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taxes by his own authority, but he violated the security of property by various other blameable In ea.SureS.
Henry VII., nevertheless, displayed so much courage, skill, and sagacity, in the conduct of public affairs, that the nation submitted to such evils for the sake of those greater advantages. Free from vain ambition, he carefully sought to maintain peace; he was, at the same time, well acquainted with foreign affairs, and by his engaging affability and calm dignity, knew how to acquire the goodwill both of foreigners and his own countrymen. His judgment was less quick than mature, and his penetration and energy of mind increased in proportion to the approach of the crisis and the . urgency of the danger.—Neither sympathy, friendship, nor passion, determined his line of conduct; but the consideration of what his own interest and the welfare of the country required. He did not, like Louis XI., shun men of talent, but knew how to make use of their services and render them dependent on him. With all his suspicion and love of power, he displaced only one high Officer of State, and this with great reason, during his reign of four and twenty years. He was respected by all; feared by many, and beloved by few: he, Louis XI., and Ferdinand the Catholic, were significantly called the three wise men of their age.
Henry VII. died on the 22d of April, 1509, in the 52d year of his age, leaving to his son a peaceful, well-ordered kingdom, and a sum of 1,800,000 pounds in ready money in the Treasury. The accession of the new King diffused universal joy, and the people congratulated themselves that, instead of an old, suspicious, and avaricious master, they had now a youthful monarch of eighteen, handsome, polished, and chivalrous, whose superabundant spirit would easily subside in time into genuine, cheerful activity. Henry VIII. was well educated according to the notion of those times; he knew Latin, understood the system of Theology, and was so great a lover and connoisseur of music, that he often joined in the singing in his own chapel, and even composed two masses. Under the judicious guidance of his grandmother, the Countess of Richmond, he retained the able counsellors of his father; with the exception of Empson and Dudley, who were arrested and brought to trial. They violated, says an author, all the forms of law, in order to extort money, and were tame birds of prey for their master's interest and wild ones for their own. However, as they had in this respect only executed the commands of Henry VII., or at least had, for the most part, acted according to his intentions, the investigation into their extortions was passed over very slightly, and they were accused of arrogant as
sumption of power, inordinate influence, and a plan 6
for making themselves masters of the kingdom and of the new Monarch. The jury pronounced them guilty of treason, and after the sentence had been ratified by the parliament, they were executed on the 28th of August, 1510, rather as an offering to the hatred of the people than because they had been duly convicted. It was also believed that after this satisfaction had been given, a direction in the will of Henry VII. might be dispensed with, which ordered that if the Exchequer had wrongfully extorted anything it should be made good. Another subject which excited much discussion immediately upon the King's accession, was his marriage. Arthur, the elder deceased brother of Henry, had left a young widow, Catharine of Arragon, daughter of Ferdinand the Catholic, who had brought him a very ample dowry, and the majority of the counsellors advised the King to marry her, that they might retain her large portion, prevent the princess marrying into a family hostile to England, maintain the advantageous alliance with Spain, and fulfil the wishes of Henry VII.: only Warham, archbishop of Canterbury, disapproved of the marriage, because he was of opinion that it was at variance with the divine Law. Immediately on receiving the Papal dispensation, in which it was assumed that the first marriage with Arthur had never been consummated, Henry gave his
consent, and although he did not entertain any great affection for Catharine, was married to her on the 7th of June, 1509. To gratify his love of magnificence and pleasure there was a succession of hunting parties, tournaments, masquerades, and festivities of every description; for the King, says a writer, had as little inclination to trouble himself with business, as a wild ox to be yoked to the plough.() The treasures which he had inherited were still more reduced when he suffered himself to be led into a war with France, by his own ambition, and the instigation of his father-in-law Ferdinand, who alone derived nearly the whole advantage from it. To this war another with Scotland was added, and both were not ended till the year 1514; the last when King James IV., brother-in-law of King Henry VIII., had been totally defeated and slain at Floddenfield, on the 9th of September, after a brave resistance: the first when Louis XII. consented to cede Tournay, and to marry Mary the sister of Henry.() About this time Thomas Wolsey began daily to acquire more favour and influence with the King. He was born in the year 1471, and though of mean extraction, (for his father was probably a butcher, at Ipswich,) had enjoyed the advantages of a good
' The Notes will be found at the end of each Chapter.
education, obtained a Batchelor's degree at Oxford in the 14th year of his age, and was subsequently tutor to the sons of the Marquis of Dorset, a preacher at Lymington, Chaplain to Henry VII. and after having conducted himself with great ability in an Embassy to the Emperor, he was promoted in 1508 to the dignity of Dean of Lincoln. Fox, bishop of Winchester, introduced him to the new King, in order to oppose the increasing favour of the Earl of Surrey; but Wolsey soon became more powerful than either of them. Though he was twenty years older than Henry, he behaved with much gaiety and cheerfulness in his parties of pleasure, ate and drank, sang and danced, without any strict regard to his clerical profession, and talked to the King aswellon affairs of gallantry as on Thomas d’Aquinas. Thus he contributed to make himself, first, agreeable, then useful, and at last indispensable. For, great knowledge of domestic and foreign affairs, indefatigable activity, and extraordinary understanding in the management of all business, are not denied him even by his enemies. Henry, fond of pleasure, easily persuaded himself, that he could do no better than transfer the burden of business to some person whose views and intentions entirely coincided with his own, and who was at the same time wholly dependent upon him. Though Henry was in many things selfwilled, positive, and arbitrary, yet, from the year