The family separation policy outraged the public in the , but despite legal challenges, it never fully ended. Conditions for detainees have not been improving. Those detainees reported sitting outside for weeks in temperatures that soared above degrees. He was covered in bruises. Mass detention without trial earned a new name and a specific identity at the end of the nineteenth century. Other kinds of group detention had appeared much earlier in North American history. The US government drove Native Americans from their homelands into prescribed exile, with death and detention in transit camps along the way.
Some Spanish mission systems in the Americas had accomplished similar ends by seizing land and pressing indigenous people into forced labor.
During the years when slavery was legal in the US, detention was one of its essential features. Exile, theft, and forced labor can come later, but in the beginning, detention itself is usually the point of concentration camps. By the end of the nineteenth century, the mass production of barbed wire and machines guns made this kind of detention possible and practical in ways it never had been before. After women and children began dying in vast numbers behind barbed wire because there had been little planning for shelter and even less for food, US President William McKinley made his call to war before Congress.
After a grim, week-long fight, the Marines took the hill. It became a naval base, and the United States has never left that patch of land. As part of the larger victory, the US inherited the Philippines. Following a massacre of American troops at Balangiga in September , during the third year of the conflict, the US established its own concentration camp system. Meanwhile, in southern Africa in , the British had opened their own camps during their battle with descendants of Dutch settlers in the second Boer War. British soldiers filled tent cities with Boer women and children, and the military authorities called them refugee camps.
They are not refugee camps. They are camps of concentration. Maggoty meat rations and polluted water supplies joined outbreaks of contagious diseases amid crowded and unhealthy conditions in the Boer camps. More than 27, detainees are thought to have died there, nearly 80 percent of them children. The British had opened camps for black Africans as well, in which at least 14, detainees died—the real number is probably much higher.
Aside from protests made by some missionaries, the deaths of indigenous black Africans did not inspire much public outrage. Much of the history of the suffering in these camps has been lost. These early experiments with concentration camps took place on the periphery of imperial power, but accounts of them nevertheless made their way into newspapers and reports in many nations. As a result, the very idea of them came to be seen as barbaric. By the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, the first camp systems had all been closed, and concentration camps had nearly vanished as an institution.
Within months of the outbreak of World War I, though, they would be resurrected—this time rising not at the margins but in the centers of power. Between and , camps were constructed on an unprecedented scale across six continents. Those World War I detainees were, for the most part, foreigners—or, in legalese, aliens—and recent anti-immigration legislation in several countries had deliberately limited their rights. Though a small number of people were shot in riots in these camps, and hunger became a serious issue as the conflict dragged on, World War I internment would present a new, non-lethal face for the camps, normalizing detention.
Some of these camps were clearly not safe for those interned. Local camps appeared in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in , after a white mob burned down a black neighborhood and detained African-American survivors. While some kinds of camps were understood to be harsher, after World War I their proliferation did not initially disturb public opinion. They had yet to take on their worst incarnations. Detainees at Nohra were allowed to vote at a local precinct in the elections of March 5, , resulting in a surge of Communist ballots in the tiny town.
Locking up groups of civilians without trial had become accepted. Only the later realization of the horrors of the Nazi death camps would break the default assumption by governments and the public that concentration camps could and should be a simple way to manage populations seen as a threat. However, the staggering death toll of the Nazi extermination camp system—which was created mid-war and stood almost entirely separate from the concentration camps in existence since —led to another result: a strange kind of erasure.
It was no longer applied to the kind of extrajudicial detention it had denoted for generations. The many earlier camps that had made the rise of Auschwitz possible largely vanished from public memory. It is not necessary, however, to step back a full century in American history to find camps with links to what is happening on the US border today.
Tens of thousands of Haitians fleeing instability at home were picked up at sea and diverted to the Cuban base, to limit their legal right to apply for asylum. In one case, a federal court ruled that it did have jurisdiction over the base, but the government agreed to release the Haitians who were part of the lawsuit in exchange for keeping that ruling off the books. A ruling in a second case would assert that the courts did not have jurisdiction.
Absent the prior case, the latter stood on its own as precedent.
This passage is followed by very interesting remarks on the force of the Greek article, and how its force may be rendered in English. Such, then, are the materials of this Memoir. Of the use made of them the writer is no competent judge. His self-love suggests to him no higher merits than that he has been industrious, and has worked with a sym- pathy for his subject. I could have no real sympathy with such a man as Sir Thomas More if I did not appreciate the freedom of his judgment, and freely use my own with due proportion. Rome has de- clared her judgment ; and no fine, discriminating touches, no delicate lights and shades, can be permitted to interfere with the uniform brightness of one of her saintly martyrs.
Gairdner somewhat guards these words by adding : " This, we suspect, is what an ordi- nary Protestant will think, and an ordinary Romanist will really think the same, with this difference merely, that the latter is submissive and humble before an authority that the former does not feel himself in any way bound to respect ". Gairdner is, however, here not quite accurate. XIX freer judgment, he is not authorised to suppose that even the most solemn judgment of canonisation places the object of it beyond a fair, candid, and intelligent criticism, even for the most docile and ordinary Catholics.
But the life, character, and writings of Sir Thomas More have been subjected to no authori- tative scrutiny by the Holy See, and no judgment whatever has been passed upon them. It is only as martyrs of the faith that he and those included in the decree of the 29th December, , are declared Blessed. But neither by this first decree, permitting their public cultus, nor by any further and more precise judgment, will the Church wish to convert the biographer into a writer of legend or a mere panegyrist.
Canonisation surrounds the saintly head with a halo, but does not transform the features so that we cannot steadily fix our gaze upon them. If I have been sparing in criti- cism, it is because the longer and more minutely I have studied those features, the more I have admired and loved them. A word in conclusion regarding the frontispiece. Several beautiful engravings of More's portrait have been published, which I might have reproduced. The portrait that I have chosen is somewhat worn and blurred, but then it is absolutely authentic.
It has been photographed from the original crayon sketch by Holbein in the Windsor Collection. The copies have been made, with Her Majesty's gracious permission, by Messrs. Constitution, Qnofiiam divinae bouitati, ist May, The most authoritative ecclesiastical historians, therefore, are unani- mously of opinion that they all shed their blood for the defence, restoration, and preservation of the Catholic Faith. Gregory XIII.
Moreover, after he had caused the sufferings of the Christian Martyrs to be painted in fresco by Nicholas Circiniana in the Church of St. The representations of these martyrdoms painted in the said Church remained, with the knowledge and approbation of the Roman Pontiffs who succeeded Gregory XIII.
From this record, either by inscriptions placed beneath them, or by other sure indications, many of these Martyrs are known by name; that is to say, fifty-four. Francis; yohn Stone, of the Order of St. Until lately, the Cause of these Martyrs had never been officially treated. Some time ago, in the year i, Cardinal Nicholas Wise- man, of illustrious memory. But as, ac- cording to the prevailing practice of the Congregation of Sacred Rites, a Festival can be instituted in regard only to those Servants of God to whom ecclesiastical honour cultus has been already given and rightly sanctioned by the Apostolic See, the said petition was not granted.
Wherefore, in these last years, a new petition was presented to Our Holy Father the Sovereign Pontiff Leo XHL, by His Eminence Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, the present Archbishop of Westminster, and the other Bishops of England, together with the Ordinary Process which had been there completed, and other authentic documents, in which were contained the proofs of Martyrdom as to those who suffered from the year to 15S3, and also the aforesaid concessions of the Roman Pontiffs in regard to those above-mentioned.
The present Decree was issued on this 29th day of December, sacred to the Martyr Thomas Archbishop of Canterbury, whose faith and con- stancy these Blessed Martyrs so strenuously imitated. Laurence Salvati, Secretary. Youth, III. Choice of a State of Life, IV. Early Manhood, V. Literary, VIII. Chancellor, XIII. After the Resignation, XIV. Treatment of Heretics, XV. English Controversy, XVI. Before the Council, XIX. Refusal of the Oath, XX. The Tower, XXI. The Trial,. Astronomical System, ,, E.
Cresacre More says he was born in He seems to have taken this date from the family picture, commonly called the Burford Picture, pamted in On this picture is an inscription stating that in Sir Thomas was in the twenty-sixth year of his age, and that he was in his fifty-fifth year at his death — 6th July, The error arose from supposing that the more famous Holbein family picture, on which the ages are noted, was painted in ; for on this Sir Thomas is declared to be in his fiftieth year.
The picture, however, was painted not later than January, This will be shown later on. Stapleton errs still more widelv. In Chapter IV. This would place his birth in the latter part of Again, in Chapter VI. The same mistake occurs in Chapter I, Though Stapleton was intimate with members of More's household, they apparently only guessed at his age, and it would seem from their mistake that he looked younger than he really was. Blessed John Fisher's looks, on the contrary, caused his age to be greatly exaggerated. The same document makes known to us the maiden name of his mother, and the correct number of his brothers and sisters.
Stapleton could not dis- cover the mother's name. Cresacre More gives it as Hand- comb of Holiwell, in Bedfordshire. In , Mr. William Aldis Wright discovered, on the last leaves of a MS. Giles in Cripplegate Without, London. They had issue, three sons and three daughters. The eldest child, Jane, was born on nth jVLarch, The second child was Thomas, the future chancellor and martyr. Foss, John More's second wife was Mrs. The third wife's name was More. Seebohm's Oxford Reformers, 2nd edition i86g. X Md quod die veneris proximo post Festum purificacionis beate Marie virginis videlicet septimo die Februarii inter horam secundam et horam tertiam in mane natus fuit Thomas More filius Joannis More Gent, anno regni Regis Edwardi quarti post conquestum Anglic decimo septimo.
Stapleton says Thomas had no brothers, and only two sisters, Jane and Elizabeth. It is probable that John, Edward, and Agatha all died in their infancy. In the epitaph which Sir Thomas prepared for himself, he says that he was born of " a family, not illustrious, yet honour- able ". Edward Foss, who has gone into the question of More's origin with much detail, differs entirely in his view as to the nobility of his family.
His researches have led him to discover three men of the name of John More, connected with the Inns of Court. There was one in the Middle Temple who was reader in that society in , and again in 15 Foss gives convincing reasons that this gentleman cannot have been the future judge, who belonged to Lincoln's Inn, not to the Temple. He was subsequently called to the bar and became a bencher, and was appointed reader in There is, however, a second John More in that society, who, in , is called Junior.
He also was butler, and Mr. Foss takes him to have been a son of the one just mentioned, and the father of Sir Thomas ; and he thinks he was raised from the position he occupied to become a member of the society by his father's influence. Whatever may be the truth with regard to this matter, the father of the future chancellor received the coif of sergeant-at-law in November, Sir Thomas composed his own epitaph, in which he thus speaks of his father, who was lately deceased : " His father, John More, Knight, appointed by his king to the order of judges called the King's Bench, was a man courteous, affable, innocent, gentle, merciful, just, and uncorrupted ".
The crayon sketch made by Holbein of this venerable man in , when he was in his seventy-sixth year, is still in existence in the Windsor collection. It is a charming face, full of life and kindly mirth. He seems to be uttering one of the pleasant sayings for which he is said to have been famous, though eclipsed i y his more brilliant son.
We find noblemen bearing the title, and receiving a salary as "butler" to a corporation. For when he heareth folk blame wives, and say that there be so many of them shrews, he saith that they defame them falsely. For he saith plainly that there is but one shrew-wife in the world, but he saith indeed that every man weeneth he hath her, and that that one is his own. One of his son's epigrams alludes to this class of sharp sayings al out wives : — Hoc quisque dicit ; dicit, at ducit tamen, Quin sex sepultis septimam ducit tamen.
John Clements heard Sir Thomas repeat what he had heard from his father, Sir John : that his first wife in a dream saw engraved on her marriage ring, as in a series of cameos, the names and likenesses of the children she should bear. One of these was so obscure that she could not recognise it, and this referred to a child of untimely birth ; another shone far brighter than the rest.
The horse stumbled in ascending the bank ; the nurse, in fear of falling into the water, threw the child over the iieighbouring hedge. When she got safe to land she found the babe lying unhurt, and laughing as she stooped to pick him up. Thomas was born in the heat of the civil wars of the Roses, and, being five years old at the death of Edward IV.
This prediction, so soon followed by its fulfilment, made so deep an impression on the child that he never forgot it. Anthony's, a free school belonging to the Hos- pital of St. At all events it was not Sander's invention, as Burnet affirms. Thence he was trans- ferred to the household of Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury.
The households of great ecclesiastics were schools both of learning and good breeding for the sons of the gentry, and even of the higher nobility. Many years later, and long after the Cardinal's death, More put the following description of his patron in the mouth of Hythloday, the supposed traveller to Utopia : — " The Cardinal was of a middle stature, retaining his strength even in advanced age ; his looks begot reverence rather than fear ; his conversation was easy, but serious and grave ; he sometimes took pleasure to try the force of those that came as suitors to him upon business by speaking sharply, though decently, to them, and by that he discovered their spirit and presence of mind ; with which he was much delighted when it did not grow up to impudence, as bearing a great resemblance to his own temper, and he looked on such persons as the fittest men for affairs.
He spoke both gracefully and weightily ; he was eminently skilled in the law, had a vast understanding, and a prodigious memory ; and those excellent talents with which nature had furnished him were improved by study and experience. When I was in England the king depended much on his counsels, and the Government seemed to be chiefly supported by him ; for from his youth he had been all along practised in affairs ; and, having passed through many traverses of fortune, he had, with great cost, acquired a vast stock of wisdom, which is not soon lost when it is pur- chased so dear.
Jesus Christ, as a Divine institution, is independent of its earthly representatives, yet a mind early prejudiced acquires with difficulty that well-balanced judgment that is able to consider calmly good and evil, and to assign each to its proper source. Roper writes as follows: "Though More were young of years, yet would he at Christmas 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 the players beside. Whereupon, for his better furtherance in learning, he placed him at Oxford.
As I can find no such tone in More's Utopia, it is impossible for me to attribute it to Morton's influence. IT was probably in the year , when he was fourteen years old, that More was sent to the university. Of his Oxford career our information is very scanty. Roper merely says that Cardinal Morton " placed him at Oxford, where, when he was in the Greek and Latin tongues sufficiently instructed, he was then for the study of the law put to an Inn of Chancery ".
Harpsfield, an Oxford man, was able to add the length of his stay at the university : " For the short time of his abode," he writes, "being not fully two years, and for his age, he wonderfully profited in the Latin and Greek tongues ; where if he had settled and fixed himself, and run his full race in the study of the liberal sciences and divinity, I trow he would have been the singular and only spectacle of this our time for learning". At the suppression it was transferred by Henry to his or rather Wolsey's great founda- tion of Christ Church.
Its site is now occupied by Canter- bury Quadrangle of that college. It was easy for the Cardinal to find him an entrance in this hall. We are not told how far he contributed to his main- tenance there. The life of a scholar, as provided by the foundation, was a hard one. Mary's Hall has been mentioned by others as his residence. In his address to his family after resigning the chancellorship, he said : " I have been brought up at Oxford, at an Inn of the Chancery, at Lincoln's Inn, and also in the King's Court, and so from the least degree to the highest ".
If it is true that More's father was the quondam butler of Lincoln's Inn, he would be only a young and struggling barrister, burdened with a large family, at the period of his son's Oxford residence. For this reason he gave him the bare necessaries, and would not allow him a farthing to spend freely. This he carried out so strictly that he had not money to mend his worn-out shoes, without asking it from his father. More used often to relate this con- duct of his father, and greatly extolled it.
Such a testimony cannot be lightly set aside, since Erasmus became intimate with More in his early manhood ; but it is pushing the words of Erasmus beyond their necessary reach to suppose, as some have done, that John More was unwilling that his son should learn Greek, or that Thomas gave himself to this study in distinct opposition to his father's will. For, according to his biographers, his filial piety and deference to his father's wishes knew no bounds, and he seems to have complied with them fully by vigorously pro- secuting his legal studies, and giving to literature those hours only which he could save from sleep or recreation.
Stapleton on this head writes : " Throughout his whole life he was most reverent towards his father, so that he neither offended him in anything, nor took offence at anything said or done by him. When he was chancellor he did not hesitate, publicly in the palace of Westminster, to kneel down and ask his father's blessing, according to the excellent custom of our country.
For with us children are wont both morning and evening to kneel and ask the blessing of both parents, though, when grown up and married, especially in the higher classes, they discontinue the practice, whereas More continued it. If More's study of Cireek was for the sake of the treasures of literature and philosophy embodied in that language, he studied Latin no less for its practical utility. It was the means of communication not only in the Church, but between statesmen, ambassadors, and the learned and cultured of every country.
It was necessary to write and to speak it with facility and elegance as well as to read it. Probably not many days passed in More's life in which he was not called on to converse in Latin. His style was greatly admired by his critical contemporaries. It was not formed without much labour. It has been called Erasmian, yet no one who has a moderate acquaintance with the two writers could mistake one for the other, any more than an Englishman at all familiar with our literature could attribute a page of Johnson to Addison.
Paul's, himself an elegant scholar, and a very inti- mate friend of More's, published in 15 17 a short Latin treatise on "The Fruit to be derived from Learning". In it he has some interesting remarks on More's genius and scholarship. For he is wont to gather the force of the words from the sentences in which they occur, especially in his study and translation of Greek. This is not contrary to grammar, but above it, and an instinct of genius. Indeed, his genius is more than human, and his learning not only eminent, but so various, that there is nothing of which he seems to be ignorant.
His eloquence is incomparable and twofold, for he speaks with the same facility in Latin as in his own language. He has declared open war against such as give utterance to things that are neither true nor probable, and beyond the capacity or knowledge of the speaker. Thus he once heard two Scotist theologians, men of a certain importance, and preachers, seriously affirm that King Arthur — whom some deny ever to have been born, and others ever to have died — had made himself a cloak of the beards of the giants whom he had killed in battle.
When More asked them how that could be, the elder of the two, putting on a grave countenance, re- plied : ' The reason, my youth, is clear, for the skin of a dead man is elastic '. The other, hearing this, not only assented, but admired the answer as subtle and Scotistic. More was but a boy, but he answered : ' What you say was hitherto quite as unknown to me as it was perfectly well known that one of you milks a he-goat while the other holds a sieve '. It is not that they really think him wrong, or that he says anything puerile, but that they are jealous of his mar- vellous talent, and of his knowledge of so many other things of which they are ignorant.
Perhaps merely "white-haired". This may be a fit place to mention some of his first efforts in English literature. William Rastell, in the time of Queen Mary, gathered together and reprinted whatever he could find of his Uncle More's boyish essays ; amongst them are some English verses that More would gladly have let pass into oblivion. A line or two will be enough as a specimen oi his rhyming powers : — A man of law that never saw The ways to buy and sell, Weening to rise by merchandise — I pray God speed him well.
A merchant eke that will go seek, Bv all the means he may. To fall in suit, till he dispute His living clean away, Pleading the law for every straw. Shall prove a thrifty man, With hate and strife ; but, by my life, I cannot tell you when. He never at any time of his life lost sight of what he had written as a boy about Fortune's Wheel : — Alas! Among the freaks of Fortune was one with which the pre- ceding reigns had made the minds of men in England but too familiar : — She suddenly enhanceth them aloft, And suddenly mischieveth all the flock ; The head that late lay easily and full soft, Instead of pillows lieth after on the block.
It is a popular sui erstition that when a cold shiver goes suddenly over a man, without any apparent cause, it is because someone has stepped over his future grave. Did any shadow pass over the bright and handsome face of young More when he wrote that terrible word — the Block? She died on nth February, More was just twenty-hve years old. On such occasions it was customary for scholars to make an offer- ing of verse at Court.
The poet represents the queen on her death-bed, taking her last farewell. Each stanza ends with the words, "and lo! Goodly Richmond, soon art thou gone from me ; At Westminster that costly work of yours, Mine own dear lord, now shall I never see. Almighty God vouchsafe to grant that ye For you and your children well may edify. My palace builded is, and lo! After taking leave of her husband, she thus addresses her chil- dren. To understand the allusions, it must be remembered that Arthur, the eldest son, had been dead nearly a year ; Mar- garet, the eldest daughter, had been lately married by proxy to the King of Scotland, but had not yet left England : — Farewell, my daughter.
Lady Margaret, God wot full oft it grieved hath my mind That ye should go where we should seldom meet ; Now am I gone, and have left you behind. O mortal folk, that we be very blind! That we least fear, full oft it is most nigh. From you depart I first, and lo! Adieu, Lord Henry, my loving son, adieu! Our Lord increase your honour and estate. Adieu, my daughter Mary, bright of hue! God make you virtuous wife and fortunate. Thou shalt, sweet babe — such is thy destiny — Thy mother never know, for lo!
Farewell, and pray for me, for lo! But gifts and qualities far higher than learning, wit or polished style have made the name of More illustrious ; and we must now consider how the foundations of his noble life were laid in early manhood. These have been printed, but there is a harshness in some of the lines that suggests the thought that they may have been inaccurately worked on the tapestry or in- accurately copied.
They are full of interest, as bearing on the history of the young writer. His pageants comprise both the present life and the next. Jones, in The Arclueologia, xxxv. A top can I set, and drive it in its kind. But would to God these hateful books all Were in a fire brent to powder small.
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If these words do not well represent More's boyhood, still less do the next give a picture of his youth : — To hunt and hawk, to nourish up and feed The greyhound to the course, the hawk to the flight. And to bestride a good and lusty steed — These things become a very man indeed. It is easy to guess what Love and Age and Death have to say for themselves. In the sixth pageant Fame rebukes Death's proud boast : — O cruel Death! In the seventh, Time scoffs at this promise, since in his pro- gress he will destroy the world itself, and then Fame will be mute. But Eternity rebukes Time, which is but the revolution of sun and moon.
In the last pageant the poet writes in Latin. Evidently God only is the everlasting Good ; let us distrust what is fleeting and love God alone : — Qui dabit a;ternam nobis pro munere vitam In permansuro ponite vota Deo. In these verses the youth expressed what proved to be the philosophy of his whole life. Here he was to acquire the learning of writs and pro- cedure before studying the more abstruse branches of legal science at Lincoln's Inn.
In the middle of the fourteenth century, after the suppression of the Knights Templars, a more convenient site was procured, nearer to Westminster, and away from the noise of the city of London. This is still the lawyers' quarter. Lincoln's Inn was built in Over the gateway in Chancery Lane is the date 15 Lord Campbell writes : " With us a sufficient knowledge of jurisprudence is supposed to be gained by eating a certain number of dinners in the hall of one of the Inns of Court, whereby men are often called to the bar wholly ignorant of their profession ; and being pushed on by favour or accident, or native vigour of mind, they are sometimes placed in high judicial situations, having no acquaintance with law beyond what they may have picked up as practitioners at the bar.
Roper himself a lawyer tells us that his uncle "was admitted to Lincoln's Inn with very small allowance, continuing there his study until he was made and accounted a worthy ' utter barrister ' ". He was admitted into the Society of Lincoln's Inn as a student on the 12th February, , being then just eighteen years old, and received certain dispen- sations at the instance of his father.! J Thomas More admissus est in Societ. The other members of- the inn took their places nearer to the centre of the hall, and from this manner of distribution appear to have been called inner barristers.
On these occasions, which were observed with great solemnity, the reader selected some statute, which he made the subject of formal examination and discussion. Questions were then debated by the utter barristers with the reader, after which the judges and Serjeants, several of whom were usually present, pronounced their opinions separately upon the point that had been raised.
The process of mooting in the Inns of Courts differed considerably from reading. On these occasions the reader of the inn for the time being, with two or more benchers, presided in the open hall. The pleader in the court of justice was protected by a bar of wood or iron from the press of the crowd ; so also we speak of our " prisoner at the bar ". The points of law arising in this fictitious case were then argued by two utter barristers, after which the reader and the benchers closed the proceedings by declaring their opinions separately.
We do not know the date of his call to the outer bar, nor when he was made a bencher. His legal education, however, lasted several years. Harpsfield says: "Utter barristers were not commonly made then but after many years' study. But this man's speedy and yet substantial profiting was such, that he enjoyed some prerogative of time. He gave lectures no doubt in Latin on the great work of St. Augustine called The City of God. These lectures were delivered in the Church of St. Lawrence, in the Old Jewry in London, and they were attended by the most learned men, among whom is especially mentioned his old Greek preceptor Grocyn.
In one of his latest works, The Debcllacion of Salem v. X Grocyn had been lecturing about that time in St. Paul's see Seebohm, p. But Roper specially mentions him among More's auditors and admirers. Had Stapleton authority for saying that Grocyn's lectures were almost deserted for those of More? Though there are many examples of lay-preaching in the history of the Church, More's lectures had in no sense the character of sermons, nor were they lectures in theology, but in history and the Divine philo- sophy of history.
They must have been elaborated with great care to be read before such an audience. Not a fragment of these lectures has come down to us. The subject he had chosen confirms what Erasmus says : that More's legal studies did not prevent him from following his bent for literature ; nor did either law or letters turn his thoughts from heavenly things. He read the fathers and ecclesiastical writers carefully, and they made so deep an im- pression on him, that he hesitated for a considerable time about pursuing the career on which he had entered, and debated whether he should not rather become a priest or a religious.
No part of More's life has been so much misunderstood as this. It will be necessary to disentangle modern comments from the original statements of those who had means of know- ing the truth. The words of Erasmus, his intimate friend and confidant, are these : " Meanwhile he applied his whole mind to exercises of piety, looking to and pondering on the priesthood in vigils, fasts, and prayers, and similar austerities.
In which matter he proved himself far more prudent than most candidates, who thrust themselves rashly into that arduous pro- fession, without any previous trial of their powers. The one thing that prevented him from giving himself to that kind of life was that he could not shake off the desire of the married state. He chose, therefore, to be a chaste husband rather than an impure priest. His words do not imply that in those days most priests were impure, any more than that most husbands were chaste.
He merely says that Thomas More feared for himself, lest, perhaps, he might become an impure priest, not having the gift of perfect chastity, whereas he had good hope of living as a chaste husband. Eras- mus has not a word of JMore's turning with disgust from anything, but, on the contrary, he implies that he turned with regret from a state which he loved and reverenced, but to which he feared to aspire. Among the Jews " the fearful and faint-hearted " were ex- empt from military service. What should we think of some modern Jew-hating writer, who should interpret this to mean, that "he turned with disgust from the cowardice of the army to the better chance presented to him of living an honourable life under his own vine and fig-tree," and on such grounds should go on to declaim against the poltroonery of the army of the Hebrews?
Further on Mr. X Oxford Reformers, p. When Margaret visited him in the Tower, he said to her : " I believe, Meg, that they that have put me here ween 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, I would not have failed long ere this to have closed myself in as strait a room, and straiter, too.
Happily for him, it was at this critical moment that Colet came up to London. Nothing can be farther from fact. His religious life was most happy : he was one of the few faithful against all Henry's menaces, and after the suppression, he persevered for many years, and till the end, in a mortified, prayerful, and solitary, but cheerful life. Warner thinks More is here speaking of the grave, and that he meant that he would have committed suicide but for his wife and children! With the Franciscans he would have stood with Peto and Elstow, or died with Forest.
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His name, however, was to stand apart in a glory quite distinct. Another of More's modern biographers, Lord Campbell, after relating his penances and deliberations as to becoming a Franciscan or Carthusian, says : " He found these the pen- ances after a time not edifying to his piety, and he, a rigid Roman Catholic, doubted the advantages supposed to be con- ferred on religion by the monastic orders, which a certain sec- tion of professing Protestants are now so eager to re-establish ". It was unworthy of Lord Chancellor Campbell, in writing the life of another Lord Chancellor, to pen a sentence, with a controversial purpose, for which there is not, either in the works of More or in any of his early biographers, the very slightest authority, and which may be refuted by innumerable passages in his printed books.
Erasmus, who knew him, says he was vii' angelica vnltn ct aiigelico spirifii, sanique judicii Letter on deaths of More and Fisher. In many respects, More took this extraordinary man as his model, and reproduced his virtues as well as his talents. Of Pico's austerities he writes : " We know many men which as St. Jerome saith put forth their hand to poor folk, but with the pleasures of the flesh they be overcome ; but he many days, and, namely, those days which represent unto us the passion and death that Christ suffered for our sake, beat and scourged his own flesh in the contemplation of that great bene- fit, and for cleansing of his old offences.
He was of cheer always merry, of so benign a nature that he was never troubled with anger," etc. Surely the man who wrote this, and imitated it to the letter, had not discovered that austerity was super- fluous. Of Pico's love of God More wrote : " Of outward observances he gave no very great force. We speak not of those obser- vances which the Church commandeth, for in those he was diligent ; but we speak of those ceremonies which folk bring up, setting the very service of God aside, who is as Christ saith to be worshipped in spirit and in truth.
But in the in- ward affections of the mind he cleaved to God with very fervent love and devotion. The sub- stance that I have left, after certain books of mine finished, I intend to give out to poor people, and fencing myself with the crucifix, barefoot walking about the world, in every town and castle I purpose to preach of Christ.
Seebohm assures us; or come to doubt the advantages conferred on religion by the monastic orders, as l. More's esteem and love of religious orders from his later writings. But as it is thought by some that there was a re- action in his soul in favour of the Church on account of the violence of the Lutherans, I have preferred the above passages, taken from a work published by More in 15 lo, and probably composed or translated by him several years before. In the same book More gives an account of Savonarola's sermon at the death of Pico.
This Friar Jerome, after great eulogy of Pico, had told the people that it had been revealed to him that his friend was in purgatory for his delay in entering a religious order. Howbeit this I speak only by conjecture. But for this delay I threatened him two years together that he would be punished if he forslothed that purpose which Our Lord had put in his mind. Seebohm could, after reading the above, have written the following lines : " Pico's Works in More's translation present to the mind a type of Christianity so opposite to the ceremonial and external religion of the monks, that one may well cease to wonder that More, having caught the spirit of Pico's rehgion, could no longer entertain any notion of becoming a Carthusian brother ".
More puts in a negative, and takes the word religion technically, i. In any case, according to More's views of the Gospel, the worship of God in spirit and in truth was drawing on Pico to the religious state when he died. It was because he had not that indication of jod's vocation which he supposes Pico to have received.
Erasmus told the truth somewhat bluntly, as he heard it from More himself: he feared to become an im- pure priest, and determined to become a chaste husband. This was a matter for More himself and his confessor, and is one that scarcely admits of our discussion.
It would seem however, from Stapleton's words, that More would often say in later life that he had exaggerated the difficulties of a life of celibacy. His decision was at least guided by perfect humility, and not by the insane pride and contempt of others with which some of his modern biographers would burden him. Meditabatur adolescens sacerdotium cum suo Lilio. Religionis etiam propositum ardenter desiderans, Minoritarum institutum arripere cogita- bat. Sed quum exercitiis illis pradictis adhibitis, motus carnis qui in juventutis flore et ardore accidere solent, evincere non posse sibi videre- tur, uxorem ducere instituit.
Quod sane Apostolicis illis verbis conforme est: Tribulationem tamen carnis habebunt hujus- modi Stapleton, T. Mori Vita, cap. There are doubtless visions sent by God, as every reader of the Old or the New Testament must know — St. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, explained that a new era had begun, one of the characteris- tics of which should be that "young men should see visions".
His passion for austerities, on the other hand, was a real one, and survived his marriage, though it was controlled by discretion. Sir James also writes : " He soon learnt, by self-examina- tion, his unfitness for the priesthood, and relinquished his project of taking orders, in words which should have warned his church against the imposition of unnatural self-denial on vast multitudes and successive generations of men ".
The words alluded to are no doubt those of Erasmus, but even if they express More's view, that certainly involved no condemna- tion of the discipline of celibacy, which More has warmly defended in more than one treatise. His prudent conduct is a warning to bishops " not to impose hands lightly," and to candidates " to consider again and again the work they undertake and the burden laid upon them ". He used oftentimes to wear a sharp shirt of hair next his skin, which he never left off wholly — no, not when he was Lord Chancellor of England.
He used also much fasting and watching, lying often either upon the bare ground or upon some bench, or laying some log under his head, allotting himself but four or five hours in a night at the most for his sleep, imagining, with the holy saints of Christ's Church, that his body was to be used like an ass, with strokes and hard fare, lest provender might prick it, and so bring his soul like a headlong jade into the bottomless pit of hell.
For chastity, especially in youth, is a lingering martyrdom, and these are the best means to preserve her from the dangerous gulf of evil custom. But he is the best soldier in this fight that can run fastest away from himself, this victory being hardly gotten with striving. For this cause he lived for four years amongst the Carthusians, dwelling near the Charterhouse, frequenting daily their spiritual exercises, but without any vow. He had an earnest desire also to be a Franciscan friar, that he might serve God in a state of perfection ; but, finding that at that time religious men in England had somewhat degenerated from their ancient strictness and fervour of spirit, he altered his mind.
In fact, there was no such paucity of fervent religious among the Carthusians and the Observant Franciscans — the two orders to which he had been attracted — as to give rise to any difficulty on that score. Cresacre has put down as a fact what Stapleton merely advanced as a conjecture.
In this he has been imitated by Mr. But Mr. One who has been disenchanted in his ideal, or disappointed in his aspira- tions, often looks with disgust on his shattered idol, and with anger on his wasted enthusiasm. We find nothing whatever of this in More. He forms a perfectly calm and equable judgment. As I loved and honoured the good, so was I not slack in providing for the correction of those that were bad and slanderous to their own order.
Which sort had at my hand so little favour, that there was no man into whose hands they were more loth to come. Neither Erasmus nor Stapleton, nor Cresacre More, nor Walter, nor any other Catholic writer, has acknowledged or suggested any such thing. I wot well there be therein many very lewd and naught ; and surely, wheresoever there is a multitude, it is not without miracle well possible to be otherwise. But now, if the bishops would once take unto priesthood better laymen and fewer, for of us be they made, all the matter were more than half amended.
In the other he layeth up all his own and swingeth it at his back, which himself never listeth to look in, but other that come after him cast an eye into it among i. Now they blame us and we blame them, and both blameworthy, and either part more ready to find other's faults than to mend their own. For in reproach of them we be so studious that neither good nor bad passeth unreproved. But then forget we to look what good men be therein, and what good counsel they give us, and what good ensample they show us.
But we fare as do the ravens and the carrion crows, that never meddle with any quick i. For he said that it can be none other, but that we i. For surely as he said it can be no lie that Our Saviour saith Himself, which saith of them that they be the salt of the earth ; and if the salt once appall, the world must need wax unsavoury. And He saith that they be the light of the world ; and then if the light, saith He, be darked, how dark will then the darkness be — that is, to wit, all the world beside, whereof He called the clergy only the light?
His friend and director, Colet, had made this the main subject of his cona'o ad cleriim before the Convocation in 15 In Barclay's poetical translation of the " Ship of Fools," which appeared about the same time, the matter was thus sturdily handled : — The cause why so many priestis lacketh wit Is in you bishops, if I durst truth express, Which not consider what men that ye admit Of living, cunning, person, and godliness.
But who so ever himself thereto will dress If an angel t be his broker to the scribe, He is admitted, howbeit he be witless ; Thus sold is priesthood for an unhappy bribe. Ij: Of the abusionof the Spirituality. Gold would we not set by if it were as common as chalk or clay. And whereof is there now such plenty as of priests? The time was when few men durst presume to take upon them the high office of priest, not even when they were chosen and called there unto.
Now runneth every rascal and boldly offereth himself for able. And where the dignity passeth all princes, and they that lewd be desire it for worldly winning, yet cometh that sort thereto with such a mad mind that they reckon almost God much bounden to them that they vouchsafe to take it. But were I Pope ' ' By my soul,' quoth he, ' I would ye were, and my lady, your wife, Popess too 1 ' ' Well,' quoth I, ' then should she devise for nuns.
And as for me, touching the choice of priests, I could not well devise better provisions than are by the laws of the Church provided already, if they were as well kept as they be well made. Nor at this day they be none otherwise accepted. For they never have grant of a living that may serve them in sight for that purpose, but they secretly discharge it ere they have it, or else they could not get it.
THE question of vocation appears to have been debated by More during several years, before it was finally closed by his marriage. Before speaking of that event, I must go back and try to arrange what has been recorded of his early manhood. Unfortunately his first biographers give us very few dates ; and while we are able to determine some events from known history, there are a few of which the exact time must be left to conjecture.
He must, then, have left Oxford at the early age of sixteen. We know that in the spring of , when he was twenty-six, he became a mem- ber of Parliament, and he married some time in the year His biographers tell us that he resided for four years near the Charter-House. These were almost certainly the years that immediately preceded his marriage. The year to which this letter belongs is fixed by a reference to his work called the Adagia being then in the press and to appear after Easter.
The work came out in ! I cannot see any likelihood, however, that a youth of that age would have been admitted to the society of Colet or of Grocyn, as Mr. Seebohm has conjectured. The Leyden editor has affixed the year erro- neously. So much will have to be said of Erasmus in connection with More, that it is worth while to investigate here the beginnings of their acquaintance. A ridiculous tale has got into circulation, which places the earliest interview between More and Erasmus when the former was chancellor.
It was probably at his house that he met young More. After a short stay in London he went to Oxford. More being at my Lord Mayor's table, word was brought him that a foreigner inquired for his Lordship he being then Lord Chancellor. They having well-nigh dined, the Lord Mayor ordered one of his officers to take the gent into his care and give him what he best liked.
The officer took Erasmus into the Lord Mayor's cellar, where he chose to eat oysters, and drank wine drawn into a leathern jack and poured into a silver cup. At his first coming in he saluted Sir Thomas in Latin. Sir Thomas, having never seen him before, asked him, Unde vcuis? Whence do you come? Eras- mus answered, Ex infcris from the lower regions , which has three meanings — the Netherlands, the cellar, and hell. Sir Thomas : Quid ibi agitiir? What is done there?
Erasmus : Vivis vcsciintur et bibiint ex ocrcis They feed on the living and drink out of boots. Do you know me? Erasmus: Aut tn cs Morns ant nnllus You are More or no one. In another story they first met at table without introduction and got into debate about the Real Presence. Erasmus put forward sceptical arguments, and More defended the Catholic Faith. At last Erasmus exclaimed : A?
In a letter to be quoted later Erasmus describes the beauty, or rather the charm, of his person, only surpassed by the grace of his manners and disposition. In the interests of truth, I must declare at the outset that I cannot find the very slightest foundation for the assertion of Stapleton, copied by Cresacre More and many others, that in the course of time their friendship cooled. Abundant proofs of the con- trary will appear as we proceed.
In giving an account of his various writings, Erasmus has related an event that illustrates the life of More at this epoch : " I composed a heroic poem on the praise of Henry VII. It was only a three days' task, yet it was a task, for it was some years since I had written or even read a poem. It was partly shame and partly pain that drew this from me.
Thomas More, who, while I was staying in the country house of Mountjoy, had paid me a visit, took me out for a walk, to a neighbouring village. There all the king's children, except Arthur, the eldest, were being educated. When we reached the Hall the attendants ifofa poinpd both of that house and of Lord Moimtjoy's were assembled. Stood Henry, then nine years old, yet already with a royal bearing, betokening a certain loftiness of mind joined with singular condescension. At his right was Margaret, about eleven years old.
She afterwards married James, King of the Scots.
At his left in play was Mary, four years old. Edmund, an infant, was carried by the nurse. As I was entirely taken by surprise I had nothing to offer, and I was obliged to make a promise that I would write something to show my respect. I was somewhat vexed with More for not warning me, and especially so since the prince while we were dining sent me a note asking some fruit of my pen.
I went home and in spite of the Muses, from whom I had long been separated, I finished my poem within three days. Erasmus, therefore, previous to leaving England in January, , had gone to take leave of his former pupil, Lord Mountjoy. That nobleman had studied under the direction of the Dutch scholar in Paris ; he was now beginning his political career and had lately married. Erasmus relates that at the desire of Mountjoy he had under- taken to write a "declamation" for and against the desirability of taking a wife.
When he had finished the first part he showed it to his young patron, who read it carefully. Whether this was More's first acquaintance with Prince Henry we are not told. It may have been such, and it seems likely that the little plot was arranged by Lord JMountjoy, not to get Erasmus into a scrape, but to bring about an introduction that might be useful to him in later years, when Henry should have become a prince of the Church, which before his brother's death was considered his probable destiny.
As it was, the young prince, by having seen Erasmus, came to take a natural interest in his writings, by the aid of which he tried, not altogether unsuccessfully, to form for himself a good Latin style. At a later period Henry sought to attach him to his court and bestowed some not very royal largesse. At that court More was to spend the best part of his life, but, as we have already seen, he was as yet undecided, and was by no means eager to lay hold of the wheel of fortune.
Indeed his first step in public life was more calculated to ruin himself and others, than to lead to wealth or honour. The matter is thus related by Roper : " In the time of King Henry the Seventh, More was 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 Scottish Queen : at the last debating whereof he made such arguments and reasons against, that the king's demands were thereby overthrown. So that one of the king's privy chaniber, named M.
Tyler, being present thereat, brought word to the king out of the Parliament house that a beardless boy had disappointed all his purpose. And forasmuch as he, nothing having, nothing could lose, his Grace devised a cause- less quarrel against his father, keeping him in the Tower till he had made him pay a hundred pounds' fine. Fox, Bishop of Winchester, one of the king's privy council, the bishop called him aside, and pre- tended great favour towards him, and promised that if he would be ruled by him he would not fail but bring him into the king's favour again, meaning, as it afterwards appeared, 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 Mr. Whitford, his familiar friend, then chaplain to that bishop, and afterwards a father of Sion, and showed him what the bishop had said to him, desiring to hear his advice therein ; who, for the Passion of God, prayed him in no wise to follow his counsel : 'for my lord,' quoth he, 'to serve the king's turn, will not stick to agree to his own father's death '.
No returns can now be found to tell us what borough More represented, t nor has any of his biographers supplied the name. It will be remembered that under the advice of Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley, Barons of the Exchequer, the king was at that time rousing the whole nation to so great a pitch of exasperation by his exactions and the unjust expedients to which he resorted, that his advisers both suffered the penalty of death at the beginning of the next reign.
Several of the citizens of London had suffered in their goods or liberty ; and it is probable that More was their parliamentary representative. The treatment of John More is a specimen of what was happening to hundreds.
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There was never wanting a pre- text to throw into prison, at the accusation of an informer, any official or prominent person ; and, as the accused felt sure of condemnation by a packed jury if he came to trial, he was glad to purchase freedom by payment of a fine. The very preachers in the pulpits were admonishing Henry, and protesting against what was going on. Had you done so, you would have paid the penalty with your head.
Lingard, however, only mentions this parliamentary grant in a note, and has no reference to More, or to the demand of the three- fifteenths. Roper has mentioned More's project of seeking security on the Continent. We know from his own statement that he did in fact cross the sea, whether to make a tour, as was the custom with young gentlemen, as Stapleton supposes, or to choose a place of retirement, is uncertain. In he wrote a letter to Martin Dorpius, in which he thus mentions this visit : — " What esteem you have for our English universities I do not know.
You seem to set so much by Louvain and Paris, that, as regards dialectics at least, you think they are banished from the rest of the world. Now, seven years ago I was in both those universities, and though not for a very long time, yet I took pains to ascertain what was taught there and what methods were followed.
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Though I respect both of them, yet neither from what I then saw, nor from what I have since heard, have I found any reason why, even in dialectics, I should wish any sons of mine for whom I desire the very best education to be taught there rather than at Oxford or Cambridge. Before we come to that turning-point of his life something must be said of a few of his other friends. One of these was William Lilly, a young man who, after his course at Oxford, had gone to Rhodes, and resided there some years for the study of Greek.
More perfected himself in Creek by Lilly's deeper knowledge, and in his turn imparted to Lilly some of his own ardent piety. They exercised and amused themselves by translating into Latin verse epigrams from the Greek Antho- logia. In the last chapter mention was twice made of Dr. Colet, Dean of St. Paul's — by Mr. Seebohm, as of one who appeared opportunely to rescue More from the fate into which his ill- advised enthusiasm for the priesthood was hurrying him, and by More himself, as of one who inspired him with the veneration for the priesthood which he had just explained and defended.
Colet, like More, was a Londoner by birth, and an Oxford student. He was a man of considerable learning, of great zeal, especially as a preacher, but he was pre-eminently a man of character fitted to influence others. His determination may sometimes have been pushed into obstinacy and contentious- ness. More, who loved and admired him greatly, notes this foible in a letter to Erasmus : " Colet is busy at Greek, using the occasional help of my Clements. I believe he will persevere and succeed, especially if you urge him from Louvain. Yet, perhaps you had better leave him to his own impulse.
You know how, out of a certain disputatiousness, he resists those who urge him, even though they are only persuading him to that on which he was already bent. At a later period Colet used to say that More was the one genius of whom Britain could then boast, and Erasmus, who quotes tlie words, remarks that Colet was a man of keen and accurate judgment.
This eminent man More had chosen as hii con- fessor. At what period he placed himself under his spiritual guidance we are not told. Stapleton has preserved a letter written by More to Dr. The Latin is evidently the original work of More, and not due to Stapleton. It is probable that a rough copy came into the hands of one of More's secretaries, who communicated it to More's biographer : — " I was walking up and down the law courts when your ser- vant met me.
I was delighted at seeing him, both because I have always been fond of him, and still more because I thought he had not come [to London] without you. But when I learnt, not only that you had not returned, but were not to return for a considerable time, I was as greatly dejected. What can be more distressing to me than to be deprived of your most dear society, after being guided by your wise counsels, cheered by your charming familiarity, assured by your earnest sermons, and helped forward by your example, so that I used to obey your very look or nod?
With these helps I felt myself strengthened, but without them I seem to languish. Follow- ing your guidance, I had escaped almost from the jaws of hell ; now, like Euridice, I know not by what force I am being drawn back into darkness. Euridice, however, suffered this violence because of the presence of Orpheus ; I, because of your absence. On the contrary, when one wishes to live well, by a thousand devices and seduc- tions the life of a city drags one down.