it turned out ill for Wolsey and all besides, for
no sooner had the notion of setting aside poor Katharine
come into his mind, than the king cast his eyes on
Anne Boleyn, one of her maids of honor—a
lively lady, who had been to France with his sister
Mary. He was bent on marrying her, and insisted
on the pope’s giving sentence against Katharine.
But the pope would not make any answer at all; first,
because he was enquiring, and then because he could
not well offend Katharine’s nephew, the Emperor.
Time went on, and the king grew more impatient, and
at last a clergyman, named Thomas Cranmer, said that
he might settle the matter by asking the learned men
at the universities whether it was lawful for a man
to marry his brother’s widow. “He
has got the right sow by the ear,” cried Henry,
who was not choice in his words, and he determined
that the universities should decide it. But
Wolsey would not help the king here. He knew
that the pope had been the only person to decide such
questions all over the Western Church for many centuries;
and, besides, he had never intended to assist the
king to lower himself by taking a wife like Anne Boleyn.
But his secretary, Thomas Crumwell, told the king
all of Wolsey’s disapproval, and between them
they found out something that the cardinal had done
by the king’s own wish, but which did not agree
with the old disused laws. He was put down from
all his offices of state, and accused of treason against
the king; but while he was being brought to London
to be tried, he became so ill at the abbey at Leicester
that he was forced to remain there, and in a few days
he died, saying, sadly—“If I had served
God as I have served my king, He would not have forsaken
me in my old age.”
With Cardinal Wolsey ended the first twenty years
of Henry’s reign, and all that had ever been
good in it.
Henry VIII. And his wives.
When Henry VIII. had so ungratefully treated Cardinal
Wolsey, there was no one to keep him in order.
He would have no more to do with the pope, but said
he was head of the Church of England himself, and could
settle matters his own way. He really was a very
learned man, and had written a book to uphold the
doctrines of the Church, which had caused the people
to call him the Defender of the Faith. After
the king’s or queen’s name on an English
coin you may see F.D.—Fidei Defensor.
This stands for that name in Latin. But Henry
used his learning now against the pope. He declared
that his marriage with Katharine was good for nothing,
and sent her away to a house in Huntingdonshire, where,
in three years’ time, she pined away and died.
In the meantime, he had married Anne Boleyn, taken
Crumwell for his chief adviser, and had made Thomas
Cranmer archbishop of Canterbury. Then, calling
himself the head of the Church, he insisted that all