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K. Henry. 8. The life and death of the Lorde Thomas Cromwell Earle of Eßex.

MarginaliaAuthoritie of Parlamentes.Not that I here speake, or meane agaynst the high Courtes of Parlamentes of this our Realme, necessarilie assembled for the common wealth, to whom I alwayes attribute their due reuerence and authoritie. But as it happeneth sometimes in generall Coūcels, whiche thoughe they be neuer so generall, yet notwithstondyng sometymes they may and do erre in wayghtie matters of Religion: so likwise they that say, that Princes and Parlamentes may be misinformed sometimes, by some sinister heades, in matters ciuil and politike, do not therin derogate or empaire the high estate of Parlaments, but rather geue wholesome admonition to Princes and Parlament men, to be more circumspect and vigilant what counsell they shall admitte, and what witnesses they do credite. For priuate affection which commonly beareth a great stroke in all socieities and doinges of men, creepeth somtimes into such generall Councels, & into Princes Courtes also, eyther to much amplifying thinges þt be but small, makyng moūtaines of Molehils, or els to much extenuating thinges þt be of thē selues great & wayghtie, accordyng as it is truly sayd of the Poete Iuuenal: Dat veniam coruis, vexat censura columbas, or as our Englishe Prouerbe sheweth: As a man is frended, so is hys matter ended: And where the hedge is low, a man may lightly make large leapes: or rather to speake, after þe Frēche phrase: MarginaliaA French Prouerbe.Qui son chien veult tuer, la rage luy met sus. That is: He that is disposed to haue hys dogge killed, first maketh ē beleue that he is mad. And thus much hauing declared touchyng þe matter of his accusatiō, þe rest I referre to the high Parlament of that mightie king, who shall one day bryng all thynges to perfect light.

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In the meane season, howsoeuer the cause of the Lord Cromwell standeth, true, or false, this is certaine that Steuen Gardiner lacked not an head, nor yet priuie assisters, which cunningly could fetche thys matter about, and watche their tyme, MarginaliaLady Anne of Cleue diuorced from the king.when as the kyng being disposed to marye an other wife, which was the Lady Catherine Hawarde, immediatly after the beheading of the Lord Cromwell, dyd repudiate Lady Anne of Cleue, which otherwyse is to be thought, duryng the life of Cromwell, could not so well be brought to passe.

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But these thynges being now done and paste, let vs passe them ouer and returne agayne from whence we digressed, that is, to þe Lorde Cromwell being now atteinted and committed to the Tower. Who so long as he went with full saile of fortune, how moderatly, and how temperatlye he dyd euer beare hym selfe in hys estate, before hath bene declared. MarginaliaThe Christen paciēce of the Lord Cromwell in his aduersitie.So now the sayd Lorde Cromwell, alwayes one man, by the contrarye wynde of aduersitie being ouerblowen, receaued the same with no lesse constancie, and pacience of a Christian harte. MarginaliaCromwell foreseing and preparing for his trouble before it fell.Neither yet was hee so vnprouided of counsaile & forecaste, but that he did forsee this tempest long before it fell, & also prepared for þe same. For two yeares before, smellyng the conspiracie of his aduersaries, and fearyng what might happen, hee called vnto hym his seruauntes, and there shewyng vnto them in what a slyppery state hee stode, and also perceauyng some stormy wether already to gather, required them to looke diligentlye to their order and doynges, lest through their defaulte any occasion might ryse agaynst hym. And furthermore, before the time of his apprehēsion, MarginaliaCromwell good to his seruaūtes.such order hee tooke for his seruauntes, that many of thē, especially þe yonger brethren, which had litle ells to take vnto, had honestly left for them in their frendes handes, to releaue thē, what soeuer should him befall.

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Brieflye, such a louing and kinde Maister hee was to hys seruauntes, that he prouided aforehand almost for them all: Insomuch, that he gaue to xij. children which were hys Musicions, twentie pounde a peece, and so cōmitted them to their frendes. Of whom some yet remayne aliue, who both inioyed the same, and also geue recorde of thys to be true.

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Furthermore beyng in the Tower a prisoner, how quietly he bare it, how valiantly he behaued hym selfe, how grauely and discretly he aūswered & enterteined the Commissioners sent vnto him, it is worthy noting. What soeuer Articles or interrogatories they propoūded, they could put nothyng vnto hym, either concernyng matters Ecclesiasticall or temporall, wherein he was not more rypened, and more furnished in euery condition, then they them selues.

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Amongest the rest of those Commissioners which came vnto hym, one there was, whome the Lorde Cromwell desired to carye for hym a letter to the kyng. Whiche when hee refused, saying that hee would cary no letter to the kyng, from a traytour: then the Lord Cromwel desired him at least to do from him a message to the kyng. To that the other was contēted, and graunted, so that it were not agaynst his alleageance. Then the Lord Cromwell takyng witnes of the other Lordes, what he had promised: You shall cōmend me (sayd he) to þe kyng, & tell hym: by that he hath so well tryed, & thorowly proued you, as I haue done, he shal finde you as false a mā as euer came about him.

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Besides this he wrote also a letter from the Tower to the kyng, wherof when none durst take the cariage vpon him, MarginaliaSyr Raufe Sadler the L. Cromwells trustie frend.Syr Raffe Sadler (whom hee also had preferred to the kyng before, beyng euer trusty and faythfull vnto him) went to the kyng, to vnderstand his pleasure, whether he would permitte him, to bryng the letter or not. MarginaliaCromwells letter to the kyng.Whiche when the kyng had graunted, the sayd M. Sadler, as hee was required, presented þe letter vnto þe kyng, which he cōmaunded thrise to be read vnto him: in so much þe king semed to be moued therwith.

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MarginaliaThe Lord Cromwell not suffred to come to hys aunswere.Notwithstandyng by reason of the Acte of Parlament afore passed, the worthy & noble Lord Cromwell oppressed by his enemyes, and condēned in þe Tower, and not commyng to his aunswere, the xxviij. day of Iuly. an. 1541. was brought to þe scaffolde on Tower hill, where he sayd these wordes folowyng. 

Commentary  *  Close

Cromwell's scaffold speech and prayer are taken from Edward Hall, The union of two noble and illustre famelies of Lancastre and Yorke (London, 1560), STC 12723a, fo. 242r-v.

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MarginaliaThe Lorde Cromwell brought to the scaffolde.I am come hether to dye, & not to purge my selfe, as some thinke perauēture that I wil. For if I should so do, I were a very wretch and a miser. I am by the law condemned to die, and thanke my Lord God that hath appoynted me this death for myne offence. For sithens the tyme that I haue had yeares of discretion, I haue lyued a sinner, and offended my Lord God, for the whiche I aske him hartely forgeuenes. And it is not vnknowen to many of you, that I haue bene a great traueler in this world, and being but of a base degree, was called to high estate, and sithens the time I came thereunto, I haue offended my Prince, for the whiche I aske him hartely forgeuenes, and beseche you all to praye to God with me, that hee will forgeue me. And now I praye you that be here, to beare me recorde, I die in the Catholicke fayth, not doubtyng in any Article of my faith, no nor doubting in any Sacramēt of the Church. Many haue sclaūdered me, and reported that I haue ben a bearer of such as haue mainteined euil opinions, which is vntrue. MarginaliaA true Christian confesson of the Lorde Cromwell at hys death.But I confesse that like as God by his holy spirite, doth instruct vs in the truth, so the deuill is ready to seduce vs, and I haue bene seduced: but beare me witnes that I dye in the Catholicke faith of the holy Churche. And I hartly desire you to pray for the kinges grace, that hee may long lyue with you in health and prosperitie: and that after hym hys sonne Prince Edwarde, that goodly Impe, may long reigne ouer you. And once again I desire you to praye for me, that so long as life remayneth in this fleshe, I wauer nothyng in my fayth. And so makyng his prayer, kneling vpon his knees, he spake these wordes, the effect wherof here foloweth.

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¶ A prayer that the L. Cromwell said at the houre of his death.

MarginaliaThe prayer of the Lord Cromwell at his death.O Lord Iesu, which art the only health of all men liuing, and the euerlasting life of them which die in thee: I wretched sinner do submitte my self wholy vnto thy most blessed will, and being sure that the thing can not perishe which is cōmitted vnto thy mercy, willingly now I leaue this fraile and wicked flesh in sure hope that thou wilte in better wise restore it to me agayn at the last day in the resurrection of the iust. I beseche thee, most mercifull Lord Iesus Christ, that thou wilt by thy grace make strong my soule against al tēptations, & defend me with the buck-

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ler
PPP.iiij.
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