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OUR LITERARY COLUMN.
SIR THOMAS MORE.
(From the Quarterly Revier ) The fifty-seven years of More's earthly life extend from 1478 to 1535. The year of his birth is memorable in English history for the attainder of the Duke of Clarence by a Parliament" probably called for this express purpose,” as Bishop Stubbs thinks, and exhibiting that complete subserviency of the Estates of the Realm to the royal will, through which, for a century, the ancient liberties of England suffered an eclipse. The new monarchy was then firmly established in the throne of Edward IV. The battle of Towton had broken for ever the power of the old nobility. The Church had largely lost its hold upon popular reverence, and sought to strengthen itself by an alliance with secular tyranny. The mercantile, trading, and labouring classes desired, above all things, a strong government, and the cessation of the civil strife which had de olated the country during the wars of the Roses. If we would understand More's career aright, we must realised that he lived in a period when the constitutional freedom of the country was paralysed, though its forms still remained ; when the authority of the monarch, was, in fact, well-nigh absolute and unrestrained. Richard III., indeed, forced to bid for a popularity which might dim the memory of the sanguinary treason whereby he had obtained the throne, departed from the policy of his predecessor, and made professions of respect for what the citizens of London called, in a petition to him, “the liberty and laws of this realm, wherein every Englishman is inherited.” But this faint gleam of redawning freedom died away when that man of blood was overtaken by righteous retribution at the battle of Bosworth. Henry VII. made it his lifelong task to continue and consolidate the policy of Edward IV. He observed, indeed, a respect for the forms of the Constitution which Edward had not thought necessary. But the history of his reign is the history of the continval aggrandisement of the powers of the crown. Forced loans and benevolences strike at the root of private property. Attainders, taking the place of trial by jury at the will of the Government, annihilate security of life and personal freedom. The pleasure of the prince practically becomes law to his subjects ; his sic rolo, sic jubeo the sufficient motive and defence of legislation. The process contindes under Henry VIII. until, in 1535, it culminates in the Act of Supremacy,--a measure which , as Professor Brewer writes, “ separated Henry VIII. from all his predecessors by an immeasurable interval,” which broke down the last limitations upon the royal prerogative, which made the king master of the consciences as of the lives and goods of his people.
Sir Thomas More's life seems to fall naturally into four divisions : the period of youth and early manhood, which may be taken to extend to 1509, when at the accession of Henry VIII. he, so to speak, came out of his shell ; the period of his successful toil in the profession of the law, and growing literary fame, closed by bis entrance into the royal service in 1518; the period of his public employment as a Minister of the Crown, which comes to an end with his resignation of the Great Seal in 1532; and the period of his disgrace and persecution, crowned by his martyrdom n 1535. Let us briefly survey him in these four stages of his eventful career, and then attempt to estimate its value and significance.
He was of gentle blood, the son of an accomplished lawyer, who rose to be one of the judges of the King's Bench, and whose stern but not unkindly features are accurately preserved for us by a crayon drawing of Holbein, now in the Royal collection at Windsor. His mother, as Stapleton relates, saw in a dream, engraven on her wedding ring, as in a series of cameos, the names and likenesses of her still unborn children, Thomas shining out with a brighter lastre than the rest. His father, at the time of his birth, lived in Milk-street, in the city of London, and the boy was sent to the neighbouring school of St. Anthony, in Threadneedle-street, of which Nicholas Holt, a scholar of some distinction, was the master, and where, shortly before, Colet and William Latimer had received the first rudiments of their education. Thence, according to a custom common at the time, he was transferred to the household of Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, the distinguished statesman who had counselled to Henry VII. the policy which placed him on the tbrone, and who was, for long years, the most trusted minister of that monarch. Erasmus tells us that as a boy (adolescens), he “both wrote little comedies and acted in them.” And it is related by Roper that the Cardinal, “delighting in bis wit and towardness, would often say of him to the nobles that divers times dined with him, "This child, here waiting at the table--whoever shall live to see it will prove a marvellous man.'
“Whereupon,” adds Roper, " for bis better furtherance in learning, he placed him at Oxford.” This was probably in the year 1492. More was then fourteen. According to his great-grandson, Cresacre More, he was entered at Canterbury Hall
, a foundation which was merged by Wolsey in Christ Church, and whose site is still indicated by the Canterbury quadrangle of that college. Here he remained two years, and, as we read in Harpsfield, “wonderfully profited in the Latin and Greek tongues.” It was at this time that he made the acquaintance of Grocyn--who, indeed, directed his Hellenic studies of William Latimer, and of Colet. It is worth while to pause for a moment over some details of his life at Oxford. His father, Stapleton tells us, “wished that he should learn from his earliest years to be frugal and sober, and to love nothing but his studies and literature. For this reason he gave him the bare necessaries, and would not allow him a farthing to spend freely. This he carried ont so strictly that he had not money to mend his worn-out shoes without asking it from his father.” More's life at Oxford, writes Mr. Hutton, “could not have been an easy one.
The accounts we hear of the hardships of students in Edward VI.'s reign would probably be as true of forty years earlier. Many rose between four and five, and, after prayer in the College chapel, studied till ten, when they dined on
very meagre fare, "content with a penny piece of beef between four, having a pottage made of the same beef with salt and oatmeal, and nothing else. After their dinner," continues the description, " they are reading or learning till five in the evening, when they have a supper not better than their dinner, immediately after which they go to reasoning in problems or some other study, till nine or ten ; and then, being without fire, are forced to walk or run up and down for half an hour to get a heat in the feet when they go to bed.” Such was the discipline by which More's spiritual and intellectual character was formed ; a discipline as severe as that which trained the youth of antique Rome--" rusticorum mascula militum proles”—to be the conquerors of Pyrrhus and Antiochus and Hannibal. It was in another kind of combat that More was to contend, and to be crowned as victor. In after-life he recognised the value of this stern schooling. “It was thus,” he would say, "that I indulged in no vice or pleasure, and spent my time in no vain or hurtful amusements. I did not know what luxury meant."
More remained at Oxford only two years. His father, who desired that the youth should follow the profession of the law, looked with no great favour upon his devotion to literature - 80 it appears from one of Erasmus's letters--and entered him in 1494 at New-inn. Two years later, as we learn from Roper, he“ was admitted to Lincoln's-inn, with very small allowance, continuing there his studies, until he was made and accounted a worthy utter barrister.” The date of his call to the Bar appears to have been 1501. It is evident that he must have devoted him. self earnestly to the study of the law, and must have attained recognition for his proficiency in it; for, shortly after his call, the governing body of Lincoln's-inn appointed him reader at Furnival's-inn-one of the inns of Chancery dependent on them ; "and there be lectured,” Roper affirms, three years and more." But while intent upon his professional studies, he did not neglect the pursuits which were really more congenial to him. He gave nine lectures in the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry, of which Grocyn was then rector, on St. Augustine's “ De Civitate Dei”—lectures which were attended, his biographers aver, by the most learned men in London. His reputation for scholarship was considerable. Nisard says, in his epigrammatic way, “ At eighteen he was known to the literati of Earope ; at eighteen he had already literary enemies. It was a surer horoscope than his mother's dream. Enemies are the first to divine talent.
The accession of Henry VIII. was welcomed by a general outburst of jubilation. During the quarter of a century that Henry VII. bore rule the land had rest, and no well-informed historian will deny to him many of the more solid qualities of kingship. But he did not possess the gifts which strike the popular imagination ; and if as a shepherd of the people he gave them the blessing of peace, he was too intent upon the shearing of bis sheep, and was not specially scrupulous as to the instruments he employed for that purpose. Henry VIII., on the other hand, was singularly fitted, by his personal and intellectual gifts, to win the hearts of men, and to excite their highest expectations. He was extremely handsome—“Nature could do little more for him," wrote the Venetian ambassador-of truly kingly bearing, expert in all knightly exercises, generous, nay lavish, and full of princely affability (humanitus). He was highly educated, according to the standard of the times; a good Latin scholar, well versed in theology, the scholastic philosophy, and the canon law, and no contemptible musician. Scholars of all European countries supposed that the golden age had dawned in England, and More was not wanting in his congratulations. Henry's accession was quickly followed by his nuptials with Katharine of Aragon, who, it may be noted, was married not as a widow but as a maiden, clad in a long white robe and with her hair falling over her shoulders, as was then the custom at virginal espousals. More, in a Carmen Gratulatorium, celebrates both these joyful events with exuberant fervour. His dedication of the poem to the King ends with the words, Vale, princeps illustrissime, et, qui nobis ac rarus regum titulus est, amantissime.
More's tribute to the King and Queen seems to have attracted no special notice at court; but he rapidly achieved great and increasing success in bis profession. He shortly became a Bencher of his Inn of Court, and in 1510, the date at which he published his “ Life of Pico," written some years earlier, he was made Under-Sheriff of London, an office which then involved the determination of civil causes of considerable importance. Soon his income from his private practice and the emoluments of his office reached £400 a year, a sum equal to about .£5000 in these days. But he was singularly exempt from the love of money, and extremely scrapulous as to the cases which he took up. The year after he was made Under-Sheriff his wife died, and in a few days he married Alice Middleton, a widow-nec bella admodum, nec puella, was his description of her to Erasmus-whom he thought likely, and as the event proved with reason, to make an excellent manager of his household and a good stepmother to his children. From 1514 to 1516 he was on embassy in Flanders, specially representing the London merchants, who had great confidence in him. It was there that he wrote the second book of his “ Utopia," the first or introductory book being written upon his return to England. His engrossing occupations left him little leisure for literary composition, as he tells us in this work. “I bestow my time about law matters ; some to plead, some to hear ; some as an arbitrator, with mine award to determine; some as an umpire or a judge, with my sentence finally to discuss." That was the staple business of his life.
More writes to Erasmus that much as he would have liked to prolong bis Utopian dreams, the dawn of day put them to flight and brought him back to the realities of his existence at the bar. But truth his professional life--the happiest period of his existence, if we judge ex humano die-was swiftly drawing to a close. In 1517 he was sent on embassy to Calais, much against his will. “Nothing can be more odious to me than this legation," he writes to Erasmus.
“ If litigation, even at
home, where it brings gain, is so abhorrent to my nature, how tedious must it be here, where it brings only loss !” It was at the suggestion of Wolsey, who was anxious to attach him to the royal service, that he had been sent upon this mission. And now an event occurred which determined his career in the way desired by the Cardinal, but by no means desired by himself. A papal ship, obliged to put in at Southampton, had been claimed by the King's officials as a forfeiture. Campeggio, then Nuncio in England, demanded that the case should be judicially argued, and More was assigned to him for counsel. The matter was decided in the Pope's favour, and Henry, who was present at the hearing, was so struck by the ability with which More had conducted his case, that he desired to secure him for the public service. Wolsey, as M. Nisard puts it,“ received an order to bring More to court, bon gré, mal gré. The endeavour had once failed, foiled by More's love of retirement and a tranquil life. This time the Cardinal succeeded, and brought the victim to the feet of the King, who extended for his kiss the hand that was to sign his death warrant.” “I have come to court," he writes to Bishop Fisher * extremely against my will," But it was difficult for any subject to oppose his own volition to the King's in such a matter. Nor, indeed, would More, with his strong sense of duty, have thought himself justified in disobeying the Sovereign's command.
In 1518 he was sworn of the Privy Council and was made Master of Requests, an office which brought him into constant intercourse with Henry. And here let us pause to put before our readers the leading traits of a portrait of More at this time of his life traced by the master hand of Erasmus.
“He is not tall in stature, though he is not remarkably short. He is rather fair than pale, and a faint blush of pink appears beneath the whiteness of his skin. His hair is dark brown or brownish black. His eyes are greyish blue, with some spots-reckoned in England a sign of genius. His face is in harmony with his character ; it expresses an amiable gladness, and even an inclination to smile; it is framed rather for mirth than for gravity and dignity, though without any approach to folly or buffoonery. The right shoulder is a little higher than the other, especially when he walks. This is not a physical defect, but the result of habit. The only sign of rusticity is in his hands, which are slightly coarse. He has good health, although he is not robust. He seems to promise longevity. His father still survives, in a wonderfully vigorous old age. I never saw any. one so indifferent about food. Until he had reached man's estate he was a water drinker. That was natural to him. His voice is neither very strong nor very thin, but penetrating; not resounding nor soft, but that of a clear speaker. He has not naturally a gift for singing, although he delights in music of all kinds. He speaks with great clearness and perfect articulation, without rapidity or hesitation. He likes a simple dress, using neither silk, nor purple, nor gold chain, unless he is obliged. It is wonderful how careless he is of the ceremonious forms in which most men make politeness to consist. Formerly he was most averse from the frequent tation of Courts, for he is a great hater of constraint and loves equality. Not without great trouble was he drawn into the Court of Henry VIII., although nothing more courteous and modest than this prince can be desired. He abhors games of tennis, dice, cards, and the like, by which most gentlemen kill time. Though he is rather too negligent of his own interests, no one is more diligent in those of his friends. In a word, if you want a model of perfect friendship, you will find it in no one better than in More. In society he is so polite, so sweet-mannered, that no one, of however melancholy a disposition, can fail to be cheered by him; and there is no misfortune that he does not alleviate. If he converses with the learned, he delights in their talent ; with the ignorant and foolish, he enjoys their stupidity. With a wonderful dexterity, he accommodates himself to every disposition. One of his great pleasures is to observe the forms, dispositions, and instincts of various animals. He keeps almost every kind of bird in his house. Without the least taint of superstition, he is earnest in all his piety. He has his set hours for prayers ; prayers which are no formality, but poured forth from his heart. He discourses with his friends of the life to come in such a way that one cannot fail to recognise how much his mind is in it, how good a hope he has of it."
Such was More when he entered the royal service in 1518, being then of the age of forty. It is not our intention to follow him in detail through the fourteen years which he spent as a Minister of the Crown :
Wearing the white flower of a blameless life
In that flerce light which beats upon a throne. The chief landmarks are his promotion to be Under-Treasurer in 1521, when he was knighted ; his election as Speaker of the House of Commons, through royal influence and much against his will, in 1523; his advancement to the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1525; his embassy to France in 1527, and to Cambray in 1529; and his attainment of the dignity of Lord Chancellor in the last-mentioned year, upon Wolsey's resignation of the Great Seal.
It was in 1524 or 1525, probably, that the affair of the divorce began to be mooted.
No doubt it was impossible that in the matter of the divorce More could sympathise with the King. Assuredly the sympathies of that just man must have been with the unhappy Katharine, threatened, after so many years of unquestioned and unblemished wedlock, with repudiation and rain. But More was a trained and practised lawyer. And the King's case was, from a merely legal point of view, eminently arguable, to say the least.
More's conclusion was, “I am not he which either can, or whom it would become, to take upon me the determination or decision of such a weighty matter, whereof divers points in a great way pass my learning.” He studiously and altogether put it aside, and devoted himself to the duties of his weighty office. But, as Nisard points out, “ More's silence, far from lessening the responsibilities of Henry-which was what he, as a good Christian and faithful subject, wished-was more preju.
dicial to the King than an open opposition, because of the interpretation that the public put upon it.” Henry VIII. is a stupendous example of the vitiating effect of absolute authority, both upon him who exercises it and upon them over whom it is exercised.
It is not necessary to follow here the course of events as the divorce proceedings dragged their slow length along, and Honry became more and more estranged from the Holy See, to which he had originally exhibited a devotion deemed by More excessive. Unquestionably the tortuous policy of Clement was largely the cause of that estrangement. It was the right of the King that his matrimonial cause should be heard and determined upon its merits. And this honest course would probably have proved the most politic for the Pope-even if the decision should have gone against Henry. But, as Father Bridgett, whose sympathies, naturally enough, are with Clement, is constrained to observe, “For nearly six years he dallied with the King, and protracted the suit by every possible device that was not criminal.
He even encouraged hopes that he knew were fallacious. He appeared to entertain propositions that he knew were absurd, and allowed them to be discussed by theologians. The Pope was in hopes that by mild answers and delay he might weary out the King." Clement little knew " the King's obstinacy and tenacity of purpose.” More knew them well. But even More did not divine " the depth of meanness to which he would sink, and to which he would drag all around him.” More, however, was too clear-sighted not to read aright the signs of the times " in a world not moving to his mind.” His great concern to satisfy his conscience where his duty lay in the conflict which he discerned to be inevi. table. As he told the judges who sentenced him to death, “ When I observed that public affairs were so ordered that the sources of the power of the Roman Pontiff would necessarily be examined, I gave myself up to a most diligent examination of that question for the space of seven years, and found that the authority of the Roman Pontiff is not only lawful, to be respected, and necessary, but also grounded on the divine law and prescription.” And having arrived at this conclusion, More was not the man to play fast and loose with it. During the years of his Chancellorship, he eschewed politics as much as possible and confined himself to his judicial duties. But at last the Act against Annates gave him the signal that his occupation, as a Minister of the Crown, was gone. On the 16th May 1532 he delivered the Great Seal into the Kirg's hands in the garden of York-place, near Westminster. An affection of the chest -pectoris valetudo deterior-supplied a sufficient reason for his resigna. tion, which was accepted, most unwillingly, by Henry. So closed the third period of More's career.
It is curious and significant that one of the first things to which he applied himself upon his retirement from the royal service, was the composition of his epitaph; a record of his life most affecting in its plain simplicity, which may still be read on the tomb in Chelsea Church, where his headless body is said to lie. We are told in it that he had ever been desirous to spend his closing years in the peace of private life and freedom from public cares. It was otherwise ordered for him. Not peace and freedom, but persecution and fetters awaited him in the short space of his allotted time that still remained, until the axe of the executioner wrought his final deliverance.
Just a year after More's resignation of the Great Seal, Cranmer, who had meanwhile been consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury, held a Court at Kimbolton for the determination of the King's matrimonial cause. The Queen disdained to appear before his tribunal; and he proceeded with the utmost possible celerity to give sentence in favour of Henry. This was on the 23rd May 1533. Five days afterwards he judicially affirmed the legality of the King's marriage, celebrated some months before, with Anne Boleyn; and on the 29th June she was crowned at Westminster. More was pressed by certain bishops-unquestionably at the royal instigation—to be present at the ceremony; but he refused. There can be little doubt that, from that day, Anne Boleyn sought to compass his destruction.
Events now moved quickly. On the 11th July 1533, Clement VII annulled the proceedings of Cranmer in the King's matrimonial cause. And on the 23rd March 1534-six months before his death-be gave definite sentence against the King, affirming the validity of Henry's marriage with Katharine, and requiring him, under pain of the greater excommunication, to reinstate her in her former rank, and to put away Anne. The King, who of course had expected this sentence, had answered it, in advance, by the Act of Succession, which received the Royal assent on the 30th March 1534, and which supplied the occasion desired for proceeding against More. An endeavour had been made two months before to implicate him in the affair of the Holy Maid of Kent. There was no shadow of reason for believing him to have in the least countenanced that strange visionary's political utterances, as the King well knew. Still, his name was included in the Bill of Attainder brought into the House of Lords on the 21st Feb. 1533, against the nun and certain of her alleged supporters ; the King, Roper writes, “presupposing of likeli. hood 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 (to approve the divorce]-wherein his grace was much deceived.” More petitioned to be heard by the peers; and in an entry in the Lords Journal, ander date the 6th March, when the Bill was read a third time, it is stated that “their Lordships thought fit to find whether it is according to the King's will that Sir Thomas More and the others named with him in the said Bill should be required to appear before their Lordships in the Star Chamber, that it may be heard what they can say for themselves.”
This was by no means according to Henry's will. The King not liking the proposal, Roper tells us, assigned that he should appear before four members of the Council: Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury ; Audley, the Lord Chancellor ; the Duke of Norfolk, and Thomas Cromwell. They first thought, by friendly sounding importunities, to induce him to comply
" he ever
with the King's desire. " But when they saw they could by no manner of persuasions remove him from his former determination, then began they more terribly to touch him by menaces. “My Lords,” he replied, “ these terrors be arguments for children, and not for me.” Then, displeasantly departed they.” The King, much in wrath, was with difficulty brought to consent that More's name should be struck out of the Bill of Attainder. Tidings that this had been done were brought to him by his favourite danghter, Margaret. He replied : “ Megg, quod differtur non aufertur.” He knew well that the monarch who, as he had said years before, would not hesitate to take his life, in order to win a castle in France, would still less hesitate to take it in order to gratify the woman for whom, to quote the words of Dr. Brewer," he had braved the good opinion of Christendom.” The Duke of Norfolk made a last effort to turn him from the straight path at the end of which, they both well knew, was the scaffold. " As they 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 principis mors est.'
Is that all, my Lord ?' quoth he ; "then, in good faith, the difference between your grace and me is but this—that I shall die to-day, and you to-morrow.'
The Act of Succession provided that all subjects should be obliged, ander pain of perpetual imprisonment, to take corporal oath “to observe and maintain the whole effect and contents” of that statute. No special form of oath was prescribed in it. We do not know for certain the precise wording of the form that was drawn up. But we do know that, going beyond the scope of the Act, which was to vest the succession to the Crown in the offspring of Henry by Anne Boleyn, it included a recognition of the truth of the preamble, which affirmed the invalidity of the King's first marriage and the validity of his second. This involved the rejection of the authority of the Roman Pontiff as the supreme spiritual judge of Christendom, and the repudiation of the sentence, in a directly opposite sense, which he had just pronounced, Hence Roper calls the oath “ the oath of supremacy;" which it, in effect, was. On Low Sunday, 1534, which fell on the 12th April, More went to St. Paul's to hear the
His presence there was observed by a royal official, who following him when he left the church, served him with a citation to appear on the morrow at Lambeth, and there to take the oath before the Commissioners appointed to administer it. The next day, early, More went" to church to be confessed, hear Mass, and to be houseled, as his accustomed manner was always ere he entered into any matter of importance.” He knew well what lay before him. “And whereas," continues Roper, more used before, at his departure 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 awhile, at the last he rounded me in the ear, and said, ' Son Roper, I thank our Lord the field is won.' What he meant thereby, I then wist not; yet, loath to seem ignorant, I answered him, '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."
The Commissioners before whom More appeared were Cranmer, Audley, Cromwell, and the Abbot of Westminster. He asked to see the Oath and the Act of Succession. “After which read secretly by myself,” he told his daughter Margaret, "and the oath considered with the Act, I answered unto them that my purpose was not to put any fault either in the Act or anyone that made it, or in the Oath or any men that swore it, nor to condemn the conscience of any other man ; but as for myself, in good faith, my conscience so moved me in the matter, that though I could not deny to swear to the succession, yet unto that Oath that was there offered me, I could not swear without the jeopardising of my soul to perpetual damnation." The Commissioners endeavoured in vain to shake his resolution, and he was committed to the custody of the Abbot of Westminster. It is to the credit of Cranmer, who could have had no sort of sympathy with More's scruples, that he made an effort-a curiously characteristic effort—to save him. He wrote to Cromwell suggesting that More and Fisher might“ be sworn to the Act of Succession, but not to the preamble of the same," the exact nature of the Oath taken by them being, however, suppressed, "except when and where His Highness might take some commodity” by disclosing it. It wonld, the Archbishop thought, “be a good quietation to many others within this realm, if such men should say that the succession comprised within the said Act, is good and according to God's law." But Henry rejected this Cranmerian device. Queen Anne by her importunate clamour did so sore exasperate the King against More," Roper writes. And no wonder. More was a living protest against her marriage, a perpetual witness to the King, “It is not lawful for thee to have her." And assuredly she longed for his head as keenly as Herodias longed for the head of St. John Baptist. After abiding in the custody of the Abbot of Westminster for four days, More was sent to the Tower to undergo the perpetual imprisonment which was the penalty for refusing the oath.
It was on the 30th April that More's examination before Cromwell and his colleagues took place. On the 4th May, Margaret Roper was allowed to see her father once more before his condemnation. While they were together, Roper relates, “as Sir Thomas More was looking out of his window, he chanced 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 going in that journey to have accompanied them, said unto my wife, then standing there beside him, ' Lo dost not thou see, Megg, that these blessed fathers be now as cheerfully going to their deaths, as bride
grooms to their marriage ?'” His longing was soon to be gratified. On the 3rd June he was again interrogated by certain of the Council regarding his opinion of the Act of Supremacy ; but they were baffled by him as their fellows had been. On the 12th June, Rich, the Solicitor-General, was sent to him in order, if possible, to entangle bim in his talk ; and it was chiefly upon the strength of what this caitiff affirmed to have fallen from him in conversation, that he was indicted for “refusing to the King maliciously, falsely, and traitorously his title of Supreme Head of the Church of England.” The trial took place on the 1st July, and Cardinal Pole, in a passage in his “ De Unitate Ecclesiæ,” marked by pathos and eloquence seldom found in his writings, has pictured the venerable magistrate, led out as a criminal from prison, in sordid dress, and grown old, not by lapse of years but by the squalor and sufferings of his dungeon, his head made white by long confinement, his weak and broken body leaning on a staff, and, even so, scarcely able to stand, and dragged along the way that led to the place of trial, or rather of certain condemnation. More, in his defence alleged-and we may be sure with entire truth-that he had been guiltless of the denial of the supremacy alleged against him ; that he had not discovered what was in his conscience concerning the statute to any man living. A verdict of guilty was, of course, easily obtained.
Murder, preceded by mummery,” is Lord Macaulay's accurate account of a State trial at that period. The sentence of hanging, drawing, and quartering was commuted by the King into one of simple beheading on Tower Hill. Early on the 6th July 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. “Master Pope,” quoth Sir Thomas More, “ for your good tidings I heartily thank you. I have been always much bounden to the King's Highness for the benefits and honours that he hath still, from time to time, most bountifully heaped upon me. ... 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.” Sir Thomas Pope was moved to tears. More bade him be of good comfort in the prospect of a happy meeting beyond the grave. “Who knows," asked Plato, " whether it is not life that is death and death that is life? More knew.
We need not linger over the closing scene on that bright July morning on Tower Hill. Roper and the old biographers have told it with an antique simplicity more eloquent than any tropes. Mr. Froude has related it in a passage, doubtless familiar to all our readers, which is among the very best specimens of modern English prose. We may, however, note the curious and significant fact that the day of More's death was, apparently, the day on which the disgrace of the woman who had been chiefly instrumental in it began. Henry was playing at draughts with Anne Boleyn in the palace at Richmond when the tidings came that More had ceased to live. He cast on her an angry look, and saying, “It is your fault, if that man is dead,” left her brusquely, and shut himself up in his closet for the rest of the day. More had foreseen the approaching doom of the unhappy woman, and had been sorry for her. On one occasion, Roper tells us, when Margaret visited her father in the Tower, he asked her how Queen Anne did. " In faith, father,” quoth she, never better."
Never better, Meg!” quoth he; "alas, Meg, alas, it pitieth me to remember into what misery, poor soul, she shall shortly come.”
So much must suffice to depict in the faintest outline, and as if by a few strokes of a pencil, the life of this memorable man.
The book by which More is chiefly known is, of course, his “Utopia." Written originally in Latin, it was addressed, like Erasmus's “ Praise of Folly,” not to the English vulgar, but to the educated public of Europe ; and it is of the highest interest, as being, in some sort, a revelation of More's mind about the gravest public problems. We say “in some sort," for, in truth, it reveals More's mind to us "as through a glass, darkly” (per speculum et in ænigmate). “He hovers,” says Dr. Brewer, perpetually on the confines of jest and earnest, passes so naturally from the one to the other, that the reader is in constant suspense whether his jest is seriousness, or his seriousness is jest.” And so More tells us of himself that he used to look sadly when he meant merrily, and that people often thought him to be speaking in sport when he was really in earnest. The true notion of the “ Utopia” has been admirably stated by Sir James Mackintosh : “It intimates a variety of doctrines and exhibits a multiplicity of projects which the writer regards with almost every possible degree of approbation and shade of assent; from the frontiers of serious and entire belief, through gradations of descending plausibility, where the lowest are scarcely more than the exercises of ingenuity, and to which some wild paradoxes are appended, either as a vehicle, or as an easy means (if necessary) of disowning the serious intention of the whole of this platonic fiction."
Such are some of the thoughts which are suggested to us as we turn over the pages of the “ Utopia,” " that charming and faithful reflection of More's mind in the years when it was most free, most impartial, most open to ideas of every kind, even to such as harmonize least with the religious exaltation of his first youth, and the dogmatic bitterness of the closing years of his life.” But, however acted on by the circumstances of the age, from first to last, as Rudhart has well observed, More's character is all of a piece. “ Because right is right, to follow right was, from first to last, the principle which ruled his life. The all-encroaching, all-absorbing despotism of Henry VIII. corrupted not only the King himself, but his ministers, his courtiers, his Parliaments, the nation at large." “He turned the theory of kingship into action: the King can do no wrong ;' therefore mer shall call right all that he does." • What is truth ?' said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer. “What has truth to do with it?' was the thought, expressed or not, of the men who cowered before Henry VIII., when the royal will was declared, The
King's volition was their one rule of faith and action. But More would not make his reason blind. To him may be applied, in fullest measure, the eulogy of the Roman poet :
Sub principe duro, Temporibusque malis, ausus es esse bonus. It was no ordinary daring. It was no ordinary manifestation of the triumph of those ideal forces, which we spoke of earlier in this article, orer material forces ; of right over might, of justice over fact. It was no ordinary vindication of the freedom of the rational will to follow its transcendental law. Nor is it easy to overestimate the value of one single life like More's. Duty, self-devotion, sacrifice,—the things written upon every page of it, -what is the explanation of them ? They are inexplicable apart from the supersensuous, the ideal, the divine and eternal. The great heroes of conscience-of all heroes the greatest-are indeed, in Cicero's words, “lumina quædam probitatis et veritatis : ''the light of the world,' as a greater than Cicero has said, putting visibly before the multitude excellences which else had
Seemed like a dream of the heart,
Seemed but a cry of desire. * These are they who are ordained, in God's providence, to be the salt of the earth; to continue, in their turn, the succession of His witnesses, though death sweep away each successive generation of them to their rest and their reward. These communicate their light to a number of lesser luminaries, by whom, in its turn, it is distributed through the world. ... And thus, the self-same fire, once kindled on Moriah, though seeming at intervals to fail, has at length reached us in safety, and will in like manner, as we trust, be carried forward even to the end.”
affecting parish and district councils and the cases which have been decided on the Act of 1894 have also been inserted in their proper places. The editors may be congratulated upon having brought their book up to date, and combined in one volume all that can be wanted to make the Act of 1894 clear to the intelligent reader.
Messrs. Sweet and Maxwell (3, Chancery-lane), have issued a second edition of Messrs. Clerk and Lindsell's Law of Torts. In this edition the authors have had the assistance of Mr. T. Hollis Walker, barrister-at-law, of the Midland Circuit. When the first edition of this work appeared we drew attention to the fact that it was a work upon a subject which had already been ably treated of in such books as Add on Torts, &c. In this edition considerable portions of the former edition have, not without profit, been rewritten and rearranged. But whether the authors, with the assistance of Mr. Walker, have extracted the principles of the cases which they refer to, is a matter which may be doubted. In noticing the first edition of this work we had cause to draw attention to several points on which we differed from the authors. We must again question whether their observations and comments on cases are correct in all respects. One unfortunate instance is provided by the editors themselves in the preface to the second edition in their remarks upon Nevill v. The Fine Arts and General Insurance Company in the Court of Appeal. Since the publication of the book this decision has been under review in the House of Lords, when the judgment of the Court of Appeal was affirmed without the respondents being called upon.
The Law Relating to Motor Cars. By H. LANGFORD Lewis and
W. HALDANE PORTER, Barristers-at-law. London: Butterworth and Co., Fleet-street. Tuis work deals with the Locomotives on Highways Act 1896, and the regulations of the Local Government Board and the Home Secretary regarding petroleum, made under it. The general effect of the Act is considered in an introduction, and the statutes necessary to explain the full meaning of the principal Act are given in an appendix. It seems short and to the point, though as yet, there having been no cases arising under the Act, the giving of any decisions is not possible.
BOOKS RECEIVED. Raikes and Kilburn's Admiralty Jurisdiction and Practice in the County Courts. William Clowes and Sons Limited, 27, Fleet-street. Price 12s. 6d.
Cunningham's Lord Bowen. John Murray, Albemarle-street. Price 10s. 6d.
Pitt-Lewis and White's Yearly County Court Practice 1897. 2 vols. Butterworth and Co., 7, Fleet-street, E.C.; and Shaw and Sons, 7 and 8, Fetter-lane, E.C.
CRIMINAL LAW AND
LAW AND THE JURISDICTION OF MAGISTRATES.
NEW EDITIONS. What shall we say of an eighteenth edition of Williamson Real Property ? Reverence and awe would have dictated the observation that it could not be touched without sacrilege. But sons take liberties in these days which earlier generations knew not, and here we have Mr. Cyprian Williams, with the assistance of Sweet and Maxwell Limited, and other publishers at Manchester, Dublin, and Melbourne, rearranging and partly rewriting the work. The writings of Professor Ames, of Harvard, and of Sir F. Pollock and Professor Maitland have suggested revision. Thereby this volume is made a fin de siècle law book which needs no commendation.
Another new edition is the third of Edwards' Compendium of the Law of Property in Land (Stevens and Haynes)—the third since 1888. The present volume includes the statute and case law produced by the last five years, and so excellent is the arrangement that we know of no better compendium upon the subject of which it treats.
We have the fourth edition of Hunt's Law of Boundaries and Fences (Butterworth and Co.), by the inexhaustible Mr. Archibald Brown. A great deal of this treatise consists of the very words of the judges, which to some is an advantage, whilst others think it shows want of skill in the compiler. As a textbook it is accurate, whilst it is practical enough for the practitioner.
An improvement in the index adds to its value. The Tabular View of the Summary Jurisdiction of Justices, by E. T. Ayres, Solicitor (London: Waterlow and Sons), has reached the second edition. It includes the indictable offences under the Summary Jurisdiction Act 1879, and the effect of the First Offenders Act 1887, and the Reformatory Act 1893. Undoubtedly it should continue to be of service to the clerks of justices, and to both practitioners and students.
Messrs. Shaw and Sons (Fetter-lane, E.C.) have just issued the third edition of Macmorran and Dill's Local Government Act 1894. The editors have incorporated the various Acts of Parliament which have been passed during the last two years
QUARTER SESSIONS. Barnstaple, Tuesday, Jan, 5
Hereford, Friday, Jan. 8 Bath, Friday, Jan. 1
Ipswich, Thursday, Jan, 7 Bedford, Tuesday, Jan. 5
King's Lynn, Thursday, Jan. 14 Berwick-upon-Tweed, Thursday, Dec, 31 Leeds, Thursday, Jan. 7 Bideford, Wednesday, Jan. 6
Leicester, Wednesday, Jan. 6 Birkenhead, Wednesday, Jan. 6
Lichfield, Wednesday, Jan. 6 Birmingham, Monday, Jan. 11
Northampton, Friday, Jan. 8 Blackburn, Friday, Jan. 8
Norwich, Thursday, Dec. 31 Bolton, Thursday, Jan. 14
Nottingham, Thursday, Jan. 7, at 10 Bradford, Yorks, Friday, Jan. 8
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Friday, Jan. 8 Bridgnorth. Wednesday, Jan. 6
Oswestry, Friday, Jan. 8 Bridgwater, Saturday, Jan. 9
Plymouth, Thursday, Jan. 7 Bristol, Monday, Jan. 4, at 10.30
Portsmouth, Friday, Jan. S Cambridge, Monday, Jan. 4, at 10
Reading, Thursday, Jan, 7, at 10 Cardiff, Thursday, Jan. 7
Richmond (Yorks), Monday, Jan. 4 Carlisle, Wednesday, Jan. 6
Salford, Thursday, Feb. 18 Chester, Friday, Jan. 1
Scarborough, Friday, Jan. 15, at 10.15 Colchester, Friday, Jan. 8, at 10
Sheffield, Thursday, Jan, 14 Croydon, Thursday, Jan. 7, at 11
Shrewsbury, Monday, Jan. 4 Deal, Monday, Jan. 18
Southampton, Thursday, Jan. 7 Derby, Thursday, Jan. 7, at 10.30
Sudbury, Monday, Jan. 11 Devizes, Monday, Jan. 4
Swansea, Friday, Jan. 8 Dover, Monday, Jan. 4
Tiverton, Wednesday, Jan. 6 Exeter, Monday, Jan. 4
Warwick, Friday, Jan. 8 Faversham, Monday, Jan. 4
Wenlock, Friday, Jan. 8 Gravesend, Friday, Jan. 1
Wigan, Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 10.30 Grimsby, Tuesday, Jan, 12
Windsor, Wednesday, Jan. 9 Hanley, Friday, Jan. 8
Wolverhampton, Friday, Jan. 8, at 10.
SITTINGS OF THE COURTS.
Portsmouth, Monday (Reg., Bky), at 12 Brighton, Thursday (J.S.), at 11.30 Southampton, Wednesday (Reg., Bky), Durham, Tuesday (Reg., Bky)
at 11 Great Grimsby, Wednesday (R., By), at 11 Sunderland, Thursday (Reg., Bky) Liverpool, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Warrington,* Thursday, and Thursday
* Other sittings are specially fixed if necessary.
COUNTY COURTS, EQUITY, AND BANKRUPTCY CASES.— Published quarterly, price 4s., post free.-HORACE Cox, “ County Courts Chronicle" Office, Bream's-buildings, E.C.-[ADVT.]
PROCEEDINGS AFFECTING THE
In the Queen's Bench Division on the 17th inst., before Pollock, B. and Bruce, J., Hollams moved on behalf of the Incorporated Law Society and brought before the court the name of Mr. Henry Robert Elton, a solicitor, of Chancery-lane, who had been convicted at the Central Criminal Court, on the 3rd Feb. last, of obtaining shares to the extent of £100 and £100 in money by false pretences from Mary Harriet M'Lean, and sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour for nine months. Mr. Hollams asked that, in accordance with the usual practice, the solicitor should be struck off the rolls.
Grain (D. Chalmers with him) appeared on behalf of the solicitor, and referred to an affidavit by him. From this it appeared that a Miss Morris and Mrs. M'Lean had advanced money under circumstances connected with the starting of a massage company, which led to the committal of Mr. Elton and a Mr. Kennedy for false pretences and for conspiracy. After a long trial they were both convicted. It was suggested that something should be done by way of reimbursing the ladies That was not done then, as Mr. Elton had no money left. After undergoing his nine months' imprisonment the solicitor was liberated, and now compensation had been made to the ladies and they had been reimbursed their costs. The affidavit stated that Kennedy was introduced to the solicitor by a man in whom the solicitor had the fullest confidence. Mr. Grain contended that in nearly every instance it appeared that the active mind was that of Kennedy rather than that of Mr Elton. At any rate he had not put any money into his own pocket, and on the contrary, had expended £1000. There was a difference in this case to one where there had been no conviction. In such a case the committee of the Incorporated Law Society would have inquired into the case and sent in its report. The court on such a report could either adopt it wholly, in part, or not at all. But when there was a conviction it was the result alone that was before the court. Further, it was rather like a double punishment to strike a man off the rolls after he had served his nine months' imprisonment. He asked the court to be content with suspension and not to strike off the rolls.
Hollams said the court were asked to create a precedent. When a conviction of a solicitor had taken place for dishonesty as solicitor he did not know of a case in which any other course than striking off had been followed.
POLLOCK, B., after stating the facts, said that, looking at the matter in respect of first principles, the application to strike a solicitor off the rolls was not made with a view to inflict further punishment, but to protect people who might be his clients and to uphold the integrity of solicitors as officers of the court. The solicitor here had returned the money to the ladies, which was rather more than some solicitors might have done. But no sufficient ground had been adduced for departing from the established rule. Mr. Elton must be struck off the rolls.
BRUCE, J. concurred.
clause of the letter from the solicitor to the father of the 9th Aug. 1895, on which the solicitor was convicted, was the following: “We have in our possession at the present time a confession in (the son's) handwriting, of indecent conduct with thirteen lads, other than those for offences against whom he has already been convicted, and your present conduct towards me now is ill-calculated to induce me to keep such information to ourselves. However, if this matter leaves our hands, which it assuredly will if it be not settled by 10.30 to-morrow, you must take the consequences of your own folly, for in that event we shall not deviate one farthing from the price we originally contracted to take the case for.”'
For the solicitor it was urged that the letter did not bear the meaning put on it, but only this,—that if he had to sue it would necessarily come out that the son had misconducted himself with other boys, because it was by reason of the number of other possible cases that the sum of £150 was arrived at. The solicitor by his affidavit declared that the letter was written in haste and anger, and not with the intention of extorting money. He now apologised for it. As to the charge for counsels' fees, the solicitor swore he had never seen the bill. The clerk to the solicitor admitted that he must have made a mistake. The solicitor at the time when it was drawn up was ill. The junior counsel had not presented his cheque in time, and that was the real reason why it had not been cashed. The solicitor had been out of prison for several months, but he had not practised as a solicitor. The clerk of the solicitor had disappeared.
POLLOCK, B., said that the decision of the Home Secretary was not material to the present issue. The offence for which the solicitor was convicted was not one of the ordinary sort. It was that of extorting money. It was a case where a solicitor in a cruel way had not only broken the law, but had also threatened to make use of information obtained by him as solicitor in order to attempt to extort money. The question for the court was not whether there should be any further punishment, but as to the safety of the public. After such conduct it was clear that the solicitor was not worthy to remain on the rolls. Mr. Fred. Willans Farrer, of Huddersfield, must be struck off the rolls.
BRUCE, J. concurred. The solicitor had been guilty of a gross abuse of the confidence of a client. He had abused that confidence to extort money. He was unfit to remain on the rolls.
At the Central Criminal Court on the 17th inst., before Lawrance, J., Charles Henson Staniland, sixty, solicitor, pleaded guilty to obtaining money by false pretences. — Avory said the prosecution was at the instance of the Incorporated Law Society. It was alleged that the prisoner had obtained money as fees in payment for affidavits sworn before him, he pretending that he was duly qualified as a Commissioner for Oaths. The prosecution was taken up by the Law Society in the interests of the public and of the Profession, there being reason to believe that numbers of persons, not qualified to act as Cominissioners, were in the habit of administering oaths. The prisoner had been a solicitor forty years. In 1894 he was suspended on account of misconduct for twelve months; he had not since renewed his certificate. The affidavits so sworn would be rejected, and persons were guilty of perjury in making the affidavits, many of which had passed without the discovery of the informality.-B. Moore mentioned circumstances in mitigation.—LAWRANCE, J. imposed a fine of £10.
THE ADMISSION OF EVIDENCE OF PERSONAL RE
SEMBLANCE IN CASES OF DISPUTED PATERNITY. MR. CAMPBELL Smith, the Sheriff of Dundee, has, says the Westminster Gazette, just given his decision in a paternity case, and added a "noto" in which he makes the following remarks :-“I know that the facial features of a child may be, and often are as matter of general appearance, derived from any living or painted face that the mother may have a fancy to and opportunity to look upon. But I also know that parts of the body, such as the feet—the whole hidden skeleton, in short—which the mother never could see, must, in so far as differing widely from her, be derived from the father, in so far as it clearly resembles him. The new or X photography, which enables a comparison to be made in the shape of the bones, taken along with the general appearance and form of other parts of the body not open to ordinary inspection, affords a means of demonstrating paternity about as clearly as science can demonstrate any fact.” It is needless, the Westminster Gazette remarks, to add that the law has not yet the “catholic wisdom ” to allow Sheriff Smith to put his theory into practice.
Is evidence of personal resemblance in cases of disputed paternity admissible in English courts of justice ? In the case of Bagot v. Bagot (1 L. Rep. Ir., pp. 311, 312), the question of the legality of evidence of the resemblance of a child to bis reputed father was much discussed on a motion for a new trial in the Irish Probate and Matrimonial Division in June 1878. The President of the Division, in bis judgment refusing the application, said he was not aware of any decision or dictum of a judge, or suggestion of a text-writer adverse to the reception of such evidence. “In the absence,” said his Lordship, “of legal authority I recognise none higher on such a subject than that cited by the Solicitor-General (now Lord Justice FitzGibbon, who cited a passage from Shakespeare, given below, which the learned President incorporated in a foot-note in the authorised report of his judgment). But there is some legal authority in favour of the reception of the evidence. First, there is, in 1767, the Douglas Peerage case and the observations of Lord Mansfield (2 Taylor's Med. Journal, p. 273). Then, in 1784, in Day v. Day (Sir H. Nichol's Treatise, p. 140), Heath, J. not only allowed evidence to be given that the defendant bore a strong personal resemblance to his supposed father, but, in summing up, he told the jury that the next head of evidence is made very light of indeed ; that is, the resemblance of the defendant to his father or to his supposed father. I do admit these resemblances are frequently fanciful, and therefore you should be well convinced it does exist; but if you are convinced it does exist, it is impossible to have stronger evidence.” Next, in 1837, in Morris v. Davies (5 Cl. & Fin., p. 163), the evidence was admitted. Defendant called witnesses, one swore that the child and suggested father were as like as two candles, and the plaintiff went into a rebutting case to disprove the resemblance. And, again, in the Townsend Peerage case the evidence was admitted. I think thi was legal evi nce."
On the case being taken to the High Court of Appeal in Ireland the Lord Chancellor (the Right Hon. I. T. Ball), in pronouncing the unani. mous decision of the court directing a new trial, said that the judges
In the Queen's Bench Division on the 18th inst., before Pollock, B., and Bruce, J., Hollams moved that Fred. Willans Farrer, of Huddersfield, be struck off the rolls, on the ground that he was convicted on the 14th Dec. 1895, at the assizes for the West Riding of Yorkshire at Leeds, of having published a malicious libel with intent to extort certain property, and was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment with hard labour.
0. E. Jones appeared on behalf of the solicitor.
In March last the matter come up before a Divisional Court. Mr. C. E. Jones then appeared on behalf of the solicitor, and asked that it should be adjourned till the solicitor came out of prison, and the adjournment was granted. Since then the Home Secretary had reduced the term of imprisonment, and the solicitor was liberated after eight and a half months' imprisonment.
Hollams stated that the solicitor had been engaged to defend a young man on a charge under the Criminal Law Amendment Act. After the trial, when the young man had been convicted, the solicitor wrote to the father claiming a further sum of £111 78. 5d. beyond the £105 already paid, and threatening to make public the confessions of the son as to improper conduct in other cases unless the money was paid. The solicitor alleged that there was an agreement to pay £150 for the defence, together with all out-of-pocket expenses. The father disputed the agreement. Further the solicitor in his bill of costs had charged £60 as out-of-pocket expenses for counsels' fees, whereas it was proved that cheques for the amount of £40 only had been drawn for that purpose, and of these one for £12 3s. 6d. for a junior's fees had been dishonoured. The important