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Pole
Pole
36

genuine affection for the king, and hesitated to affront him by a refusal; but no bribe could induce him to palter with his convictions. In a moment of weakness he said he believed he had found a means of satisfying the king without offence to his own conscience. The king gave him an interview at York Place. At first Pole was tongue-tied. At length he exhorted Henry not to ruin his fame and destroy his soul by perseverance in wrong. The king in fury put his hand to his dagger. Pole left the chamber in tears (see the different accounts of the story in Epp. Poli, i. 251-62, and Calendar, vol. xii. pt. i. No. 444). At the same time Pole, at the king's request, wrote a paper, very likely just after the interview, giving his opinion on the king's scruples and how to deal with them. The treatise itself does not seem to be extant, but a fall account of its contents is given by Cranmer in a letter to Anne Boleyn's father, written on 13 June 1531, in which he says that it was 'much contrary to the king's purpose ;' but the arguments were set forth with such wisdom and eloquence that if they were published it would be im- possible, Cranmer thought, to persuade people to the contrary. Pole pointed out the danger of reviving controversies as to the succession, then he attacked the arguments on the king's side, and urged Henry to defer to the pope's judgment (Stype, Cranmer, App. No. 1). The king took Pole's counsel in good part (Cal. Venetian, v. 244), and was almost inclined to abandon the divorce. Thomas Cromwell [q. v.], however, whom Pole regarded as an emissary of Satan, induced him to persevere. With deep dislike Pole saw soon afterwards the concession of royal supremacy wrung from the clergy. He was present, probably with a deputation of the clergy, when the king refused a large sum voted to him by convocation unless it were granted to him as head of the church of England (De Unitate Eccl. f. 19). He may also have been present in convocation in the same year when the title, with the qualification 'as far as the law of Christ allows,' was silently conceded, after three days' strenuous opposition. His statement that he was absent when the royal supremacy was enacted (ib. f. 82) clearly refers to the parliamentary act of 1534. He was then at Padua. Pole, apprehensive of the further consequences of Cromwell's predominance, petitioned to be allowed to devote himself to the study of theology abroad. He told Henry that if he remained in England and had to attend parliament (as he would be expected to do) while the divorce was discussed, he must speak according to his conscience. In January 1532 Henry thought it prudent to let him go (Cal. v. No. 737). He and Henry parted good friends, and the king continued his pensions.

Pole settled at Avignon for a few months, but soon removed to Padua, where he spent some years, paying frequent visits to Venice. From Padua he wrote to the king a carefully considered letter, full of powerful arguments against the divorce, whose wisdom the king and Cromwell praised. Meanwhile his friends in England caused him to be instituted in his absence (20 Dec. 1532) to the vicarage of Piddletown in Dorset, a living in the patronage of his family. He resigned it three years later. In order to hold it he was dispensed ' propter defectum susceptionis sacrorum ordinum' (Hutchins, Dorset, ii. 624).

At Padua he took into his house the great classical professor Lazzaro Buonamici, with the view of re-studying Greek and Latin literature ; but the thought of what was going on in England induced him to devote himself more ardently to philosophy and theology. At Venice or at Padua Pole made the acquaintance of two lifelong friends—Gaspar Contarini, who was created a cardinal a year before himself, and Ludovico Priuli, a young Venetian nobleman, who became ardently attached to him. He came to know, too, Gian Pietro Caraffa, afterwards Paul IV, and, among other men of worth and genius, Ludovico Beccatelli, afterwards his secretary and biographer.

On Henry's marriage with Anne Boleyn in 1533, and the disinheriting of Princess Mary, Queen Catherine and her nephew, Charles V, alike agreed that Pole's services might be employed in redressing the wrongs of the divorced queen and her daughter (Cal. Henry VIII, vol. vii. No. 1040). The princess might, it was vaguely suggested, become his wife, and Yorkist and Tudor claims to the throne might thus be consolidated. It was only in June 1535 that Pole was made aware, in a letter from the emperor, of the proposal that he should interfere. His first feeling was alarm at the responsibility. But he agreed to make experiment of peaceful mediation after a method of his own (Cal. Spanish, vol. v. pt. ii. No. 63 ; cf. vol. viii. No. 830).

Pole was anxious at this time to avoid all chance of a civil war in England (ib. No. 129), and Henry VIII had already offered him, he vainly hoped, an opportunity of promoting peace. In the latter part of 1534 the king had, through Thomas Starkey,who seems to have been Pole's chaplain at Padua, and was on a visit to England, requested Pole's opinion on the two points, whether marriage with a deceased brother's wife was permissible