Report to the Master of the Rolls On Documents in the Archives of Venice. Originally published by Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, London, 1866.
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C. Translations of some Letters Relating to Cardinal Pole
Letter from Marc Antonio Faitta to the Doctor in Divinity, Ippolito Chizzuola.
Dated London, the 3rd May A.D.. 1556. Translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, from a Manuscript in St. Mark's Library, No. 24, Class 10.
London, 3 May, A.D. 1556.
I have willed to atone for my past neglect, through the journey of our Missier Michiel, by giving particular advice to your Excellency of affairs here, and of the well being of the most illustrious and right reverend my Lord, our common Master, who had himself ordained priest on the 20th ultimo, and on the 22nd was consecrated bishop, and received the pallium in the Cathedral church. As this, however, did not seem well to the most serene Queen, for some reason or other, his most reverend Lordship determined on arraying himself therein, here in London, in one of the principal churches of his diocese; and so on the day of the Annunciation, being accompanied by many nobles and barons, and by some of the members of the Council, he went to a church called St. Mary's of the Arches, on entering which, some of its parishioners presented him with a paper, praying his most reverend Lordship would deign to commence by giving some spiritual food to those souls which God had entrusted to his charge. So on the conclusion of the ceremonies, and having been invested with the pallium, his most reverend Lordship resolved, thus unprepared, on saluting his audience with a few words, speaking in the following terms:—
“On entering this church, for a purpose which I had desired might be explained in a sermon by a person learned, and from long experience very suited to this office, its parishioners presented me with a paper, praying me with great earnestness and affection to perform this act in person, and to commence by tendering spiritual food to those souls committed to my care. I have not only resolved not to deny a demand so just, but have even derived the greatest consolation thence, remembering that in my life's whole course none of my actions have ever yielded me greater satisfaction than those to which the Divine Majesty deigned to call me, and whose execution, as in this instance, conduced to God's honour and glory, feeding thus the souls of those committed to my charge. Amongst these, perchance, there may be some who will listen to me out of curiosity, or to comment on what I say; and to such, I shall observe that any other learned and accomplished man would satisfy them vastly better than my means permit. But there may also be some who will listen to me for the pure love of God's Word, and these I am ready to satisfy; nor will I ever brook that, from any defect of mine, there be applied to me those words of holy writ, concerning the people of Israel,
“Parvuli petierunt panem, et non qui eis frangeret,”
neither will I imitate those masters, who eating white bread themselves, give bread, black and unsifted, to their servants. I shall give to you the same that I myself am used to eat, and this bread is nothing but God's Word, which, received in the form and sense wherein offered, produces miraculous effects, and bears the fruit of life for him who embraces it; and as is written,
“Tamquam imber qui descendet de cœlo et illuc ultra non revertitur, sed mebriat terram et infundit eam, et germinare eam facit.”
Alluding then to the cause of his coming, he said,
“You must know that the cause of my coming here was induced by my having been appointed legate many months since by the Holiness of the Pope, who is Christ's vicar and the supreme head of His Church upon earth, for the sake of reconciling this kingdom to God, from whom it was so miserably severed, like a limb from the head. And in order to reunite it and restore it to obedience to the apostolic chair, I am now again newly sent as legate to this church of Canterbury in particular, and to all those dependant on its diocese. As this is the first time of my entering any church subject to my care, I imagine that you will not expect of me any other sermon or discourse, since I merely came to take the archiepiscopal pallium; it having, indeed, been my intention, having given my orders to this effect, to receive it in the principal church of my diocese, but being prevented on several accounts, I was compelled to receive the investiture here. Since on the first entry of any one into any place, it is usual to salute the bystanders, so also shall I do, saluting you in the manner taught by Jesus Christ to his Apostles, to whom he said,
“In quamcumque domum intraveritis dicite pax huic domui,” and thus saluting you with all affection and charity, I say to you, peace be unto you; peace to ye men and women, peace to ye old and young, and to every description of person here present be there peace. Christ taught this form of salutation to His apostles, in order that into whatever house they entered, and to which they might have given peace, and finding therein the children of peace, peace might rest thereon. And so likewise here, should there be the children of peace, God's peace, in which consists all the happiness that man can desire or imagine, will remain with them; and this is that peace which not only gives quiet to man on earth, but, moreover, ineffable joy to the angels in heaven, who manifesting God's counsel and peace, that is to say, Jesus Christ the blessed, when approximating this world, they commenced singing with so great grace and joy,
“Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.”
Proceeding then to explain the ceremony and signification of the pallium, he said that,
“In the time of the primitive church, when any one was consecrated as archbishop, by which consecration a power was conferred of such a nature as to be supreme after that of Christ's vicar on earth, yet was it not lawful to exercise such power until after having received this pallium, which being taken from St. Peter's body and placed on the archbishop elect, merely signified that as his power and authority proceeded from that body, so likewise was he bound to yield a correspondence and obedience like that of members to their head. Thus our holy mother Church, ever guided by the Holy Ghost, ordained this form lest the archbishops, enjoying so great authority by separating themselves from their head, might have caused great trouble and disorder in the Church, instead of acknowledging this power as held neither of themselves or of others, but only of Christ's vicar, who is the Roman Pontiff, and that thus there might ever be maintained this unity. And though in byegone times it has been greatly disturbed by certain archbishops and patriarchs, nevertheless it has ever been seen for a notable example that those who acted thus, together with the countries committed to their government, have been, by God, most severely punished, as were the patriarchs of Constantinople and of Alexandria, who, having strayed from this unity, passed by God's just judgment under the cruel tyranny and insupportable yoke of the Turks, which bears on them so wretchedly, and since so long a while. The like was also manifested too clearly in the persons of the archbishops of Ravenna, who greatly opposed this unity, but finally perceiving their error, were reconciled to and rejoined this head. Thus, then, an archbishop cannot exercise the power extended to him on his consecration until he receive permission to this effect from Christ's vicar by means of this pallium, derived, as I said, from St. Peter's body, and sent by the Pontiff. These pallia are now-a-days made of lamb's wool, consecrated by being placed near St. Peter's body, and are afterwards forwarded to such as have been consecrated as archbishops. They are made of this lowly material, and in the form of a cross, as a contrast to the rich ornaments of gold and jewels usually worn by archbishops, as a symbol how all their power and authority received through Christ's vicar, proceeds and is derived from that immaculate Lamb, of which it is written in the Apocalypse,
“Dignus est Agnus qui occisus est accipere virtutem et honorem et gloriam.”
“The archbishops then, being invested with this pallium made of the wool of lambs, and in the form of a cross, ought at the same time to array themselves in humility, in charity, and in patience, and take up the cross, and be ever ready in need, to peril their own lives for their flock's safety, and by all their actions, pray that immaculate Lamb,
“In quo sunt omnes thesauri sapientiæ Dei absconditi,”
for the gift of prudence and of good government, both of themselves as of those committed to their care.”
And here his most reverend Lordship returned again to his comments on peace, which he said, it was impossible for any one ever utterly to explain or understand, comparing it to the hidden manna,
“Quod nemo scit, nisi qui accipit”
and in which alone, he said, consisted true human felicity; and he added,
“Think not either but that the science of philosophers, or the wealth of the rich, or the honours and pleasures of the great, are yet farther removed from this their peace and true felicity, as was clearly seen by the example of Solomon, who being so favoured of God, of Whom he asked for his people's good government, the gift of wisdom, and the power of discerning the truth by his judgments, all which was conceded to him by God, who, moreover, in addition gave him greater riches than had ever been possessed by any other king. Besides this, Solomon tasted all the greatest pleasures that man can enjoy in this world, and yet, at the end, he said that all was but vanity and vexation of spirit.”
His most reverend Lordship then continued, that so far were philosophers from obtaining peace, that he qualified their occupations as the worst possible; adding, that true peace and felicity consisted in the fear of God, and in the execution of His holy commandments, and that this peace, therefore, resembled neither that of science or of any other sort of excellence, or that of honour, or of riches, or of pleasure, of which poor men, and those of low estate cannot participate. This peace was common both to the ignorant and unlearned, as to the sage and skilled; to the ignoble as to the noble; to man as to woman; to youth as to age; and to every condition of person, provided it be received with simplicity when offered. Neither is any labour required for its search, since there descended from Heaven peace incarnate, namely, Jesus Christ the blessed, who came to die and sacrifice Himself for our sins, and to free us from eternal war, giving us true peace, which is Himself; wherefore we ought not to be slow in receiving so great a good, offered by the Divine mercy, lest there be said of us those words employed by Christ concerning Jerusalem, when drawing nigh to, and weeping over, he said,
“Si cognovisses quæ tibi ad pacem sunt; nunc autem abscondita sunt ab oculis tuis;”
and thus (exclaimed he), say I to you, would ye but know the great grace God grants you, by the mission of this peace.” On uttering which words, his most reverend Lordship could not restrain his tears, and having uttered that expression “would you but know,” he staid himself for a moment, and then adding, “what God grants you,” remained silent for a short while, his eyes being suffused in tears. Then after a little, he continued in a low tone, “You know what has passed, I pray you guard “against the future;” and those words “Si cognovisses” he uttered with such effect and tenderness, that none remained unmoved.
His most reverend Lordship, after a few moments, then resumed, “This peace, then, which I am come to offer you on the part of God, must be received by those who wish for its enjoyment, with great humility, as did on this day the glorious Virgin, who, when the angel announced peace to her in these words,
“Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum,”
and although she was afeared and quite lost, yet did she not fail to receive the said message with all humility, and not at all doubting thereof; but merely wishing to be well informed of God's will for its better execution, she inquired;
“Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco?”
as if she would fain know, whether she were to do that, naturally or supernaturally, since naturally she could not conceive, not having had connexion with man. Whereupon the angel answered her,
“Spiritus sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissismi adumbravit tibi,”
and hence, comprehending immediately that the Holy Ghost would be the author of so miraculous a conception, she replied,
“Ecce ancilla Domini! fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.”
And here it must be considered that she did not doubt the fact, but from mere anxiety to obey the will of God, inquired concerning the mode, neither would she be curious and say,
“How can the Holy Ghost effect this?”
nor, in fine, would she constitute herself the judge of God's word, as did the first woman, who, being invited by the serpent to contemplate the apple's beauty, commenced judging God's commandment, causing thus her own fall from so great happiness into such an abyss of misery. For the reparation of such presumptuous pride no other antidote was required than this simple humility of the glorious Virgin, who did not like Eve, make herself the judge of God's word, but venerating it in humility, believed in the Holy Ghost's omnipotence; and thus, through her great modesty, quem Deus respexit, she obtained for the world that grace and peace which the first woman lost, through her pride and temerity.”
His most reverend Lordship then continued, that the holy Writ afforded examples of three persons to whom God had spoken through His angel, announcing to them great joy. The first was that of Gideon, to whom the angel said, “Dominus tecum,” &c.; whereupon he was most extremely perturbed, fearing death; (because after the sin of the first man, to whom God's angel spoke as commanded by God, forbidding him to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, under pain of death; but Adam having disobeyed, on hearing God's approach from a distance, thought to flee and hide himself, lest God should give him death;) wherefore, from that time forth, all to whom God spoke feared death as did Gideon likewise, to whom, although the angel said afterwards, “fear not Gideon, thou shalt not die, but wilt free the people of Israel from the hands of her enemies,” yet (fn. 1) did this seem impossible to him on account of his decrepid age, and because his wife was barren and very old indeed, nor could he believe ere he received a sign, and as the penalty of this, his incredulity, he remained speechless until his son was carried to the temple.
The third instance was that of the most glorious Virgin, who without entertaining any doubt, received in all humility the peace offered to her, in whose imitation, you also, to whom as to her, the first sound of God's word may appear strange as repugnant to the flesh, and to human sense, yet by receiving it in simplicity and humility, as did on this day the blessed Virgin, it will lead you to a peace truly blessed, and which will render you the children of God. And as Christ said to his apostles,
“Beati pacifici, quoniam ipsi filii Dei vocabuntur;”
the which peace will quiet your hearts, irradiate your minds, and cause you to despise the vain and transitory affairs of this world, making you journey in the way of the Lord, and possessing in yourselves the light of life. And, when listening to the Word of God, should you perchance ever doubt of any point, you ought to demand its explanation in all humility, as did the glorious Virgin, and not with a disposition to judge the Word of God as it was judged by Eve, interpreting it according to your own sense, but rather, that by knowing God's will, you may be better enabled to execute it. And to whom will you apply for this information? Surely to none others than to those whom God has appointed through His spouse the Church, with which He will ever remain till the end of time, namely, to your curates and deacons. And immediately on hearing in what sense you ought to take it, conformably to the doctrine of the Holy Catholic Church, then ought you to be ready to execute what you know to be the will of God, in like manner as did the glorious Virgin, who said,
“Ecce ancilla Domini! fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum;”
and do you thus make a sacrifice of your hearts to God, and be ready to keep His holy commandments, and then He will come to you and dwell with you, bringing you the true internal peace, together with the treasure of His wisdom, giving you in this world extreme happiness, and, in the other, life and peace eternal; which may God grant to all, for ever and ever. Amen.”
But I confess to you honestly, and in all truth, that with how great grace his most reverend Lordship delivered this brief sermon, thus unprepared, by so much the less have I described it, omitting many things which I did not write down at the moment, because I was unable to follow so rapidly as he preached.
On the conclusion of the sermon, his most reverend Lordship went to dine with the Earl of Pembroke, this being the first time he has eaten abroad since his return to England, and the said earl treated him very honourably.
The sermon, although simple, and delivered without preparation, gave much pleasure notwithstanding, and we have heard since that it bore good fruit during the Holy Week. We then returned to the Court, where, during all this Lent, six or eight priests have preached so well and learnedly, and with such piety, that I can say with truth, that I never heard better in all my life; and on Holy Thursday at three o'clock in the afternoon, the most serene Queen performed the ceremony of the feet washing, thus:—
Her Majesty, being accompanied by the most reverend Legate and by the Council, entered a large hall, at the head of which was my Lord Bishop of Ely, the Deacon of the Queen's Chaplains, with the choristers of her Majesty's chapel. Around this hall, on either side, there were seated on certain benches, with their feet on stools, many poor women, to the amount of forty and one, such being the number of the years of the most serene Queen. Then one of those of the Court of low condition having washed the right foot of each of these poor persons, and this function being also next performed by the Under Almoner, and also by the Grand Almoner, who is the Bishop of Chichester, her Majesty next commenced the ceremony in the following manner:—At the entrance of the hall there was a great number of the chief dames and noble ladies of the Court, and they prepared themselves by putting before themselves a long linen cloth which reached the ground, and round their necks they hung a towel, which was so long as to remain pendant on either side, and each of them bore a silver ewer filled with water, and they had flowers in their hands. Her Majesty also being arrayed in like manner, knelt down on both her knees before the first of the poor women, and having taken in the left hand her right foot she washed it with her own right hand, drying it very well with the towel which hung at her neck, and having signed it with the cross she kissed it so fervently that it seemed as if she were embracing something very precious. She acted in this same way by all and each of the other poor women, one by one, each of the ladies, her attendants, giving her in turn their basin and ewer and towel; and I swear to you that in all her movements and gestures, and by her manner, she seemed to act thus not merely out of ceremony, but from feeling and affection. Amongst these demonstrations there was this one remarkable, namely, that in washing the feet she went the whole length of that hall, from one end to the other, ever on her knees. Having finished and risen on her feet, she returned to the head of the hall and gave in turn to each of the poor women a large wooden platter, which contained enough food for four persons, filled with great pieces of salted fish and large loaves, and thus she went a second time distributing these alms. She next returned a third time, and commencing at the head of the hall gave to each of these a wooden cup filled with wine, or rather, I think, hippocras; after which, for the fourth time, she returned and gave to each of these poor people a piece of cloth of royal mixture to clothe themselves with. Then returning for the fifth time, she gave to each a pair of shoes and stockings; for the sixth time, she gave to each a leathern purse, containing forty-one pennies, according to the number of her own years, and which in value may amount to rather more than half an Italian golden crown; finally, for the seventh time, she moved from the head of the hall and distributed all those aprons and towels, which those dames and noble ladies had borne, and which were in number forty-one, giving each with her own hand. Her Majesty then quitted the hall to take off the robe which she had worn, and half an hour afterwards she returned, being preceded by one carrying the said robe; and thus she went twice round the hall, examining very closely all those poor women, one by one; and then returning for the third time, she gave the said robe to one who was in truth the poorest and the most aged of all; and this robe was of the finest purple cloth, lined with martens' fur, and with sleeves so long and wide that they reached the ground. During this ceremony the choristers chaunted the Miserere, with certain other psalms, reciting at each verso the words,
“In diebus illis mulier quæ erat in civitate peccatrix.”
After this, on Friday morning, the offertory was performed, according to custom, in the church of the Franciscan Friars, which is contiguous to the palace. After the passion, for the adoration of the Cross, her Majesty came down from her oratory, accompanied by my Lord the right reverend the Legate, and, kneeling at a short distance from the cross, moved towards it on her knees, praying before it thrice, and then she drew nigh and kissed it, performing this act with such devotion as greatly to edify all those who were present. Her Majesty next gave her benediction to the rings, and its mode was thus:—A barrier was raised for her Majesty to the right of the high altar, by means of four benches placed so as to form a square, into the centre of which she again came down from her oratory, and kneeling in the middle of this barricaded space, two large covered basins were brought to her filled with rings of gold and silver, one of these basins containing rings of her own, whilst the other hold those of individuals labelled with their owners' names. On their being uncovered she commenced reciting a certain prayer and psalms, and then taking them in bunches, she passed them well through her hands, saying another prayer, which commenced thus:—
“Sanctifica, Domine, annulos istos.”
This being terminated, her Majesty went to bless the scrofulous; but she chose to perform this act privately in a gallery where there were not above twenty persons; and an altar being raised there, she knelt and recited the confession, on the conclusion of which her Majesty turned towards my most reverend Lord the Legate, who gave her absolution, whereupon a priest read from the Gospel according to St. Mark, and on his coming to the words,—
“Super ægros manus imponet et bene habebunt,”
she caused one of those infirm women to be brought up to her, and, ever on her knees, commenced pressing, with her hands in the form of a cross, on the spot where the sore was, with such charity and devotion as to be a marvel; and whilst she continued doing this to a man and to three women, the priest kept ever repeating these same words—
“Super ægros manus imponet et bene habebunt.”
Then, on terminating the Gospel, after the words—
“In principio erat Verbum,”
and on coming to those following, namely—
“Erat lux vera quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in huno mundum,”
then the most serene Queen made the sick people come up to her again one after, the other, and taking a golden coin, namely, an angel, she touched the place where the evil showed itself, and signed it with this coin in the form of the cross; and having done this she passed a ribbon through a hole which had been pierced in the coin, and placed one of these round the neck of each of the patients, making them promise never to part with that coin, which was blessed, save in case of extreme need; and then, having washed her hands, the napkin being presented to her by my Lord the right reverend the Legate, she returned to her oratory.
Being present myself at all the aforesaid ceremonies, her Majesty struck me as affording a great and rare example of goodness, performing all those acts with such humility and love of religion, offering up her prayers to God with such affection and devotion, and enduring for so long a while, and so peaceably, so great fatigue. And seeing thus that in proportion as her Majesty advances in this kingdom's government, so does she daily exhibit greater and fresher opportunities for lauding her great piety, I dare assert that there never was a queen in Christendom of greater goodness than this one, whom I pray God long to save and prosper, for the glory of His divine honour and for the edification and exaltation of His holy Church, not less than for the consolation and salvation of the people of this island.
I will not omit telling you that on Holy Thursday alms were distributed here in the court to a great amount, to upwards of 3,000 persons. And this reminds me that my most reverend Lord the Legate, having sent in advance to Canterbury to make great provision for his entry—which, subsequently, the Queen refused on any account to permit—his most reverend Lordship then caused all his provisions to be distributed amongst the poor, two thousand of whom were reckoned, and these alms were taken to their houses. Nor do I include herein the alms given to many other poor people who had flocked to Canterbury from the neighbourhood, all which caused his most reverend Lordship to be now more anxiously wished for by that people (of Canterbury) than ever.
Letter from the Cardinal Pole to the Marchioness of Pescara, (fn. 2) dated Padua, A.D. 1546, October 4.
Translated by MR. Rawdon Brown, from the MS. in St. Mark's Library, No. 24, Class 10.
Most Illustrious Lady, And my most revered Mother,
Immediately on our Lilio's arrival here, at his first interview with me, he laboured with all the power of words to make me understand how much, and from the heart, your Excellency wishes me well. I, as if the fact were new to me, and never hitherto known, allowed him to say as much as he would, and which continued for a long while, awaiting the conclusion he would draw thence; and, had this proved such as was warranted, that is to say, had he made a comparison between my behaviour and your so great and more then maternal love, condemning me for ingratitude, (since neither in word or deed have I ever evinced the slightest return for such affection, but on the contrary have rather acted contrariwise, which he might easily have demonstrated,) I should have been greatly pleased by such just reproof, given me with that simplicity which I have ever loved in him. But as he came to no further conclusion, I myself shall draw an inference, so much the more to my confusion, as I feel my error without ever correcting it; yet I cannot say that I have not studied to compass what I know is my duty herein. Nevertheless, finding by experience that it does not answer according to my wishes, I let it be, as if God had withheld from me the grace of satisfying our mind in that one respect, which I so earnestly desire, and which in truth greatly troubles me sometimes; and seeking to soothe myself the only consolation I find, as I said and wrote to your Excellency heretofore, is in persuading myself that the divine will has ordained this in order to grant to you that first reward promised to all those who are beneficent, and do not expect any such, as our Lord declares in the parable of those who invited the poor to their banquets. Thus it does not allow me the means of tendering that courtesy which your Excellency extends to me; and I comfort myself with this hope, praying God to grant ample retribution, and with my soul's so much the greater affection, inasmuch as I feel my own utter inability to effect this of myself, though I thus enjoy the image of divine love as exemplified by great charity, which although it meet with no return in its object, yet does it never cease the continuation of its goodness, nay multiplies it so much the more, as does your Ladyship by me; wherefore I thank the Lord infinitely for this experience, imploring pardon for my defects, first of His infinite goodness, and in the next place of your Excellency.
It is needless for me to say anything else of my condition, as the bearer of this is our Lilio, who will I hope inform, your Ladyship of all, both of the great conveniences which I enjoy here in the house of the most excellent Bembo, where I remain, in the first place, with as much mental ease and contentment as if I were in my own father's house; and secondly, with such convenience that at this present I could not wish for greater, and most particularly from two sources whence I have ever taken delight, namely from a study and from a garden, both of which I have found here, and so beautiful, that to my taste I know not where such could be found more so; added to which I should note the attentions of his dependants, and they see me so willingly that this pleasure exceeds all others, and this I write to your Excellency as to my mother, to give you an opportunity of first thanking our common Father in Heaven, as He chose to be thus evoked by us, inviting us through the prophet,
Amodo voca me Pater, meus es tu,
and to those who seek Him He promises to prove a guide every where, inviting us to say,
Tu es Deus, &c.
Wherefore your Excellency will thank the first Father, and then this second, who has been the minister of the first.
Your Excellency will grant me the grace to recommend me to the prayers of that holy company (St. Catherine's convent at Viterbo), where you now are.
Having written thus far, I have heard, with much greater sorrow than has ever been caused me by any of my own infirmities, of your Excellency's indisposition, as commenced in the month of August, and which has continued to this present, nor do I know what to say concerning it, unless it be to cry to the Physician in Heaven, that He may deign and succour you, as I have not the heart to think that from this earthly physician you ought to take any other remedy save advice concerning diet and air, concerning which I implore you to allow yourself to be counselled, and to your devout oraisons I very much commend myself.
From Padua, the 4th of October, A.D. 1546.
Letter from the Cardinal Pole to the Cardinal Caraffa, dated from the Palace of St. James's, near London, on the 7th of November 1555.
Translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, from the MS. in St. Mark's Library, No. 24, Class 10.
As your Lordship will have already heard, a convocation of the prelates of the kingdom has been summoned, both for the sake of making arrangements concerning the ecclesiastical property ceded by the crown, as also to remedy other defects and disorder introduced amongst the clergy, through the corruption and bad government of these past times, and thus by means of this Parliament, and without causing inconvenience or expense to the prelates, we have, by God's grace, now commenced the said convocation.
On last Monday, the 4th, a solemn mass of the Holy Ghost was chaunted by the Bishop of London in the chapel of the Royal palace, after which the usual ceremonies were performed, as customary at the commencement of synod. We then adjourned to a hall of the said palace which was arranged for this purpose, both because I am lodged here, near the most serene Queen, as also because my Lord of Winchester, who is very grievously indisposed, and resides in the same palace, may attend.
On this first day nothing was done, save an explanation to the bishops and others of the clergy, who were likewise admitted, concerning the causes of this convocation, and which I myself made. All evinced every readiness to do what was required for God's service and for the spiritual welfare of this kingdom.
All the bishops will have to give particular account as well of the wants of their respective dioceses, as of the means of supplying such.
The first act will be the restoration of the said property to each despoiled church, orders being given for the people's service, and that they may reap fruit thence; and according to the commission given me by a brief of his Holiness, I have ordered the churches to be taxed afresh, and notice shall be duly given of all that may be treated and ordained.
I wrote to your most illustrious Lordship in my last of the 26th ult., of the meeting of the Parliament, wherein my Lord the Chancellor stated her Majesty's want of some subsidy from the kingdom, which has been conceded very readily and without contradiction from any one, and will amount to a million of gold, payable from the laity in two years, and in four from the clergy, which contributes willingly to this subsidy, the said contribution being very ancient and usual in this kingdom.
I believe the Parliament will terminate before Christmas, and should anything else be done therein worthy the notice of our Lord, advice shall be given to his Holiness, whose most holy feet I kiss with all due reverence, recommending myself humbly to the good grace of your most illustrious and most reverend Lordship.
From the Palace of St. James's, near London, A.D. 1555, November 7th.
Letter from the Cardinal Pole to the Duchess of Parma, dated Greenwich.
Translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, from the MS. in St. Mark's Library, No. 24, Class 10.
As I have ever felt the greatest sorrow for the protracted troubles endured by your Excellency and the most Excellent Lord Duke your consort, and by all your house, so do I now enjoy the greatest consolation at seeing them so well over to the mutual satisfaction of all parties, according to my constant hopes, most particularly from the knowledge and experience I have had of the good and pious disposition of his Majesty the King, as also from having remarked in his Imperial Majesty, whenever I had occasion to speak to him of your Excellency, every sign of paternal affection in your Excellency's favour, to whom our Lord God has now willed to grant a recompence for that filial piety which your Excellency has ever held and preserved towards his Imperial Majesty.
I now beg leave, by this my missive, and by the gentleman its bearer, to visit your Excellency and congratulate myself with you, as I do with all my soul, praying our Lord God to deign continue favouring you for ever, as also your most illustrious family, and, kissing your Excellency's hand, I recommend myself with all affection.
From the Same to the Same. Dated from Greenwich, on the 12th March, A.D. 1558.
The bailiff Dell' Aquila, on his way to Malta, having to pass by Parma, I have not wished to neglect this opportunity of visiting your Excellency, as I do through these few lines, whose welfare has been most grateful to me, as known through news written hither occasionally by the Cavalier Ardingello. With much pleasure I have also heard through many channels of the good success which the prince, your son, continues to procure for himself, as also of the great satisfaction he gives to the King's Majesty, and to all that court, at which I rejoice with your Excellency; praying our Lord God to keep daily yet more adding to your consolations, as to those of my Lord Duke, and of my most illustrious Lord Farnese, by ever keeping you under his protection.
From Greenwich on the 12th March 1558.
Letter from Monsignor Luigi Priuli to his brother in Venice, the Magnifico Messer Antonio, detailing the death of the Cardinal Pole.
Translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, from the MS. in St. Mark's Library, No. 24, Class 10.
London, 27th November, A.D. 1558.
I wrote to your Magnificence, last week, how that the most serene Queen's life was in danger, as also that of my most reverend Lord likewise, and it has since pleased God so to increase the illness of both one and the other, that on the 17th instant, seven hours after midnight, the Queen passed from this life, and my most reverend Lord followed her at seven o'clock on the evening of the same day; and each departed with such piety as might have been expected from persons who have led such lives. During their sickness they confessed themselves repeatedly, and communicated most devoutly, and two days before their end they each received extreme unction, after which it seemed as if they rallied, and were much comforted, according to the fruit of that holy medicine. Although two days previously it had been intimated to his right reverend Lordship that there remained but small hope of her most serene Majesty's recovery, (this being done in order that the news of her demise, coming less suddenly, might prove less grievous to him,) nevertheless, after the event, it was thought well to delay its announcement until his most reverend Lordship should be more composed, though at all events it could not have been long deferred; yet in contradiction to this project, one of our country people, on a certain occasion, forgot himself and conveyed the news to my most reverend Lord, who on hearing it, remained silent for a short while and then said to his intimate friend, the Bishop of St. Asaph, and to me, who were present, that in the whole course of his life nothing had ever yielded him greater pleasure and contentment than the contemplation of God's providence as displayed in his own person and in that of others, and, that in the course of the Queen's life and of his own he had ever remarked a great conformity, as she, like himself, had been harassed during so many years, for one and the same cause, and afterwards, when it pleased God to raise her to the throne, he had greatly participated in all her other troubles entailed by that elevation. He also alluded to their relationship, and to the great similarity of their dispositions, and to the great confidence which her Majesty demonstrated in him; saying that considering these facts, as also the immense-mischief which might result from her death, he could not but feel deep grief thereat, yet, by God's grace, that same faith and reliance on the Divine Providence which had ever comforted him in all his adversities, greatly consoled him in this so grievous and additional infliction. He uttered these words so earnestly, that it was evident they came from his very heart, and they even moved him to tears of consolation, at perceiving how our Lord God, for such a wound received at such a moment, had granted a balm so valid and efficacious, and which might soothe not only himself but also all who loved him.
His most reverend Lordship then kept quiet for about a quarter of an hour; but though his spirit was great, the stroke entered into his flesh and brought on the paroxysm earlier, accompanied with more intense cold than he had hitherto experienced, so that his most reverend Lordship said he felt this would be his last. He therefore desired that there might be kept ready near him the book containing those prayers which. are said for the dying. He then had vespers repeated as usual, and the Complin, which part of the office yet remained for him to hear; and this was about two hours before sunset; having on this very same morning heard mass also, as was his daily custom. And in fine, it was evident that, as in health that sainted soul was ever turned to God, so likewise in this long and troublous malady did its thoughts maintain that selfsame tendency, and made its passage with such placidness that he seemed rather to sleep than die, as did the Queen likewise, so that, had not a physician perceived the act, none would have marked the moment of her Majesty's departure.
My affection has moved me thus minutely to detail the end of this truly holy Prelate, and of this sainted Queen. It now remains for me to tell your Magnificence of the will which his most reverend Lordship determined on making, as your Magnificence will see by the enclosed copy; premising to you that I urged his most reverend Lordship with all instance not to have any thought for me; that is to say, not to give me any other testimony of his affection than that of which I had ever felt most sure, or extend anything to me beyond his conviction of my love and faith towards him, but praying him to dispose of his property as he might deem most expedient; but, as his most reverend Lordship remained fixed in this resolve, I considered it my duty to acquiesce finally, and not decline this pious charge which he chose to confer on me. His most reverend Lordship insisted at all events on leaving me some considerable portion of his possessions, to which I would by no means consent; alleging to his most reverend Lordship, and to others who spoke to me on the subject, the mere truth, which was, I doubted not, known to him, namely, that I had not come to him, or passed so many years with him, for any sake of acquiring honours or worldly convenience; nay, that when his most reverend Lordship had no rental, my mind was ever ready and made up, should he have experienced the want, as seemed probable, to give him not merely a part but even the whole of my property. On the other hand, I so confided in his love for me that, had I been in need, I should have applied to his most reverend Lordship as to my own father. Since, however, our Lord God had not permitted him to need mine, or that I should require his, it would seem to me that I were injuring myself and others by accepting any part of this his property, which he knew ought to be all distributed for pious purposes, and amongst needy persons, since I for my own part was aware, through God's grace, of having derived the greatest possible wealth from my intercourse with his most reverend Lordship, whilst by Divine grace, my mind was entirely free from the wish for any increase of temporal riches beyond what I hold, and which I consider very sufficient for my modest maintenance in that state wherein I find myself. I even dared say that I did not see what his most reverend Lordship could leave of sufficient value to be worthy either of him or of me; but as he persisted in his proposition, I at length said and protested, that if, despite all these my entreaties, his most reverend Lordship insisted on specifying for me in his will some particular legacy, I was most determined on not accepting such at any rate, and that I should dispense the whole amongst these his poor relations and servants; but that I should be greatly distressed at being reduced to this necessity for causing persons to suspect that my renunciation was induced by pride and arrogance and from an impression that the bequest was inferior to my deserts, or else I should be accused of vanity for performing so extraordinary an act. With regard to his giving a proof to others of his affection for me, I said that, in addition to those so great and manifold which he had afforded at all times, this additional demonstration of freely confiding to me all his property ought to suffice. At length his most reverend Lordship yielded, and made his will in the form which your Magnificence may see.
I then, having risen from my bed, made with all modesty another request to his most reverend Lordship, (fn. 3) namely, that he would make me understand as distinctly as possible his wishes concerning the distribution of his effects, in the hearing of his old familar friends, the Bishop of St. Asaph and the Dean of Worcester, and that of Messers Enrico and Giovanni Francesco, our countrymen, and thus was it done in the lifetime of his most reverend Lordship. A list was made of all these details by Messer Enrico, and on the completion of this paper I wanted to have it signed in his right reverend Lordship's own hand; but from lack of time, and from the inconvenience of his malady, as from other impediments, it was impossible fully to understand all his wishes ere the last day of his life, or in time to finish the list before the fit of the last paroxysm, which came on before its usual time and was so violent, as narrated by me to your Magnificence, that it became impossible to sign this or any other papers. My aim in this was, in any need, to make it known and tangible that I had acted sincerely and in no wise departed from the expressed will of his right reverend Lordship; after whose death, by the advice of the persons above named, it was thought well, and resolved not to communicate these particulars to any one until after the expenses of the obsequies and sepulture and of other very necessary and important matters had been defrayed, the amount of which could not be foretold. Not knowing this, it could not be fully determined whether the funds would suffice for the execution of what I had understood in detail concerning the will of his most reverend Lordship, who both in the testament itself and by word of mouth gave me full authority to alter his said bequests as might seem most fitting to me. I thought therefore that in the event of any necessity for their alteration by making such, in the same sense or proportionally, as might seem best, none of the legatees could have cause for murmur or complaint against me, although no harm could consequently result to me thence, since the will guaranteed me abundantly; moreover, I considered that by these means I could keep the members of the household better to their duty, through their hopes of being better treated according to their good and faithful service during the forty days that they remain at board, &c.
Immediately on the Cardinal's death it was deemed well not to delay intimating it to the new Queen, recommending this household to her, and supplicating for her favour and protection in the execution of the defunct's will. Our messenger went first to the Chancellor, but being unable to speak with him, he went forthwith to her Majesty, who without making any other reply, referred him to those of her Council, and they having consulted together, intimated that her Majesty would send hither immediately, as she did, the Earl of Rutland, with whom there also came two other gentlemen much favoured by the Queen. Coming to me, he said that her Majesty had sent him for all details, for the mere purpose of aiding the execution of the Cardinal's will, which she wished to see, and to have a copy thereof; whereupon, in order to demonstrate to him my loyalty and sincerity, I narrated all those details concerning his right reverend Lordship's will which I have communicated to your Magnificence; and then this Earl wanted to see the paper concerning the details. On my mentioning to him my reasons for not divulging it, and requesting his Lordship therefore to be satisfied with my reading it to him alone, he yet insisted on its being heard by the other two gentlemen also, and he insisted on having a copy, signed in my hand, that he might send it to the Queen, promising secresy. They then proceeded to ask me and Messer Enrico of what amount and nature was the property left by the Cardinal, and this we specified with all sincerity, distinguishing between what was out of the kingdom, namely at Venice, in Rome, and in Spain, and what was here, good part of which had been brought from Italy, namely, the greater part of the plate and many other things besides. I also mentioned my conclusion that the property here, (namely, all the plate and the residue of the revenues of the archbishopric levied last Michaelmas, together with the additional 4,000 ducats, which the most serene Queen had granted him for his own life, and to bequeath for one year after death, as also that part of the pension on the Bishopric of Winchester yet due,) would not altogether suffice for the payment of the debts and expenses incurred since Michaelmas, and for other necessaries, including the Cardinal's obsequies and interment. At length this Earl of Rutland appeared well enlightened and satisfied on every point, and as he had already frequently said, again told me not to entertain any doubt but that the most serene Queen's disposition was excellent, and that her Majesty would have every honourable regard for me in particular, and for all other foreigners, and that she would render all favour and assistance for the execution of the Cardinal's will. To this I ever replied that I could have no other belief, and I also freely told him that I was aware that her Majesty would receive the same reports as already prevailed, not only amongst the vulgar, but even in the breasts of persons of condition, how that there were in the Cardinal's hands hundreds of thousands of crowns on account of the property which the deceased Queen had restored to the church, which remission being approved by the Parliament, its management was intrusted to his most reverend Lordship, the amount hitherto recovered not exceeding 30,000 crowns, as they saw and ascertained through the clear statement of Messer Enrico, who received and dispensed the sums as ordered. I also added, that I knew how another report had also been circulated, of the Cardinal's great treasures derived from some other source; and therefore I was not surprised at her Majesty's wishing to ascertain the truth of these assertions, most particularly since she had not hitherto enjoyed any opportunity of obtaining particular knowledge and experience of the sincerity and candour of his right reverend Lordship's mind; nor to this did the Earl make me any reply, save by telling me again to rest perfectly assured. I also deemed it expedient to write a letter to her Majesty, the copy of which is enclosed, and it was approved by the Earl, and sent by one of his attendant gentlemen, together with the other papers and informations which they found, and I await her Majesty's reply and resolution hourly, and will afterwards intimate it to your Magnificence.
In the midst of so many troubles, and affairs most disagreable in their nature on many accounts, I find myself, by God's grace, in a frame of mind more vigorous than usual and very tranquil, experiencing thus how greatly it imports to have a just and good cause, and to treat it guilelessly and with sincerity, free from all scheme and private interest. All these matters have indeed rather lessened than augmented my quartan malady which yet clings to me, and as a proof of this, and for the consolation of your Magnificence, I will not omit to state, how on that morning when the Earl came here with the others I was expecting my paroxysm in the evening, and had it, but much more lightly and of briefer duration than my former attacks, and afterwards I slept for eight hours consecutively without ever waking; the like of which I do not remember having chanced to me since a very long while. To-day, which is again that of my quartan, I, by God's grace feel myself stronger than ever; for all which, praised and thanked be His infinite goodness.
I wrote thus far on the 21st, nor since then has any messenger been despatched hence. On the following day the afore-mentioned Earl said that he had received an answer from her Majesty, who was very well satisfied with my letter; and he repeated that I might be of good cheer and without any anxiety; whereupon I rejoined to his Lordship, that by God's grace so I was. And besides the proof of my having been better in health since his Lordship's visit, I will not fail now to give your Magnificence another cause for satisfaction, by informing you that besides the ancient counsellors, who were all friends of his right reverend Lordship, and are now confirmed in office by her Majesty, she has also appointed some new members, from whose courtesy I could promise myself all upright favour, and particularly from the Earl of Bedford, who in truth is known and loved by all as being a very courteous nobleman, and from having been in Italy, he evinces great affection for all our nation, and to me in particular he has frequently made the greatest offers, expressing himself much obliged for the signal service which your Magnificence rendered him when in Venice; nevertheless it never occurred to me to have recourse to his Lordship or to any one else for her Majesty's favour, not considering it necessary. The two gentlemen above alluded to have been backwards and forwards repeatedly, ever bearing the best possible words from the Queen, but in the end I hope through the said Earl of Bedford, (whose courtesy induced him to come to me to-day, not permitting my paying him the visit, as I had intimated to him was my intention,) we shall very shortly be enabled to perform the exequies for the Cardinal's good memory, and effect all his orders and legacies. The details I will communicate to your Magnificence on another occasion, nor shall I now tell you of public affairs, having written thus at length of private matters, as seemed fitting to me most particularly, knowing as I do, that the prudence of your Magnificence will not communicate them, save in such quarters as you may deem opportune. Concerning public affairs, they have passed and continue their course most quietly, her Majesty professing her intention of not choosing in any way to change the matters of religion, and exerting herself to keep this her people united and well contented, which may God give her grace to do, for His Divine Majesty's service, as for the salvation of this kingdom. It is intended to commence with the exequies of the late Queen, and then her present Majesty will, it is said, quit the Tower to-morrow, and come to her palace here at hand, whence she will pass to Greenwich for the Christmas holidays, and afterwards be crowned.
I send to your Magnificence a copy of the will, with the additions which you will see, and I wish you to inform me as speedily as possible whether this mere copy will suffice to render my order valid for drawing out of the mint part or the whole of such monies as are there, or any others that may be in Venice, belonging to the Cardinal's good memory.
I continue better of my quartan by the grace of God, who gives me strength of mind and body according to my need, and I hope the like for the future.
I exhort your Magnificence to receive all these things with that courage and good patience which our Lord God has granted you in so many of your other troubles and adversities, and I much recommend myself to the prayers of the most excellent my sister-in-law, the consort of your Magnificence, saluting all the family affectionately.
From London, on the 27th November, A.D. 1558.
Letter from Monsignor Luigi Priuli to Giberti.
Translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, from the MS. in St. Mark's Library, No. 24, Class 10.
Magnifico Messer Antonio, my most dear, I am sure that ere the receipt of this, the news will have reached Rome of the deaths of the most serene Queen, and of my most reverend Lord our master, and you will be the less surprised at not receiving letters from us on the subject, knowing under such circumstances how many events might arise to keep us all harassed and occupied. I wrote to you a few days previously, how I was ill of my quartan, and that the health of the most serene Queen was publicly considered hopeless, whilst that of my most reverend Lord was in great danger on account of a certain defect and obstruction. Nor were the contents of this letter falsified, for both one and the other grew worse daily, so that the Queen made her passage on the 17th inst., about seven hours after midnight, and my most reverend Lord expired at seven o'clock after noon of the same day, affording a resemblance both at the close of their illness as at its commencement. Nor did the similarity merely exist in these respects, for they also gave mutual and manifold signs of their piety, communicating frequently with great devotion, and two days before their end they each received most devoutly the most holy sacrament of extreme unction, and by their amelioration on the following day proved that this holy medicine had not only operated on their souls but also on their bodies. On the morning which followed that night wherein he received this holy sacrament, my most reverend Lord communicated, and caused the mass of the Most Holy Trinity to be performed; and on the next morning, which was his last, he listened to the mass of the Angel, who, we may truly believe, accompanied that sainted soul to Heaven, and indeed of this he gave some sign by his most tranquil and placid transit, which appeared a slumber. At the commencement of that day's paroxysm, which was his last, his right reverend Lordship, having heard of the Queen's death, said, that he felt this would be his last fit, and desired that there might be kept ready near him the book which contains the prayers for the dying, and they were repeated to his right reverend Lordship in the presence of many of his attendants and of the Bishop of St. Asaph, Thomas Goldwell, and of the Dean of Worcester, who remained here with us almost throughout his illness. The Queen also made her passage so tranquilly that on its commencement, had not a physician remarked it, all the others thought her better, and that she would fain sleep.
This will suffice for the present; at another moment I will tell you of many things in conformity with these, and worthy of such personages.
Some days before his death my right reverend Lord made his will, as you will see by the enclosed copy. On hearing of its tenor, I myself being then ill in bed, by means of our Messer Giovanni Francesco, entreated his right reverend Lordship earnestly, as more expedient for his will's execution, to appoint another or others as executors, or that he would at least specify distinctly in the testament the precise distribution of his property; begging his right reverend Lordship not to have any care for paying me this honour by giving such a proof of his trust in me, since I neither wished or sought for such, being most convinced of the fact. However, he would not in any way alter his resolve, and Messer Gio. Francesco was of opinion that I ought not to persist in my refusal, but consent to his right reverend Lordship's pleasure. Added to this, I had another dispute with his right reverend Lordship, who insisted at any rate on leaving me some considerable part of his property, to which I would by no means ever consent, not having, by God's grace, either want or wish for the increase of my paternal inheritance, which I find very sufficient for my maintenance in that state wherein I am. I even told him that whatever I might have accepted would have seemed so much snatched from his relations, and from orphans, from his poor servants, as from other alms and pious purposes, to which I knew it was his intention that this property should be devoted. Finally, his most reverend Lordship contented me by specifying what is stated in the will; but I protested at the time and since, and am most determined on not taking anyting, save a few trifles, as a mere memorial. Afterwards, on rising from my bed, when I could myself speak to his right reverend Lordship, I urged him earnestly to satisfy me by intimating to me most distinctly his wishes concerning the distribution of his property, and not only to me but also to my Lord of St. Asaph, T. Goldwell, to the Dean of Worcester, and to Messer Enrico and Messer Giovanni Francesco, our countrymen. And thus finally, by questioning his most reverend Lordship most closely, sometimes Messer Enrico and sometimes I myself, we at length wrote down all to the knowledge of the other persons named, and we also wished and requested him to sign this list in his own hand, but from divers impediments, having been unable to terminate this writing until the day of his death, this my other desire could not be gratified, neither could his most reverend Lordship sign certain other papers as was requisite, because the paroxysm came on earlier and with greater violence than usual. I was anxious for these distinct specifications for my own satisfaction, in order that I might depart as little as possible from his most reverend Lordship's express will, although, as was necessary, both by word of mouth and by the testament itself, he gave me full powers to alter his intentions according as I might see necessary, from the amount of his property, which neither then or now can yet be correctly estimated. Nor did I seek this on any other account, since I was too well secured against any trouble by the manner in which the will was worded.
This form of proceeding has also marvellously served to dispel certain suspicions which were entertained, that my most reverend Lord had left great treasures, not only on account of the ecclesiastical property ceded by the Queen, and which the Parliament had placed at his most reverend Lordship's disposition, for it was said that vast amounts had been paid to him on this, as also on many other scores. The former report concerning the church property, circulated long before his most reverend Lordship became ill, was based on the following facts: The most serene Queen gave up 10,000l. and other property, amounting in all to 40,000 ducats, annually; and without further research or enquiry, it has been hence said, that in two years and a half, which is the term that has elapsed since this concession, the Cardinal received 100,000l., which form 300,000 ducats, rental. This calculation, and these various suspicions were of easy elucidation by stating, what is most certain, that when the Queen ceded this property to the clergy, it was so clogged with pensions, assigned for the lives of various persons, that the said sum did not even suffice for the payment, but left a deficit exceeding 8,000 ducats. However, some of the pensioners died off, and thus in this period it was contrived to levy from the said property 8,000l., as disbursed by the bishops who collected this amount in their dioceses. Besides their testimony, my Lord of York and the Bishop of Ely, and some others his friends, knew that there had reached the hands of my most reverend Lord, or rather those of his Messer Enrico, who ever managed all the monies, only the said 8,000l., which for these wants of the war were given to the most serene Queen, who in compensation, made over to the bishops the presentations to many rectories that were in her gift, and which they considered of much greater value than this amount, he receipts for which Messer Enrico has shown, as also other writings, and the clearest attestations, with her Majesty's authentic seals.
With regard to the other suspicions, concerning the treasures accumulated by his most reverend Lordship, through other channels, though not alluded to, it yet ought to be manifest to all how, from the legation, his most reverend Lordship not only failed to receive any profit, but on the contrary, actually incurred the expense of many ministers whom he was obliged to maintain and pay for its support, whilst from the most serene Queen he never asked or received anything, either for himself, or for any friend or relation, or servant, save those 1,100l. which her Majesty offered him spontaneously, before he had the archbishopric, and afterwards granted him for his life, with power to dispose for the term of one year after his own demise of certain property, which had heretofore depended on the see of Winchester. It might be clearly proved, that, besides these revenues and those of the archbishopric, his most reverend Lordship had never received any other from the crown, excepting in the first year of his arrival in England, when he got 3,000l. It can be further demonstrated how in that year he expended upwards of 20,000 ducats, and in the following years he not only disbursed all the rentals which he drew hence, but also all those which he derived from Spain and Italy. For the manifest proof of all these facts, it has greatly served that I should have been enabled to show this particular note of his most reverend Lordship's will, concerning the distribution of his effects, and comparing its amount with the estimate made of his property, both abroad, in Venice, and in Spain, as also with the plate brought from Italy, and other purchased here and presented to him, as is the custom here on the first of the year, by the Queen, (she having first received an equivalent,) together with other chattels and rents on the aforesaid accounts, part being already levied, whilst part remain due, and thus it is well that the affairs should be so clear. But the suspicions had so increased, that we were half stayed and prevented commencing the execution of the defunct's will, although the Queen's Majesty ever forwarded most excellent messages, intimating the goodness of her intentions and dispositions by the persons whom she sent and kept here.
By God's grace we have at length come to the end, and can now attend to the sale of the plate and other valuable property, as also to the obsequies and sepulture of my most reverend Lord; and, with her Majesty's good will, the body will be moved towards Canterbury within a few days, although at the same time, there have to be performed here the obsequies of the deceased Queen. Notwithstanding this, the Bishop Vigorniesi and the Asafon, Goldwell, have received the present Queen's good leave to accompany his most reverend Lordship's corpse and attend his obsequies, her Majesty having heard of their long intimacy with him in Italy, and appeared to take well the gratitude and piety of these two prelates in this affair.
In all these great and varied troubles, I, by God's grace, have felt myself very strong, both in mind and body, trusting, principally, in the truth and piety of my cause, and in that sincerity wherewith His divine bounty has endowed me for its execution and treatment, devoid of the slightest personal interest. I have yet my quartan, but it is very slight and bearable, and I feel that in His goodness, our Lord God gives me sufficient aid for all this need, and I trust He will continue deigning so to do until its termination.
It was necessary to communicate with the Queen the details of my most reverend Lord's legacies; but of his own household, none, save myself and the four persons above named, are yet acquainted therewith. This reserve was deemed advisable, because the amount of his most reverend Lordship's property cannot be told until the expenses of his obsequies and interment, and other important and necessary household costs shall have been defrayed. Hence a necessity may very possibly result for altering and diminishing of all or great part of the private legacies, in which case it would not have been fitting that the persons affected thereby should have heard what was originally intended for them. His most reverend Lordship remembered us, as you shall hear at a future period; but for the present this is very sufficient to give you information of all that has chanced. Communicate all this my letter to my most reverend Lord of Cervini, as also the copy of the will, praying his most reverend Lordship will fain communicate what he shall think fit therein to his Holiness, and to others, you will participate in all or part of its contents, as you may consider well.
I shall not commence telling you of public affairs, having been so fully occupied with these private matters; but will merely observe, although doubtless the news have already reached you, that this most serene Queen before her sister's death notified her intention of not making any further alteration in the affairs of the religion, and two days after her late Majesty's demise, subsequently to her proclamation, she published an edict, announcing that she did not intend changing any of the acts which had been instituted and confirmed by her sister, during that Majesty's reign, desiring that all should conform to this her will. Thus no change has been witnessed in the churches, and matters proceeded and yet proceed most quietly, nor is it heard that any outrage has been offered either to the priests or friars who perambulate London, and her Majesty has continued, as previously, to hear mass, and causes her household to hear it daily. She immediately confirmed in their posts some of her sister's counsellors, appointed certain others newly, and has given divers principal offices of her household to her chief favourites. My Lord of York was the first person confirmed in his office of counsellor, and the intention was intimated to him of also confirming him in his post of chancellor, which has since lacked effect; moreover, it seems to be supposed, universally, that the Dean of Canterbury, namely, Wotton, who was ambassador in France, and is now in Flanders for the treaty of peace, will be most favoured, and that, with the archbishopric of Canterbury, he will also receive the office of chancellor.
May the Lord God, of His infinite mercy grant that this kingdom ever persevere in its union and obedience to the Church, for the honour and service of His Holy Majesty, for its own salvation, and to the consolation of all good and pious persons, both here and throughout the rest of Christendom. Since the demise of my most reverend Lord, the Bishop of Darten has also died, so there will be seven churches requiring appointments, and the Dunelmense, and other bishops besides, are so infirm and aged, that it can scarcely be credited they will be long for this life.
Console yourself, and accustom your mind ever to receive at God's hands all things willingly, thanking Him for whatever His divine Majesty and providence may please to impart.
Some days before my most reverend Lord's death there died in the house of his most reverend Lordship's brother, the Lord Geffery Joseph, our countryman, very piously and catholicly, according to the report of his brethren; and subsequently this very Lord Joseph fell very sick, and the fact coming to his most reverend Lordship's knowledge he sent Messer Carlo to visit him as the bearer of pecuniary assistance for his need: he was not merely in domo tenui, sed et paupere.
The said Lord Joseph has left five sons, the eldest of whom, according to the laws here, will inherit that small property which with great difficulty sufficed to maintain in poverty the whole family, and four maiden daughters, one of whom is already with the nuns of Sion here, and determined on taking the vows and living with them entirely. He also leaves two other married daughters, burdened with families, whose husbands are very poor, and these are those poor relations to whom his most reverend Lordship desired that part of his property might be distributed. You must know that during his lifetime, both here and in Italy, he never failed to succour them as paupers, though he never asked or received anything from the most serene Queen either for them or for any other, or friend or relation, or dependent on him in any manner. Nor, being on this subject, will I omit telling you of two notable examples of this Lord's sincerity. One is, that being entreated very earnestly by the husband of his only sister, (who is also much burdened with a family, though not in. such want as the brother was,) merely to notify by letter to a very wealthy widow that, should she wed one of these his nephews, as she had made a demonstration, she would thereby pleasure his most reverend Lordship: yet would he on no account allow himself to be persuaded so to do, most particularly as he did not entertain too good an opinion of the youth. The other instance is this; a very wealthy cavalier having notified his intention of marrying one of the brother's daughters without any dower, but for the purpose, so far as could be seen, of being favoured and assisted by the Cardinal in a very important law suit, his most reverend Lordship gave him to understand that in justice he should never fail to favour him, but by no means otherwise; and so the affair remained null. Non satis intelligimus non esse in tempore.
Letter from Monsignor Luigi Priuli to Don Giovanni de Vega, Super President of the Council.
Translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, from the MS. in St. Mark's Library, No. 24, Class 10.
Most Illustrious Lord,
On the 17th ultimo it pleased our Lord God to call unto Himself the most reverend Cardinal Pole, my master, after he had been ill for upwards of two months and a half, sometimes of one and sometimes of two quartan fevers, which at his age, and with his weak constitution, sufficed to remove him from this life, as it happened on the same day as the most serene Queen also died, or, to say better, obdormivit in Domino, as we may be sure is the case, both with one and the other, by reason of their holy lives, and through the many and manifest signs and testimonies of great piety which they have given. At his departure it pleased his most reverend Lordship in making his will to leave me charged with its execution, and to dispense the property which he has left as well to many most poor orphans, his relations, and to servants, as for other alms and pious purposes, I, wishing to execute his behests as speedily as possible and with all diligence, am busied in collecting all his most reverend Lordship's effects which are left not only here, but also in Italy and in Spain, whither an authentic copy of the will has been sent, with an order purporting that all residue for account of his most reverend Lordship be remitted in money to Luisi di Castro at Bruges, including those arrears for the pension which he received. And as I know the affection which your most illustrious Lordship bore that rare and truly holy prelate, in conformity with what was felt by him for your Lordship; and inasmuch as your most illustrious Lordship, by your authority and favour, aided the agent of his most reverend Lordship, (who, shortly before his death, received your very affectionate letter written on that subject,) I now supplicate your most illustrious Lordship, with all confidence, to deign for that Lord's memory to favour the said agent, so that all obstacle to his instantly remitting all the monies due to his most reverend Lordship in Spain may be removed, and this will prove a work of great piety, and worthy of your Lordship, (as will, I doubt not, be the case,) whose hand I humbly kiss, referring for all further particulars to the agent who bears this present.
From London on the 5th of December, A.D. 1558.
Letter from Monsignor Luigi Priuli to the Archbishop of Toledo.
Translated by Mr. Rawdon Brown, from the MS. in St. Mark's Library, No. 24, Class 10.
I doubt not but that ere the receipt of this, your most reverend Lordship will have heard of the grievous malady of the most serene Queen, as also of that of my most reverend Lord the Cardinal; and perhaps even of the deaths both of one and the other, as chanced on the 17th ultimo, the Queen dying a few hours before the Cardinal. Both at their end and throughout their sufferings each gave so many and manifest signs and testimonies of their great piety, and passed away so quietly, that it may be reasonably believed, and said, “Quod ambo obdormirent in Domino.”
The most serene Queen was buried on the 14th instant, (fn. 4) here in St. Peter's, and the Cardinal was interred at Canterbury on the following day. It was remarkable that he became ill on the same day that the Queen sickened, and as I said, they died on the same day. It chanced that on the morning of its event his most reverend Lordship heard of her Majesty's demise through the inadvertency of one of these our countrymen, whereupon, after having remained silent for some while, he said to my Lord Asafon and to me, who were present, that in the midst of so many and great causes as he had most grievously to lament this death, yet by God's grace he enjoyed a most efficacious remedy by turning to that haven of divine providence which throughout his existence had ever calmed and consoled him under all public and private inflictions; and these words he uttered with such mental vigour and alacrity as to prove of the greatest consolation, so that from very tenderness I could not restrain my tears. Shortly after this the paroxysm came on with greater violence than usual, and he ordered that the book containing the prayers said in transitu might be kept ready. On that day his most reverend Lordship had heard the Mass of the Angel, and on the day before he caused that of the most Holy Trinity to be celebrated; and on that day he also communicated, having received in the preceding night extreme unction, which, both in himself as in the most serene Queen, gave clear proof of increasing spiritual vigour, not less than corporal recovery. Nor will I omit mentioning another particular to your most reverend Lordship, which moved me greatly, as I was its eyewitness, and this is, that when, from the progress of the disease, his most reverend Lordship was obliged to keep constantly in bed, yet wishing to communicate, as he had already frequently, he chose by all means to hear mass, and to get out of bed at that part where he had to communicate, although he could not without the greatest inconvenience and fatigue; and when about to communicate, being supported by two persons, (as otherwise he could not have kept his feet,) he bowed his head almost to the ground, and with many tears and sobs said the Confiteor. When I saw him thus he struck me as resembling our Lord's blessed mother as she is represented beneath the cross supported by the two Marys; and in truth I never witnessed in any other person such deep expression of contrition and devotion so true and cordial. He communicated even several times after this ever most devoutly; and even till the last day chose to hear daily, not only the mass but also the office, and three hours before his death he heard vespers and the complin.
In making his will his most reverend Lordship was pleased to appoint me its executor, as your most reverend Lordship will see by its copy, which I could not but send you. Although he expresses himself therein so affectionately in my favour, and it is even evident that in this proceeding his most reverend Lordship was guided by God, (I mean in leaving this charge to a foreigner, and to a person for whom all here have evinced great respect, most particularly on account of the country of which I am,) for the present most serene Queen had been inspired with such suspicions and evil impressions against this so most virtuous Lord that, had the affair been put into the hands of Englishmen, or been managed otherwise, all might very easily have gone upside down, to the great detriment of so many poor persons amongst whom all this property has to be distributed.
I will not commence narrating in detail the difficulties which were raised at the commencement, so that for many days we were stayed and unable to remove or do anything, having ever the ministers of her Majesty in the house, who caused us no slight waste and detriment. But at length the light of truth dispelled the shadows and false suspicions, which purported that, (on account of the church property ceded to the clergy, and left at his most reverend Lordship's disposal, as also by other means,) the Cardinal had accumulated and left here great treasures. We at length freed ourselves from these and similar suspicions equally false; and subsequently from her Majesty and from her ministers we have experienced nought save all honest favour and courtesy.
Since two months I have been ill of quartan fever, having previously suffered other two from other fevers, which have been very prevalent here this year; nevertheless, by God's grace, I felt, and yet feel myself capable of supporting the constant fatigues and troubles which I have to encounter on account of this executorship, and in mind also, I find myself extraordinarily comforted, and this I attribute to the great piety of the work wherein I am engaged, and to that serenity of mind which our Lord God extended to me for its treatment without any personal regard or private interest, as also, to the aid received from the prayers of that sainted soul.
On these accounts, independently of my illness, I shall be obliged to remain here at least for all the rest of this winter, in order to give to every thing the best order and effect I can; and then, should it please our Lord God, I shall move towards Italy, ever bearing within me until death the due and affectionate and reverend memorial of your most reverend Lordship, to whom I feel most obliged, not merely for that charity which I have noted as extended to myself, but also for that which has been ever demonstrated for this my most dear father and master.
Our Delgado will bear and present in the Cardinal's name to your most reverend Lordship a small but very suitable memorial of your most true and mutual Christian amity, which I desire and pray may also induce a recollection of me, in the daily sacrifice of your most reverend Lordship, whose hand I kiss with all affection, recommending myself most heartily.
From London, on the 5th of December, A.D. 1558.