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1397 [1397]

K. Henry. 8. The life and storye of the Lorde Thomas Cromwell Earle of Essex.

for your olde curtesie shewed to me in tyme past, the lyke curtesie nowe requireth of me agayne, that I likewise shoulde repaye some portion of that debte wherin I stand bound vnto you, accordyng as the part of a thankfull mā byndeth me to do, in requityng your benefites on my part heretofore receiued. And this further I auouch in the word of a true frend, that duryng this lyfe and state of myne, I will neuer fayle to do for you, wherin my authoritie may preuaile to supplye your lacke and necessitie. And so let these few wordes suffice to geue you knowledge of my frendly meaning. But let me delay the tyme no longer.

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Then takyng him by the hand, he lead him into hys chamber, whence, after that euery mā by his cōmaūdement was departed, he locked fast the doore. Thē openyng a coffer full heaped with treasure, MarginaliaExample of a faythfull debter.hee first tooke out sixtene Ducates, and deliueryng them to Frescobald, he sayd: loe here (my frēd) is your money which you lent me, at my departure from Florēce, and here other ten, which you bestowed in my apparel, with ten more that you disbursed for the horse I ryd away on. But consideryng you are a marchaunt, it seemeth to me not honest to returne your mony without some cōsideration for the long detainyng of it. MarginaliaThe Lorde Cromwells vsurye.Take you therfore these foure bagges, and in euery of them is foure hundreth Ducates 

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The amount involved, 16,000 ducats, is literally incredible but Foxe is simply repeating Bandello.

, these you shall receaue and enioye from the handes of your assured frend.

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Frescobald, although from great wealth hee was brought to a low ebbe, and (almost) an vtter decay, yet expressyng the vertue of a modest mynde, after gentle thankes giuen to the Lord Cromwell for his excedyng kyndnes shewed, courteously would haue refused that whiche was offered, had not the other enforced hym agaynst his will to receaue it.

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This done, he caused Frescobald to geue him a note of the names of all his debtours, and the summe that from euery of them was owyng him. This schedule hee deliuered to one of his seruauntes, MarginaliaKindnes requited with kindnes.vnto whom hee gaue charge diligentlye to search out such men whose names therein were conteyned, if they were within any parte of the Realme: and then straitly to charge thē to make payment of those summes within fiftene dayes, or els to abyde the hassard of his displeasure. The seruaunt so wel performed his Masters commaundement, that in very short tyme they made payment of the whole summe: and if it had lyked Frescobald so to haue demaūded, they should haue aūswered to the vttermost, such commoditie as the vse of his money in so many yeares would haue geuen him profite: MarginaliaModestie in an Italian.but he contented with his principall, would demaunde no further. By which meanes he gatte both harty loue and great estimation, and the more, for that hee was so deare to þe lord Cromwell, & so highly esteemed of him, And duryng all this time, Frescobald continually lodged in the house of þe Lord Cromwell, who euer gaue him such interteynemēt, as he had right well deserued, and oftentimes moued him to abyde in England, afferyng him the lone of 60. thousand Ducates MarginaliaThe Ducates after the Italian count, came much neare to our Englishe crowne. for þe space of 4. yeare, if he would continue and make his banke in Londō. But Frescobald, who desired to returne in to his countrey, and there quietly to continue the rest of his life, with the great fauour of þe Lord Cromwell, after many thankes for his high and noble intertaynement, departed towardes his desired home, where richly arriuyng, hee gaue him self quietly to lyue. But this wealth he small tyme enioyed, for in the first yeare of his returne he dyed. 

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Foxe omits the conclusion of Bandello's tale which relates that Cromwell fell from power and was beheaded because he dared to have Stephen Gardiner sent to the Tower without consulting Henry VIII. See Matteo Bandello, Novelle, 4 parts in 3 volumes {Lucca, 1554-73], II, pp. 205-7).

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MarginaliaAn other example of the kinde & lowly minde of the L. Cromwell.So plentifull was þe life of this man in such fruites full of singular gratitude & curtesie, that to reherse all, it would require to long tractatiō. Yet one exāple amō.gest many other I may not ouerpasse, wherby we may euidently consider, or rather maruell at þe lowly minde of such a person, in so high a state and place of honour. For as he cōming with other of þe lordes of the Counsaile and Commissioners to the house of Shene, about the examination of certaine Monkes which there denied the kings supremacie, after the examination done was there sitting at dinner, it chaunced hym to spie a farre of, a certaine poore man which there serued to sweepe their Selles and Cloister, and to ringe þe belles. Whom when the Lorde Cromwell had well aduised, he sent for the poore man to come vnto hym, and before all the table most louingly and frendly, callyng hym by hys name, toke hym by þe hand, and asked how hee dyd, with many other good wordes, and turnyng therwith to the Lordes: My Lordes (quoth he) see ye thys poore man? Thys mans father hath ben a great frend to me in my necessitie, and hath geuen me many a meales meate. Then sayd he to the poore man, come vnto me and I will prouide for thee, and thou shalt not lacke as long as I liue. Such as were present and sawe and heard the same, being yet aliue, report it to be true.

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MarginaliaThree thinges in the Lorde Cromwell.
3. Authoritie.
2. Wisedome.
1. Zeale.
In this worthy and noble person, besides diuers other eminent vertues, iij. things especially are to be cōsidered, to wytte, florishyng authoritie, excellyng wysedome, and feruent zeale to Christ and to hys Gospell. First as touchyng his feruent zeale in settyng forward the sinceritie of Christen fayth, sufficient is to be sene before by the Iniunctions, proclamations, and Articles aboue specified, that more can not almost be wyshed in a noble man, and scarse the like hath bene seene in any.

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MarginaliaThe wisedome and policie of the Lorde Cromwell.Secondly, with his wisedome and policie no lesse singular, ioyned with hys Christen zeale, hee brought great thynges to passe, as well on this side the sea, as in the partes beyonde. But especially his workyng was to nourishe peace abroad with foreine Realmes, as maye well by the kynges letters and instructions sent by his meanes to hys Ambassadours resident both with the Emperour, the French king, and þe kyng of Scottes, & also with the Pope appeare. In all whose Courtes such watch and espial he had, that nothyng there was done, nor pretēded, wherof he before had not intelligence. MarginaliaThe Lorde Cromwell a continual nourisher of peace.Neither was there any sparke of mischief kyndlyng neuer so litle agaynst the kyng and the Realme, which hee by wytte and policie did not quenche and kepe down. And where policie would not serue to obteine peace, yet by money he bought it out: so that duryng all the tyme of Cromwels prosperitie, the kyng neuer had warre with any foreyne nation: notwithstandyng, that both the Pope, the Emperour, the kynges of France & Scotland, were mightely bent and incensed agaynst hym.

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MarginaliaThe authoritie of the Lorde Cromwell employed to the publicke commoditie of the realme.Thus, as the prudent policie of this man was euer circumspect abroad, to stay the Realme from foreyne warres: so hys authoritie was no lesse occupyed in kepyng good order & rule at home: First in hamperyng þe Popish Prelates, & disapointing their subtile deuises: secondly, in brydlyng & keeping other vnruly subiectes vnder subiection and discipline of the lawes. Whereby as he was a succour and refuge to all godly persons: so was he a terrour to þe euil doers: so that not þe presence of hym onely, but also þe hearing of þe cōmyng of Cromwell brake many frayes, and much euill rule: as well appeared by a certeine notorious fray or ryot appoynted to be fought by a company of ruffyns, in the streete of London called Pater noster row. Where cartes were set on both sides of purpose, prepared to inclose thē, that none might breake in to part thē. MarginaliaA skirmish or fray in Pater noster rowe, stopped by the cōming of the Lord Cromwell.It happened, that as this desperate skyrmish should begyn, the Lord Cromwell commyng the same tyme from the Court through Paules Churchyard, and entring into Chepe, had intelligence of the great fray toward, and because of the cartes could not come at them, but was forced to goe about the little Cundet, and so come vpon them through Pannier Alley. Thus as the conflicte began to waxe hoate, & the people were standing by in great expectation to see them fight, sodeinly at the noice of the Lorde Cromwells commyng, the campe brake vppe and the Ruffins togoe, neither could the cartes kepe

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