Imágenes de páginas

Now it was that Wolfey began to find out, in fpite of fpecious pretences, how little in reality the king was his friend; for, from the vigorous proceedings commenced against him at law, for acts that Henry himself had fanctioned, it was apparent that his Majefty had refolved to have him at his mercy. And yet Henry feems to have been afhamed of the part he was acting against a man whom he once fo highly favoured, by letting him down with a feeming reluctance, and qualifying every step he fell with fome act of pretended tenderness and compaffion.

In the parliament which was called in the month of November, after Wolfey's disgrace, the Lords exhibited forty articles of impeachment against him. But though thefe illfupported charges fell to the ground; nay, though the king, in one of his relenting fits, granted him the most ample pardon for all the crimes which he might be fuppofed to have committed against the crown, that was ever granted by a king to a fubject; the cardinal's ill fortune ftill continued to puríue him with accumulated rigour; nor would his hard-hearted mafter be fatisfied while he had any thing left that it was poffible to wring


from him. He demanded a furrender of York-houfe, and forced him to make over, by deed of gift, the revenues of his bishopric of Winchester; and, after all, would not fo much as pay his debts, nor allow him fufficient to fubfift upon. So that, with one vexation or another, Wolfey was at last harraffed out, and he fell dangerously ill of a violent fever.

The cardinal's indifpofition was no fooner known at court, than, fuch was the inconfiftency of the king, he expreffed the greatest concern and uneafinefs; and in order to promote his recovery, fent him a ring as a token of his favour: Yet Wolfey was no fooner up again, than the profpect grew as gloomy as ever; and not long after, he was ordered to retire to his archiepifcopal feat at Cawood in Yorkshire.

When he arrived there, he gave himself up entirely to devotion and his paftoral charge, daily diftributing alms to the poor, and keeping an hofpitable table for all comers. His palace being alfo very much out of repair, he at one time employed above three hundred workmen and labourers in fitting it up: but fuch was the malignity of his enemies at



court, that all these things were interpreted to his disadvantage, and he found himself obliged to contract his manner of living within a more confined scale.

At length a new accufation being preferred against him, which amounted to high treason, he was arrested in his palace by the Earl of Northumberland and Sir Walter Walsh, at the very time great preparations were making for his folemn installation in the cathedral of York: and, on Sunday the first of November, early, he fet out for London. As foon as he came out of his gate, the people, who had affembled upon the occafion in great numbers, expreffed their concern with loud lamentations, and curses on those in whose cuftody he was; following him for several miles, till the cardinal defired them to depart, and be patient.

The firft night he lodged at Pontefract abbey; the next, with the Black friars at Doncafter; and the night following, at Sheffield park, where he remained eighteen days. Here he was kindly entertained by the earl of Shrewsbury, and had great respect shown him by the neighbouring gentlemen, who flocked in to visit him.

Being one day at dinner, he was fuddenly taken ill with a coldness in his ftomach, which

An apothecary and a medicine

he apprehended to proceed from an oppreffion occafioned by wind. was immediately fent for, procured to expel it; which gave him ease for the prefent. The pain, however, returned, not without fufpicions arifing of its being occafioned by poifon. And, if he was not then poisoned, as fome people imagined, either by himself or by others, this disorder was undoubtedly the cause of his death.

The lieutenant of the tower, coming to the earl of Shrewsbury, to take him into cuftody, gave no little fhock to his weakened frame, which was fo reduced that he was fcarcely able to walk across his chamber. Mr. Kingston, the lieutenant's, arrival was no fooner announced to him, though in the tendereft manner, than he faid, with a sigh, “I now fee what is preparing for me!"

When Mr. Kingston was introduced to the cardinal's prefence, he inftantly fell on his knees to him, and faluted him in the king's behalf. Upon which, Wolfey, taking off his hat, as well as his feeble ftate would permit, ftooped to raise him, faying, at the fame

time, "Master Kingston, I pray you ftand up, and leave your kneeling to me, for I am a wretch replete with mifery, esteeming myself but a mere object, utterly caft away, though without defert, God he knoweth ! therefore, good master Kingston, stand up."

The lieutenant then affured him, "that his Majefty had ftill an affection for him, but could not help bringing him to trial, fuch was the importunity of his enemies; though the king did not in the leaft question but he was able to clear himself, and would come off with honour." He added, "that his orders were to permit him to fet out for London when he thought proper, and to take what time he pleased on his journey."

To this the cardinal replied, “I have a diftemper which will not permit me to make much hafte; however I will endeavour to be ready for the journey to-morrow morning." But having a lax upon him, which increased fo violently in the night, as to prevent his enjoying a moment's reft, he was obliged to remain there the next day.

However, though ftill very ill, he left the carl of Shrewsbury's the following morning, and,


« AnteriorContinuar »