Utopia by Saint Sir Thomas More

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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Utopia, by Thomas More, Edited by Henry Morley

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

Title: Utopia

Author: Thomas More

Release Date: April 22, 2005 [eBook #2130]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1901 Cassell & Company Edition by David Price, email



Sir Thomas More, son of Sir John More, a justice of the King's Bench, was
born in 1478, in Milk Street, in the city of London. After his earlier
education at St. Anthony's School, in Threadneedle Street, he was placed,
as a boy, in the household of Cardinal John Morton, Archbishop of
Canterbury and Lord Chancellor. It was not unusual for persons of wealth
or influence and sons of good families to be so established together in a
relation of patron and client. The youth wore his patron's livery, and
added to his state. The patron used, afterwards, his wealth or influence
in helping his young client forward in the world. Cardinal Morton had
been in earlier days that Bishop of Ely whom Richard III. sent to the
Tower; was busy afterwards in hostility to Richard; and was a chief
adviser of Henry VII., who in 1486 made him Archbishop of Canterbury, and
nine months afterwards Lord Chancellor. Cardinal Morton--of talk at
whose table there are recollections in "Utopia"--delighted in the quick
wit of young Thomas More. He once said, "Whoever shall live to try it,
shall see this child here waiting at table prove a notable and rare man."

At the age of about nineteen, Thomas More was sent to Canterbury College,
Oxford, by his patron, where he learnt Greek of the first men who brought
Greek studies from Italy to England--William Grocyn and Thomas Linacre.
Linacre, a physician, who afterwards took orders, was also the founder of
the College of Physicians. In 1499, More left Oxford to study law in
London, at Lincoln's Inn, and in the next year Archbishop Morton died.

More's earnest character caused him while studying law to aim at the
subduing of the flesh, by wearing a hair shirt, taking a log for a
pillow, and whipping himself on Fridays. At the age of twenty-one he
entered Parliament, and soon after he had been called to the bar he was
made Under-Sheriff of London. In 1503 he opposed in the House of Commons
Henry VII.'s proposal for a subsidy on account of the marriage portion of
his daughter Margaret; and he opposed with so much energy that the House
refused to grant it. One went and told the king that a beardless boy had
disappointed all his expectations. During the last years, therefore, of
Henry VII. More was under the displeasure of the king, and had thoughts
of leaving the country.

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