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Bonner confesseth himself much
the lord Cromwell.
Preferred to the
Henry to the lord Cromwell out of France, may stand for a perpetual testi
mony, the tenor whereof here ensueth. A. D. 1538. A Letter of Dr. Bonner, the King's Ambassador resident in France,
sent to the Lord Cromwell, declaring the order of his promotions and coming up."
My very singular especial good lord, as one most bounden, I most humbly commend me unto your honourable good lordship. And whereas in times past
it hath liked the same, without any my deserts or merits, even only of your bound to singular exceeding goodness, to bestow a great deal of love, benevolence, and
good affection upon me so poor a man, and of so small qualities, expressing indeed sundry ways the good effects thereof to my great preferment, I was very much bound thereby unto your honourable good lordship, and thought it always my duty (as indeed it was), both to bear my true heart again unto your lordship, and also, remembering such kindness, to do unto the same all such service and pleasure as might then lie in my small power to do.
But where, of your infinite and inestimable goodness it hath further liked
you of late, first to advance me unto the office of legation from such a prince bishopric
as my sovereign lord is, unto the emperor and French king; and next after, to procure and obtain mine advancement to so honourable a promotion as the bishopric of Hereford, I must here acknowledge the exceeding greatness of your lordship’s benefit, with mine own imbecility to recompense it, and say, as Virgil writeth,
• Grates persolvere dignas non opis est nostræ.' Surely, my good lord, I neither am, neither shall be able to requite this your
lordship's most special kindness and bountiful goodness at any time, unless I Accepti- should use that civil remedy called in law acceptilation,' which great debtors
especially are accustomed to procure at the hands of their creditors; whereby
So that in conclusion there resteth this; that unless your lordship's self do loose me, as you have bound me, I shall (and that full gladly) remain continually your most bounded beadsman. And sir, I most humbly beseech your good lordship, in the honour of God, seeing this thing is begun and advanced only by your goodness and means, you will, to the intent the act may be wholly your own, stretch out your goodness, not suffering the rest to be perfected otherwise than by your own hands; wherein, as I must and shall acknowledge myself to be exceedingly beholden unto your good lordship, so shall I the same more esteem and set by, during my life, having so attained it by your only goodness: and verily, if your good lordship be not better to me herein than 'Í
can (unless it be of your own goodness) desire you, I know not how I shall be The pro- able to overcome the great charges annexed to this promotion. For though
my promotions afore were right, honest, and good, yea, and such as one of far better qualities than I was, or am of, ought therewith to have been contented; yet, considering that of divers of them, that is to wit, Leicester, Blaydon, Dereham, Chiswick, and Cheryburton, the first fruits, tenths, and charges borne, I have not received clearly one penny, I am now never a whit the more able to bear the great charges of this.
I shall therefore herein, and in all things else pertaining hereunto, seeing your lordship is so great a patron, and will needs bind me for ever to be your own (as indeed I will), refer altogether unto your goodness, beseeching you to take the order and disposition of all into your hands. I cannot tell whether the late bishop standeth bounden for the first fruits, tenths, or other duties which by statute may be demanded of his successor ; but I fear it greatly, and
(1) Out of Bonner's own hand writing.
motion of Bonner.
beseech your lordship that I may be holpen therein. My charges now here Henry enforce me the more to speak and trouble your good lordship, which at the beginning are not a few, and yet not ended. Of my fidelity to your good, I
A. D. have, of five hundred crowns, remaining forty, bestowed upon horses, mules,
, raiment, and other necessaries, standing debtor to Master Thirleby nevertheless, and also to Master Dr. Heynes, for one hundred marks, or fast upon, to them both.
And besides this, such is my chance now at the beginning, divers of my servants have fallen sick, being in eat peril and danger, putting me to no little charges.
Over and besides these displeasures coming unto me by not having their service, and others to keep them, and also wanting mine other servaints in England, which, though I have sent for them, yet neither they, neither my horses or stuff are come, I must and do take patience, trusting it will mend.
Upon the closing up of this letter, and depeach of this bearer, God willing, I
Scribbled by the weary hand of him that is bounden to be, and is
showed himself to
man, and a good
and heart. burning
Divers other letters of Dr. Bonner, beside this, remain in writing, Dr. Bom unto the like effect and purport, which here also I might add for a l'his while further demonstration hereof; but this one, instead of many, may suffice. Now to our purpose again, which is to declare how this be a good Dr. Bonner, in the time of his first springing up, showed himself a good man, and a fast friend to the gospel of Christ and to the king's gospeller. proceedings; and contrariwisc, how Stephen Gardiner did halt then both with God and with the king : also what unkindness and contumelies the said Bonner received at Gardiner's hands; what rancour Rancour and heart-burning was between them; and what complaints the one moved against the other, remain, consequently, by their writings and between records, to be opened. For the more evident demonstration whereof, ter and they that have the letters of the said Dr. Bonner, written from France to the king and the lord Cromwell, may right well perceive. And first, to note what a gospeller he was: in his letter from Rouen Bonner he, speaking of his trusty companion, and bearer of his letters (who declareth was belike Dr. Heynes), giveth this report both of him and of him- gospeller. self; saying, “ If this bearer had been so much desirous to please the
emperor, and follow his religion, as he was studious to serve truly your grace, and to advance the truth, he had not wanted,” &c. And Reckonagain : “ And besides that, he hath not wanted the evil report of naughty fellows, naming him a Lutheran, wherein, for company, I was joined, such was their goodness," &c. Again, in another letter written to the lord Cromwell, these words he hath, speaking of his companion Dr. Heynes. Especially for that the said Dr. Heynes, Bonner by his upright dealing herein, and professing the truth, neither got Heynes thanks nor rewi
ward, but was blazed abroad by honest folks to be a noted for Lutheran. The less he pleascth in Spain, the better argument it is, rans. that his intent was to serve none but the king's highness and the truth,” &c.
And furthermore, in another minute, writing to the lord Comwell of Stephen Winchester, and of his churlishness toward him, thus he saith : " And there found I, in Master Dr. Thirleby, much kindness,
ed a Lutheran.
Henry and in the bishop of Winchester as little,” &c. And in the same
letter it followeth: “ And if I had received any entertainment of A. D. the bishop of Winchester, I would likewise have sent you word. I 1538. thank God I need not, for I had nothing of him," &c.
Also in another letter, the said Bonner, writing to the lord Crom
well concerning one Barnaby and himself, what cold welcome they Bonner. both had at the hands of Winchester, used these words following:
And, my good lord, I beseech you to continue your good favour term inlso to this honest poor man Barnaby, who is body and soul assuredly Barnaby, your own, and as well beloved of the bishop of Winchester as I am : the lord and of my troth I suppose and believe verily, one of the chief grudges Cromwell the bishop hath against him, is because your lordship, of your cha
ritable goodness, doth love and favour him.
Another Letter of Dr. Bonner to the Lord Cromwell, complaining
of Winchester, and also declaring how he was promoted by the
My very singular especial good lord, according to my most bounden duty,
(Master Thirleby and I being then walking in the fields), and the bishop inconWinches- tinently inquired of him, not how the king's grace did, as was his duty, but (as
Barnaby told me) inquired of him where he left the king's grace at his coming
in England. To the which questions, when Barnaby had made answer, saying
plaice-mouth with his lip, and afterwards lifting up his eyes and hands (as plaice
cursing the day and hour it chanced), seemed so evil contented therewith, that of Win- he would neither bid Barnaby drink. or tarry supper, nor yet further commune
with him, but turning from him, called one Master Medow, and showed him against
of the same tidings, taking it (as it appeared) very heavily; semblably as he Winches. doeth every thing that is or may be for my preferment. And when Barnaby
perceived that I was not there, and that also this comfortable countenance and against Bonner's
good cheer were made unto him, he went thence and searched for me, who then prefer was walking with Master Thirleby, as is before ; and was by chance communing
with him of the bishop of Winchester, giving him advertisement that he should
And soon after the departure of Master Thirleby from me, who then went to
the bishop to supper, I returned towards my lodging, and by the way met with bishop of llereford. Barnaby, whose salutation was after that sort, that it caused me to wonder at it,
especially I having no expectation or hope of such thing as he rehearsed unto
And surely, my good lord, I would not believe him in the thing he told, till I perceived the same by the superscription of your lordship’s letter, which he afterwards delivered unto me: declaring withal (to my great comfort) the prosperous estate of the king's highness, and of your good lordship. Which known, I besought Almighty God to grant the long continuance thereof
, and also, as was my duty, did give mast humble thanks to the king's highness, and
to your said good lordship. And hereupon, keeping your lordship's letters still Henry in my hands unbroken, I went incontinently to the lodging of Master Thirleby v. which was in my way, to communicate these my news and great good fortune A.D. with him ;' and 'not finding him there, I read over your lordship's letters, send
1538. ing the same afterwards to Master Thirleby; and perceiving, by Barnaby, that he had other letters for me, which he told me he must deliver unto me secretly, I went to mine own lodging with him, and there receiving them accordingly, did read them over, both that, your lordship's second letter sent to me, and also the other sent to Master Wyat, &c. Your lordship’s most bounden beadsman, And always at commandment,
EDMUND BONNER. When the king, by the advice of the lord Cromwell, and others of his council, had appointed Dr. Edmund Bonner to return from the emperor, and to be resident in France, in the place of Winchester and of Dr. Thirleby, he sent his letters to the said bishop of Winchester, and to Master Thirleby, showing his pleasure unto them in that behalf, with this clause in the same letters contained in express words as followeth.
And whereas the said Master Bonner wanteth furniture of stuff and plate meet for that office, our pleasure is that you, Master Thirleby, shall deliver unto him by indenture, all the plate you have of ours in your custody, and that you, my lord of Winchester, shall furnish him with all such other stuff, as shall be necessary for him ; wherein as you shall do unto us pleasure, so we shall be content at your return, to satisfy you for the same, &c.?
The bishop of Winchester receiving these letters from the king, and being loth to come into England (whatsoever the matter was), also hearing that Dr. Bonner should succeed him, his disdainful nature did stomach him exceedingly. But because there was no other remedy but that the king's commandment must be done, first he sendeth the king's letter, with his also, to the emperor's court, unto Master Bonner, and to Dr. Heynes, willing them in all haste to repair to Lyons within two days. Beside these letters of Winchester, Dr. Thirleby adjoined his letters also, with like quickness, to the said Dr. Heynes and to Bonner, the contents whercof here follow.
A Letter of Doctor Thirleby to Heynes and Bonner. With my hearty commendations, and the desire of your company, and now so much rather that I shall thereby have a great benefit
, viz. the deliverance from trouble to ease, from a strange country to mine own, from the waiting upon him that forceth as little for me, as I am acquainted with him, to the service of' hiin whose prosperity and love I account as my life ;' these shall be to pray you to make no less speed hither, than you would make to a good feast when that you be hungry. "Master Bonner shall know many things, but when you come I shall tell you more, so that you haste you. Come, I pray you; I would fain be at home. I saw not my master these four months. When as you, Master Bonner, shall come to Lyons, it shall be good to go to Bonvise ; he is a good money-maker: in faith I can write no more, but bid you come heartily, hastily,' I would have written, and the sooner the better welcome to Lyons, where this was given the last of July.
By him that hath loved you well,
A. D. 1538.
At the receipt of these letters, Dr. Bonner and Dr. Heynes did put themselves in a readiness to repair incontinent unto Lyons, thinking there to have found Winchester and Thirleby, according to the purport of their letters. But Winchester and Thirleby, not abiding their coming, made haste away from Lyons to La Barella, where Bonner, riding in post after Winchester, overtook him. With whom what entertainment and talk he had, and what accusations he laid to his charge, and what brawling words passed between them, and what great misliking Bonner had of him for special causes here in this brabling matter or brawling dialogue, under following, may appear; which, for thy recreation, and the further understanding of Winchester's qualities, I wish thee, loving reader! to peruse and consider.
But first, here is to be noted, that the king and the lord Cromwell, at what time they had appointed Dr. Edmund Bonner to be resident ambassador in France, required in their letters, that he should advertise them by writing, what he did mislike in the doings and behaviour of certain persons whom they did then note unto him. Whereupon the said Dr. Bonner sendeth this declaration of Stephien Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, as followeth :
A Declaration sent by Dr. Bonner to the Lord Cromwell, describing
to him the evil behaviour of Stephen of Winchester, with special Causes therein contained, wherefore and why he misliked him.'
First, I mislike in the bishop of Winchester, that when any man is sent in plaints of the king's affairs, and by his highness' commandment, the bishop, unless he be against the only and chief inventor of the matter and setter-forth of the person, he will Winches- not only use many cavillations, but also use great strangeness in countenance
and cheer to the person that is sent: over and besides, as small comfort and glorious counsel as may be in the matter; rather dissuading and discouraging the person pride
earnestly to set forward his message, than emboldening and comforting him, as is his duty, with help and counsel to adventure and do his best therein. The
experience whereof I have had myself with him, as well at Rouen, the first time What ex- I was sent to Rome, commanded by the king's highness to come by him, and perience
at Marseilles, the time of the intimation of the king's protestation, provocation, hath of it, and appeal; as also lately, going to Nice, touching the general council, and the
authority of the bishop of Rome; and finally, now last of all, at my return from Spain, where neither my diligence in coming to him, and using him in the beginning with all the reverence I could, neither the king's letters written unto him in my favour, nor yet other thing could mollify his hard heart and cankered malicious stomach, but that he would spitefully speak, and unkindly do; as
indeed he did, to his great shame and my dishonesty, as followeth. Malicious
When riding in post I came to La Barella, a post on this side Lyons, the stomach 7th day of August, he being in bed there, I tarried till he, rising up and making chestier: himself ready, came at last out to me, standing and tarrying for him in a second chester.
chamber; and at his coming thither, he said, “What, Master Bonner! good morrow! Ah sir, ye be welcome;' and herewithal he put out his hand, and I, kissing mine, took him by it, and incontinently after he said, “Come on, let us go and walk awhile into the fields ;' and withal drew towards the door, preparing him to walk. To whom I said, I would wait upon him. His going to the fields (as appeared afterwards), was not so much to walk, as to have a place where he might speak loud, and triumph alone against me, calling in his words again, if he spake any amiss; or utterly deny them, if that made for his purpose. And by chance, rather than by good wisdom, afore I went forth, I asked for Master Thirleby, and desired I might see him and speak with him. The bishop that perceiving, and, withal, that I stuck upon it, he commanded one of his servants to call Master Thirleby; but yet, afore his coming, the bishop could not be idle,
(1) Out of the copy of Bonner's own letters, by his own hand writing, which I have to show.