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HIS LIFE AND TIMES.
ILLUSTRATED FROM HIS OWN WRITINGS, AND FROM
BY W. JOS. WALTER,
LATE. OF ST. EDMUND'S COLLEGE.
Like Cato firm, like Aristides just,
AND SOLD BY
BOOK ER & CO., 37, Ranelagh Street, Liverpool; and
JOHN CUMMING, Dublin.
ON MORE'S PORTRAIT.
From Holbein's hand, it is the portraiture
SOUTHEY, Poet Laureate.
Printed by J. L. Cox and Sons, 75, Great Queen Street,
In one of his latest works, the lamented Sir James Mackintosh challenged the zeal of the Catholics as a body. His words are these: “Being now restored to their just rank in society, the Roman Catholics have no longer an excuse for not continuing this useful work:”—he is speaking of Dodd's Church History.* It might be asked whether a greater latitude could not have been given to this appeal, so as to have included the lives and writings of the many eminent statesmen and scholars, both lay and ecclesiastic, who at once illustrated the faith of their fathers, and the age in which they flourished, and who are justly entitled to our grateful regard ?
The object of the present volume, as it will be of the series by which it is to be followed, is a humble endeavour to respond to the call thus made, and which, coming from such a quarter, is entitled to our serious attention.
* Sir James's appeal to Catholic scholarship has not been without its effect. The first part of Dodd's “ Church History” has issued from the press, under the able editorship of the Rev. M. A. Tierney, F.S.A. No doubt can be entertained of the patronage of the public to so important a work. The time is to come, when all that relates to the English Catholics in particular, their unshaken loyalty and patriotisn. through the most stormy periods of British history, and their patient endurance through ages of suffering and trial, should be familiarly known to their Protestant brethren.
We commence with the Life and Times of Sir Thomas More, one of the most prominent names in the English Catholic annals. This remarkable man claims attention under all the varied relations of the good father, the enlightened statesman, the elegant historian, and the no contemptible champion in the field of controversy.
The sources of our information have been :
1. More's collected English works, edited by his nephew Rastell, in 1557, Black Letter, Folio,
2. More's Latin Works, including the collection of his and Erasmus's letters. Basle, 1563.
3. The Life of More, by his son-in-law William Roper, first printed in Paris, 1626.
4. The two anonymoụs Lives of More, preserved among the Lambeth MSS., of which one has been published by Dr. Wordsworth in his “Ecclesiastical Biography.” Rastell was known to have written a life of his uncle, but it was never printed. Now the author of the life given by Wordsworth speaks of himself as collecting the works of More for publication. This avowal appears to identify it as the work of Rastell, and
under his name it will be cited in the following pages.
5. The Life of More which has hitherto gone under the name of “ Mr. Thomas More,” the great grandson of the chancellor. The Rev. Jos. Hunter has, however, satisfactorily proved it to be from the
pen of Cresacre More, his grandson. The references to this work in the present volume will be under the head “ Cresacre.”
6. The “State Papers of the reign of Henry VIII.;” an invaluable work, published (1830) under His Majesty's commission.
The more recent accounts of Sir Thomas are little else than copies from these works, and throw no new light on his history.
“ It is impossible to speak rightly of an age gone by, without allowing it to speak for itself,” is the axiom of a modern German historian. The observation will equally apply to men as to eras; and, guided by this rule, it has been the object of the compiler of the present volume, to allow the hero of the piece, as far as possible, to tell his own story in his own words. If an author's true autobiography be his own writings, then it is no presumption to say that entire justice has not yet been done to Sir Thomas's life. It must be con.. fessed that the appearance of the voluminous black letter folio, which contains his works, is not in