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Pole
Pole
37

by divine law, and whether papal supremacy was of divine institution. If Pole could not agree with the royal view, Henry added, he must state his own candidly, and then come to England, where the king would find honourable employment for him in other matters. Starkey's letter reached Pole at Venice in April, and Pole asked for further time for study before coming home. Starkey meanwhile deemed it prudent to give the king some indication of Pole's general political views, and set them forth in the form of an imaginary dialogue bet ween Pole and the now deceased Thomas Lupset. Pole was represented as in theory a reformer, strongly alive to the dangers of the prerogative, but entirely loyal to a king like Henry VIII, who was incapable of abusing it (ib. No. 217 ; Starkey's treatise printed in England in the Reign of Henry VIII, by J. M. Cowper, for the Early English Text Soc.) Henry was not offended at an abstract theory expounded in this way.

The king caused Cromwell, in December 1534, to write to Pole with some impatience for his answer to the two questions (Cal. Henry VIII, vol. ix. No. 988). But his reply was taking the form of a long treatise, 'Pro Ecclesiasticæ Unitatis Defensione,' which he did not finish till May 1536. His arguments were aimed at peacefully deterring Henry from further wrongdoing, and were solely intended for the king's eyes. The work was a severe criticism of his proceedings, written not without pain and tears, for the high estimate he had formed of Henry's character had been bitterly disappointed. The king, dissembling his indignation, repeated his wish that Pole should repair to England ; but Pole alleged the severe laws the king had himself promulgated as a sufficient excuse. Letters from his nearest relatives at home threatened to renounce him if he did not return and make his peace with the king. His friends in Italy were alarmed lest he should, in spite of the manifest danger, revisit his country. Paul III was consequently induced to summon him to Rome to a consultation about a proposed general council. With some reluctance he obeyed the call, and reached Rome in November 1536. He was lodged by the pope with great honour in the Vatican.

Pole found himself at Rome the youngest and most energetic member of a committee summoned by Paul III, after consultation with Pole's friend Cardinal Contarini, to draw up a scheme for reforming the discipline of the church. The committee's report was published in 1538 (Consilium delectorum Cardinalium), Pole was still a layman, but it was thought well that he should now take deacon's orders and be made a cardinal. The prospect filled him with dismay, and he endeavoured to convince the pope that it was at least untimely. It not only would destroy his influence in England, but involve his family in some danger. The pope at first yielded to these representations ; but others were so strongly in favour of his promotion that he returned to his original purpose. The papal chamberlain was despatched to inform Pole of the final resolution, along with a barber to shave his crown; and Pole submitted. He was made a cardinal on 22 Dec. 1536, deriving his title from the church of St. Mary in Cosmedin. In the following February he was nominated papal legate to England.

The news of Pole's cardinalate enraged Henry VIII, but he forbore to show any open sign of anger. Popular disaffection was spreading in the north. A conciliatory attitude was needed to prevent a disastrous development. A letter to Pole was drawn up on 18 Jan. in the name of the king's council, and was despatched apparently on the 20th, after being signed by Norfolk, Cromwell, and others, remonstrating with him on the tone of his book and of his letters to the king, but accepting conditionally a suggestion thrown out by himself that he should discuss in Flanders, with commissioners sent by the king, the matters in dispute (Cal. Henry VIII, vol. xii. pt. i. No. 125). It was insisted that he should go thither without commission from any one. Otherwise recognition of the pope's authority would be assumed. Pole replied from Rome on 16 Feb. that he had only obeyed the king's request in writing, and had done his utmost to keep the contents of the book secret from all but the king himself. He was ready, however, to treat with the king's commissioners in France or Flanders, but it must be in his capacity of legate (ib. No. 444 ; an undated Latin translation in Poli Epp. i. 179, is wrongly addressed to the parliament of England).

Pole was straightway despatched by the pope to England, and carried with him money with which, it was understood, he was to encourage the northern rebels against Henry VIII. On the journey he resolved to appeal to Francis I, the ally of Henry, and to persuade the French king to exhort Henry to return to the Roman church as his only safety. With Giberti, bishop of Verona, a known friend of England, to whom Henry, if he disliked receiving a cardinal, might give a more favourable reception, Pole accordingly set out. After five weeks' travelling, they reached Lyons on 24 March. Henry VIII had crushed the northern rebellion before