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might at least be useful, by proving that innocence excuses not great misdeeds, if they tend any way to the destruction of the commonwealth.- After uttering these words, she caused herself to be disrobed by her women; and with a steady, serene countenance, submitted herself to the executioner.
CHARACTER OF MARY.
It is not necessary to employ many words in drawing the character of this princess. She possessed few qualities either estimable or amiable, and her person was as little engaging as ber bebaviour and address. Obstinacy, bigotry, violence, cruelty, malignity, revenge, and tyranny ; every circumstance of her character took a tincture from her bad temper and narrow understanding. And amidst that complication of vices which entered into her composition, we shall scarcely find any virtue but sincerity, a quality which she seems to have maintained throughout her whole life, except in the beginning of her reign, when the necessity of her affairs obliged her to make some promises to the Protestants, which she cer. tainly never intended to perform. But in those cases a weak bigotted woman, under the govern. ment of priests, easily finds casuistry sufficient to justify to herself the violation of an engagement. She appears, as well as her father, to have been susceptible of some attachment of friendship; and that without the caprice and inconstancy, which were so remarkable in the conduct of that monarch. · To which we may add, that in many circumstances of her life, she gave indications of resolution and vigour of mind; a quality which seems to have been inherent in her family.
FALL OF CARDINAL WOLAEY.
CARDINAL Wolsey, the favourite of Henry VIII. was the most absolute and wealthy minister of state that England ever saw. In his rise and fall, he was the greatest instance which many ages had produced, of the mutability of human affairs.
When the intrigues of his enemies had weak. ened the king's attachment, the meditated blow was for a time suspended, and fell not suddenly on the cardinal's head. The king, who probably could not justify, by any good reason, his alienation from his ancient favourite, seems to have remained some time in doubt; and he received him, if not with all his former kindness, at least with the appearance of trust and regard. But constant experience evinces how rarely high confidence and affection receive the least diminution, without sinking into absolute indifference, or even running into the opposite extreme. The king was at length determined to bring on the ruin of the cardinal, wiih a motion almost as precipitate as he had formerly employed in his elevation. The dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk were sent to require the great seal from him; and on his scrupling to deliver it, without a more express warrant, Henry wrote him a letter, upon which it was surrendered; and it was delivered by the king to sir Thomas More, a man who, besides the ornaments of an elegant literature, possessed the highest virtue, integrity, and capacity.
Wolsey was ordered to depart from York Place, a palace which he had built in London, and which, though it really belonged to the see of York, was seized by Henry, and became afterwards the residence of the kings of England, by the title of Whitehall. All his furniture and plate were also seized : their riches and splendour befitted rather a royal than a private fortune. The walls of his palace were covered with cloth of gold, or cloth of silver. He had a cupboard of piate of massy gold. There were found a thousand pieces of fine Holland belonging to him. The rest of his riches and furniture was in proportion: and his opulence was, probably, no small inducement to this violent persecution.
The Cardinal was ordered to retire to Asher, a country-seat which he possessed near Hampton Court. The world that had paid him such abject court during his prosperity, now entirely deserted him on this
fatal reverse of all his fortunes. He himself was much dejected with the change; and from the same turn of mind which had made him be so vainly elated with his grandeur, he felt the stroke of adversity with double rigour. The smallest appearance of his return to favour, threw him into transports of joy unbecoming a man. The. king had seemed willing, during some time, to intermit the blows which overwhelmed him. He granted him bis protection, and left him in posa
session of the sees of York and Winchester. He even sent him a gracious message, accompanied with a ring, as a testimony of his affection. Wolsey, who was on horseback when the messenger met him, immediately alighted; and throwing himself on his knees in the mire, received, in that humble attitude, these marks of his majesty's gracious disposition towards him. But his enemies, who dreaded his return to court, never ceased plying the king with accounts of his several offences. He dismissed, therefore, his numerous retinue ; and as he was a kind and beneficent master, the separation passed not without a plentiful effusion of tears on both sides. The king's heart, notwithstanding some gleams of kindness, seemed now totally hardened against his old favourite. He ordered him to be indicted in the Star Chamber, where a sentence was passed against him. And, not content with this severity, he abandoned him to all the rigour of the parliament,
After Wolsey had remained sometime at Asher, he was allowed to remove to Richmond, a palace which he had received as a present from Henry, in return for Hampton Court. But the courtiers, dreading still his vicinity to the king, procured an order for him to remove to his see of York. The cardinal knew it was in vain to resist. He took up his residence at Cawood in Yorkshire, where he rendered himself extremely popular in the neighbourhood, by his affability and hospitality; but he was not allowed to remain long unmolested in this retreat. The earl of Northumberland received orders, without regard to Wolsey's ecclesiastical character, to arrest him for high treason,
and to conduct him to London, in order to his trial. The cardinal, partly from the fatigues of his journey, partly from the agitation of his anxious mind, was seized with a disorder which turned into a dysentery; and he was able, with some difficulty, to reach Leicester abbey. When the abbot and the monks advanced to receive him with much respect and reverence, he told them that he was come to lay his bones among them; and he immediately took to his bed, whence he never
A little before he expired, he addressed himself in the following words to sir William Kingston, constable of the Tower, who had him in custody: 'I pray you have me heartily recommended to his royal majesty; and beseech him, on my behalf, to call to his remembrance all matters that have passed between us from the beginning, especially with regard to his business with the queen; and then will he know in his conscience whether I have offended him. He is a prince of a most royal carriage, and hath a princely heart; but rather than he will miss or want any part of his desire, he will endanger the one half of his kingdom. I do assure you, that I have often kneeled before him, sometimes three hours together, to persuade him from his will and appetite; but could not prevail. Had I but served God as diligently as I have served the king, he would not have given me over in my gray hairs. But this is the just reward that I must receive for my indulgent pains and study, not regarding my service to God, but only to my prince.'
Thus died this famous cardinal, whose character seems to have contained as singular a variety as