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1183 [1182]

K. Henry. 8. The story and life of the Lord Tho. Cromwell Earle of Essex.

because ye shall not be ignoraunt of hys curtesie when I greatly needed, I shall tell it you: and so there declared vnto them euery thing in order, accordyng as before hath bene recited vnto you. His tale finished, holdyng hym still by the hande, hee entred hys house, and comming into the chamber where hys dynner was prepared, he sate hym downe to the Table, placing hys best welcomed guest next vnto hym.

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The dinner ended, and the Lordes departed, he would know what occasion had brought Frescobald to London. Fraunces in few wordes opened his cause, truely tellyng, that from great wealth, he was fallen into pouertye, and that his onely portion to maintayne the rest of his life was xv. thousande Ducates which were owyng hym in England, and two thousande in Spayne. Whereunto the Lord Cromwell aunsweryng agayne, sayd, touchyng the thinges Maister Frescobalde that be already past, although it cannot now be vndone by mans power, nor by pollicy called agayne, which hath happened vnto you by the vnstable condition and mutabilitie of this world alteryng to and fro: yet is not your sorrow so peculiar to your selfe alone, but that by the bond of mutuall loue, I must also bewaile with you this your state and condition: which state and condition of yours, though it may worke in you matter of iust heuines, yet notwithstandyng, to the intent you may receaue in this your heauy distresse, some consolation, for your old curtesie shewed to me in tyme past, the lyke curtesie nowe requireth of me agayne, that I likewyse should repaye some portion of that debte wherein I stand bound vnto you, accordyng as the part of a thankfull man byndeth me to doe, in requityng your benefites on my part heretofore receiued. And this further I auouch in the worde of a true friende, that during this lyfe and state of myne, I will neuer fayle to do for you, wherin my authoritie may preuaile to supply your lack and necessitie. And so let these few wordes suffice to geue you knowledge of my frendly meaning. But let me delay the time no longer.

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Then takyng him by the hand, he led hym into his chāber, whence, after that euery man by his commaundement was departed, he locked fast the dore. Then openyng a coffer full heaped with treasure, MarginaliaExample of a faythfull debter. he first tooke out sixtene Ducates, and deliueryng them to Frescobald, he sayd: loe here (my friend) is your mony which you lent me, at my departure from Florence, and here other tenne which you bestowed in my apparell, with tenne more that you disbursed for the horse I rid away on. But consideryng you are a merchant it semeth to me not honest to returne your money without some consideration for þe long detayning of it. MarginaliaThe Lord Cromwells vsurye. Take you therfore these 4. bags, and in euery of them is 400. ducates 

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

, these you shall receiue and enioy from the handes of your assured frend.

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Ferscobald, although frō great wealth he was brought to a lowe ebbe, and (almost) an vtter decay, yet expressyng the vertue of a modest mynde, after gentle thanckes geuen to the Lord Cromwell for hys exceedyng kyndnesse shewed, curteously would haue refused that which was offered, had not the other enforced him against his wyll to receiue it.

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This done, he caused Frescobald to geue hym a note of the names of þe names of all his debtours, & the summe that frō euery of them was owyng him. This schedule he deliuered to one of his seruaōts, MarginaliaKindnes requited wyth kyndnes. vnto whō he gaue charge diligētly to search out such men whose names therin were conteyned, if they were within any parte of the Realme: and then straightly to charge them to make payment of those summes within fiftene days, or els to abide the hazard of his displeasure. The seruaunt so well performed his maisters commaundement, that in very short tyme they made payment of the whole summe: and if it had lyked Frescobald so to haue demaunded, they should haue aunswered to the vttermost, such commoditie, as the vse of his money in so many yeares woulde haue geuen hym profite: MarginaliaModestie in an Italian. but he contented with his principall, would demaund no further. By which meanes he gat both harty loue and great estimation and the more, for that he was so deare to the Lord Cromwell, and so highly esteemed of hym

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And duryng all this tyme, Frescobald continually lodged in the house of the Lord Cromwel, who euer gaue him such intertainment as he had right well deserued, and oftentymes moued him to abide in England, offering him the lone of 6000 ducates MarginaliaThe Ducates after the Italian count came much neare to our English crownes for the space of 4. yere, if he would continue and make his banke in London. But Frescobald, who desired to returne into his countrey, and there quietly to continue the rest of his lyfe, with the great fauour of the Lord Cromwell, after many thankes for his high and noble intertaynement, departed towardes his desired home, where richly arriuyng, he gaue himselfe quietly to liue. But this wealth he small tyme enioyed, for in the first yeare of his returne he dyed. 

Commentary  *  Close

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 kynde & lowly minde of the L. Cromwell So plentifull was þe life of this man in such fruites full of singular gratitude & curtesie, þt to reherse all, it would require to long tractation. Yet one example amongest many other I may not ouerpasse, wherby we may euidently consider or rather maruell at the lowly mynde of such a person, in so high a state and place of honour. For as he commyng with other of the lordes of the Counsaile and Commissioners to the house of Shene, about the examination of certaine Monkes which there denyed the kynges supremacie, after the examination done was there sittyng at dinner, it chaunced hym to spye a farre of, a certayne poore manne whiche there serued to sweepe their Selles and Cloister, and to ringe the belles. Whom when the Lorde Cromwell had wel aduised, he sent for the poore man to come vnto him and before all the table most louingly and frendely, callyng him by his name, tooke hym by the hand, and asked how he dyd, with many other good wordes, and turnyng therwith to the Lordes: My Lordes (quoth hee) see ye thys poore man (Thys mans father hath bene a great frende to me in my necessitie, and hath giuen me many a meales meate. Thē sayd he to the poore man, come vnto me and I will prouide for the, and thou shalt not lacke as long as I liue. Suche as were present and sawe and heard the same, report it to be true.

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MarginaliaThree thinges in the L. Cromwell.
1. Zeale.
2. Wisedome.
3. Authoritie.
In this worthy and noble person, besides diuers other eminent vertues, iij. thinges especially are to bee considered to wytte, florishyng authoritie, excellyng wysedome, and feruent zeale to Christ & to his Gospell. First as touching 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 lyke hath bene sene in any.

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MarginaliaThe wisedome & pollicie of the L. Cromwell. Secondly, with his wisedome and policie no lesse singular ioyned with hys Christen zeale, he brought great thinges to passe, as well on this side the sea as in the other partes beyond. But especially his workyng was to nourishe peace abroade with foreine Realmes, as may well by the kynges letters and instructions sent by his meanes to his Ambassadours resident both with the Emperour the French kyng, and the kyng of Scottes, and also with þe pope appeare. In all whose Courtes such watch and espiall hee had, that nothyng there was done, nor pretended, wherof he before hadde not intelligence. MarginaliaThe L. Cromwell a continuall nourisher of peace. Neither was there any sparke of mischief kyndlyng neuer so litle agaynst the Kynge and the Realme whiche he by wytte and policie dyd not quenche and keepe downe. And where policie would not serue to obtein peace, yet by money he bought it out: so that duryng all the time of Cromwels prosperitye, the kyng neuer had warre with any foreyne nation: notwtstandyng, that both the Pope, the Emperour, the kynges of Fraūce and Scotland were mightely bent and incensed agaynst him.

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MarginaliaThe authoritie of the L. 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 his authoritie was no lesse occupyed in keepyng good order and rule at home: First in hamperyng the Popishe Prelates and disapoyntyng their subtile deuises: secondly, in bridlyng and kepyng othee vnruly subiectes vnder subiectiō and discipline of the lawes. Whereby as he was a succour and refuge to al godly persons: so was he a terrour to the euil doers: so that not the presence of hym onely, but also the hearyng of the commyng 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 ruffins, in the streete of Londō called Pater noster row. Where cartes were set on both sides of purpose, prepared to inclose them, that none might breake in to part them. MarginaliaA skirmishe or fray in Pater noster rowe, stopped by the comming of the L. Cromwell. It happened, that as this desperate skyrmish should begyn, the Lorde Cromwell commyng the same tyme from the Court through Paules Churchyard, and entryng into Chepe, had intelligence of the great fray toward, and because of the cartes could not come at thē, but was forced to go about the little Cundet, and so come vpon them through Pannier Alley.

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Thus as the conflicte began to waxe hoate, and the people were standyng by in great expectation to see them fight sodenly at the noice of the Lord Cromwells commyng, the campe brake vppe and the Ruffins to goe, neither could the cartes keepe in those so couragious campers, but well was he that first could be gone. And so ceased this tumultuous outrage, without any other parting, only through the authoritie of the Lord Cromwels name.

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MarginaliaA storye betwen the L. Cromwell and a Ruffin. One example more of the lyke affinitie commeth here in mynde, which ought not to be omitted, concernyng a certaine seruyng man of the lyke ruffinly order, who thinkyng to disceuer himself from the common vsage of all other men in strange newfanglenes of fashions by himselfe (as many

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there
LLL.ij.
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