CHAP. I. Of the Cardinall his Originall, and who he was.
TRuth it is Cardinall Woolsey was an ho∣nest poore mans sonne in the towne of Ipswich in the county of Suffolke, and there borne, who being but a child was very apt to learne, wherefore by means of his parents and other his good friends, hee was maintained at the Vniversitie of Oxford, where in a short time hee prospered so well, that in a small time (as hee told mee with his owne mouth) he was made Batchelour of Arts when he was but fifteene yeares of age, and was most commonly called the Boy Batchelour. Thus prospering * in learning, he was made fellow of Magdalene Colledge in Oxford, after that he was made Master of Magdalene Schoole, at which time were the Lord Marquesse Dorset sons there at Schoole, committing unto him as well their education as their instructions and learning.
It pleased this Lord Marquesse against Christmas to send as well for the Schoolemaster as for the Schollers home Page 2 to his house, for their recreation in that pleasant and ho∣norable Forrest. They being a while there, the Lord Marquesse their Father perceiving them to bee well im∣proved in learning for the time. Hee was so well con∣tented, that he having a Benefice in his gift (being at that present voyd) gave the Schoole Master the same, in re∣gard of his diligence. After Christmas at his departure to the Vniversity, and hee having the presentation thereof repaired to the ordinary for his Institution. And being then furnished with all his Instruments at the Ordinaries hands for his preferment made hast without any further delay to his Benefice to take possession thereof. Now you shall understand that the Schoole-master had not beene long there, but one Sir Iames Pawlet Knight dwel∣ling in the Country thereabouts, tooke an occasion of dis∣pleasure against him, but upon what ground I know not; Insomuch that Sir Iames was so bold as to set the School∣master by the heeles during his displeasure, which affront was afterwards neither forgotten, nor forgiven; For when the Schoolemaster mounted so high as to be Lord Chancellour of England, hee was not forgetfull of his old displeasure most cruelly ministred unto him by Sir Iames, but sent for him, and after a very sharpe reproofe enjoyned him not to depart out of London without li∣cense first obtained, so that he continued in the middle Temple the space of five or six yeares, who afterwards lay in the Gatehouse next the Stayres, which he re-edefied and sumptuously beautified the same all over on the out∣side, with the Cardinalls Armes, his hat, his Cognizance and Badges, with other devises in so glorious a manner as hee thought thereby to have appeased his old displea∣sure.
This may be a good president for men in Authoritie, which worke their owne wills without wit, to remem∣ber that greatnesse may decay. And those whom they doe punish more of humour then justice may afterwards he advanced to great honour (as this Cardinall was) and Page 3 they abased as low as this Sir Iames was, which seeke revenge. Who would have thought that when Sir Iam's Pawlet punished this poore Schoolemaster that ever hee should have mounted to so great dignitie as to bee Chan∣cellour of England, considering his meane parentage and friends. These be the wonderfull workes of Gods pro∣vidence. And I would wish that all men in authoritie would feare God in all ages in the time of their triumph and greatnesse. considering that advancement and autho∣ritie are not permanent, but many times slide and vanish suddenly away, as Princes pleasures alters and change, or as all living creatures must of necessitie pay the debt due to nature which no earthly creature can resist.
Shortly after it chanced the sayd Lord Marquesse dyed, after whose decease the Schoole-master thinking him∣selfe but a weake beneficed man, and that hee had left his fellowship in the Colledge, for (as I understand) if a fellow of that house be once promoted to a Benefice, hee shall by the rules of the same house bee dismissed of his fellowship; and now being also destitute of his singuler good Lord, as well as of his fellowship which was most of his reliefe; thought long to be provided of some other helpe to defende him from all such stormes as hee might meet with. In his travell thereabouts hee grew acquainted with a very great and ancient Knight, who had a great place in Callis under King Henry the seventh. This Knight he served and behaved himselfe so discreet∣ly that he obtained the speciall favour of his said Master. In so much that for his wit and gravitie hee committed all the care and charge of his said office to his said Chap∣laine. And as I understand his office was the Treasurer∣ship of Callis, who in regard of his great age shortly af∣ter was discharged of his said office, and so returned into England, intending to live a more private life. But through his instant labour and good favour his Chaplaine was preferred to bee the Kings Chaplaine. And when hee had once cast Anchor in the Port of promotion how Page 4 hee then bestirred himselfe I shall now declare.
Hee having then just occasion to be daily in sight of the King in his Closet, not spending the rest of the day in idlenesse would attend those men whom hee thought to beare most rule in the councell, and were most in fa∣vour with the King which at that time was Doctor Fox Bishop of Winchester and Lord Privie Seale; And also Sir Thomas Lovell Knight, a very sage and wise Coun∣cellour being Master of the Wardes and Constable of the Tower.
These ancient and grave Councellours in processe of time perceiving this Chaplaine to be a man of a very ac∣cute wit, thought him a meete Instrument to be imploy∣ed in greater affaires.
Not long after it happened that the King had an ur∣gent occasion to send an Ambassadour to Maximillian the Emperour, who lay at that present in the Low Countries at Flanders and not farre from Callis.
Now the Bishop of Winchester and Sir Thomas Lovell whom the King most esteemed as the chiefest of his Counsell, one day advising and debating with themselves upon this Ambassage; and by this time they saw they had a convenient occasion to preferre the Kings Chap∣laine, whose excellent eloquence and learning they high∣ly commended unto the Kings highnesse, who giving eare unto them, and being a Prince of an excellent judge∣ment and modesty, hee commanded them to bring his Chaplaine (whom they so commended) before his Grace, and being come, his Majestie (to prove his ability) entered into discourse with him, concerning matters of State, whereby the King had so well informed himselfe that he found him to be a man of a sharpe with and of such excellent parts, that hee thought him worthy to bee put in trust with matters of greater consequence.