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THE "PAST AND PRESENT" LIBRARY 



De La More Press Editions Published by arrangement 
with Messrs. Alexander Moring Ltd. 



LIFEOFSIRTHOMAS 
MORE, KNT. 

BY HIS SON-IN-LAW 

WILLIAM ROPER 



WITH A FOREWORD BY 

SIR JOSEPH WALTON, KNT. 

JUDGE OF THE KING'S BENCH DIVISION 



LONDON : 

BURNS & GATES, 

28 ORCHARD STREET, W 

THE LIBRARY 
RESURRECTION COLLEGE 



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I f 6)5" 



^. JEROME'S COLfrCE 



FOREWORD 

By SIR JOSEPH WALTON, KNT. 

Some books are valuable for what they teach us and 
others we prize for what they are. William Roper's 
book about Sir Thomas More may justly claim a place 
amongst the select few which are no less rich in matter 
than pleasing in form. In a style which may seem 
involved sometimes, but has nevertheless all the charm 
that belongs to our language in the vigour of its literary 
youth, he tells a story of the deepest human interest, 
and he tells of things which he himself had seen and 
heard, and remembered. 

No figure which passes across the stage of English 
history has a more fascinating interest than that of 
Thomas More ; especially to those of us who profess the 
ancient faith for which he died, and now revere him 
as Blessed. And his life is something more than in- 
teresting. It appears to have been set up as an example 
and guide to those who from his time onward were 



to find their way through the difficulties of these latter 
days of intellectual enterprise and self-confidence, and 
of religious unrest. 

In considering the true significance of the life and 
death of More it is well to recall the circumstances of 
the time in which he lived. The condition of the 
Church at the beginning of the 1 6th century has been 
much misrepresented, and there has been gross ex- 
aggeration of the abuses in its religious life and 
government. But what we ought to remember for 
our present purpose is (in the words of one of the 
most learned of living Catholic historians * ) that " it 
may be admitted that the Church in life and discipline 
was not all that could be desired" and "that in many 
things there was need of reform in its truest sense." 

This was appreciated by no one more truly or justly 
or with a keener insight than by Sir Thomas More. 
His delightful and never-failing sense of humour 
must not be forgotten. And we know that the pupil of 
Linacre and Grocyn, the close friend of Erasmus, the 
hospitable patron of Holbein rejoiced in all that was 
good and true and beautiful in the Renaissance of art 
and learning. But he gave up all and life to him 
offered every attraction and went cheerfully to death 
rather than be in any way a party to the revolt against 
the spiritual supremacy of the Pope. 

This is the story which William Roper has to tell. 

* Abbot Gasquet 

ii. 



Has it not, if we think of it, many lessons for all of us, 
whether we be of those whose impulse it is to look with 
confidence, and sometimes perhaps with too little pa- 
tience, to the future, or of those whose nature it is to 
cling piously to the past and to resist perhaps even that 
inevitable movement by which the old order is ever 
changing giving place to the new ? Sir Thomas More 
teaches us always, and in all events, patience and good 
temper and at the same time the strictest and most 
perfect loyalty to faith and conscience. 



in. 



PREFACE 



The First Edition 

The Mitrour of Vertue in Worldly Greatnes, or 
The Life of Sir Thomas More, Knight, sometime 
Lord Chancellor of England, was first imprinted in 
the year 1626, at Paris, according to the title-page, 
though it has been suggested, without any definite 
proof, that the book was not really printed abroad. 

The author of the Life, William Roper, Sir 
Thomas More's son-in-law, died in 1578 ; he had 
possibly not completed his book at the end of Queen 
Mary's reign. It is noteworthy that in 1557 Sir 
Thomas More's English works were first collected 
together and published, at the Queen's command, 
under the editorship of More's nephew, Justice 
Rastell, the elder son of the printer, John Rastell. In 
1555 and 1556 the Latin works were published 
ix 



at Louvain. William Roper's precious memoir, 
described as A Brief History of the Life, Arraign- 
ment, and Death of that Mirrour of all True Honour 
and Vertue, Syr Thomas More, must have circulated 
in MS. for well-nigh seventy years, until at 
length " T. P." gave it to the press. Unfortunately 
the text he found was very faulty. " T. P." has not 
yet been identified, but may be Thomas Plowden. 
It is an interesting coincidence that a writer with the 
same initials, Thomas Paynell, the learned translator, 
added a table of contents to the afore-mentioned 
edition of More's English works. But this Thomas 
Paynell died in 1567, and "T. P." was the con- 
temporary of Lady Elizabeth, Countess of Banbury, 
the second wife of William Knollys, upon whom 
Charles I conferred the Earldom of Banbury in 
August, 1626. 



Other Biographies 

Before the Life appeared in print the MS. 
version had already been utilised by various biogra- 
phers of Sir Thomas More, notably by Stapleton, 
whose Tres Thoma appeared at Antwerp in 
1588 ; by Nicholas Harpsfield, whose work is pre- 
served in Harleian MS. 6253 ; and by Cresacre 
x 



More, his great-grandson, whose Life and Death 
of Sir Thomas More, long erroneously assigned to 
his brother Thomas, was published without date or 
place, with a dedication to Queen Henrietta Maria ; 
it was probably printed in Paris or Louvain in 1631. 
Besides these there are other sixteenth-century Lives 
of More in MS. One of these, written in 1599, is 
printed in Wordsworth's Ecclesiastical Biography. 



Editions of Roper's Life 

Thomas Hearne, the famous antiquary, reprinted 
William Roper's book in the year 1716, but his text 
is almost as Eiulty as that of the editlo princeps, though 
he had better MS. materials at his disposal ; he added 
various readings and emendations at the end of his 
volume. In 1729 the Rev. John Lewis, the bio- 
grapher of Wiclif and Caxton, edited the Life from 
a fairly good MS. lent him by Mr. Thomas Beake, 
of Stourmouth, in Kent. In 1817 a new edition 
appeared, based on those of Hearne and Lewis, edited 
by S. W. Singer, the editor of Shakespeare. A much 
improved text was issued by him in 1822, amended 
by the collation of two MS. copies, both of these, 
according to his statement, in the handwriting of 
Roper's age, one of them belonging to Sir William 
xi 



Strickland, Bart., of Boynton, in Yorkshire. It is an 
interesting fact that an earlier kinsman of the same 
name married one of the last female descendants of 
Margaret, Roper's wife. 

The Present Edition 

For the present issue Singer's modernised text has 
been utilised ; here and there some slight changes, 
notably in punctuation, have been made. Probably 
now, for the first time, More's verses, written with a 
coal after Master Secretary's visit to him in the 
Tower, are correctly given. In the four MS. copies 
of Roper's Life in the British Museum, namely, 
Harleian MSS. 6166, 6254, 6362, 7030, and in the 
printed copies, the versions of the lines make little 
sense. In Rastell's edition of Moris English Works 
they are more correctly printed under the title of 
" Lewys, the Lost Lover." Together with the record 
left us by Sir Thomas More's son-in-law the bio- 
graphical letters of his friend Erasmus should be read 
by way of commentary, and also More's own letters, 
more especially those to his favourite daughter Meg, 
and those from her to him : these famous letters be- 
tween father and daughter are fittingly included in 
this volume. 

xii 



Holbein's Portraits 

To these literary documents should be added the 
portraits of More and his family, by his friend Hans 
Holbein, who came to England in 1526, possibly as 
More's guest at Chelsea, where he stayed about two 
years. The famous drawing among the Holbein 
treasures in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, the 
basis of the engraving on the title-page of this volume, 
may be safely assigned to the year 1527. 

" Thy painter," wrote More to Erasmus, who had 
introduced him, " is a wonderful artist, but I fear he 
will not find England as productive as he hopes, 
although I will do my best, as far as I am concerned, 
that he should not find it altogether barren." 
Holbein's sketch for his great picture of the family 
was seen by Erasmus in 1529. " Methought I saw 
shining through this beautiful household a soul even 
more beautiful." The artist had meanwhile returned 
to Basel, where what is generally thought to be the 
most authentic sketch is still preserved. There are 
three similar sketches, copies varying in details, in the 
possession of English families. The finished picture, 
if it ever existed, cannot be traced. 

The life-story of Sir Thomas More has been a 
fruitful source of literary inspiration for prose, verse, 
and drama, from 1556, when Ellis Heywood wrote, 



in Florence, his dialogue // Moro a fanciful 
picture of More's relationship with the learned men 
of his time to the present day. Among modern 
tributes nothing exceeds in charm Miss Manning's 
Household of Sir Thomas More, the imaginary 
(though not altogether fictitious) diary of the noblest 
and most heroic of daughters, deservedly immortal- 
ised among " Fair Women." 

" Morn broadened on the borders of the dark 
Ere I saw her, who clasped in her last trance 
Her murdered father's head." 



xiv 



LIST OF CONTENTS 



PAGK. 

DEDICATORT LETTER i 

INTRODUCTION TO ORIGINAL EDITION . 3 
LIFE OF SIR THOMAS MORE .... 5 

LETTERS OF SIR THOMAS MORE TO AND 

FROM MARGARET ROPER 
LETTER I. Sir Thomas More to Margaret Roper, on 

his first being made prisoner in the Tower . . 105 
LETTER II. Lady Alice Alington to Margaret Roper 

concerning her meeting with my Lord Chancellor 113 
LETTER III. Sir Thomas More, in Margaret Roper's 

name (or Margaret Roper) to Lady Alice Alington 117 
LETTER IV. Sir Thomas More to Margaret Roper 

(being his first letter written with a coal) . . 151 
LETTER V. Sir Thomas More to Margaret Roper, 

concerning the Oath of Succession . . -153 
LETTER VI. Margaret Roper's reply to Sir Thomas 

More's Letter (No. V.) 157 

XV 



PAGE 

LETTERS OF SIR THOMAS MORE TO AND 

FROM MARGARET ROPER, continued 
LETTER VII. Sir Thomas More to Margaret Roper 161 
LETTER VIII. Sir Thomas More to Margaret Roper 167 
LETTER IX. Sir Thomas More's last letter, addressed 
to Margaret Roper (being his second letter written 
with a coal) . . . . . . .175 

EPITAPHS 179 

NOTES . . . 183 

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 189 

INDEX 191 



XVI 



TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE 

THE 

LADY ELIZABETH COUNTESS 
OF BANBURY, &c. 

RIGHT HONOURABLE, 

It was my good happe not longe since, in a 
Friends House, to light upon a briefe History of the 
Life, Arraignement, and Death of that Mirrour of all 
true Honour, and Vertue, Syr Thomas More, who 
by his Wisdome, Learning, and Santity, hath eter- 
nized his Name, Countrey, and Profession, through- 
out the Christian World, with immortal Glory, and 
Renowne. 

Finding, by perusal thereof, the same replenished 
with incomparable Treasures, of no lesse Worthy, 
and most Christian Factes, then of Wise, and Reli- 



gious Sentences Apophthegmes, and Sayings ; 1 
deemed it not only an errour to permit so great a 
light to ly buried, as it were, within the walls of one 
priuate Family : but also iudged it worthy the Presse, 
euen of a golden Character (if it were to be had) to 
the end, the whole World might receave comfort and 
profit by reading the same. 

Having made this Resolution, a Difficultie pre- 
sented itselfe, to my Thoughts, under whose Shadow, 
or Patronage I might best shelter the Worke : unto 
which strife, Your LADISHIP occurring to my cogita- 
tions, put an End, with the BEAMS of your WORTH, 
AND HONOUR ; so dazeling my Eyes, as I could dis- 
cerne none other more Fit, or Worthy to imbrace, 
and protect so Glorious and memorable Example. 

Of whose GOODNES I am so confident that without 
further debate, I judge, this Enterchange of Freend- 
shippe may worthily be made betweene the SAINT 
and You. You (Madame) shal Patronize his HONOUR 
heere on Earth ; and He shall become a Patrone and 
Intercessour for You in Heaven. 

By him, that am your Ladiships 
professed Seruant, 

T. P. 



/7 ORASMUCH as 5/r Thomas More, Knight, some- 
* time Lord Chancellor of England, a man of singular 
virtue and of a clear unspotted conscience (as witnesseth 
Erasmus), more pure and white than the whitest snow, and 
of such an angelical wit, as England, he saith, never had 
the like before, nor ever shall again : universally, as well 
in the laws of the realm (a study in effect able to occupy 
the whole life of a man) as in all other sciences, right well 
studied, was in his days accounted a man worthy perpetual 
famous memory /, William Roper (though most un- 
worthy], his son-in-law by marriage of his eldest daughter, 
knowing no one man that of him and of his doings under- 
stood so much as myself if or that I was continually resident 
in his house by the space of sixteen yean and more 
thought it therefore my part to set forth such matters 
touching his life as I could at this present call to remem- 
brance, among which things very many notable, not meet 

to have been forgotten, through negligence and long con- 
3 



tinuance of time are slipped out of my mind. Tet to the 
Intent that the same should not all utterly perish, I have 
at the desire of divers worshipful friends of mine, though 
very far from the grace and worthiness of him, neverthe- 
less, as far forth as my mean wit, memory and knowledge 
would serve me declared so much thereof as in my poor 
judgment seemed worthy to be remembered. 



THIS Sir Thomas More after he had been 
brought up in the Latin tongue at St. 
Anthony's in London, was by his father's procure- 
ment received into the house of the right reverend, 
wise and learned prelate Cardinal Morton, where 
though he was young of years, yet would he at 
Christmastide suddenly sometimes step in among the 
players, and never studying for the matter make a 
part of his own there presently among them, which 
made the lookers on more sport than all the players 
beside. In whose wit and towardness the Cardinal 
much delighting, would often say of him unto the 
nobles that divers times dined with him, "This 
child here waiting at the table, whosoever shall live 
to see it, will prove a marvellous man." Where- 
upon for his better furtherance in learning he placed 
him at Oxford, where when he was both in the 
Greek and Latin tongues sufficiently instructed, he 
was then, for the study of the law of the Realm, put 
5 



to an Inn of Chancery, called New Inn : where for 
his time he very well prospered, and from thence 
was admitted to Lincoln's Inn, with very small allow- 
ance, continuing there his study until he was made 
and accounted a worthy utter Barrister. After this, 
to his great commendations, he read for a good space 
a public lecture of St. Augustine De Civltate Dei in 
the church of St. Lawrence in the old Jewry, where- 
unto there resorted Doctor Grocyn, an excellent 
cunning man, and all the chief learned of the city 
of London. Then was he made reader of Furnival's 
Inn, so remaining by the space of three years and 
more. After which time he gave himself to devotion 
and prayer in the Charterhouse of London, religiously 
living there without vow about four years, until he 
resorted to the house of one Master Coke, a gentle- 
man of Essex, that had oft invited him thither, 
having three daughters whose honest conversation 
and virtuous education provoked him there specially 
to set his affection. And albeit his mind most 
served him to the second daughter, for that he 
thought her the fairest and best favoured, yet when 
he considered that it would be both great grief and 
some shame also to the eldest to see her younger 
sister preferred before her in marriage, he then, of a 
certain pity, framed his fancy toward her, and soon 
6 



after married her, never the more discontinuing his 
study of the law at Lincoln's Inn, but applying still 
the same until he was called to the Bench, and had 
read there twice, which is as often as any Judge of 
the law doth ordinarily read. Before which time he 
had placed himself and his wife at Bucklersbury in 
London, where he had by her three daughters and 
one son, in virtue and learning brought up from their 
youth, whom he would often exhort to take virtue 
and learning for their meat, and play for their sauce. 
Who, ere ever he had been reader in Court, was in 
the latter time of King Henry the Seventh made a 
Burgess of the Parliament, wherein was demanded by 
the king (as I have heard reported) about three 
fifteenths for the marriage of his eldest daughter, that 
then should be the Scottish Queen. At the last 
debating whereof he made such arguments and reasons 
there against, that the king's demands were thereby 
clean overthrown ; so that one of the king's privy 
chamber, named Master Tyler, being present thereat, 
brought word to the king out of the Parliament 
house, that a beardless boy had disappointed all his 
purpose. Whereupon the king, conceiving great 
indignation towards him, could not be satisfied until 
he had some way revenged it. And forasmuch as he 
nothing having, nothing could lose, his grace devised 
7 



a causeless quarrel against his father, keeping him in 
the Tower till he had made him pay to him a hun- 
dred pounds fine/ Shortly hereupon it fortuned 
that this Sir Thomas More coming in a suit to 
Doctor Fox, Bishop of Winchester, one of the king's 
privy council, the bishop called him aside, and pre- 
tending great favour towards him, promised that if 
he would be ruled by him, he would not fail into 
the king's favour again to restore him, meaning, as it 
was afterwards conjectured, to cause him thereby to 
confess his offence against the king, whereby his 
highness might with the better colour have occasion 
to revenge his displeasure against him. But when 
he came from the bishop, he fell in communication 
with one Master Whitforde, his familiar friend, then 
chaplain to that bishop, and afterward a father of 
Sion, and showed him what the bishop had said to 
him, desiring to have his advice therein ; who, for 
the passion of God, prayed him in no wise to follow 
his counsel, for "my lord, my master," quoth he, " to 
serve the king's turn will not stick to agree to his 
own father's death." So Sir Thomas More returned 
to the bishop no more, and had not the king soon 
after died, he was determined to have gone over sea, 
thinking that being in the king's indignation he could 
not live in England without great danger. After 
8 






this he was made one of the under-sheriffs of London, 
by which office and his learning together (as I have 
heard him say) he gained without grief not so little 
as four hundred pounds by the year : sith there was 
at that time in none of the prince's courts of the 
laws of this realm any matter of importance in con- 
troversy wherein he was not with the one party of 
counsel. Of whom, for his learning, wisdom, know- 
ledge and experience, men had such estimation, that 
before he came into the service of King Henry the 
Eighth, at the suit and instance of the English 
merchants, he was, by the king's consent, made twice 
ambassador in certain great causes between them and 
the merchants of the Stilliard. Whose wise and dis- 
creet dealing therein, to his high commendation, 
coming to the king's understanding, provoked his 
highness to cause Cardinal Wolsey, then Lord Chan- 
cellor, to procure him to his service. And albeit the 
cardinal, according to the king's request, earnestly 
travailed with him therefore, among many other his 
persuasions alleging unto him, how dear his service 
must needs be unto his majesty, which could not 
with his honour with less than he should yearly lose 
thereby, seem to recompense him. Yet he, loath to 
change his estate, made such means unto the king, 
by the cardinal, to the contrary, that his grace for 
9 



that time was well satisfied. Now happened there, 
after this, a great ship of his, that was then Pope, to 
arrive at Southampton, which the king claiming for 
a forfeiture, the Pope's ambassador, by suit unto his 
grace, obtained that he might for his master the 
Pope have counsel learned in the laws of this realm ; 
and the matter in his own presence (being himself a 
singular civilian), in some public place to be openly 
heard and discussed. At which time there could 
none of our law be found so meet to be of counsel 
with this ambassador as Sir Thomas More, who could 
report to the ambassador in Latin all the reasons and 
arguments by the learned counsel on both sides 
alleged. Upon this the counsellors on either part, in 
presence of the Lord Chancellor and other the judges 
in the Star Chamber had audience accordingly. 
Where Sir Thomas More not only declared to the 
ambassador the whole effect of all their opinions, 
but also in defence on the Pope's side argued so 
learnedly himself, that both was the aforesaid for- 
feiture restored to the Pope, and himself, among all 
the hearers, for his upright and commendable de- 
meanour therein, so greatly renowned, that for no 
entreaty would the king from henceforth be induced 
any longer to forbear his service. At whose first 
entry thereunto he made him Master of the Requests, 
10 



having then no better room void, and, within a month 
after, Knight, and one of his privy council, f And so 
from time to time was he by the king advanced, 
continuing in his singular favour and trusty service 
twenty years and above. /A good part thereof used 
the king upon holy days when he had done his own 
devotions, to send for him into his traverse, and there 
sometimes in matters of astronomy, geometry, divinity, 
and such other faculties, and sometimes of his worldly 
affairs to sit and confer with him. And otherwhiles, 
in the night would he have him up into the leads, 
there to consider with him the diversities, courses, 
motions, and operations of the stars and planets. / And 
because he was of a pleasant disposition, it pleased the 
king and queen, after the council had supped, at the 
time of their supper, for their pleasure commonly to 
call for him to be merry with them.' When he per- 
ceived them so much in his talk to delight, that he 
could not once in a month get leave to go home to 
his wife and his children (whose company he most 
desired), and to be absent from the court two days 
together but that he should be thither sent for again : 
he much misliking this restraint of his liberty, began 
thereupon somewhat to dissemble his nature, and so, 
by little and little, from his former mirth to disuse 
himself, that he was of them from henceforth at such 
1 1 



seasons no more so ordinarily sent for.| Then died 
one Master Weston treasurer of the Exchequer, whose 
office, after his death, the king of his own offer, 
without any asking, freely gave unto Sir Thomas 
More. In the fourteenth year of his grace's reign 
there was a parliament holden, whereof Sir Thomas 
More was chosen speaker. Who, being very loth to 
take this room upon him, made an oration, not now 
extant, to the king's highness, for his discharge there- 
of. Whereunto when the king would not consent, 
he spoke unto his grace in form following : 



12 



SITH, I perceive, most redoubted sovereign, that 
it standeth not with your pleasure to reform 
this election, and cause it to be changed, but have, by 
the mouth of the most reverend Father in God, the 
Legate, your highness* Chancellor, thereunto given 
your most royal assent, and have of your benignity 
determined, far above that I may bear, to enable me, 
and for this office to repute me meet ; rather than 
you should seem to impute unto your Commons, that 
they had unmeetly chosen : I am_ therefor, and 
always shall be ready, obediently to conform myself 
to the accomplishment of your highness' pleasure and 
commandment, in most humble wise beseeching 
your most noble Majesty, that I may, with your grace's 
favour, before I farther enter there into, make my 
humble intercession unto your highness for two lowly 
petitions : the one privately concerning myself, the 
other the whole assembly of your Commons' House. 
For myself, most gracious sovereign, that if it mishap 
13 



me in anything hereafter that is on the behalf of 
your Commons, in your high presence to be declared, 
to mistake my message, and in lack of good utterance, 
by my mis-rehearsal, to pervert or impair their pru- 
dent instructions, that it may then like your most 
noble majesty, of your abundant grace, with the eye 
of your wonted pity to pardon my simpleness, giving 
me leave to repair again unto the Commons' House, 
and there to confer with them, and to take their sub- 
stantial advice what things and in what wise I shall 
on their behalf utter and speak before your noble 
grace, to the intent their prudent devices and affairs 
be not by my simpleness and folly hindered or im- 
paired. Which thing, if it should so happen, as it 
were well likely to mishap in me, if your grace's 
benignity relieved not my oversight, it could not fail 
to be during my life a perpetual grudge and heaviness 
to my heart. The help and remedy whereof in 
manner aforesaid remembered, is (most gracious 
sovereign) my first lowly suit and humble petition 
unto your noble grace. Mine other humble request, 
most excellent prince, is this. Forasmuch as there 
be of your Commons, here by your high command- 
ment assembled for your parliament, a great number, 
which are after the accustomed manner appointed, 
in the Commons 1 House to treat and advise of the 

"4 



common affairs among themselves apart : and albeit, 
most dear liege lord, that according to your prudent 
advice, by your honourable writs everywhere declared, 
there hath been as due diligence used in sending up to 
your highness* Court of Parliament the most discreet 
persons out of every quarter that men could esteem 
meet thereto. Whereby it is not to be doubted but 
that there is a very substantial assembly of right wise 
meet and politique persons. Yet, most victorious 
prince, sith, among so many wise men, neither is 
every man wise alike, nor, among so many men alike 
well witted, every man alike well spoken, and it often 
happeth that likewise as much folly is uttered with 
painted polished speech, so, many, boisterous and rude 
in language, see deep indeed, and give right sub- 
stantial counsel ; and sith also in matters of great 
importance the mind is so often occupied in the 
matter, that a man rather studieth what to say, than 
how ; by reason whereof the wisest man and best 
spoken in a whole country fortuneth while his mind 
is fervent in the matter, somewhat to speak in such 
wise as he would afterward wish to have been uttered 
otherwise, and yet no worse will had he when he 
spake it, than he hath when he would so gladly 
change it. Therefore, most gracious sovereign, con- 
sidering that, in all your high Court of Parliament, is 



nothing treated but matter of weight and importance 
concerning your realm and your own royal estate, it 
could not fail to let and put to silence from the 
giving of their advice and counsel many of your 
discreet Commons, to the great hindrance of the 
1 common affairs, except that every one of your Com- 
mons were utterly discharged of all doubt and fear 
! how any thing, that it should happen them to speak, 
should happen of your highness to be taken. And 
in this point, though your well known and proved 
benignity putteth every man in good hope, yet such 
is the weight of the matter, such is the reverend 
dread that the timorous hearts of your natural sub- 
jects conceive towards your highness, our most re- 
doubted king and undoubted sovereign, that they 
cannot, in this point, find themselves satisfied, except 
your gracious bounty therein declared put away the 
scruple of their timorous minds, and animate and 
encourage them and put them out of doubt. It may 
therefore like your most abundant grace, our most 
benign and godly king, to give to all your Commons, 
here assembled, your most gracious license and pardon, 
freely, without doubt of your dreadful displeasure, 
every man to discharge his conscience, and boldly, in 
every thing incident among us, to declare his advice ; 
and, whatsoever happeneth any man to say, that it 
16 



may like your noble majesty of your inestimable 
goodness to take all in good part, interpreting every 
man's words, how uncunningly soever they be 
couched, to proceed yet of good zeal towards the 
profit of your realm and honour of your royal person, 
the prosperous estate and perservation whereof, most 
excellent sovereign, is the thing which we all, your 
humble loving subjects, according to the most 
bounden duty of our natural allegiance, most highly 
desire and pray for. 



AT this Parliament Cardinal Wolsey found him- 
self much grieved with the burgesses thereof, 
for that nothing was so soon done or spoken therein 
but that it was immediately blown abroad in every 
alehouse. It fortuned at that Parliament a very 
great subsidy to be demanded, which the Cardinal 
fearing would not pass the Commons' House deter- 
mined for the furtherance thereof to be there present 
himself. Before whose coming, after long debating 
there, whether it were better but with a few of his 
lords, as the most opinion of the house was, or with 
his whole train royally, to receive him there amongst 
them : " Masters," quoth Sir Thomas More, " foras- 
much as my Lord Cardinal lately, ye wot well, laid 
to our charge the lightness of our tongues for things 
uttered out of this house, it shall not in my mind be 
amiss to receive him with all his pomp, with his 
maces, his pillars, his poleaxes, his crosses, his hat and 
the great seal too ; to the intent that if he find the 
18 



like fault with us hereafter, we may be the bolder 
from ourselves to lay the blame on those that his 
grace bringeth hither with him." Whereunto the 
house wholly agreeing, he was received accordingly. 
Where after he had in a solemn oration by many 
reasons proved how necessary it was the demand 
there moved to be granted, and further showed that 
less would not serve to maintain the prince's purpose, 
he seeing the company sitting still silent and there- 
unto nothing answering, and contrary to his expecta- 
tions showing in themselves towards his request no 
towardness of inclination, said unto them, " Masters, 
you have many wise and learned men amongst you, 
and sith I am from the king's own person sent hither 
unto you for the preservation of yourselves and all the 
realm, I think it meet you give me some reasonable 
answer." Whereat every man holding his peace, 
then began he to speak to one Master Marney, after- 
ward Lord Marney, "How say you," quoth he, 
" Master Marney ? " who making him no answer 
neither, he severally asked the same question of divers 
others accounted the wisest of the company : to 
whom, when none of them all would give so much as 
one word, being agreed before, as the custom was, to 
answer by their Speaker, " Masters," quoth the 
Cardinal, " unless it be the manner of your house, as 



of likelihood it is, by the mouth of your Speaker, 
whom you have chosen for trusty and wise (as indeed 
he is), in such cases to utter your minds, here is 
without doubt a marvellous obstinate silence," and 
thereupon he required answer of Master Speaker. 
Who first reverently on his knees excusing the silence 
of the house, abashed at the presence of so noble a 
personage, able to amaze the wisest and best learned 
in the realm, and after by many probable arguments 
proving that for them to make answer was neither 
expedient nor agreeable with the ancient liberty of 
the house ; in conclusion for himself showed that 
though they had all with their voices trusted him, 
yet except every one of them could put into his one 
head all their several wits, he alone in so weighty a 
f matter was unmeet to make his grace answer. Where- 
upon the cardinal, displeased with Sir Thomas More, 
that had not in this parliament in all things satisfied 
his desire, suddenly arose and departed. And after 
the parliament ended, in his gallery at Whitehall in 
Westminster, he uttered unto him all his griefs, 
saying : " Would to God you had been at Rome, 
Master More, when I made you Speaker." " Your 
grace not offended, so would I too, my lord," quoth 
Sir Thomas More. And to wind such quarrels out 
of the cardinal's head, he began to talk of the gallery, 
20 



saying, " I like this gallery of yours, my lord, much 
better than your gallery at Hampton Court." 
Wherewith so wisely broke he off the cardinal's dis- 
pleasant talk, that the cardinal at that present, as it 
seemed, wist not what more say to him ; but, for 
the reyengement of his displeasure, counselled the 
king to send him ambassador to Spain, commending 
to his highness his wisdom, learning and meetness for 
that voyage. And, the difficulty of the cause con- 
sidered, none was there, he said, so well able to serve 
his grace therein. Which when the king had broken 
to Sir Thomas More, and that he had declared unto 
his grace how unfit a journey it was for him, the 
nature of the country, the disposition of his com- 
plexion so disagreeing together, that he should never 
be able to do his grace acceptable service there, 
knowing right well that if his grace sent him thither 
he should send him to his grave ; but showing him- 
self nevertheless ready according to his duty, or were 
it with the loss of his life, to fulfill his grace's pleasure 
in that behalf. The king, allowing well his answer, 
said unto him : " It is not our pleasure, Master More, 
to do you hurt, but to do you good we would be 
glad : we therefore for this purpose will devise upon 
some other, and employ your service otherwise." And 
such entire favour did the king bear him, that he 

21 



made him Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster upon 
the death of Sir Richard Wingfield who had that 
office before. And for the pleasure he took in his 
company would his grace suddenly sometimes come 
home to his house at Chelsea to be merry with him, 
whither, on a time, unlocked for, he came to dinner, 
and after dinner, in a fair garden of his, walked with 
him by the space of an hour, holding his arm about 
his neck. As soon as his grace was gone, I rejoicing 
thereat, said to Sir Thomas More, how happy he was 
whom the king had so familiarly entertained, as I never 
had seen him do to any before, except Cardinal 
Wolsey, whom I saw his grace walk once with arm 
in arm. " I thank our Lord, son," quoth he, " I find 
his grace my very good lord indeed, and I believe he 
doth as singularly favour me, as any subject within 
this realm : howbeit, son Roper, I may tell thee, I 
have no cause to be proud thereof, for if my head 
would win him a castle in France (for then there was 
war between us), it should not fail to go." 



22 



THIS Sir Thomas More, among all other his 
virtues, was of such meekness, that if it had 
fortuned him with any learned men resorting to him 
from Oxford, Cambridge, or elsewhere (as there did 
divers, some for desire of his acquaintance, some for 
the famous report of his wisdom and learning, some 
for suits of the Universities), to have entered into 
argument (wherein few were comparable to him) and 
so far to have discoursed with them therein, that he 
might perceive they could not without some incon- 
venience hold out much further disputation against 
him ; then, lest he should discomfort them (as one 
that sought not his own glory, but rather would seem 
conquered than to discourage students in their studies, 
ever showing himself more desirous to learn than to 
teach), would he by some witty device courteously 
break off into some other matter and give over. Of 
whom, for his wisdom and learning, had the king 
such an opinion, that at such time as he attended 
23 



upon his highness, taking his progress either to 
Oxford or Cambridge, where he was received with 
very eloquent orations, his grace would always assign 
him (as one that was most prompt and ready therein) 
extempore to make answer thereunto. Whose man- 
ner was, whensoever he had occasion, either here or 
beyond the sea, to be in any University, not only to 
be present at the readings and disputations there 
commonly used, but also learnedly to dispute among 
them himself. Who being chancellor of the duchy 
was made ambassador twice, joined in commission 
with Cardinal Wolsey ; once to the Emperor Charles 
into Flanders, the other time to the French king into 
France. Not long after this, the Water-bailiff of 
London, sometime his servant, hearing, where he 
had been at dinner, certain merchants liberally to 
rail against his old master, waxed so discontented 
therewith that he hastily came to him and told him 
what he had heard, " and were I, Sir," quoth he, " in 
such favour and authority with my prince as you are, 
such men surely should not be suffered so villainously 
and falsely to misreport and slander me. Wherefore 
I would wish you to call them before you, and, to 
their shame, for their lewd malice to punish them." 
Who, smiling upon him said, " why, Master Water- 
bailiff, would you have me punish them by whom I 
24 



receive more benefit than by all you that be my 
friends ? Let them a God's name speak as lewdly as 
they list of me, and shoot never so many arrows at 
me as long as they do not hit me, what am I the 
worse ? But if they should once hit me, then would 
it indeed not a little trouble me ; howbeit I trust by 
God's help there shall none of them all once be able 
to touch me. I have more cause, I assure thee, 
Master Water-bailiff, to pity them than to be angry 
with them." Such fruitful communication had he 
ofttimes with his familiar friends. So on a time 
walking with me along the Thames' side at Chelsea, 
in talking of other things he said unto me, " Now, 
would to our Lord, son Roper, upon condition that 
three things were well established in Christendom, I 
were put in a sack and here presently cast into the 
Thames." " What great things be those, Sir," quoth 
I, " that should move you so to wish ?" " Wouldst 
thou know, son Roper, what they be," quoth he ? 
" Yea marry with a good will, Sir, if it please you," 
quoth I. " In faith, son, they be these," said he, 
" the first is, that whereas the most part of Christian 
princes be at mortal war, they were all at universal 
peace. The second, that where the church of Christ 
is at this present sore afflicted with many errors and 
heresies, it were well settled in perfect uniformity of 



religion. The third, that where the matter of the 
king's marriage is now come in question, it were to 
the glory of God and quietness of all parties brought 
to a good conclusion." Whereby as I could gather, 
he judged that otherwise it would be a disturbance to 
a great part of Christendom. Thus did it, by his 
doings throughout the whole course of his life, appear, 
that all his travail and pains, without respect of 
earthly commodities, either to himself, or any of his, 
were only upon the service of God, the prince, and 
the realm, wholly bestowed and employed ; whom I 
heard in his latter time to say that he never asked of 
the king for himself the value of one penny. 



26 



AS Sir Thomas More's custom was daily (if he 
were at home), besides his private prayers with 
his children, to say the Seven Psalms, the Litany, 
and the Suffrages following, so was his guise nightly 
before he went to bed with his wife, children, and 
household, to go to his chapel, and there on his knees 
ordinarily to say certain psalms and collects with 
them. And because he was desirous for godly pur- 
poses, sometimes to be solitary and sequester himself 
from worldly company, a good distance from his 
mansion-house, builded he a place called the New 
Building, wherein there was a chapel, a library, and 
a gallery, in which, as his use was on other days to 
occupy himself in prayer and study there together, so 
on the Fridays used he continually to be there from 
morning till evening, spending his time only in 
devout prayers and spiritual exercises. And to pro- 
voke his wife and children to the desire of heavenly 
things, he would sometimes use these words unto 
them. " It is now no mastery for you children to 



go to heaven, for every body giveth you good counsel, 
every body giveth you good example. You see virtue 
rewarded and vice punished, so that you are carried 
up to heaven even by the chins. But if you live in 
the time that no man will give you good counsel, no 
man will give you good example, when you shall see 
virtue punished and vice rewarded, if you will then 
stand fast and firmly stick to God upon pain of life, 
though you be but half good, God will allow you for 
whole good." If his wife or any of his children had 
been diseased or troubled, he would say unto them, 
may not look at our pleasures to go to heaven 
in featherbeds ; it is not the way, for our Lord Him- 
self went thither with great pain, and by many 
tribulations, which was the path wherein He walked 
thither, and the servant may not look to be in better 
case than his Master. *n And as he would in this 
sort persuade them to take their troubles patiently, so 
would he in like sort teach them to withstand the 
devil and his temptations valiantly, saying, "whoso- 
ever will mark the devil and his temptations shall find 
him therein much like to an ape, who, not well 
looked to, will be busy and bold to do shrewd turns, 
and contrariwise being spied will suddenly leap back 
and adventure no farther. So the devil finding a 
man idle, slothful, and without resistance, ready to 
28 



receive his temptations, waxeth so hardy that he will 
not fail still to continue with him until to his purpose 
he hath thoroughly brought him. But on the other 
side, if he see a man with diligence persevere to 
prevent and withstand his temptations, he waxeth 
so weary that in conclusion he utterly forsaketh him. 
For as the devil of disposition is a spirit of so high a 
pride that he cannot abide to be mocked, so is he of 
nature so envious that he feareth any more to assault 
him, lest he should thereby not only catch a foul fall 
himself, but also minister to the man more matter of 
merit." Thus delighted he evermore not only in 
virtuous exercises to be occupied by himself, but also 
to exhort his wife, children, and household to em- 
brace the same and follow it. To whom for his 
notable virtue and godliness God showed as it seemed 
a manifest miraculous token of His special favour 
towards him. At such time as my wife (as many 
other that year were) was sick of the sweating sick- 
ness ; who lying in so great extremity of that disease 
as by no invention or devices that physicians in such 
cases commonly use (of whom she had divers both 
expert, wise, and well learned, then continually at- 
tendant about her) could she be kept from sleep, so 
that both the physicians and all other there present 
despaired of her recovery and gave her over ; her 
29 



father, as he that most entirely tendered her, being in 
no small heaviness for her, by prayer at God's hand 
sought to get her remedy. Whereupon going up, 
after his usual manner, into his aforesaid New Building 
there in his chapel on his knees with tears most 
devoutly besought Almighty God that it would like 
His goodness, unto whom nothing was impossible, if 
it were His blessed will, at his mediation, to vouch- 
safe graciously to hear his humble petition. Where 
incontinent came into his mind that a glister should 
be the only way to help her. Which when he told 
the physicians, they by and by confessed that if there 
were any hope of health that that was the very best 
help indeed ; much marvelling of themselves that 
they had not before remembered it. Then was it 
immediately administered to her sleeping, which she 
could by no means have been brought unto waking. 
And albeit, after she was thereby thoroughly awaked, 
God's marks (an evident undoubted token of death) 
plainly appeared upon her, yet she, contrary to all 
their expectations, was, as it was thought, by her 
father's most fervent prayers miraculously recovered, 
and at length again to perfect health restored ; whom, 
if it had pleased God at that time to have taken to 
His mercy, her father said he would never have 
meddled with worldly matters more. 
30 



NOW while Sir Thomas More was chancellor of 
the duchy, the see of Rome chanced to be 
void, which was cause of much trouble. For Cardinal 
Wolsey, a man very ambitious, and desirous (as good 
; hope and likelihood he had) to aspire to that dignity, 
perceiving himself of his expectation disappointed, by 
means of the Emperor Charles so highly commending 
one Cardinal Adrian, sometime his schoolmaster, to 
the cardinals of Rome in the time of their election 
for his virtue and worthiness, that thereupon he was 
chosen pope ; who from Spain, where he was then 
resident, coming on foot to Rome before his entry 
into the city did put off his hose and shoes, and bare- 
footed and barelegged passed through the streets 
towards his palace with such humbleness that all the 
people had him in great reverence ; Cardinal Wolsey, 
I say, waxed so wood therewith, that he studied to 
invent all ways of revengement of his grief against the 
emperor ; which as it was the beginning of a lament- 



able tragedy, so some part thereof, as not impertinent 
to my present purpose, I reckoned requisite here to 
put in remembrance. This cardinal therefore, not 
ignorant of the king's inconstant and mutable disposi- 
tion, soon inclined to withdraw his devotion from his 
most noble, virtuous, and lawful wife Queen Katherine, 
aunt to the emperor, upon every light occasion ; and 
upon other, to her in nobility, wisdom, virtue, favour, 
and beauty far incomparable, to fix his affection : 
meaning to make this his so light disposition an 
instrument to bring about his ungodly intent, devised 
to allure the king (then already contrary to his mind 
nothing less looking for than falling in love with the 
Lady Anne Bullen) to cast fantasy unto one of the 
French king's sisters. Which thing (because of the 
enmity and war that was at that time between the 
French king and the emperor, whom, for the cause 
before remembered, he mortally maligned) he was 
very desirous to procure. And for the better achiev- 
ing thereof requested Longland, Bishop of Lincoln, 
being ghostly father to the king, to put a scruple into 
his grace's head, that it was not lawful for him to 
marry his brother's wife. Which the king not sorry 
to hear of, opened it first to Sir Thomas More, whose 
counsel he required therein, showing him certain 
places of Scripture that seemed somewhat to serve his 
32 



appetite. Which when he had perused, and there- 
upon, as one that never had professed the study of 
divinity, himself excused to be unmeet many ways to 
meddle with such matters, the king, not satisfied 
with his answer, so sore still pressed upon him there- 
fore, that in conclusion he condescended to his grace's 
motion. And farther, forasmuch as the case was of 
such importance as needed good advisement and 
deliberation, he besought his grace of sufficient respite 
advisedly to consider of it. Wherewith the king, 
well contented, said unto him, that Tunstal and 
Clarke, Bishops of Bath and Durham, with other 
learned of his privy council, should also be dealers 
therein. So Sir Thomas More departing conferred 
those places of Scripture with the exposition of divers 
of the old holy doctors. And at his coming to the 
court in talking with his grace of the foresaid matter, 
he said, " To be plain with your grace, neither my 
Lord of Durham, nor my Lord of Bath, though I 
know them both to be wise, virtuous, learned and 
honourable prelates, nor myself with the rest of your 
council, being all your grace's own servants, for your 
manifold benefits daily bestowed on us so much 
bounden unto you, be in my judgment meet coun- 
sellors for your grace herein. But if your grace mind 
to understand the truth, such counsellors may you 

T.M. 33 D 



have devised, as neither for respect of their own 
worldly commodity, nor for fear of your princely 
authority, will be inclined to deceive you." To 
whom he named then St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and 
divers other old holy doctors both Greeks and Latins : 
and moreover showed him what authorities he had 
gathered out of them. Which although the king (as 
disagreeable to his desire) did not very well like of, 
yet were they by Sir Thomas More (who in all his 
communication with the king in that matter had 
always most discreetly behaved himself) so wisely 
tempered, that he both presently took them in good 
part, and oftentimes had thereof conference with him 
again. After this were there certain questions among 
his council proponed, Whether the king needed in 
this case to have any scruple at all ? and if he had, 
what way were best to be taken to deliver him of it ? 
The most part of them were of the opinion that there 
was good cause of scruple, and that for the discharg- 
ing of it, suit were meet to be made to the see of 
Rome, where the king hoped by liberality to obtain 
his purpose ; wherein, as it after appeared, he was far 
deceived. Then was there, for the examination and 
trial of this matrimony, procured from Rome a com- 
mission in which Cardinal Campegius, and Cardinal 
Wolsey were joined commissioners, who for the deter- 
34 



mination thereof sat at the Black-Friars in London, 
where a libel was put in for the annulling of the said 
matrimony, alleging the marriage between the king 
and queen to be unlawful. And for proof of the 
marriage to be lawful was there brought in a dispen- 
sation, in which after divers disputations thereupon 
holden, there appeared an imperfection ; which, by 
an instrument or brief, found upon search in the 
treasury of Spain and sent to the commissioners in 
England, was supplied. And so should judgment 
have been given by the pope accordingly, had not 
the king, upon intelligence thereof, before the same 
judgment, appealed to the next general council ; after 
whose appellation the cardinals upon that matter sat 
no longer. It fortuned, before the matter of the said 
matrimony brought in question, when I in talk with 
Sir Thomas More (of a certain joy) commended unto 
him the happy estate of this realm, that had so catholic 
a prince that no heretic durst show his face ; so 
virtuous and learned a clergy, so grave and sound a 
nobility, and so loving obedient subjects all in one 
faith agreeing together. " Troth, it is indeed, son 
Roper," quoth he, (and went far beyond me in com- 
mending all degrees and estates of the same), " and 
yet, son Roper, I pray God," said he, " that some of 
us, as high as we seem to sit upon the mountains 
35 



treading heretics under our feet like ants, live not the 
day that we gladly would wish to be at league and 
composition with them to let them have their 
churches quietly to themselves, so that they would be 
contented to let us have ours quietly to ourselves." 
After that I had told him many considerations why 
he had no cause to say so ; " Well," said he, " I pray 
God, son Roper, some of us live not till that day " : 
showing me no reason why I should put any doubt 
therein. To whom I said, " By my troth, sir, it is 
very desperately spoken." That vile term, I cry God 
mercy, did I give him : who, by these words per- 
ceiving me in a fume, said merrily unto me, " Well, 
well, son Roper, it shall not be so, it shall not be so." 
Whom in sixteen years and more, being in his house 
conversant with him, I could never perceive as much 
as once in a fume. 



BUT now to return again where I left. After 
the supplying of the imperfection of the dis- 
pensation, sent, as is before rehearsed, to the com- 
missioners into England, the king, taking the matter 
for ended, and then meaning no farther to proceed in 
that matter, appointed the Bishop of Durham and Sir 
Thomas More to go ambassadors to Cambray, a place 
neither Imperial nor French, to treat a peace between 
the Emperor, the French king, and him. In the 
concluding whereof Sir Thomas More so worthily 
handled himself, procuring in our league far more 
benefits unto this realm, than at that time by the 
king or his council was thought possible to be com- 
passed, that for his good service in that voyage, the 
king, when he after made him Lord Chancellor, 
caused the Duke of Norfolk openly to declare to the 
people, as you shall hear hereafter more at large, how 
much all England was bounden unto him. Now 
upon the coming home of the Bishop of Durham and 
37 



Sir Thomas More from Cambray the king was as 
earnest of persuading Sir Thomas More to agree to 
the matter of his marriage as before, by many and 
divers ways provoking him thereunto, for which, as it 
was thought, he the rather soon after made him Lord 
Chancellor, and farther declaring unto him that 
though at his going over sea to Cambray he was in 
utter despair thereof, yet he had conceived since some 
good hope to compass it. For albeit his marriage, 
being against the positive laws of the church, and 
against the written law of God, was holpen by the 
dispensation, yet was there another thing found out 
of late, he said, whereby his marriage appeared to be 
so directly against the law of nature that it could in 
no wise by the church be dispensable, as Doctor 
Stokesley, whom he had then [newly] preferred to be 
Bishop of London, and in that case chiefly credited, 
was able to instruct him : with whom he prayed him 
in that point to confer. But for all his conference 
with him he saw nothing of such force as could induce 
him to change his opinion therein. Which notwith- 
standing, the bishop showed himself in his report of 
him to the king's highness so good and favourable, 
that he said he found him in his grace's cause very 
toward, and desirous to find some good matter where- 
with he might truly serve his grace to his contenta- 
38 



tion. This Bishop Stokesley, being by the cardinal 
not long before in the Star-chamber openly put to 
rebuke, and awarded to the Fleet, not brooking this 
contumelious usage, and thinking that forasmuch as 
the cardinal, for lack of such forwardness in setting 
forth the king's divorce as his grace looked for, was 
out of his highness' favour, he had now a good 
occasion offered him to revenge his quarrel ; farther 
to increase the king's displeasure towards him, busily 
travailed to invent some colourable device for the 
king's furtherance in that behalf; which, as before is 
remembered, he to his grace revealed, hoping thereby 
to bring the king to the better liking of himself and 
the more misliking of the cardinal, whom his highness 
therefore soon after of his office displaced, and to Sir 
Thomas More, the rather to move him to incline to 
his side, the same in his stead committed. Who 
between the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk being 
brought through Westminster Hall to his place in 
the Chancery, the Duke of Norfolk, in audience of 
all the people there assembled, showed, that he was 
from the king himself straightly charged by special 
commission, there openly in presence of them all, to 
make declaration how much all England was be- 
holden unto Sir Thomas More for his good service, 
and how worthy he was to have the highest room in 
39 



the realm, and how dearly his grace loved and trusted 
him, for which, said the duke, he had great cause to 
rejoice. Whereunto Sir Thomas More, amongst 
many other his humble and wise sayings not now in 
my memory, answered, that although he had good 
cause to take comfort of his highness' singular favour 
towards him, that he had, far above his deserts, so 
highly commended him, to whom therefore he ac- 
knowledged himself most deeply bounden : yet never- 
theless he must for his own part needs confess that in 
all things by his grace alleged he had done no more 
than was his duty : and farther disabled himself to be 
unmeet for that room, wherein, considering how wise 
and honourable a prelate had lately before taken so 
great a fall, he said he had no cause thereof to 
rejoice. And as they had charged him, on the king's 
behalf, uprightly to administer indifferent justice to 
the people, without corruption or affection, so did he 
likewise charge them again that if they saw him at 
any time in any thing digress from any part of his 
duty in that honourable office, even as they would 
discharge their own duty and fidelity to God and the 
king, so should they not fail to disclose it to his grace, 
who otherwise might have just occasion to lay his 
fault wholly to their charge. 



40 



WHILE he was Lord Chancellor, being at 
leisure (as seldom he was), one of his sons- 
in-law on a time said merrily unto him : " When 
Cardinal Wolsey was Lord Chancellor, not only 
divers of his privy chamber, but such also as were his 
doorkeepers, gat great gain"; (and since he had 
married one of his daughters, and gave still attend- 
ance upon him, he thought he might of reason look 
for some) ; where he indeed, because he was ready 
himself to hear every man, poor and rich, and keep 
no doors shut from them, could find none ; which 
was to him a great discouragement. And whereas 
some for friendship, some for kindred, and some for 
profit would gladly have his furtherance in bringing 
them to his presence, if he should now take any thing 
of them, he knew, he said, he should do them great 
wrong, for that they might do as much for themselves 
as he could do for them. Which condition, though 
he thought in Sir Thomas More very commendable, 
41 



yet to him, he said, being his son he found it nothing 
profitable. When he had told him this tale, " you 
say well, son," quoth he, " I do not mislike that you 
are of conscience so scrupulous ; but many other ways 
be there, son, that I may both do you good, and 
pleasure your friend also. For sometime may I by 
my word stand your friend in stead, and sometime 
may I by my letter help him ; or if he have a cause 
depending before me, at your request I may hear him 
before another. Or if his cause be not all the best, 
yet may I move the parties to fall to some reasonable 
end by arbitrement. Howbeit this one thing, son, I 
assure thee on my faith, that if the parties will at my 
hands call for justice, then all-were-it my father stood 
on the one side, and the devil on the other, his cause 
being good, the devil should have right." So offered 
he his son as he thought, he said, so much favour as 
he could with reason require. And that he would 
for no respect digress from justice, well appeared by a 
plain example of another of his sons-in-law called 
Master Heron. For when he, having a matter 
before him in the Chancery, and presuming too much 
of his favour, would by him in no wise be persuaded 
to agree to any indifferent order, then made he in 
conclusion a flat decree against him. This Lord 
Chancellor used commonly every afternoon to sit in 



his open hall, to the intent that if any person had any 
suit unto him, they might the more boldly come to 
his presence, and there open their complaints before 
him. Whose manner was also to read every bill 
himself, ere he would award any subpoena, which 
bearing matter worthy a subpoena would he set his 
hand unto, or else cancel it. Whensoever he passed 
through Westminster Hall to his place in the Chan- 
cery, by the Court of the King's Bench, if his father 
(one of the judges thereof) had been seated or he 
came, he would go into the same court, and there 
reverently kneeling down, in the sight of them all, 
duly ask his father's blessing. And if it fortuned 
that his father and he at readings in Lincoln's Inn 
met together, (as they sometimes did) notwithstand- 
ing his high office he would offer in argument the 
pre-eminence to his father, though he, for his office 
sake, would refuse to take it. And for the better 
declaration of his natural affection towards his father, 
he not only, while he lay in his death bed, according 
to his duty, oft-times with comfortable words most 
kindly came to visit him, but also at his departure 
out of the world, with tears taking him about the 
neck most lovingly kissed and embraced him, com- 
mending him into the merciful hands of Almighty 
God, and so departed from him. And as few in- 
43 



junctions as he granted while he was Lord Chancellor, 
yet were they by some of the judges of the law mis- 
liked ; which I understanding declared the same 
unto Sir Thomas More. Who answered me that 
they should have little cause to find fault with him 
therefore, and thereupon caused he one Master 
Crooke, chief of the Six Clerks, to make a docket con- 
taining the whole number and causes of all such 
injunctions as either in his time had already passed, 
or at that present depended in any of the king's 
courts at Westminster before him. Which done he 
invited all the Judges to dine with him in the council 
chamber at Westminster ; where, after dinner, when 
he had broken with them what complaints he had 
heard of his injunctions, and moreover showed them 
both the number and causes of every one of them, in 
order so plainly, that, upon full debating of those 
matters, they were all enforced to confess that they, 
in like case, could have done no otherwise themselves. 
Then offered he this unto them : that if the justices 
of every court unto whom the reformation of the 
rigour of the law, by reason of their office, most 
especially appertained, would upon reasonable 
considerations by their own discretions, as they were, 
as he thought, in conscience bound, mitigate and re- 
form the rigour of the law themselves, there should from 



thenceforth by him no more injunctions be granted. 
Whereunto, when they refused to condescend, then 
said he unto them, " Forasmuch as yourselves, my 
lords, drive me to that necessity for awarding out 
injunctions to relieve the people's injury, you cannot 
hereafter any more justly blame me." After that he 
said secretly to me : " I perceive, son, why they like 
not so to do. For they see that they may, by the 
verdict of the jury, cast off all quarrels from them- 
selves upon them, which they account their chief 
defence ; and therefore am I compelled to abide the 
adventure of all such reports." And, as little leisure 
as he had to be occupied in the study of the 
Holy Scripture, and controversies about religion, and 
such other virtuous exercises, being in a manner 
continually busied about the affairs of the king and 
the realm, yet such watch and pain in setting forth 
of divers profitable works in the defence of the true 
Christian religion, against heresies secretly sown abroad 
in the realm, assuredly sustained he, that the bishops 
(to whose pastoral care the reformation thereof most 
principally appertained) thinking themselves by his 
travail (wherein by their own confession they were 
not able with him to make comparison) of their 
duties in that behalf discharged ; and, considering 
that, for all his prince's favour, he was no rich man, 
45 



nor in yearly revenues advanced as his worthiness 
deserved ; therefore, at a convocation among them- 
selves and others of the clergy, they agreed together 
and concluded upon a sum of four or five thousand 
pounds, at the least, to my remembrance, for his 
pains to recompense him. To the payment whereof 
every bishop, abbot, and the rest of the clergy were 
after the rate of their abilities liberal contributors, 
hoping that this portion should be to his contenta- 
tion. Whereupon Tunstal, Bishop of Durham, Clarke, 
Bishop of Bath, and as far as I can call to mind, 
Vaysye, Bishop of Exeter, repaired unto him, de- 
claring how thankfully for his travails to their dis- 
charge in God's cause bestowed, they reckoned them- 
selves bounden to consider him. And that albeit 
they could not according to his desert, so worthily as 
they gladly would, requite him therefore, but must 
refer that only to the goodness of God ; yet for a 
small part of recompense in respect of his estate, so 
unequal to his worthiness, in the name of their 
whole convocation they presented unto him that sum, 
which they desired him to take in good part. Who, 
forsaking it, said, that like as it was no small comfort 
unto him that so wise and learned men so well 
accepted his simple doings, for which he never in- 
tended to receive reward but at the hands of God 
46 



only, to whom alone was the thank thereof chiefly 
to be ascribed ; so gave he most humble thanks unto 
their honours all for their so bountiful and friendly 
consideration. When they, for all their importunate 
pressing upon him (that few would have weened he 
could have refused) could by no means make him to 
take it, then besought they him to ,be content yet 
that they might bestow it on his wife and children. 
"Not so, my lords," quoth he, "I had liever see it 
cast into the Thames, than either I or any of mine 
should have thereof the worth of a penny. For 
though your offer, my lords, be indeed very friendly 
and honourable, yet set I so much by my pleasure, 
and so little by my profit, that I would not, in good 
faith, have lost the rest of so many a night's sleep as 
was spent upon the same, for much more than your 
liberal offer. And yet wish would I for all that, 
upon condition that all heresies were suppressed, that 
all my books were burned, and my labour utterly 
lost." Thus departing were they fain to restore 
unto every man his own again. 



47 



THIS Lord Chancellor, albeit he was to God 
and the world well known to be of notable 
virtue, though not so of every man considered, yet, 
for the avoiding of singularity, would he appear no 
otherwise than other men in his apparel and other 
behaviour. And albeit he appeared outwardly hon- 
ourable like one of his calling, yet inwardly he, no 
such vanities esteeming, secretly next his body wore a> 
shirt of hair. Which my sister More, a young 
gentlewoman, in the summer as he sat at supper 
singly in his doublet and hose, wearing thereupon a 
plain shirt without either ruff or collar, chancing to 
espy, began to laugh at it. My wife, not ignorant 
of his manner, perceiving the same, privily told him 
of it, and he being sorry that she saw it, presently 
amended it. He also sometimes used to punish his 
body with whips, the cords knotted, which was known 
only to my wife, his eldest daughter, whom, for her 
secrecy, above all other he specially trusted, causing 
48 



her, as need required, to wash the same shirt of hair. 
Now shortly upon his entry into the high office of 
the chancellorship, the king eftsoons again moved 
him to weigh and consider Ms-great matter. Who 
falling down on his knees, humbly besought his high- 
ness to stand his gracious sovereign, as ever since his 
entry into his gracious service he had found him, 
saying, there was nothing in the world had been so 
grievous unto his heart, as to remember that he was 
not able (as he willingly would with the loss of one 
of his limbs), for that matter, anything to find where- 
by he could serve his grace to his contentation, as he 
that always bare in mind the most godly words that 
his highness spake unto him at his first coming into 
his noble service, the most virtuous lesson that ever 
prince taught his servant : willing him first to look 
unto God, and after God unto him : as in good faith, 
he said, he did, or else might his grace well account 
him his most unworthy servant. To this the king 
answered, that if he could not therein with his con- 
science serve him, he was content to accept his 
service otherwise, and, using the advice of other of 
his learned council whose consciences could well 
enough agree therewith, would nevertheless continue 
his gracious favour towards him, and never with that 
matter molest his conscience afterward. But Sir 
T.M. 49 E 



Thomas More in process of time seeing the king 
fully determined to proceed forth in the marriage of 
Queen Anne : and when he with the bishops and 
nobles of the higher house of parliament were, for 
the furtherance of that marriage, commanded by the 
king to go down unto the Commons' House, to show 
unto them both what the Universities, as well of 
other parts beyond the seas as of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, had done in that behalf, and their seals also 
testifying the same, all which matters, at the king's 
request, not showing of what mind himself was 
therein, he opened to the lower house of the parlia- 
ment. Nevertheless, doubting lest further attempts 
after should follow, which, contrary to his conscience, 
by reason of his office, he was likely to be put unto, 
he made suit unto the Duke of Norfolk, his singular 
dear friend, to be a mean to the king that he might, 
with his grace's favour, be discharged of that charge- 
able room of the chancellorship, wherein, for certain 
infirmities of his body, he pretended himself unable 
any longer to serve. This duke, coming on a time 
to Chelsea to dine with him, fortuned to find him 
at the church, in the quire, with a surplice on his 
back, singing. To whom, after service, as they went 
homeward together arm in arm, the duke said, 
" God's body, God's body, my Lord Chancellor, a 
50 



parish clerk, a parish clerk ! You dishonour the 
king, and his office." "Nay," quoth Sir Thomas 
More, smiling on the duke, "your grace may not 
think that the king, your master and mine, will with 
me for serving of God his master, be offended, or 
thereby account his office dishonoured." When the 
duke, being thereunto often solicited, by importunate 
suit had at length of the king obtained for Sir 
Thomas More a clear discharge of his office, then, at 
a time convenient, by his highness* appointment, 
repaired he to his grace to yield up to him the great 
seal. Which, as his grace with thanks and praise for 
his worthy service in that office, courteously at his 
hands received, so pleased it his highness to say more 
unto him ; that for the good service which he before 
had done him, in any suit which he should after 
have unto him, that should either concern his 
honour for that word it pleased his highness to use 
unto him or that should appertain unto his profit, 
he should find his highness good and gracious lord 
unto him. After he had thus given over the chan- 
cellorship, and placed all his gentlemen and yeomen 
with noblemen and bishops, and his eight watermen 
with the Lord Audley that in the same office succeeded 
him, to whom also he gave his great barge : then 
calling us all that were his children unto him, and 
5' 



asking our advice how we might now in this decay 
of his ability, by the surrender of his office so im- 
paired, that he could not as he was wont, and gladly 
would, bear out the whole charges of them all 
himself, from thenceforth be able to live and con- 
tinue together, as he wished we should ; when he 
saw us silent, and in that case not ready to show our 
opinions unto him, " then will I," said he, " show 
my poor mind to you. I have been brought up," 
quoth he, " at Oxford, at an Inn of the Chancery, at 
Lincoln's Inn, and also in the king's court, and so 
forth from the lowest degree to the highest, and yet 
have I in yearly revenues at this present left me little 
above a hundred pounds by the year. So that now 
we must hereafter, if we like to live together, be con- 
tented to become contributaries together. But by 
my counsel it shall not be best for us to fall to the 
lowest fare first ; we will not, therefore, descend to 
Oxford fare, nor to the fare of New Inn, but we 
will begin with Lincoln's Inn diet, where many 
right- worshipful and of good years do live full well. 
Which, if we find not ourselves the first year able to 
maintain, then we will the next year go one step 
down to New Inn fare, wherewith many an honest 
man is well contented. If that exceed our ability 
too, then will we, the next year after, descend to 
5* 



Oxford fare, where many grave learned and ancient 
fathers be continually conversant. Which, if our 
ability stretch not to maintain neither ; then may we 
yet, with bags and wallets, go a-begging together, and 
hoping that for pity some good folk will give us their 
charity, at every man's door to sing Salve Regina, and 
so still keep company and be merry together." And 
whereas you have heard before, he was by the king 
from a very worshipful living taken into his grace's 
service, with whom, in all the great and weighty 
causes that concerned his highness or the realm, he 
consumed and spent with painful cares, travail, and 
trouble, as well beyond the seas as within the realm, 
in effect, the whole substance of his life, yet with all 
the gain he got thereby, being never wasteful spender 
thereof, he was not able, after the resignation of his 
office of Lord Chancellor, for the maintenance of 
himself and such as necessarily belonged unto him, 
sufficiently to find meat, drink, fuel, apparel, and 
such other necessary charges. All the land that ever 
he purchased which also he purchased before he 
was Lord Chancellor was not, I am well assured, 
above the value of twenty marks by the year : and 
after his debts paid, he had not, I know, his chain 
excepted, in gold and silver left him the worth of 
one hundred pounds. And whereas upon the holy- 
53 



days, during his high chancellorship, one of his 
gentlemen, when service at the church was done, 
ordinarily used to come to my lady his wife's pew- 
door, and say unto her, " Madam, my lord is gone," 
the next holyday after the surrender of his office and 
departure of his gentlemen, he came unto my lady 
his wife's pew himself, and making a low courtesy, 
said unto her, " Madam, my lord is gone." But she, 
thinking this at first to be but one of his jests, was 
little moved, till he told her sadly he had given up 
the great seal. Whereupon she speaking some passion- 
ate words, he called his daughters then present to see 
if they could not spy some fault about their mother's 
dressing, but they, after search, saying they could find 
none, he replied, " do you not perceive that your 
mother's nose standeth somewhat awry ?" Of which 
jeer the provoked lady was so sensible that she went 
from him in a rage. In the time somewhat before 
his trouble he would talk unto his wife and children 
of the joys of heaven and pains of hell, of the lives 
of holy martyrs, of their grievous martyrdoms, of 
their marvellous patience, and of their passions and 
deaths that they suffered rather than they would 
offend God, and what a happy and blessed thing it 
was for the love of God to suffer the loss of goods, 
imprisonment, loss of lands, and life also. He would 
54 



farther say unto them, that upon his faith, if he 
might perceive his wife and children would encourage 
him to die in a good cause, it should so comfort him 
that for very joy thereof it would make him merrily 
run to death. He showed to them before what 
trouble might after fall unto him : wherewith and the 
like virtuous talk he had so long before his trouble 
encouraged them, that when he after fell into trouble 
indeed, his trouble was to them a great deal the less. 
Quia splcula prcevlsa minus Lzdunt. Now upon this 
resignment of his office, came Sir Thomas Cromwell, 
then in the king's high favour, to Chelsea to him 
with a message from the king. Wherein when they 
had thoroughly communed together, "Master Crom- 
well," quoth he, " you are now entered into the 
service of a most noble, wise, and liberal prince ; if 
you will follow my poor advice, you shall, in your 
counsel-giving to his grace, ever tell him what he 
ought to do, but never what he is able to do. So 
shall you show yourself a true faithful servant, and a 
right wise and worthy counsellor. For if a lion 
knew his own strength, hard were it for any man to 
rule him." Shortly thereupon was there a com- 
mission directed to Cranmer, then Archbishop of 
Canterbury, to determine the matter of the matri- 
mony between the king and Queen Katharine, at 
55 



St. Alban's, where, according to the king's mind, it 
was thoroughly determined. Who pretending be- 
cause he had no justice at the Pope's hands, from 
thenceforth sequestered himself from the see of Rome, 
and so married the Lady Anne Bullen. Which Sir 
Thomas More understanding, said unto me, "God 
give grace, son, that these matters within a while be 
not confirmed with oaths." I, at that time, seeing 
no likelihood thereof, yet fearing lest for his fore- 
speaking it would the sooner come to pass, waxed 
therefore for his so saying much offended with him. 



IT fortuned not long before the coming of Queen 
Anne through the streets of London from the 
Tower to Westminster to her coronation, that he 
received a letter from the Bishops of Durham, Bath 
and Winchester, requesting him both to keep them 
company from the Tower to the coronation, and also 
to take twenty pounds, that by the bearer thereof 
they had sent him, to buy a gown withal ; which he 
thankfully receiving, and at home still tarrying, at 
their next meeting said merrily unto them ; " My 
lords, in the letters which you lately sent me you 
required two things of me : the one, sith I was so 
well content to grant you, the other therefore I 
thought I might be the bolder to deny you. And 
like as the one, because I took you for no beggars, 
and myself I knew to be no rich man, I thought I 
might the rather fulfil, so the other did put me in 
remembrance of an emperor who ordained a law that 
whosoever had committed a certain heinous offence 
57 



(which I now remember not), except it were a virgin, 
should suffer the pains of death such a reverence 
had he to virginity. Now so it happened that the 
first committer of that offence was indeed a virgin, 
whereof the emperor hearing was in no small per- 
plexity, as he that by some example would fain have 
had that law put in execution. Whereupon when 
his council had sat long, solemnly debating this cause, 
suddenly rose there up one of his council, a good 
plain man, amongst them, and said, ' Why make you 
so much ado, my lords, about so small a matter ? let 
her first be deflowered, and then after may she be 
devoured.' And so though your lordships have in 
the matter of the matrimony hitherto kept yourselves 
pure virgins, yet take good heed, my lords, that you 
keep your virginity still. For some there be that by 
procuring your lordships first at the coronation to be 
present, and next to preach for the setting forth of it, 
and finally to write books to all the world in defence 
thereof are desirous to deflower you, and- when they 
have deflowered you, then will they not fail soon after 
to devour you. Now, my Lords," quoth he, " it lieth 
not in my power but that they may devour me, but 
God being my good Lord, I will so provide that they 
shall never deflower me." 



IN continuance : when the king saw that he could 
by no manner of benefit win him to his side, 
then lo, went he about by terror and threats to drive 
him thereunto. The beginning of which trouble 
grew by occasion of a certain nun dwelling in Canter- 
bury, for her virtue and holiness of life among the 
people not a little esteemed : unto whom, for that 
cause, many religious persons, doctors of divinity, 
and divers others of good worship of the laity used 
to resort. Who affirming that she had revelations 
from God to give the king warning of his wicked 
life, and of the abuse of the sword and authority 
committed to him by God, and understanding my 
Lord of Rochester, Bishop Fisher, to be a man of 
notable virtuous living and learning, repaired to 
Rochester, and there disclosed unto him all her 
revelations, desiring his advice and council therein. 
Which the bishop perceiving might well stand with 
the laws of God and His holy church, advised her 
59 



(as she before had warning and intended) to go to 
the king herself, and to let him know and under- 
stand the whole circumstance thereof. Whereupon 
she went to the king and told him all her revelations, 
and so returned home again. And in short space 
after, making a journey to the nuns of Sion, by 
means of one Master Raynolds, a father of the same 
house, she there fortuned, concerning such secrets 
as had been revealed unto her (some part whereof 
seemed to touch the matter of the king's supremacy 
and marriage which shortly followed), to enter into 
talk with Sir Thomas More. Who, notwithstanding 
he might well at that time without danger of any 
law though after, as himself had prognosticated 
before, those matters were established by statutes 
and confirmed by oaths freely and safely have 
talked with her therein, nevertheless in all the com- 
munication between them (as in process it appeared) 
had always so discreetly demeaned himself, that he 
deserved not to be blamed, but contrariwise to be 
commended and praised. And had he not been one 
that in all his great offices and doings for the king 
and the realm, so many years together, had from all 
corruption and wrong-doing or bribes-taking kept him- 
self so clear, that no man was able therewith once 
to blame or blemish him, or make any just quarrel 
60 



against him, it would without doubt in this troublous 
time of the king's indignation towards him have been 
deeply laid to his charge, and of the king's highness 
most favourably accepted. As in the case of one 
Parnell it most manifestly appeared ; against whom, 
because Sir Thomas More while he was Lord 
Chancellor, at the suit of one Vaughan his adversary, 
had made a decree, this Parnell to his highness most 
grievously complained that he, for making the decree, 
had of the said Vaughan, unable to travel abroad 
himself for the gout, by the hands of his wife taken 
a fair great gilt cup for a bribe. Who thereupon, 
by the king's appointment being called before the 
whole council where the matter was heinously laid 
to his charge, forthwith confessed that forasmuch as 
that cup was, long after the foresaid decree, brought 
him for a New Year's gift, he, upon her importunate 
pressing upon him thereof, of courtesy refused not to 
receive it. Then the Lord of Wiltshire, for hatred 
of his religion preferrer of this suit, with much re- 
joicing said unto the lords : " Lo, my lords, did I 
not tell you, my lords, that you should find this 
matter true ? " Whereupon Sir Thomas More de- 
sired their lordships that as they had heard him 
courteously tell the one part of his tale, so that they 
would vouchsafe of their honours indifferently to hear 
61 



the other. After which obtained, he farther declared 
unto them, that albeit he had indeed with much 
work received that cup, yet immediately thereupon 
caused he his butler to fill it with wine, and of that 
cup drank to her ; and that when he had so done 
and she pledged him, then as freely as her husband 
had given it to him even so freely gave he the same 
again to her to give unto her husband for his New 
Year's gift : which, at his instant request, though 
much against her will, at length yet she was fain to 
receive, as herself and certain others there present 
before them deposed. Thus was the great moun- 
tain turned scant to a little molehill. So I remem- 
ber that at another time, upon a New Year's day, 
there came unto him one Mistress Croker, a rich 
widow, for whom with no small pains he had made 
a decree in the Chancery against the Lord of Arundel, 
to present him with a pair of gloves and forty pounds 
in angels in them for a New Year's gift. Of whom 
he thankfully receiving the gloves, but refusing the 
money, said unto her : " Mistress, since it were 
against good manners to forsake a gentlewoman's 
New Year's gift, I am content to take your gloves, 
but as for your money I utterly refuse." So, much 
against her mind, enforced he her to take her gold 
again. And one Master Gresham likewise at the 
62 



same time, having a cause depending in the Chancery 
before him, sent him for New Year's gift a fair gilt 
cup, the fashion whereof he very well liking, caused 
one of his own, though not in his fantasy of so good 
a fashion yet better in value, to be brought out of 
his chamber, which he willed the messenger, in re- 
compense to deliver unto his master, and under other 
conditions would he in no wise receive it. Many 
things more of like effect, for the declaration of his 
innocency and clearness from all corruption or evil 
affection, could I here rehearse besides, which for 
tediousness omitting, I refer to the readers by these 
few fore-remembered examples with their own judg- 
ments wisely to weigh and consider. 



AT the parliament following was there put into 
the Lords' house a bill to attaint the nun, and 
divers other religious persons, of high treason, and 
the Bishop of Rochester, Sir Thomas More, and 
certain others of misprision of treason ; the king pre- 
supposing of likelihood that this bill would be to Sir 
Thomas More so troublous and terrible that it would 
force him to relent and condescend to his request ; 
wherein his grace was much deceived. To which 
bill Sir Thomas More was a suitor personally to be 
received in his own defence to make answer. But 
the king not liking that, assigned the Bishop of Can- 
terbury, the Lord Chancellor, the Duke of Norfolk, 
and Master Cromwell, at a day and place appointed, 
to call Sir Thomas More before them. At which 
time I, thinking that I had a good and fit oppor- 
tunity, earnestly advised him to labour to those lords 
for the help of his discharge out of the parliament 
bill. Who answered me he would. And at his 
64 



coming before them, according to their appointment, 
they entertained him very friendly, willing him to 
sit down with them, which in no wise he would. 
Then began the Lord Chancellor to declare unto 
him how many ways the king had showed his love 
and favour towards him ; how fain he would have 
had him continue in his office ; how glad he would 
have been to have heaped more benefits upon him ; 
and finally how he could ask no worldly honour nor 
profit at his highness' hands that were likely to be 
denied him ; hoping, by the declaration of the king's 
kindness and affection towards him, to provoke him 
to recompense his grace with the like again, and unto 
those things which the parliament, the bishops, and 
the Universities had already passed, to add his con- 
sent. To this Sir Thomas More mildly made answer, 
saying, " No man living is there, my lords, that would 
with better will do the thing that should be accept- 
able to the king's highness than I, which must needs 
confess his manifold benefits and bountiful goodness, 
most benignly bestowed upon me. Howbeit, I verily 
hoped I should never have heard of this matter more, 
considering that I have from time to time always 
from the beginning, so plainly and truly declared my 
mind unto his grace, which his highness ever seemed 
to me, like a most gracious prince, very well to 
T.M. 65 F 



accept, never minding, as he said, to molest me more 
therewith. Since which time any further thing that 
was able to move me to any change could I never 
find ; and if I could, there is none in all the world 
that would have been gladder of it than I." Many 
things more were there of like sort uttered on both 
sides. But in the end, when they saw they could 
by no manner of persuasions remove him from his 
former determination, then began they more terribly 
to touch him, telling him that the king's highness 
had given them in commandment if they could by 
no gentleness win him, in his name with his great 
ingratitude to charge him, that never was there 
servant to his sovereign so villainous, nor subject to 
his prince so traitorous as he. For he by his subtle 
sinister sleights most unnaturally procuring and pro- 
voking him to set forth a book of the assertion of 
the seven sacraments and maintenance of the Pope's 
authority, had caused him, to his dishonour through- 
out all Christendom, to put a sword in the Pope's 
hand to fight against himself. When they had thus 
laid forth all the terrors they could imagine against 
him : " My lords," quoth he, " these terrors be 
arguments for children, and not for me. But to 
answer that wherewith you do chiefly burthen me, I 
believe the king's highness of his honour will never 
66 



lay that to my charge, or none is there that can in 
that point say in my excuse more than his highness 
himself, who right well knoweth that I was never 
procurer nor counsellor of his majesty thereunto, but 
after it was finished, by his grace's appointment and 
consent of the makers of the same, I was only a 
sorter out and placer of the principal matters therein 
contained. Wherein when I found the pope's 
authority highly advanced, and with strong argu- 
ments mightily defended, I said unto his grace, ' I 
must put your highness in remembrance of one thing, 
and that is this ; the Pope, as your grace knoweth, is 
a prince as you are, and in league with all other 
Christian princes : it may here after so fall out that 
your grace and he may vary upon some points of the 
league, whereupon may grow breach of amity and 
war between you both ; I think it best therefore that 
that place be amended, and his authority more slen- 
derly touched.' 'Nay/ quoth his grace, 'that it 
shall not : we are so much bounden unto the see of 
Rome that we cannot do too much honour unto it.' 
Then did I farther put him in remembrance of the 
Statute of Praemunire, whereby a good part of the 
Pope's pastoral care here was pared away. To that 
answered his highness : ' Whatsoever impediment be 
to the contrary, we will set forth that authority to 
6? 



the uttermost, for we received from that see our 
crown imperial ' ; which I never heard of before till 
his grace told it me with his own mouth. So that I 
trust when his grace shall be truly informed of this, 
and call to his gracious remembrance my doing in 
that behalf, his highness will never speak of it more, 
but clear me therein thoroughly himself." And thus 
displeasantly departed they. ^ Then took Sir Thomas 
More his boat towards his house at Chelsea, wherein 
by the way he was very merry, and for that I was 
nothing sorry, hoping that he had gotten himself dis- 
charged out of the parliament bill. When he was landed 
and come home, then walked we twain alone in his 
garden together : where I, desirous to know how he 
had sped, said : " I trust, Sir, that all is well because 
that you be so merry." " It is so indeed, son Roper, 
I thank God," quoth he. " Are you then put out 
of the parliament bill ? " quoth I. " By my troth, 
son Roper," quoth he, " I never rememembered it ! "' 
" Never remembered it ! " said I, " a case that , 
toucheth yourself so near, and us all for your sake v 
I am sorry to hear it, for I verily trusted, when I 
saw you so merry, that all had been well." Then 
said he : " Wilt thou know, son Roper, why I was so 
merry?" "That would I gladly, Sir," quoth I. 
" In good faith I rejoiced, son," said he, " that I had 
68 



given the devil a foul fall, and that with those lords 
I had gone so far as without great shame I could 
never go back again." At which words waxed I 
very sad ; for though himself liked it well, yet liked 
it me but a little. Now upon the report made by 
the Lord Chancellor and the other lords to the king 
of all their whole discourse had with Sir Thomas 
More, the king was so highly offended with him, 
he plainly told them he was fully determined that 
the foresaid parliament bill should undoubtedly pro- 
ceed forth against him. To whom the Lord Chan- 
cellor and the rest of the lords said, that they per- 
ceived the lords of the upper house so precisely bent 
to hear him, in his own defence, make answer him- 
self, that if he were not put out of the bill, it would, 
without fail, be utterly an overthrow of all. But for 
all this, needs would the king have his own will 
therein, or else, he said that at the passing thereof he 
would be personally present himself. Then the 
Lord Audley and the rest, seeing him so vehemently 
set thereupon, on their knees, most humbly besought 
his grace to forbear the same, considering that if he 
should in his own presence receive an overthrow, it 
would not only encourage his subjects ever after to 
contemn him, but also through all Christendom re- 
dound to his dishonour for ever : adding thereunto 



that they mistrusted not in time against him to find 
some meeter matter to serve his grace's turn better ; 
for in this cause of the nun he was accounted, they 
said, so innocent and clear, that for his dealing 
therein, men reckoned him far worthier of praise 
than reproof.. Whereupon, at length, through their 
earnest persuasion, he was content to condescend to 
their petition ; and on the morrow, after Master 
Cromwell meeting me in the parliament house, willed 
me to tell my father that he was put out of the parlia- 
ment bill. But because I had appointed to dine that 
day in London, I sent the message by my servant to 
my wife to Chelsea. Whereof when she informed her 
father : " In faith, Megg," quoth he, " Quod dlffertur 
non aufertur." After this, as the Duke of Norfolk and 
Sir Thomas More chanced to fall in familiar talk 
together, the Duke said unto him : " By the mass, 
Master More, it is perilous striving with princes, 
therefore I would wish you somewhat to incline to 
the king's pleasure. For by God's body, Master 
More, Indignatio pnnclpu mors esf." * " Is that all, my 
lord ? " quoth he. I " Then in good faith the differ- 
ence between your grace and me is but this, that 7 
shall die to-day and you to-morroiv" So fell it out, 
within a month or thereabout, after the making of 
the Statute for the Oath of the Supremacy and 
70 



Matrimony, that all the priests of London and West- 
minster, and no temporal men but he, were sent for 
to appear at Lambeth before the Bishop of Canter- 
bury, the Lord Chancellor, and Secretary Cromwell, 
commissioners appointed there to tender the oath 
unto them. Then Sir Thomas More, as his accus- 
tomed manner was always ere he entered into any 
matter of importance as when he was first chosen 
of the king's privy council, when he was sent ambas- 
sador, appointed Speaker of the Parliament, made 
Lord Chancellor, or when he took any like weighty 
matter upon him to go to church and be confessed, 
to hear mass, and be houseled, so did he likewise 
in the morning early the selfsame day that he was 
summoned to appear before the lords at Lambeth. 
And whereas he evermore used before, at his depar- 
ture from his wife and children, whom he tenderly 
loved, to have them bring him to his boat, and there 
to kiss them, and bid them all farewell, then would 
he suffer none of them forth of the gate to follow 
him, but pulled the wicket after him, and shut them 
all from him, and with a heavy heart, as by his 
countenance it appeared, with me and our four 
servants there took boat towards Lambeth. "Wherein 
sitting still sadly a while, at the last he rounded me 
in the ear and said : " Son Roper, I thank our Lord 
71 



the field is won." What he meant thereby I wist 
not, yet loath to seem ignorant, I answered : " Sir, 
I am thereof very glad." But, as I conjectured 
afterwards, it was for that the love he had to God 
wrought in him so effectually, that it conquered all 
his carnal affections utterly. Now at his coming to 
Lambeth, how wisely he behaved himself before the 
commissioners at the ministration of the oath unto 
him may be found in certain Letters of his sent to 
my wife remaining in a great book of his works. 
Where by the space of four days he was betaken to 
the custody of the Abbot of Westminster, during 
which time the king consulted with his council what 
order were meet to be taken with him. And albeit 
in the beginning they were resolved that with an 
oath, not to be acknown, whether he had to the 
supremacy been sworn, or what he thought thereof, 
he should be discharged ; yet did Queen Anne by 
her importunate clamour so sore exasperate the king 
against him, that, contrary to his former resolution, 
he caused the said Oath of the Supremacy to be 
ministered unto him. Who albeit he made a dis- 
creet qualified answer, nevertheless was committed to 
the Tower. Who as he was going thitherward 
wearing, as he commonly did, a chain of gold about 
his neck, Sir Richard Cromwell, that had the charge 
72 



of his conveyance thither, advised him to send home 
his chain to his wife or to some of his children. 
" Nay, Sir," quoth he, " that I will not : for if I 
were taken in the field by my enemies I would they 
should somewhat fare the better for me." At whose 
landing Master Lieutenant was ready at the Tower 
gate to receive him, where the porter demanded of 
him his upper garment. " Master porter," quoth he, 
" here it is," and took off his cap and delivered it to 
him, saying, " I am very sorry it is no better for 
thee." " No, Sir," quoth the porter, " I must have 
your gown." And so was he by Master Lieutenant 
conveyed to his lodging, where he called unto him 
one John a Wood, his own servant there appointed 
to attend him, who could neither write nor read, and 
sware him before the lieutenant, that if he should 
hear or see him at any time speak or write any 
matter against the king, the council, or the state ot 
the realm, he should open it to the lieutenant, that 
the lieutenant might incontinent reveal it to the 
council. 



73 



NOW when he had remained in the Tower little 
more than a month, my wife, longing to see 
her father, by her earnest suit at length got leave to 
go unto him. At whose coming after the seven 
psalms and litany said which whensoever she came 
to him, ere he fell in talk of any worldly matters, he 
used accustomedly to say with her among other 
communication he said unto her : " I believe, Megg, 
that they that have put me here ween that they have 
done me a high displeasure : but I assure thee on 
my faith, mine own good daughter, if it had not 
been for my wife and ye that be my children (whom 
I account the chief part of my charge) I would not 
have failed long ere this to have closed myself in as 
straight a room, and straighter too. ' But since I am 
come hither without mine own desert, I trust that God 
of His goodness will discharge me of my care, and 
with His gracious help supply my lack among you. I 
find no cause, I thank God, Megg, to reckon myself 
74 



in worse case here than in mine own house, for me 
thinketh God maketh me a wanton, and setteth me 
on his lap and dandleth me." Thus, by his gracious 
demeanour in tribulation, appeared it that all the 
trouble that ever chanced unto him, by his patient 
sufferance thereof, were to him no painful punish- 
ments, but of his patience profitable exercises. And 
at another time, when he had first questioned with 
my wife a while of the order of his wife, children, 
and state of his house in his absence, he asked her 
how Queen Anne did. " In faith, Father," quoth 
she, " never better." " Never better, Megg ! " 
quoth he, " alas ! Megg, alas ! it pitieth me to re- 
member into what misery, poor soul, she shall shortly 
come."' After this Master Lieutenant coming into 
his chamber to visit him, rehearsed the benefits and 
friendship that he had many ways received at his 
hands, and how much bounden he was therefore 
friendly to entertain him, and to make him good 
cheer ; which since, the case standing as it did, he 
could do not without the king's indignation, he 
trusted he said, he would accept his good will, and 
such poor cheer as he had. " Master Lieutenant," 
quoth he again, " I verily believe as you say, so are 
you my good friend indeed, and would, as you say, 
with your best cheer entertain me, for the which I 
75 



most heartily thank you : and assure yourself, Master 
Lieutenant, I do not mislike my cheer, but whenso- 
ever I so do, then thrust me out of your doors." 
Whereas the oath confirming the Supremacy and 
Matrimony was by the first statute in few words com- 
prised, the Lord Chancellor and Mr. Secretary did 
of their own heads add more words unto it, to 
make it appear to the king's ears more pleasant 
and plausible, and that oath, so amplified, caused 
they to be ministered to Sir Thomas More, and 
to all other throughout the realm. Which Sir 
Thomas More perceiving, said unto my wife : 
" I may tell thee, Megg, they that have committed 
me hither for the refusing of this oath, not agreeable 
with the statute, are not by their own law able to 
justify mine imprisonment : and surely, daughter, it 
is great pity that any Christian prince should by a 
flexible council ready to follow his affections, and 
by a weak clergy lacking grace constantly to stand to 
their learning, with flattery be so shamefully abused." 
But, at length, the Lord Chancellor and Mr. Secre- 
tary, espying their oversight in that behalf, were fain 
afterward to find the means that another statute 
should be made for the confirmation of the oath so 
amplified with their additions. 



76 



AFTER Sir Thomas More had given over his 
office, and all worldly doings therewith, to the 
intent he might from thenceforth settle himself the 
more quietly to the service of God, then made he a 
conveyance for the disposition of all his lands, reserving 
to himself an estate thereof only for term of his own 
life : and after his decease assuring some part thereof 
to his wife, some to his son's wife for a jointure in 
consideration that she was an inheretrix in possession 
of more than a hundred pounds land by the year, 
and some to me and my wife in recompense of our 
marriage money, with divers remainders over. All 
which conveyance and assurance was perfectly finished 
long before the matter whereupon he was attainted 
was made an offence, and yet after by statute clearly 
avoided ; and so were all his lands that he had to his 
wife and children by the said conveyance in such sort 
assured, contrary to the order of law, taken from them 
and brought into the king's hands, saving that portion 
77 



which he had appointed to my wife and me. Which 
although he had in the foresaid conveyance reserved 
as he did the rest for term of life to himself, never- 
theless upon consideration two days after by another 
conveyance he gave the same immediately to my wife 
and me in possession : and so because the statute had 
undone only the first conveyance, giving no more to 
the king but so much as passed by that, the second 
conveyance, whereby it was given to my wife and me, 
being dated two days after, was without the compass 
of the statute, and so was our portion by that means 
clearly reserved to us. As Sir Thomas More, in the 
Tower, chanced on a time, looking out of his win- 
dow, to behold one Master Reynolds, a religious, 
learned and virtuous father of Sion, and three monks 
of the Charterhouse, for the matter of the Supremacy 
and Matrimony, going out of the Tower to execution, 
he, as one longing in that journey to have accom- 
panied them, said unto my wife, then standing there 
beside him : " Lo, doest thou not see, Megg, that 
these blessed fathers be now as cheerfully going to 
their deaths as bridegrooms to their marriage ? 
Wherefore thereby mayest thou see, mine own good 
daughter, what a great difference there is between 
such as have in effect spent all their days in a straight, 
hard, penitential and painful life, religiously, and 
78 



such as have in the world, like worldly wretches, as 
thy poor father hath done, consumed all their time 
in pleasure and ease licentiously. For God, con- 
sidering their long continued life in most sore and 
grievous penance, will no longer suffer them to remain 
here in this vale of misery and iniquity, but speedily 
hence taketh them to the fruition of His everlasting 
Deity. Whereas thy silly father, Megg, that like a 
most wicked caitiff hath passed forth the whole course 
of his miserable life most sinfully, God, thinking him 
not worthy so soon to come to that eternal felicity, 
leaveth him here yet still in the world further to be 
plagued and turmoiled with misery." Within a 
while after Master Secretary coming to him into the 
Tower from the King, pretended much friendship 
towards him, and for his comfort told him, that the 
king's highness was his good and gracious lord, and 
mindeth not with any matter wherein he should have 
any cause of scruple henceforth to trouble his con- 
science. As soon as Master Secretary was gone, to 
express what comfort he received of his words, he 
wrote with a coal, for ink then he had none, these 
verses : 

Eye-flatt'ring fortune, look thou ne'er so fair, 
Or ne'er so pleasantly begin to smile, 
As though thou wouldst my ruin all repair, 
79 



During my life thou shall not me beguile 
Trust shall I, God, to enter in a while, 
Thy haven of heaven sure and uniform, 
E'er after thy calm look I for a storm. 



80 



WHEN Sir Thomas More had continued a 
good while in the Tower, my lady, his wife, 
obtained license to see him. Who, at her first com- 
ing, like a simple ignorant woman, and somewhat 
worldly too, with this manner of salutation bluntly 
saluted him : " What the good-yere, Master More," 
quoth she, " I marvel that you that have been always 
hitherto taken for so wise a man will now so play the 
fool to lie here in this close filthy prison, and be 
content thus to be shut up among mice and rats, 
when you might be abroad at your liberty, and with 
the favour and good will both of the king and his 
council if you would but do as all the bishops and best 
learned of this realm have done. And seeing you 
have at Chelsea a right fair house, your library, your 
gallery, your garden, your orchard, and all other 
necessaries so handsome about you, where you might 
in the company of me your wife, your children, and 
household, be merry, I muse what a God's name you 
T.M. 8 1 G 



mean here still thus fondly to tarry." After he had 
a while quietly heard her, with a cheerful coun- 
tenance he said unto her : " I pray thee, good 
Mistress Alice, tell me one thing ! " " What is 
that ? " quoth she. " Is not this house," quoth he, 
" as nigh heaven as mine own ? " To whom she 
after her accustomed homely fashion, not liking such 
talk, answered : " Tylle valle, Tylle valle ! " " How 
say you, Mistress Alice, is it not so ? " " Bone Deus, 
bone Deus, man, will this gear never be left ? " quoth 
she. " Well then, Mistress Alice, if it be so," quoth 
he, " it is very well. For I see no great cause why 
I should much joy in my gay house, or in any thing 
thereunto belonging, when if I should but seven 
years lie buried under the ground and then arise and 
come thither again, I should not fail to find some 
therein that would bid me get out of doors, and tell 
me it were none of mine. What cause have I then 
to like such a house as would so soon forget his 
master ? " So her persuasions moved him but a 
little. Not long after came to him the Lord Chan- 
cellor, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, with Master 
Secretary, and certain other of the privy council, at 
two several times by all policies possible procuring 
him either precisely to confess the Supremacy, or 
precisely to deny it, whereunto, as appeareth by his 
82 



examinations in the said great book, they could never 
bring him. Shortly thereupon Master Rich, after- 
ward Lord Rich, then newly made the King's Soli- 
citor, Sir Richard Southwell, and one Master Palmer, 
servant to the Secretary, were sent to Sir Thomas 
More into the Tower to fetch away his books from 
him. And while Sir Richard Southwell and Mr. 
Palmer were busy in the trussing up of his books, 
Mr. Rich, pretending friendly talk with him, among 
other things of a set course, as it seemed, said thus 
unto him : " Forasmuch as it is well known, Master 
More, that you are a man both wise and well learned 
as well in the laws of the realm as otherwise, I pray 
you therefore, Sir, let me be so bold, as of good will, 
to put unto you this case. Admit there were, Sir," 
quoth he, " an act of parliament that the realm 
should take me for king, would not you, Mr. More, 
take me for king ? " " Yes, Sir," quoth Sir Thomas 
More, " that would I." " I put the case further," 
quoth Mr. Rich, " that there were an act of parlia- 
ment that all the realm should take me for pope, 
would you not then, Master More, take me for pope ? " 
" For answer, Sir," quoth Sir Thomas More, " to 
your first case, the parliament may well, Master Rich, 
meddle with the state of temporal princes, but to 
make answer to your other case, I will put you this 
83 



case : suppose the parliament would make a law that 
God should not be God, would you then, Master 
Rich, say that God were not God ? " " No, Sir," 
quoth he, "that would I not, sith no parliament 
may make any such law.'* " No more," said Sir 
Thomas More (as Master Rich reported him), " could 
the parliament make the king supreme head of the 
church." Upon whose only report was Sir Thomas 
More indicted of high treason on the Statute to deny 
the king to be Supreme Head of the Church, into 
which indictment were put these heinous words, 
maRciously y traitorously and diabolically. 



WHEN Sir Thomas More was brought from 
the Tower to Westminster Hall to answer 
to the indictment, and at the King's Bench bar there 
before the judges arraigned, he openly told them that 
he would upon that indictment have abiden in law, 
but that he thereby should have been driven to con- 
fess of himself the matter indeed, that was the denial 
of the king's supremacy, which he protested was 
untrue. Wherefore he thereunto pleaded not guilty, 
and so reserved unto himself advantage to be taken of 
the body of the matter after verdict to avoid that 
indictment : and moreover added, that if those only 
odious terms, maliciously, traitorously, and diabolically, 
were put out of the indictment, he saw therein 
nothing justly to charge him. And for proof to the 
jury that Sir Thomas More was guilty of this treason 
Master Rich was called forth to give evidence unto 
them upon his oath, as he did : against whom thus 
sworn, Sir Thomas More began in this wise to say : 
85 



" If I were a man, my lords, that did not regard an 
oath I needed not, as it is well known, in this place, 
and at this time, nor in this case to stand here as an 
accused person. And if this oath of yours, Master 
Rich, be true, then I pray that I never see God in the 
face, which I would not say, were it otherwise, to 
win the whole world." Then recited he to the 
court the discourse of all their communication in the 
Tower according to the truth, and said : " In good 
faith, Master Rich, I am sorrier for your perjury than 
for mine own peril, and you shall understand that 
neither I nor no man else to my knowledge, ever took 
you to be a man of such credit as in any matter of 
importance I or any other would at any time vouch- 
safe to communicate with you. And I, as you know, 
of no small while have been acquainted with you and 
your conversation, who have known you from your 
youth hitherto, for we long dwelled together in one 
parish. Whereas yourself can tell I am sorry you 
compel me to say you were esteemed very light of 
your tongue, a great dicer, and of no commendable 
fame. And so in your house at the Temple, where 
hath been your chief bringing up, were you likewise 
accounted. Can it therefore seem likely unto your 
honourable lordships that I would in so weighty a 
cause so unadvisedly overshoot myself as to trust 
86 



Master Rich, a man of me always reputed of so little 
truth, as your lordships have heard, so far above my 
sovereign lord the king, or any of his noble counsellors, 
that I would unto him utter the secrets of my con- 
science touching the king's Supremacy, the special 
point and only mark at my hands so long sought for ? 
A thing which I never did, nor never would, after 
the statute thereof made, reveal unto the king's high- 
ness himself or to any of his honourable counsellors, 
as it is not unknown unto your honours at sundry and 
several times sent from his grace's own person to the 
Tower unto me for none other purpose. Can this 
in your judgment, my lords, seem likely to be true ? 
And if I had so done indeed, my lords, as Master 
Rich hath sworn, seeing it was spoken but in familiar 
secret talk, nothing affirming, and only in putting of 
cases, without other displeasant circumstances, it 
cannot justly be taken to be spoken maliciously : and 
where there is no malice, there can be no offence. 
And over this I can never think, my lords, that so 
many worthy bishops, so many honourable person- 
ages, and many other worshipful, virtuous, wise and 
well learned men, as at the making of that law were 
in the parliament assembled, ever meant to have any 
man punished by death in whom there could be 
found no malice, taking malitia for malevokntla : for if 
87 



malifia be generally taken for sin, no man is there 
then that can excuse himself. Quia si dixerimus quod 
peccatum non babemus, nosmet ipsos seducemus, et veritas 
in nobis non est. And only this word maliciously is in 
the statute material, as this term forcibly is in the 
statute of forcible entries, by which statute if a man 
enter peaceably, and put not his adversary out forcibly, 
it is no offence, but if he put him out forcibly, then 
by that statute it is an offence, and so shall he be 
punished by this term forcibly. Besides this, the 
manifold goodness of the king's highness himself, 
that hath been so many ways my singular good lord 
and gracious sovereign, and that hath so dearly loved 
and trusted me, even at my very first coming into his 
noble service, with the dignity of his honourable 
Privy Council vouchsafing to admit me, and to offices 
of great credit and worship most liberally advanced 
me ; and finally with that weighty room of his 
grace's high chancellor, the like whereof he never did 
to temporal man before, next to his own royal person 
the highest officer in this whole realm, so far above 
my qualities or merits able and meet therefore of his 
own incomparable benignity honoured and exalted 
me ; by the space of twenty years and more, showing 
his continual favour toward me, and (until at mine 
own poor suit it pleased his highness giving me 
88 



license with his majesty's favour to bestow the residue 
of my life, for the provision of my soul, in the service 
of God, and of his special goodness thereof to dis- 
charge and unburthen me) most benignly heaped 
honours continually more and more upon me : all 
this his highness' goodness, I say, so long thus bounti- 
fully extended towards me, were in my mind, my 
lords, matter sufficient to convince this slanderous 
surmise by this man so wrongfully imagined against 
me." Master Rich, seeing himself so disproved, and 
his credit so foully defaced, caused Sir Richard South- 
well and Master Palmer, who at the time of their 
communication were in the chamber, to be sworn 
what words had passed betwixt them. Whereupon 
Master Palmer upon his depositions said, that "he 
was so busy about trussing up Sir Thomas More's 
books into a sack that he took no heed to their talk." 
Sir Richard Southwell likewise said upon his deposi- 
tion, that " because he was appointed only to look to 
the conveyance of those books he gave no ear to 
them." After this were there many other reasons, 
not now in my remembrance, by Sir Thomas More 
in his own defence alleged to the discredit of Master 
Rich's foresaid evidence, and proof of the clearness of 
his own conscience ; all which notwithstanding, the 
jury found him guilty. And incontinent upon their 
89 



verdict the Lord Chancellor, for that mattei Chief 
Commissioner, beginning to proceed in judgment 
against him, Sir Thomas More said unto him : " My 
Lord, when I was toward the law, the manner in 
such case was to ask the prisoner before judgment 
what he could say, why judgment should not be given 
against him." Whereupon the Lord Chancellor, 
staying his judgment, wherein he had partly proceeded, 
demanded of him what he was able to say to the 
contrary. Who then in this sort most humbly made 
answer : 



90 



"TpORASMUCH, my Lord," quoth he, " as this 
r indictment is grounded upon an act of parlia- 
ment directly repugnant to the laws of God and His 
holy Church, the supreme government of which, or 
any part thereof, may no temporal prince presume by 
any law to take upon him, as rightfully belonging to 
the see of Rome, a spiritual pre-eminence by the 
mouth of our Saviour himself, personally present 
upon the earth, only to Saint Peter and his successors, 
bishops of the same see, by special prerogative 
granted ; it is therefore in law, amongst Christian 
men, insufficient to charge any Christian man." 
And for proof thereof, like as amongst divers other 
reasons and authorities, he declared that this realm, 
being but a member and small part of the church, 
might not make a particular law disagreeable with the 
general law of Christ's universal Catholic Church, no 
more than the City of London, being but one poor 
member in respect of the whole realm, might make a 
9 1 



law against an act of parliament to bind the whole 
realm : so further showed he that it was both 
contrary to the laws and statutes of this our land yet 
unrepealed, as they might evidently perceive in 
MAGNA CHARTA, quod Ecclesia Anglicana libera sit, et 
habeat omnla jura sua integi'a, et libertafes suas illcesas, 
and also contrary to that sacred oath which the king's 
highness himself, and every other Christian prince, 
always with great solemnity received at their corona- 
tions. Alleging, moreover, that no more might this 
realm of England refuse obedience to the See of 
Rome, than might the child refuse obedience to his 
natural father. For, as St. Paul said to the Corinth- 
ians, I have regenerated you, my children in Christ, 
so might St. Gregory, Pope of Rome (of whom, 
by St. Augustine his messenger, we first received 
the Christian faith) of us Englishmen truly say, 
You are my children, because I have under Christ 
given to you everlasting salvation (a far higher and 
better inheritance than any carnal father can leave to 
his child), and by regeneration have made you 
spiritual children in Christ. Then was it by the 
Lord Chancellor thereunto answered, that, " seeing 
all the bishops, universities, and best learned men of 
the realm had to this act agreed, it was much 
marvelled that he alone against them all would so 
92 



stiffly stick thereat, and so vehemently argue there- 
against." To that Sir Thomas More replied, saying : 
" If the number of bishops and universities be so 
material as your lordship seemeth to take it, then see 
I little cause, my lord, why that thing in my con- 
science should make any change. For I nothing 
doubt but that, though not in this realm, yet in 
Christendom about, of these well learned bishops and 
virtuous men that are yet alive, they be not the fewer 
part that be of my mind therein. But if I should 
speak of those that already be dead, of whom many 
be now holy saints in heaven, I am very sure it is the 
far, far greater part of them that all the while they 
lived thought in this case that way that I now think ; 
and therefore am I not bound, my lord, to conform 
my conscience to the council of one realm, against 
the general council of Christendom." 



93 



NOW when Sir Thomas More for the avoiding 
of the indictment had taken as many exceptions 
as he thought meet, and many more reasons than 
I can now remember alleged, the Lord Chancellor, 
loth to have the burden of the judgment wholly to 
depend upon himself, there openly asked the advice 
of the Lord Fitzjames, then Lord Chief Justice of 
the King's Bench, and joined in commission with 
him, whether this indictment were sufficient or not. 
Who, like a wise man answered, "My Lords all, 
by St. Julian " (that was ever his oath) " I must 
needs confess that if the act of parliament be not 
unlawful, then is the indictment in my conscience 
not insufficient." Whereupon the Lord Chancellor 
said to the rest of the Lords : " Lo, my Lords, lo ! 
you hear what my Lord Chief Justice saith," and so 
immediately gave judgment against him. After 
which ended, the commissioners yet further cour- 
teously offered him, if he had anything else to allege 
94 



for his defence, to grant him favourable audience. 
Who answered : " More have I not to say, my Lords, 
but that like as the blessed apostle St. Paul, as we 
read in the Acts of the Apostles, was present and 
consented to the death of St. Stephen, and kept their 
clothes that stoned him to death, and yet be they 
now both twain holy saints in heaven, and shall con- 
tinue there friends for ever, so I verily trust, and 
shall therefore right heartily pray, that though your 
lordships have now here in earth been judges to 
my condemnation, we may yet hereafter in heaven 
merrily all meet together to everlasting salvation."' 
Thus much touching Sir Thomas More's arraignment, 
being not there present myself, have I by the credible 
report of the Right Worshipful Sir Anthony Saint- 
leger, and partly of Richard Haywood, and John 
Webb, gentlemen, with others of good credit at the 
hearing thereof present themselves, as far forth as my 
poor wit and memory would serve me, here truly 
rehearsed unto you. Now, after his arraignment, 
departed he from the bar to the Tower again, led by 
Sir William Kingston, a tall, strong, and comely 
knight, Constable of the Tower, and his very dear 
friend. Who when he had brought him from West- 
minster to the Old Swan towards the Tower, there 
with a heavy heart, the tears running down his cheeks, 
95 



bade him farewell. Sir Thomas More, seeing him 
so sorrowful, comforted him with as good words as 
he could, saying : " Good Master Kingston, trouble 
not yourself, but be of good cheer : for 1 will pray 
for you and my good lady your wife, that we may 
meet in heaven together, where we shall be merry for 
ever and ever." Soon after Sir William Kingston, 
talking with me of Sir Thomas More, said : " In 
good faith, Mr. Roper, I was ashamed of myself that 
at my departing from your father I found my heart 
so feeble and his so strong, that he was fain to com- 
fort me that should rather have comforted him." 
When Sir Thomas More came from Westminster to 
the Tower-ward again, his daughter, my wife, de- 
sirous to see her father, whom she thought she would 
never see in this world after, and also to have his 
final blessing, gave attendance about the Tower 
Wharf, where she knew he should pass by, before 
he could enter into the Tower. There tarrying his 
coming, as soon as she saw him, after his blessing 
upon her knees reverently received, she hasting to- 
wards him, without consideration or care of herself, 
pressing in amongst the midst of the throng and 
company of the guard, that with halberds and bills 
went round about him, hastily ran to him, and there 
openly in sight ot them all, embraced him, and took 



him about the neck and kissed him. Who well 
liking her most natural and dear daughterly affection 
towards him, gave her his fatherly blessing, and many 
godly words of comfort besides. From whom after 
she was departed, she not satisfied with the former 
sight of her dear father, and like one that had for- 
gotten herself, being all ravished with the entire love 
of her dear father, having respect neither to herself, 
nor to the press of people and multitude that were 
there about him, suddenly turned back again, ran to 
him as before, took him about the neck, and divers 
times kissed him most lovingly ; and at last, with a 
full and heavy heart, was fain to depart from him : 
the beholding whereof was to many of them that were 
present thereat so lamentable, that it made them for 
very sorrow thereof to weep and mourn. 



T.M. 97 



SO remained Sir Thomas More in the Tower, 
more than a seven-night after his judgment. 
From whence, the day before he suffered, he sent 
his shirt of hair, not willing to have it seen, to my 
wife, his dearly beloved daughter, and a letter written 
with a coal (contained in the foresaid book of his 
works), plainly expressing the fervent desire he had 
to suffer on the morrow, in these words following : 
" I cumber you, good Margret, much, but would be 
sorry if it should be any longer than to-morrow. 
For to-morrow is St. Thomas even, and the Utas of St. 
Peter, and therefore to-morrow I long to go to God : 
it were a day very meet and convenient for me. 
Dear Megg, I never liked your manner better towards 
me than when you kissed me last. For I like when 
daughterly love and dear charity hath no leisure to 
look to worldly courtesy." And so upon the next 
morrow, being Tuesday, Saint Thomas his eve, and 
the Utas of Saint Peter, in the year of our Lord 



I 535 according as he in his letter the day before 
had wished, early in the morning came to him Sir 
Thomas Pope, his singular good friend, on message 
from the king and his council, that he should before 
nine of the clock of the same morning suffer death ; 
and that, therefore, he should forthwith prepare 
himself thereto. " Master Pope," quoth Sir Thomas 
More, " for your good tidings I heartily thank you. 
I have been always much bounden to the king's high- 
ness for the benefits and honours that he had still 
from time to time most bountifully heaped upon 
me ; and yet more bounden am I to his grace for 
putting me into this place, where I have had con- 
venient time and space to have remembrance of my 
end. And so help me God, most of all, Master 
Pope, am I bounden to his highness that it pleaseth 
him so shortly to rid me out of the miseries of this 
wretched world, and therefore will I not fail earnestly 
to pray for his grace, both here, and also in the 
world to come." " The king's pleasure is farther," 
quoth Master Pope, " that at your execution you 
shall not use many words." " Master Pope," quoth 
he, " you do well to give me warning of his grace's 
pleasure, for otherwise, at that time, had I purposed 
somewhat to have spoken ; but of no matter wherewith 
his grace, or any other, should have had cause to be 
99 



offended. Nevertheless, whatsoever I intended, I 
am ready obediently to conform myself to his grace's 
commandment ; and I beseech you, good Master 
Pope, to be a mean to his highness, that my daughter 
Margaret may be at my burial." "The king is 
content already," quoth Master Pope, "that your 
wife, children and other friends shall have liberty to 
be present thereat." "Oh, how much beholden 
then," said Sir Thomas More, " am I unto his grace, 
that unto my poor burial vouchsafeth to have so 
gracious consideration ! " Wherewithal Master Pope, 
taking his leave of him, could not refrain from weep- 
ing. Which Sir Thomas More perceiving, com- 
forted him in this wise : " Quiet yourself, good 
Master Pope, and be not discomforted, for I trust 
that we shall once in heaven see each other full 
merrily, where we shall be sure to live and love 
together, in joyful bliss eternally." ^ Upon whose 
departure, Sir Thomas More, as one that had been 
invited to some solemn feast, changed himself into his 
best apparel. ' Which Master Lieutenant espying, 
advised him to put it off, saying, that he that should 
have it was but a javill. "What, Master Lieu- 
tenant ? " quoth he, " shall I account him a javill 
that will do me this day so singular a benefit ? Nay, 
I assure you, were it cloth of gold, I should think it 
IOO 

THE LIBRARY 



well bestowed on him, as Saint Cyprian did, who 
gave his executioner thirty pieces of gold." And 
albeit, at length, through Master Lieutenant's im- 
portunate persuasion, he altered his apparel, yet, 
after the example of the holy Martyr St. Cyprian, 
did he, of that little money that was left him send an 
angel of gold to his executioner. And so was he by 
Master Lieutenant brought out of the Tower, and 
from thence led towards the place of execution. 
Where, going up the scaffold, which was so weak that 
it was ready to fall, he said merrily to the Lieutenant : 
" I pray you, Master Lieutenant, see me safe up, and 
for my coming down let me shift for myself." Then 
desired he all the people thereabout to pray for him, 
and to bear witness with him, that he should now 
there suffer death in and for the faith of the holy 
Catholic Church. Which done, he kneeled down, 
and, after his prayers said, turned to the executioner 
with a cheerful countenance, and said unto him : 
" Pluck up thy spirits, man, and be not afraid to do 
thine office : my neck is very short, take heed, there- 
fore, thou strike not awry, for saving of thine honesty." 
So passed Sir Thomas More out of this world to 
God, upon the very same day which he most desired. 
Soon after his death came intelligence thereof to 
the Emperor Charles. Whereupon he sent for Sir 
101 



Thomas Eliott, our English ambassador, and said to 
him : " My Lord ambassador, we understand that 
the king your master hath put his faithful servant, and 
grave wise councillor, Sir Thomas More, to death." 
Whereupon Sir Thomas Eliott answered that " he 
understood nothing thereof." "Well," said the 
Emperor, " it is too true : and this will we say, that 
had we been master of such a servant, of whose 
doings ourselves have had these many years no small 
experience, we would rather have lost the best city of 
our dominions, than have lost such a worthy coun- 
cillor." Which matter was, by the same Sir Thomas 
Eliott to myself, to my wife, to Master Clement and 
his wife, to Master John Heywood and his wife, and 
unto divers others his friends accordingly reported. 



102 



THE LETTERS OF 
SIR THOMAS MORE 
TO HIS DAUGHTER 



LETTER I 



Sir THOMAS MORE'S Letter to bis Daughter Mrs. 
MARGARET ROPER on his first being made Prisoner in 
the Tower of LONDON, on Friday the I Jtb day of 
April, 1534. xxv. Hen, %tk. 

WHEN I was before the Lords at Lambeth, I was the 
first that was called in, albeit that Master Doctor, 
the vicar of Croydon, was come before me, and divers 
others. After the cause of my sending for, declared 
unto me, (whereof I somewhat marvelled in my mind, 
considering that they sent for no more temporal men 
but me) I desired the sight of the oath, which they 
showed me under the great seal. Then desired I 
the sight of the act of the succession, which was 
delivered me in a printed roll. After which read 
secretly by myself, and the oath considered with the 
act, I showed unto them, that my purpose was not 
to put any fault, either in the act or any man that 
made it, or in the oath or any man that sware it, nor 
to condemn the conscience of any other man. But 
105 



as for myself in good faith my conscience so moved 
me in the matter, that though I would not deny 
to swear to the succession, yet unto that oath that 
there was offered me, I could not swear without the 
jeoparding of my soul to perpetual damnation. And 
that if they doubted whether I did refuse the oath 
only for the grudge of my conscience, or for any 
other fantasy, I was ready therein to satisfy them by 
mine oath. Which if they trusted not, what should 
they be the better to give me any oath. And if 
they trusted that I would therein swear true, then 
trusted I that of their goodness they would not move 
me to swear the oath that they offered me, perceiv- 
ing that for to swear it was against my conscience. 
Unto this my Lord Chancellor said, that they all 
were very sorry to hear me say thus, and see me thus 
refuse the oath. And they said all, that on their 
faith I was the very first that ever refused it ; which 
would cause the king's highness to conceive great 
suspicion of me, and great indignation toward me. 
And therewith they showed me the roll, and let me 
see the names of the Lords and the Commons which 
had sworn and subscribed their names already. 
Which notwithstanding when they saw that I refused 
to swear the same myself, not blaming any other 
man that had sworn, I was in conclusion commanded 
106 



to go down into the garden. And thereupon I tar- 
ried in the old burned chamber that looketh into the 
garden, and would not go down because of the heat. 
In that tims saw I Master Doctor Latimer come 
into the garden, and there walked he with divers 
other doctors and chaplains of my Lord of Canter- 
bury. And very merry I saw him, for he laughed, 
and took one or twain about the neck so handsomely, 
that if they had been women, I would have weened 
he had been waxen wanton. After that came Master 
Doctor Wilson forth from the Lords, and was with 
two gentlemen brought by me, and gentlemanly sent 
straight unto the Tower. What time my Lord of 
Rochester was called in before them, that can I not 
tell. But at night I heard that he had been before 
them, but where he remained that night, and so 
forth, till he was sent hither, I never heard. I heard 
also that Master Vicar of Croydon, and all the rem- 
nant of the priests of London that were sent for, 
were sworn ; and that they had such favour at the 
Council's hand, that they were not lingered, nor 
made to dance any long attendance to their travail 
and cost, as suitors were sometime wont to be, but 
were sped apace to their great comfort ; so far forth 
that Master Vicar of Croydon, either for gladness or 
for dryness, or else that it might be seen, Quod ilk notus 
107 



erat pontifici, went to my Lord's buttery bar, and 
called for drink, and drank valde famillanter. When 
they had played their pageant, and were gone out of 
the place, then was I called in again. And then was 
it declared unto me what a number had sworn, ever 
since I went aside, gladly without any sticking. 
Wherein I laid no blame in no man, but for my 
own self answered as before. Now as well before as 
then, they somewhat laid unto me for obstinacy, that 
whereas before, since I refused to swear, I would not 
declare any special part of that oath that grudged 
my conscience, and open the cause wherefore. For 
thereunto I had said unto them, that I feared lest 
the king's highness would, as they said, take dis- 
pleasure enough toward me, for the only refusal of 
the oath. And that if I should open and disclose 
the causes why, I should therewith but further exas- 
perate his highness, which I would in no wise do, 
but rather would I abide all the danger and harm 
that might come toward me, than give his highness 
any occasion of further displeasure, than the offering 
of the oath unto me of pure necessity constrained 
me. Howbeit when they divers times imputed this 
to me for stubbornness and obstinacy, that I would 
neither swear the oath, nor yet declare the causes 
why I declined thus far toward them, that rather 
108 



than I would be accounted for obstinate, I would 
upon the king's gracious licence, or rather his such 
commandment had, as might be my sufficient war- 
rant, that my declaration should not offend his high- 
ness, nor put me in the danger of any of his statutes, 
I would be content to declare the causes in writing, 
and over that to give an oath in the beginning that 
if I might find those causes by any man in such wise 
answered, as I might think mine own conscience 
satisfied, I would after that with all mine heart swear 
the principal oath to. To this I was answered, that 
though the king would give me licence under his 
letters patent, yet would it not serve against the 
statute. Whereto I said, that yet if I had them, I 
would stand unto the trust of his honour at my peril 
for the remnant. But yet, thinketh me, Lo, that if 
I may not declare the causes without peril, then to 
leave them undeclared is no obstinacy. My Lord of 
Canterbury taking hold upon that that I said, that I 
condemned not the consciences of them that sware, 
said unto me that it appeared well, that I did not 
take it for a very sure thing and a certain, that I 
might not lawfully swear it, but rather as a thing un- 
certain and doubtful. But then (said my Lord) you 
know for a certainty, and a thing without doubt, 
that you be bounden to obey your sovereign lord your 
109 



king. And therefore are ye bounden to leave of the 
doubt of your unsure conscience in refusing the oath, 
and take the sure way in obeying of your prince, and 
swear it. Now all was it so, that in mine own mind 
methought myself not concluded, yet this argument 
seemed me suddenly so subtle, and namely with such 
authority coming out of so noble a prelate's mouth, 
that I could again answer nothing thereto but only 
that I thought myself I might not well do so, because 
that in my conscience this was one of the cases in 
which I was bounden that I should not obey my 
prince, sith that whatsoever other folk thought in 
the matter (whose conscience or learning I would 
not condemn nor take upon me to judge), yet in my 
conscience the truth seemed on the tother side. 
Wherein I had not informed my conscience neither 
suddenly nor slightly, but by long leisure and dili- 
gent search for the matter. And of truth if that 
reason may conclude, then have we a ready way to 
avoid all perplexities. For in whatsoever matter the 
doctors stand in great doubt, the king's command- 
ment given upon whitherside he list, soyleth all the 
doubts. Then said my Lord of Westminster to me, 
that howsoever the matter seemed unto mine own 
mind, I had cause to fear that mine own mind was 
erroneous, when I see the Great Council of the realm 
no 



determine of my mind the contrary, and that there- 
fore I ought to change my conscience. To that I 
answered, that if there were no more but myself 
upon my side, and the whole parliament upon the 
tother, I would be sore afraid to lean to mine own 
mind only against so many. But on the other side, 
if it so be that in some things, for which I refuse the 
oath, I have (as I think I have) upon my part as great 
a Council and a greater too, I am not then bounden 
to change my conscience and conform it to the Council 
of one realm, against the general Council of Christen- 
dom. Upon this Master Secretary, as he that ten- 
derly favoureth me, said and sware a great oath, that 
he had sooner that his own only son (which is of 
truth a goodly young gentleman, and shall I trust 
come to much worship) had lost his head than that 
I should thus have refused the oath. For surely the 
king's highness would now conceive a great suspicion 
against me, and think that the matter of the nun of 
Canterbury was all contrived by my drift. To 
which I said that the contrary was true and well 
known. And whatsoever should mishap me, it lay 
not in my power to help it without the peril of 
my soul. Then did my Lord Chancellor repeat 
before me my refusal unto Master Secretary, as to 
him that was going unto the king's grace. And in 
III 



the rehearsing, his Lordship repeated again, that I 
denied not but was content to swear unto the suc- 
cession. Whereunto I said, that as for that point I 
would be content, so that I might see my oath in 
that point so framed in such a manner as might 
stand with my conscience. Then said my Lord : 
Marry, Master Secretary, mark that too, that he will 
not swear that neither, but under some certain man- 
ner. Verily, no, my Lord, quoth I, but that I will 
see it made in such wise first, as I shall myself see, 
that I shall neither be foresworn, nor swear against 
my conscience. Surely as to swear to the succession 
I see no peril. But I thought and think it reason 
that to mine own oath I look well myself, and be of 
counsel also in the fashion, and never intended to 
swear for a piece, and set my hand to the whole oath. 
Howbeit, as help me God, as touching the whole 
oath I never withdrew any man from it, nor never 
advised any to refuse it, nor never put, nor will put, 
any scruple in any man's head, but leave every man 
to his own conscience. And me thinketh in good 
faith that so were it good reason that every man 
should leave me to mine. 



12 



LETTER It 



In August, In the Tear of our Lord 1534, and in the 
twenty-sixth year of the Reign of King Henry the 
Eighth, the Lady ALICE ALINGTON (Wife to Sir GILES 
ALINGTON, Knight, and Daughter to Sir Thomas More** 
second and last Wife] wrote a letter to Mistress MARGARET 
ROPER, the Copy whereof here follow eth. 

SISTER ROPER, with all my heart, I recommend me 
unto you, thanking you for all kindness. The cause 
of my writing at this time is, to show you that at my 
coming home, within two hours after, my Lord 
Chancellor did come to take a course at a buck in our 
park, the which was to my husband a great comfort, 
that it would please him so to do. Then when he 
had taken his pleasure and killed his deer, he went to 
Sir Thomas Barnston's to bed : where I was the next 
day with him at his desire, the which I could not say 
nay to, for methought he did bid me heartily : and 
most especially because I would speak to him for my 
father. And when I saw my time, I did desire him 

T.M. 113 I 



as humbly as I could that he would (as I have heard 
say that he hath been) be still good lord unto my 
father. First he answered me that he would be as 
glad to do for him as for his father, and that (he 
said) did appear very well when the matter of the 
nun was laid to his charge. And as for this other 
matter, he marvelled that my father is so obstinate 
in his own conceit, in that everybody went forth 
withal, save only the blind bishop and he. And in 
good faith (said my Lord) I am very glad that I 
have no learning, but in a few of ^Esop's fables, of the 
which I shall tell you one. There was a country in 
the which there were almost none but fools, saving a 
few which were wise, and they by their wisdom knew 
that there should fall a great rain, the which should 
make all them fools, that should be fouled or wet 
therewith. They, seeing that, made them caves 
under the ground, till all the rain was past. Then 
they came forth, thinking to make the fools do what 
they list, and to rule them as they would. But the 
fools would none of that, but would have the rule 
themselves for all their craft. And when the wise 
men saw that they could not obtain their purpose 
they wished that they had been in the rain, and had 
defiled their clothes with them. When this tale was 
told my lord did laugh very merrily. Then I said to 
114 



him, that for all his merry fable I did put no doubts 
but that he would be good lord unto my father when 
he saw his time, He said, I would not have your 
father so scrupulous of his conscience. And then he 
told me another fable of a Lion, an Ass and a Wolf, 
and of their confession. First the Lion confessed 
that he had devoured all the beasts he could come by. 
His confessor assoyled him because he was a king, and 
also it was his nature so to do. Then came the poor 
Ass, and said that he took but one straw out of his 
master's shoe for hunger, by the means whereof he 
thought that his master did take cold. His confessor 
could not assoil this great trespass but by and bye 
sent him to the bishop. Then came the Wolf and 
made his confession, and he was straightly commanded 
that he should not pass sixpence at a meal. But when 
the said wolf had used this diet a little while, he 
waxed very hungry, in so much, that on a day when 
he saw a cow with her calf come by him, he said to 
himself, I am very hungry, and fain would I eat, but 
that I am bound by my ghostly father. Notwith- 
standing that, my conscience shall judge me. And 
then, if that be so, then shall my conscience be thus, 
that the cow doth seem to me now but worth a 
groat. And then if the cow be but worth a groat, 
then is the calf but worth two pence ; so did the 



wolf eat both the cow and the calf. Now, my good 
sister, hath not my lord told me two pretty fables ? 
In good faith they pleased me nothing, nor I wist 
not what to say, for I was abashed of his answer. 
And I see no better suit than to Almighty God, for 
He is the comforter of all sorrows, and will not fail to 
send His comfort to His servants when they have 
most need. Thus fare ye well, my own good sister. 
Written the Monday after Saint Laurence, in haste, 
Your Sister, 

ALICE ALINGTON. 



116 



LETTER III 



When Mistress ROPER bad received this Letter, she, at 
her next repair to her father in the Tower, showed 
him this Letter. And what communication was there- 
upon between her Father and her, ye shall perceive by 
an Answer here following (as written to the Lady 
ALINGTON). But whether this answer were written 
by Sir THOMAS MORE in his Daughter ROPER'S 
name, or by herself, it is not certainly known. 

WHEN I came next unto my father after, me thought 
it both convenient and necessary, to show him your 
letter convenient, that he might thereby see your 
loving labour taken for him ; necessary, that sith he 
might perceive thereby, that if he stand still in this 
scruple of his conscience, (as it is at the least wise 
called by many that are his friends and wife) all his 
friends that seem most able to do him good, either 
shall finally forsake him, or peradventure not be able 
indeed to do him any good at all. And for these 
117 



causes, at my next being with him after your letter 
received, when I had a while talked with him, first of 
his diseases both in his breast of old, and his reins 
now, by reason of gravel and stone, and of the cramp 
also that divers nights grippeth him in his legs, and 
that I found by hi words that they were not much 
increased, but continued after their manner that they 
did before, sometime very sore and sometime little 
grief, and that at that time I found him out of pain, 
and as one in his case might, meetly well-minded, 
after our seven psalms and the litany said, to sit and 
talk and be merry, beginning first with other things, 
of the good comfort of my mother, and the good 
order of my brother, and all my sisters, disposing 
themselves every day more and more to set little by 
the world, and draw more and more to God, and 
that his household, his neighbours, and other good 
friends abroad, diligently remembered him in their 
prayers, I added unto this ; I pray God, good father, 
that their prayers, and ours, and your own therewith, 
may purchase of God the grace that you may in this 
great matter (for which you stand in this trouble, and 
for your trouble all we also that love you) take such a 
way by time, as standing with the pleasure of God, 
may content and please the king, whom ye have 
always founden so singularly gracious unto you, that if 
nS 



ye should stiffly refuse to do the thing that were his 
pleasure, which, God not displeased, you might do, 
(as many great, wise, and well-learned men, say that 
in this thing you may), it would both be a great blot 
in your worship in every wise man's opinion, and as 
myself have heard some say (such as yourself have 
always taken for well-learned and good) a peril unto 
your soul also. But as for that point (father) will I 
not be bold to dispute upon, since I trust in God, 
and your good mind, that ye will look surely thereto. 
And your learning I know for such, that I wot well 
you can. But one thing is there, which I and other 
your friends find and perceive abroad, which, but if it 
be showed you, you may peradventure to your great 
peril mistake, and hope for less harm (for as for good 
I wot well in this world of this matter ye look for 
none) than, I sore fear me, shall be likely to fall to 
you. For I assure you, father, I have received a letter 
of late from my sister Allngton^ by which I see well, 
that if ye change not your mind, you are likely to 
lose all those friends that are able to do you any good. 
Or if ye lese not their good wills, you shall at the 
least wise lese the effect thereof, for any good that 
they shall be able to do you. With this my father 
smiled upon me and said : What, mistress Eve, (as I 
called you when you came first), hath my daughter 
119 



Alington played the serpent with you, and with a letter 
set you awork to come tempt your father again, and 
for the favour that you bear him, labour to make him 
swear against his conscience, and so send him to the 
devil ? And after that, he looked sadly again, and 
earnestly said unto me, daughter Margaret, we two 
have talked of this thing ofter than twice or thrice. 
And the same tale, in effect, that you tell me now 
therein, and the same fear too, have you twice told 
me before, and I have twice answered you too, that 
in this matter if it were possible for me to do the 
thing that might content the king's grace, and God 
therewith not offended, then hath no man taken this 
oath already more gladly than I would do ; as he that 
reckoneth himself more deeply bounden unto the king's 
highness, for his most singular bounty, many ways 
showed and declared, than any of them all beside. 
But sith standing my conscience I can in no wise do 
it, and that for the instruction of my conscience in 
the matter, I have not slightly looked, but by many 
years (Studied, and advisedly considered, and never 
could yet see nor hear that thing, nor I think I never 
shall, that could induce mine own mind to think 
otherwise than I do, I have no manner remedy, but 
God hath given me to that strait, that either I must 
deadly displease Him, or abide any worldly harm that 
120 



He shall for mine other sins, under name of this 
thing, suffer to fall upon me. Whereof (as I before 
this have told you too) I have, ere I came here, not left 
unbethought nor unconsidered, the very most and the 
uttermost that can by possibility fall. And albeit 
that I know mine own frailty full well, and the 
natural faintness of mine own heart, yet if I had 
not trusted that God should give me strength rather 
to endure all things, than offend Him by swearing un- 
godly against mine own conscience, you may be very 
sure I would not have come here. And sith I look, 
in this matter, but only unto God, it maketh me little 
matter, though men call it as it please them, and say 
it is no conscience, but a foolish scruple. At this 
word I took a good occasion, and said unto him thus : 
In good faith, father, for my part, I neither do, nor it 
cannot become me, either to mistrust your good mind 
or your learning. But because you speak of that that 
some call it but a scruple, I assure you you shall see 
by my sister's letter, that one, of the greatest estates in 
this realm, and a man learned too, and (as I dare say 
yourself shall think when you know him, and as you 
have already right effectually proved him) your tender 
friend and very special good lord, accounteth your con- 
science in this matter, for a right simple scruple. And 
you may be sure he saith it of good mind, and hath no 

121 



little cause. For he saith, that where you say your 
conscience moveth you to this, all the nobles of this 
realm, and almost all other men too, go boldly forth 
with the contrary, and stick not thereat, save only 
yourself and one other man : whom though he be 
right good, and very well learned too, yet would I 
ween few that love you, give you the counsel against 
all other men to lean to his mind alone. And with 
this word I took him your letter, that he might see 
that my words were not feigned, but spoken of his 
mouth whom he much loveth and esteemeth highly. 
Thereupon he read over your letter. And when he 
came to the end, he began it afresh and read over 
again. And in the reading he made no manner 
haste, but advised it leisurely, and pointed every word. 
And after that he paused, and then thus he said. 
Forsooth, daughter Margaret, I find my daughter 
Allngton such as I have ever found her, and I trust 
ever shall, as naturally minding me as you that are 
mine own. Howbeit, her take I verily for mine own 
too, since I have married her mother, and brought up 
her of a child, as I have brought up you, in other 
things and in learning both, wherein I thank God she 
findetb now some fruit, and bringeth her own up very 
virtuously and well. Whereof God, I thank Him, 
hath sent her good store, our Lord preserve them and 

122 



send her much joy of them, and my good son her 
gentle husband too, and have mercy on the soul of 
mine other good son, her first : I am daily bedesman 
(and so write her) for them all. In this matter she 
has used herself like herself, wisely, and like a very 
daughter toward me ; and in the end of her letter, 
giveth as good counsel as any man (that wit hath) would 
wish, God give me grace to follow it, and God 
reward her for it. Now, daughter Margaret, as for 
my lord, I not only think, but have also found it, 
that he is undoubtedly my singular good lord. And 
in mine other business, concerning the sely nun, as my 
cause was good and clear, so was he my good lord 
therein, and Mr. Secretary my good master too. For 
which I shall never cease to be faithful bedesman for 
them both, and daily do I, by my troth, pray 
for them as I pray for myself. And whensoever 
it should happen (which I trust in God shall 
never happen) that I be found other than a true 
man to my prince, let them never favour me, neither 
of them both, nor of truth no more it could become 
them so to do. But in this matter, Megg, to tell 
the truth between thee and me, my lord's ^Esop's 
fables do not greatly move me. But as his wisdom, 
for his pastime, told them merely to my one 
daughter, so shall I, for my pastime, answer them to 
123 



thee, Mfgg, that art mine other. The first fable, of 
the rain that washed away all their wits that stood 
abroad when it fell, I have heard oft ere this : it 
was a tale so often told among the king's Council by 
my Lord Cardinal, when his grace was chancellor, 
that I cannot lightly forget it. For of truth in times 
past, when variance began to fall between the 
Emperor and the French king, in such wise that 
they were likely, and did indeed, fall together at war, 
and that there were in the Council here sometimes 
sundry opinions, in which some were of the mind 
that they thought it wisdom, that we should sit still 
and let them alone : but evermore against that way, 
my lord used this fable of those wise men, that 
because they would not be washed with the rain that 
should make all the people fools, went themselves in 
caves and hid them under the ground. But when 
the rain had once made all the remnant fools, and 
that they came out of their caves and would utter 
their wisdom, the fools agreed together against them, 
and there all to bet them. And so said his grace, 
that if we would be so wise that we would sit in 
peace while the fools fought, they would not fail 
after to make peace and agree, and fall at length all 
upon us. I will not dispute upon his grace's coun- 
sel, and I trust we never made war, but as reason 
124 



would. But yet this fable, for his part, did in his 
days help the king and the realm to spend many a 
fair penny. But that grace is passed, and his grace 
is gone, our Lord assoil his soul. And, therefore, 
shall I now come to this ^Esop's fable, as my Lord 
full merrily laid it forth for me. If those wise men, 
Meggy when the rain was gone at their coming 
abroad, where they found all men fools, wished 
themselves fools too, because they could not rule 
them, then seemeth it that the foolish rain was so 
sore a shower, that even through the ground it sank 
into their caves, and poured down upon their heads, 
and wet them to the skin, and made them more 
noddies than them that stood abroad. For if they 
had had any wit, they might well see, that though 
they had been fools too, that thing would not have 
sufficed to make them the rulers over the other fools, 
no more than the tother fools over them : and of so 
many fools all might not be rulers. Now when 
they longed so sore to bear a rule among fools, that 
so they so might, they would be glad to lese their wit 
and be fools too, the foolish rain had washed them 
meetly well. Howbeit to say the truth, before the 
rain came, if they thought that all the remnant 
should turn into fools, then either were so foolish 
that they would, or so mad to think that they 
125 



should, so few rule so many fools, and had not so 
much wit, as to consider that there are none so 
unruly as they that lack wit and are fools, then were 
these wise men stark fools before the rain came. 
Howbeit, daughter Roper, whom my Lord here 
taketh for the wise men, and whom he meaneth to 
be fools, I cannot very well guess, I cannot read well 
such riddles. For as Davus saith in Terence : Non 
sum (Edipus. I may say you wot well : Non sum 
(Edipus, sed Morus, which name of mine what it 
signifieth in Greek, I need not tell you. But I 
trust my Lord reckoneth me among the fools, and so 
reckoneth I myself, as my name is in Greek. And 
I find, I thank God, causes not a few, wherefore I 
so should in every deed. But surely, among those 
that long to be rulers, God and mine own conscience 
clearly knoweth, that no man may truly number 
and reckon me. And I ween each other man's 
conscience can tell himself the same, since it is so 
well known that of the king's great goodness, I was 
one of the greatest rulers in this noble realm, and 
that at mine own great labour by his great goodness 
discharged. But whomsoever my lord mean for the 
wise men, and whomsoever his lordship take for the 
fools, and whosoever long for the rule, and whoso- 
ever long for none, I beseech our Lord make us all 
126 



so wise as that we may every man here so wisely rule 
ourself, in this time of tears, this vale of misery, this 
simple wretched world (in which, as Boece saith, one 
man to be proud that he beareth rule over other 
men, is much like as one mouse would be proud to 
bear a rule over other mice in a barn), God, I say, 
give us the grace so wisely to rule ourself here, that 
when we shall hence in haste to meet the great 
spouse, we be not taken sleepers, and for lack of light 
in our lamps, shut out of heaven among the five foolish 
virgins. The second fable, Marget, seemeth not 
to be ^Esop's. For by that the matter goeth all 
upon confession, it seemeth to be feigned since 
Christendom began. For in Greece, before Christ's 
days, they used not confession no more the men then, 
than the beasts now. And ^Esop was a Greek, and died 
long ere Christ was born. But what ? who made it, 
maketh but little matter. Nor I envy not that JEsop 
hath the name. But surely it is somewhat too subtle 
for me. For when his lordship understandeth by the 
lion, and the wolf, which both twain confessed them- 
selves of ravin and devouring of all that came to their 
hands, and the t'one enlarged his conscience at his 
pleasure in the construction of his penance, nor 
whom by the good discreet confessor that enjoined 
the t'one a little penance, and the tother none at all, 
127 



and sent the poor ass to the bishop, of all these 
things can I nothing tell. But by the foolish 
scrupulous ass,, that had so sore a conscience for the 
taking of a straw for hunger out of his master's shoe, 
my lord's other words of my scruple declare, that 
his lordship merely meant that by me : signifying 
(as it seemeth by that similitude), that of oversight 
and folly, my scrupulous conscience taketh for a great 
perilous thing toward my soul, if I should swear this 
oath, which thing, as his lordship thinketh, were 
indeed but a trifle. And I suppose well, Margaret, 
as you told me right now, that so thinketh many 
more beside, as well spiritual as temporal, and that 
even of those, that for their learning and their virtue, 
myself not a little esteemed. And yet albeit that I 
suppose this to be true, yet believe I not even very 
surely, that every man so thinketh that so saith. 
But though they did, daughter, that would not make 
much to me, not though I should see my Lord of 
Rochester say the same, and swear the oath himself 
before me too. For whereas you told me right now, 
that such as love me, would not advise me, that 
against all other men, I should lean into his mind 
alone, verily, daughter, no more I do. For albeit 
that of very truth, I have him in that reverent esti- 
mation, that I reckon in this realm no one man, in 
128 



wisdom, learning, and long approved virtue together, 
meet to be matched and compared with him, yet that 
in this matter I was not led by him, very well and 
plain appeareth, both in that I refused the oath 
before it was offered him, and in that also that his 
lordship was content to have sworn of that oath (as I 
perceived since by you when you moved me to the 
same) either somewhat more, or in some other 
manner than ever I minded to do. Verily, daughter, 
I never intend (God being my good Lord) to pin my 
soul at another man's back, not even the best man 
that I know this day living : for I know not whither 
he may hap to carry it. There is no man living, of 
whom while he liveth, I may make myself sure. 
Some may do for favour, and some may do for fear, 
and so might they carry my soul a wrong way. 
And some might hap to frame himself a conscience, 
and think that while he did it for fear, God would 
forgive it. And some may peradventure think that 
they will repent, and be shriven thereof, and that so 
shall God remit it them. And some may be perad- 
venture of the mind, that if they say one thing 
and think the while the contrary, God more 
regardeth their heart than their tongue, and that 
therefore their oath goeth upon that they think, and 
not upon that they say : as a woman reasoned once, 

T.M. 129 K 



I trow, daughter, you were by. But in good faith, 
Margetj I can use no such ways in so great a matter : 
but like as if mine own conscience served me, I 
would riot let to do it though other men refused, so 
though others refuse it not, I dare not do it, mine 
own conscience standing against it. If I had (as I 
told you) looked but lightly for the matter, I should 
have cause to fear. But now have I so looked for it, 
and so long, that I purpose at the least wise to have 
no less regard unto my soul, than at once a poor 
honest man of the country, that was called Company. 
And with this he told me a tale, I ween I can scant 
tell it you again, because it hangeth upon some terms 
and ceremonies of the law. But as far as I can call 
to mind, my father's tale was this, that there is a 
court belonging, of course, unto every fair, to do 
justice in such things as happen within the same. 
This court hath a pretty fond name, but I cannot 
happen on it : but it beginneth with a " Pie," and the 
remnant goeth much like the name of a knight that 
I have known, I wis, and I trow you too, for he hath 
been at my father's oft ere this, at such time as you 
were there, a meetly tall black man, his name was 
Sir William Pounder. But, tut ! let the name of the 
court for this once, or call it if ye will a " court of Pie 
Sir- William-Pounder." But this was the matter, lo, 
130 



that upon a time, at such a court holden at Bartholomew 
Fair, there was an escheator of London that had 
arrested a man that was outlawed, and had seized 
his goods that he had brought into the fair, tolling 
him out of the fair by a train. The man that was 
arrested, and his goods seized, was a northern man, 
which, by his friends, made the escheator within the 
Fair to be arrested upon an action, I wot ne'er what, 
and so was he brought before the judge, of the court 
of " Pie Sir- William-Pounder." And at the last that 
that matter came to a certain ceremony to be tried 
by a quest of twelve men, a jury, as I remember they 
called it, or else a perjury. Now had the clothman, 
by friendship of the officers, founden the means to have 
all the quest almost made of the northern men, such 
as had their booths there standing in the Fair. Now 
was it come to the last day in the afternoon, and the 
twelve men had heard both the parties, and their coun- 
sel tell their tales at the bar, and were from the bar 
had into a place, to talk, and common, and agree 
upon their sentence. Nay, let me speak better in 
my terms yet, I trow the judge giveth the sentence, 
and the quests' tale is called a verdict. They were 
scant come in together, but the northern men were 
agreed, and in effect all the tother too, to cast our 
London escheator. They thought there needed no 



more to prove that he did wrong, than even the 
name of his bare office alone. But then was there 
among them, as the devil would, this honest man of 
another quarter, that was called Company. And 
because the fellow seemed but a fool, and sat still and 
said nothing, they made no reckoning of him, but 
said We be agreed now, come let us go and give our 
verdict. Then when the poor fellow saw that they 
made such haste, and his mind nothing gave him 
that way that theirs did (if their minds gave them 
that way that they said), he prayed them to tarry and 
talk upon that matter, and tell him such reason 
therein, that he might think as they did : and when 
he so should do, he would be glad to say with them, 
or else, he said, they must pardon him. For sith 
he had a soul of his own to keep, as they had, he 
must say as he thought for his, as they must for 
theirs. When they heard this they were half angry 
with him. What, good fellow, (quoth one of the 
northern men) where wonnest thou ? Be not we eleven 
here, and thou be but one alone, and all we agreed ? 
Whereto shouldst thou stick ? What is thy name, 
good fellow ? Masters (quoth he), my name is called 
Company. Company, quoth they, now by thy troth, 
good fellow, play then the good companion, come 
thereon forth with us, and pass even for good 
132 



company. Would God, good masters, quoth the 
man again, that there lay no more weight thereon. 
But now when we shall hence and come before God, 
and that He shall send you to heaven for doing 
according to your conscience, and me to the devil for 
doing against mine, in passing at your request here 
for good company now, by God, Master Dickenson, 
(that was one of the northern men's names), if I shall 
then say to all you again, Masters, I went once for 
good company with you, which is the cause I go now 
to hell, play you the good fellows now again with 
me, as I went then for good company with you, so 
some of you go now for good company with me. 
Would ye go, Master Dickenson ? Nay, nay, by Our 
Lady, nor never one of you all. And therefore must 
ye pardon me, from passing as you pass, but if I 
thought in that matter as you do, I dare not in such 
a matter pass for good company. For the passage of 
my poor soul passeth all good company. And when 
my father had told me this tale, then said he further 
thus : I pray thee now, good Margaret, tell me this, 
wouldst thou wish thy poor father, being at the least 
wise somewhat learned, less to regard the peril of his 
soul, than did there that honest unlearned man ? I 
meddle not (you wot well) with the conscience of 
any man that hath sworn : nor I take not upon me 
133 



to be their judge. But now if they do well, and 
that their conscience grudge them not, if I, with 
my conscience to the contrary, should for good 
company pass on with them, and swear as they do, 
when all our souls hereafter shall pass out of this 
world, and stand in judgment at the bar before 
the High Judge, if He judge them to heaven, and 
me to the devil, because I did as they did, not 
thinking as they thought, if I should then say 
(as the good man Company said) : Mine old good 
lords and friends, naming such a lord and such, 
yea, and some bishops, peradventure of such as I love 
best, I sware because you sware, and went that way 
that you went, do likewise for me now, let me not 
go alone ; if there be any good fellowship with you, 
some of you come with me : by my troth, Margaret, 
I may say to thee in secret counsel, here between us 
twain, (but let it go no further I beseech thee 
heartily,) I find the friendship of this wretched world 
so fickle, that for any thing that I could treat or pray, 
that would for good fellowship go to to the devil 
with me, among them all, I ween, should not I find 
one. And then, by God, M.argaret, if you think so 
too, best it is, I suppose, that for any respect of them 
all, were they twice as many more as they be, I have 
myself a respect to mine own soul. Surely, father, 
134 



quoth I, without any scruple at all, you may be bold, 
I dare say, for to swear that. But, father, they that 
think you should not refuse to swear the thing, that 
you see so many, so good men and so well learned, 
swear before you, mean not that you should swear to 
bear them fellowship, nor to pass with them for good 
company : but that the credence that you may with 
reason give to their persons for their aforesaid qualities, 
should well move you to think the oath such of itself, 
as every man may well swear without peril of their 
soul, if their own private conscience to the contrary 
be not the lest : and that ye well ought, and have 
good cause, to change your own conscience, in con- 
firming your own conscience to the conscience of so 
many other, namely, being such as you know they 
be. And sith it is also by a law made by the parlia- 
ment commanded, they think that you be, upon the 
peril of your soul, bounden to change and reform 
your conscience, and confirm your own as I said unto 
other mens'. Marry, Margaret, (quoth my father 
again) for the part that you play, you play it not 
much amiss. But Margaret, first, as for the law of 
the land, though every man being born and inhabit- 
ing therein is bounden to the keeping in every case 
upon some temporal pain, and in many cases upon 
pain of God's displeasure too, yet is there no man 
135 



bounden to swear that every law is well made, nor 
bounden upon the pain of God's displeasure to perform 
any such point of the law as were indeed unlawful. 
Of which manner kind, that there may such hap to 
be, made in any part of Christendom, I suppose no 
man doubteth the general Council of the whole body 
of Christendom evermore in that point except : which, 
though it may make some things better than other, 
and some things may grow to that point, that by 
another law they may need to be reformed, yet to 
institute any thing in such wise to God's displeasure, 
as at the making might not lawfully be performed, 
the spirit of God that governeth His church, never 
had yet suffered, nor never hereafter shall, His whole 
Catholic Church lawfully gathered together in a general 
Council, as Christ hath made plain promises in Scrip- 
ture. Now if it so hap, that in any particular 
part of Christendom there be a law made, that be 
such, as for some part thereof some men think that 
the law of God cannot bear it, and some other think 
yes, the thing being in such manner in question, 
that thorough divers quarters of Christendom, some 
that are good men and cunning, both of our own 
days, and before our days, think some one way, and 
some other of like learning and goodness think the 
contrary, in this case he that thinketh against the law, 

136 



neither may swear that law lawfully was made, stand- 
ing his own conscience to the contrary, nor is bounden 
upon pain of God's displeasure to change his own 
conscience therein, for any particular law made any- 
where, other than by the general counsel, or by a 
general faith grown by the working of God uni- 
versally through all Christian nations ; nor other 
authority than one of these twain (except special 
revelation and express commandment of God) sith 
the contrary opinions of good men and well learned, 
as I put you the case, made the understanding of the 
Scriptures doubtful, I can see none that lawfully may 
command and compel any man to change his own 
opinion, and to translate his own conscience from the 
t'one side to the tother. For an ensample of some 
such manner things, I have I trow before this time told 
you, that whether our blessed lady were conceived in 
original sin or not, was sometime in great question 
among the great learned men of Christendom. And 
whether it be yet decided and determined by any 
general Council, I remember not. But this I re- 
member well, that notwithstanding that the feast of 
her conception was then celebrate in the church (at 
the leastwise in divers provinces) yet was holy S. 
Bernard, which, as his manifold books made in the 
laud and praise of our lady do declare, was of as 
137 



devout affection toward all things sounding toward her 
commendation, that he thought might well be verified 
or suffered, as any man was living ; yet, I say, was 
that holy devout man, against that part of her praise, 
as appeareth well by an epistle of his, wherein he 
right sore and with great reason argueth there against, 
and approvethnot the institution of that feast neither. 
Nor he was not of this mind alone, but many other 
well learned men with him, and right holy men too. 
Now was there on the tother side, the blessed holy 
bishop Saint Anselm, and he not alone neither, but 
many well learned and very virtuous also with him. 
And they be both twain holy saints in heaven, and 
many more that were on either side. Nor neither 
part was there bounden to change their opinion, for 
the tother, nor for any provincial Council either. But 
like as after the determination of a well assembled 
general Council, every man had been bound to give 
credence that way, and confirm their own conscience 
to the determination of the Council generally, and 
then all they that held the contrary before, were for 
that holding out of blame, so if before such decision 
a man had against his own conscience, sworn to 
maintain and defend the other side, he had not failed 
to offend God very sore. But marry, if on the 
t'other side a man would in a matter take away by 
138 



himself upon his own mind alone, or with some few, 
or with never so many, against an evident truth 
appearing by the common faith of Christendom, this 
conscience is very damnable. Yea, or if it be not 
even fully so plain and evident, yet if he see but him- 
self with far the fewer part, think the t'one way, against 
far the more part of as well learned and as good, as 
those are that affirm the thing that he thinketh, 
thinking and affirming the contrary, and that of such 
folk as he has no reasonable cause wherefore he should 
not in that matter suppose, that those which say they 
think against his mind, affirm the thing that they say, 
for no other cause but for that they so think indeed, 
this is of very truth a very good occasion to move 
him, and yet not to compel him, to conform his 
mind and conscience unto theirs. But Margaret, for 
what causes I refuse the oath, that thing (as I have 
often told you) I will never show you, neither you 
nor nobody else, except the king's highness should like 
to command me. Which if his grace did, I have ere 
this told you, therein how obediently I have said. 
But surely, daughter, I have refused it, and do, for 
more causes than one. And for what causes soever I 
refuse it, this am I sure, that it is well known, that 
of them that have sworn it, some of the best learned 
before the oath given them, said and plain affirmed 
139 



the contrary, of some such things as they have now 
sworn in the oath, and that upon their truth and 
their learning then, and that not in haste nor suddenly, 
but often and after great diligence done to seek and 
find out the truth. That might be, father, (quoth I), 
and yet since they might see more. I will not (quoth 
he) dispute, daughter Margaret, against that, nor mis- 
judge any other man's conscience, which lieth in their 
own heart far out of my sight. But this will I say, 
that I never heard myself the cause of their change, 
by any new further thing founden of authority, than 
as far as I perceive they had looked on, and as I sup- 
pose, very well weighed before. Now of the self same 
things that they saw before, seem some otherwise 
unto them now than they did before, I am for their 
sakes the gladder a great deal. But anything that 
ever I saw before, yet at this day to me they seem 
but as they did. And therefore, though they may do 
otherwise than they might, yet, daughter, I may not. 
As for such things as some men would haply say, 
that I might with reason the less regard their change, 
for any sample of them to be taken to the change of 
my conscience, because that the keeping of the prince's 
pleasure, and the avoiding of his indignation, the fear 
of the losing of their worldly substance with regard 
unto the discomfort of their kindred and their friends, 
140 



might hap make some men either swear otherwise 
than they think, or frame their conscience afresh to 
think otherwise than they thought, any such opinion 
as this is, will I not conceive of them. I have better 
hope of their goodness, than to think of them so. 
For if such things should have turned them, the same 
things had been likely to make me do the same : for 
in good faith, I knew few so faint-hearted as myself. 
Therefore will I, Margaret, by my will, think no 
worse of other folk in the thing that I know not, 
than I find in myself. But as I know well mine only 
conscience causeth me to refuse the oath, so will I 
trust in God, that according to their conscience they 
have received it and sworn. But whereas you think, 
Marget, that they be so many, more than there are 
on the tother side that think in this thing as I think, 
surely for your own comfort that ye shall not take 
thought, thinking that your father casteth himself 
away so like a fool, that he would jeopardy the loss of 
his substance and peradventure his body, without any 
cause why he so should for peril of his soul, but rather 
his soul in peril thereby too, to this shall I say to 
thee, Margef, that in some of my causes I nothing 
doubt at all, but that though not in this realm, yet in 
Christendom about, of those well learned men and 
virtuous, that are yet alive, they be not the fewer part 
141 



that are of my mind. Besides that, that it were ye 
wot well possible, that some men in this realm, too, 
think not so clear the contrary, as by the oath received 
they have sworn to say. Now thus far forth I say for 
them, that are yet alive. But go we now to them 
that are dead before, and that are, I trust, in heaven, I 
am sure that it is not the fewer part of them, that all 
the time while they lived, thought in some of the 
things that way that I think now. I am also, 
Margaret, of this thing sure enough, that if those holy 
doctors and saints which to be with God in heaven 
long ago no good Christian man doubteth, whose 
books yet at this day remain here in men's 
hands, there thought in some such things as 
I think now. I say not that they thought all so, 
but surely such and so many as will well appear by 
their writing that I pray God give me the grace that 
my soul may follow theirs. And yet I show you not 
all, Af <7;g?/, that I have for myself in that sure discharge 
of my conscience. But for the conclusion, daughter 
Margaret, of all this matter, as I have often told you, 
I take not upon me neither to define nor dispute in 
these matters, nor I rebuke not nor impugn any 
other man's deed, nor I never wrote, nor so much as 
spake in any company, any word of reproach in any- 
thing that the parliament had passed, nor I meddle 
142 



not with the conscience of any other man, that either 
thinketh, or saith he thinketh, contrary unto mine. 
But as concerning mine own self, for thy comfort shall 
I say, daughter, to thee, that mine own conscience in 
this matter (I damn none other man's) is such, as may 
well stand with mine own salvation ; thereof am I, 
Meggy as sure, as that God is in heaven. And there- 
fore as for all the remnant, goods, lands, and life both 
(if the chance should so fortune) sith this conscience 
is sure for me, I verily trust in God, He shall rather 
strengthen me to bear the loss, than against this con- 
science to swear and put my soul in peril, sith all the 
causes that I perceive move other men to the contrary, 
seem not such unto me, as in my conscience make any 
change. When he saw me sit with this, very sad as I 
promise you, Sister, my heart was full heavy for the 
peril of his person, nay, for in faith I fear not his 
soul, he smiled upon me and said : how now, daughter 
Marget? What how, Mother Eve? Where is your 
mind now ? Sit not musing with some serpent in 
your breast, upon some new persuasion, to offer father 
Adam the apple once again. In good faith, father 
(quoth I), I can no further go, but am (as I trow 
Cresslda saith in Chaucer) come to Dukarnon, even at 
my wits' end. For sith the ensample of so many 
wise men cannot in this matter move you, I see not 
'43 



what to say more, but if I should look to persuade you 
with the reason that Master Harry Pattenson made. 
For he met one day one of our men, and when he had 
asked where you were, and heard that you were in 
the Tower still, he waxed even angry with you and 
said : Why, what aileth him that he will not swear ? 
Wherefore should he stick to swear ? I have sworn 
the oath myself. And so I can in good faith go 
now no further neither, after so many wise men, 
whom ye take for no ensample, but if I should say, 
like Master Harry : Why should you refuse to swear, 
father ? for I have sworn myself. 1 At this he laughed 
and said : That word was like Eve too, for she offered 
Adam no worse fruit than she had eaten herself. But 
yet, father (quoth I), by my troth, I fear me very sore, 
that this matter will bring you in marvellous heavy 
trouble. You know well that as I showed you, 
Master Secretary sent you word as your very friend, to 
remember that the parliament lasteth yet. Margaret, 
quoth my father, I thank him right heartily. But as 
I showed you then again, I left not this gear unthought 
on. And albeit I know well that if they would make 
a law to do me any harm that law could never be 



1 She took the oath with this exception, as far as it would 
stand with the law of God. 

144 



lawful, but that God shall I trust keep me in that 
grace that concerning my duty to my prince, no man 
shall do me hurt, but if he do me wrong (and then as 
I told you, this is like a riddle, a case in which a man 
may lese his head and have no harm) ; and notwith- 
standing, also, that I have good hope that God shall 
never suffer so good and wise a prince in such wise to 
requite the long service of his true faithful servant, 
yet sith there is nothing impossible to fall, I forgat 
not in this matter the counsel of Christ in the Gospel, 
that ere I should begin to build this castle for the 
safeguard of mine own soul, I should sit and reckon 
what the charge would be. I counted, Marget, full 
surely many a restless night, while my wife slept, and 
weened I had slept too, what peril were possible for to 
fall to me, so far forth that I am sure there can come 
none above. And in devising, daughter, thereupon, 
I had a full heavy heart. But yet I thank our Lord 
for all that, I never thought to change, though the 
very uttermost should hap me that my fear ran 
upon. No, father, (quoth I,) it is not like to think 
upon a thing that may be, and to see a thing that 
shall be, as ye should (our Lord save you), if the 
chance should so fortune. And then should you per- 
adventure think that you think not now, yet then 
peradventure it would be too late. Too late, daughter 

T,M, 145 L 



(quoth my father) Margaret ? I beseech our Lord, 
that if ever I make such a change it may be too late 
indeed. For well I wot the change cannot be good 
for my soul, that change I say that should grow but 
by fear. And therefore I pray God that in this 
world I never have good of such change. For so 
much as I take harm here, I shall have at the leastwise 
the less therefore when I am hence. And if it so 
were that I wist well now, that I should faint and 
fall, and for fear swear hereafter, yet would I wish to 
take harm by the refusing first, for so should I have 
the better hope for grace to rise again. And albeit 
(Margef) that I wot well my lewdness hath been 
such : that I know myself well worthy that God 
should let me slip, yet can I not but trust in His 
merciful goodness, that as His grace hath strengthened 
me hitherto, and made me content in my heart, to 
lese good, land, and life too, rather than swear against 
my conscience, and hath also put in the king toward 
me, that good and gracious mind, that as yet he hath 
taken from me nothing but my liberty (wherewith, as 
help me God), his grace hath done me so great good 
by the spiritual profit that I trust I take thereby, that 
among all his great benefits heaped upon me so thick, 
I reckon upon my faith my imprisonment even the 
very chief ; I cannot, I say, therefore, mistrust the 
146 



grace of God, but that either He shall conserve and 
keep the king in that gracious mind still, to do me none 
hurt, or else if His pleasure be, that for mine other 
sins I shall suffer in such a cause in sight as I shall not 
deserve, His grace shall give me that strength to take 
it patiently, and peradventure somewhat gladly too, 
whereby His High Goodness shall (by the merits of His 
bitter passion joined thereunto, and far surmounting 
in merit for me, all that I can suffer myself) make 
it serve for release of my pain in purgatory, and 
over that for increase of some reward in heaven. 
Mistrust Him, Megg, will I not, though I feel me 
faint. Yea, and though I should feel my fear even 
at point to overthrow me too, yet shall I remember 
how Saint Peter with a blast of wind began to sink for 
his faint faith, and shall do as he did, call upon 
Christ and pray Him to help. And then I trust He 
shall set His holy hand unto me, and in the stormy 
seas, hold me up from drowning. Yea, and if He 
suffer me to play Saint Peter further, and to fall full to 
the ground, and swear and forswear too (which our 
Lord for His tender passion keep me from, and let me 
lese if it so fall, and never win thereby) ; yet after 
shall I trust that His goodness shall cast upon me His 
tender piteous eye, as He did upon Saint Peter, and 
make me stand up again and confess the truth of my 
H7 



conscience afresh, and abide the shame and the harm 
here of mine own fault. And finally, Marget, this wot 
I very well, that without my fault He will not let me 
be lost. I shall therefore with good hope commit 
myself wholly to Him. And if He suffer me for my 
faults to perish, yet shall I then serve for a praise of 
His justice. But in good faith, Meg, I trust that His 
tender pity shall keep my poor soul safe, and make 
me commend His mercy. And therefore, mine own 
good daughter, never trouble thy mind for anything 
that ever shall hap me in this world. Nothing 
can come but that that God will. And I make me 
very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad 
in sight, it shall indeed be the best. And with this, 
my good child, I pray you heartily, be you and all 
your sisters, and my sons too, comfortable and service- 
able to your good mother my wife. And of your 
good husbands' minds I have no manner doubt. 
Commend me to them all, and to my good daughter 
dlington, and to all my other friends, sisters, nieces, 
nephews, and allies, and unto all our servants, man, 
woman, and child, and all my good neighbours, and 
our acquaintance abroad. And I right heartily pray 
both you and them, to serve God, and be merry and 
rejoice in Him. And if anything hap me that you 
would be loth, pray to God for me, but trouble not 
148 



yourself: as I shall full heartily pray for us all, that 
we may meet together once in heaven, where we shall 
make merry for ever, and never have trouble here- 
after. 



149 



LETTER IV 



Another Letter of Sir THOMAS MORE to bis daughter, 
Mrs. MARGARET ROPER, written with a coal. 

MINE own good daughter, our Lord be thanked, I am 
in good health of body, and in good quiet of mind ; 
and of worldly things I no more desire than I have. 
I beseech Him make you all merry in the hope of 
heaven. And such things as I somewhat longed to 
talk with you all, concerning the world to come, our 
Lord put them into your minds, as I trust He doth, 
and better too, by His Holy Spirit ; Who bless you 
and preserve you all. Written with a coal by your 
tender loving father, who in his poor prayers forge t- 
teth none of you all, nor your babes, nor your nurses, 
nor your good husbands, nor your good husbands' 
shrewd wives, nor your father's shrewd wife neither, 
nor our other friends. And thus fare ye heartily 
well for lack of paper. 

THOMAS MORE, KNIGHT. 



LETTER V 



A third letter of Sir THOMAS MORE'S to his daughter, 
Mrs. MARGARET ROPER, in answer to a Letter of hers 
to him persuading him to take the Oath of Succession. 

Our Lord bless you. 

IF I had not been, my dearly beloved daughter, at a 
firm and fast point, I trust, in God's great mercy this 
good great while before, your lamentable letter had 
not a little abashed me, surely far above all other 
things, of which I hear divers times not a few 
terrible toward me. But surely they all touched me 
never so near, nor were so grievous unto me, as to 
see you, my well-beloved child, in such vehement 
piteous manner, labour to persuade unto me the 
thing wherein I have, of pure necessity for respect 
unto mine own soul, so often given you so precise 
answer before. Wherein as touching the points of 
your letter, I can make none answer. For I doubt 
not but you well remember, that the matters which 
move my conscience (without declaration whereof I 
153 



can nothing touch the points), I have sundry times 
showed you that I will disclose them to no man. 
And, therefore, daughter Margaret, I can in this 
thing no further, but like as you labour me again to 
follow your mind, to desire and pray you both again, 
to leave off such labour, and with my former answers 
to hold yourself content. A deadly grief unto me, 
and much more deadly than to hear of mine own 
death, (for the fear thereof, I thank our Lord, the 
fear of hell, the hope of heaven, and the passion of 
Christ daily more and more assuage) is, that I per- 
ceive my good son your husband, and you my good 
daughter, and my good wife, and mine other good 
children and innocent friends, in great displeasure 
and danger of great harm thereby. The let 
whereof, while it lieth not in my hand, I can no 
further but commit all to God. Nam in manu del 
(saith the Scripture) cor regu est, et slcut dlvmones 
aquarum quocunque voluerit Impellit lllud. Whose high 
goodness I most humbly beseech to incline the noble 
heart of the king's highness to the tender favour of 
you all, and to favour me no better than God and 
myself know that my faithful heart toward him 
and my daily prayer for him do deserve. For 
surely if his highness might inwardly see my true 
mind such as God knoweth it is, it would, I trust, 
'54 



soon assuage his high displeasure. Which while I 
can in this world never in such wise shew, but that 
his Grace may be persuaded to believe the contrary 
of me, I can no further go, but put all in the hands 
of Him for fear of Whose displeasure, for the safeguard 
of my soul stirred by mine own conscience, (with- 
out insectation, or reproach laying to any other man's) 
I suffer and endure this trouble. Out of which I 
beseech Him to bring me, when His will shall be, 
into His endless bliss of Heaven, and in the mean- 
while, give me grace and you both, in all our agonies 
and troubles, devoutly to resort prostrate unto the 
remembrance of that bitter agony, which our 
Saviour suffered before His passion at the Mount. 
And if we diligently so do, I verily trust we shall 
find therein great comfort and consolation. And 
thus, my dear daughter, the blessed spirit of Christ, for 
His tender mercy, govern and guide you all, to His 
pleasure and your weal and comforts, both body and 
soul. 

Your tender loving Father, 

THOMAS MORE, KNIGHT. 



'55 



LETTER VI 



To this last Letter Mistress MARGARET ROPER wrote an 
answer and sent it to Sir THOMAS MORE her father, 
the copy whereof here followed. 

MINE own good father ; it is to me no little com- 
fort, sith I cannot talk with you by such means as I 
would, at the least way to delight myself among in 
this bitter time of your absence, by such means as 
I may, by as often writing to you as shall be 
expedient, and by reading again and again your most 
fruitful and delectable letter, the faithful messenger of 
your very virtuous and ghostly mind, rid from all 
corrupt love of worldly things, and fast knit only in 
the love of God and desire of Heaven, as becometh a 
very true worshipper and a faithful servant of God, 
which I doubt not, good father, holdeth His holy 
157 



hand over you, and shall (as He hath) preserve you 
both body and soul ; (ut sit mem sana in corpore sand) 
and namely now, when you have abjected all earthly 
consolations, and resigned yourself willingly, gladly, 
and fully for His love to His holy protection. 
Father, what think you hath been our comfort since 
your departing from us ? Surely the experience we 
have had of your life past and godly conversation and 
wholesome counsel, and virtuous example, and a 
surety not only of the continuance of that same, but 
also a great increase, by the goodness of our Lord, to 
the great rest and gladness of your heart, devoid of all 
earthly dregs and garnished with the noble vesture 
of heavenly virtues, a pleasant palace for the holy 
spirit of God to rest in, Who defend you (as I doubt 
not, good father, but of His goodness He will) from 
all trouble of mind and of body, and give me your 
most loving obedient daughter and handmaid, and all 
us your children and friends, to follow that we 
praise in you, and to our only comfort remember and 
commune together of you, that we may in conclusion 
meet with you, mine own dear father, in the 
bliss of Heaven, to which our most merciful Lord hath 
bought us with His precious blood. 

Your own most loving obedient daughter and 
bedes woman Margaret Roper, which desireth above 
158 



all worldly things to be in John a Wood's stead to do 
you some service. But we live in hope that we shall 
shortly receive you again. I pray God heartily we 
may, if it be His holy will. 



159 



LETTER Fit 



A Letter written and sent by Sir THOMAS MORE to his 
daughter Mistress ROPER, written the second or third 
day of May, in the Tear of our Lord, 1535, and in the 
27 'th Tear of the Reign of King HENRY VIII. 

Our Lord bless you. 

MY dearly beloved daughter, I doubt not but by 
the reason of the King's councillors resorting hither 
in this time, in which (our Lord be their comfort) 
these fathers of the Charterhouse and Master 
Reynolds of Sion be now judged to death for treason 
(whose matters and causes I know not) may hap 
to put you in trouble and fear of mind concerning me 
being here prisoner, specially for that it is not un- 
likely that you have heard that I was brought also 
before the council here myself, I have thought it 
necessary to advertise you of the very truth, to the end 
that you should neither conceive more hope than the 
matter giveth, lest upon another turn it might aggrieve 
your heaviness : nor more grief and fear than the 
matter giveth on the tother side. Wherefore shortly 

T.M. l6l M 



ye shall understand that on Friday, the last day of 
April in the afternoon, Master Lieutenant came in 
here unto me, and showed me that Master Secretary 
would speak with me, whereupon I shifted my gown, and 
went out with Master Lieutenant into the gallery to 
him, where I met many, some known and some 
unknown, in the way. And in conclusion coming 
into the chamber where his Mastership sat with 
Master Attorney, Master Solicitor, Master Bedell, and 
Master Doctor Tregonwell, I was offered to sit down 
with them, which in no wise I would. Whereupon 
Master Secretary showed unto me, that he doubted 
not, but that I had, by such friends as hither had 
resorted to me, seen the new statutes made at the 
last sitting of the parliament. Whereunto I answered : 
Yea, verily. Howbeit forasmuch as, being here, I 
have no conversation with any people, I thought it 
little need for me to bestow much time upon them, 
and therefore I redelivered the book shortly, and the 
effect of the statutes I never marked or studied to put 
in remembrance. Then he asked me whether I had 
not read thejirst statute of them, of the King being 
head of the church. Whereunto I answered, Yes. 
Then his Mastership declared unto me, that sith it 
was now by act of parliament ordained, that his 
highness and his heirs be, and ever of right have 
162 



been, and perpetually should be, supreme head in 
earth of the Church of England under Christ, the 
King's pleasure was, that those of his council there 
assembled, should demand mine opinion, and what 
my mind was therein. Whereunto I answered, that 
in good faith I had well trusted, that the king's 
highness would never have commanded any such 
question to be demanded of me, considering that I 
ever from the beginning, well and truly from time to 
time declared my mind unto his highness ; and since 
that time (I said) unto your Mastership, Master Secre- 
tary, also, both by mouth and by writing. And now I 
have in good faith discharged my mind of all such 
matters, and neither will dispute kings' titles nor popes' : 
but the King's true faithful subject I am, and will be, 
and daily I pray for him, and all his, and for you all 
that are of his honourable council, and for all the 
realm. And otherwise than this, I never intend to 
meddle. Whereunto Master Secretary answered, 
that he thought this manner of answer should not 
satisfy nor content the king's highness, but that his 
grace would exact a more full answer. And his 
Mastership added thereunto that the king's high- 
ness was a prince, not of rigour, but of 
mercy and pity. And though that he had found 
obstinacy at some time in any of his subjects, yet 
163 



when he should find them at another time com- 
formable and submit themselves, his grace would 
show mercy : and that concerning myself, his 
highness would be glad to see me take such com- 
fortable ways, as I might be abroad in the world 
again among other men, as I have been before. 
Whereunto I shortly (after the inward affection of my 
mind) answered for a very truth, that I would never 
meddle in the world again, to have the world given 
me. And to the remnant of the matter, I answered 
in effect as before, showing that I had fully deter- 
mined with myself, neither to study nor meddle with 
any matter of this world, but that my whole study 
should be upon the passion of Christ, and mine own 
passage out of this world. Upon this I was com- 
manded to go forth for a while, and after called in 
again. At which time Master Secretary said unto 
me, that though I were a prisoner condemned to per- 
petual prison, yet I was not thereby discharged of 
mine obedience and allegiance unto the king's high- 
ness. And thereupon demanded me whether that I 
thought that the king's grace might not exact of 
me such things as are contained in the statutes, and 
upon like pains, as he might upon other men. 
Whereto I answered that I would not say the con- 
trary. Whereunto he said that, likewise as the 
164 



king's highness would be gracious to them that he 
found comformable, so his grace would follow the 
course of his laws toward such as he shall find 
obstinate. And his Mastership said further, that my 
demeanour in this matter was a thing that of likeli- 
hood made others so stiff therein as they be. Whereto 
I answered, that I give no man occasion to hold any 
point one or other, nor never gave any man advice 
or counsel therein one way or other. And for con- 
clusion I could no farther go, whatsoever pain should 
come thereof. I am (quoth I) the king's true faithful 
subject and daily bedesman, and pray for his highness 
and all the realm. I do nobody no harm, I say 
none harm, I think none harm, but wish every- 
body good. And if this be not enough to keep a 
man alive, in good faith I long not to live. And I 
am dying already, and have since I came here, been 
divers times in the case that I thought to die within 
one hour. And I thank our Lord that I was never 
sorry for it, but rather sorry when I saw the pang past. 
And therefore my poor body is at the king's pleasure. 
Would God my death might do him good. After 
this Master Secretary said : Well, ye find no fault in 
that statute : find you any in any of the other statutes 
after ? Whereto I answered, Sir, whatsoever thing 
should seem to me other than good, in any of the 
165 



other statutes or in that statute either, I would not 
declare what fault I found, nor speak thereof. 
Whereunto finally his Mastership said, full gently, 
that of anything that I had spoken here should none 
advantage be taken. And whether he said farther 
that there was none to be taken, I am not well 
remembered. But he said that report should be 
made unto the king's highness, and his gracious 
pleasure known. Whereupon I was delivered again 
to Master Lieutenant, which was then called 
in. And so was I by Master Lieutenant brought 
again into my chamber. And here am I yet in 
such case as I was, neither better nor worse. That 
that shall follow lieth in the hand of God, Whom I 
beseech to put in the king's grace's mind, that thing 
that may be to His high pleasure, and in mine, to 
mind only the weal of my soul, with little regard of 
my body, and you with all yours, and my wife, and 
all my children, and all our other friends, both bodily 
and ghostly, heartily well to fare. And I pray you 
and them all pray for me, and take no thought what- 
soever shall happen me. For I verily trust in 
the goodness of God, seem it never so evil to this 
world, it shall indeed in another world be for the best. 
Your loving Father, 

THOMAS MORE, KNIGHT. 
1 66 



LETTER VIII 



Another Letter written and sent by Sir THOMAS MORE 
to bis Daughter, Mistress ROPER, written In the Tear 
of our Lord, 1535, and In the ^']th Tear of the Reign 
of King HENRY VIII. 

Our Lord bless you and all yours. 

FORASMUCH (dearly beloved daughter) as it is likely 
that you either have heard, or shortly shall hear, that 
the council were here this day, and that I was before 
them, I have thought it necessary to send you word 
how the matter standeth, and verily, to be short, I 
perceive little difference between this time and the 
last. For as far as I can see the whole purpose is, 
either to drive me to say precisely the t'one way, or 
else precisely the tother. Here sat my Lord of Can- 
terbury, my Lord Chancellor, my Lord of Suffolk, 
my Lord of Wiltshire, and Master Secretary. And 
after my coming, Master Secretary made rehearsal in 
what wise he had reported unto the king's highness, 

.67 



what had been said by his grace's council to me, and 
what had been answered by me to them at mine 
other being before them here last. Which thing his 
Mastership rehearsed, in good faith, very well, as I ac- 
knowledged and confessed and heartily thanked him 
therefore. Whereupon he added thereunto, that 
the king's highness was nothing content nor satisfied 
with mine answer, but thought that, by my demea- 
nour, I had been occasion of much grudge and harm 
in the realm, and that I had an obstinate mind and 
an evil toward him, and that my duty was, being his 
subject (and so he had sent them now in his name 
upon mine allegiance to command me) to make a 
plain and a terminate answer whether I thought the 
statute lawful or not. And that I should either ac- 
knowledge and confess it lawful, that his highness 
should be supreme head of the church of England, 
or else utter plainly my malignity. Whereto I 
answered that I had no malignity, and therefore I 
could none utter. And as to the matter I could 
none other answer make than I had before made, 
which answer his Mastership had there rehearsed. 
Very heavy I was that the king's highness should 
have any such opinion of me. Howbeit if there 
were one that had informed his highness many evil 
things of me that were untrue, to which his high- 
168 



ness for the time gave credence, I would be very 
sorry that he should have that opinion of me the 
space of one day. Howbeit if I were sure that other 
should come on the morrow, by whom his grace 
should know the truth of mine innocency, I should 
in the meanwhile comfort myself with consideration 
of that. And in likewise now, though it be great 
heaviness to me, that his highness hath such opinion 
of me for the while, yet have I no remedy to help 
it, but only to comfort myself with this consideration 
that I know very well that the time shall come when 
God shall declare my truth toward his grace before 
him and all the world. And whereas it might 
haply seem to be but small cause of comfort, be- 
cause I might take harm here first in the meanwhile, 
I thanked God that my case was such here in this 
matter, through the clearness of mine own conscience, 
that though I might have pain, I could not have 
harm. For a man may in such a case lese his head 
and have no harm. For I was very sure that I 
had no corrupt affection, but that I had always from 
the beginning truly used myself, looking first upon 
God, and next upon . the king, according to the 
lesson that ' his highness taught me at my first 
coming to his noble service, the most virtuous lesson 
that ever prince taught his servant,' whose highness 
169 



to have of me now such opinion is my great heaviness. 
But I have no means, as I said, to help it, but only 
comfort myself in the meantime with the hope of 
that joyful day in which my truth toward him shall 
well be known. And in this matter further I could 
not go, nor other answer thereto I could not make. 
To this it was said by my Lord Chancellor and Mas- 
ter Secretary both, that the king might by his laws 
compel me to make a plain answer thereto, either the 
t'one way or the tother. Whereto I answered that I 
would not dispute the king's authority, what his 
highness might do in such a case. But I said that 
verily, under correction, it seemed to me somewhat 
hard. For if it so were that my conscience gave me 
against the statute (wherein how my conscience giveth 
me I make no declaration) then I, nothing doing nor 
nothing saying against the statute, it were a very hard 
thing, to compel me to say, either precisely with it 
against my conscience to the loss of my soul, or pre- 
cisely against it to the destruction of my body. To 
this Master Secretary said, that I had ere this when I 
was Chancellor, examined heretics and thieves, and 
other malefactors, and gave me a great praise above 
my deserving in that behalf. And he said that I 
then, as he thought, and at the leastwise bishops, did 
use to examine heretics, whether they believed the 
170 



Pope to be head of the church, and used to compel 
them to make a precise answer thereto. And why 
should not then the king, since it is a law made here 
that his grace is head of the church here, compel 
men to answer precisely to the law here, as they did 
then concerning the Pope ? I answered and said, 
that I protested that I intended not to defend my 
part, or stand in contention. But I said there was a 
difference between those two cases, because that at 
that time, as well here as elsewhere through the corps 
of Christendom, the Pope's power was recognised for 
an undoubted thing ; which seemeth not like a thing 
agreed in this realm, and the contrary taken for truth 
in other realms. Whereto Master Secretary answered, 
that they were as well burned for the denying of that, 
as they be beheaded for the denying of this ; and 
therefore as good reason to compel them to make 
precise answer to the t'one as to the tother. Whereto 
I answered, that sith in this case a man is not by 
a law of one realm so bound in his conscience, where 
there is a law of the whole corps of Christendom to 
the contrary in matter touching belief, as he is by a 
law of the whole corps, though there hap to be 
made in some place a law local to the contrary, the 
reasonableness or the unreasonableness in binding a 
man to precise answer, standeth not in the respect 
171 



or difference between heading and burning, but 
because of the difference in charge of conscience, the 
difference standeth between heading and hell. Much 
was there answered unto this, both by Master Secre- 
tary and my Lord Chancellor, over long to rehearse. 
And in conclusion they offered me an oath, by which 
I should be sworn, to make true answer to such 
things as should be asked me on the king's behalf, 
concerning the king's own person. Whereto I 
answered, l that verily I never purposed to swear any 
book oath more while I lived.' Then they said that 
I was very obstinate if I would refuse that, for every 
man doth it in the star chamber and everywhere. I 
said that was true, but I had not so little foresight, 
but that I might well conjecture what should be part 
of mine interrogatories ; and as good it was to refuse 
them at the first as afterward. Whereto my Lord 
Chancellor answered, that he thought I guessed truth, 
for I should see them. And so they were showed 
me, ' and they were but twain ; the first, whether I 
had seen the statute ' ; the tother, ' whether I believed 
that it were a lawful made statute or not.' Where- 
upon I refused the oath, said further by mouth that 
the first I had before confessed, and to the second I 
would make none answer ; which was the end of our 
communication, and I was thereupon sent away. In 
172 



the communication before, it was said that it was 
marvelled that I stake so much in my conscience, 
while at the uttermost I was not sure therein. Whereto 
I said that I was very sure that mine own conscience, 
so informed as it is, by such diligence as I have so 
long taken therein, may stand with mine own salva- 
tion. ' I meddle not with the conscience of them 
that think otherwise.' Every man suo damno stat aut 
eadit. I am no man's judge. It was also said unto 
me, that if I had as lief be out of the world as in 
it, as I had there said, why did I not then speak even 
plain out against the statute ? It appeared well I was 
not content to die, though I said so. Whereto I 
answered, as the truth is, that I have not been a man 
of such holy living, as I might be bold to offer myself 
to death, lest God for my presumption might suffer 
me to fall, and therefore I put not myself forward but 
draw back. Howbeit, if God draw me to it Him- 
self, then trust I in His great mercy that He shall not 
fail to give me grace and strength. In conclusion 
Master Secretary said, that he liked me this day much 
worse than he did the last time. For then he said 
he pitied me much, and now he thought I meant not 
well. But God and I know both that I mean well, 
and so I pray God do by me. I pray you, be you 
and mine other good friends of good cheer whatso- 
173 



ever fall of me, and take no thought for me, but pray 
for me, as I do and shall for you and all them. 
Your tender loving Father, 

THOMAS MORE, KNIGHT. 



'74 



LETTER IX 



Sir THOMAS MORE was beheaded at the Tower-hill, In 
LONDON, on TUESDAY, the sixth day of JULY, in the 
year of our Lord 1535, and in the xxvii. year 
of the Reign of King HENRY VIII. And on the day 
next before, being MONDAY, and the fifth day of 
JULY, he wrote with a coal a letter to his daughter 
Mistress ROPER, and sent it to her (which was the last 
thing that ever he wrote), the copy whereof here 
followeth. 

OUR Lord bless you, good daughter, and your good 
husband, and your little boy, and all yours, and all 
my children, and all my god-children and all our 
friends. Recommend me, when ye may to my good 
daughter Cicily, whom I beseech our Lord to com- 
fort. And I send her my blessing, and to all her 
children, and pray her to pray for me. I send her an 
handkerchief: and God comfort my good son her 
husband. My good daughter Dance hath the picture 
in parchment, that you delivered me from my Lady 
175 



Coniers, her name is on the backside. Show her 
that I heartily pray her, that you may send it in my 
name to her again, for a token from me to pray for 
me. I like special well Dorothy Co/y, I pray you be 
good unto her. I would wit whether this be she 
that you wrote me of. If not, yet I pray you be good 
to the tother, as you may in her affliction, and to my 
good daughter Joan Aleyn too. Give her, I pray you, 
some kind answer, for she sued hither to me this day 
to pray you be good to her. I cumber you, good 
Margaret, much, but I would be sorry if it should be 
any longer than to morrow. For it is Saint Thomas' 
Eve, and the Utas of Saint Peter : and therefore to- 
morrow long I to go to God : it were a day very 
meet and convenient for me. I never liked your 
manner toward me better than when you kissed me 
last : for I love when daughterly love and dear charity 
hath no leisure to look to worldly courtesy. Fare- 
well, my dear child, and pray for me, and I shall for 
you and all your friends, that we may merrily meet in 
heaven. I thank you for your great cost. I send 
now to my good daughter Clement her algorism 
stone, and I send her, and my godson, and all hers 
God's blessing and mine. I pray you at time con- 
venient recommend me to my good son John More. 
I liked well his natural fashion. Our Lord bless him 
176 



and his good wife my loving daughter, to whom I 
pray him to be good, as he hath great cause : and 
that if the land of mine come to his hand, he break 
not my will concerning his sister Dance. And our 
Lord bless Thomas and Austen and all that they 
shall have. 



T.M. 177 



EPITAPHS 



Sir THOMAS MORE being Lord Chancellor of ENGLAND 
gave over that Office, by his great suit and labour, the 
1 6 day of May, A.D. 1532, and in the i^th year 
of the reign of King HENRY VIII. And after in that 
summer he wrote an epitaph in Latin and caused it to 
be written upon his tomb of stone which himself, while 
he was Lord Chancellor, had caused to be made in his 
Parish Church of CHELSEA, where he dwelt, three 
small miles from LONDON, the copy of which epitaph 
here followeth. 

THOMAS MORUS urbe Londinensi familia non celebri 
sed honesta natus, in literis utcunque versatus quum 
et causas aliquot annos juvenis egisset in foro, et in 
urbe sua pro Shyrevo jus dixisset, ab invictissimo rege 
Henrico octavo (cui uni regum omnium gloria prius 
inaudita contigit, ut Fidel defensor, qualem et gladio se 
et calamo vere prestitit, merito vocaretur) adscitus in 
Aulam est, delectusque in consilium, et creatus eques 
proquaestor primum, post Cancellarius Lancastriee, 
tandem Anglic miro Principis favore factus est. Sed 
179 



interim in publico Regni Senatu lectus est orator 
Populi ; praeterea legatus Regis nonnunquam fuit 
alias alibi : postremo vero Cameraci comes et collega 
junctus principi legationis Cuthberto Tunstallo turn 
Londmensi mox Dunelmensi Episcopo, quo viro vix 
habet orbis hodie quicquam eruditius, prudentius, 
melius. Ibi inter summos orbis christiani monarches 
rursus refecta fcedera redditamque mundo diu desider- 
atam pacem, et laetissimus vidit, et legatus interfuit. 

Quam super! pacem firment faxintque perennem. 
In hoc officiorum vel honorum cursu quum ita 
versaretur ut neque princeps optimus operam ejus 
improbaret, neque nobilibus esset invisus, nee inju- 
cundus populo, furibus autem, homicidis, haereticisque 
molestus, pater ejus * tandem Joannes Morns eques et 
in eum Judicum Ordinem a principe cooptatus, qui 
reglus consessus vocatur, homo civilis, suavis, innocens, 
mitis, misericors, aequus et integer, annis quidem 
gravis, sed corpore plusquam pro aetate vivido, post- 
quam eo productam sibi vitam vidit ut filium videret 
Anglice Cancellarium, satis in terra jam se moratum 
ratus, libens emigravit in Ccelum. At filius, defuncto 
patre, cui quamdiu supererat comparatus et juvenis 
vocari consueverat, et ipse quoque sibi videbatur, 
amissum jam patrem requirens, et aeditos ex se liberos 
i A.D. 1518. 
1 80 



quatuor ac nepotes undecim respiciens apud animum 
suum coepit persenescere. Auxit hunc afFectum animi 
subsecuta statim, velut adpetentis senij signum pectoris 
valetudo deterior. Itaque mortalium harum rerum 
satur, quam rem a puero pene semper optaverat, ut 
ultimos aliquot vitae suae annos obtineret liberos, 
quibus hujus vitae negotijs paulatim se subducens 
futurae posset immortalitatem meditari, earn rem 
tandem (si cceptis annuat DEUS) indulgentissimi 
Principis incomparabili beneficio resignatis honoribus 
impetravit : atque hoc sepulchrum sibi, quod mortis 
eum nunquam cessantis abrepere quotidie common fac- 
eret, translatis hue prioris uxoris ossibus, extruendum 
curavit. Quod ne superstes frustra sibi fecerit, neve 
ingruentem trepidus mortem horreat, sed desiderio 
Christi libens oppetat, mortemque ut sibi non omnino 
mortem, sed januam vitae faelicioris inveniat precibus 
eum piis, lector optime, spirantem precor defunctum- 
que prosequere. 

Under this epitaph in prose he caused to be written on 
his tomb this Latin epitaph In verses following, which 
himself had made zo 1 Tears before. 

Chara Tbomte jacet hie Joanna uxorcula Mori, 

Qui tumulum Alicia hunc destine, quique mihi. 

1 1513- 
181 



Una mihi dedit hoc conjuncta virentibus annis, 

Me vocet ut puer et trina puella patrem. 
Altera privignis (quae gloria rara novercae est) 

Tarn pia quam gratis vix fuit ulla suis. 
Altera sic mecum vixit, sic altera vivit, 

Charior incertum est, haec sit an haec fuerit. 
O simul O juncti poteramus vivere nos tres, 

Quam bene si factum religioque sinant. 
At societ tumulus, societ nos obsecro coelum, 

Sic Mors, non potuit quod dare Vita, dabit. 

But of this place ot rest Sir Thomas had like to 
have been disappointed, by his falling under the 
King's displeasure and having an untimely death, had 
it not been for the piety and interest of his daughter 
Mrs. Roper. For after his execution his headless 
body being buried by order in St. Peter's chapel 
within the Tower, Mrs. Roper got leave, not long 
after, to remove her father's corpse to Chelsea, to be 
laid where he himself had designed it should rest. 



182 



NOTES. 

3. William Roper, 1496-1578, was sheriff of Kent in 1521, 
and long time clerk of the pleas of the king's bench. He 
married in 1525 More's eldest daughter and lived much in his 
confidence. His wife died in 1544, but he survived till 3 Jan., 
1578. The work was apparently written in Queen Mary's 
time. 

5. St. Anthony's in London. A free school belonging to the 
Hospital of St. Anthony in Threadneedle Street, at that time 
taught by Nicolas Holt, author later of a Latin grammar 
called Lac Puerorum, which contains some of More's epigrams. 
It was, according to Stow, the best school in London. See 
Stow, Newcourt. 

Oxford. More was there in 1492-3, at Canterbury Hall, 
afterwards absorbed by Christ Church. He was taught Greek 
by Linacre. 

5. Cardinal Morton. See More's description of Morton's 
household in the Utopia. 

6. Ne*w Inn. Now destroyed. It lay on the site of the 
Aldwych constructed in 1903. More was a member in 
1492-3. 

6. Charterhouse. A Carthusian monastery founded by Sir 
Walter Manny in 1371. 

6. Master Colte. More's first wife was Jane (or Joan), 
daughter of John Colt, of Newhall, Essex. After her death 

18 3 



he married a widow, Alice Middleton, daughter of John 
More, of Losely, Surrey. 

7. three fifteenths. The Venetian Ambassador in 1500 says 
that one-fifteenth of the three estates amounted to 37,930. 
Italian relation, p. 52. 

eldest daughter, Margaret, m. James IV. of Scotland, 1 502. 

7. three daughters and one son. Margaret (1505) m. 
William Roper, Elizabeth (1506) m. William Dancy, and Cecilia 
(1507) m. Giles Heron, John (1509) m. Anne Cresacre. 

7. called to the Bench ; i.e. became a bencher. Reader in 
Court. An office reserved for benchers. His first reading was 
in the autumn of 1511, at Lincoln's Inn, his second in Lent, 
1516. He had before been reader in Furnival's Inn. 

8. bis father. John More (sergeant-at-law Nov., 1503, 
Justice Common Pleas, Nov., 1517, King's Bench April 1520) 
was a Commissioner for Hertfordshire for the collection of the 
subsidy. 

8. over sea. More did, in fact, visit Louvain and Paris in 
1508. 

8. Sion. The monastery of St. Saviour and St. Bridget of 
Sion at Isleworth, founded by Henry V. 

9. merchants of the Stilliard were the Flemish merchants 
of the Hanse. Their house was on the site of Cannon Street 
Station. They were privileged in 1259, and were governed by 
their own laws. The "English Merchants" were the 
Merchant Adventurers' Company, a branch of the Mercers, who 
received a charter in 1505 to trade with the Low Countries. 
Their first charter was in 1407. This choice of More took 
place in 1514. See Gross and Cunningham for details of the 
Hanse, etc. 

10. the Pope's ambassador. Cardinal Campeggio. 

11. traverse. First a screen, then a cross bench, and then 
any private seat or room screened by a traverse. 

into the leads. On the roof. 

12. treasurer of the Exchequer. It was while More held 
this office that Tunstall dedicated to him his treatise " de arte 
supputandi," the first Arithmetic printed in England. 

I8 4 



1 9. sith. Since. 

27. no mastery. Mastery is magisterium a masterpiece 
a thing requiring great skill. 

29. sweating sickness. This disease appeared first in 1485, 
then in 1508, 1517, 1528, and 1551, when it appeared for the 
last time. See Social England, II. 755 seq. for an account of 
its symptoms and spread. 

30. glister. Clyster. 

30. God's marks are those symptoms in any disease which 
betoken certain death. Cf. "The marks of the plague com- 
monly called Goddes markes," quoted in 1558, in the N.E.D. 

31. ivood. Wroth, angry, mad. 

32. Longland, Bishop of Lincoln (1521-1547). This charge 
seems to have been unfounded. 

36. in a fume. A fit of anger, an irritable mood. See 
Skelton's Why come ye not to Court. 

37. ambassadors to Cambray. In July, 1529. The peace 
was concluded Aug. 5. 

42. all-ivere-it. Cf. a/beit, a/though. 

44. injunctions. The Equity jurisdiction corrected the 
rigour of an application of the letter of the law to cases outside 
its original scope by injunctions to stop proceedings, etc., until 
the Chancery court was satisfied that justice was done. 

48. my sister More. Anne Cresacre, who married Sir 
Thomas More's son. 

47. I had lie-ver. I would rather. 

53. twenty marks. 13 6s. %d. annual value = 1 60 
per annum now, say a capital value of about 2,000. He was 
earning between 4,000 and 5,000 present value when he 
entered the royal service. 

54. sadly. Soberly. 

55. Quia spicula pravisa minus l&dunt. Foreseen griefs 
wound the less. 

59. certain nun. Elizabeth Barton, the "holy maid of 
Kent." Executed at Tyburn, April, 1534. 

61. Wiltshire. Sir Thomas Boleyn (1477-1539), Earl of 
Wiltshire, father of Anne Boleyn. 

I8 S 



62. angels. A gold coin, at this time coined to be worth 
about js. 6d. (present value 4 los. od. in purchasing power). 

62. instant. Imperative. 

63. for tediousness omitting. "For fear of tediousness omit- 
ting." A latinism. 

64. misprision of treason is the bare knowledge and conceal- 
ment of treason without any degree of assent thereto, for any 
assent makes the party a traitor. 

66. a book of the assertion. This was the " Assertio septem 
sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum," etc. London, 
1521,410, etc. 

67. Statute of PramunirC) imposed 1353 and again in 1392. 
By preventing the recognition of any foreign jurisdiction in 
England it became a powerful weapon in the hands of Henry 
VIII. 

70. Indignatio principis mors est. The wrath of the prince is 
death. 

70. Quod differtur non aufertur. What is put off is not 
done away with. 

71. to appear at Lambeth. April 13, 1534. The Act had 
been passed on March 30. 

71. be bouseled. Received the Communion. 
rounded me in the ear. Whispered me. 

72. not to be acknoivn. Not to be recognizable from the 
other. 

72. Sir Richard Cromwell. This name is variously given as 
Sir Richard Southwell and Sir Richard Winkefield. 

75. a -wanton. A pet. Cf. " Like little wanton boys that 
swim on bladders." 

76. fint statute. 26 H. VIII. March 30, 1534. 

another statute. " When Parliament met on 3 November, 
1534, it was voted that the oath as administered to More and 
Fisher was to be reputed the very oath intended by the act of 
succession." D.N.B. 

77. contrary to the order of laiu. More's goods were forfeit 
owing to his refusal to take the oath, but the effect of the con- 
veyances was that they were no longer his. 

1 86 



78. Master Reynolds. Richard Reynolds, executed May 4, 
1535, beatified at the same time as More. 

79. silly. Weak, frail. 

79. These verses are printed in the "Works" of More, 
p. 1432, and are there called " Lewys the lost lover." See a 
fuller discussion in the preface. 

8 1. What the good-yere. A favourite phrase. See Merry 
Wives of Windsor, I. 4. Much Ado about Nothing, I. 3. 

8 1 . muse. Wonder. 

82. JondJy. Foolishly. Tylle valle, Tylle valle. First line 
of a popular song, occurs in Twelfth Night, II. 3., 2 Henry IV., 
II.4., Skelton, Gower, etc. 

84. Statute. 26 H. VIII. c. 13. Nov. 18, 1534. 

88. Quia si dixerimus. " If we say that we have no sin, 
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." i John i. 8. 

to temporal man before. More was the first layman to be 
Lord High Chancellor. 

92. St. Paul said to the Corinthians. i Corinthians iv. 15. 

95. merrily. With good cheer. 

Old Swan. The landing place west of London Bridge, still in 
existence as a pier. 

96. More's trial and condemnation took place July ist, 

1 S3$- 

98. Utas of St. Peter. The Octave of St. Peter and the 
Eve of the Translation of St. Thomr.s a Becket. 

100. javill. Javel, a worthless fellow. 

105. secretly. In private, silently. 

108. played their pageant. In the old town plays each 
company came in turn to every platform, played their pageant, 
or share of the plays, and went on to the next stand. The 
word was also used for a series of emblematic charades or even 
pictures. More himself had designed some of these last, and 
written verses for them. 

no. soyleth. Assoileth. 

114. JEsop's fables. On p. 124 this is referred to Wolsey. 

123. sely. Simpleton. 

130. let in line 3 = delay. At the foot of the page=allow. 

I8 7 



Pie. The court of Piepowder. A court of summary 
jurisdiction in fairs, presided over by the bailiff of the Lord of 
the Manor, or other holder of the tolls. 

131. escbeator. An officer appointed to take note of the 
escheats and forfeitures in his district, and to report them to thr 
Exchequer. 

tolling. Dragging. 

quests'. The jurors and bailiff formed the " inquest." 

cast. Condemn in costs. 

132. wannest. Gettest to. 

146. letudness. Ignorance, folly. 

154. Nam in manu, etc. For the heart of the king is in the 
hand of God, etc. 

158. namely. Especially. 

171. corps. Body. 

176. algorism stone. Probably a slate ruled in columns to 
work simple sums in arithmetic on. 

182. These are extracted from Weaver's Funeral Monu- 
ments, pp. 505-6. 



188 



BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE. 

WILLIAM ROPER'S LIFE. 

(i). The Mirrour of Vertue in worldly greatness, or the life 
of Syr Thomas More, Knight, sometime Lord Chancellour. 
Edited by T.P. (? Thomas Plowden). Paris, 1626. izmo 
(B.M.). 

(2) Edited by Thomas Hearne, Oxford, 1716, 8vo (B.M.). 

(3) Edited by John Lewis, London, 1729, 8vo (B.M.). 

(4) The same London, 1731, 8vo (B.M.). 

(5) The same Dublin, 1765, 8vo (Singer). 

(6) Edited by Singer, London, 1817, 8vo (B.M.), only 150 

copies. 

(7) The same London, 1822, 8vo (B.M.). 

(8) Lewis, Dublin, 1835, 8vo (B.M.) (7th Edition). 

(9) Hearne-Lumby, Cambridge, 1879, 8vo (B.M.), with the 

Utopia. 

(10) Hearne-Adams, London, 1886, 8vo (B.M.), with the 

Utopia. 
(n) Singer-Gollancz, London, fol. 

MSS. in the British Museum. Harleian 6166, 6254, 6362, 

7030- 

THOMAS STAPLETON'S LIFE IN "TRES THOMAE." 

(1) Douai, 1588, 8vo (B.M.). 

(2) Cologne, 1612, 8vo (B.M.). 

(3) Paris, 1620, fol. (B.M.). 

(4) Cologne, 1689, fol., in collected Works of More. 

(5) Gratz, 1689, 8vo (B.M.). 

(6) Liege, 1849, 8vo (B.M.) (a French translation). 

CRESACRE MORE'S LIFE. 

(1) Paris? 1626, 4to (B.M. ). (? London). 

(2) London, 1642, 4to. 

(3) London, 1726, 8vo (B.M.). 

(4) Leipzig, 1741, 8vo (Oellinger). A German translation. 

(5) Edited by Joseph Hunter, London, 1828, 8vo (B.M.). 

J. Hoddesdon's History of the Life and Death of More, 
London, 1652, 8vo (B.M.). Another Edition, 1662 i2mo 
(Oellinger). 

189 



INDEX. 



Aiington, Alice, More's step- 
daughter : 113, 119, 122. 
Anthony's, St., free school : 5, n. 
Audley, Lord : 69. 

Bishops at Coronation of Anne 

Boleyn : 57. 

Boleyn Anne : 32, 56, 57, 75. 
Books taken from More in the 

Tower: 83. 
Bucklersbury : 7. 

Cambray : 37, n. 

Campeggio, Cardinal : 34, n. 

Charles V on the death of More : 
102. 

Chaucer quoted : 143. 

Colte, Master John, More's father- 
in-law : 6, . 

Cranmer, Thomas: 55, 109. 

Cromwell, Thomas : 55, 70. 

Cromwell, Sir Richard: 72. 

Dancy, Elizabeth, daughter of 

More: 175, 177. 
Divorce of Henry VIII : 33, 56. 

Fisher, Bishop: 59, 107, 114, 128. 



Fitz James, Chief Justice: 94. 
Fox, Bishop : 8. 
Furnivall's Inn : 6. 

Grocyn, Dr. William: 6. 

Henry VIII : 21, 33 ; change of 
policy towards More : 59. 

Heron, Giles, More's son-in-law : 
42 ; Cicely Heron, 175. 

Immaculate Conception : 137. 
Jury, trial by : 45. 

Katherine, Queen : 32. 

Kent, Maid of (Elizabeth Barton), 

Nun of Canterbury : 59, nr, 

n. 
Kingston, Sir William: 95. 

La timer, Bishop : 107. 
Laws, obligation of : 135, seq. 
Linacre, Thomas : n. 
Lincoln's Inn : 6, 7. 
Longland, Bishop : 32, n. 

Marney, Lord : 19. 



169045 



More, Sir Thomas: Education, 
5; M.P., 7; Under Sheriff, 

; Counsel for Pope, 10 ; 
peaker, 12; estimate of 
Henry's favour, 22 ; modesty, 
23 ; ambassador, 24 ; love 
of peace, 25 ; piety, 27 ; 
exhortation to his family, 27, 
seq. ; the King's divorce, 33 ; 
Lord Chancellor, 39 ; equity, 
42 ; respect to his father, 43 ; 
the Judges, 44; clergy's 
testimonal refused, 46 ; 
resigns Chancellorship, 51 ; 
comparative poverty, 52 ; 
coronation of Anne Boleyn, 
57; refuses presents, 61, 
seq. ; accused of misprision of 
treason, 64 ; summoned to 
take the oath, 71 ; sent to 
the Tower, 72 ; pity for 
Queen Anne, 75 ; property 
confiscated, 77 ; verses of, 
79 ; indicted for treason, 
84; his wife (Alice Middle- 
ton), 54, 81 ; his infirmities, 
50, 118 ; trial of, 85, seq. ; 
speech in arrest of judgment, 
91 ; farewells, 96, 98 ; execu- 
tion : 101 ; epitaph, 179. 

More, Sir John: 43, n; fined by 
Henry VII, 8. 

Morton, Cardinal : 5. 

New Inn ; 6, n. 

Norfolk, Duke of : 39, 50, 70. 

Oxford, 6, n. 



Parnell charges More with ac- 
cepting bribes: 61. 

Patenson, Henry, More's fool: 
144. 

Piepowder, Court of : 130, n. 

Pope, authority of : 67. 

Pope, Sir Thomas : 99. 

Reynolds, Richard: 60, 78. 

Rich, Richard (afterwards Lord), 
perjury of : 83, seq. 

Roper, William : 3, n. ; conversa- 
tions with More : 22, 25, 35, 
64, 68. 

Roper, Margaret, daughter of 
More: 29, 48; conversa- 
tions, 70, 74, 78 ; farewell to 
More, 96 ; last letter to, 98, 
118. 

Sion : 8, n. 

Steelyard or Stilliard, Merchants 

of : 9, n. 
Stokesley, Bishop : 38 ; enemy of 

Wolsey, 39. 
Supremacy, Oath of, altered 

illegally: 76; reasons for 

refusing, 106, 120. 
Sweating sickness : 29, . 

Tunstall, Bishop of Durham : 33, 

37, 46, n. 
Tyler, Master: 7. 

Voysey, Bishop: 46. 

Whitforde, Richard: 8. 
Wiltshire, Lord : 61, n. 
Wolsey, Cardinal : 9, 18, 31, 124. 
Wood, John a : 73. 



192 



v* 



r 



"ill! P." 

2322 

The life of Sir Thomas .R625 
More