Wolsey made a name for himself as an efficient administrator, both for the Crown and the church. When Henry VIII became king in 1509, Wolsey's rapid rise began. In 1514, he was created archbishop of York and a year later the pope made him a cardinal. Soon afterwards the king appointed him lord chancellor.
From 1515 to 1529, Wolsey's rule was undisputed. Henry VIII delegated more and more state business to him, including near-complete control of England's foreign policy. Wolsey's finest hour was arranging the Field of the Cloth of Gold, the Tudor equivalent of a summit meeting, which he devised for Henry to meet the Francis I, King of France.
He had learnt how to visit monasteries under Wolsey, and the visitation of 1535 was carried out with ruthless efficiency [see, ].
During the storm which followed, Henry took the management of affairs into his own hands, but Cromwell was rewarded in July 1536 by being knighted, created lord privy seal, Baron Cromwell, and vicar-general and viceregent of the king in "Spirituals." In this last offensive capacity he sent a lay deputy to preside in Convocation, taking precedence of the bishops and archbishops, and issued his famous of 1536 and 1538; a Bible was to be provided in every church; the Paternoster, Creed and Ten Commandments were to be recited by the incumbent in English; he was to preach at least once a quarter, and to start a register of births, marriages and deaths.
During these years the outlook abroad grew threatening because of the alliance, under papal guarantee, between and ; and Cromwell sought to counterbalance it by a political and theological union between England and the Lutheran princes of Germany.
He had boasted that he would make Henry VIII the richest prince in Christendom; and the monasteries, with their direct dependence on the pope and their cosmopolitan organization, were obstacles to that absolute authority of the national state which was Cromwell's ideal.
Guelders was to the emperor's dominions in the Netherlands what Scotland was to England, and had often been used by France in the same way, and an alliance between England, Guelders, Cleves and the Schmalkaldic League would, Cromwell thought, make Charles's position in the Netherlands almost untenable.
The root idea of the supreme authority of the king had been asserted in 's published in 1528, which herself had brought to Henry's notice: "this," he said, "is a book for me and all kings to read," and had felt compelled to warn him against these notions, of which Pole imagines that he had never heard until they were put into his head by Cromwell late in 1530.
In the same way Cromwell's influence over the government from 1529-1533 has been grossly exaggerated.
His wife had died in 1527 or 1528, and in July 1529 he made his will, in which one of the chief beneficiaries was his nephew, Richard Williams, alias Cromwell, the great-grandfather of the protector.
Wolsey's disgrace reduced Cromwell to such despair that Cavendish once found him in tears and at his prayers "which had been a strange sight in him afore." Many of the cardinal's servants had been taken over by the king, but Cromwell had made himself particularly obnoxious.
The bill was thrown out, possibly with Henry's connivance, though no theory has yet explained its curious history so completely as the statement of Cavendish and other contemporaries, that its rejection was due to the arguments of Cromwell.
In his play Henry VIII, author William Shakespeare does a remarkable job of conveying the emotions of his character Cardinal Wolsey, who has just received the shock of his dismissal as the King's advisor. Shakespeare's description is realistic because it reflects the range of feelings people often undergo when reeling from an unexpected disappointment. Wolsey's soliloquy reveals both anger and lamentation as he struggles to come to terms with what has occurred. Shakespeare portrays both the hostility and despair of Wolsey's reaction through dramatic diction, figurative language, and a shift in tone.
The words Shakespeare chooses reflect Wolsey's complex reaction because they represent strong emotion. Wolsey describes himself as "weary," which implies that he has poured everything he has into his position, leaving him exhausted. "Weary" connotes aging, as if Wolsey has expended a great amount of time in his dedication to his work. Even more powerful is the selection of the word "wretched," which Wolsey uses to characterize those such as himself who have lived their lives depending on the approval of the monarch. The connotations of "wretched" are despair and utter hopelessness. This negative word choice suggests that Wolsey has no hope whatsoever for the future, leaving him in a state of utter desperation. The loaded diction Shakespeare uses illuminates the extremity of Wolsey's emotional state.
Through figurative language, Shakespeare evokes powerful images that show Wolsey's anger as well as despair. He uses the metaphor of a delicate flower to represent Wolsey's spirit, first optimistically putting out "the tender leaves of hopes," then blooming only to be struck by a "killing frost." This image conveys Wolsey's vulnerability and innocence. The frost, which symbolizes the king's brash dismissal of Wolsey, is cruel and undeserved. By placing the sprouting, blooming, and death of the flower within a three-day span, Shakespeare reflects Wolsey's anger at how suddenly he fell from favor. Shakespeare also uses figurative language to show Wolsey's hopelessness. Using simile, he likens Wolsey to Satan, the angel who fell out of God's favor and was banished to Hell, never to return again. This comparison reflects Wolsey's conviction that he has no reason for hope and must instead expect misery for the rest of his life. These two powerful uses of imagery portray the two emotions between which Wolsey vacillates.
Shakespeare also employs a change in tone to convey the complexity of Wolsey's emotions. At first, the tone is bitter. Wolsey scoffs at the idea of losing "the little good" he gains from the king. He describes the world as "vain," superficially focused on status, and declares, "I hate ye!" This tone reveals Wosley's hostility, heis first reaction. Immediately afterwards, his speech shifts to a tone of hopelessness and despair. He laments the live he has led as a "wretched" man beholden to the ruler, expressing self-pity through his characterization of himself as a "poor man." Wolsey concludes by asserting that he will never have any hope for the future. The change in tone between bitterness and hopelessness reflects the emotions between which Wolsey is struggling; his initial anger gives way to sadness and self-pity. Through this change, Shakespeare reflects that emotional reactions are often multifaceted.
Using powerful diction, evaluative figurative language, and a change in tone. Shakespeare portrays Wolsey's response to his dismissal as both hostile and despairing. The words Wolsey uses reflect the strength of his emotions, the images he creates fortify this description, and the shift in tone emphasizes the split between his emotions. By employing these three tactics, Shakespeare reflects the powerful complexity of Wosley's reaction, and of human emotions as a whole.
For these foundations Cromwell drew up the necessary deeds, and he was receiver-general of cardinal's college, constantly supervising the workmen there and at Ipswich.
It is said that Cromwell's life would not have been safe, had he been known as the author of this policy; but that is not a consideration which would have appealed to Henry, and he was just as able to protect his minister in 1530 as he was in 1536.