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and in the economy of his duties this hour was important. On the morning in question, he had taken with him a volume of St. Thomas Acquinas, being no doubt at this time engaged on some of his controversial pieces. On a sudden turning to Harris, and pointing with his finger to the volume, he exclaimed:
:-" Look here, Harris ; only see how that fellow Luther bas been picking his arguments out of St. Thomas's objections; but then the knave has not had the common honesty to say a word of the solutions, which follow close by.”
It is said of Molière, that, previous to the production of any of his pieces, he used to read them over to a good old housekeeper of his, in order to remark the effect produced upon her plain unsopbisticated judgment; in the same manner would More avail himself of the good strong common sense of Harris. “ Yea,” says Roper, “though Sir Thomas was most wise and dexterous in discovering truth from falsehood, and virtue from cloaked-up vice, yet would he frequently, in his greatest affairs and studies, ask his man Harris his advice and counsel; and, if he thought his judgment better, would willingly submit to his opinion ; choosing rather to be in all things at the discretion of other men, than at his own guiding, desirous in all his actions to exercise the chief of all Christian virtues, obedience and humility": We learn from Cresacre, that More afterwards raised this honest man to the place of his private secretary; for, he adds, Harris was a person of sound judgment and great piety.*
* How much truth is there in this remark of Sir Thomas; nor was it in his time alone that such unworthy arts were resorted to; the knaves of whom he speaks are to be found in all voluminous manufacturers of abuse against the Catholic Church, from Tindall to Southey, whose whole ground of argument is picked from the objections of St. Thomas, and based solely on abuses, which every honest Catholic laments as sincerely as his adversary. It has been the trick of the scribes in question to underrate and abuse St. Thomas, in order to throw the hunters of knowledge off the scent, lest their petty larcenies should be detected. Thus®“ the solemn and neglected riddles of Thomas Acquinas," is the expression of a fashionable writer of this tribe: those things are riddles to us which we cannot comprehend, and precisely in this predicament is the scribbler of the above. Men capable of appreciating the merits of this wonderful man, have done justice to his immense learning, and his commanding intellect. We cite with pleasure the historian of The Middle Ages.
On another occasion, Sir Thomas was returning in his barge, after having dined at the house of a merchant in the city. His water-bailiff, a trusty servant, having heard certain persons, who were tinctured with the new opinions, rail severely against Sir Thomas, because he was a determined opponent of the Lutheran doctrines, “ waxed sore discontented therewith, knowing well that his good master little deserved any evil report.” He, therefore, took an opportunity, when they were seated in the barge, to report to his master the disagreeable things he had heard; and he added, with a significant motion of the head; and “ And were I, Sir, in such high favour and authority with my prince as you are, such men should not so villainously and falsely misrepresent and slander me. Therefore, will you not do well, Sir, to call them before you, and punish them to their shame for their undeserved malice ?"
Sir Thomas, smiling at his honest warmth, replied: “ Why, Mr. Water-bailiff
, and would you have me punish those by whom I reap more benefit than by all you that are my friends ? Let them, in God's name, speak as loudly of me as they list, and shoot never so many bolts at me; so long as they hit me not, what am I the worse? True it is, that, should they once hit me, then would it not a little grieve me; howbeit, I trust by God's grace and help, there shall none of them all be able to touch me. And this believe, that
* Harris is immortalized in the celebrated picture of the More family by Holbein, of which we have already spoken. He is represented in the same group with More's son, with this inscription over his head " Johannes Harresius Thomæ Mori famulus."
“If you find a good servant, look upon him under no severer aspect than that of a humble friend; the difference between such a one and his master, residing rather in fortune than in nature."-SIR FRANCIS OSBORNE's Advice to his Son,
I have more cause to pity than to be angry with them.”
The following is an instance of the happy way in which More could parry an adversary's blow. A member of the house of Manners bad ingratiated himself into the king's favour, and had been raised to a post of honour. He had formerly been one of Sir Thomas's friends, but “ perceiving that the world began somewhat to frown upon him, because he was not so forward as other men to egg on the divorce,” and hinting that More was ungrateful for the king's favours, said to him in a sarcastic tone: “ Even so as the old proverb is, Honores mutant mores.' “ Yes,” replied More, with that sparkle of the eye that announced a good thing," the proverb is most apt, but only translate it rightly, for mores is manners." Sir Thomas was not attacked in that quarter again.
The recent task which we have seen More perform, and to which he was compelled by his official situation, must have done violence to his nature. In laying before the Commons the opinions of the uni. versities, which were, in fact, so many outrages upon the feelings of the Queen, whom he so much loved and respected, he was compelled to recite a tale, which could have afforded him but little satis. faction in the telling. His contempt of worldly greatness was too strong to allow him to hold even the highest station, subject to the violation of his conscience; and it requires but little knowledge of More's character, not to see that he would take meae sures to prevent his being exposed to the repetition of an act that had conflicted with his principles. Accordingly, we find him shortly after applying to his particular friend, the Duke of Norfolk, to intercede with his royal master, that he might be permitted to resign the seal. A complaint in his breast, arising from too assiduous an application to business, was the reason assigned by him, for his resignation, as well to the duke, as to the friends with whom he corresponded. But Norfolk knew too well the value of More's services to the king in the situation which he filled, to make such a proposal, till after much importunity on the part of the knight; and Henry, anxious as he might feel to exchange the rigid honesty of More for something more pliant and yielding to his purposes, had the decency not to accept the resignation tendered, till after repeated solicitation. At length, however, the king's consent was obtained, and More waited upon his Majesty by appointment, to deliver up the seal, having held it just two years and seven months. Hall, the court chronicler, thus records the circumstance : “ Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of England, after long suits made to the king, to be discharged of that office, on the 15th day of May, delivered to the king, at Westminster, the great seal of England, and was with the king's favour discharged; which seal the king kept till Whitsunday following, and the Monday in whitenn week, he dubbed Thomas Audley, Speaker of the Parliament, Knight, and made him lord keeper of the great seal.”
As the successor of More will, in the sequel, be seen to take an active part against him, we may be allowed to say a few words, in passing, on his con. duct and character. Some estimate of the latter may be formed from documents that have come to light in “ The State Papers," and which do not place him in a point of view favourable to a comparison with his predecessor in office. The following passages will exhibit his conduct in strong contrast with the severe integrity and manly independence of Sir Thomas. There is a letter of his to Secretary Crumwell, in which, after stating “ that his debts troubled him sore,” he adds: “I am afraid to require any thing of the kivg's grace, he hath been so good lord to me; but, Sir, if by your means, it might please the king's grace to give me that poor house, I once told you of, that late belonged to Christ's church, a little from London, with the lands and pastures thereunto belonging, which exceeds not 20 mark a year; and also that his grace would, of his goodness, pay me that £100 due to me, and lend me £600, upon good sureties. I pray you burn this letter, or keep it secret, for therein my necessity appeareth, which I would that all should not know.”
In another letter dated the same year (1533) is the following: “ Bruits (reports] have run concerning the dissolution of the Abbey of St. John, Colchester, and of St. Oswyth, and 1 am bold to write to your lordship after my old suit. I beseech you, my lord, if your lordship should think this suit honour. able and reasonable, to move this matter to the king's majesty, and to set it earnestly forward. I trouble
suits often, and cannot recompense you for the gentleness and pains taken for me; but if you can or may obtain this suit, your lordship shall have for your favour therein £200."
This bribe is offered in so cool and business-like a tone, that it is not difficult to conjecture that there was nothing novel to Crumwell in transactions of this kind. The editor of the State Papers, from which this is taken, drily remarks: “ Crumwell was not tempted by this bribe: he obtained the Abbey for himself.”
Marillac, the French ambassador, terms Audley un grand vendeur de justice—a great barterer of justice. (Le Grand, I. 224.)