God. Therefore I say unto you my Lord of Rochester, you know not the truth unlesse you can avoide their pre∣sumptions upon just reasons.

Then quoth Doctor Ridley, it is a great shame and dis∣honour*to this honourable presence, that any such presum∣tions should be alleadged in this open Court, what quoth my Lord Cardinall Domine Doctor Reverende. No my Lord there belongs no reverence to this matter, for an unreverent matter may bee unreverently answered: And so left off, rnd then they proceeded to other matters. Thus passed this Court from Session to Session, and day to day, till * a certaine day the King sent for the Cardinal to Bride∣well, who went into the privie Chamber to him where hee was, about an hower, and then departed from the King, and went to Westminster in his Barge, the Bishop of Carlile being with him sayed, it is a hot day today, yea quoth the Cardinall, if you had been as well cha∣fed * as I have beene within this hower, you would say you were very hot: my Lord no sooner came home but he went to bed, where he had not lyen above two howers, but my Lord of Wiltshire Mistris Anne Bullens Father, came to speake with him from the King: my Lord commanded he should be broght to his beds side, who told him it was the Kings minde he should foorth∣with goe with the Cardinall to the Queene, being then at Bridewell in her chamber, and to perswade her through their wisedomes to put the whole matter into the Kings own hands, by her consent, which should be much better for her honour, then stand to Page  69 the tryall at Law, and thereby bee condemned, which would tend much to her dishonour and discredit.

To performe the Kings pleasure, my Lord said hee was ready, and so prepared to goe, but quoth he fur∣ther to my Lord of Wiltshire, you and others of the Lords of the Counsell, have put fancies into the head of the King, whereby you trouble all the Realme, but at the length you will get but small thanks both of God and the world, with many other earnest words and reasons, which did cause my Lord of Wiltshire to bee silent kneeling by my Lords beds-side, and in conclu∣sion departed.

And then my Lord rose and tooke his barge and went to Bathhouse to Card. Campaines, and so went together to Bridewell to the Queenes lodgings, she being then in her Chamber of Presence, they told the Gentleman-Usher that they came to speake with the Queens grace, who told the Queen the Cardinalls were come to speak * with her, then shee rose up having a scane of red silke about her neck (beeing at worke with her maides) and came to the Cardinalls, where they staied attending her comming, at whose approach quoth she. Alack my Lords, I am sorrie that you have atended on me so long what is your pleasures with me: If it please your grace, quoth the Cardinall, to go to your privie Chamber, we will shew you the cause of our comming.

My Lord said shee, if you have any thing to say to mee, speak it openly before all these folke, for I feare nothing that you can say to me or against mee, but that I am willing all the world should both see & heare it, and therefore speake your mindes openly.

Then began my Lord to speake to her in Latin: nay good my Lord speak to me in English, quoth she, although I doe*understand some Latin, Forsooth quoth my Lord, good Madam, if it please your Grace, wee come both to know your mind what you are disposed to do in this matter, andPage  70 to declare to you secretly our Counsels and opinions, which wee doe for very zeale and obedience to your Grace.

My Lords quoth shee, I thanke you for your good * wills, but to make answer to your requests I cannot so suddenly, for I was set amongst my maids at worke, little thinking of any such matter, wherein is requisite some deliberation, and a better head then mine to make answere, for I need Counsell in this case which con∣cernes me so neare, and friends here I have none, they are in Spaine in my owne Countrey: Also my Lords, I am a poore woman of too weake Capacitie to answere such noble persons of wisedome as you are, in so weighty a matter. And therefore I pray you be good to mee a woman destitute of friendshippe heere in a forraigne Region, and your Counsell I also shall bee glad to heare, and therewith shee tooke my Lord by the hand and led him into her Privie Chamber, with the other Cardinall, where they stayed a while, and I heard her voice loud, but what shee said I know not.

This done, they went to the King, and made a Re∣lation unto him of the passages betweene the Queene and them, and so they departed.

This strange case proceeded and went forwards from Court day to Court day, untill it came to that, that every man expected to hear Iudgement given, at which time all their proceedings were openly read in Lat∣tin, That done, the Kings Counsell at the Barre mooved for Iudgement, quoth Cardinall *Campaines, I will not give judgement untill I have re∣lated the whole proceedings to the Pope, whose Coun∣sell and Commandment I will in this Case observe: The matter is too high for us to give hasty judgement, considering the persons and the doubtfull occasions al∣leadged, and also whose Commissioners wee are by whose authority we sit.

Page  71 It is good reason therefore that wee make our chiefe * Lord of Counsell in the same before wee proceede to judgement definitive: I came not to please for any Fa∣vour, Reward, or feare of any person alive, be he King or otherwise, I have no such respect to the person, that I should offend my Conscience. And the party Defen∣dant will make no answere here; but rather doth ap∣peale from us; I am an old man both weake and sickly, and looke every day for Death; what shal it avayle me to put my Soule in danger of Gods displeasure to my utter damnation, for the favour of any Prince in this World. My being here is onely to see Justice admini∣stred according to my Conscience.

The Defendant supposeth that wee bee not indifferent Judges, considering the Kings high dignity and au∣thority within his Realme. And wee beeing both his Subjects, shee thinkes wee will not doe her justice: and therefore to avoyd all these Ambiguities, I adjourn the Court for the Time according to the Court of Rome, from whence our jurisdiction is derived: For if wee should goe further then our Commission doth warrant us, it were but a folly and blame worthy; because then wee shalbe breakers of the Orders from whom we have (as I sayd) our authority derived; and so the Court was dissolved and no more done.

Thereupon by the Kings Commandment stept up the Duke of Suffolke, and with a haughty countenance * uttered these words:

It was never thus in England untill we had Cardinals amongst us. Which Words were set forth with such vehemency, that all men marvailed what he intended, the Duke further expressing some opprobrious Words.

My Lord Cardinall perceiving his vehemency, sober∣ly sayd: Sir, of all men in this Realme you have least cause to disprayse Cardinals, for if I poore Cardinall *Page  72 had not beene, you should not at this present have had a head on your shoulders, wherewith to make such a brag in dispute of us, who wish you no harme; ney∣ther have given you such cause to be offended with us. I would have you thinke my Lord, I and my Brother wish the King as much happinesse, and the Realme as much honour, Wealth, and peace, as you, or any other Subject of what degree soever hee be within this Realme, and would as gladly accomplish his lawfull desires.

And now my Lord, I pray you shew mee what you * would doe in such a Case as this, if you were one of the Kings Commissioners in a forraigne Region about some weighty matter, the consultation whereof was very doubtfull to be decided; would you not advertise the Kings Majesty ere you went through with the same: I doubt not but you would; and therefore abate your malice and spight, and consider wee are Commissioners for a Time, and cannot by vertue of a Commission proceed to judgement without the knowledge and con∣sent of the head of the authority and lycence obtayned from him, who is the Pope.

Therefore doe wee neyther more nor lesse then our Commission allows us: and if any man wil be offended with us, hee is an unwise man: Therefore pacifie your selfe my Lord, and speake like a man of Honour and Wisedome, (or hold your peace) speake not reproach∣fully of your friends, you best know what friendship I have showne you: I never did reveale to any person till * now, eyther to mine owne prayse, or your dishonour. Whereupon the Duke went his way, and sayd no more, being much discontented.

This matter continued thus a long Season, and the * King was in displeasure against my Lord Cardinal, be∣cause his Suit had no better successe to his purpose.

Notwithstanding the Cardinal excused himself by his Page  73 Commission which gave him no authority to proceed to judgement without the knowledge of the Pope, who reserved the same to himself. At last they were adver∣tised by a Post that they should take deliberation in the matter untill his Councell were opened, which should not be til Bartholmew-tide next.

The king thinking it would be too long ere it would bee determined, sent an Ambassador to the Pope to perswade him to shew so much favor to his Ma∣jesty, as that it might be sooner determined.

On this Embassage went Doctor Stephen Gardener,* then called by the name of Doctor Steven, Secretary to the King, afeer wards Bishop of Winchester. This Am∣bassadour stayed there till the latter end of Summer, of whose returne you shall hereafter heare.