Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, (b. in or before 1485, executed 28 July 1540), was an English statesman who served as chief minister of King Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 from 1532 to 1540.

Cromwell was one of the strongest advocates of the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

, the English church's break with the papacy in Rome. Cromwell helped engineer an annulment of the King's marriage to Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

, so that the king could marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn ;c.1501/1507 – 19 May 1536) was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of Henry VIII of England and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right. Henry's marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the...


[ William Tyndale is a man] replete with venomous envy, rancour and malice.

Letter to Stephen Vaughan after May 1531. (Merriman, i. p. 335.)

Who seeth not that he that is an evil counsellor to a prince is an evil counsellor to a realm? If it be sin to be an evil counsellor to one man, wat abomination, what devilish and horrible sin is it to be a flatterer or an evil councillor to a prince?

Letter to Stephen Vaughan.

This had been no great cause more to reject the one than thother, for ye know by histories of the bible that god may by his revelation dispense with his own Law.

Letter to Fisher. (Merriman, i. p. 376.)

My prayer is that God give me no longer life than I shall be glad to use mine office in edification, and not in destruction.

Letter of March 1538. (Merriman, ii. p. 129.)

[I am] A Subject and born to obey laws...The trial of all laws only consisteth in honest and probable witness.

(Merriman, ii. p. 223.)

I have meddled in so many matters under your Highness that I am not able to answer them all...but hard it is for me or any other meddling as I have done to live under your grace and your laws but we must daily offend.

Letter to Henry VIII whilst imprisoned in the Tower of London. (Merriman, ii. p. 266.)