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unwilling to relinquish the emoluments of his position as undersheriff, and the income arising from his practice at the bar, offered him a pension, and suggested that the king could not, consistently with his honour, offer him less than the income he would relinquish by entering his service. More wrote to Erasmus that he had declined the pension, and thought he should continue to do so; he preferred, he said, his present judicial position to a higher one, and was afraid that were he to accept a pension without relinquishing it, his fellow citizens would lose their confidence in his impartiality in case any questions were to arise, as they sometimes did, between them and the crown. The fact that he was indebted to the king for his pension, might make them think him a little the less true to their cause.? Wolsey reported More’s refusal to the king, who it seems honourably declined to press him further at present.” Such, however, was More's popularity in the city, and the rising estimation in which he was held, that it was evident the king would not rest until he had drawn him into his service-yes, draronexclaims Erasmus, “ for no one ever tried harder to get admitted to court than he did to keep out of it."

So the months of 1516 went by. The second part of “ Utopia” was already in the hands of his friend Peter Giles of Antwerp, who was determined to have it published, and in the autumn, More seeing that his entry into royal service was only a question of time, took the opportunity, while as yet he was free and unfettered, to write an introduction in which he could make still more pointed allusion to one or two other matters relating to the social condition of the country, and the policy of Henry VIII.

The prefatory book which More now added to his description of the commonwealth of Utopia was so arranged as to introduce the latter to the reader in such a way as to attract his interest, and to throw an air of reality over the romance.

More related how he had been sent by Henry VIII. as an ambassador to Flanders in company with Tunstal, to compose some important disputes between him and Prince Charles. They met the Flemish ambassadors at Bruges. They had had several meetings without coming to an agreement. While the others went back to Brussels to consult their prince, More went to Antwerp to see his friend Peter Giles. One day coming from mass, he saw Giles talking to a stranger,-a man past middle age, his face tanned, his beard long, his cloak hanging carelessly about him, and wearing altogether the aspect of a seafaring man.

More then related how he had joined in with the conversation,

(1) Roper, pp. 9, 10; Eras., op. iii. pp. 474, 476.
(2) More to Erasmus. Eras., Epist. ccxxvii.

(3) Roper, 10.
(4) Erasmus to Hutten, Epist. ccccxlvii. ; Eras., op. iii. p. 476, B.

which turned upon the manners and habits of the people of the new lands which Raphael (for that was the stranger's name) had visited in voyages he had recently taken with Vesputius. After he had told them how well and wisely governed were some of these newlyfound peoples, and especially the Utopians, and here and there had thrown in just criticisms on the defects of European governments, Giles put in the question, why, with all his knowledge and judgment, he did not enter into royal service, in which his great experience might be turned to so good an account? Raphael expressed in reply his unwillingness to enter into royal servitude. Giles explained that he did not mean any servitude" at all, but honourable service, in which he might confer great public benefits as well as increase his own happiness. The other replied that he did not see how he was to be made happier by doing what would be so entirely against his inclinations. Now he was free to do as he liked, and he suspected very few courtiers could


the same. Here More put in a word, and urged that even though it might be against the grain to Raphael, he ought not to throw away the great influence for good which he might exert by entering the council of some great prince. Raphael replied that his friend More was doubly mistaken. His talents were not so great as he supposed, and if they were, his sacrifice of rest and peace would be thrown away. It would do no good, for nearly all princes busy themselves far more in military affairs (of which he said he neither had, nor wished to have, any experience), than in the good arts of peace. They care a great deal more how by fair means or foul to acquire new kingdoms, than how to govern well those which they have already. Besides, their ministers either are, or think that they are, too wise to listen to any new counsellor, and if they ever do so, it is only to attach to their own interest some one whom they see to be rising in their prince's favour.

After this Raphael having made a remark which showed that he had been in England, the conversation turned incidentally upon English affairs, and Raphael proceeded to tell how once at the table of Cardinal Morton he had expressed his opinions freely upon the social evils of England. He had on this occasion, he said, ven

, tured to condemn the system of the wholesale execution of thieves, who were hanged so fast that there were sometimes twenty on a gibbet. The severity was both unjustly great, and also ineffectual. No punishment, however severe, could deter those from robbing who can find no other means of livelihood.

Then Raphael is made to allude to three causes why the number of thieves was so large :

“1st. There are numbers of wounded and disbanded soldiers who are unable to resume their old employments, and are too old to learn new ones.


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“ 2nd. The gentry who live at ease out of the labour of others, keep around them so great a number of idle fellows not brought up to any trade, that often from the death of their lord or their own illness numbers of these idle fellows are liable to be thrown upon the world without resources to steal or starve. Raphael then is made to ridicule the notion that it is needful to maintain this idle class, as some argue, in order to keep up a reserve of men ready for the army, and still more severely to criticise the notion that it is necessary to keep a standing army in time of peace. France, he said, had found to her cost the evil of keeping in readiness these human wild beasts, as also had Rome, Carthage, and Syria, in ancient times.

' 3rd. Raphael pointed out as another cause of the number of thieves-an eril peculiar to England—the rage for sheep-farming, and the ejections consequent upon it. “For,' he said, “when some greedy and insatiable fellow, the pest of his county, chooses to enclose several thousand acres of contiguous fields within the circle of one sheepfold, farmers are ejected from their holdings, being got rid of either by fraud or force, or tired out by repeated injuries into parting with their property. In this way it comes to pass that these poor wretches, men, women, husbands, wives, orphans, widows, parents with little children, households greater in number than in wealth, for arable farming requires many hands—all these emigrate from their native fields without knowing where to go. Their effects are not worth much at best; they are obliged to sell them for almost nothing when they are forced to go. And the produce of the sale being spent, as it soon must be, what resource, then, is left to them but either to steal and to be hanged, justly, forsooth, for stealing, or to wander about and beg. If they do the latter, they are thrown into prison as idle vagabonds, when they would thankfully work if only some one would give them employment. For there is no work for husbandmen when there is no arable farming. One shepherd and herdsman will suffice for a pasture farm, which, while under tillage, employed many hands. Corn has in the meantime been made dearer in many places by the same cause. Wool, too, has risen in price, owing to the rot amongst the sheep, and now the little clothmakers are unable to supply themselves with it. For the sheep are falling into few and powerful hands; and these, if they have not a monopoly, have at least an oligopoly, and can keep up the price.

Add to these causes the increasing luxury and extravagance of the upper classes, and indeed of all classes—the tippling houses, taverns, brothels, and other dens of iniquity, wine and beer houses, and places for gambling. Do not all these, after rapidly exhausting the resources of their devotees, educate them for crime ?

“Let these pernicious plagues be rooted out. Enact that those who destroy agricultural hamlets or towns should rebuild them, or give them up to those who will do so. Restrain these engrossings of the rich, and the licence of exercising what is in fact a monopoly. Let fewer persons be bred up in idleness. Let tillage farming be restored. Let the woollen manufacturer be introduced so that honest employment may be found for those whom want has already made into thieves, or who, being now vagabonds or idle retainers, will become thieves ere long. Surely if you do not remedy these evils, your rigorous execution of justice in punishing thieves will be in vain, which indeed is more specious than either just or efficacious. For indeed if you


your people to be badly educated, their morals corrupted from childhood, and then when they are men punish them for the very crimes to which they have been trained from childhood, what is this, I ask, but first to make the thieves, and then to punish them?""

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Raphael then went on to show that in his opinion it was both a

(1) These extracts are somewhat abridged and condensed.

bad and a mistaken policy to inflict the same punishment in the case of both theft and murder, such a practice being sure to operate as an encouragement to the thief to commit murder, also to cure his crime, and suggested that hard labour on public works would be a better punishment for theft. After Raphael had given an amusing account of the way in which these suggestions of his had been received at Cardinal Morton's table, More repeated his regret that such wisdom as Raphael possessed could not be turned to practical account in some royal court, for the benefit of mankind.

Thus the point of the story was brought round again to the question whether Raphael should or should not attach himself to some royal court—the question which Henry VIII. was pressing upon More, and which he would have finally to settle, in the course of a few months, one way or the other. It is obvious that, in framing Raphael's reply to this question, More intended to express his own feelings, and to do so in such a way that, if, after the publication of the “ Utopia,” Henry VIII. were still to press him into his service, it would be with a clear understanding of his strong disapproval of the king's most cherished schemes, as well as of many of those expedients which would be likely to be suggested by courtiers as the best means of tiding over the evils which must of necessity be entailed upon the country by his persistence in them.

Raphael, in his reply, puts the supposition that the councillors were proposing schemes of international intrigue, with a view to the furtherance of the king's desires for the ultimate extension of his empire:

“What if Raphael were then to express his own judgment that this policy should be entirely changed, the notion of extension of empire given up, that the kingdom was already too great to be governed by one man, and that the king had better not think of adding others to it? What if he were to put the case of the ‘Achorians,' neighbours of the Utopians, who some time ago waged war to obtain possession of another kingdom to which their king contended that he was entitled by descent through an ancient marriage alliance, [just as Henry VIII. claimed France as ' his very true patrimony and inheritance,'] but which people after conquering it with great labour, found the trouble of keeping it no less irksome, (just as England was already finding Henry's recent conquests in France,] involving the continuance of a standing ariny, the burden of taxes, the loss of their property, the shedding of their blood for another's glory, the destruction of domestic peace, the corrupting of their morals by war, the nurture of the lust of plunder and robbery, till murders became more and more audacious, and the laws even treated with contempt ? What if Raphael were to suggest that the example of these Achorians should be followed who under such circumstances refused to be governed by half a king, and insisted that their king should choose which of his two kingdoms he would govern, and give up the other; how, Raphael was made to ask, would such counsel be received ?

“ And further: what if the question of ways and means were discussed for the supply of the Royal exchequer, and one were to propose tampering with the currency; a second, the pretence of imminent war to jus war taxes, and

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the proclamation of peace as soon as these were collected; a third the exaction of penalties under antiquated and obsolete laws which have long been forgotten and thus are often transgressed; a fourth, the prohibition under great penalties of such things as are against public interest, and then the granting of dispensations and licenses for large sums of money; a fifth, the securing of the judges on the side of the Royal prerogative;— What if here again I were to rise (Raphael is made to say) and contend that all these counsels were dishonest and pernicious, that not only the king's honour, but also his safety, rests more upon his people's wealth than upon his own, who (I might go on to show) choose a king for their own sake and not for his, viz., that by his care and labour they might live happily and secure from danger; that if a king should fall into such contempt or hatred of his people that he cannot secure their loyalty without resort to threats, exactions, and confiscations, and his people's empoverishment, he had better abdicate his throne, rather than attempt by these means to retain the name without the glory of empire. .... What if I were to advise him to put aside his sloth and his pride, .. that he should live on his own revenue, that he should accommodate his expenditure to his income, that he should restrain crime, and by good laws prevent it, rather than allow it to increase and then punish it, that he should repeal obsolete laws instead of attempting to exact their penalties. .... If I were to make such suggestions as these to men strongly inclined to contrary views, would it not be telling idle tales to the deaf?'”?

Thus was Raphael made to use words which must have been understood by Henry VIII. himself, when he read them, as intended to convey to a great extent More's own reasons for declining to accept the offer which he had commissioned Wolsey to make to him.

The introductory story was then brought to a close, by the conversation being made again to turn upon the laws and customs of the Ttopians, the detailed particulars of which, at the urgent request of Giles and More, Raphael agreed to give, after the three had dined together. A woodcut in the Basle edition, probably executed by Holbein, represents them sitting on a bench in the garden behind the house, under the shade of the trees, listening to Raphael's discourse, of which the second book of the “Utopia” proposed to give, as nearly as might be, a verbatim report.

This introductory book, being written by More in the autumn of 1516, the completed work was sent by him to Giles at Antwerp, or to Erasmus, to be forwarded to him.” More expressed his fears that it was hardly worth publication ; but Giles, without any hesitation, had it published at Louvain, by Theodore Martin, the printer, with a woodcut prefixed, representing the island of Utopia, and a specimen of the Utopian language and characters.

Such was the remarkable political romance, which, from its literary interest and merit, has been translated into almost every modern language—a work which, viewed in its close relations to the history of the times in which it was written, and the personal circumstances of its author when he wrote it, derives still greater interest and im

(1) These extracts are abridged and condensed somewhat.
(2) Eras., Epist. lxxxvii., App., Oct. 31, 1516. See also Epist. ccxviii.

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