The Great Cardinal
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The Great Cardinal book
The reign of Henry VIII opened in a blaze of glory. Contemporaries were ready to be impressed; Henry VII had never been an inspiring figure, and in his later years—order having been restored—a cold, calculating, and cautious government held little to attract the livelier members of a nation which remembered a heroic past. Legitimate demands were termed exaction, and a foreign policy based on matrimony rather than war roused no enthusiasm. The very fact of Henry's peaceful accession was a triumph for his father's policy; the blood of both the Roses had at last mingled in one unquestioned claimant to the throne. Not content with so wide and effective an application of conciliar jurisdiction, Wolsey attempted further to draw all legal business within his orbit; if the common law was ever in danger it was during the cardinal's ascendancy, though the danger was never very serious.