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A length Truth shot its ray into this chaos of disordered reason. But it came not directly from its source; but from the ferment of such passions as error and corruption are apt to raise amongst those who govern in, and benefit by, that state of confusion. For when a Reform happens to arise from within, it cannot be supposed to have its birth in a love of truth ; bardly in the knowledge of it. Generally some oblique passion gratifies itself in decrying the grosser corruptions, supported by, and supporting, those it hates. The machine thus set a going, Truth has fair play: she is now at liberty to procure friends, and to attach them to her service. This was the course of things in the Revolution we are about to speak of; and is the natural rise and progress of religious Reformations in general. For if, in the state of such established error, Providence was to wait, till a love of Truth had set men upon shaking off their bondage, its dispensations could never provide that timely aid which we vow find they always do to distressed Humanity. For when the corruption hatlı spread so wide, as to make Truth, if by chance she could be found, an indifferent object; what is there left, to enable men to break their fetters, but the clashing interests of the corruption itself? And it is knowing as little of the religious, as of the moral course of God's Providence, to upbraid those, who have profited of this blessing, with the baseness of the instruments that procured it.
Tuomas CROMWELL although borne of a simple parentage, and house obscure, through the singular excellencie of wisdome and dexteritie of wit wrought in him by God, coupled with like industrie of minde and desertes of life, rose to high preferment and authoritie; in so much that by steps and staires of office and honour, he ascended at length to that, that not ourely he was niade Earle of Essex, but also most secret and deare counsellour to king Henry, and Vicegerent unto his person ; which office hath not commonly beene supplyed, at least not so fruitfully discharged, within this Realnie.
First as touching his birth ', he was borne at Putney or therabout, being a Snriths sonire, whose
As touching his birtk.] Cardinal Pole has treated Cromwell with great severity in his Apologia ad Carolum Quintum Cæsarem. The invective is long: but is too much to our purpose to be altogether passed by. The occasion upon which it is introduced is in declaring the influence and intrigues of Cromwell respecting the Divorce of Henry VIII. from Q. Catharine.
Si nomen quæratur, Cromvellum eum appellant; si genus, de nullo quidem ante eum, qui id nomen gereret, audivi. Dicunt tamen, viculum esse prope Londinum, ubi natus erat, et ubi pater ejus pannis verrendis victum quæritabat; sed de hoc parum refert. Nunc si conditio quæratur, sic quidem de eo intellexi, aliquem in Italia fuisse gregarium militem ; fuisse etiam mercatorem, nec tamen longius progressum in boercatura fuisse, quam ut scriba esset mercatoris, et libros raVOL. II.
mother married after to a shyreman. In the simple estate and rude beginnings of this man (as of divers other before him) wee may see and learne that the excellencie of noble vertues and heroicail prowesses, which advance to fame, and honor, stand not only upon birth and bloud, as priviledges only intailed and appropriate to noble houses ; but are disposed indifferently and proceede of the gift of God, who
tionum servaret ; optime vero novi illum mercatorem, qui Ve. netus erat natione, cui operas suas locabat. Tandem hujus conditionis pertæsus, domum reversus, causidicis se immiscuit, his qui jura regni profitentur : in quo eo magis se proficere spe. rabat, quod versuti et callidi ingenii sibi conscius esset ad defendendum tam iniquuni, quam æquum, quod ex externorum commercio valde acuerat, cum nostrorum hominum ingeniorum simplicitatem semper contemneret. Nec tamen in hoc genere valde crevit, antequam ad Monasteriorum ruinam perventum est. Quod incæpit vivente adhuc Cardinali Eboracense, dum Monasteria quædam pene a suis deserta, et illorum bona ac prædia in subsidium pauperum, qui in Gymnasiis literis operam dabant, essent conversa. Hic vero notus esse cæpit, idque ostendit, ad hanc artem solum sc natum fuisse, ad ruinam et vastationem, id quod crebra aliarum artium mutatio declaravit, in quibus nihil crevit, in hac vero statim celebris esse cæpit, et pluribus notis ; ita tamen in illis initiis artis suæ notus, ut cum Cardinalis, cujus assecla fuit, et ex cujus authoritate et imperio illam suam artem exercebat, ab administratione Reipublicæ remotus esset, et dignitate privatus, ipse omnium voce, qui aliquid de eo intellexerant, ad supplicium posceretur. Hoc eniin affirmare possum, qui Londini tum adfui, et voces audivi, adeo etiam ut per civitatem universam rumor circumferretur, eum in carcerem fuisse detrusun, et propediem productum iri ad supplicium. Neque vero hoc effugisset, nisi Dei in regem justissima ira, hujus vitam Satanæ dedisset. &c. Epistola Reginaldi Poli Cardinalis, Vol. I. p. 126. Brixiæ. 1744. In the same Apology, Pole gives a cu. rious account of an interview which he had with Cromwell, in the house of Cardinal Wolsey, about the year 1529, in which Cromwell sounded him on his dispositions with regard to Henry's divorce, and strenuously recommended to Pole for his instruction in politics and the knowledge of courts, the famous book of Machiavelli, De Principe. Ibid. p. 133