Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell - Vol. 1

Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell - Vol. 1

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Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell - Vol. 1

Life and Letters of Thomas Cromwell - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Synopsis

Oxford Scholarly Classics is a new series that makes available again great academic works from the archives of Oxford University Press. Reissued in uniform series design, the reissues will enable libraries, scholars, and students to gain fresh access to some of the finest scholarship of the last century.

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to present the life of Thomas Cromwell as a statesman, and to estimate his work without religious bias. Though it would certainly be difficult to overrate his importance in the history of the Church of England, I maintain that the motives that inspired his actions were invariably political, and that the many ecclesiastical changes carried through under his guidance were but incidents of his administration, not ends in themselves. Consequently any attempt to judge him from a distinctively religious standpoint, whether Catholic or Protestant, can hardly fail, it seems to me, to mislead the student and obscure the truth. I cannot agree, on the other hand, with those who have represented Cromwell as a purely selfish political adventurer, the subservient instrument of a wicked master, bent only on his own gain. It seems to me as idle to disparage his patriotism and statesmanship, as it is to try to make him out a hero of the Reformation. He merits a place far higher than that of most men of his type, a type essentially characteristic of the sixteenth century, a type of which the Earl of Warwick in England and Maurice of Saxony on the Continent are striking examples, a type that profoundly influenced the destinies of Protestantism, but to which theological issues were either a mere nothing, or else totally subordinate to political considerations.

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