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HOMAS WOLSEY was born at Ipfwich in the County of Suffolk, in March, 1471. But as many Authors have spoke of Wolfey's Original and great Abilities, and have differently represented both, we fhall, by way of Introduction, mention what several of them relate.-SPEED fays, Wolfey's Parents were poor, but of honeft Report.GODWIN, He was born of very mean Parentage, a Butcher's Son of Ipfwich.-HALL, GRAFTON, and HOLLINGSHEAD, fpeak of Wolfey in the fame Words: This Man was born at Ipfwich, a good. Philofopher,
Memorable for the Introduction of the noble Art and Mystery of PRINTING in England.
very eloquent and full of Wit; but for Pride, Covetoufnefs, and Ambition he excelled all others.STOW, Wolfey was but a poor Man's Son of Ipfwich-RAPIN, Wolfey was a Clergyman eminent for his Merit, tho' but a Butcher's Son of Ipswich.-DaNIEL, Hiftory reprefents Thomas Wolfey to us as one of the most vain, most ambitious, moft wicked, and, at the fame time, one of the ableft Men of his Age; he was of very mean Birth, but his Genius and Management raifed him. CAMPION, He was a Man undoubtedly born to Honour, fome Prince's Bastard, no Butcher's Son.ECHARD, This extraordinary Perfon was Son to an honeft poor Man of Ipfwich. -SALMON, Wolfey was a Clergyman of a fprightly Genius. Bishop BURNET does not mention Wolfey's Original; he tells us, as a Minifter, Wolfey was a very extraordinary Perfon; but, as a Churchman, he was the Difgrace of his Profeffion.-WOOD obferves, That Thomas Wolfey was born at IpfOxonienfes. wich, and fays, Of all the Clergymen of his Time, as well as before and after him, he was indifputably the greatest: He had a vaft Mind, and a great Senfe of Regulation and Glory, which by fome is conftrued Pride. His Parts were prodigious, and it must be owned he wanted ⚫ not a Senfe of his own Sufficiency, and therefore his • Demeanour and Management of himself were fuch 6 as were more fitted to the Greatness of his Mind and his Fortune, than to the Meannefs of his Birth. Many Hiftorians of that Time, whether out of Envy of his Order, or Contempt of his Birth, or Hatred of his Religion, have not been very favourable to his Fame; and the traditionary Reporters fince, who • have pretended to an exact Account of his Actions, have, upon too flight Enquiries, and with too great Confidence, tranfcribed the former Narratives: So that we yet want an exact and faithful History of the greatest, moft noble, and moft difinterested • Clergyman
Clergyman of that Age. The great Lord BACON does not, in his Hiftory of Henry the VIIth, mention Wolfey's Parents; but only fays, Wolfey was Chaplain, and employed by Henry the VIIth. The various Accounts, that have been given of Wolfey's Original, occafioned one of our English Poets to make the following witty Remark :
The SECRET HISTORY of the CARDINAL, by GEORGE CAVENDISH, Efq; his GentlemanUsher.
From the CARDINAL'S Birth, to the Death of King HENRY the VIIth.
Great Prieft, whoever was thy Sire by Kind,
County of Suffolk, and there
born, who, being but a Child,
was very apt to learn; wherefore, by means of his Parents, and other his good Friends, he was maintained at the Univerfity of Oxford, where in a fhort time he profpered fo well, that in a small time (as he told me with his own Mouth) he was made a Batchelor of Arts when he was but fifteen Years of Age, and was ⚫ most commonly called the Boy Batchelor. Thus, profpering
It pleafed this Lord Marquefs againft Chriftmas, to fend as well for the School-mafter as for the Scholars home to his 'House, for their Recreation in that pleasant and honourable Foreft. They being a while there, the Lord Marquefs their Father perceiving them to be well improved in Learning for the Time, he was fo well contented, that he, having a Benefice in his Gift, (being at that prefent void) gave the
in Learning, he was made Fel-School-mafter the fame, in re
low of Magdalen College in
gard of his Diligence. After B 2
RUTH it is,
Oxford, after that he was made Mafter of Magdalen School, at 'which time were the Lord Marquels of Dorfet's Sons there at School, committing unto him as well their Education as their Inftruction and Learning.
The Authors have mentioned having not agreed what Wolfey's Father's Profeffion or Business was, it will be neceffary to purfue our Enquiry farther.
Dr. Fiddes, who wrote the Cardinal's Life, admits the common Tradition, that Wolfey was the Son of a Butcher; but he avers he can discover no more authentick Grounds for fuch a Tradition, than for the other Report, that his Parents were in mean and indigent
Chrisimas, at his Departure to the Univerfity, and he having the Presentation thereof, repaired to the Ordinary for his • Institution: And, being then • furnished with all his Inftruments at the Ordinary's Hands for his Preferment, made hafte, without any further Delay, to his Benefice to take Poffeffion thereof. Now you fhall un⚫derftand, that the School-master
had not been long there, but one Sir Amias Pawlet, Kt. dwelling in the Country therea'bouts, took an Occafion of Dif
pleasure against him, but upon what ground I know not; in⚫ fomuch that Sir Amias was fo ⚫ bold as to lay the School-mafter by the Heels during his Difpleasure, which Affront was afterwards neither forgotten, nor forgiven; for when the School⚫maller mounted fo high as to be Lord Chancellor of England, he was not forgetful of his old Difpleasure, most cruelly miniftred unto him by Sir Amias, but fent for him, and after a very fharp Reproof, enjoined him not to depart out of Lon'don, without Licence firft obtained; to that he continued in the Middle-Temple the space of 'five or fix Years; who after
wards lay in the Gate-house next the Stairs, which he reedified, and fumptuously beautified the fame all over on the Outfide, with the Cardinal's Arms, his Hat, his Cognizance and Badges, with other Devices, in fo glorious a manner, as he thought thereby to have appeafed his old Displea
This may be a good Precedent for Men in Authority, which work their own Wills 'without Wit, to remember that • Greatness may decay. And those whom they do punish, more of Humour than Juftice, 6 may afterwards be advanced to great Honour, (as this Cardinal was) and they abased as low as this Sir Amias was, which feek Revenge. Who would have thought, that when Sir Amias Pawlet punished this poor School-mafter, that ever he fhould have mounted to fo great a Dignity as to be Chancellor of England, confidering his mean Parentage and Friends? Thefe be the wonderful Works of God's Providence. And I would wish, that all Men in Authority would fear God in all Ages in the Time of their Triumph and Greatnefs; con⚫ fidering
gent Circumstances; notwithstanding feveral Authors have related it, yet that learned Divine does not inform us what Bufinefs Wolfey's Father followed, or profeffed, fave what he gathered from fome of the before-mentioned Authors.
Still it is allowed, the Doctor has gone farther than any other Author, in refpect to his oppofing
fidering that Advancement and Authority are not permanent, but many times flide and vanish fuddenly away, as Princes PleaI fures alter and change, or as all living Creatures muft of Neceffity pay the Debt due to Nature, which no earthly Crea-in ⚫ture can refiit.
Fellowship; and now being alfo deftitute of his fingular ' good Lord, as well as of his Fellowship, which was most of his Relief, thought long to be ⚫ provided of some other Help to • defend him from all fuch Storms as he might meet with. In his Travel thereabouts he
grew acquainted with a very great and ancient Knight, who had a great Place in Calais, under King Henry the VIIth. This Knight he ferved, and behaved himself fo difcreetly, that he obtained the eípecial Favour
of his faid Mafter; infomuch, that for his Wit and Gravity he committed all the Care and Charge of his faid Office to his faid Chaplain. And, as I underftand, his Office was the Treafurership of Calais, who,
regard of his great Age, fhortly after was discharged of his faid Office, and to returned into England, intending to live a more private Life. But, through his inftant Labour and good Favour, his Chaplain was preferred to be the King's Chaplain: And when he had once caft Anchor in the Port of Promotion, how he then beftirred himfelf I fhall now declare.