Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 46.djvu/48

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Pole
Pole
42

any longer. But Pole's attainder had still to be reversed in parliament, and, from what was reported of his views on the subject, the possessors of church property felt that his coming might threaten their titles. The pope was willing to remove the latter difficulty, and gave the legate large dispensing powers, so that holders of church lands might not be disturbed. But the emperor, whose interests were now the same with those of the king and queen, was not satisfied that these powers were large enough. The traditional unpopularity of legatine jurisdiction in England, which could only be exercised by royal license, made it moreover desirable to carefully weigh the terms on which it was conceded before the legate arrived.

Pole was in despair. He wrote a powerful letter of expostulation to Philip, declaring that he had been a year knocking at the palace gates, although he had suffered long years of exile only for maintaining Mary's rights to the succession. Philip, in reply, sent over Renard, the imperial ambassador at the English court, to Brussels to confer with him. The main difficulty was about the church property in secular hands. Pole refused to recognise the title of the lay proprietors, or to strike a bargain with them on behalf of the church. But general and immediate restitution was clearly out of the question, and he at length consented to leave the matter in abeyance, in the hope that the king and queen and other holders of church property would as a matter of conscience restore what and when they could. The divines at Rome took the more practical view that the alienation of church goods was justifiable, if it proved the means of restoring a realm to the faith (Epp. iv. 170-2).

Renard was satisfied with Pole's assurance, and Lords Paget and Hastings (the latter a nephew of Pole's) were sent to conduct him to England (November). The queen prayed him to come not as legate, but only as cardinal and ambassador. On 12 Nov. parliament reversed his attainder. Travelling by gentle stages, on account of his weak health, through Ghent and Bruges, he was received at Calais on 19 Nov. with many peals of bells and salvoes of artillery. Next morning he reached Dover in a royal yacht.

There he was saluted by Anthonv Browne, first viscount Montague [q.v.], Thirlby, bishop of Ely, and a number of the nobility, who brought him a letter from the queen, to which Philip had added a few words in his own hand, thanking him for coming. Nicholas Harpsfield [q. v.], archdeacon of Canterbury, inquired in behalf of the chapter whether he would be received in that city as legate. But he declined, as the realm was still schismatical, and the queen had not desired it. Attended by a large company of noblemen and gentlemen, Pole rode on to Canterbury, which he entered by torchlight. Harpsfield received him with a fine oration, which moved the company to tears. But Pole stopped his oratory when, towards the close, the speaker turned the discourse to eulogy of himself. At Rochester a request that he would come to her as legate reached Pole from the queen. A patent had already been granted him on the 10th, in advance of his coming, to enable him to exercise legatine functions in England (Wilkins, iv. 109). At Gravesend his cavalcade had increased to five hundred horse. There the Earl of Shrewsbury and Tunstall, bishop of Durham, presented him with letters under the great seal, certifying the repeal of all laws passed against him in the two preceding reigns (Lords' Journals, i. 469). From Gravesend he sailed up the Thames in the queen's barge, with his silver cross fixed in the prow (24 Nov.) The king and queen received him most cordially at Whitehall, and in the presence chamber he, under a canopy of state, formally presented to them the briefs of his legation. He then was conducted by Gardiner to Lambeth Palace.

Three days later (27 Nov.) Secretary Petre [see {{DNB lkpl||Petre, William|Petre, Sir, William] summoned the two houses of parliament to court to hear a declaration from the legate. Pole, despite a weak voice, delivered a long oration, in which he said he was come to restore the lost glory of the kingdom. On the feast of St. Andrew (30 Nov.) lords and commons presented a joint supplication to the king and queen, who thereupon publicly interceded with the legate to absolve them from their long schism and disobedience. Pole, who was seated, uttered a few words about the special grace shown by God to a repentant nation, then he rose and pronounced the words of absolution.

On 2 Dec., the first Sunday in Advent, he proceeded in state, at the invitation of the corporation, to St. Paul's. High mass was celebrated, and Bishop Gardiner preached from the text (Rom. xiii. 11), 'It is high time to awake out of sleep.' On Thursday following (6 Dec.) the two houses of convocation came before Pole at Lambeth, and, kneeling, received absolution 'for all their perjuries, schisms, and heresies.' The Act 1 & 2 Phil. and Mary, c. 8, for restoring the pope's supremacy, was passed in January 1555.

Julius III published a jubilee to celebrate the restoration of his authority in England, but he died on 5 March following. Pole was spoken of at Rome as his successor, but Marcellus II was elected on 9 April 1555. He