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of the wheel; nay, there is a farther tradition in Spain, though not with us, that the King of Arragon, after he knew that the marriage between Charles, Prince of Castile, and Mary, the king's second daughter, went roundly on, (which though it was first moved by the King of Arragon, yet it was afterwards wholly advanced and brought to perfection by Maximilian, and the friends on that side,) entered into a jealousy that the king did aspire to the government of Castilia, as administrator during the minority of his son-in-law; as if there should have been a competition of three for that government; Ferdinando, grandfather on the mother's side; Maximilian, grandfather on the father's side; and King Henry, father-in-law to the young prince. Certainly it is not unlike, but the king's government, carrying the young prince with him, would have been perhaps more welcome to the Spaniards than that of the other two. For the nobility of Castilia, that so lately put out the King of Arragon in favour of King Philip, and had discovered themselves so far, could not be but in a secret distrust and distaste of that king. And as for Maximilian, upon twenty respects he could not have been the man. But this purpose of the king's seemeth to me, considering the king's safe courses, never found to be enterprizing or adventurous, not greatly probable, except he should have had a desire to breathe warmer, because he had ill lungs. This marriage with Margaret was protracted from time to time, in respect of the infirmity of the king, who now in the two and twentieth of his reign
began to be troubled with the gout; but the defluxion taking also into his breast, wasted his lungs, so that thrice in a year, in a kind of return, and especially in the spring, he had great fits and labours of the phthisic: nevertheless, he continued to intend business with as great diligence, as before in his health: yet so, as upon this warning he did likewise now more seriously think of the world to come, and of making himself a saint, as well as King Henry the Sixth, by treasure better employed, than to be given to Pope Julius; for this year he gave greater alms than accustomed, and discharged all prisoners about the city, that lay for fees or debts under forty shillings. He did also make haste with religious foundations; and in the year following, which was the three and twentieth, finished that of the Savoy. And hearing also of the bitter cries of his people against the oppressions of Dudley and Empson, and their complices; partly by devout persons about him, and partly by public sermons, the preachers doing their duty therein, he was touched with great remorse for the same. Nevertheless Empson and Dudley, though they could not but hear of these scruples in the king's conscience; yet, as if the king's soul and his money were in several offices, that the one was not to intermeddle with the other, went on with as great rage as ever. For the same three and twentieth year was there a sharp prosecution against Sir William Capel now the second time; and this was for matters of misgovernment in his mayoralty: the great matter being, that in some payments he had taken knowledge of false
moneys, and did not his diligence to examine and beat it out who were the offenders. For this and some other things laid to his charge, he was con demned to pay two thousand pounds; and being a man of stomach, and hardened by his former troubles, refused to pay a mite; and belike used some untoward speeches of the proceedings, for which he was sent to the Tower, and there remained till the king's death. Knesworth likewise, that had been lately Mayor of London, and both his sheriffs, were for abuses in their offices questioned, and imprisoned, and delivered upon one thousand four hundred pounds paid. Hawis, an alderman of London, was put in trouble, and died with thought and anguish, before his business came to an end. Sir Lawrence Ailmer, who had likewise been Mayor of London, and his two sheriffs, were put to the fine of one thousand pounds. And Sir Lawrence, for refusing to make payment, was committed to prison, where he stayed till Empson himself was committed in his place.
It is no marvel, if the faults were so light, and the rates so heavy, that the king's treasure of store, that he left at his death, most of it in secret places, under his own key and keeping, at Richmond, amounted, as by tradition it is reported to have done, unto the sum of near eighteen hundred thousand pounds sterling; a huge mass of money even for these times.
The last act of state that concluded this king's temporal felicity, was the conclusion of a glorious match between his daughter Mary, and Charles, Prince of Castile, afterwards the great emperor, both
being of tender years': which treaty was perfected by Bishop Fox, and other his commissioners at Calais, the year before the king's death. In which alliance, it seemeth, he himself took so high contentment, as in a letter which he wrote thereupon to the city of London, commanding all possible demonstrations of joy to be made for the same, he expresseth himself, as if he thought he had built a wall of brass about his kingdom: when he had for his sons-in-law, a king of Scotland, and a prince of Castile and Burgundy. So as now there was nothing to be added to this great king's felicity, being at the top of all worldly bliss, in regard of the high marriages of his children, his great renown throughout Europe, and his scarce credible riches, and the perpetual constancy of his prosperous successes, but an opportune death, to withdraw him from any future blow of fortune; which certainly (in regard of the great hatred of his people, and the title of his son, being then come to eighteen years of age, and being a bold prince and liberal, and that gained upon the people by his very aspect and presence) had not been impossible to have come upon him.
To crown also the last year of his reign, as well as his first, he did an act of piety, rare, and worthy to be taken into imitation. For he granted forth a general pardon as expecting a second coronation in a better kingdom. He did also declare in his will, that his mind was, that restitution should be made of those sums which had been unjustly taken by his officers.
And thus this Solomon of England, for Solomon also was too heavy upon his people in exactions, having lived two and fifty years, and thereof reigned three and twenty years, and eight months, being in perfect memory, and in a most blessed mind, in a great calm of a consuming sickness passed to a better world, the two and twentieth of April, 1508, at his palace of Richmond, which himself had built.
This king, to speak of him in terms equal to his deserving, was one of the best sort of wonders; a wonder for wise men. He had parts, both in his virtues and his fortune, not so fit for a common-place, as for observation. Certainly he was religious, both in his affection and observance. But as he could see clear, for those times, through superstition, so he would be blinded, now and then, by human policy. He advanced church-men: he was tender in the privilege of sanctuaries, though they wrought him much mischief. He built and endowed many religious foundations, besides his memorable hospital of the Savoy and yet was he a great alms-giver in secret ; which shewed, that his works in public were dedicated rather to God's glory than his own. He professed always to love and seek peace; and it was his usual preface in his treaties, that when Christ came into the world, peace was sung; and when he went out of the world, peace was bequeathed. And this virtue could not proceed out of fear or softness; for he was valiant and active, and therefore, no doubt, it was truly Christian and moral. Yet he