Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England

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CAVENDISH, Life of Cardinal Wolsey, pp. 115–116. World History

200.

Sitting of Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio as a Court to Investigate the Marriage of Henry and Catherine

The court being thus furnished and ordered, the judges commanded the crier to proclaim silence; then was the judges’ commission, which they had of the pope, published and read openly before all the audience there assembled. That done, the crier called the king, by the name of "King Henry of England, come into the court," etc. With that the king answered and said, "Here, my lords!" Then he called also the queen, by the name of "Catherine Queen of England, come into the court," etc.; who made no answer to the same, but rose up incontinent out of her chair, where as she sat, and because she could not come directly to the king for the distance which severed them, she took pain to go about unto the king, kneeling down at his feet in the sight of all the court and assembly, to whom she said in effect, in broken English, as followeth:

The queen’s appeal to the king

"Sir," quoth she, "I beseech you for all the loves that hath been between us, and for the love of God, let me have justice and right; take of me some pity and compassion, for I am a poor woman and a stranger born out of your dominion; I have here no assured friend, and much less impartial counsel; I flee to you as to the head of justice within this realm. Alas! Sir, wherein have I offended you, or what occasion of displeasure have I designed against your will and pleasure, intending, as I perceive, to put me from you? I take God and all the world to witness, that I have been to you a true, humble, and obedient wife, ever conformable to your will and pleasure, that never said nor did anything to the contrary thereof, being always well pleased and contented with all things wherein you had any delight or dalliance, whether it were in little or much, I never grudged in word or countenance, or showed a visage or spark of discontentation. I loved all those whom ye loved only for your sake, whether I had cause or no; and whether they were my friends or my enemies.

This twenty years I have been your true wife or more, and by me ye have had divers children, although it hath pleased God to call them out of this world, which hath been no default in me. And when ye had me at the first, I take God to be my judge, I was a true maid, without touch of man; and whether this be true or no, I put it to your conscience. If there be any just cause by the law that ye can allege against me, either of dishonesty or any other impediment, to banish and put me from you, I am well content to depart to my great shame and dishonor; and if there be none, then here I most lowly beseech you let me remain in my former estate, and receive justice at your hands. The king, your father, who was in the time of his reign of such estimation through the world for his excellent wisdom that he was accounted and called of all men the second Solomon; and my father Ferdinand, king of Spain, who was esteemed to be one of the wittiest princes that reigned in Spain, many years before, were both wise and excellent kings in wisdom and princely behavior. It is not therefore to be doubted but that they elected and gathered as wise counselors about them as to their high discretions was thought meet. Also, as me seemeth, there was in those days as wise, as well learned men, and men of as good judgment as be at this present in both realms, who thought then the marriage between you and me good and lawful.

Therefore it is a wonder to hear what new inventions are now invented against me, that never intended but honesty, and cause me to stand to the order and judgment of this new court, wherein ye may do me much wrong, if ye intend any cruelty; for ye may condemn me for lack of sufficient answer, having no indifferent counsel, but such as be assigned me, with whose wisdom and learning I am not acquainted. Ye must consider that they cannot be indifferent counselors for my part which be your subjects, and taken out of your own council before, wherein they be made privy, and dare not, for your displeasure, disobey your will and intent, being once made privy thereto. Therefore I most humbly require you, in the way of charity, and for the love of God, who is the just judge, to spare me the extremity of this new court, until I may be advertised what way and order my friends in Spain will advise me to take. And if ye will not extend to me so much indifferent favor, your pleasure then be fulfilled, and to God I commit my cause!"

And with that she rose up, making a low courtesy to the king, and so departed from thence. Many supposed that she would have resorted again to her former place; but she took her way straight out of the house, leaning (as she was wont always to do) upon the arm of her general receiver, called Master Griffith. And the king being advertised of her departure, commanded the crier to call her again, who called her by the name of "Catherine Queen of England, come into the court," etc. With that quoth Master Griffith, "Madam, ye be called again." "On, on," quoth she; "it maketh no matter, for it is no impartial court for me, therefore I will not tarry. Go on your ways." And thus she departed out of that court, without any farther answer at that time, or at any other, nor would never appear at any other court after.

The king’s testimony to Catherine’s nobility of birth and character

The king perceiving that she was departed in such sort, calling to his grace’s memory all her lament words that she had pronounced before him and all the audience, said thus in effect. "Forasmuch," quoth he, "as the queen is gone, I will, in her absence, declare unto you all, my lords here presently assembled, she hath been to me as true, as obedient, and as conformable a wife as I could in my fantasy wish or desire. She hath all the virtuous qualities that ought to be in a woman of her dignity, or in any other of baser estate. Surely she is also a noble woman born, if nothing were in her, but only her conditions will well declare the same."

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Chicago: "Sitting of Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio as a Court to Investigate the Marriage of Henry and Catherine," Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947) (Boston: Ginn, 1935, 1922), 337–339. Original Sources, accessed December 6, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=VRFVCU2QNUV5R8Q.

MLA: . "Sitting of Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio as a Court to Investigate the Marriage of Henry and Catherine." Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, edited by Edward Potts Cheyney (1861-1947), Boston, Ginn, 1935, 1922, pp. 337–339. Original Sources. 6 Dec. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=VRFVCU2QNUV5R8Q.

Harvard: , 'Sitting of Cardinals Wolsey and Campeggio as a Court to Investigate the Marriage of Henry and Catherine' in Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England. cited in 1922, Readings in English History Drawn from the Original Sources: Intended to Illustrate a Short History of England, ed. , Ginn, 1935, Boston, pp.337–339. Original Sources, retrieved 6 December 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=VRFVCU2QNUV5R8Q.