Pace, Richard

, a learned Englishman, was born about 1432, at or near Winchester, as is generally supposed, and was educated at the charge of Thomas Langton, bishop of that diocese, who employed him, while a youth, as his amanuensis. The bishop, pleased with his proficiency, and particularly delighted with his early turn for music, which he thought an earnest of greater attainments, bestowed a pension on him sufficient to defray the expences of his education at Padua, at that time one of the most flourishing universities in Europe. Accordingly he studied there for some time, and met with Cuthbert Tonstall, afterwards bishop of Durham, and William Latimer, whom he called his preceptors. On his return, he studied for | some time at Queen’s-college, Oxford, of which his patron Langton had been provost; and was soon after taken into the service of Dr. Christopher Bambridge, who succeeded Langton in the office of provost, and became afterwards a cardinal. He attended him to Rome, about the beginning of the sixteenth' century, and continued there until the cardinal’s death in 1514. He appears, before this, to have entered into holy orders, for in the beginning of this year, and while abroad, he was made prebendary of Bugthorp, in the church of York, in the room of Wolsey, afterwards the celebrated cardinal; and in May of the same year, was promoted to the archdeaconry of Dorset, on the resignation of his friend Langton, at which time, as Willis supposes, he resigned the prebend of Bugthorp.

On his return to. England, he was sent for to court, probably in consequence of the character given of him by his deceased patron, cardinal Bambridge; and became such a favourite with Henry VIII. that he appointed him, as some say, secretary of state, which Mr. Lodge doubts; but it seems certain, that he either held that, or the office of private secretary, or some confidential situation, under Henry, who employed him in affairs of high political importance. In 1515, he was sent to the court of Vienna, where the object of his embassy was to engage the emperor Maximilian to dispossess the French king Francis 1. of the duchy of Milan, his royal master being alarmed at the progress of the French arms in Italy. Pace succeeded in his negociation, so far as to persuade the emperor to undertake this expedition; and he also engaged some of the Swiss cantons to furnish him with troops; but the scheme was ultimately so unsuccessful that Maximilian was obliged to make peace with France. Pace, however, profited so much by his acquaintance with this emperor, as to acquire a/very useful knowledge of his character; and when he after^ wards offered to resign his crown in favour of Henry VIII. he was enabled to give his sovereign the best advice, and to assure him, that Maximilian had no other design, by this apparently liberal offer, than to obtain another subsidy, and that, in other respects, very little credit was due to his word. In this opinion cardinal Wolsey, at home, seems to have concurred.

In 1519, Maximilian died, and the kings of France and Spain immediately declared themselves candidates for the Imperial throne. Henry, encouraged by the pope, was | also induced to offer himself as a candidate, and Pace was ordered to attend the diet of the empire, sound the opinions of the electors, and endeavour to form a judgment of the likelihood of his success. Pace, however, soon discovered that his royal master had started too late, and that tven the electors of Mentz, Cologn, and Triers, who were disposed to favour his pretensions, pleaded, with a shew of regret, that they were pre-engaged. The election fell on Charles V. In 1516, Pace was instituted treasurer of Lichfield, which he resigned in 1522, on being made dean of Exeter. In 1511), he succeeded Colet as dean of St. Paul’s; and some say, held also the deanery of Sarum, but this is not quite clear, although he is called dean of Salisbury by Herbert, in his “Life and Reign of Henry VIII.” In 1521, he was made prebendary of Combe and Harnham, in the church of Sarum, and we find mention of some other church preferments he held from 1516 to 1522, but they are so dubiously related that it is difficult to give them in due order.

On the death of pope Leo X. when cardinal Wolsey’s ambition aimed at the papal throne, he sent Pace to Rome to promote his interest; but before his arrival there, Adrian, bishop of Tortosa, had been chosen: and on his death, in 1523, Pace was again employed to negotiate for Wolsey, but with no better success, Clement VII. being elected. He obtained, however, from the pope, an enlargement of Wolsey’s powers as legate, which the latter was at this time desirous to obtain. Pace was soon afterwards sent on an embassy to Venice, where he carried with him the. learned Lupset as his secretary. Wood declares that on this occasion “it is hard to say whether he procured more commendation or admiration among the Venetians; both for the dexterity of his wit, and especially for his singular promptness in the Italian tongue; wherein he seemed nothing inferior, neither to P. Vannes here in England, the king’s secretary for the Italian tongue, nor yet to any other, which were the best for that tongue in all Venice.

It was at this time, however, that Pace fell under cardinal Wolsey’s displeasure; the effects of which are said to have been very serious. The cardinal is thought to have been enraged against him, first, because he had shewn a readiness to assist Charles duke of Bourbon with money, for whom the cardinal had no great affection: and, secondly, because he had not forwarded the cardinal’s design | of obtaining the papal chair with so much zeal as Wblsey expected. Such are the reasons assigned by some historians for Wolsey’s displeasure, who is said to have ordered matters in such a manner, that for nearly the space of two years, Pace received no instructions from his court as to his proceedings at Venice; his allowance for expences was also withdrawn, and no answer returned to his letters. On one occasion, when the Venetian ambassador residing in London asked Wolsey whether he had any commands for the English ambassador at Venice, he answered Paceus decipit Begem: and this singular treatment, we are told, so affected Pace that he became insane. As soon as the king was informed of this, Pace was ordered home; and, being carefully attended by physicians at the king’s command, was restored in a short time to his senses, and amused himself by studying the Hebrew language, with the assistance of Robert Wakefield. In the interval, he was introduced to the king at Richmond, who expressed much satisfaction at his recovery; and admitted him to a private audience, in which he remonstrated against the cardinal’s cruelty to him. But the cardinal was too powerful at this time, and when urged by the king to answer the charge against him, he summoned Pace before him, and sat in judgment, with the duke of Norfolk and others, who condemned Pace, and sent him to the Tower of London; where he was confined for two years, till discharged at length by the king’s command. Pace, thus degraded, and depressed in body and mind, resigned his deanries of St. Paul and Exeter, a little before his death; and, retiring to Stepney for his health, died there, in 1532, when not quite fifty years of age.

There is an elegant and just character of him by Leland, written upon his return from Venice; and he certainly was much esteemed by the learned men of his time, especially by sir Thomas More and Erasmus. The latter admired Pace for his candour and sweetness of temper; and was so much afflicted at his misfortunes,that he could never forgive the man that caused them. He styles him utriusque literature calentissimus; and wrote more letters to him than to any one of his learned friends and correspondents. Stow gives him the character of a right worthy man, and one that gave in council faithful advice: learned he was also, says that antiquary, “and endowed with many excellent parts and gifts of nature j courteous, pleasant, and delighting ia | music; highly in the king’s favour, and well heard in matters of weight.” There is extant a remarkable letter of his to the king, written in 1527, in which he very honestly gives his opinion concerning the divorce; and Fiddes observes, that he always used a faithful liberty to the cardinal, which brought him at last to confinement and distraction.

He wrote, 1. “De fructu qui ex doctrina percipitur liber.Basil, 1517, dedicated to Dr. Colet. This was written by our author at Constance, while he was ambassador in Helvetia; but, inveighing much against drunkenness as a great obstacle to the attaining of knowledge, the people there supposing him to reflect upon them, wrote a sharp answer to it, and even Erasmus calls it an indiscreet performance; in which Pace had, between jest and earnest, represented him as a beggar, and a beggar hated by the clergy. He bids sir Thomas More exhort Pace, since he had so little judgment, rather to confine himself to the translation of Greek writers, than to venture upon works of his own, and to publish such mean and contemptible stuff. (Erasm. epist. 275, and Ep. 287). 2. “Oratio nuperrime composita de fcedere percusso inter Henricum Angliae regem, et Francorum reg. Christianiss. in aede Pauli Lond. habita,1518. 3. “Epistolse ad Erasmum,” &c. 1520. These Epistles are part of the “Epistolae aliquot eruditorum virorum.” 4. “Exemplum literarum ad regem Hen. VIII. an. 1526,” inserted in a piece entitled, “Syntagma de Hebraeorum codicum interpretatione,” by Robert Wakefield. Pace also wrote a book against the unlawful ness of the king’s marriage with Katharine, in 1527, and made several translations: among others, one from English into Latin, “Bishop Fisher’s Sermon,” preached at London on the day upon which the writings of M. Luther were publicly burnt, Camb. 1521, and a translation from Greek into Latin of Plutarch’s piece, “De commodo ex inimicis capiendo.1


Ath. Ox. vol. I. Dodd’s Ch. Hist. Lodge’s Illustrations, vol. I. Fiddes and Grove’s Lives of Cardinal Wolsey. Knight and Jortin’s Lives of Erasmus,