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archduke of Austria. His address in this bus siness recommended him to the king, who offered him, through Cardinal Wolsey, a pension, which he declined for the following reasons, as he says bimself:-“When I returned from the embassy to Flanders, the king would have given me a yearly pension, which surely, if one would respect honour and profit, was not to be little esteemed. Yet have I hitherto refused it, and I think shall refuse it still, because I should be forced to forsake my present means, which I have already in the city, and I esteem it more than a better; or else I must keep it with some dislike to the citizens, between whom and his highness, if there should happen any controversy (as sometimes it doth chance) about their privileges, they might suspect me as not sincere and trusty unto them, in respect I am obliged to the king with an annual stipend."
A few years after the king obliged him to accept the place of master of requests;
requests; and about the same time he was knighted, and sworn of the privy council. In 1520 he was made treasurer of the exchequer, and soon after he bought a house on the bank of the Thames at Chelsea, where he settled his family, having married a second wife. Sir Thomas was much attached to a domestic life, but the charms of his conversation were such, thatthe king would hardly suffer him to be away from him ; to extricate himself from which attendance, he had recourse to an artifice
which is thus related by a biographer:-“When the king had performed his devotions on holy days, he used to send for Sir Thomas into his closet, and there confer with him about astronomy, geometry, divinity, and other parts of learning, and also upon private affairs. He would also frequently in the night take him up to the top of the house to view the motions of the planets ; and because Sir Thomas was of a very pleasant disposition, the king and queen at supper time used to send for him to make them merry. Sir Thomas, perceiving by this fondness, that he could not, once in a month, get leave to go home to his wife and children, and that he could not be abroad from court two days together, without being sent for, he began somewhat to dissemble his nature, and so by little and little to disuse himself from his accustomed mirth, that he was sent for no more from that time so ordinarily, at such seasons.
In 1526 he was made chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, and in the following year was sent on an embassy with Wolsey to the court of France. In 1529 he again went to that country in the same capacity with Cuthbert Tonstal. The next year he received the great seal, being the first layman who ever held that dignity., This appointment was the more remarkable, as Sir Thomas had made no scruple of expressing bis sentiments against the divorce of the king from his wife Catherine of Arragon. He entered upon BS
this high station with just apprehensions of the dangers to which it exposed him, and after discharging the duties of it with a most exemplary diligence and integrity three years, he delivered the seal to his royal master, who received his resignation with difficulty. A little before this event be buried his father, who died of a surfeit of grapes at the age of ninety, and was buried in St. Lawrence's church, in the Old Jewry. The old judge, like his son, was a man of great wit, and the following instance of it is recorded by Camden in his Remains. The judge being once engaged in conversation respecting matrimony, observed, that the choice of a wife might be compared to that of a man's putting his hand into a bag full of snakes, among which was one eel; "" where he may,” says he, “ chance to light upon the eel, but 'tis a hundred to one that he is stung by a snake.”
Sir Thomas, during the time of his holding the office of chancellor, kept up a state suitable to the dignity in such a manner, that when he retired from it his fortune was considerably lessened ; in consequence of which he was obliged to reduce his family, on which occasion he called his children together, and thus addressed them : “I have been brought up at Oxford, at an inn of the chancery, at Lincoln's inn, and also in the King's court, and so from the least degree to the highest, and yet have I in yearly revenues at this present; left me a little above one hundred pounds by the year; so that now must we hereafter, if we like to live together, be contented to become · contributors together. But by my best counsel, it shall not be best for us to fall to the lowest fare first; we will not, therefore, descend to Oxford fare, nor to the fare of New Inn; but we will begin with Lincoln's Inn diet, where many right worshipfuls, of good years, do live full well together ; which, if we find not ourselves able to maintain the first year, then will we the next year go one step down to New Inn fare, wherewith many an honest man is well contented. If that exceed our ability too, then will we the next year after descend to Oxford fare, where many great, learned, and ancient fathers, be continually conversant; which if our power stretch not to maintain peither, then may we yet, with bags and willets, go a begging together, and hoping that for pity some good folks will give us their charity, at every man's door, sing Salve Regina, and so still keep company, and be merry together.”
Till now he had kept his children after they were inarried, but not being able to support so large a household, he dismissed them to their own homes, and discharged all his state servants, procuring, however, suitable places for them. --From this time he led a private life, passing his hours chiefly in study or devotion, not without some presages of that dark tempest which was gathering around him. Accordingly several accisations were brought against him, particularly
one for being concerned in the imposture of the holy maid of Kent; but his innocence being proved, his enemies were obliged to cease in their prosecution of him till the passing of the act of supremacy, in 1534, which he refused to take. On this he was committed to the custody of the abbot of Westminster, and next sent to the Tower, where great pains were taken to prevail upon him to comply, but all these failing, he was brought to trial in the King's Bench, and found guilty. The sentence was changed from hanging and quartering to beheading, which was executed July 5, 1543.
While he was in the Tower, Cromwell, then secretary of state, visited him once from the king, and told him that his majesty was his good and gracious lord, and intended not any more to trouble his conscience with any thing wherein he should have cause of scruple. As soon as the secretary was gone, to express how much comforted he was by these words, he wrote with a coal, (for ink he was not allowed) these verses ;
Ey flattering fortune, look thou never so fayre,
During my lyfe thou shalt not me beguile.
The filial piety of Sir Thomas More was reşarkably exhibited in his constant practice, after