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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Pace, Richard

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a very learned English prelate, was born about 1482, at or near Winchester. He was educated at the charge. of Thomas Langton, bishop of that diocese, whom he served as amanuensis. The bishop, pleased with his proficiency, particularly in music, sent Pace to study at Padua, where he met with Cuthbert Tonstal, afterwards bishop of Durham, and William Latimer, by whose instructions Pace was much profited. Upon his return home he settled at Queen's College in Oxford, of which his patron Langton had been provost; soon after he was taken into the service of Dr. Christopher Bainbridge, who about this time became a cardinal, and later Pace was summoned to court. His accomplishments rendered him very acceptable to Henry VIII, who seems to have made him secretary of state, or at least employed him in matters of high concern. Though much engaged in political affairs, he went into orders: in the beginning of 1514 he was admitted a prebendary in the church of York, and the same year was promoted to the archdeaconry of Dorset. These preferments were conferred upon him while he was employed by the king in a foreign embassy to Vienna. He then persuaded Maximilian to intervene in Italy, and procured for the emperor the alliance of the Swiss cantons. Upon the death of Colet, in 1519, he was made dean of St. Paul's. London. He was also made dean of Exeter about the same time; and in 1521 prebendary in the church of Sarum. At the death of Leo X, Wolsey, who aspired to the tiara, sent Pace to Rome to plead his cause before the sacred college; but Adrian VI was elected before his arrival there. Being employed not long afterwards as ambassador to Venice, he fell under the displeasure of Wolsey. The reasons for this are that he had shown a willingness to assist Charles, duke of Bourbon, with money, and that he had not forwarded the cardinal's designs for the papal chair. Wolsey used every means to bring him into disfavor with the king. He accused him of treason - and deprived Pace for the space of two years of all royal advice as to the pleasure of his mission. and of all allowances for his maintenance. This severe treatment threw Pace into temporary insanity.

After recovery Pace studied the Hebrew language with the assistane of Robert Wakefield. Being introduced to the king at Richmond, Henry expressed much satisfaction at his recovery, and admitted him to a private audience, in which Pace remonstrated against the cardinal's cruelty to him. Wolsey, urged by the king to clear himself from the charge, summoned Pace before him, and, with the duke of Norfolk and others, condemned the unfortunate prelate, and sent him to the Tower of London. After two years' confinement he was discharged by the king's command. He resigned the deaneries of St. Paul and Exeter, and lived in retirement at Stepevy, near London. He died there in 1532. Pace was a skilful diplomatist, and not less distinguished for his amiability and his great learning. Leland eulogizes Pacs highly; and it appears that he was much esteemed by the learned men of his time, especially by Sir Thomas More and Erasmus. The latter admired Pace for his candor and sweetness of temper, addressed to him more letters than to any other of his friends, and could never forgive the man that caused his misfortunes. Stow gives him the character of a very 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; courteous, pleasant, and delighting in music; highly in the king's favor, and well heard in matters of weight." There is extant a remarkable letter of his to the king, written in 1527, wherein he very freely gives his opinion concerning the divorce; and Fiddes observes that he always used a faithful liberty with the cardinal, which brought him at last to confinement and distraction. Pace published a number of works. The most important is, Defructu qui ex doctrina percipitur liber (Basle, 1517), dedicated to Dr. Colet. It was written at Constance, while Pace 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. Erasrmus was also highly incensed at some passages in it, and calls it an indiscreet performance; or a silly book, in which Pace had, between jest and earnest, represented him as a beggar, hated alike by the laity and 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 publish such mean and contemptible stuff (Erasm. Epist. 275, and Epist. 287): Epistolae ad Erasmum, etc. (1520). These epistles are in a book entitled Epistole aliquot eruditorum virorum. Pace also wrote a book against the unlawfulness of the king's marriage with Catharine 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 Martin Luther were publicly burned (Camb. 1521). He made a translation from Greek into Latin of Plutarch's work, De commodo ex inimicis capiendo. See General Biog. Dict. s.v.; Hook, Eccles. Biog. s.v.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Pace, Richard'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/p/pace-richard.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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