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dinal by, attending; to disgrace him that he never loved-" Harry," says he, " lend me ten pounds." "What to do?" says the king. "To pay three or four of the Cardinal's creditors," quoth he, "to whom my word is passed, and they are come now for the money." "That thou shalt, Will," quoth he. "Creditors of mine!" says the Cardinal, "I'll give your grace my head, if any man can justly ask me of a penny." "No!" says Will," lend me ten pounds. If I pay it not where thou owest it, I'll give thee twenty for it." "Do so," says the king. "That I will, my liege," says the Cardinal, "though I know I owe no man." With that he lends Will ten pounds. Will goes to the gate, and distributes it to the poor, and returns with the empty bag. "There is thy bag again," says he, "thy creditors are satisfied, and my word out of danger." "Who received it," says the king, "the brewer or the baker?" "Neither, Harry," says Will; "but Cardinal, answer me one thing:-to whom dost thou owe thy soul?" "To God," quoth he. "To whom thy wealth?" "To the poor, says he. "Take thy forfeit, Harry," says the fool, " open confession, open penance! his head is thine: for to the poor at the gate I paid his debt, which he yields is due. Or if thy stony heart will not yield it, Lord Cardinal, save thy head by denying thy word, and lend it me, and, by my troth, hang me when I pay thee!" The king laughed at the jest, and so did the Cardinal; but it grieved him to jest away ten pounds so lightly.
Those who feel curious to know more of this singular trait in the domestic manners of our forefathers, may consult Mr. Douce's "Illustrations of Shakspeare, ," where considerable light is thrown upon this subject.
1517-1525. ÆTAT. 43.
MORE AT COURT-QUELLS A POPULAR TUMULT-IS MADE TREASURER OF THE EXCHEQUER-DEFENDS HENRY AGAINST
LUTHER-MADE SPEAKER OF
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
More enters on his official duties-Exerts his influence in the city in quelling a popular commotion-Addresses a letter to the University of Oxford on the cultivation of the Greek language-Is made treasurer of the Exchequer-His intimacy with the king-Rise and progress of the Reformation-King Henry writes a Defence of the Seven Sacraments, and is rewarded by the title of Defender of the Faith-Luther attacks the king's work, and More undertakes its defence More is chosen Speaker of the House of Commons-His political opposition to Wolsey-Their personal friendship-Sketch of the life and character of Wolsey,
We now return from More in the bosom of his happy family, to Sir Thomas installed in his new honours at court. From the time he was persecuted into the acceptance of a place in the privy council, may be dated the surrender, in a great measure at least, of his taste for domestic life and his predilection for studious leisure. "He had resolved," says Erasmus, "to be content with his private station; but having been successful on more than one mission abroad, Henry, not discouraged by so unusual a thing as the refusal of a pension, did not rest till he had drawn More into the palace: for why should I not say drawn, since no man ever laboured with more industry for admission to a court, than More to keep out of it?" But let us hear the new courtier's own account of his feelings at this time, as described in
a letter to Bishop Fisher, which Stapleton has preser ved :
"I came most unwillingly to court, as every one knoweth, and as the king in joke sometimes tells me and to this day, I seem to sit as awkwardly there, as one who never rode before sitteth in a saddle. But our prince, though I am far from being in his special favour, is so affable and kind to all, that every one, let him be ever so diffident, findeth some reason or other for imagining he loveth him; just as our London dames persuade themselves that our Lady's image smileth upon them as they pray before it. I am neither so fortunate as to deserve such favourable tokens, nor so sanguine as to flatter myself that I do; yet such are his majesty's virtues and learning, and such his daily increasing industry, that seeing him the more and more advance in good and truly royal accomplishments, I feel this court life begin to hang somewhat less heavily upon me."
Nor was More singular in this his favourable opinion of Henry's earlier court, although the novelty of his position, and these early evidences of royal favour cannot but be supposed to have had their influence even upon the judgment of More. Speaking of this court, Erasmus says, "the fragrance of her honourable fame is widely diffused; for she has a king who possesses every princely attribute, and a queen in no way inferior to him: and besides this a number of worthy, learned, and discreet subjects." In a letter from London to the preceptor of the Archduke Ferdinand, he observed: "Like yourself, I often wish that our court might imitate that of Britain, which is full of scholars, and men proficient in all the arts. They stand round the royal table, where literary and philosophic subjects are discussed, such as the education of a prince, the best methods of study, or some question of morals. In a word, the company at the palace is such that, there is no academy you would undervalue in comparison with
it." It must not, however, be forgotten, that much of this praise reflects back upon Henry's father and exemplary mother.
More's active services were very speedily put in requisition, in consequence of a disturbance in the city of London, the immediate occasion of which was as follows. The citizens had, for several years past, been jealous of the encroachments of foreign artificers, by whom a large part of the mercantile and mechanical business of the city and country was engrossed. The discontent had now reached its height. A number of the citizens, headed by one Lincoln, a broker, applied to Dr. Bell, a celebrated preacher of the time, to read a summary of their grievances from the pulpit, and to preach in behalf of the people against the foreign artificers. Allured by the hope of popularity, the divine unfortunately complied. From the text, "The heaven is the Lord's, but the earth bath he given to the children of men," he undertook to show that the land they inhabited was given to Englishmen; and as birds defend their nest, so ought Englishmen to cherish and maintain themselves, and, out of love for their native land, should not hesitate in aggrieving aliens and driving them forth. Convinced by this logic of what they were interested to believe, the apprentices and common people grew bolder in their animosity against the foreigners, and insulted them in the streets. The festival of May-day, when every substantial citizen turned his back on business, and went forth a Maying into the woods and meadows, was chosen for carrying into effect a plot formed for putting all the aliens in the city to death. It was arrested by the vigilance of Sir Thomas, who, in concert with the aldermen of the city, issued a mandate that no person, after nine o'clock on May-day eve, should stir out, but keep his doors shut and his servants within. The indiscretion of one of the aldermen, some days after, blew the discontent into a flame. Several
thousands of the people collected, and broke open the Compter prison and also that of Newgate, in which were several prisoners committed for violence done to foreigners. Their numbers were hourly augmenting, and the aspect of things became alarming. Sir Thomas, as we have already seen, was a favourite in the city, and relying upon the influence of his character, he met this enraged body at St. Martin's-gate, and had nearly succeeded in persuading them to return peaceably to their homes, when some wanton individuals having thrown stones at one of More's companions, the confusion became general. It was now found necessary to call in military force, and this array of tattered men, and squalid women and children, was soon dispersed. Thirteen hundred were taken prisoners, four hundred condemned, and thirteen ordered out to immediate execution; but only the ringleader, Lincoln, actually suffered death; the rest being released at the earnest importunity of the queen, and the king's sisters, Mary of France and Margaret of Scotland. On this occasion, the king's closet presented the singular spectacle of three queens soliciting on their knees the king's pardon for an infuriated mob; it is probable that this was owing to the additional influence of More and Wolsey, to whom Henry could, at this time, refuse nothing.
To this period, also Wood, the Oxford annalist, refers the proof which More gave of his zeal for learning, by his letter to the University of Oxford, on the study of Greek. A kind of civil war had sprung up between the partisans of that language, who were considered as innovators in education, and the larger body, comprehending the aged and those whose reputations were established, and who were content to be no wiser than their forefathers. There existed another cause of this excitement: the public mind was in a ferment on account of the nascent opinions of the Reformation; every thing new was looked upon with suspicion, as possibly connected