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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/45

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Pole
Pole
39

and, in order to supply him with means suitable to his birth and station, conferred on him what was called the legation of the patrimony, that is to say, the secular government of that portion of the States of the Church called the patrimony of St. Peter. Viterbo was the capital of the district which lay between the Tiber and Tuscany. Pole's government was distinguished by a leniency strongly contrasting with Henry VIII's severity. After the arrest of two Englishmen, who, on examination, were compelled to confess that they had been sent to assassinate him, he remitted the capital penalty, and merely sent them for a few days to the galleys.

In 1541, when Contarini was despatched by the pope to the diet at Ratisbon, he took counsel with Pole, and never was the breach between Rome and the protestants more nearly healed than by their able and conciliatory policy. Pole appreciated clearly the fact that the heart of the controversy lay in the doctrine of justification, on which, indeed, his own views were not unlike those of Luther, and on this subject an understanding was almost arrived at.

In 1542 he was one of the three legates appointed by the pope to open the council of TrentĀ ; but delays followed, and the council only met for despatch of business in December 1545. He spent some time of the interval in writing the treatise 'De Concilio.' He was with his two colleagues at Trent when a solemn commencement was made on 13 Dec., after which there was an adjournment over Christmas till 7 Jan. 1546. Then matters proceeded smoothly till the fifth session in June, when a rheumatic attack compelled Pole to leave for his friend Priuli's country house at Padua, whence he corresponded with the council, and gave his opinion on the decrees it passed. The subject at that time was justification, and ungenerous sneers have been pointed at his illness as a diplomatic one, because his own view in that matter inclined to the protestant side.

He returned to Rome on 16 Nov. by permission of the pope, who found his services of value in his correspondence with foreign courts. When news reached Pole of the death of Henry VIII (January 1547), he was anxious that the pope should use the em- peror's aid to reclaim his native country from schism. He strongly urged the pope to send legates to the emperor and to FranceĀ ; while he wrote to the privy council, representing that now it would be necessary to redress many wrongs done during the late reign, but that he would not press those done to himself and his own family more than was consistent with the public peace. He warned the council, however, that no firm foundation could belaid for future prosperity without the Holy See, and that the English people were fortunate in having a pope to whom their interests were very dear. The privy council declined to receive his messenger.

Pole was not discouraged. Next year he sent to England his trusted servant Throgmorton to remonstrate on the incivility with which he had been treated, and to point out the dangers of their situation, especially if the emperor broke with England on account of changes in religion. Throgmorton failed to obtain an audience, but received an indirect answer from the Protector Somerset that any letters the cardinal might write privately would be fully considered, and that any emissary he might choose to send into France or Flanders, to speak for him, would have a passport sent him to come to England (State Papers, Domestic, Edw. VI, vol. v. No. 9). A few months later, on 6 April 1549, Pole despatched two special messengers to the protector, and a letter to Dudley, earl of Warwick, offering, if they declined to allow his own return, to repair to some neutral place near the English Channel to discuss points of difference. Although his messengers this time were treated with courtesy, they were dismissed with a written answer repudiating any wish for conciliation. Pole wrote, the letter said, like a foreign prince. They in England had no need of the pope. If Pole wished to return to his country, the council would mediate for his pardon; and to show him the true state of matters there with re- spect to religion, they sent him a copy of the new prayer-book approved by parliament (ib. vol. vii. No. 28).

Pole still persevered, and again sent two messengers to England with a long letter (7 Sept. 1549) to the protector, in which he pointed out that he had done no offence, either to Edward or even to his father, for which he should require a pardon. As to their proceedings in religion, he was not convinced of their sincerity. While he was concluding, news reached him of the rebellions in Norfolk and the west of England, which seemed a sufficient commentary on all that he had said. Among the fifteen articles of the western rebels, the twelfth was a demand that Cardinal Pole should be sent for from Rome and admitted to the king's council (Strype, Cranmer, App. 835, ed. 1812).

On 10 Nov. 1549 Pole's friend Paul III died, one of his last acts being to confer upon Pole the abbacy of Gavello or Canalnuovo in Polesina. There was much betting at bankers' shops in Rome as to his successor, and Pole's name soon distanced all competitors. One